I’ve spent over a year living and traveling in Thailand, so you could say I know the country well. I’ve explored pretty much every part, and lived in Chiang Mai, Phuket, Krabi and Bangkok as a digital normad. I’ve also made sure to attend the key events, including my 2 favourites: Song Kran and the famous Full Moon Party!
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Below are my 18 best things you must do whilst exploring the beautiful country of Thailand:
Thailand is home to some of the world’s most beautiful islands, and island hopping is a popular activity among tourists. Some of the must-visit islands in Thailand include Phuket, Koh Samui, Koh Phi Phi, and Koh Tao. Each island has its own unique charm, and visitors can enjoy activities such as snorkeling, scuba diving, sunbathing, and exploring local markets and temples.
The ancient city of Ayutthaya was once the capital of Thailand and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can explore the ancient ruins of temples, palaces, and other structures that date back to the 14th century. The city was destroyed in the 18th century, but its ruins remain a testament to the rich cultural heritage of Thailand.
The Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan is a legendary event that takes place on the beach every full moon. You can dance, drink, and enjoy the festivities with travellers from around the world – it’s an absolute must for everyone!
The Grand Palace in Bangkok is a must-see attraction for anyone visiting Thailand. Built in 1782, the palace complex includes the Royal Residence, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, and many other beautiful buildings and gardens. The Grand Palace is a stunning example of traditional Thai design and is not to be missed.
The Erawan Waterfall is a stunning series of seven waterfalls located in Kanchanaburi province. Visitors can trek through the lush jungle to reach the falls and swim in the crystal-clear pools at the base of each tier. The falls are named after the mythical three-headed elephant from Hindu mythology and are one of the most popular natural attractions in western Thailand.
Koh Tao is a small island in the Gulf of Thailand that is famous for its incredible scuba diving opportunities. With clear waters, abundant marine life, and a range of dive sites suitable for all levels, Koh Tao is the perfect destination to do your PADI Open Water Certification.
Songkran Festival is one of the most famous events in Thailand. It marks the Thai New Year and is celebrated in mid-April with water fights, parades, and religious ceremonies. The festival is an excellent opportunity to experience Thai culture and to get soaked with water guns and buckets of water! The biggest celebrations take place in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Phuket, but you can also find smaller events in other parts of the country.
Northern Thailand is home to several ethnic minority groups, also known as hill tribes, who have their own unique cultures and traditions. Visitors can learn about these communities by visiting hill tribe villages and participating in cultural tours. Some of the most well-known hill tribes in Northern Thailand include the Karen, Hmong, and Akha. Visiting these villages is a great way to learn about traditional farming practices, handicrafts, and daily life in these communities.
The Chiang Mai Night Bazaar is a vibrant marketplace that comes alive after dark.. Here, visitors can find a vast array of goods, including clothing, jewellery, handicrafts, and local cuisine. The market is also an excellent place to experience traditional Thai massage and watch street performers. The Chiang Mai Night Bazaar is an essential destination for any visitor to northern Thailand.
Khao Yai National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the largest and most visited national parks in Thailand. The park is home to diverse wildlife, including elephants, tigers, gibbons, and macaques, as well as a variety of bird species. Visitors can explore the park’s lush jungles, trek to scenic waterfalls, and take in the stunning views from mountaintops. The park also offers opportunities for camping, wildlife safaris, and night safaris.
Riding a tuk-tuk in Thailand is a must and a blast. They are more common than taxis and typically cheaper depending on your negotiating skills. Always set a price before hopping in. If it’s your first time in Bangkok, we highly recommend this Bangkok by night tuk-tuk tour. It is my favourite tour in Bangkok. It hit a ton of Bangkok’s attractions and even skipped the line at the #1 Pad Thai place in Bangkok.
Thai massage is a traditional healing practice that has been used for centuries to promote relaxation and wellbeing. Thai massage is known for its unique combination of stretching, acupressure, and deep tissue massage techniques. Visitors can find massage parlors across the country, but some of the best places to get a Thai massage are in Chiang Mai and Bangkok. Whether you’re looking to soothe sore muscles or simply relax and unwind, a Thai massage is a must-try experience in Thailand.
Thai cuisine is known for its bold flavours and fresh ingredients, and taking a cooking class is a great way to learn more about this delicious cuisine. There are many cooking schools across the country that offer classes for both beginners and experienced cooks. In these classes, you will learn how to make popular Thai dishes such as Tom Yum soup, Pad Thai, and green curry. Taking a Thai cooking class is not only a fun activity but also a great way to take home some new culinary skills.
The Elephant Nature Park is a sanctuary for elephants that have been rescued from exploitation in the tourism industry. Visitors can see the elephants in their natural habitat and even help feed them.
Muay Thai, also known as Thai boxing, is the national sport of Thailand and is a traditional martial art that has been practiced for centuries. If you’re a fan of combat sports or simply want to experience a unique cultural activity, watching a Muay Thai fight is a must-do activity in Thailand. There are various stadiums across the country where you can watch professional fights, but some of the most popular are Rajadamnern Stadium and Lumpinee Stadium in Bangkok. In addition to professional fights, you can also attend smaller, local fights in smaller towns and cities.
The Bridge on the River Kwai is a famous landmark in Thailand that has been immortalized in movies and literature. The bridge was part of the Death Railway, a railway line that was built by prisoners of war during World War II. The bridge is located in the town of Kanchanaburi and is now a popular tourist attraction. Visitors can walk across the bridge and learn about the history of the Death Railway at the nearby museum.
The Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is a unique destination where visitors can experience traditional Thai culture. This bustling marketplace is set on a network of canals and features vendors selling fruits, vegetables, souvenirs, and more from their boats. Visitors can also take a boat tour of the canals to see the local way of life and traditional Thai architecture.
Thailand is home to 2 of the best party hostels in the world: Slumber Party and Mad Monkeys, which both do weekly bar crawls across various parts of Thailand, including Bangkok, Koh Tao, Krabi, Chiang Mai and Phuket. They’re a great way of exploring the nightlife whilst meeting lifelong friends.