Thailand is an incredibly popular destination of vibrant cities, ancient Buddhist temples and stunning beaches. Whatever you’re searching for, you’ll find it in this land of plenty. Thailand is the most visited country of Southeast Asia, packed full of cultural and natural attractions and here are ten must-see sights in this exotic paradise:
1. Phanom Rung
A truly mystical experience awaits you on this extinct volcano as it’s the home of a Hindu shrine of incredible beauty. Sitting not far from the village of Nang Rong, the shrine was constructed back between the 10th and 13th centuries by the Khmer people. The temple is a dedication to Shiva, one of the Hindu Gods. It was built in such a way that four times a way the rays of the sun shine directly through all the doors of the shrine. These moments are celebrated with festivals which are a sight to behold and a wonderful mix of ancient custom and modern technology.
2. Khao Sok National Park
A beautiful mix of landscapes will greet you at one of Thailand’s most spectacular reserves. You’ll discover dense jungle, rivers, limestone cliffs and some amazing wildlife including elephants, bears, gibbons, deer and wild boar. A trek through this national park will take your breath away as you come across stunning waterfalls, fascinating animals, take a dip in a pool to cool down and take photos from the very best locations.
Of course, no trip to Thailand would be complete with a visit to the bustling capital city. An eclectic mix of ancient temples and glorious palaces rubbing shoulders with high-rises and hotels. The city is humming with activity from the yellow tuk-tuks buzzing around to the crowded street markets and incredible food vendors. Yes, it’s busy and has its seedy parts but it’s also a fascinating cultural experience and the famous Khao San Road is a must for great shopping and clubbing. Step away from the heat and noise with a visit to the Wat Phra Kaew temple, where the Emerald Buddha sits.
You won’t get much more of an authentic Thai experience than you will in Phuket. Beautiful blue lagoons, monks in saffron-colored robes, tuk-tuks and long-tailed boat transportation make this a perfect location for your Thai adventure. The beaches here are very popular for snorkelling, diving and wind surfing but if you prefer life on land then the forests and mountains inland await your exploration.
5. Krabi Town
This town is the gateway to the Krabi region where you’ll find jungles, sheer cliff faces and the most stunning islands floating in the warm turquoise waters. Tiger Cave is the main attraction of the town, with shrines built into the caves chambers. Visit the Riverside Pier for some of the best diving in the country and boats to locations where you can go rock climbing or exploring to find the paradise beach of your dreams.
6. Ayutthaya Historical Park
This UNESCO World Heritage Site sits just a one-hour drive outside Bangkok and was the capital of Thailand between 1350 and 1767, when the Burmese burned the city to the ground. Statues and shrines were destroyed but those that survived were buried for hundreds of years before being unearthed as an archaeological wonder. There are some incredible buildings that visitors can wander round including a monastery, temples and the iconic overgrown head of Buddha.
7. Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
Want some retail therapy with a difference? Local markets are a huge part of Thai culture and experiencing a market from a traditional long boat is a fun and unique way to enjoy some shopping. Set off early and enjoy breakfast from the boat with vendors selling delicious coconut pancakes and noodle bowls. Sit back and relax while your boat captain rows you along the watery marketplace.
8. Chiang Mai Elephant Park
Anyone interested in animal conservation will love this eco-tour. The park is a rescue and rehabilitation center for Asian elephants who have been abused, injured or are elderly. The 30-strong herd of resident elephants wander freely while visitors learn about the problems these animals face from logging and street begging. Memories to treasure and the satisfaction that all proceeds go to caring for these beautiful creatures, make a visit here an absolute must.
9. Long Neck Hill Villages
The tribes of the hill villages have some unique customs including the women of the Karen Long Neck Tribe who wear brass coils around their necks to lengthen them. The coils can weigh upwards of 30 pounds and give their necks an elongated appearance. Visitors are welcome to come and meet the tribe, take photos and buy some of their handmade crafts.
10. Lopburi Monkey Temples
Here you’ll discover ancient ruins and lots of cheeky monkeys! This Thai town has been taken over by these feisty macaques, they are literally everywhere. The best advice is to not carry food or you will be robbed as these monkeys have become experts at snatching from unwary tourists. It is definitely a sight to behold and you’ll get some great photos.