Thailand is best known for its tropical beaches, luxurious royal palaces, ancient ruins, and temples. Enjoy the bustling cosmopolitan city of Bankgok or head north to Chiang Mai to experience a local culture like no other. No trip to Thailand is complete without being charmed by the raw beauty and limestone cliffs in the south. There is something for everyone in this awe-inspiring country.
1. The Grand Palace
If there is one must-see sight in Bangkok, it’s the remarkable Grand Palace. As Bangkok’s most famous landmark, the Grand Palace continues to awe visitors with its stunning architecture and elaborate detail. Built in 1782, this was the home of the Thai King for over 150 years. It is highly suggested that visitors dress politely when visiting the Grand Palace as entry has been refused to those dressed incorrectly.
2. Chiang Mai Sunday Walking Street
The Sunday Market, or Walking Street, is a large market located in the center of the old walled city of Chiang Mai open every Sunday from 4pm until midnight. Ratchadamnoen Road closes to traffic during the Sunday Market and allows shoppers to browse goods, bargain with vendors and wander freely. The Sunday Market is a showcase of local art and craftsmanship of the Northern Thai people. This is one of the best places to find that perfect souvenir to bring home and remember your trip.
3. Elephant Nature Park
Elephant Nature Park is a sanctuary and rescue center for elephants in Northern Thailand. The sanctuary offers a glimpse of rural life and provides visitors with an education of the gentle giant’s incredible importance in Thai history. The herd at the park has been rescued from logging and trekking camp owners. Spend the day feeding and getting up close and personal with the elephants.
4. Phi Phi Islands
There is a reason the Phi Phi Islands are known as some of the most spectacular in Southeast Asia. Paradise is found in these picture-perfect postcard islands and is the ultimate tropical getaway. Spend the day on the island’s classic beaches and snorkeling in the turquoise water. Once the sun sets, the island turns into party central with its bars and clubs filled with young and carefree party-goers as well as fire twirling entertainment.
5. Railay Beach
Railay is one of Thailand’s most sought-after beach areas. Accessible only by boat, Railay presents a tranquil and extraordinary world. In just one small peninsula you’ll find gorgeous white sand beaches, soaring limestone cliffs for rock climbers, caves and a lagoon hidden inside the cliffs, shaped and fed by the changing tides. And all within walking distance! With no roads and no hassle, Railay offers a quiet getaway and chilled-out evenings.
6. Floating Markets
Bangkok’s colorful floating markets are familiar to many through the abundant photos in tourist guides and travel books. The floating market boats are piled high with tropical fruit and vegetables, fresh coconut juice and local cuisine cooked right on the boat. Try relaxing on a guided boat tour of Damnoen Saduak Market.
7. Ayutthaya National Park
The former capital of Siam, Ayuthaya was once one of the world’s wealthiest cities. After the Burmese invasion in 1767, the empire collapsed leaving many of its treasures looted and citizens enslaved. What was once one of Asia’s major trading ports is now ruins of temples and empty palaces full of rich history and an awe-inspiring World Heritage Site. Many people take a day trip to Autthaya from Bangkok, but staying an extra day gives you the chance to admire the ruins lit up at night.
8. Hilltribe Villages
Akha, Lisu, Hmong and Karen tribes are found across the north of Thailand. Spend a day or a few nights with a local family in the Thai countryside to learn and experience their way of life. Pair this with a hill trek through the jungle and you will leave having a new appreciation for the people and the beauty of this country.
9. Boat Tour of Phang Nga Bay
Located north east of Phuket, Phang Nga Bay is one of the most unique places in the world. Limestone cliffs jut into the sky out of emerald green water. One of the best ways to experience Phang Nga Bay is by boat tour where you can stop at both James Bond Island and Koh Pannyi. The scenery is out of this world and it will be an unforgettable experience.
10. Take a Thai Cooking Class
Thai cooking classes can be found in many places, though a popular city to do it is Chiang Mai. You can choose from spending a full day in the Thai countryside or in an urban kitchen, learning how to cook some of the best local cuisine. Leaving with a cookbook of authentic recipes is a great souvenir to bring home.