Elephant Building (Chang Building) in Bangkok

10 must-see places to visit in Thailand

10 places you should visit in Thailand

In Thailand, the country of smiles, you will find the exoticism of those who are looking for something different from their comfortable environment, a delicious gastronomy, where Pad Thai is the star dish, landscapes where rivers, mountains, waterfalls and valleys converge, temples and ancient cities, the hospitality of its people, and as the icing on the cake, beaches and paradisiacal islands, bathed by turquoise waters, which we are sure will be the best ending you could have ever imagined for your trip.

But the country is also home to true natural wonders, and we must not forget to stop in its cities. From the frenetic Bangkok to the peaceful Chiang Mai, through the unusual Chiang Rai, let’s take a look at the must-see cities and towns of Thailand.

1. Bangkok

It is one of the most famous cities in Southeast Asia and rightly so. Rarely has a metropolis been so frenetic, intense, fascinating and busy. Here, modernity blends seamlessly with tradition, with authentic, bustling little markets closely adjoining futuristic skyscrapers. Things to see and do in Bangkok include the historic neighborhoods of Rattanakosin and Banglamphu, visiting the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew, and immersing yourself in authentic Chinatown and Little India, apart from famous places like Khao San Road.

The Grand Palace and Sanam Luang
View of the Grand Palace and Sanam Luang in Bangkok. Photo: Uthen Smantai.

2. Kanchanaburi

Less than 3 hours drive from Bangkok, the city of Kanchanaburi is best known for its main landmark: the Bridge over the River Kwai, iconic since the premiere of the movie of the same name. The history of this bridge is quite fascinating, and one realizes how much the convicts gave of themselves, including their lives, to make the construction of this railway come to life. We recommend combining a visit to the Bridge over the River Kwai with a visit to the museums dedicated to the dark history of its construction, the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery, as well as the nearby Erawan Falls.

Wat Tham Suea and Wat Tham Khao Noi temples in Kanchanaburi
Wat Tham Suea and Wat Tham Khao Noi temples in Kanchanaburi. Photo: Adventure in Thailand.

3. Chiang Mai

Second city of Thailand after Bangkok and capital of the north, Chiang Mai has preserved its authenticity. Get lost in the old town and visit temples, museums and other landmarks. Some of the temples not to be missed are Wat Phra Sing, one of the most revered in the country, as well as the impressive Wat Chedi Luang and Wat Chiang Man, founded in the 13th century and the oldest in the city. You can also attend the famous Loy Kratong lantern festival. And don’t forget to visit the Baan Tong Luang Hill Tribe Village and the long-neck women in Mae Raem, about 30 minutes drive from Chiang Mai.

Long Neck Padung woman in Chiang Mai.
Long Neck Padung woman in Baan Tong Luang, Chiang Mai. Photo: Adventure in Thailand.

4. Chiang Rai

In the far north of Thailand, about 200 kilometers from Chiang Mai, the capital of the Golden Triangle is located at the crossroads of Burmese, Thai and Lao cultures. It is here that one of the most extraordinary temples is located: Wat Rong Suea Ten also known as the blue temple or “Temple of the Dancing Tiger”. But that’s not all, because the city is surrounded by fabulous mountains and is therefore an ideal starting point for hikers wishing to discover the most beautiful natural panoramas of the region… You should also take the opportunity to visit the White Temple: Wat Rong Khun, one of the most beautiful Buddhist temples in the world.

Wat Rong Kuhn, also known as the White Temple is a popular tourist attraction in Chiang Rai, northern Thailand
Wat Rong Kuhn, also known as the White Temple is a popular tourist attraction in Chiang Rai, northern Thailand. Photo: DSwarthout.

5. Phuket Town

In the south of the country, the capital of the island of Phuket, Phuket Town, is not only long white sandy beaches. There are many beautiful historic buildings of Sino-Portuguese architecture, art galleries and fascinating museums. Phuket Town is also home to a large night market where street food lovers will find plenty to eat. And, of course, there is plenty to occupy the day for relaxation lovers, with fabulous beaches and exceptional seabed.

The island is also home to some of the most original temples such as The Big Buddha, whose official name is Phra Phutta Ming Mongkol Eknakiri.

Phuket town at night
View of Siam Commercial Bank building and Phuket town at night. Photo: oakdog / Pixabay.

6. Hua Hin

About 200 kilometers south of Bangkok, the city of Hua Hin is one of the favorite resorts of Bangkok residents and many foreigners. It has beautiful white sand beaches, a night market and a village of artisans to buy authentic travel souvenirs. Restaurants and street food stalls offer a taste of authentic Thai food everywhere. And for those who like walking, there are many hiking trails to discover the beauty of the surroundings, between mountains and valleys, it is also worth noting the beauty of Marukhathaiyawan Teakwood Palace. Hua Hin is also a city known for its train station, one of the oldest in the country with its peculiar wooden building the Royal Waiting Room.

The kings waiting room at Hua Hin railway station
The kings waiting room at Hua Hin railway station. Photo: Ian Gratton.

7. Ayutthaya

Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya is a historic city par excellence and was the second capital of the Kingdom of Siam. Founded in the middle of the 14th century and destroyed by the Burmese 4 centuries later, it was restored with great care. So much so that today it is one of the largest archaeological sites in Thailand. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ayutthaya is an ancient city incredibly rich in palaces, temples and ancient monuments. It is also home to one of Thailand’s largest Buddhas 19 meters high at Wat Phanan Choeng Worawihan.

Wat Yai Chaimongkol in Ayutthaya
Wat Yai Chaimongkol in Ayutthaya. Photo: Adventure in Thailand.

8. Pai

In the north of the country, about 130 kilometers from Chiang Mai, the small town of Pai allows you to fully immerse yourself in the local culture. Here you will meet Shandicun village (the Chinese village) and enjoy all kinds of outdoor activities such as mountain biking, trekking, climbing, rafting etc. With its green rice fields, hot springs and wild scenery, Pai is a paradise for outdoor activities, frequented by hippies and backpackers.

White Buddha statue at Wat Phra That Mae Yen in Pai, Thailand
White Buddha statue at Wat Phra That Mae Yen in Pai, Thailand. Photo: Christophe95.

9. Nong Khai

On the border with Laos, the city of Nong Khai offers a beautiful taste of Lao culture while retaining its Thai identity. Situated on the banks of the Mekong River, it has an impressive provincial charm, with its boutique houses and monuments of Chinese and French influence. The famous Keoku Hall, a sumptuous sculpture park created in the 1970s, is located very close to the city of Nong Khai. In this park, you can find unusual giant statues inspired by Hinduism and Buddhism.

Sala Kaew Ku park in Nong Khai
Sala Kaew Ku park in Nong Khai. Photo: Alfons55555.

10. Lampang

Located in northern Thailand, Lampang offers a real breath of fresh air and calm. This small city full of surprises is characterized by its many teakwood colonial houses. A pious city par excellence, Lampang is home to many temples, such as Wat Phra That Lampang Luang, a wooden temple located 20 kilometers away, or the perched temple of Wat Chalerm Phrakiat, or the temple of Wat Phra Kaew Don Tao, which housed the Emerald Buddha from 1434 to 1468, before King Tilokaraj relocated the image to Wat Phra Singh in Chiang Mai, and then moved to the Grand Palace in Bangkok.

Bell tower in Lampang
Bell tower in Lampang, northern Thailand. Photo: Paul Arps / flickr.

It is important to remember that the best time to travel to Thailand is between November and March, when temperatures are pleasant and the landscapes are at their best. In fact, all year round is good to travel to Thailand, only, if you do not want to face the rain, try to avoid traveling during the monsoon, from July to October.

-Thailand News (TN)

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