Travel Guide

Destinations » Thailand Travel Guide

Thailand Overview

Thailand is one of the most visited destinations in the world and for a good reason: it has a colorful culture, a world-renowned gastronomy, perfect tropical beaches, lively markets, friendly locals and numerous natural wonders. The intricate and charming "wat" (Buddhist temples) and the stunningly beautiful "koh" (islands) that are scattered all over the country will certainly not leave anyone indifferent.

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Thailand Destinations


The vibrant and bustling capital of Thailand, Bangkok, is the perfect destination for urbanites looking for a combination of culture, shopping and nightlife. The Grand Palace, as well as the temples of Wat Arun, Wat Pho and Wat Phra Kaew, are some of the architectural and historical wonders that cannot be missed. Shopping lovers must check out the Chatuchak Market, the Ratchada Train Night Market, the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market and the Siam Paragon mall. The best bars and nightclubs can be found in Sukhumvit Soi 11, RCA (or Royal City Avenue) and Silom Road, although backpackers generally flock to Khaosan Road and adults may also check out Bangkok's two main red-light districts: Nana Plaza and Soi Cowboy. Other interesting sights include the Lumphini Park and Chinatown. Thai Massages, eating street food and seeing muay thai fights are also experiences not to be missed. Nature lovers can go on a day trip to the Khao Yai National Park, the protected habitat with the greatest number of animal species in Thailand, including wild elephants.

Colorful night market tents and Bangkok city skyline seen from above


The ancient capital of the Kingdom of Siam between the 14th and 18th centuries, Ayutthaya, is a fascinating destination full of history and culture, built on an island on the confluence of the Chao Phraya and Pasak rivers. The largest and holiest of the Buddhist temples in Ayutthaya is Wat Phra Si Sanphet, which is located within the grounds of the old Royal Palace. Within the island, visitors will also find other sights including Wat Ratchaburana, Wat Mahathat, Wat Suwandararam, the Chao Phrom Market, Wat Thammikarat, Wat Phra Ram and Wat Phra Mongkhon Bophit. Outside the island, those that are not suffering a temple overdose can also visit Wat Chaiwatthanaram, Wat Yai Chai Mongkol or Wat Na Phra Men.


Kanchanaburi's most popular sight is the Bridge over the River Kwai, infamously built by prisoners of war taken by the Japanese during World War II. Several war-related museums can also be found in the town. The town also offers natural attractions such as the Sai Yok Noi Waterfall, the Kaeng Lawa Cave and the Erawan National Park. In the areas surrounding the town, some beautiful temples such as Wat Tham Suea (or Tiger Cave Temple) and Wat Tham Pu Wa can also be found.

Thai Buddhist temple stupa and golden Buddha statue in front of the sun

Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is the second largest city in Thailand and the main hub in the northern regions, surrounded by mountains and a lush countryside. Its historical centre is the walled city, where travelers can find temples like Wat Phra Singh, Wat Chedi Luang, Wat Chiang Man and Wat Phra Chao Mengrai. Off the city walls, Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is also a temple that must not be missed. For shopping around and seeing the local hustle and bustle, visitors can explore the Warorot Market, the Night Bazaar, San Kamphaeng Road and Nimmanhaemin Road. Nature lovers can go on a day trip to Doi Inthanon National Park, where they will find the an abundant wildlife, the highest mountain in the country, impressive waterfalls and even hill tribe villages inhabited by several autochthonous ethnic groups including the Hmong, the Karen (famous for their long-necked women), the Akha and several more.

Ancient Thai Buddhist temple with golden roof and lanterns surrounded by greenery

Chiang Rai

The northern town of Chiang Rai might be a relatively quiet place, but it is the perfect base to explore the Golden Triangle, which is Thailand's region bordering with Myanmar and Laos. Chiang Rai's most famous attraction is the magnificant White Temple (or Wat Rong Khun), due to its unparalleled beauty. The Blue Temple (or Wat Rong Suea Ten), Wat Phra Kaew, Wat Huay Pla Kang and the Night Bazaar should also not be missed. The surrounding area also offers several waterfalls, hilltribe villages and tea plantations such as Choui Fong. The Golden Triangle has several interesting sights including the Scorpion Temple (or Wat Phra That Doi Wao) in the border town of Mae Sai, or even the market in Tachileik, which is already in Myanmar and can be visited visa-free on a one-day trip.

Intricate white Buddhist temple next to a pond

Koh Samui

The largest island in the Gulf of Thailand, Koh Samui, is the quintessence of tropical beach destinations. Some of its best beaches are Chaweng Beach, which is the largest and busiest one, with great nightlife and plenty of restaurants; Lamai Beach, which is gorgeous and a lot quieter; Maenam Beach, mostly popular among backpackers and tourists on a budget; Lipa Noi Beach, the most child-friendly one due to its shallow waters and the absence of rocks; Bo Phut Beach, in the Fisherman's Village, and the smaller Choengmon Beach. The island also has its share of cultural attractions, including the Big Buddha, the Tarnim Magic Garden, Wat Plai Laem temple, Laem Sor Pagoda, Wat Khao Hua Jook (a temple with great views) and Wat Khunaram temple, which hosts a mummified monk. The beautiful Namuang Waterfall and Nathon Town, Koh Samui's administrative centre, are also worth exploring. It is also highly recommended to take a boat trip to the Mu Ko Ang Thong National Marine Park, where travelers can go kayaking along its incredible coastline, snorkeling around Wua Talap Island and hike to the top of Mae Koh for views of the Emerald Lagoon.

Koh Phangan

Koh Phangan is most famous for its crazy Full Moon Party, which takes place every full moon at Haad Rin Beach. However, this little gem also offers plenty of beauty and tranquility in places such as Chalok Lam Beach, Haad Yao Beach, Salad Beach, Hin Kong Beach and Thong Nai Pan Beach. There are also several hiking opportunities, such as the trek to Bottle Beach through the jungle, the hike to Khao Ra mountain for some amazing views or the climb to the Haad Rin Viewpoint. Some other nature spots include the Phaeng Noi Waterfall, the Sadet Waterfall, the Paradise Waterfall, the Namtok Than Sadet National Park and Koh Ma, a small island that is connected to Koh Phangan by a sand bar. The markets in the main town of Thong Sala, including the Phantip Night Market, are also worth visiting. The surrounding waters are also great for snorkeling and scuba diving, and boat trips to the Mu Ko Ang Thong National Marine Park can also be arranged.

Tropical white sand beach with a palm tree hanging over the turquoise blue sea


The area of Krabi is well known for its massive limestone karsts and its turquoise waters, competing in the same league as Halong Bay in Vietnam and El Nido in the Philippines. The best areas to explore are Ao Nang Beach, to enjoy the nightlife and the lively atmosphere; Railay Beach (or Rai Leh), with its perfect white sand and its magnificent limestone cliffs, accessible only by boat; Phra Nang Beach, with its amazing cave and lagoon; and Had Yao, Krabi's most unspoilt beach area. Krabi Town is often overlooked by most visitors, although it has some interesting sights such as the Wat Kaew Korawaram temple or the Night Market. Other popular activities include rock climbing on the limestone rocks, kayaking, white water rafting, exploring the fishing island of Koh Klang or going on a boat tour around some of the islands nearby such as Chicken Island, Koh Poda or Koh Hong.

White sand beach with turquoise waters, green trees and tall limestone peaks

Phi Phi Islands

The small archipelago of Koh Phi Phi consists of six small islands of outstanding beauty, although in recent years it has been losing some of its charm due to mass tourism and overdevelopment. The archipelago's largest and only inhabited island is Koh Phi Phi Don, where visitors will find acommodation and some popular sights including Long Beach, Loh Dalum Beach, Nui Beach, Laemtong Beach and Monkey Bay. The second largest island is Koh Phi Phi Lee, which is home to Maya Bay, where parts of the movie "The Beach" were filmed. Bamboo Island (or Koh Mai Phai), Mosquito Island (or Koh Yung), Bida Nok and Bida Nai also offer limestone karsts, beaches and do some limited snorkeling.

People on white sand beach surrounded by limestone karsts


Despite not having the best beaches or cultural sights in the country, Phuket has managed to become one of Thailand's most visited destinations. Patong is Phuket's main tourist area and is mostly famous for Bangla Road, its nightlife and its offer for adult entertainment. Some of the nicer beaches are Kata Noi Beach, Nai Harn Beach and Surin Beach. Phuket Town offers a more local experience, with it charming Old Town, nice restaurants and the Naka Market (or Weekend Night Market). Other popular sights include the Big Buddha, Wat Chalong, the Karon Viewpoint and the Khao Rang Viewpoint. While the island also offers plenty of so-called elephant "sanctuaries", most of these are known to engage in unethical practices and mistreat the animals. Thus, we encourage you to do your research before visiting any of them and to never ride an elephant, as this will only foster and perpetuate the suffering of the animals.

Aerial view of beaches, ocean, resorts and greenery

Other Islands

Thaliand is home to many more islands that are worthy to discover. In the Gulf of Thailand, Koh Tao is one of the most popular islands among divers, while Koh Chang is great for those that look for a more peaceful and uncrowded experience. On the Andaman Coast, travelers will find gems such as Koh Lanta, with its diving spots and long white beaches; the Koh Yao islands, with their unspoilt natural beauty; Koh Lipe, located right next to Malaysia, and the Similan Islands, considered the best diving area in the country.

Aerial view of wooden boat docked at white sand beach with turquoise blue water, green trees and rocks

Useful Information about Thailand

  • Capital City


  • Population

    72 million (as of 2022)

  • Language

    Thai (official) and other regional languages including Isan, Khmer, etc.

  • Religion

    Buddhism (93%), Islam (5%) and other.

  • Gastronomy

    Some of the must-try Thai dishes include phad thai (fried noodles), khao pad (fried rice), tom yum goong (spicy shrimp soup), tom kha gai (chicken coconut soup), khao soi (coconut curry noodle soup), pad kra pao moo (basil minced pork with rice), kao niew ma muang (mango sticky rice), gaeng massaman gai (massaman chicken curry), mookata (Thai barbecue), som tum (spicy green papaya salad), gaeng lueang (yellow curry), gaeng keow wan gai (green curry with chicken), gaeng daeng (red curry) and kai med ma muang (chicken with cashew nuts).

  • Currency

    Thai Baht (THB)

  • Electricity

    220V/50Hz, European plug (two round pins) or American plug (two parallel flat pins)

  • Climate

    Tropical weather in most locations, except in places of higher altitude in the far north. There are three slightly different seasons: from November to February it does not rain much and temperatures are slightly cooler; from March to June temperatures are slightly hotter, and from July to October it rains more often. In the southern parts of the country, however, temperature remain relatively constant and the rainy season is from November until February. Nevertheless, all seasons are similarly good for traveling to Thailand, as even in the rainy season it does not rain every day and, when it does, it is usually just for a few hours.

  • Required Travel Documents

    (1) Passport with more than 6-months validity from the entry date
    (2) Return plane ticket
    (3) Visa exemption for up to 30 days for most western countries

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