Thailand, the backpacker’s paradise, is a country full of history and culture. With so many tourist attractions on offer, how does a first timer to this far-flung land know where to start? Well, I have made up a list of the top 10 places to visit, all my own personal opinion and in no particular order. It was a hard decision as so many places are so incredible. Of course, if you have a favourite place not listed here, please feel free to comment.
Top Must See Places in Thailand
Well ok, it’s an obvious place to start really isn’t it? The Grand Palace has an entrance fee of 350 baht and a strict dress code, (so no bare shoulders or feet!), but if you forget to dress accordingly there are clothes to change into at the entrance (your passport must be left as security).
2. The Floating Market
The Floating Market is a beautiful place on the Damnoen Saduak canals and no trip to Thailand should bypass this one. The Temple of the Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho is worth a visit and at only 20 baht it’s a bargain, and for those who are looking for something a little different, the Philatelic museum, if stamps are your thing (or you just feel curious), then pop in – there are many stamps for sale to boost your collection, if that’s your thing.
3. Chang Mai
Chang Mai. Thailand’s highest mountain at 2,565 metres above sea level is west of Chang Mai. Doi Inthanon is two bus rides away (a total of 106 km) but is home to beautiful waterfalls and gorgeous sights. The Doi Inthanon National Park is open all year round. Make sure you don’t miss the famous Sunday evening market.
4. San Kamphaeng Hot Springs
A little bit closer to town at just 36 km away is the San Kamphaeng Hot Springs, known its restorative properties, so after visiting the mountain it may be a nice place to unwind.
5. Hin Daeng
Hin Daeng. From the Thai meaning Red Rock, it is the number one scuba diving site in Thailand, and with a whole host of underwater sights from Barracuda to Manta Ray, it’s easy to see why. Oh and look out for the odd whale shark!
6. Koh Samui
Koh Samui. One of the more popular tourist destinations probably due to its gorgeous white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters. The Full Moon Party is a popular monthly for those who love the nightlife, and for those who love diving there are amazing coral reefs to explore.
7. Mae Hong Son
Mae Hong Son. Travel by bus for the complete experience from Chang Mai to Mae Hong Son. It can take 7 or 8 hours to get there but well worth a stay. With plenty of guest houses to choose from you won’t be short of a place to rest your head after a full day of trekking in the mountains off the Thanon Thongchai range between Myanmar (Burma) and Thailand, or alternatively you may want to visit the Pha Sua waterfall for a more exotic walk. Handicrafts and artworks of the hilltribe people can be purchased at the night market, ideal for unique souvenirs or mementos of your trip. Mae Hong Son is home to the Padaung (Long-necked Karen). The Padaung are a group of Karen refugees who originate from the eastern Burmese state of Kayah on the Thailand border, they have their own language and call themselves “Lae Kur” or “Kayan”. Padaung women use brass rings to stretch their necks. The sad thing is the women who wear the rings recieve money from the Thai government due to the tourists they bring in, which then incentivises them to put the rings on their young children.
Ayutthaya is a UNESCO world heritage site and only an hour outside of Bangkok. The ruined city is packed with temples, museums and buildings with historical and architectural significance. Hiring a motorbike to cover the surrounding areas is most definitely recommended.
9. Railay and TonSai
Railay and TonSai are the places to visit for those who love an active holiday (and of course those who like to watch others being active). The area is well known as the place to be for rock climbing, and visitors can enjoy wonderful treks through the lush mountainside. This is all bordered by amazing sandy beaches and a beautiful tropical seascape. There is a variety of accommodation, enough to suit every taste and budget.
Phuket offers fun of a different sort, yes there are gorgeous beaches surrounding by beautiful scenery, but here you can sample other delights such as the crocodile farm, butterfly farm and an aquarium, which is ideal for those who want the joy of the scuba dive without actually getting in the water.