The Republic of Thailand is one of the most beautiful countries in Asia, and the world. Thus, it is needless to say that it is also one of the most popular destinations for tourism. Be it shopping, eating, partying, snorkelling or spending just a quiet day on the beach, Thailand can provide the perfect spot for each activity- and that, too, more pocket friendly than any destination in the West. If you are a first-time time visitor to Thailand, you must check these most popular and picturesque places off your travel list-
20. Floating Markets of Bangkok
Love boating, eating and window shopping? Why not do all of them together at the one-of-a-kind floating markets situated within an hour long distance from Bangkok? The two main floating markets here are the Damnoen Saduak and the Amphawa Floating Market. Rent an open boat along the narrow stream filled with boat vendors selling scrumptious sea food and sweet meats, and parks your vehicle anywhere near the row of shops selling Thai souvenirs of all kinds. The coconut ice cream is a must try!
19. The Grand Palace, Bangkok
No visit to Thailand is complete without visiting the Grand Palace in Bangkok, preferably at the beginning of the trip itself. The customary Thai architecture, along with the intricate detailing on the pillars make the residence of the King and the Queen a must visit. With a nominal fee for an entry ticket, you can visit the maze of royal halls and temples. If you’re lucky, you may even spot the army of guards marching past the area in their white uniforms in perfect synchronization.
One of the most important kingdoms of the ancient times, Ayutthaya is now a major tourist attraction for people who like dwelling over the historical remains of old Thailand. The Buddha temples and ruins of the ancient palaces serve as a culturally rich fossil-ground for the country’s growth throughout the years. The magnificent Buddha statue in the heart must be seen from one’s eyes to be believed.
17. Chatuchak Weekend Market
From a safety pin, to a pet Tibetian Mastiff- there is nothing under the sun which cannot be found on sale at the famous weekend market of Bangkok- Chatuchak. The largest market in the world, Chatuchak is one of the busiest spots in the city with an immense number of local people as well as tourists flocking over for their wholesale items and dirt-cheap prices. Home-decor, clothes, bags, animals- all are found in such a vast range of variety that the shopaholic in you will not return disappointed. The array of restaurants inside the market make it a truly pleasant experience.
16. Koh Phi Phi, Krabi
“Koh” in Thai translates for “island” and the Phi Phi island in Krabi province is a bus away from Phuket. It consists of an array of beaches with mesmerising waters of various shades of blue. Phi Phi is one the most beautiful and popular islands, in terms of tourist destinations. You can try various water activities like snorkelling and para-sailing here or just enjoy a quiet day in the sun.
15. Khao Sok National Park
If you are an ardent lover of nature and greenery, Khao Sok is the perfect destination to visit. Breathe in unadulterated air amidst the untouched rainforests and unique mountain ranges and relax in the serenity of the soft ripples of the lake. The roaring waterfall and amenities for boat-riding add to the whole experience of being away from the bustling sounds and crowd of the over-populated cities. This place is also a sanctuary for a wide range of animal species and are carefully preserved to prevent their extinction. It truly is like resting in the lap of nature!
14. Coral Island, Pattaya
Also known as Koh Larn, the Coral Island is one of the must-visits in Pattaya. A short ferry ride from the Bali Hai Pier through the vast expanse of the sparkling blue Andaman sea will make you reach a small cluster of islands filled with coral reefs and a lively beach with pristine white sands. The water is so clear, one can see tiny rainbow colored fishes swimming in it. If that’s not fascinating enough, try sitting in one of the beach shacks and enjoying a coconut full of sweet water or a basket of freshly cooked sea food.
13. Ao Nang Beach, Krabi
Krabi is a small province near Phuket which truly is the best destination to visit if you’re in Thailand to have the ultimate beach experience. And Ao Nang is one of the most centrally located and popular beaches in the area. The basic appeal of Ao Nang is the untouched sand and the turquoise blue waters with colourful kayaks sailing on them. If you are a lover of peace and isolated, natural areas, Ao Nang is the perfect beach to bathe yourself in the sun and drink in the clear blue waters mixing with the skies.
If you’re an adrenaline junkie who is heavily into adventure sports and trekking, the cliffs of Railay make for the perfect trekking paradise. With cliffs ranging from stubbed to steep, a newbie climber as well as a pro trekkie can try them at the same time. It is not only windy and challenging, but also picturesque and beautiful which makes climbing a pleasure. And if you get exhausted from all the strenuous uphill battles, you can always take a breather in the nearby Ton Sai Beach to regain your energy!
11. Koh Samui
A slightly less well known island hiding in the shadows of Phuket, Krabi and Pattaya (which are obviously more famous and crowded), Koh Samui is like a miniature paradise, courtesy its beauty and serenity. A flock of rustling coconut trees beside beautiful green waters and sparkling white sand, it is slightly less accessible to mainstream travelers. Although it does have an airport of its own and some noteworthy resorts to de-stress yourself from the day to day life. Koh Samui may be a little more expensive but the area is a treat to the eyes!
10. Bo Sang Umbrella Village
It is a small rural village next to the more popular Chiang Mai town and yes, it’s called the Umbrella Village for a the very literal reason! The whole village and its livelihood revolves around making and selling umbrellas of various kinds! If you think Ted’s bright yellow umbrella in How I met Your Mother was the prettiest, you will surely change your opinions after you see thousands of umbrellas made from bamboo sticks in Bo Sang, of every colour and design imaginable. You can also see the skilled women make the perfect umbrella from scratch. It’s truly a place of art!
09. Phang Nga Bay
This place is not only mesmerizing and beautiful, it also holds a lot of interest for movie lovers. Roger Moore’s The Man with the Golden Gun and the recent Oscar winner Leonardo Dicaprio’s The Beach had multiple scenes shot in this fantastic location. Located between Phuket and Malay, the Bay holds many lagoons, coves as well as spell binding beaches. The famous Khao Phing Kan island and the Ko Tapu( a 66 feet tall limestone rock) are the part of the bay. You don’t have to be a secret agent to figure out why you must visit this place!
08. Walking Street, Pattaya
Thailand is known for its pure religious relics and shopping destinations. But it can’t be denied that it is also one of the most well known places to have pure, unadulterated fun! Pattaya, being the Sin City of Asia, will not disappoint you if you’re visiting for pleasure and to just have an infamously good time. The Walking Street, though not meant for impressionable ages, is a one-of-a-kind area where you must leave your ethics behind and just have party on your mind, and deserves atleast one late night stroll. Any elaboration on it would just be plain wrong as what happens in the Walking Street, stays in The Walking Street (wink).
07. Chiang Rai
If you thought all temples in Thailand was about red and golden ornate architecture with pointed Chinese-style roofs, then the Wat Rong Khun temple in the city of Chiang Rai will surely surprise you- in a very pleasant way ofcourse. The white piece of architecture is pristine, unconventional and built with great detailing and symbolisms. Also the street fairs of Saturdays and Sundays can always be depended upon for a festival like feel!
Did you cry when you watched The Bridge on The River Kwai? Well, now you can not only see it from your own eyes, but also get to stand on the bridge and wave at the occasional train passing through! For those who have never heard of the River Kwaihat, from which the historic death railway to Burma passed through and killed thousands of Asian labourers during WW2. Now it is a famous tourist spot where you can even have a proper Thai meal on the banks of the river with a gentle river breeze serenading you.
05. Khao Yai National Park
Now it is no surprise that Thailand excels in the field of preservation of various animal species and one of the most perfect examples in the Khao Yai National Park, the oldest national park in the country and a UNESCO approved heritage site. The park is the only place where you will get to see fearless Asian elephants as they are almost on the verge of extinction from the rest of the world. Other species like hornbills and gibbons can also be seen here roaming freely,=.
04. Koh Lanta
Most beaches are so overtly maintained and developed on that they lose their natural tendencies. But the island of Koh Lanta (a brother of Koh Samui) is a little isolated and still not fully commercialised. Hence it still retains most of the natural, rustic charm. If you truly want to seek a place which is apt to the phrase “God’s own creation”, then you will marvel upon the secluded beaches of Koh Lanta.
03. Doi Saket
Another city which is not included in most travelling packages, but still deserves a must visit is Doi Saket with a giant Buddha statue welcoming you in for starters. The Phratath Doi Saket temple and the botanical gardens are some of most visit-able areas in the city and provide a different dimension to the usual sightseeing locations in the country. Also, if you’re a lover of flowers (wait, who isn’t?) then the Doi Sakey Orchid farm is a pleasure to the eyes.
02. Sukhothai Historical Park
Rent a bike/bicycle and travel the magnificent heritage site which was the first capital of the Kingdom of Siam in ancient times. The structures and the Budhha statues there are so old and intimidating that you wouldn’t help but marvel at the rich history of the geographically small country. The Wat Mahatat temple is the largest and the grandest of structures and you wouldn’t be able to complete exploring the whole location in just a day!
01. Hua Hin
Is it a beach town? Is it a market town? Is it a sanctuary of arthropodas and flowers? Well, Hua Hin, situated very close to the capital is a district which offers you all this and much more. The beach is a hub for kayaking, snorkelling and scuba diving. And when you’re tired from all the water activities, you may want to do some leisurely shopping at the bright night market. If you’re into colourful sceneries then don’t forget to visit the myriad of colourful butterflies, flowers, birds and trees in the Butterfly Garden. And if you’re visiting in the months of March and April, then get ready to fly high in the annual Kite Festival and be prepared to have your senses pleased with the spectacular shaped kites all through the Thai sky. So it is not surprise that Hua Hin is at the top of the list and one you must add to your bucket list, right on top!