25 Top Tourist Attractions in Thailand

by Kasem Niran
A picturesque tropical island with blue waters and sandy beaches

There is a good reason why Thailand is Southeast Asia’s most visited country. You can discover practically everything at this destination, from affordable beachfront bungalows to some of the world’s top luxury hotels, as well as beautiful blue beaches and dense jungle. All tastes and budgets are accommodated.

Cultural and historical sites dating back hundreds of years can be found all around this Southeast Asian country, the only one in the region that was never colonized. And despite the influx of visitors, Thailand has managed to preserve its basic character, with its own rich history, distinctive culture, and the kind, outgoing, and sociable people for which the country is known.

The only challenge in organizing a vacation to Thailand is choosing which attractions to see. Starting with Thailand’s most visited sites is a good idea.

25. Erawan Falls

Erawan Waterfall in Thailand

A stunning view of Erawan Waterfall in Thailand. Image source: Guitar Photographer/Shutterstock.com

The Erawan National Park is located in western Thailand, not far from Kanchanaburi, and its most famous feature is the breathtaking Erawan Falls. The Hindu mythological three-headed white elephant, the erawan, served as inspiration for the waterfall’s name. Some have seen parallels between the Erawan and the seven-tiered waterfall.

The area surrounding the falls is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including macaques and, on rare occasions, water monitor lizards. Weekends seem to be the busiest times to visit the park, though it is accessible year-round.

24. Ao Nang

Ao Nang Beach in Thailand

A view of the picturesque Ao Nang Beach in Krabi Province, Thailand. Image source: Lukasz Janyst/Shutterstock.com

Originally known as Ao Phra Nang (which translates to “Princess Bay”), Ao Nang is now the most visited beach in all of Krabi Province in southern Thailand. Once popular amongst budget travelers, the area is gradually becoming more upscale thanks to the airport.

Even though it lacks the natural beauty of nearby Rai Leh, Krabi’s Ao Nang is a great place to start exploring the remainder of the island because of the city’s abundance of affordable hotels, restaurants, convenient public transportation, and tour operators.

23. Floating Markets near Bangkok

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market in Thailand

Local vendors selling goods at the lively Damnoen Saduak Floating Market near Bangkok, Thailand. Image source: Southtownboy Studio/Shutterstock.com

Many tourists who come to the Thai capital spend a day traveling to one of the city’s outskirts to see what shopping was like before the canals were filled in. Floating markets are still bustling with life and delicious food, even if they are less essential to the local agricultural economy and more of a tourist attraction and community gathering spot.

Damnoen Saduak is the most well-known floating market amongst international visitors, while the Amphawa Floating Market is the favorite of local Thais.

22. Hua Hin Beach

Architecture in Hua Hin City, Thailand

A stunning view of the beautiful architecture in Hua Hin City, Thailand. Image source: Lifestyle Travel Photo/Shutterstock.com

Hua Hin, which was originally constructed in the 1920s as a royal retreat for King Rama VII, has long been a popular weekend destination for those living in Bangkok. Nowadays, visitors flock to the beach, which stretches for 8 kilometers (5 miles). The current Thai royal family resides in Hua Hin’s Klai Kangwon Palace. Additionally, there are more golf courses here than anywhere else in Thailand.

21. Prasat Hin Phimai

Phimai Historical Park in Thailand

The impressive Phimai Historical Park, one of the largest Khmer temples in Thailand. Image source: Ekkachai Kesanthia/Shutterstock.com

Among Thailand’s many beautiful Khmer ruins, those at Prasat Hin Phimai are among the best. The temples were constructed in the 11th and 12th centuries, when the region was a part of the Khmer Empire, and they are stylistically similar to those at Angkor, but on a much smaller scale. According to the tourist center, the temple was constructed as a Mahayana Buddhist temple, but it also has several Hindu deities in its carvings.

20. Khao Yai National Park

Heo Suwat Waterfall in Khao Yai National Park, Thailand

A stunning view of Heo Suwat Waterfall in Khao Yai National Park, Thailand. Image source: 24Novembers/Shutterstock.com

Khao Yai National Park, the country’s third-largest, can be found in Nakhon Ratchasima Province, in the country’s eastern region. The park has lookout towers, hiking trails, lodges, cabins, and campsites and is home to a vast variety of species, including Asian elephants and black bears. It’s full of surprises around every corner, like dinosaur footprints.

19. Mu Ko Ang Thong

Aerial View of Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park in Thailand

A panoramic aerial view of Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park in Thailand. Image source: Sergii Figurnyi/Shutterstock.com

The “Bowl of Gold” (or Ang Thong) National Park on the Gulf of Thailand is a renowned tourist destination. The park is centered on Ko Wua Talap, one of 42 islands. The islands are close together, making island hopping a breeze.

Visitors can stay in charming bungalows and marvel at the unusual rock formations and distant islands. Many visitors spend the day traveling to Koh Tao from Ko Samui to enjoy the island’s white-sand beaches and snorkel in the shallow coral gardens.

18. Sukhothai Historical Park

Wat Mahathat Temple in Sukhothai Historical Park, Thailand

The ancient Wat Mahathat Temple in the precinct of Sukhothai Historical Park, Thailand. Image source: cowardlion/Shutterstock.com

In northern Thailand, in Sukhothai Historical Park, you can see the remnants of the city that served as the capital of the Sukhothai Kingdom in the 13th and 14th centuries. The walled park, whose name roughly translates to “Dawn of Happiness,” is home to almost two hundred different ruins, including 26 temples and the Royal Palace.

Travelers interested in learning more about Sukhothai history and culture can do so at the Ramkhamhaeng National Museum, which is conveniently located among a number of intriguing wats and other ruins.

17. Ko Nang Yuan

Koh Nangyuan Island in Surat Thani, Thailand

A stunning view of Koh Nangyuan Island in Surat Thani, Thailand. Image source: Mix and Match Studio/Shutterstock.com

A small island called Ko Nang Yuan can be found in close proximity to Ko Tao. Beautiful beaches might become crowded due to the island’s popularity as a day trip from Ko Tao. It’s a beautiful island with excellent snorkeling and scuba diving conditions. Guests not lodging on Ko Nang Yuan must pay a 100-baht fee to access this island. There is a single diving resort for those who would rather not leave this tiny island.

16. Wat Arun

Wat Arun Ratchawaram Ratchaworamawihan Temple in Bangkok, Thailand

A stunning view of Wat Arun Ratchawaram Ratchaworamawihan Temple in Bangkok, Thailand. Image source: Nukul Chanada/Shutterstock.com

This elaborately decorated temple was constructed in honor of Aruna, the Hindu deity who is most often symbolized by the radiations of the rising sun. Located on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River in the Bangkok Yai district, the prang (spires) of Wat Arun are characterized by their elaborate decoration with vivid patterns of seashells and porcelain. The height of the center prang is above 280 feet (85 meters).

15. Chiang Mai Night Bazaar

Temple in Chiang Mai, Thailand

A beautiful temple in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Image source: 501room/Shutterstock.com

Chiang Mai’s famed night bazaar spans many city blocks of sidewalks, storefronts, and even temple grounds. There are several huge, well-appointed contemporary shopping complexes filled with a wide variety of wares, including local arts and crafts, clothing, and international products.

At first, the market was solely the property of Chinese businessmen. However, as more and more shops opened there, the market became too large for any one group to control. In its place, a plethora of owners, the vast majority of whom are Thai, have taken over.

14. Ko Lipe

Aerial view of Lipe Island and Andaman Sea in Satun Province, Thailand

An aerial view of entire tropical Lipe Island and Andaman Sea in Satun province, Thailand. Image source: ltdedigos/Shutterstock.com

Koh Lipe is a small island in the Andaman Sea, off the coast of Satun Province in Thailand, not far from the Malaysian peninsula. Koh Lipe is small enough to be explored on foot in about an hour, yet it has four stunning beaches and waters that are home to over 25% of the world’s fish species. Beachgoers can stay in a variety of bungalows right on the sand, and the area is popular with snorkelers and scuba divers because of its coral reefs.

13. Chatuchak Weekend Market

Chatuchak Weekend Market in Bangkok, Thailand

A bustling scene at Chatuchak weekend market in Bangkok, Thailand. Image source: joyfull/Shutterstock.com

The Chatuchak Weekend Market in Bangkok is the biggest market of its sort in Thailand. It is most often referred to by its Thai name, JJ Market. One could argue that it is the biggest weekend market in the world. The market’s 8,000 stalls sell everything from antiques to clothing to furniture, and the area’s many restaurants bring in an average of 200,000 customers every weekend. In addition to the shops, there are performances with dance and live music for the shoppers’ enjoyment.

12. Khao Sok National Park

Water Resort in Ratchaprapha Dam at Khao Sok National Park, Thailand

A beautiful view of the water resort in Ratchaprapha Dam at Khao Sok National Park, Surat Thani Province, Thailand. Image source: apiguide/Shutterstock.com

A trip to Kao Sok National Park, Thailand, is a must for anybody interested in seeing the country’s stunning natural scenery up close and personal. The park is home to the country’s biggest remaining tract of virgin forest.

The park is divided by a spectacular limestone mountain range, and it contains the remnants of an ancient rainforest. This gorgeous national park is home to more than 5 percent of the world’s animal species, as well as several dirt path systems, towering waterfalls, and a picturesque lake.

11. Phanom Rung

Phanom Rung Historical Park in Buriram, Thailand

A beautiful Hindu Khmer Empire Temple complex in Phanom Rung Historical Park, Buriram, Thailand. Image source: Ipsimus/Shutterstock.com

The Hindu temple of Phanom Rung in Thailand’s northeast sits on an inactive volcano and is well renowned for its stunning architecture. The Khmer people constructed this temple sanctuary during the years 1100 and 1300 near the town of Nang Rong. Phanom Rung, made of sandstone and laterite, stands in for Mount Kailash, Shiva’s holiest site.

10. Similan Islands

A scenic view of a tropical beach on Similan Islands

Enjoy the tranquility of this tropical paradise on Similan Islands. Image source: Mercedess/Shutterstock.com

The Similan Islands are a famous diving destination in Thailand, and the archipelago consists of nine main islands and two outlying ones. The islands are located in southern Thailand’s Phang Nga Province, and its waters are home to beautiful coral reefs and underwater rock formations of all sizes and colors. East of Eden and Elephant Head Rock are two popular dive sites among experienced divers.

9. Full Moon Party at Haad Rin

A crowded beach with colorful lights in the background

Experience the vibrant and lively Full Moon Party on Haad Rin Beach. Image source: Vasit Buasamui/Shutterstock.com

Haad Rin on the island of Koh Phangan hosts the world-famous Full Moon Celebration, a beach party that lasts all night. In 1985, it was an improvised wooden disco attended by about twenty to thirty people. Today, it is a huge event attended by between twenty thousand and thirty thousand people each month.

If you can’t make it to Ko Pha Ngan for the full moon, don’t worry; there are plenty of other opportunities to celebrate the moon during the month, such as at the half moon, black moon, or shiva moon parties.

8. Thai-Burma Railway Death Railway

A beautiful waterfall surrounded by lush greenery

Immerse yourself in nature’s beauty with this waterfall in Kanchanaburi Province. Image source: apiguide/Shutterstock.com

Traveling from Kanchanaburi to Nam Tok over the Bridge over the River Kwai and the infamous Thailand–Burma Death Railway takes two hours and is one of Thailand’s most popular tourist attractions. As beautiful as the scenery is, the ride’s true value lies in its rich historical significance. The Japanese used POWs and Asian workers in a horrific and ultimately fatal race to complete the railroad between Yangon, the capital of Burma at the time, and Bangkok during World War Two. Only a small segment of the old rail route is used today.

7. Ayutthaya Historical Park

Ayutthaya Historical Park is where visitors can see the remains of the second capital of Siam, which was established in the year 1350. As early as the year 1700, Ayutthaya had over a million residents, making it one of the world’s biggest cities. As a consequence of the Burmese army’s destruction of the city in 1767, the Burmese kingdom eventually fell.

Thanks to restoration efforts starting in the late 1960s, the city’s gridlike patterns of moats, roads, and canals now welcome tourists who can marvel at the city’s unique mix of architectural styles.

6. Mu Ko Chang National Park

A scenic view of a beach surrounded by cliffs and trees

Explore the hidden gem of Ko Chang Island in Mu Ko Ranong National Park. Image source: Thanakorn Hongphan/Shutterstock.com

This beautiful national park includes more than 50 islands and is situated in Trat Province in eastern Thailand. Ko Chang stands out from the crowd because of its dramatic topography, verdant forests, and laid-back vibe. People from all walks of life gather at White Sand Beach to have a good time.

White sand beaches, world-class snorkeling and scuba diving, and several breathtaking waterfalls can all be found on these tropical islands. Kog Chang is an ideal destination since it offers a wide variety of activities, from fishing and eating to kayaking. It’s best to go now rather than later, even though it’s still much calmer than islands like Phuket and Ko Samui.

5. Northern Hill Tribes

A family wearing traditional Akha clothing

Discover the cultural richness of the Akha tribe in Chiang Rai. Image source: Korrakit Pinsrisook/Shutterstock.com

The hill tribes of northern Thailand are comprised of a number of distinct and colorful ethnic groups. Most of the hill tribes arrived here during the last century from deeper inside Asia, where they have kept their culture mostly intact. The locals in any of the several villages along the routes that hikers might take would be delighted to have you stop by. Most people in this country live in rural areas and are economically disadvantaged, so any chance to improve their lot is much appreciated.

4. Railay

A stunning view of the famous Phranang cave at Raylay Railay Beach

Explore the beauty and mystery of Phranang Cave at Raylay Railay Beach. Image source: Maxim Tupikov/Shutterstock.com

Krabi Province, on the shore of the Andaman Sea, is home to the well-known rock-climbing destination Rai Leh. Railay, which can only be reached by boat, is home to several interesting sights. Attractions include around 700 bolted rock climbing routes. However, there are a number of beautiful beaches and caverns for adventurers to explore. From budget bungalows used by hikers and backpackers to the luxurious Rayavadee resort, Railay has something for everyone.

3. Grand Palace

A majestic palace with a golden temple and sunset in the background

Witness the stunning beauty of the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Keaw at sunset. Image source: Travel mania/Shutterstock.com

The Grand Palace in Bangkok has been the official seat of the Kings of Siam (and subsequently Thailand) since 1782. It is one of the city’s most visited landmarks. The walled-in complex on the banks of the Chao Phraya River has enticing pavilions, halls, wats, and other structures mixed amid expansive lawns, beautiful gardens, and majestic courtyards. Wat Phra Kaew, often known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, stands out among the numerous other attractions in Bangkok.

2. Phang Nga Bay

A breathtaking view of a unique rock formation in the ocean

Discover the iconic beauty of James Bond Island in Phang Nga Bay. Image source: Serenity-H/Shutterstock.com

One of the most beautiful parts of Thailand, Phang Nga Bay, is located around 60 miles (95 kilometers) from the island of Phuket. It is made up of stunning caverns, underwater grottos, and limestone islands. Ko Ping Kan, or James Bond Island as it is more generally known, is a sea stack in the bay that was featured in “The Man with the Golden Gun.” Sea kayaking is a common method to explore Phang Nga Bay since it is the only means to enter the bay’s many sea caves and grottoes.

1. Ko Phi Phi

A picturesque tropical island with blue waters and sandy beaches

Relax and rejuvenate on the picturesque Phi-Phi Island. Image source: Dmitry Rukhlenko/Shutterstock.com

Located in Krabi Province, not far from Phuket, the Phi Phi Islands are a stunning archipelago. The sole inhabited island in the group is Ko Phi Phi Don, whereas Ko Phi Phi Leh is better known as the setting for the 2000 film The Beach. Visitors come to relax on the beaches and partake in water sports like kayaking, scuba diving, and snorkeling.

Ko Phi Phi is losing some of its allure as a consequence of the hordes of visitors, but it is still a stunning destination.

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