Travel Guides & Information
Beautiful beaches and offshore islands, ancient ruins, temples, jungles, and unique cultures form the basis of Thailand's tourism industry. It is safe to say, most visitors are not disappointed by what they find. Bangkok is the main entry point for most tourists, and from here travelers generally head south to the beaches or north to the jungle towns.
Bangkok is the modern face of Thailand, with shopping complexes, office buildings, and international chain restaurants. But it is also a city in transition, with old style markets and street vendors, historic temples, and traditional architecture.
For the best beaches travelers will want to head south from Bangkok. On the east coast the most well-known offshore islands are Koh Samui, Koh Pha Ngan, and Koh Tao, all popular destinations. These are all easily reached form the mainland by ferry and are well set up for travelers. However, the most beautiful and dramatic scenery is found on the east coast, Phuket, Krabi and Phang Nga where limestone cliffs jut out of the water and provide the back drop for fabulous beaches.
Northern Thailand offers a completely different travel experience. Think jungle and elephant rides, smaller cities and towns, temples, and culture. Chiang Mai is the major destination in the north, along with Chiang Rai.
On the Gulf of Thailand, southeast of Bangkok is the seaside city of Pattaya. This is a popular side trip from Bangkok, particularly for those who do not have time to make their way to the beaches and islands further south.
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Bangkok is everything you'd expect from the capital of Thailand: it's noisy, crowded, colorful, exciting, and smile-inducing. There are temples, ancient sites, and other attractions to be visited, as well as modern shopping malls that have a kitschy yet high-end ambience. Bangkok can be overwhelming, but it's also a fascinating city that represents Southeast Asia's tension between the developed and developing worlds.
Bangkok also serves as a gateway to many other parts of Thailand. From here, you can hop a short flight to Phuket, Chiang Mai, Koh Samui, and other popular destinations. You can also board a train or hop on a bus for little money, and visit national treasures such as Ayutthaya, Sukhothai and many other gems around the country.
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Chiang Mai is essentially Thailand's second city – the smaller, more relaxed answer to the madness of Bangkok. It was once the capital of the Lanna Kingdom, but now is a major draw for backpackers and travelers of all kinds, not to mention retiring expats and humanitarians.
Many who come here return again and again, or stay for years when they had meant to stay only a few weeks. There's an energy in the city that captivates those who visit, whether they seek a trekking adventure or a spiritual awakening as they travel from temple to temple.
The city itself offers plenty of things to do in the way of cooking classes, temple visits, street food, and culture. But beyond its boundaries, you'll find natural perfection, awe-inspiring animals, and unique communities deep in the mountains.
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Thailand's famous beach resort town of Pattaya has developed a colorful reputation over the years. Located less than 200 kilometers from Thailand's capital city of Bangkok, it's a convenient place to enjoy the sun, sand, and sea.
Pattaya has drawn tourists and expats from all over the world ever since US soldiers "discovered" the once-sleepy getaway destination during the Vietnam War. Since then, Pattaya's profile has steadily increased, and it is now one of the most popular beach destinations in Southeast Asia.
In recent years, the government has made efforts to attract families to Pattaya, and you'll find a host of kid-friendly attractions. Still, it remains more of an adult's destination – especially the area along Walking Street, the main entertainment hub in town.
If you are traveling with the family or are seeking a more subdued location, check out Jomtien Beach or Naklua. These areas are still touristy, but quieter than the bustling center of town.
The sleepy town of Hua Hin sits right on the ocean, two and a half hours south and a world away from the hustle and bustle of Thailand's capital, Bangkok.
Before this small town of 60,000 people became a tourists' favorite, it was best known for being home to Klaikangwon Palace, the summer residence of one of Thailand's former kings back in the 1920s. Today, it's the perfect getaway to some of the country's best national parks and quietest beaches.
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Phuket sits amid some of the world's most beautiful scenery. Limestone peaks jut from the emerald Andaman Sea and punctuate the dense jungles on land, providing superb options for day trips. The most popular Phuket tours are multi-island boat tours, where you can skim the clear waters through towering rock formations on a speedboat or traditional longtail boat and explore nearby archipelagos.
Not far from all the things to do in Phuket lie the famous Phi Phi Islands, with Maya Bay and Monkey Beach, and Phang Nga Bay, home to the distinctive pinnacle made famous in a James Bond film. Further afield are the Similan Islands, a favorite diving location. All this beauty lures hordes of tourists, but just a short hop from Phuket are a few sleepy islands, where the locals still follow their traditional way of life, and you can step back in time and soak up a more authentic Thai vibe.
Eco adventures are also a highlight. In Khao Sok National Park, you can spend time with elephants; canoe down the serene Sok River; and trek through the jungle, where monkeys and gibbons swing through the treetops, and tigers and bears still roam.
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Few countries in the world have more postcard-perfect beaches than Thailand. And while you can find breathtaking tropical paradises all over the country–from Phuket to Koh Tao to Hua Hin–the province of Krabi is home to some of the most spectacular coastlines in Asia. Here, steep limestone cliffs tower over the palm-lined shores and coral reefs, a lush blanket of green and turquoise covering both land and sea.
November to April is full-on high season here, when most tourists arrive to dive deep into the Andaman Sea and discover untouched natural beauty. Whether you're after heart-stopping adventure, a place to bury your feet in soft white sand, or clear blue waters that go on forever, Krabi should be on every vistors must-do list.
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Koh Samui is the largest island in the Gulf of Thailand, followed by its two smaller "sisters": Koh Phangan and Koh Tao. Diving, snorkeling, swimming, and basking on the picturesque jungle-backed beaches are popular things to do here, as well as boat tours around the sublime seascape of Ang Thong National Marine Park.
Because Koh Samui is the only of the three "sisters" with an airport, most tourists arriving from Bangkok or abroad land here. Regular ferries run between all three islands, however–for example, the trip between Koh Samui and Koh Phangan takes only half an hour, making it easy to island hop and see all the sights.
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Temples and Historical Parks
There are over 40,000 temples in Thailand. Most are active while others are in ruins – as is the case of the many structures still standing in the historical parks of Ayutthaya and Sukhothai.
Thai wats are not only a place to pray for good fortune, but also a place to make merits, light some incense for your ancestors, or talk to the resident monks during difficult times.
The beauty of Thai temples has not escaped the attention of foreign visitors, who often make up their own temple tour to discover and explore as they travel from city to city.
While it would be truly impossible to come up with even a tiny partial list of temples to visit, we've collected some of the most popular and most stunning wats around the country that are well worth a visit.
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Khao Yai Thailand's first national park, is an especially great place to see Thailand's natural glory, it has it all: mountains, dense forest, exotic wild animals, waterfalls, lakes—the list goes on and on. Covering more than 2,100 square kilometers, the sprawling park stretches into four provinces and holds something for everyone who visits.
The city of Kanchanaburi is a microcosm of what makes Thailand such a fascinating country. You'll find a blend of historical sightseeing opportunities, as well as lush tropical wilderness areas, where you can appreciate the unique natural beauty of the Land of Smiles.
Chiang Mai is essentially Thailand's second city – the smaller, more relaxed answer to the madness of Bangkok. It was once the capital of the Lanna Kingdom, but now is a major draw for backpackers and travelers of all kinds. The city itself offers plenty of things to do in the way of cooking classes, temple visits, street food, and culture. But beyond its boundaries, you'll find natural perfection, awe-inspiring animals, and unique communities deep in the mountains.
Mae Hong Son is one of the most beautiful provinces in Thailand, a rugged northern area where you'll find a blend of Thai and Burmese culture and some of the most stunning landscapes you'll see in the country. Mae Hong Son township is known for its dense forests and mist-shrouded valley and lies in the mountainous border region between Thailand and Burma.
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National Parks in Thailand
Once you step away from the bustling capital Bangkok, it becomes very clear how many more wonderful places there are to visit in Thailand. The Kingdom is incredibly diverse; the islands of the south are unlike the destinations in the northern mountains. Among the most interesting places to visit in Thailand are the country’s national parks.
Thailand’s 140+ national parks cover almost 20 percent of the kingdom’s territory. To help you plan an adventure, we have selected what we consider the best national parks in Thailand where you'll experience the best landscapes, wildlife, and nature of Thailand.
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Beautiful Waterfalls in Thailand
Thailand is known for many attractions from it's beautiful beaches and offshore islands, ancient ruins, temples, jungles, and unique cultures. But the country’s incredible nature has a way of surprising and delighting visitors time and time again. While its Beaches, amazing cities and national parks understandably receive a lot of attention, its countless beautiful waterfalls (or 'nam tok' in Thai) are equally deserving. So we've put a guide together to showcase what we think are the most beautiful waterfalls in Thailand.
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The Best Places to Visit
The "Land of Smiles" is one of the jewels of Southeast Asia. Thanks to a thriving tourism industry, Thailand is well-developed and provides all kinds of modern comforts – yet it's also still wild enough to offer off-the-beaten-path adventure and once-in-a-lifetime travel experiences.
Some Quick Facts...
Whether you are here for the world-class beaches in the south or the mountain villages in the north, Thailand will not disappoint.
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The Best Times to Visit
Thailand is a land of luxury tropical escapes, a place where sea and land are both stunning and part of every beach lover's bucket list. There's much to see and do in Thailand at any time of the year, as places like Bangkok are always vibrant no matter the weather.
Weather-wise, the best time to visit Thailand is from December to February, during the cool season. There's little rain, the humidity goes down and temperatures are in the upper 20s, rather than the usual mid-30s. You will have to deal with tourists, however, as this is the Europeans' favorite time to visit Thailand.
For the perfect sand and adventure holiday, it pays to see what each month has to offer and how to pick the perfect time for your trip.
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Beautiful Resorts in Thailand
Thailand may be primarily known as a tropical paradise for sunseekers, but more and more travelers are heading here for other reasons, including water and land adventures and a chance to relax in their own corner of paradise. While the stunning coastline is still the main attraction here, Thailand's luxury resorts are becoming a destination in themselves, offering everything from organized activities to all-inclusive spas and fitness centers and even secluded villas for those who want lots of quiet time.
Best known as both the home of the colossal temples of Angkor Wat and for the brutal Khmer Rouge era of the 1970s and later civil war, Cambodian history encompasses both some of humanity's greatest artistic accomplishments and most horrific deeds.
The history is what draws most travelers here, but this Southeast Asian nation has more tourist attractions to offer for those who linger longer than a short temple hop to Siem Reap.
Beyond the temples, Cambodia is a prime destination for Southeast Asia travels that manages to charm all who come.
The coastline of sandy white beaches tempts every sun sloth. The jungle-swathed countryside is geared up for the more intrepid, and the buzzing capital of Phnom Penh envelops visitors in the frenetic pulse of contemporary Cambodian city life.
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