With its breath-taking beaches, stunning temples and islands to explore, jungles and mountains to discover and a rich and diverse culture to bask into, Thailand overflows with activities from cooking classes, massages and spiritual retreats to adrenaline-pumping activities like Muay Thai, ziplining and diving. In order to help you make the most out of your visit to Thailand we’ve put together a list of the best things to do in Thailand.
Attend a Wonderfruit Festival
Wonderfruit Festival is a transformative and eco-conscious arts, music and farm-to-table festival. Here people and ideas convene on the fields of the Siam Club in Pattaya for four days each December. This cashless festival showcases musical performances, ethereal art installations, boutique camping, workshops and transformational talks.
Hike, taste wine and horseback ride in Khao Yai National Park
From wildlife safaris (where you can spot elephants, monkeys, hornbills, tigers, bears, gibbons and a million bats) to hiking trails and vineyards, this park has something to offer for oenophiles, adventure-seekers and wildlife-lovers.
Explore Khmer archeological ruins at Phimai Historical Park
Nestled in the little town of Phimai, is one of Thailand’s finest surviving Khmer temple complexes right at its heart. Phimai is the first Khmer monuments to reach if you’re coming back from Bangkok, and also one of the most picturesque. And being located smack in the center of this small and pleasant town, it’s easily the most accessible.
Take a private lesson at Chakrit Muay Thai School
Instead of watching a live Muay Thai fight alongside tourists, get a taste of what it’s like to be a real Thai fighter at Chakrit Muay Thai School. It is beloved by locals and expats. A one-on-one, 60-min session in the country’s national sport is just 800 baht (or $25 US)—a steal compared to what you’d pay in the US. Not to mention, it’s a great way to sweat out those Singhas.
Diving & Snorkeling
The waters of Thailand offer myriad marine life. Nearly all the signature dive sites are in the south, though the Eastern Seaboard has good coral and wreck dives. Some of the best dive sites you should check out are in Surin & Similan Island, Hin Daeng & Hin Muang and Ko Tao.
Hiking & Trekking
Northern Thailand has excellent hiking routes filled with cascading waterfalls, dense jungles, and soaring mountain ranges. Stay overnight with hill tribes or pitch a tent with nature as your only neighbor. Along with treks, guides can arrange cycling, kayaking and rafting excursions. The main jump-off point for treks is in Chiang Mai and there are also some spectacular trekking options in Loei.
Meditation & Spiritual Retreats
Thais often go on spiritual retreats to rejuvenate themselves. You can join them at temples and meditation centers. Phuket Island has several top spots offering retreats aimed at foreigners. It also has several good quality yoga schools.
Ride a Tuktuk
Hop on Thailand’s iconic mode of transportation called tuktuk and bask in the spectacular view of the bustling heritage streets of the old city, past famous landmarks, and infamous roads of Bangkok like a fast-forward movie screen. Throughout the tour, you will see glorious temples lit up brightly in the dark, enjoy the delights of some of Bangkok’s most delicious street food, and gain more insight as the guide will also tell you stories about local life and culture. Protip: Always set a price before hopping in.
Disembark & explore floating markets
Bangkok’s colorful floating markets are familiar to many through the ubiquitous photos in tourist guides and travel books. The floating market boats are piled high with tropical fruit and vegetables, fresh, ready-to-drink coconut juice and local food cooked from floating kitchens located right on the boat. To enjoy the atmosphere without haggling over prices, try relaxing on a guided boat tour of Damnoen Saduak market. Other floating markets to visit are Taling Chan Market, Bang Ku Wiang Market, Tha Kha, and Damnoen Saduak.
See Thailand’s world-class Philharmonic Orchestra
Heading into its 14th season, this world-class orchestra performs more than 70 concerts a year in the stunning Prince Mahidol Hall. It’s one of Asia’s most advanced concert halls, designed to look like a Kan-phai flower, the symbol of Mahidol University. The venue often hosts international-renowned symphony orchestras as well.
Explore the historic port city of Nakhon Si Thammarat
With one of the most significant temples in the kingdom, the historic city of Nakhon Si Thammarat is a natural and rewarding stop between Yai and Surat Thani. Hundreds of years ago, an overland route between the western port of Trang and the eastern port of Nakhon Si Thammarat functioned as a major trade link between Thailand and the rest of the world. This ancient influx of cosmopolitan conceits is still evident today in the local cuisine, and housed in the city temples and museums.
Visit the Grand Palace
If there is one must-see sight in Bangkok, it’s the dazzling, spectacular Grand Palace, undoubtedly the city’s most famous landmark. For 150 years the palace was home to the king, his court, and the entire government of Thailand as well as the Royal Mint. With an area of 218,400 sq. meters there is so much to see and do, you will not be disappointed. In 1782 huge walls were built around the palace and offices to make it the attraction it is today, please note that a strict dress code is in place at the palace so you will need to dress in appropriate clothing or entry will be refused.
Be blissfully pounded on a Thai massage
Thai massages are undoubtedly famous all over the world. The style of massage is unique as it stretches your body as well as working on your body’s pressure points. The whole experience will leave you feeling invigorated and balanced. Every small town and city are guaranteed to have many massage parlors and the prices are very cheap compared to what you would pay back home.
Climb the Sathorn Unique Tower
Known colloquially as the Ghost Tower, construction began on Sathorn Unique in 1990. The building was slated to be a luxury condominium like its sister structure, the adjacent State Tower. It incorporates a gaudy hodgepodge of architectural influences, from Roman columns to neoclassical domes. This style was popular in Thailand during this period. In 1997, with an estimated 75% of the tower completed, the Asian crisis reached its peak. Funds disappeared, and construction on the tower was simply halted, leaving it in its partially finished state ever since.
Get soaked during Songkran
Songkran is the traditional Thai New Year. It is celebrated each year in April across the entire country. It runs from the 13th to the 15th. Water is traditionally sprinkled throughout the festival as it is believed it will wash away your bad luck and sins. Nowadays huge water fights tend to break out bringing entire cities to a standstill, with many businesses closing for the entire duration. Where ever you are in the country during this time of the year prepare for a soaking as there is no escaping the party.
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