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Top 15 Places to Visit in Thailand
Thailand is one of Southeast Asia’s hottest destinations and for good reason. These are the top places to visit in Thailand for your next trip!
Some people will think of beaches when visiting Thailand and there are plenty of those but there is also so much more to Thailand. The food, the people, the history, and yes, the beaches. Thailand is so spectacular and you are going to love every second of your trip there!
We’ll cover the top places to visit in Thailand, cities in Thailand, places to visit in Bangkok, places to visit in Phuket, places to visit in Thailand for couples, and more!
This post is all about the top places to visit in Thailand.
Top Places to Visit in Thailand:
You are most likely going to be flying into one of the Bangkok Airports (BKK and DMK). There are plenty of mixed reviews on Bangkok, as there are with most large cities. We personally loved Bangkok. We may be biased since this was the very first city we traveled to when we started our world travels. However, we really feel this city is an amazing place for any traveler to visit. There is amazing food and so much to do! Be sure to check out one of the tallest buildings in the world (King Power MahaNakhon) and head to the floating markets! These are our top 3 recommendations for places to visit in Bangkok.
Places to Visit in Bangkok:
This iconic temple is right in the heart of the city near The Grand Palace and Wat Pho. It can be seen from across the river and is a towering white pyramid. You take the boat across and are able to first see the temple from the water. Be sure to climb up the incredibly steep steps to see the temple’s intricate design up close.
Chatuchak Weekend Market
This market has everything you could ever think of. We spent an entire afternoon walking through the endless aisles and honestly could have spent far longer here. The prices are incredibly cheap and you can find anything from clothing to food to home decor and furniture. It’s an outdoor market but there are tents throughout offering shade over many of the aisles.
Dragon Temple – Wat Sam Phran
The Dragon Temple is located outside of the city center but it is worth the trek. Don’t be expecting the grand beauty of the temple and grounds like you will see at Wat Arun. It’s in mild disrepair but so intriguing with beautiful grounds and tons of statues. You will be able to walk through the dragon’s tunnel to get to the top and the views of the surrounding area are stunning!
Budget | Hotel Ordinary Bangkok – Great location near tons of shopping and the rooms are spacious and clean and all for around $30 per night for a private room and private bathroom.
Mid-Range | Theme Boutique – This boutique hotel is clean and stylish with billiards and table tennis on property. You’ll find it in a great location as well!
Luxury | Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok – This luxury hotel is located in the heart of Bangkok but once you step on property, you would never know. You’ll find multiple pools, a spa, and direct access to the Siam Paragon shopping center.
> Find your perfect Bangkok accommodations on Booking.com!
Phuket is an island in the south of Thailand that is only a 1 hour and a half flight from Bangkok. This island has become much more touristy in recent years but still holds much of its beauty in unexpected places. Be sure to also visit the Old Town Phuket, Chillva Market, and some of the beautiful waterfalls on the island! These are our top 3 recommendations for places to visit in Phuket.
Places to Visit in Phuket:
Mai Khao Airplane Beach
This beach is located in the northwestern part of the island. It’s right by the airport and if you are renting a scooter (which we highly recommend), it’s a fun hour’s drive. The beach itself is gorgeous but the real fun is from the planes flying directly overhead on their way to the runway. The bigger planes feel so close and it’s hard not to duck every single time. It’s such a fun experience! While we were there, the planes were only landing over the beach in the morning and switched directions in the afternoon. We were glad we got there early enough! There are also some awesome fresh smoothies and swings in the palm trees. Great place for a whole day!
Koh Phi Phi
I cannot possibly say enough about the Phi Phi Islands. Although we have heard mixed reviews from other travelers, we found these islands to be a dream! We took a day trip out there and truthfully regret not booking a few days out there. The water is so clear and calm and it felt like a dream. We booked a long tail boat to take us around for $50 for 3 hours (this was before we knew how to negotiate so you can probably get it lower). Our favorite stop was Phi Le Lagoon on Ko Phi Phi Lee. The water was neon and so refreshing. We were able to jump off the boat and swim with barely anyone else. I’m sure that it gets crazy busy during high season, though.
The Big Buddha on Phuket Island is gorgeous. It sits atop a huge hill overlooking the Andaman Sea. We went for sunrise and sunset and both experiences were magical. It was so peaceful to visit for sunrise as no one else was really there and the monks were doing their morning services. During sunset, it was far busier but the sky was so stunning! The hill is steep here but we made it up on the scooter with white knuckles.
Budget | Ritsurin Boutique Hotel – This hotel is located in Old Town Phuket perfect for walking to dinner and only a short scooter ride to the beaches! You’ll find clean and private rooms for a great rate!
Mid-Range | Diamond Cliff Resort & Spa – The dollar definitely goes further in Thailand and this is a great example. This luxury property is priced in the mid-range and offers gorgeous pools, restaurants, and bars overlooking the Andaman Sea.
Luxury | Mandarava Resort and Spa – This resort features 5 swimming pools, swim-up pool bars, a free shuttle to the beach, and on-property restaurants with insane views. This is a must-visit if you have the money.
> Find your perfect Phuket accommodations on Booking.com!
Chiang Mai is a popular destination in northern Thailand surrounded by jungle. You won’t find any beaches here but there is so much more to Chiang Mai. They are most well-known for the Yee Peng Lantern Festival in November. This magical sight lights up the sky with thousands of paper lanterns. Truly a bucket list experience. These are our top 3 recommendations for places to visit in Chiang Mai.
Places to Visit in Chiang Mai:
Elephant Nature Park
In the past, elephants were one of the main tourist attractions throughout Thailand. Over the years, the real nature of how those animals were treated was revealed and now there are tons of elephant sanctuaries. You still need to be careful about what you choose to visit and always be sure to find one that does not include riding or any circus-like shows. However, one of the most highly rated elephant sanctuaries is Elephant Nature Park. This sanctuary is sure to care for the animals in the best possible way and you can still get up close and personal with them.
This gorgeous palace was built in the 1960s for the royal family on their visits to Chiang Mai and it is certainly fit for royalty. It sits atop Buak Ha Mountian overlooking Chiang Mai. You can stroll the grounds and gardens during the day and admire the views. It is closed while the royal family resides here from January to March.
Doi Inthanon National Park
Since Chiang Mai is located in such a lovely natural location, this National Park is the perfect place to visit in Chiang Mai. This park is located at the highest peak in Thailand at 8,415 ft (2,565 m). There are plenty of trails, villages, and waterfalls to visit for a full day of exploring.
Chiang Mai Accommodations:
Budget | Chada Mantra Hotel – This property is located in the heart of Old Town Chiang Mai. Each room includes a balcony and breakfast is included.
Mid-Range | Hotel De Sripoom – This modern hotel has a great location for exploring Chiang Mai. It’s a clean and spacious room with a private bathroom and breakfast is included!
Luxury | Hyde Park Chiangmai – These clean and modern rooms will be the perfect end to your day exploring Chiang Mai. Their Grand Moutain Duplex is a gorgeous two-story room with plenty of space for a whole family.
> Find your perfect Chiang Mai accommodations on Booking.com!
If you still can’t get enough of clear blue waters and the relaxed island life, Koh Samui is one of the best destinations for that. This small island is located just 1 hour from Bangkok but will take you to another world. Get ready for beach bumming and plenty of time admiring the views. These are our top 3 recommendations for places to visit in Chiang Mai.
Places to Visit in Koh Samui:
This is the main beach on Koh Samui so except crowds but it’s the most popular for a reason! This paperwhite sand beach leads gently into the clear blue ocean. There are tons of resorts and restaurants on the beach and be on the lookout for the famous titled palms!
Koh Mad Sum
You can take a day trip out to this island and spend the day with pigs! The water is incredible, there is only one bar on the island and the pigs love to hang out with people on land or in the water. It looks like an epic day to me and you can usually book a tour that includes some snorkeling!
Hin Ta Hin Yai
These rocks are known as Grandfather’s Rock and Grandmother’s Rock. They jut out into the sea at the end of Lamai Beach. These natural rock formations are great for photos and climbing, but be aware that they do slightly resemble male and female genitalia!
Koh Samui Accommodations:
Budget | Escape Beach Resort – This hotel features a beachfront property and a seaside pool. For a budget option, choose the guestrooms but for a small upgrade, you could get a beachfront bungalow!
Mid-Range | Hive Hotel – Sitting on the golden sands of Lamai Beach, you’ll have beachfront access and an infinity pool overlooking the water.
Luxury | Ritz-Carlton, Koh Samui – This 5-star property sits overlooking the ocean with multiple pools and restaurants. The rooms are large with some offering bathtubs, terraces, or ocean views.
This is the place to visit if you are looking for luxury as there are a ton of high-end luxury resorts on Koh Samui!
> Find your perfect Koh Samui accommodations on Booking.com!