Best places to see Thailand in 2023
Table of Contents
Are you ready for the ultimate list of the best places to see in Thailand? I had to create this itinerary as this amazing country is one of the best places to visit in the world right now. Thailand is one of the best backpacking destinations in the world and also, family holidays to Thailand are becoming more and more popular. Not to mention it’s one of the cheapest and best honeymoon destinations in the world.
Best time to visit Thailand?
You obviously want the best time to visit Thailand when the weathers hot and the sun is shining. So, there are three main season Thailand;
- Wet season – this is June -October
- Mild season – November – February
- Hot season – March – May
Low season in Thailand is March to June, September and October. This is when the notorious Thailand monsoons start. This is inevitable but you can risk the weather if you want the lower prices of things to do in Thailand. And, this is when holidays in Thailand are at there cheapest. Also, this is when there will be less tourists.
The high season in Thailand is generally November to February, July and August. This is when the prices of attractions, transport and accommodation in Thailand gets more expensive.
Best way to get to Thailand?
There are 3 major international airports in Thailand; Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket. These are the most popular drop-off points and are the best places to start any backpacking itinerary for Thailand.
Once you arrive at any of these airports, there is plenty of transports routes to take you to anywhere in Thailand. The transport system in Thailand makes it one of the best countries in Asia for getting around. This is why it’s one of the easiest and best backpacking destinations in the world.
List of the best places to see in Thailand
Khao Sok National Park
The absolutely amazing Khao Sok National park is by far one of the best things to see and do in Thailand. A true hidden gem and should be on any traveller’s Thailand itinerary. This national park in Surat Thani is home to a breathtaking rainforest, limestone cliffs, a lake and some amazing wildlife. Khao Sok actually connects two other national parks – Kaeng Krung and Phang-Nga.
A visit to Khao Sok national park will give you the chance of seeing wild elephants, leopards, monkeys and many other species of wildlife. Awesome for some photography.
The Khao Sok floating bungalows are usually on a tourist’s Thailand itinerary if they visit this part of the country. The floating bungalows are in an amazing part of the national park. However, I think they’re overpriced and you should just do a day tour of Khao Sok.
When to visit Khao Sok National Park?
You should visit here in the Thailand dry season (December – May/June). It will be more enjoyable and the trails will be more accessible.
The Mekong River is one of the world’s most popular rivers. This 2790 mile stretch of river passes through 6 countries in Asia including Thailand, Laos and China. Then eventually finishing into the South China Sea.
This amazing river is a very popular water transportation route. One of the popular routes is the Loas to Thailand boat journey (I did this) and the same journey but the other way round. This 2 day journey is very popular amongst backpackers and is a great inexpensive way to travel between Laos and Thailand.
I’ve not met anyone yet that’s done the full distance of the Mekong river. Send me a message if you have and share the experience with me!
Chiang Mai is one of the quirkiest tourist destinations to visit in Thailand. It’s a popular overnight stay place between the different locations in Thailand.
The awesome Ao Phang-nga is most famous for its typical Thai limestone cliffs. One being the “James Bond Island” which featured in the hit move man with the golden gun. Now tourists travel from all over the world to see this popular tourist attraction in Thailand.
You should do a boat tour around Ao Phang-nga to explore the true beauty of this awesome place to visit in Thailand. You can either hire more luxury boat or if you want to do it cheaper, you can do a long-tail boat tour around Ao Phang-nga.
Moreover, you can do some top kayaking in Ao Phang-nga and you can explore some amazing caves in the kayaks. There is even caves that require you to layback in your kayak to enter them.
Prasat Phanom Rung
This top tourist point in Thailand presents itself as a unique architectural temple. The Prasat Phanom Rung was built between the 10th and 13th century (old school). Also, temples of this age are usually heavily corroded, however this the best preserved Khmer monument that is outside of Thailand’s neighbouring country – Cambodia.
If you’re into archeological historic sites, then this is the place for you! Even if you’re not, you will be totally impressed by the workmanship that has gone into the Prasat Phanom Rung.
If you’re looking for cheap places to see in Thailand then you will really enjoy seeing this amazing historic site!
Best time to visit Prasat Phanom Rung?
It’s opened from 6am – 6pm so it gives you plenty of time to visit. I like to see popular places like this in the morning. Obviously to avoid the crowds. If you get there for 8am you should have a better experience. Plus, you don’t want 100s of other tourists in your photos.
Bangkok and the Grand Palace of Thailand
Bangkok is the most visited city in the world and one of the places in Thailand that attracts the tourists. I’m not the biggest fan of Bangkok, but you may like it.
The amazing Grand Palace is usually on a travellers Thailand itinerary and is one of the most popular things to do in Bangkok. The Palace and monuments on Ratanakosin island really do make for some cool photography.
- You can expect brilliant architecture that includes;
- Mosaic styled spires
And many other internationally styled architecture that dates back to over 200 years
The most popular places to see at the Grand Palace is probably the Wat Phra Kaeo known as “The temple of Emerald Budhha”.
There is a couple of things to know about the Grand Palace in Thailand, such as; photography is forbidden in certain places, suitable clothing must be worn and it’s not one of the cheapest things to do in Bangkok.
When to visit the Grand Palace?
It’s opened daily from 8am – 3:30pm.
Similan islands beaches, snorkeling and diving
Absolutely amazing! The Similan islands are know to some Thai locals as the best snorkelling and diving location in Thailand. If you visit here you can expect to be greeted by crystal clear water, picturesque coral reef and unbelievably clean beaches (perfect for the Instagram).
People travel from all corners of the globe to dive and snorkel with the marine life that can be soon around the Similan islands. And, if you’re lucky enough to get in the water here, you may have the chance to see;
- Whale sharks
- Manta rays
- And many more
If you’re looking where to stay near the Similan Islands? Then you can stay at either Ko Miang or on Ko Similan.
When is the best time to visit the Similan islands?
If you want to do the diving and snorkelling tours on Similan islands then the best time to visit is between December and May. This is when the water is at its clearest.
The best way to get here is to do a boat tour from Phuket the Similan islands. There is regular boat tours from Phuket so you will find one to fit around your Phuket itinerary.
Sukhothai Historical Park
This is another awesome destination in Thailand that takes you on a journey through historical ruins. The Sukhothai Historical Parks is gone to around 21 structures that date back 100’s it years. This is one for travellers who want unique things to see in Thailand.
You will have the chance to see the awesome Wat Mahathat temple and some 200 Buddha images around the ruins. You will get a sense of Angkor Wat temples in Cambodia when walking around the Sukhothai Historical Park.
It is known that this historic site is the original home to Thailand’s Loy Krathong Festival. If you haven’t heard of this cool festival in Thailand, it’s when candles are lit and sent down a river. In memory of the goddess of waterways (Mae Konga).
So, as you can see from this description, this place has some really cool history to check out.
When to visit the Sukhothai Historical Park?
It’s open every day from around 8am – 5pm.
Wat Phra That Lampang Luang
Another awesome one of the best places to visit in Thailand! The Wat Phra That Lampang Luang is s regarded as one of the most prestigious temples in Thailand by the local people. If you’re looking to discover tru Thai culture, then you should head to this awesome temple.
This is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world and one that’s usually on a traveller’s Thailand itinerary. Phuket was on my Thailand bucket list and will most likely be on yours if you’re reading this post on the best places to visit in Thailand.
Phuket has many amazing hotels, restaurants, things to do and this is why it has become a favourite destination for both travelers and general holidaymakers. The list of best things to do in Phuket is endless and you could never get bored here. Also, Phuket is a popular starting point (or ending point) for any backpacking itinerary in Thailand. The Phuket airport makes it easy accessible for your from any country in the world.
If you’re staying in Phuket you should try and check out the Sea Gypsy Village. It’s a cool local destination on the Ko Sire island. Also, you can do the James Bond Island tour and the ethical Jungle elephant sanctuary tour from Phuket. Both of these are amazing tours.
Phi Phi Island
The true definition of Thailand. No holiday, trip or Thailand backpacking itinerary is complete without visiting the awesome Phi Phi island. This is hands down one of the best places to visit in Thailand and probably one of the best islands in the world.
There’s also dream Places to stay on Phi Phi such as the Phi Phi island village beach resort. Perfect for any honeymoon vacation to Thailand.
Best way to get to Phi Phi?
The two most popular routes are Krabi to Phi Phi and Phuket to Phi Phi. You can do both of these trips by fast boat or a regular public boat.
This is one of Thailand’s most famous islands and the reason being – The Famous Thailand full moon party. A music festival that’s awesome, but has a bad reputation. Ko Phangan doesn’t receive the greatest press coverage amongst the travel world. Known for drug-fuelled parties, many tourists skip this amazing island in Thailand. However, these negative beliefs are completely wrong!
Ko Phangan is an amazing island and the Ko Phangan beaches are some of the best you will see in Thailand. Also, some of the accommodation on Ko Phangan is good enough for any honeymoon holiday to Thailand.
How to get to Ko Phangan?
A lot of tourists start their journey from Bangkok or Phuket to Ko Phangan. Or you can just start your journey from Surat Thani to here. There’s also a 30-minute ferry ride from Koh Samui to Ko Phangan.
This is by far one of the most popular holiday destinations in Thailand. And if you’re looking to do a family holiday to Thailand, this may be one of your best places to choose from. The beaches on Koh Samui are perfect for relaxing in the sun whilst the kid’s paddle in the clear water. Or check out Silver beach and the Koh Samui market.
You will also find many things to do on Koh Samui and you will never find yourself bored on this epic island. There’s plenty of snorkelling and diving opportunities, plus you will never have to look far for a bar with a good atmosphere. The nightlife in Koh Samui is good.
How to get to Koh Samui?
The is an airport on Samui so you can get a flight straight to this island. However, there is a popular route from Bangkok To Koh Samui. Also, another popular route is from Phuket to Samui.
Accommodation on Koh Samui is cheap, but the other neighbouring Thai islands are probably cheaper. Nevertheless, it’s still an awesome island to visit.
This is one of the best places in Thailand to visit if you want to get your PADI diving liscence. It’s also one of the cheapest places in the world to get your diving certification. The Koh Tao dive schools are amazing and the teams that teach you are brilliant.
There is many top things to do on Koh Tao besides diving and the beaches on Koh Tao are perfect for relaxing. Also, the snorkeling tours are epic as the marine life around Koh Tao is thriving. This is one of the destinations in Thailand that I really do recommend you visit.
The accommodation on Koh Tao is again really cheap and you can get a bungalow near the beach for less than $20 a night.
If you’re heading towards the south of Thailand then you should visit Krabi town. This is a popular tourist and backpacking destination, however, it’s a popular by-passage route between northern Thailand and Ao Nang (I’m talking about this place next).
Krabi is famous for the hot springs and the awesome Krabi emerald pool. You should definitely try and visit these natural wonders of relaxation. Also, the Krabi night market is one of the best night markets in Thailand. A place for bargain gifts and tasty food.
This is one of the best places in Thailand to visit with a little something for everyone. If you’re backpacking you will love Ao Nang, also, there is a good beach for families making it perfect for a family holiday destination in Thailand.
If you’re staying in Ao Nang one of the number one things to Ao Nang is the 4 island tour. Here you will get see what’s arguably some of Thailand’s best paradise islands. The beaches you will see a worthy for any Instagram account!
Also, you can find amazing accommodation in Ao Nang. This makes it a perfect Thailand honeymoon destination and all for a budget price, compared to somewhere like the Maldives or Mauritius.
The amazing Pai is one of the quirkiest places to visit in Thailand. A rustic village town with lots of personalities and a buzzing atmosphere. Just north of Chiang Mai, many tourists skip this destination in Thailand, however, believe me it’s worth making a trip to Pai. You may have heard stories of drugs in Pai, however this is not the case!
It’s a notoriously bad bus or taxi drive from Chiang Mai to Pai, this is because of the windy roads through the mountains. However, you will be rewarded with an awesome Thai town if you choose to make the trip!
There is plenty of top things to do in Pai such as the hot springs, Pai canyon and the big white Buddha. These are just some of the things Pai has to offer tourists. Also, there is a good nightlife in Pai and you can benefit by staying overnight as the accommodation in Pai is cheap.
Chatuchak weekend market
You must of heard tails of how amazing the Thai markets are. Let me tell you they are, one of the best being Chatuchak weekend market. You can spend hours upon hours routing through over 9,000 stalls.
Moreover, you can find anything on this epic place to see in Thailand such as;
- Cool Thai clothes
- There’s too much to mention
Top tip – Prices of goods on the Thai markets are not the real prices. You have to barter (always) and you can get at least 40% of the price.
When is the Chatuchak weekend (it’s in the name) market open?
You can visit this amazing attraction in Thailand on Saturdays and Sundays from 8am – 6pm.
The amazing Doi Inthanon is located in a stunning national park. If you’re like me and enjoy exploring stunning scenery then this is for you! You will also have the chance to see epic waterfalls and traditional hill-tribe villages. Also, there is two unique pagodas at the summit to honour the kind and queen of Thailand.
This national park was once teaming with wildfire, however, this now changed. But, you may get a glimpse of wildlife. Also, the rainy reason in Thailand doesn’t really matter here, as the Doi Inthanon received rainfall all year long. But it’s not too bad and it’s still a top destination in Thailand to visit.
When to visit the Doi Inthanon?
You can visit here any day if the week. To get here you should get a bus from Chiang Mai to Chom Thong. Then from here, you can get a local songthaew to take you to the summit. This shouldn’t cost more than $5.
There we have it, a list of all the best places to see in Thailand. No Thailand travel itinerary is complete without visiting at least a few of these places that I’ve mentioned.
Thailand is one of the best travel destinations in the world and will remain to be one of the best for many years to come.