20 Best Attractions in Thailand You Can't Miss
Thailand has been notable for its amazing landscape, charming tropical scenery, unique Buddhist culture, authentic Thai food and distinctive folk customs. All these has made Thailand an irresistible tourist destination. Let's review the top 20 most iconic tourist attractions in Thailand.
The Palaces and Temples
The Grand Palace
Located in the city center of Bangkok, the Grand Palace was not only the administrative offices, but also the residence of the Kings of Siam. Construction started in 1782, the Grand Palace is one of the most well-preserved, magnificent, and distinctive palaces in Thailand. Through the continuous reconstruction by the Kings of Siam, such a grand ancient palace complex has finally been formed.
Today, the Grand Palace is served for official events, royal ceremonies, as well as a tourist attraction. The famous palace features quite a few astonishing architectures, including Wat Phra Kaeo, which contains a beautiful Emerald Buddha dating back to the 14th century. The intricate details and stunning gold-plated structures will truly impress you. Visiting the palace for sure gives you a better understanding of the history and culture of Thailand.
Do take note of the dress code. Respectful dress must be worn, otherwise you won't be allowed to visit- no sleeveless tops and skirts covering the knees for ladies and long pants.
The Grand Palace
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, also known as Doi Suthep (named after the mountain where it locates), is one of the most sacred temples in Thailand as it was selected by white elephants in legend.
A local saying goes, if you have not been to Doi Suthep, your tour to Chiang Mai is incomplete. As it is a great place to enjoy the breathtaking beauty and pastoral scenery of Chiang Mai on the top of the mountain at an elevation of 1,073 meters. After walking up the 309 steps in front of the temple (of course, a cable car is available) to the temple, which dates back to 1383, you can reach the golden stupa in the temple to experience peace and tranquility in such a strong religious atmosphere.
Wat Phra Chetuphon
Wat Phra Chetuphon, also referred to as Wat Pho or Temple of the Reclining Buddha, is a must-visit for all first-time visitors to Bangkok.
Wat Phra Chetuphon is one of the oldest and largest temples in Bangkok, with the largest reclining Buddha, as well as the largest Buddha statues and pagodas in Bangkok. The reclining Buddha statue is stunning both in its scale and details. You could feel the serenity and peace radiating from the 150 feet-long Buddha as well as other smaller statues in the compound.
Besides, it is a great place to enjoy the most authentic Thai massage. Wat Phra Chetuphon owns a first-class Thai massage school, which recruits students from home and abroad to train in ancient massage.
Wat Phra Singh
Located in the ancient city of Chiang Mai, built in the 14th century, Wat Phra Singh has a long history and is one of the largest temples in Chiang Mai.
Dedicated to the statue of Phra Singh, Wat Phra Singh is typical of northern Thailand and Lanna styles. The murals in the temple demostrates the local ancient costumes and traditional customs, and are considered the representative works of traditional art in northern Thailand.
In addition to the magnification buildings and artwork, meditation courses make the temple worth a visit. For foreign tourists in the temple, sitting in the Buddha Hall for meditation would be worth a try for inner peace.
Wat Rong Khun
Located in Chiang Rai, 180 kilometers away from Chiang Mai, Wat Rong Khun, named the White Temple as well, is not really a Buddhist temple, but a private owned art exhibit.
Unlike most of the temples in Thailand, the White Temple in Chiang Rai is unique because its pure white appearance is just like a beautiful work of art under the sunshine. The exterior design looks amazing and refined. Then when you get in the temples, you can feel very spiritual.
The White Temple is a unique model with distinctive characteristics that cannot be missed. It is described as a unique existence, which represents both heaven and hell.
Wat Arun is a temple commemorating the 41st-generation king and national hero of Thailand, Zheng Zhao. Regarded as one of the best well-knows in Thailand, Wat Arun is notable for the 79-meters tower.
Due to the magnificent tower in the temple, Wat Arun is believed that it is the first place to touch the sun every day, so it is also called the "Temple of the Dawn". Besides the amazing details, the gorgeous view is worth hundreds of photos. As Wat Arun is located by the side of Chao Phraya river, a traditional riverboat can be added into the tour, especially for evening tour.
The Beaches and Islands
As one of the world's finest beach destinations, Phuket is surrounded by over 30 tropical islands, various caves, and other landscapes. Clear water and blue sky, exotic performances, and various water activities attract many tourists globally.
Motorboats, surfing, water parachute, and other entertainment can easily make you obsessed with water sports. When night falls, various bars and nightclubs will keep you awake until dawn, and the characteristic human demon performance and Thai boxing will also make you excited. Of course, seafood dinners and classic Thai spas are also a must-try in Phuket.
Krabi, a tropical peninsula in southern Thailand, is famous for its high-quality beaches and islands. Compared with Phuket, Krabi shows a more peaceful leisureliness. If you don't want to be disturbed by the crowd, Krabi will be a better choice for you.
The most outstanding scenery of Krabi is the lush greenery, the vast beach swaying with palm trees, limestone cliffs, the wild and primitive waterfall forest, and mountain caves.
In addition to coral diving in the breathtaking sea, Krabi is also a paradise for rock climbers.
When it comes to Koh Samui, people generally know it because of its natural scenery. Koh Samui is rich in primitive forests, coconut trees, and various fruit tree resources, just like a fairyland in the world.
Samui is the second largest tourist destination in Thailand island besides Phuket. It is often referred to as the dreamy tropical island in Robinson Crusoe, which makes people forget the hustle and bustle of the city.
Generally, a 3 to 4 days stay is recommended, relaxing on fabulous beaches, snorkeling or diving in nearby islands like Ko Tao, Ko Phangan, or exploring Ang Thong National Marine Park will give you an amazing trip. What's more, don't miss the stunning sunset!
Koh Phi Phi
Koh Phi Phi, one of the most famous outlying islands, owns amazing sunshine, soft sand beaches, as well as reef ecosystem. There are also countless beach parties, lively bar streets, and well-organized service facilities.
Whether you staying on the island or not, Koh Phi Phi is a place you can't miss when you come to Thailand. No matter whether your destination is Krabi, Phuket, or Ao Nang, one day trip by speedboat to Phi Phi is very easy to book. It may cover major attractions in Phi Phi, such as Bamboo island, Long beach, Ton Sai beach. Enough time to enjoy the soft, white, and clean beach, as well as have the best snorkeling experiences to see various colorful fish.
Koh Phi Phi
Phang Nga Bay
For a tourist traveling in Phuket, an incredible excursion to Phang Nga Bay is always covered. The highlight is James Bond island which is famous for the filming there of the 1974 James Bond movie, The Man with the Golden Gun.
What's more, canoeing in and around the caves and magnificent mangroves is a must-try. Swimming, kayaking, canoeing as well as other fun activities can bring you a whole glorious day.
The National Parks
Khao Sok National Park
Khao Sok National Park is roughly 1-2 hours drive from Phuket and Surathani, which is covered by massive rainforest, magnificent limestone mountains, deep valleys, and gorgeous lakes.
This tropical rainforest in Khao Sok National Park is believed to be a forest ecosystem left over 1.6 million years ago. Compared with those in the Amazon and Central Africa, it owns more abundant species, such as tigers, Asian elephants, tapirs, macaques.
Besides exploring various wildlife, all possible activities may give you the experience of a lifetime, such as jungle trekking, river canoeing, bird-watching, and overnight staying in floating cottages.
Khao Sok National Park
Khao Yai National Park
"Khao Yai" means "mountain". In 1962, it officially became the first national park in Thailand. There are more than 20 waterfalls in the park, the most famous one is the 25-meter-high Halo Suwat Falls.
Khao Yai has been the third largest and most popular national park in Thailand. Meanwhile, it is recognized as the richest natural ecological heritage reserve in Southeast Asia. Many rare plants and wild animals such as elephants, deer, hornbills, and pheasants can be found in the vast forests.
This UNESCO World Heritage site is proved to be a fantastic spot to explore wildlife, especially on a night safari. Spending a full day trekking to waterfalls, and bat caves, and having an authentic Thai cooking class in nature is worth a day.
The Historic Relics
Sukhothai Old City
Sukhothai was once the first capital of Thailand. Its history and culture provide a window to Thai history and culture.
The Buddhist temples and palaces here, which have experienced more than 700 years, are more mottled and simpler than the magnificent Chiang Mai Temple.
In addition, compared with Chiang Mai, Sukhothai has fewer tourists and brings you a stress-free trip. Booking a bike tour to explore the countryside as well as ancient heritages will be a unique travel experience.
The Historic City of Ayutthaya
Ayutthaya, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a must-visit if you are interested in historical sites and ancient architecture. Ayutthaya, Thailand's most glorious ancient dynasty represents the peak of the development of Thailand's ancient feudal dynasties.
The historical park consists of two parts. One is the palace part which was almost destroyed by war and the other is the better-preserved part of the royal temple.
The ruins are nicely kept in this old capital city. You can get the feel of how impressive this place would have been. Walking through the amazing ancient temples, and pagodas give you a glimpse into the Ayutthaya Era.
Kanchanaburi, one of Thailand's most underrated destinations, owns quite a few natural and historical attractions. Kanchanaburi Bridge is the most famed one of all.
The Bridge was built during World War II and is a part of the 415 km historical railway
also known as the "Death Railway", due to tens of thousands of people dying during the construction. After exploring wartime history, a night cruise on the river Kwai is a strong recommendation as the bridge is lit up at night, which looks fabulous.
The Bustling Markets
Bangkok's Floating Markets
One thing you can't miss when traveling in Thailand is the floating market or the water market, featuring authentic traditional lifestyle. Among the various floating markets in and around Bangkok, Damnoen Saduak and Amphawa Floating Market are highly recommended.
In the water market, the boats selling vegetables, fruits, soup, snacks, clothes, and hats shuttle through the narrow waterway. You would be impressed by hundreds of booths on both sides of the canal. Meanwhile, shopkeepers cooking on boats, and guests eating at long tables on the shore will be another unique feature. If an overnight stay is arranged, you might as well take a boat trip to the river after dark to watch fireflies, which can be seen all year around but more active during rainy season.
Chatuchack Weekend Market
Chatuchak Weekend Market, which is world's largest weekend market, offers various booths ranging from local food, art collections, antiques, fashion, and Thai handicrafts. The variety of booths is quite impressive in this huge flea market. You will see stuff over and over that are different from other markets. Instead of shopping, even just strolling around and enjoying the atmosphere would bring you nice and unique experience. A foot massage halfway is recommended because the market is quite spread out, while the massage is with reasonable cost and nice quality.
Maeklong Railway Market
Regarded as one of amazing-Thailand attractions, Maeklong Railway Market has attracted many tourists for its unique experience all the year round. The stalls in Maeklong Railway Market selling seafood, vegetable, fruits, fresh and dried food are all placed along the railway.
When a train is coming, the vendors have to bring in their goods and the extended umbrella/shelters to let the train pass. This unique experience is extremely thrilling while it is common for the local vendors. There are some nice cafes on both sides of the railway where you can sit down and watch the whole scene.
Chiang Mai Night Markets
Chiang Mai Night Markets are great reflections of local life and culture. Small markets with several stalls in the very beginning now have evolved into night markets several kilometers in length scattered in the city.
A variety of commodities and Thai snacks make night market shopping an important part of Chiang Mai's nightlife. Strolling among various stalls has become a must-experience in Chiang Mai, having attracted thousands of global tourists.
From the well-known Chiang Mai University Market, and Saturday Night Market, to Sunday Night Market, each market is a large collection of various stalls, including special snacks, ethnic costumes, craft gifts, and street massages. The stalls in various forms provide visitors with various experiences and meet different expectations of the night market.
Thailand is a country of thousands of Buddhas, a country of smiles with faith, and a tourist country with splendid islands, amazing food and unique culture. As one of the most famous tourist attractions in the world, there is always something unique waiting for you to explore.
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