Thailand is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Every year, Thailand welcomes over 40 million visitors from all over the globe. This Southeast Asian country is known for its tropical beaches, opulent royal palaces, ancient ruins and ornate temples displaying figures of Buddha.
I spent a month traveling around the country and was truly amazed by the things I saw and experienced. And to help you make the most out of your trip, I’ve listed down the 26 best things to do in Thailand. Read on!
Things To Do In Thailand
1. The Grand Palace, Bangkok
The Grand Palace is undoubtedly one of the top-rated tourist attractions in Thailand and should be high on your list of things to see in Bangkok. This palace was the official residence of the Kings of Siam (and later Thailand) from 1782 until 1925 and is a complex of buildings that includes temples, courtyards, gardens and more.
The Grand Palace is most famous for Wat Phra Kaew, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, which is considered the most sacred Buddhist temple in Thailand. The temple houses a jade statue of the Buddha that’s dressed in different gold and jewel-encrusted robes depending on the season.
A visit to the Grand Palace will give you a taste of Thailand’s rich history and culture and is a great way to learn more about the country.
The palace is open daily from 8:30 am until 3:30 pm, and admission is 500 baht ($14) for adults and 300 baht ($8.50) for children.
Address; Na Phra Lan Road, Grand Palace, Phranakorn, Bangkok 10200.
2. Explore the Beaches of Koh Samui
If you’re looking for fun things to do in Thailand that involve some time relaxing on the beach, then you can’t go wrong with a visit to the island of Koh Samui. The island is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Thailand, as well as a whole host of things to see and do.
Some of the most popular beaches on the island include Chaweng Beach, Lamai Beach and Bophut Beach. In addition to its stunning beaches, Koh Samui is also home to a number of temples, waterfalls and viewpoints, making it the perfect island to explore.
Koh Samui is easily accessible from Bangkok, with flights taking just over an hour. Once you’re on the island, getting around is easy too, with plenty of taxis and motorbike taxis available.
3. Sukhothai Old City
The first capital of Siam, Sukhothai, is now a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the most popular tourist attractions in Thailand for history lovers.
Sukhothai means ‘Dawn of Happiness,’ and it’s easy to see why it was given this name when you explore the well-preserved ruins of the old city. The ancient kingdom was only in existence for around 200 years (1238-1438), but it left a lasting legacy with its unique architectural style, known as Sukothai art. You can see evidence of this art at Wat Sri Chum, Wat Si Sawai and Wat Phra Pai Luang.
The entrance fee to the Historical Park is 100 baht (about $3), and it’s open daily (except Tuesdays) from 9 am – 5 pm.
4. Take a Trip to Wat Arun, Bangkok
As one of Bangkok’s most iconic temples, Wat Arun (or the Temple of Dawn) is unsurprisingly one of the most popular things to see in Thailand.
Wat Arun is located on the bank of the Chao Phraya River and gets its name from the Hindu god Aruna, who is often associated with the color red (the color of dawn) or orange. The temple is easily recognizable thanks to its decorated prang (spire), which towers over the temple complex at the height of 79 meters.
While you can admire the temple from the outside at any time of day, the best time to visit is definitely during sunset, when the temple is illuminated by the setting sun.
The temple complex is open daily from 8 am – 6 pm but the best time to visit is definitely in the late afternoon/early evening. Admission to the temple is 100 baht (about $3).
Address; 34 Arun Ammarin Road Bangkok Yai, Bangkok.
5. Floating Markets Tour
A visit to a floating market is one of the best things to do in Thailand if you want to experience traditional Thai culture and see a different side of the country. Bangkok has several floating markets, but the most popular (and easiest to get to) is Damnoen Saduak Floating Market.
Located about 100 kilometers (62 miles) southwest of Bangkok, Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is Thailand’s most famous floating market. It’s a popular spot for both tourists and locals alike and is the perfect place to soak up the atmosphere and do some shopping. You can find just about anything at the floating markets in Thailand, but the most common things you’ll see are fruit, vegetables, souvenirs, and clothes.
6. Visit Phuket Island
No list of best places in Thailand would be complete without mentioning Phuket. Phuket is Thailand’s largest island and one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. Despite its popularity, Phuket still retains its Thai charm and is a great place to relax on the beach, enjoy the food and explore.
There are plenty of things to see and do in Phuket, but some of the highlights include visiting the Big Buddha, taking a ride on the Phuket FantaSea Show and exploring the Old Town.
Phuket is also a great base for island-hopping, and there are plenty of day trips to nearby islands such as Phi Phi Island, James Bond Island and Koh Yao Noi.
7. Kanchanaburi Bridge over the River Kwai, Kanchanaburi Town
This bridge needs no introduction. It was made famous by the 1957 movie, The Bridge on the River Kwai, which told the story of the construction of the Burma-Siam railway during World War II.
The bridge was actually built by Allied prisoners of war and was a key part of the railway that ran from Bangkok to Burma. It was bombed by the Allies in 1945 but has since been rebuilt and now stands as a reminder of the horrific events that took place during the war.
Today, this bridge is one of the most famous tourist spots in Thailand. You can take a walk across it, admire the views or even ride the famous River Kwai Railway. The Kanchanaburi War Cemetery, located just next to the bridge, is also worth a visit. It’s the final resting place for more than 12,000 Allied prisoners of war who lost their lives during the construction of the Burma-Siam railway.
8. Sunday Walking Street Market, Chiang Mai
If you’re visiting Thailand, chances are you’ll make your way to the city of Chiang Mai at some point. Chiang Mai is Thailand’s second-largest city (after Bangkok) and is located in the northern part of the country. It’s a popular destination with tourists and backpackers, and there’s plenty to see and do.
Every Sunday evening, the Old City area of Chiang Mai comes to life as the Sunday Walking Street Market kicks into gear. The market stretches over a kilometer down Ratchadamnoen Road and is jam-packed with stalls selling everything from Thai handicrafts and souvenirs to clothing, jewelry, and street food.
One of the things that makes the Sunday Walking Street Market so special is that it’s pedestrian-only, meaning you can stroll down the road without having to worry about cars and motorbikes whizzing past you.
The market runs from 5 pm until midnight every Sunday and is free to enter. So if you’re looking for fun things to do in Thailand that are a little bit different, then this is definitely it!
9. Historic City of Ayutthaya
Founded in 1350, Ayutthaya was the second capital of Siam after Sukhothai. It was Thailand’s largest and most prosperous city, as well as a global trading hub for 400 years. The city was destroyed by the Burmese in 1767, but much of the ruins have been preserved, and it’s now a popular historical park.
There are over 40 temples in Ayutthaya Historical Park, spread over an area of almost 289 ha. You could easily spend a few days here exploring all the different temples, but if you’re short on time, some of the highlights include Wat Phra Si Sanphet, Wat Ratchaburana and Wat Mahathat.
Wat Phra Si Sanphet was the largest temple in Ayutthaya and served as a royal temple, while Wat Ratchaburana was built by two brothers who were also kings. Wat Mahathat is probably the most iconic temple in Ayutthaya as it’s the one with the famous tree growing out of the Buddha’s head.
The best way to get around Ayutthaya is by bike, and you can either rent your own or join a guided tour. Most tours will include things like bike rental, drop-off and pick-up, as well as a stop for lunch. And being one of the top tourist attractions in Thailand, it can get pretty busy, especially around midday in the height of summer.
Admission to Ayutthaya Historical Park is 100 baht (just over $2) for foreigners and 50 baht for Thai citizens.
10. Explore the Old City of Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai’s Old City is one of the most popular places to see in Thailand and is a great place to spend a day or two exploring. The Old City is enclosed by a moat and brick walls and feels like a little oasis in the midst of a busy city. Within the Old City, you’ll find plenty of temples, markets, shops and restaurants to keep you busy.
Some of the most popular things to see and do in Chiang Mai’s Old City include visiting Wat Chedi Luang and Wat Chiang Man, exploring the night bazaar and taking a cooking class. The Old City is easy to explore on foot and is a great place to wander and get lost.
11. Go Elephant Trekking
Elephant trekking is one of the coolest things to do in Thailand, particularly in the north of the country where there are large numbers of elephants.
Elephant trekking usually involves riding on the back of an elephant through the jungle or forest on a set trekking route. It’s a great way to see some of Thailand’s amazing scenery and wildlife up close, and it’s an experience you’ll never forget.
Prices for elephant trekking vary depending on where you go and how long you want to ride, but as a general guide, expect to pay around 1000 baht ($28) per person for a 1-hour ride.
12. Maruekhathaiyawan Palace, Hua Hin Town
Maruekhathaiyawan Palace, sometimes called “The Wooden Palace,” is a beautiful example of traditional Thai architecture. It is one of the most unique Thailand attractions because it is built entirely out of teak wood. The palace was built in 1924 as a summer residence for the King and his family. It is located in Hua Hin, about 3 hours from Bangkok.
The palace complex consists of several buildings divided into three main areas; the Reception Hall area, the King’s Residential area, and the Ladies area. Within these areas, you’ll find beautiful gardens and courtyards. I recommend taking a guided tour of the palace as you’ll learn a lot about the history and architecture of the buildings.
The palace is open daily from 8 am – 4 pm, and the entrance fee is 300 baht (about $8.50).
Address; 1281 Phetkasem Road, Cha-AM, Cha-AM District, Phetchaburi 76120.
13. Taste The Delicious Street Food
One of the best things about Thailand is the food and, more specifically, the street food. Thai street food is some of the best in the world and is a must-try when you’re in the country. You’ll find street food stalls and vendors on just about every street corner in Thailand, particularly in Bangkok, and the food is cheap, delicious and safe to eat.
Some of the best things to eat in Thailand are pad Thai, curry, mango with sticky rice, fried chicken and Thai iced tea. Make sure you try as many things as you can while you’re there!
14. Khao Yai National Park, Nakhon Ratchasima
One of the most iconic places to visit in Thailand is Khao Yai National Park. This is one of the oldest and largest national parks, covering an area of 2,168 square kilometers. The park is home to waterfalls, hiking trails, caves and wildlife, including elephants, Gaur, and Northern Pig-tailed Macaque.
One of the best things to do in Khao Yai National Park is go hiking. There are a number of different trails to choose from, ranging in difficulty from easy to hard. I recommend doing one of the easier trails if you’re not an experienced hiker, as some of the harder trails can be quite challenging. Some of the popular trails include the Trek to Haew Suwat Waterfall and the Khao Yai Nature Trail.
The park entrance fee is 200 baht (about $6) for adults and 100 baht ($3) for children. Camping is also available for an additional fee.
Address; Mu Si, Pak Chong District, Nakhon Ratchasima 30130.
15. Have a Thai Massage
Getting a Thai massage is one of the most popular things to do in Thailand and something you really shouldn’t miss out on. Thai massages are world-renowned for being both relaxing and rejuvenating. And after a busy day exploring Thailand’s attractions and bustling cities or trekking through the jungle, there’s nothing better than treating yourself to a Thai massage.
Thai massages are usually done on a mat on the floor, but you can also get them in a chair or even lying down on a massage bed. Your masseuse will use their hands, elbows, knees and feet to work your muscles and stretch your body into different positions. It might sound a bit intense (and it can be!), but I promise it’s worth it.
Thai massages usually cost between 300-500 baht ($8.50-$14) for an hour, but you can sometimes find them cheaper if you go to a smaller, local shop rather than big spas or massage parlors.
16. Doi Inthanon National Park, Chiang Mai
Doi Inthanon National Park is one of Thailand’s most popular national parks and a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. The park covers an area of 482 square kilometers and is home to waterfalls, hiking trails, hot springs and temples.
One of the things I love about Doi Inthanon National Park is that it’s so diverse. You can go from hiking through dense jungle to walking amongst the clouds in just a few hours. The highest point in the park is the Doi Inthanon summit, which stands at 2,565 meters (8,415 feet). From here, you’ll have views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
The park entrance fee is 300 baht (about $9) for adults and 150 baht ($4) for children. If you want to do any of the longer hikes, it’s best to hire a guide as they know the area well and can help you avoid getting lost.
Address; 119 Moo 7 Chom Thong, Chiang Mai.
17. Visit Pattaya
If you’re looking for an amazing vacation in Thailand with beautiful beaches, thrilling nightlife and plenty of things to see and do, you should consider visiting Pattaya.
Pattaya is located on the east coast of Thailand, about 90 minutes south of Bangkok. The city is world-renowned for its beautiful beaches, clear blue water and exciting nightlife. This city is also a great place to enjoy some of the other popular tourist activities in Thailand, such as elephant rides, go-karting, paintballing, ATV rides, zip lining and much more.
I spent four days in Pattaya, and I can honestly say I had an incredible time. So if you’re looking for a fun-filled vacation, Pattaya should be high on your list of top places to visit in Thailand.
18. Wat Pho, Bangkok
Wat Pho is one of Bangkok’s most iconic temples and is also home to the world’s largest reclining Buddha. The temple complex covers an area of 80,000 square meters and is home to over 1,000 statues of Buddha.
Wat Pho is a great place to learn about Buddhism and Thai culture. There are a number of things to see and do, including watching monks chanting, exploring the temple complex and getting a traditional Thai massage.
The temple entrance fee is 100 baht (about $3) for adults and 50 baht ($1.50) for children. If you want to get a Thai massage, it’s best to book in advance as they can get quite busy.
Address; 2 Sanam Chai Road Phra Nakhon, Bangkok.
19. Take A Cruise Down The Chao Phraya River, Bangkok
The Chao Phraya River is Bangkok’s major river and takes center stage in many of the city’s most popular tourist activities. The river is teeming with boats of all sizes and shapes, from longtail boats and water taxis to tour boats and river buses. This makes it the perfect place to take a cruise and see Bangkok from the water.
There are plenty of different ways to cruise down the Chao Phraya River, from short 30-minute rides to all-day tours. So you can easily find something to suit your schedule and budget. And if you’re not in Bangkok, don’t worry. You can still enjoy a cruise down Thailand’s rivers and ocean. There are plenty of different companies offering boat tours in Thailand, so you’re sure to find something to suit your needs.
I did a river cruise in Bangkok, and it was fantastic. We cruised down the river, stopping at different temples along the way and ended with a traditional Thai lunch in a floating restaurant. The whole experience cost us just over $50 per person, and I would highly recommend it to your list of fun things to do in Thailand.
20. Visit Doi Suthep Temple in Chiang Mai
Wondering what to do in Thailand? Why not add a visit to Doi Suthep Temple in Chiang Mai to your list of places to visit in Thailand? Doi Suthep Temple is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Chiang Mai and is located just outside the city center, perched atop a mountain.
The temple dates back to the 19th Century and is one of the most important temples in Thailand. It’s also one of the most sacred Buddhist temples in the country and is a popular place for Thai people to make merit.
The temple is reached by a winding road with over 300 steps leading up to the main temple. If you’re not feeling up to the walk, you can take a funicular car for 20 baht ($0.60). Once you reach the top, you’ll be greeted by breathtaking views of Chiang Mai and the surrounding mountains. The temple complex is also very impressive with beautiful architecture, colorful pagodas and a huge golden statue of Buddha.
The temple is open daily from 6 am – 9 pm, and there’s no entrance fee.
Location; Tambon Suthep, Amphoe Mueang, Chiang Mai Province.
21. Waterfalls at Erawan National Park, Kanchanaburi
Nature lovers, this one’s for you! Erawan National Park is a stunning national park located in the western part of Thailand and is home to some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the country.
The park covers an area of 550 square kilometers (about 210 square miles) and is home to an abundance of wildlife, including tigers, elephants, leopards, bears and many more.
But, the thing Erawan National Park is most famous for is its waterfalls, which are some of the most famous attractions in Thailand. There are a total of seven-tiered falls, each with its own pools that are perfect for swimming in on a hot day.
You’ll need to hike from the first tier to the seventh to see all the falls. The hike gets progressively more difficult as you go, but you don’t need to tour all the way to the seventh fall if you don’t want to. The first three are the most popular and, in my opinion, the most beautiful.
The entrance fee to Erawan National Park is 300 baht (about $8.60) per person.
Address; Tha Kradan Sub-district Kanchanaburi 71250.
22. Relax on the Beaches in Krabi
Krabi is a province on the west coast of Thailand that’s famed for its stunning beaches and limestone karsts. It’s the perfect place to relax and unwind for a few days as there are plenty of things to keep you busy.
Krabi’s most famous beach is definitely Railay Beach. It’s only accessible by boat as it’s surrounded by limestone cliffs. It’s one of Thailand’s most beautiful beaches and worth visiting.
Other great beaches in Krabi include Ao Nang Beach, the busiest beach in Krabi; Tubkaek Beach, a secluded and tranquil spot; and Pulao Mu Koh Hong, which is an archipelago of islands that make up a national park.
No matter which beach you visit, you’re sure to have a great time. So don’t forget to include a visit to Krabi on your list of top places to visit in Thailand.
23. Explore Koh Phi Phi, Krabi
Kho Phi Phi is an archipelago of six islands in the Krabi Province of Thailand. It’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in Thailand and is well-known for its stunning beaches, clear waters and lush jungle.
Kho Phi Phi was made famous by the 2000 Leonardo DiCaprio movie, The Beach. While the movie was actually filmed on the nearby island of Maya Bay, it put Kho Phi Phi on the map, and since then, tourism has boomed.
These days, Kho Phi Phi is a popular destination for scuba diving, snorkeling, rock climbing and jungle trekking. It’s also a great place just to relax and enjoy the incredible scenery.
If you’re planning on visiting Kho Phi Phi, I recommend staying in Tonsai Village. Tonsai is the main village on the island and is where you’ll find most of the restaurants, bars, shops and hotels.
24. Enjoy Thailand’s Nightlife
After a long day of sightseeing in Thailand, there’s nothing better than enjoying Thailand’s nightlife. Bangkok is renowned for its vibrant and rowdy nightlife and is the perfect place to start your Thailand nightlife adventure.
Whether you want to enjoy a few drinks at a rooftop bar, dance the night away at a club or soak up the atmosphere at a street market, Bangkok has it all. But if you’re looking for something a bit more low-key, Chiang Mai also has a great nightlife scene with plenty of bars and clubs to choose from.
You can enjoy Thailand’s nightlife from anywhere in the country. So, if you’re staying in a smaller town or village, there will still be plenty of places to enjoy a few drinks or dance the night away.
25. Watch Thai Boxing (Muay Thai) at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium
Muay Thai, or Thai boxing, is Thailand’s national sport and something you must see while in the country. Muay Thai is a form of martial arts that uses stand-up striking along with various clinching techniques. It’s a popular sport in Thailand and is often referred to as “the art of eight limbs” because it uses punches, kicks, knees and elbows.
If you’ve never seen Muay Thai before, watching a match at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium is an excellent introduction to the sport. This is one of the most famous Muay Thai stadiums in Thailand and has been hosting matches since 1956. It’s located in Bangkok, and you can quickly get there by taxi.
And since watching a game here is one of the most famous things to do in Thailand, expect ticket prices to be a bit higher than average. Seats in the upper tiers start at around 1,000 baht ($28.50). But if you want a seat in the VIP area, expect to pay approximately 2,500 baht (about $71).
26. Go Diving and Snorkeling off The Coast of Koh Lanta
Koh Lanta is an island off the coast of Krabi in southern Thailand, and it’s well-known for its gorgeous beaches, clear water and coral reefs make it a great place for diving and snorkeling.
There are many dive sites around Koh Lanta, but two of the most popular are Hin Muang and Hin Daeng, which are both located south of the island. Hin Muang is known for its purple coral, while Hin Daeng is famous for its red coral.
Both sites are suitable for all levels of divers, and you can find many dive shops in Koh Lanta that offer both diving and snorkeling trips. Prices vary depending on the shop but, as a general guide, expect to pay around 3,000-4,000 baht ($85-$114) for a 2-tank dive. Snorkeling trips are usually cheaper and start from around 1,000 baht ($28).
As you can see, Thailand is one of those places that’s just bursting with things to do and see. From ancient ruins and modern towns to jungles and beaches, there’s much to keep you busy. I hope this round-up of the 26 best things to do in Thailand will help you make the most of your visit!