Thailand is known for its golden spires, white sand beaches, rainforests, and bustling markets. The Land of Smiles (as it's called) has something for everyone, whether you want to experience the fast-paced city life or relax at one of the many beautiful luxury resorts on offer.
We've compiled a list of the best places to visit in Thailand to help narrow down your choices.
1. Khao Sok National Park
Khao Sok is loca ted on the mainland between Phuket, Krabi, Khao Lak, and Koh Samui. This means it's perfectly situated among some of the most popular destinations in Southern Thailand.
The National Park offers close encounters with elephants, canoeing, jungle trekking, and so much more. One of the primary attractions is the beautiful Cheow Larn Lake in the heart of the park, with floating raft houses and luxurious campsites.
It's covered by the oldest evergreen rainforest in the world, huge limestone mountains, deep valleys, caves, lakes, and all of the flora and fauna you could hope to see.
2. Pai Canyon
This canyon, also know n as Kong Lan, offers stunning views and hiking trails that will make for a perfect day trip. End your day during the golden hour, and watch the sunset over the valley.
Be warned, the canyon can get busy, but if you are willing to scramble across some rocks, you'll find a prime-looking spot to enjoy the vibrant spread of colors across the sky.
If you are taking a trip to Pai, make sure that you visit some of the other attractions, including the Bamboo Bridge and Sai Ngam Hot Springs.
3. Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai in northern Thailand offers a much-needed break from the hustle and bustle of Bangkok.
There are beautiful, mountainous landscapes, ancient temples (like Wat Phra Singh and Wat Chedi Luang), and several bustling night markets.
The Doi Suthep temple outside the city offers breathtaking views, but don't forget to visit the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar for your shopping.
There's also the elephant nature park, which will guarantee an unforgettable experience for the whole family.
4. Jeath War Museum and Thailand Burma Railway Centre
This World War II museum in Kanchanaburi commemorates the Death Railway built by POWs in the 1940s. It forms part of the Bridge of the River Kwai saga and is located on the grounds of a temple.
The museum is highly interactive and a great place to visit if you want to learn more about this particular period of history.
5. Koh Tao
Koh Tao, or Turtle Island, offers an abundance of wildlife and sandy beaches to enjoy. As you can probably guess, this is the perfect place to swim with turtles.
Located just 70km from the mainland and housing fabulous resorts, this is definitely one of the best places to visit in Thailand.
6. Ayutthaya Historical Park
Ayutthaya was the second capital city of Siam for 400 years. While the ancient city was largely destroyed by the Burmese, there are plenty of relics to be seen, including temples and shrines.
These ruins of the gigantic monasteries and reliquary towers were declared a UNESCO world heritage site and are well worth a visit.
If you are in the area, make sure to visit Bang Pa-In Palace, the summer home of the kings of Thailand.
7. Ko Samui
Ko Samui is one of the most developed Thai islands. There are night markets, Muay Tahi boxing lessons, spa and wellness retreats, and boho bars.
The most popular beaches (Chaweng and Lamai) get a little crowded, but if you head further down to Bo Phut or Mae Nam, you can enjoy peace and quiet.
Mae Nam offers four kilometers of pure white sand and low-level bungalows overlooking Ko Phangan island. Bo Phut is a fishing village with unspoiled beauty and spectacular views.
Phuket, off the west coast of Thailand in the Andaman Sea, is home to beautiful beaches and islands.
Nai Harn Beach, James Bond island, Kata Noi, and Surin Beach are all solid choices if you are looking for a white sand beach and palm trees.
Marvel at the 45-meter-tall Big Buddha at Nakkerd hill, or the largest temple in Phuket, Wat Chalong, that is said to hold a bone fragment of Buddha.
It's also worth visiting Phuket Town, with its beautiful old shophouses and Sino-Portuguese buildings.
9. Similan Islands
Scuba diving enthusiasts and snorkelers will fall in love with the Similan Islands, 70 miles offshore from Phang-Nga province.
There are soft coral reefs, colorful fish, and lovely tropical beaches to relax on between dives.
If you are luxurious, you will spot manta rays and whale sharks. Underwater visibility is best from February to April, so plan your dive accordingly.
You can't visit Thailand without seeing the infamous Bangkok. The Thanon Khao San Road doesn't quite resemble the back-packer trails of old, but it's still one of the best places to pick up street food and the joyous commotion of the chaotic city.
It's also the perfect spot to start exploring sites like Wat Pho and the Chatuchak Weekend Market.
The Krabi province is home to more t han 200 islands, including a number of national parks. The coast is characterized by limestone cliffs that are perfect for rock climbing, especially Railay Beach.
There are plenty of caves to explore, as well. Snorkelers cannot afford to skip the Phi Phi Islands, while inland visitors can head to the Thung Teao Forest Natural Park to get lost among the stunning waterfalls and dense jungle.
Thailand is one of the world's most popular tourist destinations, with good reason. There are beautiful beaches, luxurious resorts, and attractions that will suit every budget and need under the sun. The only question is: which spot will you visit first?
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