Thailand’s an extraordinary country settled at the center of Southeast Asia. Nearly 70 million people live there permanently and 40 million people visit tour Thailand every year! Travel agents know the country’s famous for its rich history, colorful temples, and bustling market streets—but do you know the best travel spots in Thailand’s 76 administrative provinces? Read on to discover notable cities, monuments, activities, restaurants, and tours for your next vacation!
Sightseeing in Thailand
Wat Phra Kaew (Bangkok)
The Grand Palace is a remarkable work of architecture dating back to the 1700s (Chakri Dynasty). As you approach the palace, beautiful shades of red, blue, and gold glisten off temple carvings and Buddha statues. Inside the complex, you can tour numerous government offices, pavilions, temples, gardens, and courtyards. The most notable attraction is the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, which houses a life-sized jade sculpture of Buddha meditating. According to legend, kingdoms used to fight over claim to the statue because it promised prosperity and good fortune to its host country.
Wat Mahathat (Ayutthaya)
Visit the Temple of the Great Relic to admire the beauty of ancient red stone architecture contrasting with Thailand’s verdant hills. The Buddhist temples, called stupa, were built in the early 13th century and are still standing today. However, nature has slowly reclaimed the abandoned town by wrapping many of its structures in Bodhi trees. The most popular site for a picture is beside the minor chapels of Wat Maha That, where Bodhi trees have overtaken everything but the head of a sandstone Buddha.
Wat Rong Khun (Chiang Rai)
When visiting Thailand, we always recommend touring The White Temple—a privately owned art exhibit done in the style of a Buddhist temple. Chalermchai Kositpipat, a famous Thai visual artist, has been rebuilding and adding to the original old temple with pieces of glass mixed into white plaster. The materials have both symbolic and practical meanings that compliment the intricate exterior detail. The construction is still ongoing today, and isn’t expected to be completed until 2070!
Mueang Boran (Bangkok)
Ancient City is another museum park that’ll completely immerse you in Thai culture. Over 100 historical monuments and architectural attractions from their history were rebuilt for educational purposes. The park was designed in the shape of Thailand, with monuments placed in their real geographic locations! The reproductions include the Old Grand Palace of Ayutthaya (destroyed in the Burmese war of 1767), the Old Market Town (inspired by the residential quarters in the Tak Province), and the Pavilion of the Enlightened (based on the “Golden Land” in Buddhist texts).
Activities in Thailand
Chatuchak Market (Bangkok)
Stuffed with over 15,000 stalls and 11,000 vendors, Chatuchak Weekend Market is certainly the largest in the world. Everything is sold here: plants, antiques, electronics, cosmetics, pets, food and drinks, ceramics, furniture and home accessories, clothing, and books. You can take advantage of the discounted prices or try bartering with the merchants! Jaya recommends booking an experienced guide to transport you to the market, help communicate with the vendors, and give you an authentic Thai experience.
Sirikit Park (Bangkok)
Established in 1992 to celebrate the Queen of Thailand, Sirikit Park contains more than enough activities to fill your itinerary. The gardens hold hundreds of unique plant species, nature trails, and water features. The Glasshouse Complex Collection features 4 conservatories and 8 glasshouses with themed plant collections. Don’t miss walking through the Limestone House to see rare and unusual plants that aren’t displayed anywhere else in the world! If you’re looking for adventure, then walk along the canopy and fuel up at the café before hitting the road.
Doi Inthanon (Chiang Rai)
The Doi Inthanon National Park covers 482 sq km (180 sq mi) and includes the Himalayan Mountains, multiple waterfalls, and tons of hiking trails. From the treetops, the highest concentration of bird species in Thailand (400 species) sing in unison. The highest elevation is 8,415 ft (2,500 m), making it the perfect spot to experience the lush jungle. On a private tour, you can enter the Karen and Meo Hmong villages where local indigenous people will share their traditions and history!
Experiences in Thailand
Loi Krathong Festival
To make a special memory that lasts a lifetime, attend Thailand’s “Festival of Lights.” For almost 1,000 years, the festival has been celebrated near major rivers to give thanks and pay respect to the Goddess of Water (Pra Mae Khongkha) and Buddha. People gather around the water to release kathrongs, perform traditional dances, watch parades, and crown the winner of the Miss Noppamas Beauty Contest. We recommend celebrating in the original festival location, Sukhothai, because their festivities continue for 5 days!
Sak Yant Tattoo
If you’re feeling brave, then spend your souvenir change on a Sak Yant tattoo! The tattoos feature sacred elements of geometry, mythology, animals, and deities derived directly from Thai Buddhism. You might even recognize the ink on Hollywood icons like Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. The pictures are almost always accompanied by sacred texts that the Ajarn, a master of Sak Yant, blesses especially for the traveler. Sak Yant Thai Tattoo in Bangkok has two of the best Sak Yant Masters in Thailand — Ajarn Sak and Ajarn Noo.
Eating in Thailand
Thailand has a unique blend of cuisine that varies depending on the region and person cooking it. Most dishes in Thailand feature jasmine rice; the various methods of cooking it can make or break the meal. Soup is an extremely popular dish as well, and one of the best recipes is a creamy coconut curry noodle soup called khao soi. Street vendors everywhere make Kanom Krok, a savory pastry cup filled with a sweet coconut custard. For a bite of something refreshing look for kao niew ma muang, sticky rice drizzled with coconut milk and topped with fresh mango.
The tallest bar in the world, Sky Bar @ Lebua, is located 820 ft (250 m) above the city of Bangkok. Once the sun sets, head to the rooftop to order cocktails and delicious small plates! Bubbling on the stove of Wattana Panich is a soup over 45 years old. Every morning the owners add fresh water and ingredients to maintain the soup’s flavor and freshness. If you like street food with a creative twist, then try the internet-famous Solar Chicken in Tambon Chong Sakae. The owner focuses the power of the sun through 1,000 mirrors, and in 12 minutes the chicken is cooked to perfection using solar power!
Let’s Go Tour Thailand!
To help plan your trip to Thailand, Jaya compiled a list of our favorite attractions and activities to add to your itinerary! There’s no shortage of intricate temples, archaeological sites, shopping markets, and nature trails to explore. The Thai people have a beautiful culture and love to share their traditions, so don’t let the stress of planning ruin your adventure. Follow our guide to Thailand, and use the Jaya Booking Engine to search for the best airfare, hotels, tours, and transportation!