Thailand is undeniably the top tourist destination in Southeast Asia. With its beautiful tropical beaches, ancient temples, mouth-watering and fiery cuisine, lush tropical jungles, and luxurious urban offerings, it is no wonder why tourists and backpackers from different corners of the world flock to this Southeast Asian country.
Here are some of the best tourist attractions in Thailand.
The province of Phang Nga is known for its unparalleled beauty—the beaches are truly a slice of paradise, the islands infinitely interesting for exploration, and there are plenty of excellent diving spots for those who wish to explore the underwater wonders of the province. One of the most famous destinations in the province is the breathtaking Phang Nga Bay National Park, with its amazing islets set on crystal clear waters, dramatic rock formations jutting out of the waters, and mysterious sunken caves. To fully explore the natural wonders of Phang Nga, make sure to get your hands on a sea kayak for a leisurely day of discovery and exploration.
The province of Chon Buri has been inhabited since the Ayutthaya period and is located at the Bay of Bangkok at the northern corner of the Gulf of Thailand. The name Chon Buri directly translates into “city of water,” owing to its location near the waters of the gulf. The province is home to the mountain range of Khao Khiao and one of the very few deep-water harbors of the country, Laem Chabang. Pattaya, one of the country’s major tourist destinations, can be found in this province. If you wish for a sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle of Bangkok, then the serene Chon Buri is the best place to head to.
The town of Ratchaburi was once an important commercial hub during the time of the Ayutthaya Kingdom, but settlement in the area goes back to the Bronze Age. This town has thousands of years of history, and is home to the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, an echo of its mercantile history. This floating market is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country, with thousands of people flocking to the area to buy goods from floating stores. If you wish to explore the canals on your own, you can easily rent a boat and shop from the hundreds of boats selling souvenirs, fresh fruits, and local delicacies.
Located right at the mouth of the Krabi River, the province of Krabi is one of the oldest continually settled areas in Thailand, if not the world. Archeological records estimate that the province was home to Homo sapiens some thirty thousand years before the birth of Christ. Aside form its archeological importance, the province is also home to various national parks, including the Ao Nang National Park, the Hat Noppharat Thara National Park, the Railay National Park, and the Ko Phi Phi National Park. There are also a good number of excellent diving sites in the province.
The town of Kanchanaburi in the western part of Thailand is fast becoming the destination of choice for nature lovers and adventure travelers, thanks to its vast expanse of exquisite outdoors. Kanchanaburi is a mere two hours away from Bangkok, where tourists can enjoy a day or two of hiking, bird-watching, elephant encounters, rafting, fishing, and other outdoor activities. There are also a good number of national parks, scenic rivers, tropical rainforests, and local wildlife.
Officially known as Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, the city of Ayutthaya was once considered as the most fascinating city in the world, which had diplomatic connections with the French King Louis XIV. Ayutthaya used to be the seat of the country’s royal power, with European and Asian merchants flocking to the city for trade and connections. The old Ayutthaya was razed by the invading Burmese army in the late 1700’s, but relics of the old majestic city are still sprinkled around the present-day Ayutthaya. The ruins of the old capital was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is protected and conserved by the local government.
The island province of Phuket is the largest island in Thailand, and is connected to the rest of the country through two bridges. Phuket is undeniably the top Southeast Asian beach destination, even in the aftermath of the devastating tsunami in 2004. Notable attractions in Phuket include the Two Heroines Monument of Thao Thep Kasattri and Tha Sri Sunthon, Hat Patong, the Thalang National Museum, the Hat Karon, the hat Kamala, Wat Chalong, the Khao Phra Thaeo Wildlife Conservation Development and Extension Centre, Laem Phromthep, the Big Buddha of Phuket, the Old Phuket Town, and the Phuket Butterfly Garden and Insect World. There are also a good number of local festivals that you must experience, including the Fair for the two heroines of Phuket, the Ghost Festival, and the Chao Le Boat Floating Festival.
Fondly known among locals as the Rose of the North, Chiang Mai should definitely be part of your Thailand holiday itinerary. The natural and cultural attractions are very diverse, and the people are very friendly. The name Chiang Mai literally translates into “new city,” which could be a bit of a misnomer considering that the city is over 700 years old. The city was founded by King Meng Rai the Great as the capital of the historic Lanna Kingdom, and is at present one of the top destinations in the country. Located along the Ping River, the city attracts millions of visitors every year, with a good percentage of that number being international tourists. Chiang Mai also has a very vibrant nightlife, which makes it popular among young locals and tourists.
Bangkok is Thailand’s commercial, political, culinary, spiritual, and cultural capital. The best thing about Bangkok is that it effortlessly combines the charms of an old world city and a modern metropolis, and it is this characteristic that makes it one of the world’s top tourist destinations. Over 15 million tourists visit Bangkok every year; flocking to old temples, luxurious places, modern shopping arcades, and many wonderful restaurants.