Thailand is the most popular tourist destination in Southeast Asia, and for a reason. You can find almost anything here: crystal blue beaches, thick jungle, great food, cheap beach front bungalows and some of the best luxury hotels in the world. There is something for every interest and every budget.
Thailand is a remarkable country. We learned so much about ourselves and travel from just a few weeks there that I just want to travel again and again
As the only Southeast Asian country never to be colonized, it is also studded with incredible cultural and historical sites, including ruins that stretch back hundreds of years. And despite the heavy flow of tourism, Thailand retains its quintessential identity with its own unique culture and history and a carefree people famed for their smiles.
Thailand is relatively hot all year round, although officially it has three main seasons.
In Summer (March – June), temperatures can soar above 40 degrees, particularly in the northeast and Bangkok. Thai New Year, or Songkran, falls in April, the hottest month. To relieve themselves from the heat, Thais throw water at each other during the three-day Songkran festival
The rainy season (July – October) brings lots of downpours and heavy rainfall, usually in the late afternoons or early mornings. Temperatures are moderately high, but it can feel very uncomfortable due to high humidity level.
The most welcomed season is the cool season (November – February), which brings a relatively dry and pleasant climate. Temperatures rarely rise above 35 degrees during the day.
Erawan Falls: Just a short trip from Kanchanaburi, the Erawan Falls are the major attraction of the Erawan National Park in Western Thailand. The waterfall was named after the erawan, the three-headed white elephant of Hindu mythology. The seven-tiered falls are said to resemble the erawan. Macaques are common around the falls while occasionally water monitor lizards can also be seen. The park is open for visitors all year and generally very busy during the weekends.
Ao Nang: Formally Ao Phra Nang (“Princess Bay”), Ao Nang is the most popular beach town in Krabi. It was originally a backpacker hotspot but now moving slowly upmarket as the airport brings in higher flyers. While not quite as scenic as Rai Leh, there is a good range of cheap accommodation, many good restaurants, easy transport and plenty of travel agencies, making it a good base for exploring Krabi.
Floating Markets near Bangkok : To get an idea of what shopping in Bangkok used to be like before all the canals were filled in, many people visiting the capital take a day trip to one of the floating markets outside the city. Though today floating markets typically function as tourist attractions and community meeting places rather than vital aspects of local farming economies, they still remain vibrant places brimming with scrumptious food. The most popular floating market for foreign tourists is Damnoen Saduak while most Thai favor the Amphawa Floating Market.
Hua Hin Beach : Originally, built in the 1920s as a royal getaway for King Rama VII, Hua Hin has been a long-time favorite weekend getaway for Bangkok residents. Today, the 8 km (5 mile) long beach is also popular with tourists. Hua Hin is the site of the Klai Kangwon Palace, which is still used by Thai royalty today. In addition it is home to the highest concentration of golf courses in all of Thailand.
Khao Yai National Park : The third-largest national park in Thailand, Khao Yai National Park is located in the eastern part of the country in the Nakhon Ratchasima Province. Homes to a wide array of wildlife, including Asian elephants and black bears, the park offers observation towers, hiking trails, lodges, cabins and campsites. There are even dinosaur footprints, so visitors find surprises at every turn.
Mu Ko Ang Thong : Ang Thong, which means “Bowl of Gold,” is a popular national park in the Gulf of Thailand. Consisting of 42 islands, which are close together for easy island hopping, the park is headquartered on Ko Wua Talap. There, travelers can stay in lovely bungalows and take in incredible views of the surrounding islands and bizarre rock formations. Exploring the island’s white sand beaches and snorkeling among the shallow coral gardens makes a popular day trip from Ko Samui.
Ko Nang Yuan : Ko Nang Yuan is a tiny island very close to Ko Tao. It is a popular day trip from Ko Tao, so its beautiful beaches can be crowded at times. But it’s a pretty island and its clear waters are perfect for snorkeling and scuba diving. To visit this island, travelers who are not staying on Ko Nang Yuan must pay a 100 baht fee. The island does have one dive resort for travelers who prefer to stay on this small island.
Wat Arun : The name of this lavishly adorned temple roughly translates to mean “Temple of Dawn,” which is fitting as it was built to honor Aruna, the Hindu god that is most commonly represented by the radiations of the rising sun. Located in the Bangkok Yai district on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River, Wat Arun’s distinctive prang, or spires, are lavishly adorned with colorful patterns of seashells and porcelain. The central prang rises more than 85 meters (280 feet) high.
Ko Lipe : Located in the Andaman Sea off the Satun Province, Koh Lipe is a tiny island near the Malaysian border. Small enough to be covered by foot within about an hour, Koh Lipe boasts four gorgeous beaches whose waters are home to about 25 percent of the world’s fish species. Coral reefs attract snorkelers and scuba divers, and travelers can stay in beach bungalows in different sizes.
Ayuthaya Historical Park : Also known as Ayutthaya Historical Park, this popular tourist attraction contains the ruins of the second capital of Siam, which was founded around 1350. By 1700 Ayutthaya had become one of the largest cities in the world with a total of 1 million inhabitants. In 1767 the city was destroyed by the Burmese army, resulting in the collapse of the kingdom. Fortunately, renovations that began in the late 1960s restored the once-vibrant city to much of its former glory, allowing visitors to experience the eclectic array of architectural styles that can be found amid its grid-like patterns of moats, roads and canals.
Railay : Also known as Rai Leh, this popular rock-climbing destination is located in the Krabi Province on the coast of the Andaman Sea. Accessible only by boat, Railay boasts a variety of exciting attractions. Its more than 700 bolted rock-climbing routes are a major draw. However, there are also several stunning beaches, and visitors can also explore a series of caves. Accommodation on Railay ranges from inexpensive bungalows popular with backpackers and climbers, to the renowned jet-set resort of Rayavadee.
Grand Palace : As the official residence of the kings of Siam — and, later, Thailand — since 1782, the Grand Palace is perhaps the most famous attraction in the bustling city of Bangkok. Situated on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, the walled-in complex contains a compelling series of pavilions, halls, wats and other buildings interspersed with vast lawns, lavish gardens and stately courtyards. Of the many sights here, Wat Phra Kaew, or the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, is probably the most memorable.
Phang Nga Bay : Located just over 95 km (60 miles) from the island of Phuket, Phang Nga Bay is one of the top tourist attractions in Thailand and one of most scenic areas in the country. It consists of beautiful caves, aquatic grottoes and limestone islands. The most famous island in the bay is a sea stack called Ko Ping Kan (more commonly known as James Bond Island) which was featured in the James Bond movie “The Man with the Golden Gun”. A popular way of visiting Phang Nga Bay is by sea kayak as they are the only way to get inside the grottoes and sea caves.
Ko Phi Phi : Phi Phi is a beautiful archipelago located in the Krabi Province not too far from Phuket. Ko Phi Phi Don is the only island in the group with permanent inhabitants while the smaller Ko Phi Phi Leh is famous as the filming location for the 2000 movie “The Beach”. Travelers go here enjoy the beaches and to participate in a variety of water recreation activities, such as snorkeling, scuba diving and kayaking. As a result of the masses of tourists, Ko Phi Phi is becoming less and less attractive but for now it is still a very beautiful place to visit.
The best time to visit Thailand is between November and February, when the climate is relatively cool and dry (25-32°C). While Bangkok usually sees insignificant temperature drop, the northern and northeastern provinces can be rather cold. And if you plan to take a trip into the mountains, be sure to bring a sweater or warm jacket.
Decemberis the festive season, like in the West. Some of the most colourful festivals, such as Loy Krathong, Trooping of the Colours and New Year’s, fall in this period. Major shopping districts, particularly those in Bangkok, add to the year-end spirit by sporting decorative lights and Christmas-theme décors. The only drawback for arriving during this period is that popular destinations are crowded, and hotel rooms are in short supply. Prices for accommodation, tours, transportation and certain goods are usually bumped up to take advantage of the tourist influx.
Arriving between March and May will put you right through Thailand’s summer, when temperatures can climb above 40°C. Coupled with high humidity, it may feel more like you are actually in a giant heated oven with no escape route, except occasional visits to air-conditioned shopping malls and dining establishments. The monsoon season (June-September) is usually very wet and humid. But the good news is that you can always hide out in a mall, spa or restaurant to escape the heavy downpours which usually don’t last more than a couple hours. Also, the rain breathes new life in the countryside, abundant with rice fields and trees. National parks and waterfalls are usually at their best.
But I must explain to you how all this mistaken idea of denouncing pleasure and praising pain was born and I will give you a complete account of the system, and expound the actual teachings of the great explorer of the truth, the master-builder of human happiness. No one rejects, dislikes, or avoids pleasure itself, because it is pleasure.
Great explorer of the truth, the master-builder of human happiness. No one rejects, dislikes, or avoids pleasure itself, because it is pleasure. Nor again is there anyone who loves or pursues or desires to obtain pain of itself, because it is pain.
You can commence your Bangkok city tour with a visit to the Grand Palace (Royal Palace) and Wat Pho, where the famous reclining Buddha is located. It is an amazing experience to wander and take in the beauty of the architecture of the Grand Palace. After discovering Grand Palace and Wat Pho, head to Wat Arun (Temple of the Dawn) and marvel at the stunning views of the city from atop the temple.
You can spend your 2nd day in Bangkok by taking a tour of the Chao Phraya river, a serene experience that you shouldn’t miss. The tours fall into different price brackets, so do your research well with the help of locals or by asking around. You can ride the water taxi up and down the river for around 20 baht.
One of the main attractions of Bangkok is the floating markets around the city. Khlong Lat Mayom and Thaling Chan are the two most popular markets, of which the Thaling Chan is more touristy. You can easily spend half a day here at leisure, shopping to your heart’s desire or grabbing a great deal by bargaining.
We recommend you to visit Khao San Road, which is really great especially for the latter half of the day. This road packs in the true essence of Bangkok with its innumerable night clubs, local restaurants and street food. If you enjoy the night life, then this is the place you should head to.
After checking in to your hotel room, you can go on a day trip to Phang Nga Bay. The most famous attraction in Phang Nga Bay is the James Bond Island. This is a splendid chance to see the majestic limestone caves and paddle the canoes by yourself. This can be a long day for you, but if you feel up to it, you can explore the Bangla Road at night.
The Phi Phi islands are an island group situated between Phuket and the west Strait of Malacca. This is the day trip which will give you an opportunity to enjoy snorkelling. You can head to the Mosquito Island, and enjoy your aquatic adventure. After you are done exploring the Mosquito Island, make the Bamboo Island your next destination. This island is breathtakingly beautiful with its vast stretch of white sand, clear waters and aquatic life.
Enjoy a hearty breakfast at the hotel and check-out from your hotel. Transfer to the airport for your flight back home.