8 Places to Visit When You Tour Thailand

Tourists enjoying the Grand Palace in Bangkok – Credit: Shutterstock

Tourists enjoying the Grand Palace in Bangkok – Credit: Shutterstock

Thailand is a country of contrasts. Its capital, Bangkok, offers the visitor a modern bustling city which retains traditional markets and street food vendors in amongst a growing horizon of skyscrapers and a cosmopolitan nightlife. In the north of Thailand, you can explore the ruins of ancient empires and visit the diverse cultures of the hill tribes. Be transfixed by the intricacies of ancient Buddhist Temples and the peaceful spirituality of Buddhist monks. Discover one of the world’s oldest rainforests and island hop through the turquoise waters of Thailand’s south, where you will find everything from tranquil waters to a vibrant night life. There is something to inspire everywhere you go on your Thailand Tour


HERE ARE 8 PLACES YOU MUST VISIT IN THAILAND.

Floating Market – Credit: Shutterstock

Floating Market – Credit: Shutterstock

Bangkok

Known as the City of Angels, Bangkok is a lively city with a big personality. Here you will find an eclectic mix of modern living laced with traditional charm. Every trip to Thailand should include a few days in this vibrant capital city. Enjoy a contrast of skyscrapers and street food, busy markets and high fashion, Buddhist temples, peaceful monks and neon lit nightlife. For a quintessential Thai culinary experience try the flavoursome noodles you find cooked and sold on the streets, haggle with the good humoured stall holders at the markets. Take a boat trip on the canals to experience the floating markets too! You will find many tours starting in Bangkok that take you through the highlights of Thailand.


Akha Women, Chiang Rai - Credit : Shutterstock

Akha Women, Chiang Rai - Credit : Shutterstock

Chiang Rai

Thailand’s northernmost city is home to the newest and yet renowned and contemporary white temple of Wat Rong Khun that attracts both local and international tourists. A quieter, more relaxed city, Chiang Rai is an ideal place to retreat from the busy tourist hubs. Explore the night bazaar where you can enjoy cultural performances and freshly cooked foods and hilltribe crafts. Visit the Clock Tower to see the light and sound display in the evening. Visit the many Buddhist Temples, monuments and museums that depict the history and diverse hill tribe cultures of this scenic region. From here, it is popular to visit the Golden Triangle, where the Laos, Myanmar and Thailand borders meet.   


Elephants in Chiang Mai – Credit: Shutterstock

Elephants in Chiang Mai – Credit: Shutterstock

Chiang Mai

In Chiang Mai you will find a sprawling regional city with all the charms and attractions of a city, enjoying the cooler hill climate. Indulge in hot springs and a relaxed charm nestled amongst mountains and beautiful tropical forests.  The old city boasts several Buddhist Temples, don’t miss Wat Phra Singh and Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. An easy city to explore on foot, discover shops and restaurants, and enjoy a vibrant nightlife. If you miss Chiang Rai, you can visit the Hill Tribes from Chiang Mai, to immerse yourself in the diverse cultures and colourful crafts. Visit the Elephant Nature Park to walk with these graceful animals and observe the wonderful rehabilitation program.  


Sukhothai – Credit: Shutterstock

Sukhothai – Credit: Shutterstock

Sukhothai

Sukhothai is home to Thailand’s most expansive UNESCO World Heritage-listed sites. Within the walls of the Sukhothai Historical Park you can explore the impressive remains of 21 historical sites, punctuated with four large ponds. Wander among the conical spires and lotus-bud shaped Chedi typical of the era known as the Golden Age of Thai civilisation. This is a popular place for local and international tourists for its historical significance and beauty. There are more ruins to explore outside the city walls, you can reach these by bicycle or motorcycle or perhaps find a tour. Don’t miss Wat Saphan Hin, where you will find the lone Buddha in amongst ruins on the hill overlooking the region.  


The Buddha Head at Ayutthaya – Credit: Shutterstock

The Buddha Head at Ayutthaya – Credit: Shutterstock

Ayutthaya

North of Bangkok, Ayutthaya, a former capital of Siam, boasts ruins of majestic stupas, each a symbol of an era of grandeur before the Burmese razed the city in the 18th century. This is where you find the Buddha entangled in the tree, that you are likely to have seen in photographs, one of the features you will find as you explore the Wat Mahathat. Wander through the grounds (get there early) to find intricate prangs (towers) and beautiful Buddhas, some of which were decapitated by the Burmese. Wat Ratchaburana, after recent restoration, has beautiful, intricate carvings of mythical creatures. There is more to explore, some say you can explore it all in just a day, but you might want to take more than a day to uncover all of Ayutthaya. 


Kanchanaburi – the Bridge over the River Kwai – Credit: Shutterstock

Kanchanaburi – the Bridge over the River Kwai – Credit: Shutterstock

Kanchanaburi

You may not know this destination by name, but you will no doubt know it from its WWII history and the movie The Bridge on the River Kwai. Significant war events shadow the town’s history, you can visit museums dedicated to those who lost their lives, the Allied War Cemetery, ride the Death Railway and walk onto the rebuilt bridge (the first two arches are original). If you visit between November and December, you can witness the sound and light show that tells the story of the Death Railway. Today Kanchanaburi city offers visitors river cruises on the impressive River Kwae Noi, craggy mountains, several national parks, hillside and riverside resorts and the beautiful seven tiered waterfalls of Erawan National Park. 


The peaceful lake of Khao Sok National Park – Credit: Shutterstock

The peaceful lake of Khao Sok National Park – Credit: Shutterstock

Khao Sok National Park

In Southern Thailand you will find an ancient, lush, dense rainforest (one of the oldest in the world), an enormous lake and the tall karst formed mountains that make up the Khao Sok National Park. A rich, pristine environment, the national park also hosts the habitats of gibbons, hornbills, flying foxes, winged lizards, monkeys and 300 species of birds. Wild elephants, sun bears, clouded leopards and tigers remain elusive to the tourists but on a guided tour you will witness their markings, if not their presence. See the Rafflesia bloom. Walk along pathways that are overshadowed by sky high bamboo stalks and journey on or swim in the tranquil, blue waters of the lake.


The Palm fringed, golden beaches of Koh Samui – Credit: Shutterstock

The Palm fringed, golden beaches of Koh Samui – Credit: Shutterstock

Thailand’s Islands

Thailand is synonymous with hundreds of sun drenched islands, where the water sparkles, the beaches glow and holidaymaker’s focus on relaxing by day and having fun by night. Well known islands, Koh Samui on east side of the peninsula or Phuket on the west, offer resort holidays, restaurants, shopping, water sports or relaxation. Lesser known islands in Phang Nga Bay, like Koh Yao Noi and Koh Yao Ya offer tranquillity and adventure without the tourist crowds. 


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TravelDiana LimComment