Edited by: Bhawna Nijhawan
Summary: With so many options to explore in Thailand, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. To make the most of your trip, prioritize the activities that interest you most and include them in your itinerary. Listed below are some of the best things to do in Thailand.
Have you ever come across breathtaking photos of Thailand? The beautiful islands, the mesmerizing beaches, the serene temples, the lush green national parks; it’s not surprising that so many people want to go there. But once you’re there, you might be wondering what to do. Well, Thailand has got you covered with a bunch of unique experiences for all types of travelers. If you’re a thrill-seeker, you can try hiking. Looking for some spiritual enlightenment? Take a temple tour or visit a historic spot. Foodies will love the cooking classes and night markets, while beach lovers can explore scuba diving and sea kayaking opportunities. Here are some of the best things to do in Thailand.
1. Go Island-Hopping
Thailand is home to some of the most beautiful islands, including Phuket, Koh Phi Phi, and Krabi. These islands have stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and plenty of opportunities for activities such as snorkeling, diving, and hiking. Keep in mind that the best time to go island hopping in the Andaman Sea is during the dry season, which is from November to April. My personal favorite island is Phuket, it is the largest island and offers a mix of lively entertainment, cultural attractions, and pristine beaches.
My Recommendations: Phuket, Koh Phi Phi
2. Try Thai Cuisine
If you are in Thailand, you’ve got to discover the exquisite taste of Thai cuisine during your trip. Don’t miss out on trying some of the most popular dishes such as Pad Thai, a flavorful noodle stir-fry with a tangy twist of tamarind and lime. Savor the rich and spicy Green Curry, a creamy coconut-based dish with a perfect blend of herbs and chilies. And for a refreshing delight, treat yourself to the sweet, sour, and spicy flavors of Som Tum, a green papaya salad.
My Recommendations: Pad Thai, Som Tum
3. Trek in Northern Thailand
If you’re an adventurous soul just like me, Northern Thailand’s picturesque landscapes, mountains, and hill tribe villages are a must-visit. From Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai, you can embark on trekking excursions that take you deep into the heart of nature. Trained guides will lead you through green jungles, terraced rice fields, and remote villages. You’ll also have the opportunity to engage with various hill tribes, such as the Karen, Hmong, and Lisu, to gain insights into their unique cultures and traditional ways of life. Many trekking tour companies offer multi-day adventures, allowing you to immerse yourself in the region’s natural beauty and cultural richness.
My Recommendations: Chiang Mai, Doi Inthanon
4. Go Diving and Snorkeling
Exploring the underwater world in Thailand is an absolute must-do activity, and diving and snorkeling are two of the best ways to do it. If you’re interested in diving, Koh Tao in the Gulf of Thailand is the perfect destination for you. You can find affordable certified diving courses there, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced diver. Once you dive into the crystal-clear waters, you’ll discover a colorful world of coral reefs filled with vibrant tropical fish, turtles, and even whale sharks. If you prefer snorkeling, you can enjoy stunning underwater views just a short swim away from the shore of different islands.
My Recommendations: Koh Tao, Koh Lipe
5. Experience Thai Festivals
If you have a love for Thai culture and traditions just like me, attending their festivals is a fantastic experience that will stay with you for a long time. One of the most popular festivals is Songkran, the Thai New Year, which takes place in mid-April. The celebration involves a fun and lively water fight and cleansing ceremony, symbolizing the purification of the past year. You can join in with the locals, who joyfully splash water on each other in hopes of welcoming a prosperous new year. Another festival not to be missed is Loy Krathong, also known as the “Festival of Lights,” held in November.
My Recommendations: Songkran, Festival of Lights
6. Relax with Thai Massages
When traveling to Thailand, the best thing to do is get a traditional Thai massage. You’ll find several spas and massage parlors all over the country, offering an array of therapies to help you unwind your mind and body. Try experiencing an authentic Thai massage, which combines acupressure and stretching techniques to soothe your muscles, enhance your flexibility, and improve your overall sense of well-being. It will indeed be a revitalizing experience that will leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
My Recommendations: The Oasis Spa, Dahra Beauty & Spa
7. Visit the Floating Markets
Thailand has two main floating markets: Damnoen Saduak Floating Market and Amphawa Floating Market. Both floating markets are great places to buy traditional Thai items. You can buy souvenirs, handicrafts, spices, and food from the vendors who sell their items from boats. The vendors at the floating markets are used to bargaining, so don’t be afraid to haggle over the price of your purchases. Also, the best time to visit a floating market is early in the morning, This is when the market is at its most lively and you can get the best deals.
My Recommendations: Damnoen Saduak, Amphawa
8. Enjoy the Nightlife
Thailand’s nightlife promises an unforgettable experience for all-night owls. It is a country that never sleeps, and there are plenty of places to party all night long. Some of the most popular areas for nightlife in Bangkok include Khao San Road, Soi Cowboy, and Nana Plaza. Pattaya is another city that is famous for its nightlife. The main nightlife area in Pattaya is Walking Street, which is packed with bars, clubs, and go-go bars, however, keep in mind that it has some shady areas, which may not be suitable for a family trip.
My Recommendations: Sukhumvit, Soi Bangla Road
9. Visit the Grand Palace in Bangkok
The Grand Palace is the former home of the Thai royal family and is located in the heart of Bangkok. It is one of Thailand’s most popular tourist attractions, and it is open to the public for tours. If you are planning a trip to Thailand, I highly recommend paying a visit to this particular destination. The palace is home to several beautiful temples, including Wat Phra Kaew, which has the famous Emerald Buddha statue. Wat Pho is also located in the Grand Palace complex and is home to one of the largest Buddha images in Thailand.
My Recommendations: The Temple of the Emerald Buddha, Phra Siratana Chedi
10. Explore the ancient city of Ayutthaya
Another best thing to do especially if you’re interested in Thai history is a visit to Ayutthaya. This former capital of Thailand is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and its ruins are fascinating. Don’t forget to explore Wat Mahathat, where the iconic Buddha’s head entwined in tree roots makes for a mesmerizing sight. I suggest renting a bicycle or hiring a local guide to explore different archaeological sites and learn about the fascinating tales of Ayutthaya’s history.
My Recommendations: Wat Mahathat, Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon
Also Read :- Best Tourist Places to Visit in Thailand
Things Not to Do in Thailand
Based on my personal experience of visiting Thailand three times, I have compiled a list of things you shouldn’t do there.
1. Don’t ride elephants: Chained to poles, elephants used for tourism in Thailand are abused. To witness elephants in their natural habitat, visit an elephant sanctuary instead of riding them.
2. Avoid selfies with tigers: There are dozens of places that let tourists pose with tigers. For this reason, they are kept in cages in an unnatural environment.
3. Don’t disregard dress codes: Shorts, skirts, and tank tops are considered too revealing if you are visiting temples & other religious sites, so it is best to dress appropriately.
4. Avoid visiting Pattaya: Pattaya is a popular tourist spot, but it is known for its shady nightlife. If you are looking for a family-friendly vacation, Pattaya may not be the best place for you.
5. Don’t go to Mae Sai: Mae Sai is not a safe place to visit, and there have been reports of crime and violence in the area.
6. Don’t disrespect Thai laws: Abiding by the laws of the country is crucial. Specific actions, such as drug possession, can lead to severe penalties, including lengthy prison sentences.
What things are unique to Thailand?
Several things make Thailand genuinely unique and worth exploring. One of the most striking aspects of Thailand is its magnificent temples, also known as “wats”. Another unique thing about Thailand is its traditional festivals. Thai people love to celebrate and there are numerous festivals held throughout the year. Besides this, the country is renowned for its rich culture, vibrant beaches, stunning landscapes, and delicious cuisine.
What is Thailand famous for?
The country’s beautiful beaches and islands are the primary reason why Thailand is so famous. With its crystal-clear turquoise waters, white sands, and tropical landscapes, Thailand is a paradise for beach lovers. From Phuket and Krabi to Phi Phi Islands and Koh Samui, there are endless options to relax, soak up the sun, and indulge in water activities such as snorkeling, diving, etc.
What things are cheaper in Thailand than in India?
There are many things that are generally cheaper in Thailand than in India. The country is renowned for its bustling markets, such as the Chatuchak Weekend Market in Bangkok or the Night Bazaar in Chiang Mai. Here, you can find a wide range of products cheaper than in India, including clothing, accessories, jewelry, handicrafts, and souvenirs.