Things to do in Thailand: Attractions and places to visit

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The holiday country Thailand belongs to Southeast Asia, is framed by the Indian Ocean, which divides here into the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand. The hustle and bustle of the capital Bangkok and tourist strongholds such as Phuket characterise the Southeast Asian country, as do small picturesque towns in the province or remote mountain villages. The hospitality of the locals is legendary.

Thailand borders Malaysia, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar. A typical tropical summer rain climate prevails here, with temperatures evenly hot throughout the year. Only in the mountains and everywhere else in the country in winter it gets a bit cooler. Thai cuisine also has an excellent reputation.

In the following we present you the most exciting tours, the most beautiful attractions and the best sights in Thailand.

Thailand-3570B - Money flows like water.. (Dennis Jarvis)  []  CC BY-SA 
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Grand Palace (Esteban Chiner)  []  CC BY-SA 
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1. Bangkok

The capital of Thailand is richly blessed with extraordinary sights such as the temple complex Wat Phra Kaeo, the holiest of the whole country. A relic kept there is said to be a hair or a bone of Buddha. A great overview of the history of the country is provided by the National Museum of Bangkok, where visitors should spend at least half a day.

Another tourist attraction are the so-called Jim Thompsons houses. The founder of the unique Thai wooden houses made Thai silk famous all over the world. Wat Traimitr Temple is the home of the Golden Buddha, cast from 5.5 tons of solid gold. The capital’s many markets are an exotic festival for the nose, palate and eyes.

2. Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is affectionately called the “Pearl of the North” by the locals and is one of the most beautiful cities in the country, if not the most beautiful. Almost 200 temples are among the sights of Chiang Mai. The oldest of them is Wat Chiang Man, which dates back to 1296.

The portal is decorated with an outstandingly carved pediment. Other tourist attractions include the Chiang Mai National Museum, which exhibits terracotta from Haripunchai and sculptures from all periods of art. Also worth seeing is Thailand’s largest zoo, where you can see rare butterflies and birds as well as animals native to Southeast Asia.

3. phangnga

The landscape around the city of Phangnga is breathtaking and unique. White mountain peaks rise out of the dark green of the jungle into the Thai sky, picturesque mountain villages nestle on the slopes of the mountains and anyone who undertakes a boat trip through the bays of Ao Luk and Phangnga will never forget them for the rest of his life.

In the nearby limestone mountains there are many caves and grottos, the most famous of which is the so-called Hermit’s Cave. The limestone rock Ko Tapu, which rises majestically from the bay of Phangnga, became world famous through a James Bond film. The Khao Sok mountain is surrounded by the national park of the same name. The tropical rainforest is a paradise for elephants, bears, hornbills and monitors.

4. Chiang Rai

A detour to Chiang Rai is especially worthwhile because of the fantastic landscape that surrounds the city. The mountains, which are overgrown by tropical rainforest, are among the most impressive of the Southeast Asian country. The mountain peoples of the Meo, Lisu or Akha offer their products on the market squares of their villages, dressed in colourful robes.

The Mae-Lao Dam is a beautiful location for tourists and locals alike and a popular destination for excursions. Many pilgrims make their way to Wat Phra That Doi Thung, which was built below the summit of Doi Thung. From the top of the mountain there is a wonderful panoramic view over the fantastic landscapes of northern Thailand.

5. Phuket

The landscape of Thailand’s largest island, Phuket, is characterized by rubber trees and coconut palms. However, the island is world famous for its long white sandy beaches, where the waves of the azure blue sea curl. Patong Beach is the busiest and most famous beach. Those who want to spend their bathing holiday in a rather quiet way are in the best hands at the beaches of the coasts in the southwest.

Karon Beach, on the other hand, is known for its luxurious luxury, which the hotels Karon Villa and The Old Phuket also radiate. The provincial capital of the same name has largely retained its colonial charm. The best time to travel is between December and March.

6. Suratthani

The landscape around Suratthani is simply enchanting and one of the most beautiful in Thailand. From the tropical rainforest, which grows particularly densely here, dolomite rocks rise up to a height of 1,000 metres. The breathtaking islands off the coast are almost paradisiacally beautiful.

On many of the 60 islands there are quiet bays with white beaches, dense vegetation, well-equipped hotels, beaches and picturesque fishing villages. 50 kilometres north of Suratthani, tourists from the west can also take part in a meditation course in the Wat Suan Mokh monastery, one of the most famous in Southeast Asia. The duration of the course is at least ten days.

7. phetchaburi

The provincial capital Phetchaburi is surrounded by impressive mountains. The magnificent palace of King Mongkut, outstanding among the sights of the city, towers over the city on Mount Khao Khlang. In the valley the temples refer to the glorious history of Phetchaburi. Only a few kilometres away from the city, quiet and beautiful beaches invite you to a relaxing bath. The top attraction on site is the royal palace Phar Nakhon Khiri.

King Mongkut had his palace built in the neoclassical style that he knew from Europe. The building reflects like no other the cosmopolitan thinking and cosmopolitan lifestyle of the kings of Thailand. You can reach the palace district either on foot via a staircase or more comfortably with a small rack railway.

8. Sukhothai

In the north of the central plain lies the old capital Sukhothai, the art historical centre of the Sukhothai epoch. The 193 temples that have been excavated in Sukhothai and some lovingly restored have been UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1978. In the strictly guarded area, boards in English in front of each building provide information about everything worth knowing. The excavation site is located only 12 kilometres from the city centre.

One of the top sights is the Ramkhamhaeng Museum, which opened in 1964. On display here are ceramics, stuccoes and statues discovered during the excavations. Among the highlights in the museum are a sitting Buddha from Wat Chand Lom and a walking Buddha who is distinguished by his outstanding beauty.

9. Khao Yai National Park

The Khao-Yai National Park was opened in 1962 and is the oldest nature reserve in Thailand. The national park attracts locals and tourists alike. The beautiful landscape is characterized by picturesque lakes, breathtaking waterfalls and over 1300 meters high mountains. The Dong-Phayayen mountain range has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2005. The animal world there is extraordinarily diverse.

Among the inhabitants of the mountain range are rhinoceros birds, gibbons, leopards and tigers. A special attraction is the so-called “Orchid Waterfall”, whose rocks are covered with orchids. Eleven hiking trails lead through the Khao-Yai National Park. A map with the exact routes can be found in the park administration.

10. Samut Prakan

The provincial capital Samut Prakan is located about 40 kilometres south of the capital Bangkok. The city has a historical centre and a small harbour. One of the tourist attractions is a crocodile farm where around 100,000 crocodiles live. This makes it the second largest farm of its kind. The top sight of Samut Prakan, however, is the largest open-air museum in the world “Ancient City”.

A financier from Bangkok built the most important cultural and historical buildings in the country on a 300 hectare site, which was laid out in the form of the Thai state, on a scale of 1:3. Some of the most beautiful buildings were even built in their original size.

More things to do and activities for your Thailand holiday

Best time to visit Thailand

We recommend the following months as best time to travel for exploring the attractions and acivities of Thailand:

January, February, March, April, and December

You can find more information about the weather, including all climate data, on our climate page for Thailand.

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