In my 4 years of travelling around the world, Thailand is one of my most visited countries. I’ve been to the ‘Land of Smiles’ five times now, and each time I experience and discover so much more than my previous trip. There are so many things to do in Thailand, whether you’re an ocean lover, hiking enthusiast or historical/cultural buff, this country will have something for everyone.
Asides from Thailand being on of my favourite countries due to it being close to my heart, it is home to such a diverse range of activities and sights, it’s no surprise it is also called the Land of Smiles. As a result, I’ve put together a list of my favourite things to do in Thailand, to help you plan your own visit in the future.
Best Time Of Year To Visit Thailand
Thailand has a warm tropical climate, thus which ever time of year you visit you should expect a warm humid climate. However, due to this there are two classified seasons: dry season and wet season. The official wet/rainy season is from July till the end of October. However, please do not let that deter you from visiting Thailand during these months. I have been to Thailand most during these month, and although some days it does rain, it’s very brief and only the downpours only last a few minutes. If you want to make the most of your trips weather, then visiting in dry season is advisable, which is between December and April.
How To Get Around Thailand
Thailand is one of the easiest and user friendly countries for getting around. Whether you’re flying, getting a train, bus or boat the one website I always use when booking transport in Thailand is 12Go Asia. I honestly cannot fault this travel planning website. If you want to travel from Bangkok to Koh Phangan? Easy! Chaing Mai to Phuket? Sure thing! Trang to Koh Lipe? You betcha!
I personally hate dealing with street vendors and local ticket offices, as honestly I never know if they are ripping you off. 12Go Asia is perfect as you know you are getting the best rate out there, and there’s no hassle once you’re in the country. Instead you can focus on the real reason why you are exploring and experiencing the top things to do in Thailand!
All you do is type in where you want to travel from and to into the search engine and they give you all the options available, so bus tickets, train tickets and even flight tickets. You will find timetables, up to date prices, duration of the trip, different options for companies and everything else you need to know….Try it below!
Awesome Things To Do In Thailand
Grand Palace, Bangkok
A visit to Bangkok isn’t complete without visiting the famous Grand Palace. You simply cannot move onto another area in Thailand until you have taken the time to visit here. The palace at one time was the kings home, as well as where the government of Thailand carried out their work. A trip to the palace and its grounds can take many hours, depending on how much time you have. Make sure to visit the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaeo), even if you’re short on time.
Be aware of potential scams when outside the palace, including seemingly knowledgable guides telling you the palace is closed. Also, make sure to only pay the entrance fee when you are actually going in, not before hand to a dodgy looking sales guy.
Admission is open from 8:30 – 15:30 and cost 500 THB per person.
Recommended Tours To The Grand Palace & Neighbouring Temples In Bangkok
Full Moon Party, Koh Phangan
No trip to Thailand is complete without visiting the infamous Full Moon Party, besides this is where we met! For all you party lovers out there, trust us when we say this is the craziest, most awesome night you’ll ever have. Dance until the sun rises with 30,000 other travellers, sound good? We thought so! This monthly event is known throughout the world as one of the biggest and best all-night raves.
If you’re heading to Koh Phangan for Full Moon, do be aware that hostels and hotels get booked up very quickly, and it’s best to book in advance online. Read my blog post on the best party hostels in Koh Phangan.
Khao San Road, Bangkok
Backpackers from all over the world flood here, for their first real taste of Thailand. The kilometre long stretched street, offers a continuous overlap of bars, hostels, clubs, restaurants and massage parlours all crying out for backpackers to take advantage of their low prices. You’ll find beer for as low as 40THB and cocktails around 150THB during happy hour you can buy one get one free!
The Best Hostels In Bangkok:
Nitan Hostel:The perfect location for backpackers, right in the middle of Khao San Road where you can enjoy yourself with Bangkok’s famous street food, bars, and night clubs. It is also within walking distance or a short tuk-tuk ride from the Grand Palace and Temple of the Reclining Buddha. Nitan Hostel has free breakfast, free wifi, lockers, air conditioning (very important) and clean dorm beds it’s the best place to stay if you’re wanting to be near Khao San.
The Blocks Hostel: A beautiful, modern and new hostel in Sukhumvit (the centre of the public transport system, great for getting to any part of the city), with free wifi, air conditioning, lockers and security this is a great choice for a more relaxed stay. The Blocks Hostel also has a rooftop bar to hang out with other guests and a wide range of dorm rooms available.
Once Again Hostel: If you’re seeking for an authentic local experience, learning more about Thai culture, and meeting fellow travellers, then Once Again Hostel is the perfect place for you. If you don’t want the buzz of being right on Khao San Road but near to it and all the other attractions, this is a great location for you. It includes free breakfast, free wifi, towels included, lockers and security. Once Again Hostel is a great place to chill by day and be close to all the bars and clubs by night.
Chiang Mai Night Bazaar
Also known as the ‘Rose of the North’, Chiang Mai is a beautiful city encompassed by national parks, rainforests and abundant wildlife. Expats and locals alike are seduced by Chiang Mai’s laid back culture, beautiful Buddhist temples, plentiful restaurants, and spirited nightlife. Every evening, the city hosts its night bazaar, a great place to snag a bargain on souvenirs. There is a huge range of items for sale, including: clothing, street food, jewellery, souvenirs, shoes, you name it.
Its located along Chang Khlan Road, east of the old side of the walled city. The scene is pretty much the same every night, with locals and tourists turning up for some delicious street food and great bargains. If you can visit the ‘Sunday Night Market’ or ‘Walking Street’, its larger, busier and crazier. The night bazaar lasts from 4pm to midnight. Don’t forget to bring cash and don’t be afraid to drive a hard bargain!
Ride A Tuk-Tuk
The most infamous and popular way to get around the major cities like Bangkok, Phuket and Chiang Mai is by Tuk-Tuk. Although they are a little more expensive than your standard taxi, it’s worth taking a ride in one just for the experience and fun of it! The awesome thing about Tuk-Tuk’s is that each one is personally designed. Some have flashing disco lights in, others have blasting music, it depends on the driver and the design. It’s definitely a one of the top things to do in Thailand, and shouldn’t be missed!
Koh Phi Phi Island Hopping
Rising to fame after the The Beach staring Leonardo DiCaprio and James Bond, tourists have flooded to this island for their glamorous Hollywood shot. Koh Phi Phi itself, boasts white beaches, a relaxed atmosphere and stunning hikes overlooking the island. You’ll never want to leave this paradise island, and for good reason.
Koh Phi Phi Viewpoint
One of the best things to do in Thailand for hiking enthusiasts is to hike to the Koh Phi Phi viewpoints. The viewpoint hikes are the only way to get the famous photos of Koh Phi Phi. The island is made up of two large rock formations connected by a large strip of sand. The short hike to the Koh Phi Phi Viewpoints are certainly worth it!
The entrance fee is a meer 30 THB and be aware of monkeys! Some have been known to get fairly aggressive if you approach them!
Watch a Muay Thai Boxing Match
Famous throughout the whole of Thailand, and one of the top things to do in Thailand; Muay Thai boxing is their national sport and cultural martial art of Thailand. It uses an amazing array of martial arts and fighting techniques which are held in many locations throughout the city.
It is not uncommon to watch a match against a Thai boxer and a European/Australian/American fighter, but of course everyone wants the Thai boxer to win! If you’re wanting to learn the basics there are also classes on offer throughout Bangkok.
Khao Sok National Park
Khao Sok National Park is a stunning aura of native rainforest, waterfalls, limestone cliffs and immense wildlife just waiting to be explored. There are various activities to do round the National Park, including: jungle trekking, kayaking, bamboo rafting, bird watching and up close elephant encounters. Located in the Surat Thani Province, it’s close to the islands of Koh Samui, Koh Tao and Koh Phangan.
If you’re short on time, one of my favourite tours is this day trip to Khao Sok National Park with an amazing elephant bathing experience in the green jungle before bamboo rafting along the river with a unique coffee break on the bank! Click here to read more information and book!
Get Your PADI/SSI Diving Certificate on Koh Tao
Home to some of the best dive locations in the world, Koh Tao, is a mecca for beginner divers through to masters flock here for some of the most abundant ecological life in the world. It is also one of the most affordable places in the world to get qualified, making it a haven for backpackers and travellers. You’ll be swimming with all kinds of exotic underwater creatures, including green turtles, rays and thousands of species of fish.
This is where I got my Advanced PADI license, and I’m actually thinking about heading back to Koh Tao to complete my Dive Master. I recommend the following dive schools: Big Blue Diving, Bans Dive Resort, Roctopus Dive Centre and Crystal Dive all of which I have dived or had close friends that have dived at these schools
Have Many Thai Massages
Thai massage is known globally as an alternative therapy as well as a way of relaxation. Getting a Thai massage is a must do in Thailand, as this is the place where you will find real skilful masseur/masseuse with proper knowledge of Thai healing. Moreover, there are more for you to choose from, which means you will get good service with a great deal.
Throughout Thailand, you can get massages for as cheap as US$8-15 for an hour! You’d pay over US$50 for one in America, UK or Australia!
Eat Street Food
If you find Thai food delicious, wait until you try it actually in Thailand and more so street food! What’s better than trying it on the street?! There is a bit of difference between Thai food from the restaurants and those from stalls on the street. Of course, the first difference is the setting which will give you a different feeling. Street food is more upbeat, energetic and changeable. At street food stands, you can enjoy various kinds of food without really have to put your finger on just one dish, as you can enjoy everything – from the flavourful Satay Pork to a delectable Pad Thai and refresh your throat with fresh smoothie.
If you’re worried about food poisoning, we suggest having a veggie option or visiting a stall which is busy and other ‘Westerners’ are at.
Cocktails at a Skybar, Bangkok
Escape one evening from Bangkok’s crazy nightlife, and head up to one of the cities many famous skybars. Prices vary immensely depending on which one you visit. For example the Lebua Tower Skybar (famous for the Hangover II) will cost you nearly US$20 for one cocktail. However, we suggest visiting the Anantara Sathorn Zoom Skybar for an epic yet money saving experience. During happy hour it’s buy one get one free, and even during peak times cocktails aren’t too expensive. Read our full review here.
Maeklong Railway Market
The Maeklong Railway Market (ตลาดแม่กลอง) is about 60 kilometers away from Bangkok. It is a small authentic market set on the railway tracks. One minute there is a bustling market under umbrellas with stalls scattered everywhere. The next a train passes right through the middle of it all, only to turn back into a market a few minutes later.
This market has everything that I’ve come to know and love in Thai markets. Its stalls have displays of fruits, veggies, meats, seafood, as well as sweet snacks, clothing, and flowers. The train market is open 7 days a week from 6.20 am to 5.40 pm. That is matching the schedule of first train departing to the last train arriving at Maeklong Station. Truly something amazing to experience! Definitely a highlight and one of the most awesome things to do in Thailand.
The old Thai capital of Ayutthaya, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the most impressive and cultured ruined cities in Asia, and a must-see for history buffs visiting Thailand. The city is filled with old ruins and temples, wandering through Ayutthaya will feel like you’ve step back in time. The best way to see the city is by hiring a bike, and cycling to the many ruins around the city, all within easy reach of one another. It’s a great over night trip to escape the bustling city of Bangkok.
If you’re short on time, I highly recommend one of the following day trips from Bangkok:
So there you have it, the 15 most awesome things to do in Thailand! I hope this has given you a bit of a taster to the top sights, things to see and do in Thailand and helped you just that little bit with planning your trip.
Make sure to use the website 12Go Asia if you’re booking any internal flights, boats, buses or trains in Thailand and not to leave without travel insurance!
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Comprehensive list guys. Did you get to Kanchanaburi? I’d recommend that too.
Hi Kate and Kris!
Thanks, no we haven’t! However, we’re back to Thailand in Feb so we will check it out!
Emma & Yannick
I totally cherish Thailand, I started to go to look to relocate to some other place in Asia, yet Thailand stole my heart as a first place to relocate. Astounding culture, humble people, morals and values, ethics
Us too, Thailand is our favourite country we love it so much!