From crazy cities full with temples and culture to beautiful white sand beaches, astonishing mountains in the north and untouched national parks, Thailand is amongst one of the most spectacular countries in the world, backed up by the number of travellers backpacking the land of smiles. Is everyone going to the best destinations? Well here is a list of must go places for you to tick off your Thailand bucket list.
You can not go to Thailand without paying the insane crazy capital city a visit. The City of Angels, Bangkok, is a must see destination and one that you will definitely never forget. There is so much to see and do and no matter what anyone else says, you can not spend enough time in this fascinating city. Some of Thailands most famous and important temples such as Wat Pho, The Grand Palace, and Wat Arun are here in the heart of the city which is intertwined by the Chao Phraya river and its many canals that you cargo for a steady cruise down. If you want to shop, then you’re spoilt for choice with bustling day and night markets, floating markets or even big malls. With Bangkok been by far the biggest place in the whole of Thailand , looking for good places to eat isn’t difficult, taking your pick between its many restaurants or local street food stalls is an absolute treat, considering how cheap you can indulge in the amazing Thai food too. The nightlife in Bangkok is among some of the best in the world with street bars, bucket bars, nightclubs, live music and high-rise rooftop bars, whatever your taste, you can find it.
If you want to get off the beaten track, away from the crowds and see some of Thailand’s untouched lands, then Khao Sok National Park is the place to go. A little bit more difficult to get to than most other places in Thailand and takes a little bit more time but with some planning, it will be more than worth it. The national park is known for the wonderful Cheow Lan Lake, a man made freshwater lake that has floating raft houses scattered amongst the 185 square kilometers of pristine waters. It feels like you’re in a Jurassic Park film set as the towering limestone cliffs are everywhere you look topped with luscious evergreen rainforest. Khao Sok is home to rare species such as the giant Rafflesia flower, wild gibbons and tigers. Plenty of outdoor activities here too, with trekking, caves, kayaking or even tubing down rivers.
Located in the crystal clear water of the Andaman Sea, Krabi is home to some of the best beaches in Thailand . The beaches don’t just have turquoise waters and white sand beaches, but what’s so spectacular about Krabi is that a lot of its beaches are surrounded by sheer limestone cliffs, which is why one of Krabi’s most popular activities is rock climbing. One of the best of the best beaches you can find in Krabi province is Railay, of which is only accessible by boat. There is a lot more to the Krabi province than people would imagine, with Krabi town being a great place for some nice dining and it can get quite lively in the evening with plenty of bars to choose from too. If you fancy some exercise and some amazing views, then definitely head to Tiger Cave Temple. Trek up the 1,237 steps to reach the summit of the limestone tower where Buddha sits overlooking some of Thailand stunning natural surroundings.
There’s plenty of reasons why the Phi Phi islands are the most talked about by backpackers travelling throughout Asia, and have been for the past few years. The Phi Phi islands are easy to get to, with still been part of the Krabi province, it only takes around 45 minutes on a ferry. The incredible islands have something for everyone, Phi Phi Leh is home to the infamous picture-postcard Maya bay, which featured in the film ‘The Beach’ with Leonardo DiCaprio whilst Phi Phi Don is where some of Thailands best nightlife is with beach parties and fire shows every night. They even have live Muay Thai boxing fights most evenings that you can watch for free if you buy yourself a drink. Head out on a long tail boat to visit some of the much talked about places such as bamboo island and Monkey Beach or even check out the Viking Caves where the locals collect birds spit to make a special local delicacy. Whilst staying on Phi Phi Don, its a must to take a walk up to the Phi Phi viewpoint for either sunset or sunrise with the most breathtaking views.
Also known as the jewel of the north, Chiang Mai is the second biggest city in Thailand and is many travellers favorite place they will visit in the whole of South East Asia. It doesn’t have the crazy, hectic feel that Bangkok does, in fact, it’s quite the opposite with a relaxing vibe where you really feel the culture that Thailand holds as you wander around the streets that have over 500 Buddhist temples in town to choose from. The best area to find accommodation in Chiang Mai is around the moat which surrounds the old ancient city, which is where you will also find the famous night markets where you will not just find the typical tourist souvenirs but there are arts and handicraft stalls offering Thailands beautiful handmade goods. One thing also to consider, is that Chiang Mat is known for being cheaper than other popular places in Thailand for everything, including some of the best food in the country. If you want to visit an elephant sanctuary whilst in Thailand to see the countries sacred national animal, then there’s no better place the north of Thailand. There’s numerous places around, but make sure you do your research into the sanctuary to ensure they are as ethical and caring for the elephants as they make out.
This small countryside town is only 3 hours bus ride away from Chiang Mai and is becoming a more and more popular destination for backpackers in Thailand. Pai has the most chilled out, laid back vibes and sits in a valley on the banks of the Pai River. Located at the foothills of the surrounding incredible mountains, theres so much to do here from trekking to visit hill tribes, stopping at waterfalls and bamboo rafting to taking a trip to the Tha Pai hot springs where you can bathe in natural warm waters heated by the geothermal activity. Trek up the impressive Pai Canyon to check out some amazing 360 degree views for sunset from the red sandstone walls. The town itself is a quirky little town filled with cheap markets, shops and some great local or western restaurants. If you have the time, a must visit place if your in the north of Thailand.
Check out: 15 Days in Thailand to visit all these incredible destinations!