Time zone: Indochina Time (GMT+7)
Best to visit: November – April
Thailand is the number one tourist destination in South East Asia, and it is easy to see why. The country’s white-sand beaches, colourful temples and amazing street food are just some of the reasons it attracts so many tourists. So, if you are planning to visit Thailand, expect to encounter many others like you.
When speaking about Thailand as a tourist destination, the first thing that pops in everyone’s minds is the breathtaking beaches, followed by stunning temples, as well as the bustling streets of Bangkok. It’s difficult to squeeze all these in just one vacation and still have time to enjoy yourself along the way. However, if you find yourself in the situation of staying longer in Thailand, here are the 12 things you must do and see when in the country of smiles.
- Visit Bangkok
The country’s capital city, Bangkok has been the home of the royal family and the court for 150 years. The city is also home of the government and state institutions. Other than that, the bustling streets of Bangkok are a fascinating maze of people and flavours both during the day and the night, creating a vibe that captures the spirit of Asia.
- Have a Thai massage
You cannot leave Thailand without having a Thai Massage. Famous across the globe for its benefits, the Thai massage has a unique style of stretching and working with the body’s pressure points to relax you completely. Enjoy this paradisiac experience anywhere in Thailand, as you will find massage centres on every street.
- Visit a floating market
Thailand is world renowned for its floating markets, where people come by boats to sell their products, such as fruit or food. You can jump from one boat to another, as well as to sit down and chat with the locals while you enjoy your food. There are many floating markets in Thailand, but the largest and most popular one is Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, located near Bangkok.
- Visit the Sathorn Unique skyscraper
The Sathorn Unique is a skyscraper which was never finished, as the financial crisis hit the country in the late nineties. This is not an official tourist attraction, but you can at least admire it from outside and indulge in the ghost stories the locals tell about it. If you are lucky enough, you might even get to climb to its top floors and enjoy breath-taking views over Bangkok.
- Visit Koh Phi Phi islands
When it comes to luxurious beaches and crystal-clear waters, Koh Phi Phi is your go-to destination in Thailand. Situated in the Krabi province, the Koh Phi Phi islands are what screen savers are made of. You can reach the island by boat from the mainland or Phuket island, and once you’re there make sure you enjoy the scenery. There are no roads, so be prepared to do a fair amount of walking if you want to adventure outside of the beach area.
- Travel by scooter
It might sound cliché, but renting a scooter is a must-do in Thailand. Enjoy the local mean of transportation and don’t forget they drive on the left side. By doing so, you will enjoy the natural surroundings and visit more than one places in just one day. The traffic might seem chaotic, but it can also be fun to wave in and out as you explore the area. Make sure you always keep your eyes on the road.
- Try the street food
Street food is very popular in Thailand, and you will find street food markets in every town. The food is so delicious that even Michelin stars have been awarded to street food chefs in Thailand! You will find various dishes and the prices are sometimes less than low. And, as in any other destination, try the stalls where all the locals eat for an authentic experience.
- Participate in the Thai New Year
The Thai New Year, called Songkran, is celebrated in April across the entire country. In comparison to the western New Year, Thai people celebrate it for more than one night, stretching the party from the 13th to the 15th of April. During the celebrations, the locals will sprinkle water around to wash away the bad luck and sins of the people.
- Enjoy a water fight
One of the strangest and fun situations you might find yourself in is a water fight. These tend to break out of nowhere in cities and can bring the entire city to a standstill, with many businesses closing for the entire duration. You will have no choice than play along and have the best of times.
- Visit the Khao Yai National Park
The Khao Yai National Park Park was the first national park to be established in Thailand and it is the third-largest in the country. The park offers a bio-diversity like no other, as it is composed of both rain forests and grassland, with the wildlife you can find in such environments. There are also natural waterfalls to visit in the park, and it is accessible by car.
- Visit a Buddhist temple
There are approximately 31.000 Buddhist temples in Thailand, each with its unique vibe. One of the most spectacular ones is the Wat Arun temple, named after Aruna, the God of Dawn. This temple features a 79 meters tall tower which has been covered in colourful porcelain and ceramic tiles, creating a mesmerizing sight. At the entrance of the temple, you will be met by a pair of mythical giants that are said to guard the temple.
- Enjoy a full moon party in Koh Phangan
Every full moon is celebrated with a beach party in Koh Phangan, and up to 30.000 travellers enjoy each one of them. You will be met with a dazzling mix of colourful decors, music and drinking that will make you think its the longest night ever. Party all night on the beach and refresh in the warm waters of the Gulf of Thailand.
Thailand is a vivid mix of colours, people, tradition and flavours like no other. From Bangkok to the breath-taking beaches of the islands, there are no places to be bored in. The country has everything it needs to satisfy the wishes of foodies, adventurers, the ones looking for spirituality or just the perfect tan.