Thailand is known for the variety it offers. A backpacker? A solo traveller? A Budget traveller? A Party animal? Thailand should be your destination!
This is the most popular tourist destination in South East Asia, and we are not surprised. An adventure seeker can check their adrenaline rush with some forest hiking, snorkelling, paragliding, etc. while a luxury tourist can stay in high-end cities and enjoy various tourist spots. Irrespective of your budget and the expected experience, Thailand should be on the top of your list in South East Asia.
Things to do in Thailand:
The adventure seeker:
For someone who always likes to satisfy their adrenaline rush, this place has tonnes of activities to offer.
- Scuba diving, paragliding and snorkelling:
Being the home for hundreds of islands, there is abundance of options for water adventures.
The best place for scuba diving would be in Simila Islands, thanks to its crystal-clear waters and majestic sea life.
However, if you are looking for a cheaper option, you can learn scuba diving in Koh Tao. The reefs in this island hold several types of fishes, turtles, rays, and snappers. Other islands that are recommended for scuba diving are Koh Lipe, Koh Phi Phi and Krabi.
Paragliding is another thrilling activity, which is offered in several parts in the southern region of the country. It is important to choose wisely, as it is a popular tourist activity.
The best place for paragliding is Chumpon, Koh Pang. With an altitude of 227 m, you take off in a public area and land in a quiet private area.
The next popular spot is Petchaburi, Koh Dan. This is not for beginners, as the wind direction is unpredictable, and it is windier than the other spots. However, with expert guidance and good control, this 290 m adventure is conquerable.
If you are looking for a more secluded and less crowded place for paragliding, head to Koh Sao with an expert guide. This place has unpredictable winds, but the private experience gathers adventure junkies quite easily.
Not heading to the islands? Worry not! Pattaya offers a wide range of paragliding options for beginners.
Attribution: Coral Island
Koh Tao, also known as the Turtle Island, has two famous spots for snorkelling – Koh Nang Yuan and Aow Leuk Beach.
If you are bored of visiting the same islands, head to the Koh Surin Nuea, which is bordered by the Andaman Sea offering the best dive regions with spectacular sea life. The combination of five islands makes it even more breath-taking.
Maya Bay in Koh Phi Phi is next in line for the best snorkelling experience.
As always, there is a cheaper option in Kata Beach, Phuket for budget travellers.
Other major island attractions include Phuket, Krabi, Koh Samui, Railay Beach, Koh Lanta, Koh Rong, Koh Lipe, etc. which offer other water activities like Kayaking and canoeing.
With several tourists thronging the islands, kayaking helps you explore the less explored areas of the islands. One might end up in a spot surrounded by limestone mountains rising directly from the sea and have a beach or island all to oneself. Though it is advisable to take an expert kayaker along, the experts usually enjoy taking the tourists to less crowded spots, which most of them enjoy.
There are stunning lagoons, which can be reached only by kayaking or via helicopters. Kayaking, obviously being the cheaper choice.
Several tourist packages let you hire an expert guide for a day, making it easier to tackle the tides. Do you think it can’t get better? Well, you are wrong. You are also allowed to set up camps in some of the areas. Take a tent along with you, and stay amidst tall cliffs and sleep to the sound of waves accompanied by thrilling darkness at night.
The northern region is a complete contrast to the southern part of the country. It is filled with luscious and dense forests, paving way for some of the best trails for forest hiking.
Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai are home for some of the best jungle treks in the country. Get lost in the natural trails in Kwe Mae Pan, Chiang Mai.
About 2.5 hours from there is Lampang, also known as Wat Doi. These trails are filled with picturesque views and ancient pagodas and temples, making it unique from any other hike.
Attribution: Chang Mai trekking adventures
If you are staying in the cities, Kanchanaburi near Bangkok offers a stunning hike in Khao Chang Phuek, whose nickname roughly translates to “sharp mountain ridge”. This trail, at the peak, follows the spine of the third tallest mountain in Thailand, offering misty views of the valleys below.
Talking of adventure, there are several magnificent caves in different parts of the country, especially the islands.
While some of them are a part of the different national parks, some of them offer the best hiking experiences. For every region you visit, you will stumble upon at least one beautiful cave waiting to be explored. Some of the must-visit caves are listed below.
- Phraya Nakhon Cave, Khao Sam Roi Yot national park.
The path to this cave is surrounded by beautiful beaches, mountains and even lush forests. This cave is a part of the national park and is open to visitors every day.
- Tham Khao Luang
This cave gained more popularity with the recent rescue of a school football team, which was stuck in the cave due to flooding. Even before the incident, this cave was one of the most visited in the country. This cave was turned into a temple by King Rama V in honour of his predecessors.
- Phi Hua To Cave
This cave is a must-visit if you head to Krabi. This was a burial site over 3000 years ago, and that’s why it is locally nicknamed as “the big-headed ghost cave”. This is a short distance from Than Bok Khorani national park. It is filled with limestones and is decorated with amazing prehistoric paintings.
- Tham Chiang Dao.
Are you heading to the north, and looking for caves? Head to this cave in Chiang Mai, which is best explored by foot. Hiking into this cave leads you to hundreds of ancient temples and shrines. Hiking and temples represent the northern Thailand, and what better than finding them in caves?
- Viking cave.
This cave is less crowded and isolated in the island of Krabi, which has a unique feature. It carries nests of a unique bird, which is used in Chinese soups. To head to this island, take a boat and they will take you up and close to enjoy the rare Viking paintings inside the cave.
The animal lover
For someone who likes being among animals, Thailand offers various volunteering opportunities in the elephant reserves and the tiger reserves. Some elephant reserves are known for abusing animals. So, it is advisable to approach the ones that are animal friendly.
The most popular one is the Elephant Conservation Centre, which is near Chiang Mai. This place is also open for visitors, who are charged for visiting on a day basis.
The Sriracha Tiger Zoo is home for tigers in the country, although this place does not have any volunteering services currently.
The History Lover
The country is rich in History and historical places.
The villages of Ayutthaya and Kanchanaburi are the most notable ones.
Ayutthaya is an ancient village, which is just two hours from the city, was once the capital in 1350 and was a major trading port until the 18th century. Several school children from all over the country visit this place to learn the history of the village and the history between Myanmar and Thailand. The Ayutthaya Historical Park has ruins from the rich history the village carries.
The elephant reserves in Chiang Mai are the most popular in Thailand. However, the ones in Kanchanaburi are less crowded and offer a lot to the tourists who visit Bangkok. A short ride away from the city, this place also serves as a day trip from Bangkok. There is also an interesting railway tour for a day, which also stops at places of historical importance, including River Kwai. This place has more than what meets the eyes. It carries a dark history from the Second World War in the hands of the Japanese.
The luxury traveller
Thailand also offers luxury experiences for people who prefer such an experience. The high-end hotels in Bangkok and Pattaya will be your money’s worth with delicious Thai food and relaxing spas. Thai spas are world renowned, and what better than experiencing them in Thailand itself?
Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, offers some of the best tourist experiences in the world. With hotels ranging from the cheapest service apartments to star hotels, the hospitality remains the same. The following are some of the activities to do in Bangkok.
Take a long boat in the floating market.
Known for its food, Bangkok’s floating market is world famous. These markets appeal more to the tourists than the locals. However, one can buy all tropical fruits and vegetables, and even enjoy some fresh street food made right near you in boats. Fresh coconut water to quench the thirst, buying food at cheap rates, and enjoying the local cuisine…if these don’t make your day, we don’t know what will.
Visit the Grand Palace.
No visit to Bangkok is complete without visiting the Grand Palace. This was once a royal household, which was in use till the twentieth century. This complex also holds the Emerald Buddha Temple, which has a statue of Buddha made of emerald, dating back to the 14th century.
The architecture and finesse of the buildings and complexes inside tell us a lot about Thai architecture and their eye for details.
This is the “temple of dawn”. It’s unlike any other temple you will find in the country. It is located on the banks of a river, and its architecture is different from other temples in Thailand. The picturesque view of the river makes it a stunning place to spend time.
Take a tuk tuk ride
Travelling inside the city is made easier with tuk tuk rides. These are small rides that take you from one spot to another for the cheapest rates. Public transport in major cities, especially Bangkok, rely majorly on tuk tuks. Such a local cultural experience is hard to come by in any other tourist destination.
If you are not heading to the islands, but still want to enjoy what they offer, Pattaya should be your go-to place. This city is close to Bangkok and is home to several beaches. They are constantly brimming with tourists, making Pattaya one of the most happening cities in the world. Water sports, nightlife, walking streets…you name it, you have it!
With several countries and hotels abroad trying to adapt traditional Thai cuisine, this country is known for its mouth-watering dishes.
Fancy a cooking experience? We got you covered! Cooking classes are offered throughout the country, and the best ones are in Bangkok and Chiang Mai.
Try courses varying from a day to a complete cooking course at the Chiang Mai Kitchen Cooking School.
The budget traveller
Thailand has several hostel options, which let you survive on a meagre $25 to $30 per day, including accommodation, sight-seeing, and meals. Backpackers and travellers on a tight budget can make use of this and survive for a long time in Thailand.
Most of the hostels include breakfast in their costs. It is important to look for one such place to save money on breakfast throughout the stay.
Indulging in free and non-expensive activities also help if you are on a shoestring budget. Places like temples, beaches, national parks, hiking, etc. are some of the best exercises to save some bucks. This is also another way to embrace the natural beauty that Thailand carries.
Eating local cuisine can cost a lot lesser than indulging in western cuisine. Even better, if your hostel permits, head to the local markets and buy local produce and cook for yourself.
Researching much ahead and booking trains and flights in advance cut your expenses drastically. Trains are best booked in advance, as they fill up quickly and get expensive as the date of travel gets closer. Take the local public transports to travel within the local regions.
Motorcycling through the northern Thailand is a scenic beauty reserved for all the motorcyclists. The heavenly routes carry the essence of the entire country providing the motorcyclists with a never-before experience.
The party lover
There is nothing like the famous Full Moon Party in Thailand. With abundance of drinking, dancing, and legal drugs, this time is like a giant festival. Each bar has blaring music with party animals having glow in the dark face paints, the perfect fit for Full Moon Parties. The cities are filled with such spots.
The best time of the year to visit Thailand is November to February. The country is unbelievably safe for any kind of traveller. So, leave out all your concerns and visit this country for once-in-a-lifetime experience.