Thailand is a Southeast Asian country. It’s known for tropical beaches, opulent royal palaces, ancient ruins and ornate temples displaying figures of Buddha. In Bangkok, the capital, an ultramodern cityscape rises next to quiet canalside communities and the iconic temples of Wat Arun, Wat Pho and the Emerald Buddha Temple (Wat Phra Kaew). Nearby beach resorts include bustling Pattaya and fashionable Hua Hin.
Thailand’s capital city and by far the largest city in the country, Bangkok, is a buzzing cosmopolis of high rise buildings, magnificent palaces, ancient temples, glittering nightclubs, bustling markets and streets lined with vendors hawking souvenirs and tantalizing foods. While the city is sometimes described as a concrete jungle jam-packed with noisy traffic and air pollution, Bangkok is not without its natural beauty that is seen in its remaining canals, green spaces and flowering tropical plants. The famous tourist street, Khao San Road, is a good place to begin with its cheap shopping, dining and nightlife. Also not to be missed is the sacred Wat Phra Kaew temple, which contains the Emerald Buddha.
Nighttimes offer just as much fun as the day, with pulsating nightclubs, live music, swanky cocktail bars, incredible rooftop bars, exciting shows, and thrilling Muay Thai fights. Getting around the city is easy, thanks to the BTS sky train, MRT subway, numerous buses, taxis, and tuk tuks, and there is accommodation to suit any preference and budget.
Thailand’s largest island and one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations, Phuket has many faces. Many first-timers head to the thronging sands of Patong, an area known for its hedonistic nightlife and many water sports, but there are beaches to suit everyone. Catch a boat to the scenic Freedom Beach, chill on Karon Beach, enjoy the views from Kathu Beach, and more. Promthep Cape provides amazing sunset vistas. Entertainment-wise, Phuket promises world-class shows, exhilarating Muay Thai fights, global cuisine in a range of eateries, and bars and clubs of every type. Hiking, go karting, ethical elephant interactions, fishing, snorkelling, and jet skiing are just a few activities to try, and Wat Chalong and the Big Buddha are two of the island’s most popular cultural sites.
The UNESCO-listed Ayutthaya is a must for fans of history. Easy to reach from Bangkok, the evocative ruins take you on a journey back in time to Siam’s golden age. Wat Yai Chai Mongkorn is particularly photogenic, with tall stupas that you can climb, surrounded by rows of saffron-clad Buddha statues. Other highlights include Wat Mahatat, with the famous stone head encased in a tree, Wat Ratchaburana, and Wat Si Samphet. The old Dutch and Portuguese areas are well worth a visit and the floating market is a great place to pick up souvenirs. Renting a bicycle or, if you’re an experienced rider, a scooter is the ideal way to appreciate Ayutthaya, though there are also plentiful tuk tuks around each corner.
4. Khao Lak
Another mountainous region, Khao Lak is home to a group of villages mainly visited by tourists. Hotels in this area are some of the most beautiful in all of Thailand. With infinity pools and waterside walkways covered in palm trees, sunsets are truly spectacular. The resorts are much quieter than in nearby Phuket and the beaches are no where near as crowded.
5. Chiang Mai
The city of Chiang Mai is located in the north of the country and is one of the most popular destinations in Thailand. If you are looking for culture and especially temples, then Chiang Mai is the right place to be for you.
The best way to explore Chiang Mai is on your own, by walking around the Old Town or on a scooter inside and outside the city. If that’s not your case and you’re not feeling safe on a scooter with a license, there are plenty of tours in Chiang Mai that are well-organized and give you a great impression of the city and surroundings