Thailand, or officially the Kingdom of Thailand, is a country of contrasts, color, diversity, and an abundance of food. Known for its tropical beaches, ancient ruins, ornate temples, and royal palaces, this Southeast Asian country includes 76 provinces, making it the 50th largest country by total area in the world. Therefore, to ease the stress of planning your trip here, I collaborated with other travel bloggers to bring you some of the most beautiful places in Thailand to make your vacation here as much unforgettable as it can be.
Best cities in Thailand
The capital of Thailand, Bangkok, is a bustling city full of so many landmarks, cafes, shopping malls, food stalls, and markets that probably even one month of staying here won’t be enough to see them all.
The town, in my opinion, is one of the best cities in Thailand for many reasons. I am quite subjective when it comes to Bangkok and Thailand. It is one of the very few countries that I fell in love from the very first sight. Here, you can wander through ancient temples with absolutely mindblowing architecture, beautiful shrines, busy Chinatown, and experience vibrant street life at any time of the day.
After doing all the touristy things such as visiting Wat Arun temple, seeing the reclining Buddha in the Grand Palace, nibbling on the abundance of street food, or exploring the floating markets, you might think to call it a day. Evenings here are as busy as the days. Several night markets across the town start to open up, the famous ‘backpacker ghetto’ Khaosan Road livens up, and sex-tourists flock to the popular Soi Cowboy, Bangkok’s Red Light District. Thus, it definitely is the town that never sleeps.
Bangkok from above
Down at the ground level, the city streets of Bangkok are bustling with life. Dust is whirled up by the abundance of cars and motorbikes, and the noise level range from high to downright deafening. As you make your way down the sidewalk, you are accompanied by thousands of different smells, from tasty street food to less welcoming odors. Walk long enough, and you’ll eventually encounter a rat or a cockroach.
Bangkok is a wild mix of sensory experiences, and it can all quickly get too much for the average traveler. But what if we told you, there is an easy way to escape all that chaos? All you need to do is take a quick elevator ride!
Bangkok is one of the cities in the world with the highest number of rooftop bars. Head up to any of them to escape the concrete jungle below. High up in the air, you’ll find Bangkok to be a different city entirely. Suddenly, tranquillity and serenity replace the feeling of stress and claustrophobia. Gone is the dust and the traffic; instead, you get epic skyline views and a killer sunset.
Sure, you’ll pay much more for a drink a few hundred meters up in the air, compared to down below, but it’ll probably be worth it. If you ever feel like Bangkok is a bit “too much”, do yourself a favor and splurge on a rooftop bar experience. There are a ton of different ones to choose between, and either one will help you escape.
The most famous choice is probably Sky Bar, from where the sunset in this photo was captured. It’s known from the movie The Hangover, and while it’s outrageously expensive, it’s also glamorous enough to be considered a once-in-a-lifetime bucket list experience!
By The Danish Nomads
Chiang Mai, the former capital of the Lanna Kingdom during the 13-16th centuries, is the largest city in the northern part of the country and a popular tourist destination, making it one of the best cities in Thailand to include in your ultimate Thai itinerary.
The name, Chian Mai, means ‘new city’ in English and was named right after it became the capital of the newly founded kingdom. The town’s old city area features the remains of ancient walls and canals, as well as hundreds of Buddhist temples.
Make sure to visit Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, the most famous temple nestled on Doi Suthep hill dating from 1383. Located 15 kilometers from the city, songthaews (shared minibus-like vehicles) from Chiang Mai University are the best way to get to the landmark. Once at the entrance, you can walk up 309 steps to the temple or take a rope-way. Wander through the area full of pagodas, statues, bells, and shrines. If you are lucky enough, you can even get the blessing from a monk and a modest rope bracelet for a small donation.
Another important sight is Wat Chedi Luang in the city center that used to be a complex of three temples. Some of those temples display wax statues of monks, which looks quite realistic and a bit scary at one point.
In the evening, you can explore the Night Bazaar in downtown. And if you don’t plan to purchase anything, you’ll still feel tempted to buy something while wandering through the endless stalls of t-shirts, souvenirs, scarfs, paintings, and handmade hygiene products to name a few. And here’s the complete list of some of the unique things to do in Chiang Mai.
Reaching Chiang Mai is not a problem, as there are frequent flights from Bangkok, as well as a train and a bus connecting these two cities.
If you’re traveling to the northern part of Thailand (and you should), then you’ll want to make sure the small town of Pai is on your list. While it’s not as secluded or offtrack as it once was, it still retains its charm.
Getting here is easy from the larger city of Chiang Mai and the journey is an adventure in itself! You can take a bus, a shared car, or a scooter. Riding a scooter is one of the most fun things to do in Thailand.
There are numerous hairpin turns, twisting and winding their way through the mountainside. It takes about 3 hours to reach Pai from Chiang Mai, but once you arrive (and get over your motion sickness), you’ll be itching to explore.
There are numerous attractions and activities in Pai. Whether you’re interested in hiking, exploring waterfalls, or checking out Buddhas. In particular, don’t miss the Pai Canyon at sunset (just make sure to wear sturdy shoes), Sai Ngam Hot Springs, the Mor Paeng Waterfall, and Tham Lod Cave. I loved my visit to Pai, and I’m sure you will too.
By Goats on the Road
Nakhon Phanom is the offbeat Thai town nobody talks about. Situated in the Isaan province of Northeast Thailand, it is the border town that shares its boundaries with Laos. The mighty Mekong river serves as a water border amongst the 2 countries. Nakhon Phanom means the ‘City of Mountains’ due to its view of the towering, limestone mountains of Laos on the opposite side of the Mekong River.
Nakhon Phanom is worth a visit due to its laid back and tranquil nature, making it one of the best cities in Thailand. Being on the banks of the river, all activities of the town revolve around it. The riverfront serves as recreational space for locals and tourists and there are parks, monuments, temples, cycle tracks, night markets on its bank. An evening cruise on the Mekong river will make sure you are experiencing being in 2 places at once! There is an art and culture organic market and options of indulging in community-based tourism near Nakhon Phanom wherein one can opt for a homestay with a local family.
Nakhon Phanom is well connected with Bangkok and there are 4 flights every day with a run time of 80 minutes. Alternatively, one can take a bus or drive a car from Bangkok which has a run time of 11-12 hours. There are no direct trains so one will have to board at Hua Lamphong to Udon Thani which takes about 9 hours and then a bus to Nakhon Phanom which takes 4 hours.
By Explore with Ecokats
Chiang Rai and the Golden Triangle
If you want to discover authentic and breathtaking natural spots during your travels in Thailand, the North of the country is for you.
Located 3 hours away from Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai is perfect for the culture and food lovers. The easiest (and pretty much only way) to get to Chiang Rai is by taking a bus from Chiang Mai. You will get to the bus station, located in the center with everything you need nearby!
The main attraction of this small and friendly city is the White Temple, Wat Rong Khun, built at the end of the 90s is now one of the most beautiful temples in the world!
You can easily spend hours on-site exploring this magical place.
Chiang Rai is also the perfect starting point to go and explore the Golden Triangle. If you’ve seen some movies or documentaries about opium and drug traffic there, you might be a bit apprehensive. But let me reassure you, it’s very safe if you go on a tour. You can choose to book a private tour (up to 4 people) or go on a bus tour.
They will take you to the opium museum to discover opium production, as well as to wonderful viewpoints to see three countries meet: Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar. Finally, you’ll take a boat trip on the Megonk River. It’s one of the best experiences you will ever have! It’s a beautiful, authentic, and real cultural adventure.
Blue Temple in Chiang Rai
The Blue Temple of Chiang Rai is one of the gems and beautiful places in Thailand. You can see the stunning bright blue and gold details a mile off, as can the enormous Buddha statue and imagery from Buddhist mythology.
The Blue Temple, also known as Wat Rong Seur Ten, is one of Chiang Rai’s curious modern temples. Along with the famous White Temple which is not actually a temple but a modern artist’s representation of one, there are now a few such Buddhist temples in Northern Thailand.
The Blue Temple was finally finished in 2016, following a few years of construction. However, the temple has a long history translating as ‘jumping tiger’ based on rumors of tigers roaming in this area many years ago.
Head inside the temple to see the stunning sapphire Buddha statue, providing the Blue Temple with its namesake. The best time to visit the Blue Temple is early in the morning before the crowds arrive. Hail a taxi from Chiang Rai or you can even take a day tour of the attractions from Chiang Mai.
By Where Goes Rose
When traveling to Thailand, you should not miss Kanchanaburi. As it’s located only 130 km from Bangkok, you can get to this lush town in just under 3 hours by bus or train. While many tourists visit it as a (very long!) day trip from the capital, you’ll be far better off spending a couple of days here!
Known for the bridge of the river Kwai (remember the movie?), Kanchanaburi is a town where you can still visit the train tracks that are part of the former Burma railway built during WWII. It’s more than a little touristy, but an absolute must if you are in town. (All the details about the Hellfire Pass is below).
Walk across the bridge to the other side and enjoy the lush waterfront scenery. A couple of times a day, the train still passes the bridge, so if you’re lucky, you’ll have to “hide” into an inlet to let it pass. There’s also an artisanal market on the square in front of the bridge and lots of food stalls.
Other fun things to do in Kanchanaburi include a visit to the nearby Erawan waterfalls, riding a bicycle in the neighborhood, or visiting several war memorials. However, do think twice about going to the Tiger Temple – supporting animal exploitation isn’t sustainable travel.
In the true Thailand style, Pattaya is bright, colorful, and full of energy. Located on the east coast of the Gulf of Thailand, about 140 km southeast of Bangkok, it is an easily accessible beach destination for those who can’t make it all the way south to Phuket. Cheap and full of a range of activities and attractions, Pattaya has something for everyone.
Known in the past as a bit of a ‘party’ town, Pattaya is now a family-friendly area with plenty of reasonably-priced resorts along the coast with beach access, as well as all the usual fancier chain hotels. Set along some beautiful and well-protected coastline, watersports are a big draw for the area, as well as other beach activities such as swimming and snorkeling.
There are also cabaret shows, water parks, temples, shopping, zip-lining, Thai boxing if you want to do more than just relax. Many also choose to visit one of the nearby islands during the day and then enjoy the vibrant nightlife of an evening.
If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle, there are plenty of options, including day trips to the ancient city of Ayutthaya, the former capital of Thailand, beach trips to Koh Larn Island, or a visit to the nearby Nong Nooch Village.
To get there, most visitors fly into Bangkok and get a train, bus, or private driver. However, there is a smaller, local airport with limited service called U-Tapao 30km away from Pattaya. Enjoy one of the many beachfront resorts, or save some pennies and stay in the thick of it with funky budget hotels and hostels scattered throughout the city center.
Unique places in Thailand
Stepping away from the commotion and chaos of Bangkok you will find a city deep in prayer and spirituality. The ancient city of Ayutthaya lies on an island between 3 rivers and contains monasteries, temples, palaces, and sculptures, so not including it in the list of the most beautiful places in Thailand, would have been a shame.
Ayuttaya was a former capital of the Kingdom of Siam and a prosperous international trading port before Burmese (today’s Myanmar) army destroyed it in 1767. Today, the ruins of the city form the Ayuttaya Historical Park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site just over 80 km north of Bangkok.
You can explore the site as a day trip from Bangkok by train, car or bus. Wander through the numerous temples dotted around the island, it truly is an amazing sight to enjoy. Additionally, you can pay a visit to the floating and the Chao Phrom markets once in the area.
By A Rai of Light
If you want to learn about the rich history of Thailand without having to travel far, check out The Ancient City museum park located outside of Bangkok. Also known as Mueang Boran and Samut Prakan, this sprawling outdoor installation is the perfect place to spend the day literally walking through Thai history.
The park itself is shaped like the country of Thailand and includes recreations of ancient monuments and temples. You’ll need to rent a bike or golf cart to see everything, and as you explore the grounds you’ll discover so many interesting facets of Thai culture. You can also check out an informative audio guide to walk you through each exhibit.
I was absolutely blown away by the beauty of the Ancient City. You can tell that the park creators are passionate about preserving Thai heritage. No detail was overlooked in the making of these monuments. If I didn’t know I was in a museum, I would have assumed that everything was original. From sprawling water palaces to towering white temples, the Ancient City is memorable and definitely one of the beautiful places in Thailand.
To get to the Ancient City from Bangkok, take the BTS to Kheka Station. From there, you can take a taxi or songthaew for the rest of the way. The entrance fee is 700 THB for adults and 350 THB for children. The park is open daily from 9 a.m – 7 p.m.
Sukhothai is a historic city located around 427 km north of Bangkok, which used to be the capital of the very first Thai empire called Sukhothai (Siam) Kingdom. Due to its far location from the capital and not so well-connected public transportation, many tourists skip visiting Sukhothai. However, this allows you to wander through the ruins in peace.
The name of the city means ‘dawn of happiness’ and managed to exist in harmony and happiness for 140 years until annexed by the Kingdom of Ayuttaya.
Spread on the territory of about 70 sq.km, Sukhothai Historical Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site containing more than 190 historical ruins, Buddha statues, ponds, and monasteries. That is why it is one of the unique places in Thailand worth visiting. The park has five zones: the inner city (main), west, east, north, and south. The entrance fee for each zone is 100 THB but if you plan on visiting everything, you can purchase a pass for 350 THB.
The best way to explore the park is to rent a bicycle or motorbike anywhere in the city if you plan on visiting everything. Otherwise, the main sights of the inner city are doable on foot. Start exploration from the inner city’s Wat Mahathat majestically standing in the center, then continue towards neighboring temples of Wat Sa Sri and Wat Chana Songkhram.
The easiest and the most convenient way to get from Bangkok to Sukhothai is to take a direct bus which takes around 8 hrs to reach the final destination. Another option is to take a train from Bangkok to Phitsanulok, the nearest town taking 5hrs, then hire a tuk-tuk to take you to Pitsanulok bus station and change it to a bus to Sukhothai, which takes another 2 hrs.
Sala Keoku or Buddha Park
Sala Keoku also referred to as the Buddha Park, is one of the unique places in Thailand I had to visit. Located in the town of Nong Khai, near the Thai-Lao border, the park features massive and bizarre sculptures inspired by Buddhism and Hinduism. Unfortunately, there is no public transport going to the park and the only option is taking a tuk-tuk which waits for you until you are done visiting the place.
There is another similar concept park in Laos, 25 km away from Vientiane. Both of them are created by Luang Pu, a Lao citizen, who later escaped to Thailand. I have seen both parks, and I must say that the Thai one has much bigger and extravagant sculptures than the one in Laos.
One of the most interesting parts of the park is the Wheel of Life, showing the life and death of a human being, which continues forever unless one escapes it through Nirvana.
To get to Nong Khai from Bangkok, you can either take a bus or a train. There are flights from Bangkok to Udon Thani, the nearest airport, and then take a short (1:30hr) bus journey to Nong Khai. There are day and night trains from Bangkok to Nong Khai taking around 9:30hrs. The only drawback of night trains is that it arrives in Nong Khai very early in the morning. Buses are cheaper than trains but the journey takes almost 11hrs to reach the final destination. However, it’s comfortable and air-conditioned.
Looking out at the stunning views over the mountains meeting the jungle in the afternoon sun, it’s hard to imagine the painful history that the landscapes of north-eastern Thailand once witnessed.
Close by to Nam Tok, the current end of the former Thailand-Burma railway, the ‘Hellfire Pass’ is now a spot where visitors come to learn about the railway and what happened here.
Built between 1941 and 1943, the railway linked Thailand and present-day Myanmar, for a brief period of a few months. Hellfire Pass is so named because of the eerie flickers of torchlight by which prisoners of war were forced to chisel through the rock to make the railway cutting – with hand tools, night and day. The railway cost nearly 100,000 lives.
Today the pass is home to a visitor center and beautiful walkways that follow in the cuttings of the railway tracks. It’s a beautiful place to enjoy the unspoiled nature of northern Thailand, and spare a thought for those that lost their lives building this line.
The “Death Railway” still runs from Bangkok Noi as far as Nam Tok, stopping off at Kanchanaburi along the way where you can cross over the famous Bridge over the River Kwai. From Nam Tok, you can take a taxi to Hellfire Pass and have a couple of hours to explore. It’s well worth taking the train ride to this part of Thailand for the incredible scenery as well as the history.
By Soul Travel Blog
Thailand is home to many animal parks, but sadly, there are very few places that are sanctuaries. In fact, many parks are so-called ‘sanctuaries’, just because they do not condone animal riding, but the living conditions are poor, and mistreatment is evident.
Although there is a dark side to Elephant tourism, there are a few parks in Thailand that are legitimate sanctuaries. Elephant Nature Park, located in Chiang Mai, is one of them.
The park is a part of a larger organization called Save Elephant Foundation, a non-profit whose income goes towards elephant conservation and rehabilitation. Supporting ethical organizations is imperative for animal welfare, and spending the day seeing elephants thriving is an unforgettable experience.
Elephant Nature Park currently has over 70 elephants within its grounds. Their tours include half-day tours, full-day tours, and volunteering programs. They’ve also started up a Saddle Off! the initiative, aiming to ameliorate the living conditions and lives and elephants who were previously mistreated in circuses, breeding, logging, or other reasons. Tours include return transport from the heart of Chiang Mai.
The best way to find an ethical elephant sanctuary is to do your research. There are tips and tools available online to help you choose an ethical elephant sanctuary.
By Our Travel Mix
Lanta Animal Welfare
Lanta Animal Welfare is a nonprofit animal sanctuary on the picturesque island of Koh Lanta. Its mission is to end animal suffering of 15,000+ homeless, abused, and injured animals on the island. Additionally, it also serves as a rescue and rehabilitation center that runs sterilization and rabies vaccination mobile clinics for the area and surrounding islands and regions.
The organization relies primarily on private donations from visitors around the world and receives no government support, but is a recognized Foundation in Thailand and a registered U.S. charity.
One of the main draws to the sanctuary is the opportunity to take dogs for walks along serene beaches or cuddle cats in a fun, safe environment. If you find a furry friend that you simply can’t part with, you can also look into the rehoming program.
Koh Lanta is about 2 hours from Krabi by ferry and the best month to visit is February (or anytime between November and April, when the weather is slightly more favorable). You’ll need to hire a motorbike once you’re on the island to get around, but they’re reasonably priced everywhere at around 250-300 THB.
The island is known as the more relaxed version of its famous neighbors, Koh Phi Phi, with 28 km of pristine beaches that are far less crowded and more enjoyable for travelers.
By My Destinations
Hill Tribes in Northern Thailand
One of the most fascinating and unusual parts of Thailand lies just an hour’s drive north of the city of Chiang Mai where you will find the Hill Tribes of Northern Thailand.
In this highland region of mostly agricultural landscape with rolling hills, the hill tribes settled from different nomadic tribes originating from China, Burma, Cambodia, and Laos. They found refuge here and continue their traditions and cultural practices with the approval of the Thai government.
The tribes of the Hmong, Lisu, Akha people mostly rely on agriculture but also have some income from tourism via organized group tours and selling hand made crafts to visitors coming to their villages.
The best way to explore this lush and jungle areas is to probably book a tour or guide that can show you the various villages and drive through scenic parts of the region. You can visit local attractions in the area and even do some fun adventure activities like white water rafting.
If you are visiting Chiang Mai, definitely spend some time exploring the countryside and check out the Hill Tribes for something different and unique in the area.
By Travel Photo Discovery
Amphawa Floating Market
Amphawa Floating Market is one of our favorite places in Thailand. It can be visited as a day trip from Bangkok (about 90km away) but I’d suggest spending a weekend here as Amphawa is a night market, the entire area gets alive with the sunset. Street lights, music, hundreds of stalls with goods, locals making and selling food from wooden boats, all these create a festive environment.
Every night at Amphawa feels like a festival or a celebration. The market is a real paradise for food lovers, where you can try fresh seafood and fish dishes, soups and salads, fruit shakes and juices, local pastry, and ice-creams. Pretty much any Thai food can be found here.
Spending a couple of hours strolling through the narrow streets of Amphawa, watching locals cooking food on their boats, eating delicious food is a great way to enjoy a weekend.
Apart from the market, Amphawa has a lot to offer, including watching hundreds of fireflies from a boat! Many small boats take people from the bustling market to a dark and quiet part of the river to see fireflies gathering in bushes along the river banks.
On Saturday morning the market area looks completely different; all vendors are gone, the streets and the river are empty. Yet, there is something interesting to watch here in the morning. Many locals come to the river with donations, fruit, and rice wrapped in banana leaves. Buddhist monks in their traditional orange robes row along the river in small wooden boats and collect the donations. Early morning hours are a very peaceful and beautiful time of the day in Amphawa.
By Stingy Nomads
Most beautiful islands in Thailand
Koh Tao is a picturesque island in the Andaman sea and one of the most beautiful places in Thailand. It’s quite a small island with only 21 sq.km but you can find a true underwater treasure here.
People from all over the world come to Koh Tao to get a diving certification, as it simply is a diver’s paradise! And if diving is not your thing, the island is also a great place for snorkeling! The underwater life of Koh Tao island is incredibly varied, and you can even see sharks!
Unlike larger islands like Koh Samui and Koh Phangan, Koh Tao is much more laid back and is a perfect place for a beach holiday. One of the things to do in Koh Tao except diving and snorkeling is to go on a very popular viewpoint on the top of Koh Nang Yuan – a tiny island only half a kilometer from the main island, along with rock climbing, cliff jumping, paddle boarding, and other water sports, to name a view.
The only way to get to the island is by ferry either from the neighboring islands of Koh Phangan and Koh Samui as well as from mainland towns of Chumphon or Surat Thani. The easiest way to get to those harbors from Bangkok is by overnight train.
By Czech The World
I spent four days in Koh Lanta and it was the perfect spot to relax and unwind, even as a solo traveler on a budget. Known as a quieter counterpart to other nearby islands, Koh Lanta has a chilled out, welcoming vibe that leaves you feeling a little lighter. I arrived on a direct car plus car ferry from Krabi Airport which was easy to organize upon arrival. You can also take a ferry from Krabi town, Koh Phi Phi or Phuket.
Personally, my favorite activity was diving in Koh Lanta. The dive school, Andaman Dive Adventure, was incredibly kind and professional, with great quality equipment and snacks on board. As a bonus, we could relax on the upper deck during the journey to the dive sites. For non-divers, there is also exceptional snorkeling at Koh Rok.
Other activities around Koh Lanta include taking a scooter around the island and exploring the views at the south of the island, doing the ‘four islands day trip’, and relaxing on the beautiful beaches. I was staying near the ‘popular’ beach in January and honestly, it didn’t feel crowded at all. Something about the vibe in Koh Lanta sat well with me and it remains one of my favorite places in Thailand.
By Cassie the Hag
Khao Lak and Similan Islands
Khao Lak, located in the north of Phuket, is a lot less known place than Phuket. And that’s exactly what I love about Khao Lak! The area is a nice, laid-back, tourist-oriented coastal area, without the craziness of Phuket.
If you are looking for a quieter coastal town with beautiful beaches, a lively night market, and good restaurants, then Khao Lak is a great option.
The most famous attraction here is the Similan Islands. If you are a scuba diver you may have heard about these islands because they are said to offer some of the world’s best dive sites. And, even though I’ve been diving for many years, all over the world, I have to agree that the Similan Islands have been some of my best dives ever!
The Similan Islands is a group of 9 beautiful granite islands that were declared a National Park in 1982, to protect its unique habitat. You can book a day trip to go snorkeling or diving here, but if you want to do it right I highly recommend going on a liveaboard to the Similan Islands because this way you’ll see much more of this beautiful part of the world and its impressive dive sites!
But, even if you’re not into diving, Khao Lak is a nice place to spend a few days at its charming beach resorts and a possibility to visit the Khao Sok National Park.
There are public buses from both Bangkok and Phuket, however, most people will fly into either of these cities to shorten the trip and travel to Khao Lak from there.
By Spend Life Traveling
Koh Wai is one of the most beautiful islands in Thailand, yet lesser-visited. Located off the southern coast of the more popular Koh Chang, this tiny island can be reached by a 25-minute boat ride from the small pier of Bang Bao on Koh Chang.
The island is pure bliss. There are no roads and hence no traffic, noise, or pollution, just a trail that goes through the forest to connect the two main beaches with few bungalows. There is no running electricity other than that of generators, so don’t expect air conditioning in the bungalows or fast wifi which is available in the island’s only restaurant.
The coastline on both sides of the island has incredibly fine white sand and the clearest waters you can imagine. It’s a perfect spot for snorkeling to admire the marine life.
Most visitors come here as a day trip from Koh Chang but if you want to savor the island’s atmosphere and beauty make sure to spend at least a night here.
By My Adventures Across The World
Koh Yao Yai
Koh Yao Yai is one of the most beautiful islands in Thailand that shouldn’t be missed due to its tranquillity and peaceful atmosphere. It is a distinct difference to other areas of the country like the energetic and bustling Bangkok and Phuket.
Here, you feel like you are in true Thailand as locals welcome you with tasty cuisine and bright smiles; no tour operators hassling you or forcing you to buy anything.
Koh Yao Yai has some of the most beautiful beaches in Thailand, and the best part is that you can see most of them in one day.
To get to Koh Yao Yai is fairly simple. You need to take a speedboat or local long-tail boat from any of the surrounding islands, such as Krabi, Ao Nang Beach, and Phuket. Prices and times will vary depending on how far the area is from Koh Yao Yai.
Typical prices for the transportation are: 150 THB from Krabi’s Thalang Pier via a long-tail boat taking around 45 min; 650 THB from Ao Nang Beach via speedboat taking around 20 min and 300 THB from Phuket’s Bang Rong Pier taking around 30 min.
Do not miss out on this hidden Thailand gem if you’ll be in the neighborhood and be sure to check out the nearby island of Koh Yao Noi which is equally as beautiful.
By Just Go Travelling
Koh Samui isn’t the most popular of the Thai islands, but shouldn’t be overlooked. It has everything you’d expect of Thai island life – postcard-worthy beaches, delicious food, and unbelievable sunsets – but it also has plenty of nature and adventure to enjoy.
From its waterfalls and hiking trails to watersports and foodie hotspots, there’s something for everyone to enjoy on Koh Samui. It also has some rather unusual attractions, too, including a phallic-shaped rock! All in all, Koh Samui is the perfect island and one of the beautiful places in Thailand for getting a taste of island life while trying something new – and not getting bored.
More than that, though, Koh Samui offers something that most Thai islands don’t: a luxurious escape at a backpacker price. Usually, you have to choose between budget party islands and exclusive luxury resorts. On Koh Samui, you can have both.
This lesser-known Thai island has plenty of boutique hotels but at a very reasonable price. That means you can’t go wrong when choosing where to stay on Koh Samui. Whether you’re backpacking Thailand or enjoying a more grown-up getaway, Koh Samui will help your budget go further.
With regular flights from Bangkok, Phuket, and Pattaya, getting to Koh Samui is easy. If you’d rather travel by sea, there are also daily ferries from Surat Thani and Don Sak. Both are easy and affordable, so you can choose whichever way best fits your itinerary.
Koh Mook is a small idyllic island in the Andaman Sea in the south of the country and for sure, one of the beautiful places in Thailand.
The biggest part of the island makes the Chao Mai National Park – a deep jungle with an intact nature. Here on Koh Mook, you won`t find any cars or bigger supermarkets. Only a small tranquil village with friendly locals and a chilled atmosphere. Far away from mass tourism, you will enjoy the quiet and tranquil island life. The island is tiny so all the most important points can be easily reached by foot, bike or scooter.
The coast of the island is lined with palm trees, gigantic cliffs, and beautiful beaches; especially on Sivalai Beach featuring postcard-like panorama views. Another must-visit place of the island is the Emerald Cave, a top attraction and a popular destination in the whole Trang region. To go inside you have to swim through an 80-meter-long and pitch-black cave to reach at its end the emerald-green lagoon with a white sandy beach.
All in all, Koh Mook is just incredibly beautiful, and for us one of the best places to visit in Thailand.
By Places of Juma
With its dramatic limestone peaks, islands, dense jungle, and picturesque beaches, Krabi is easily one of the most beautiful places in Thailand with so much to do in and around the area.
Even with a short trip, you can easily island-hop to the famous Koh Phi Phi islands, climb the Khao Khanab Nam mountains, or lounge on kilometers long white-sand beaches like at the iconic Railay Beach.
But out of everything there is to do, don’t miss out on renting a scooter for the day so you can cruise around Krabi Town. This is the best way to get from one beach to the next (Krabi Town to Ao Nang Beach takes only twenty minutes). It’s also the best way to explore Krabi’s hidden gems, like exploring around for the best roadside stalls for local pad thai!
And if you’re an adventure fanatic, make sure to carve time out to visit the Buddhist Tiger Cave Temple where you climb over 1,200 steep steps up to the top of a mountain. It sounds exhausting – and believe me, it is – but the 360-degree view of the Andaman Sea and all the towering limestone karsts is well worth it!
Koh Phangan is one of the most beautiful islands in the whole Gulf of Thailand. While the island has become famous for its monthly Full Moon parties, beyond all that craziness, conveniently centered just in the southeastern tip, lies a wonderful laid back paradise.
Many people come to Koh Phangan because of its spiritual vibe. Yoga centers abound, there’s plenty of vegan restaurants around and you can always find enough options if you want to engage in a retreat of practically any kind.
Koh Phangan has amazing beaches, but there’s a lot more to do than just lying around on the white sand. For example, you can go hiking with a vast array of different trails. The best hike in Koh Phangan leads to a secluded beach called the Bottle Beach.
With the majority of the island being a protected natural reserve, there’s enough peace and tranquility without excess tourism development. The whole middle of the island is pretty much undeveloped and the remote east has resisted expansion too, except for a few resorts.
Koh Phangan doesn’t have its own airport; the closest one is on the neighboring island of Koh Samui. Most people, however, fly to Surat Thani airport and then continue on a ferry – this is a lot cheaper option.
By Travel Geekery
Mai Khao beach in Phuket
Phuket, often known for its lively nightlife and busy beaches, is widely referred to as one of the most touristy places in Thailand. But true peace and tranquility can still be found on the northwest shores of Phuket near the Sirinat National Park on the soft sands of Mai Khao Beach. This beach is precisely how I imagine Phuket would have been a couple of decades ago – true untouched paradise!
Mai Khao is a long stretch of golden, silky soft sand that slopes gently into clear, lightly lapping waters. The beach is also clean with few buildings and other beach infrastructure/amenities to interrupt the view. Although there are some amazing hotels in Mai Khao, such as the Anantara or the Holiday Inn Resort, they are all tucked away from the beach in the dense pine forest.
The beach is surprisingly close to the airport (just a 15 min drive), but you would never know. The whole area is a paradise, and tourism has been well managed here. As well as visiting the beautiful Sirinat National Park, you could also visit the nearby Soi Dog Foundation, the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary, or hop in a boat to the nearby islands.
There are so many amazing and beautiful places in Thailand that it can be hard to decide where to go. However, if you’re looking for somewhere quiet and unbelievably stunning, consider Koh Lipe.
Located in the Andaman Sea, Koh Lipe is amongst the southernmost Thai islands, only 30 km away from Langkawi, Malaysia. Getting to the island isn’t easy. From Bangkok, you need to take a 1:30 hrs flight to Hat Yai, a 2 hrs minibus drive to Pak Bara, and finally, another 1:30 hrs ferry to Koh Lipe. The journey can take up to 6-7 hrs and can be exhausting, but it’s totally worthwhile!
Once you arrive in Koh Lipe you understand why it’s known as the Maldives of Thailand. Beaches with powder white sand and crystal-clear turquoise water welcome you right away. It’s a relatively small island, with only three beaches but there are many things to do and attractions to see.
Apart from the usual beach holiday activities, you can hire a longtail boat to go island hopping and snorkel or dive in some of the clearest water you’ll ever see. Or you can do my favorite activity – hiking Koh Adang, an island in front of Koh Lipe, from where you can get breathtaking views of the Maldives of Thailand.
By 7 Continents 1 Passport
Beautiful places in Thailand: National Parks
Khao Sok National Park
Khao Sok National Park is a stunning area in the south of Thailand, just three hours north of Phuket. Although still off the beaten track, it is fast becoming a tourist hotspot as more travelers discover the beauty of the region. With towering limestone cliffs, ancient forests full of wildlife, and a stunning network of lakes, this lovely little location is definitely one of the best places to visit in Thailand!
The park is divided into two parts: Khlong Sok town and Cheow Lan Lake. The town is small and rustic, though it has all the facilities anyone may need. Most of the accommodation is found here, including small hotels, guesthouses, and various eco-lodges where you can stay in tree houses, or overlooking the river.
The town is also a great place to base yourself to take advantage of the multitude of activities available in the region, including a variety of hikes, night safaris, canoeing, river tubing, and elephant experiences (the good, ethical kind).
Make sure to visit the Cheow Lan Lakes, or even take advantage of staying in the super cool (and very Insta-worthy) over-water bungalows. Many tour operators offer both day trips and overnight packages with one or two nights in a bungalow, situated in the middle of the lake. Prices vary but can suit every budget. Once here, you can swim in the lake, take a kayak and explore the area, or sign up for a hike to a nearby cave, canoe tour of the lakes (don’t worry, you don’t have to paddle) or a night safari.
The best time to visit the National Park is during the dry season – November through April. Even during the ‘dry’ season, rain is common in the area, so visiting in the wet season means some activities may be closed.
Ang Thong National Park
Azure blue waters, pristine white sands and brightly-hued corals teeming with marine life. A dream? No – just the protected area of the Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park, known just as Ang Thong.
Accessed by boat from the more frenetic party islands of Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Samui, Ang Thong is an almost untouched, natural paradise; the remote utopia that many a traveler envisions when planning their trip to Thailand.
Actually, it was one of the filming locations for that legendary film, The Beach, which enticed hundreds of thousands of wannabe nomads to the country’s shores.
Loosely translated as ‘Golden Basin’, the park is an exquisite archipelago of 42 islands dotted across the Gulf of Thailand. Established in 1980 it boasts more than 100 square meters of soaring limestone hills, postcard-perfect beaches, waterfalls, lakes, and lush forest. However, what makes Ang Thong special is it’s protected status. Because only a few operators have licenses to enter it, you won’t run into many travelers traipsing across its many islands.
What you will find (other than a sprinkling of other tourists) are beautiful attractions like the bright green-tinted Emerald Lagoon, incredible reefs to snorkel, remote coves to explore via kayak and the crowning glory: a 25-minute hike up to one of the most spectacular viewpoints in all of Thailand.
By The Travel Scribes
Prepare for the trip
To ease your travel planning, check out all the posts about Thailand travel. Additionally, here are some of the websites and services I use when preparing for my next adventure anywhere in the world.
– Book affordable flights on Kiwi.com, a platform that shows the best routes and flight deals to your destination. There’s a money-back guarantee if you miss the flight!
– Check iVisa to see if you need a tourist visa to visit Thailand, how to apply online if applicable, or where’s the nearest embassy or consulate
– Find budget-friendly deals on all sorts of accommodation types on Booking and Agoda, or find a cool apartment on Airbnb and get $34 off on your first stay (my invite expires in 30 days after you sign up! )
– Buy the most flexible and budget-friendly travel insurance, SafetyWing, to cover all sorts of health problems on the road
– Book in advance some of the best city walks, floating markets, snorkeling tours, or day trips to maximize your stay and experience here