Last Updated on October 1, 2022
Estimated reading time: 8 minutes
Updated for 2022 / 2023
Without a doubt, Thailand is one of the most popular tourism destinations in Southeast Asia, Thailand is a country with a fascinating history, a devout Buddhist culture and beautiful scenery that lures travelers from all over the world.
For many cultural travelers it is a land of ancient temples, glittering spires and also beautiful palaces.
Of course, sun-seeking hedonists find it to be a place to rejuvenate on palm-studded beaches that rim idyllic bays and islands. International foodies, on the other hand, celebrate Thailand as a culinary mecca whose restaurants and sidewalk food stands keep them coming back for more.
Bangkok is a huge metropolis replete with traffic and shopping centers worthy of any international capital. On the other hand it contrasts sharply with the rice paddies on the plains, idyllic villages in the mountains and Phuket’s beach-side reggae bars.
But it’s this very diversity that’s makes the country so appealing for so many travelers. These travelers range from international executives unwinding at sybaritic five-star resorts, to backpackers staying at low-cost guesthouses in Bohemian-like Chiang Mai.
Below is a listing of the “Top 10 Places in Thailand” as reported by the Tourism Authority of Thailand.
1. The Top Place: Bangkok
As the political, economic, cultural, culinary, and spiritual capital of Thailand, Bangkok features both old-world charm and modern convenience.
Of course, every Thailand holiday includes a visit to the kingdom’s capital city, Bangkok. The city is known to the locals Krung Thep, “the city of angels.”
While many first-time visitors to Bangkok are overwhelmed by its size, others are overwhelmed by the number of attractions scattered about the city.
Both are the result of more than two centuries of rapid development following the city’s founding in 1782. Today Bangkok is a cosmopolitan, 21st century city of more than ten million inhabitants.
2. Chiang Mai, Another of the Most Popular
Thailand’s “Rose of the North” contains both cultural and natural diversity, a multitude of attractions, and welcoming hospitality. Chiang Mai literally means “new city” and has retained the name despite celebrating its 700th anniversary in 1996.
King Meng Rai the Great, a very religious leader founded many of the city’s temples. He also created the city as the capital of the Lanna Kingdom around the same time as the establishment of the Sukhothai Kingdom.
Chiang Mai became the capital and cultural core of the Lanna Kingdom and the center of Buddhism in northern Thailand. Today, however, it is one of the most popular cities and regions for travelers in Southeast Asia.
3. Phuket, Made Popular by James Bond
When travelers to Thailand talk about sea, sun and sand, Phuket is often the first place that comes to mind.
It was catapulted to international attention by the James Bond movie “The Man with the Golden Gun” back in 1974. Today though, the entire area today boasts many hotels and resorts, which offer all sorts of tourism facilities for travelers.
4. Ayutthaya, One of the Spectacular Top 10 Places in Thailand
Once the most spectacular city on Earth, the ruins of the Kingdom Ayutthaya are now a major tourist attraction. It’s easily accessible from Bangkok by car, train, or boat as either a daytrip or overnight excursion.
Ayutthaya also had diplomatic relations with Louis XIV of France and was courted by Dutch, Portuguese, English, Chinese and Japanese merchants.
Kanchanaburi is a major tourist destination, with a focus on the outdoors due to its magnificent landscape and charming beauty. Only two hours from Bangkok, it is accessible by road or rail from the capital.
It is popular for fishing, rafting, canoeing, mountain biking, bird-watching, star-gazing, golfing and elephant and jungle trekking.
The area boasts several well-known waterfalls, Neolithic caves, national parks, tranquil rivers, virgin forests, and several large reservoirs.
6. Krabi, Once the Lair of Pirates
A province on southern Thailand’s Andaman coast, Krabi is an almost otherworldly region of labyrinthine archipelagos.
It is here where islands seem to erupt vertically out of the sea. In addition, many of its secluded beaches are only accessible by colorfully adorned long tail boats.
Krabi’s myriad of bays and coves have also sheltered pirates, merchants, and sea gypsies for thousands of years. Archaeological evidence indicates that Krabi was originally inhabited as early as 25,000 – 35,000 years ago.
7. Ratchaburi, a Popular Tour From Bangkok
Without a doubt, Ratchaburi’s premier attraction is the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, a destination visited by many tourists who visit Bangkok. Vendors in the market sell their wares by paddling boats along Ratchaburi’s canals.
Every morning, hundreds of boats crowd the market, paddled by women in straw hats.
For a few hundred baht hire your own boat and explore the canals. Shop for everything from vegetables and fruits to freshly-cooked noodles and souvenirs.
8. Popular Chon Buri
Chonburi, Bangkok’s nearest seaside town, is located on the coast of the Gulf of Thailand, 50 miles from the capital.
Because the area boasts abundant natural resources, it is a popular coastal province among Bangkokians who seek a weekend.
Particularly popular is the seaside resort of Pattaya. Chonburi’s smaller, quieter seaside towns, however, are also quite popular with foreigners and Thais alike.
9. Historical Sukhothai, Another of the Top 10 Places in Thailand
Founded in the 13th century, Sukhothai’s name literally means “Dawn of Happiness,” and was the first truly independent Thai Kingdom.
It enjoyed a golden age under King Ramkhamhaeng, who is credited with creating the Thai alphabet.
By all means,see the superb temples and monuments of this great city that have been lovingly restored. Sukhothai Historical Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is popular with travelers, particularly on those occasional nights when the park remains open and the graceful Buddhas are illuminated by lights.
10. Phang nga, Popular With Divers
Phang Nga province is renowned for its beautiful land, spectacular bay, amazing islands and good diving.
Most famous is Phang Nga Bay National Park, a surprisingly beautiful geological wonder filled with islets, sunken caverns, and startling rock formations. Many of the latter rise vertically out of the sea.
The bay is extremely sheltered and ideal for expeditions on sea kayaks. Many travelers use them to explore the many fascinating caverns and islands throughout the bay.
If You Go:
Tourism Authority of Thailand
130 King Street West, Exchange Tower, Suite 620
Toronto, ON M5X 2A2
(164) 7329 1000
E-mail: [email protected]