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Five Of The Best Cities And Places To Visit In Thailand

Thailand is arguably the most popular country for tourists to visit in South East Asia, renowned for its tropical beaches with crystal clear waters, incredible street food scene, and great value for money.

Looking at Thailand from a glance, there are so many beautiful places to visit that you’ll be like a kid in a candy shop when trying to choose where to visit on your holidays. Here at Kiwi.com, we’ve compiled a list of vacation ideas and spots in Thailand to take the stress out of planning your trip.

Thailand, Railay beach, Hat Tham Phra Nang beach
Thailand is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the whole world © Getty Images

When Is The Best Time Of Year To Visit Thailand?

November to March are the dryest months in Thailand, with temperatures ranging from 19 to 30 °C and the busiest among travelers. Like every major travel destination, the prices of everything go up during the high season; in Thailand, it’s no different.

From the middle of March until July, it’s the hot season where temperatures will reach highs of 38°C and lows of 29°C, but this varies from region to region. If you’re not used to this type of weather, it can be uncomfortable outside.

The rainy season in Thailand is between July and October. But there’s a common misconception that during the rainy season in Thailand, it rains all day, every day, but this isn’t true. Yes, it rains often, but not all the time. Downpours usually last around a couple of hours and then pass by. If you can rough the showers, this is an incredibly cheap time to visit Thailand.

Five Cool Places To Go In Thailand

  1. Bangkok
  2. Chiang Mai
  3. Koh Samui
  4. Phi Phi Islands
  5. Krabi

 

Bangkok – The Capital City That Never Sleeps

Bangkok is a mega city that everyone has to visit once in their travel career. Once you get used to the chaos and the traffic, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying all of what Bangkok has to offer. Think of tourist attractions like the reclining Buddha, bustling clubs with loud music on Khaosan Road, intriguing art museums like MOCA Gallery Bangkok, spacious parks with heavenly lakes such as Lumpini Park, and vibrant street markets like the Chatuchak Market.

Iconic Places To See And Things To Do In Bangkok

Spend the day at Wat Arun – Thailand is known all over the world for its incredible temples, but Wat Arun is one that’s truly special. Sitting on the Chao Phraya River, Wat Arun is 79 meters high and is designed with charming ceramic tiles making it that bit more unique.

Party on Khaosan Road – At least one of your nights in Bangkok should be spent on the infamous Khaosan Road. The city district is known for its noisy, loud music, packed out clubs and bars, and is seen as a meeting place for backpackers and tourists to come together.

Visit a floating market – Discover how business was conducted back in the good old days in Thailand by visiting a floating market. Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is the popular one that everyone goes to, but prepare to travel 100 kilometers outside the city center. It’s well worth it, though.

Dusk in Chinatown
Bangkok is a city that never sleeps and you’ll never be bored © Getty Images

Must Try Food And Drink In Bangkok

Pad Thai – Pad Thai is a huge part of Bangkok and Thailand’s culinary scene. It’s a rice noodle dish that contains shrimp/chicken, peanuts, egg, bean sprouts, and lime on the side to squeeze the juice on top. Pad Thai is typically found at street markets in Bangkok for less than 100 baht.

Chang – Chang has acted as a good friend to the Thai people for many years. The beer is sold all over Bangkok and throughout Thailand, full of flavor and hop aroma that will have you begging for more after your first bottle.

Tips For First Timers Visiting Bangkok

  • Download the Grab application on your phone before you arrive. It’s a taxi-hailing app only the price for the fare is determined before you book the driver.
  • Don’t be afraid to haggle at the street markets for products (not food). Haggling is a part of Thai culture, but don’t go too far.

Chiang Mai – The City With The Nicest Weather

Chiang Mai is a city situated in the mountains in northern Thailand and has a lot more of a relaxed vibe than Bangkok. Chiang Mai provides visitors with endless adventures, whether you want to see elephants in their natural habitat or learn about the history of the Lanna Kingdom.

Chiang Mai – What To Do There

Make the trip up to Doi Suthep – Only about 12 kilometers outside of Chiang Mai city is Doi Suthep mountain which houses the region’s most talked about the temple, Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. Dating back to the 13th century, the sacred area is popular among locals for worshipping, which you’ll be able to see when you’re there.

Take a boat tour up the Mae Ping River – The Mae Ping River flows through Chiang Mai. Take a boat trip down it to scout out traditional teak houses, local farms, and hidden restaurants you would never even know existed until you saw them.

Have a dip at Chiang Mai Canyon – Just outside of the city is the Chiang Mai Canyon which has a fully functioning water park you can pay into and use for the day. It has everything you need for a hit of adrenaline, from ziplines to wakeboarding, as well as huge water slides.

Food And Drinks Everyone Should Try In Chiang Mai

Khao Soi – Chiang Mai’s signature dish is Khao Soi, a rich, creamy yellow curry with noodles and a chicken drumstick. It can be either mild or extremely spicy, depending on where you buy it from. It would help if you mentioned how you would like it cooked to whoever is serving you, so you don’t get your mouth blown off.

Thai food (Northern Thai)
Khao Soi is one the most popular noodle soups in Northern Thailand © Getty Images

Mekhong – Mekhong was the first ever locally distilled spirit in Thailand. Some Thais say Mekhong is a whiskey, but the majority will tell you it’s a rum made from sugar cane and rice. When you order Mekhong in a bar, you’ll be asked if you would like soda water with it; that’s the typical way to drink it.

Tips For Visiting Chiang Mai

  • Taking off your shoes before entering some establishments or temples is common. It’s a sign of showing respect, and you should do so to follow suit.
  • You can’t drink tap water in Chiang Mai or anywhere else in Thailand. Stick to bottled water at all times to avoid illness.
  • Chiang Mai becomes the warmest city in Thailand in April during the summer, with temperatures sometimes even reaching 40 degrees°C. While Chiang Mai is one of the main warm places in Thailand already, the heat during this time can be unbearable for many.

Koh Samui – A Secluded Paradise Surround Ice Blue Colored Sea For Honeymoons And Couples

Koh Samui sits in the Gulf of Thailand and is the country’s second-largest island after Phuket. There’s no better location than Koh Samui to unwind after a dose of Thai cities. Spend your days chilling out on Chaweng Beach or enjoy a day of a fun-filled day of water-based activities at Ang Thong National Marine Park.

What Are The Best Things To Do In Koh Samui?

Immerse yourself in some nature at the Na Muang Waterfalls – Head deep into the jungle to scout out some of Koh Samui’s gorgeous waterfalls, Na Muang 1 and Na Muang 2. Only 12 kilometers from Nathon Bay, the Na Muang Waterfalls is the ideal spot to take refuge from the island’s heat.

Go see what the fuss is about Elephant Rock – Before you get your hopes up, Elephant Rock looks nothing like an elephant, but it’s one of the top places to visit on the island. The rock got its name from locals who described it as an elephant because of its sheer size.

Check out the Mummified Monk – In 1973, the Buddhist monk Luong Pordaeng passed away, and his body remains have been preserved and left in a glass case on Koh Samui. You can go take a look at it for yourself at the Wat Khunaram temple.

"Young man standing on rock looking at Na Muang Waterfall, Koh Samui, Thailand"
The iconic Na Muang Waterfalls are a must-do here and you can even swim in some! © Getty Images

Food And Drink You Need To Try In Koh Samui

Kalamae – Kalamae is a sweet sticky candy consumed mainly in southern Thailand; the reason for this is that there are a lot more coconut trees down this part of the country. You can buy Kalamae in almost every local market in Koh Samui. If you’re a fan of French caramel, you’ll love Kalamae.

Sugarcane Juice – Wandering through the markets of Koh Samui, you’ll probably spot bottles filled with a pale yellow color liquid; this is Sugarcane Juice. Street vendors will put the actual sugarcane through a blender and extract the juice for you on the spot. As you probably already guessed, the juice is very sweet, so brace yourself.

Tips For Visiting Koh Samui

  • While Koh Samui is an island, it does have an airport. Flying is the easiest and fastest way to get there. Alternatively, you can take a ferry.
  • Bring your own sunscreen with you to Koh Samui. It’s much more expensive to purchase on the island than on the mainland.

Phi Phi Islands – One Of The Most Famous Places In The World

The Phi Phi Islands are the postcard cover of Thailand, and for good reasons; this picturesque set of islands in the Andaman Sea boasts colorful corals, white sandy beaches, and unbelievable snorkeling experiences. Just a short 90-minute ferry boat ride from Krabi, the Phi Phi islands must be on your Thailand travel itinerary.

Things To Do On The Phi Phi Islands For Sun Lovers

Hike up to the top of the Phi Phi Viewpoint – Enjoy the odd shape of Phi Phi Don on the island’s viewpoint. The climb only takes about 20 to 40 minutes, depending on how many stops you have in between. From above, you’ll be treated to incredible views of Tonsai Bai and the Andaman Sea.

Hop on a boat to Maya Bay – Maya Bay is an awe-inspiring bay surrounded by three 100-meter cliffs. The easiest way to get there is by taking a speed boat from Phi Phi Don to Phi Phi Leh, where Maya Bay is located. Access to the bay is limited to a certain amount of people every 10/15 minutes, but don’t worry; you’ll get to see it with your own eyes.

Woman on Maya Bay beach
This famous beach location can be easily reached by a quick boat ride © Getty Images

Go snorkeling – Who said you need your scuba diving license to go snorkeling? Tour operators offer snorkeling excursions to places like Phak Nam Bay, where you can see plankton when it gets dark if you’re lucky enough.

Delicious Food And Tasty Drinks To Try At The Phi Phi Islands

Tom Kha Gai – If you’re someone who has a low tolerance for spice, well, then Tom Kha Gai is for you. It’s a rich coconut chicken soup that caters to fans of the other traditional Thai dish, Tom Yum, but can’t deal with how spicy it is.

Singha – Another Thai beer that everyone loves and a massive competitor with Chang is Singha. Singha was Thailand’s first ever domestically produced beer and is now exported to over 50 countries. All over the Phi Phi Islands, you’ll see tourists and backpackers with their hands firmly wrapped around an ice-cold bottle of Singha.

Need To Know Tips For Visiting The Phi Phi Islands

  • Don’t worry about withdrawing cash on the Phi Phi Islands. Yes, it’s a tiny island, but some ATMs are available to use 24/7.
  • The Phi Phi Islands has an international standard hospital and some general clinics, so if you ever run into any trouble and need assistance, there’s someone there to help you at all times.

Krabi – Where Everyone Begins Their Trip In Southern Thailand

Krabi has everything you need for an action-packed holiday, whether it’s for families, groups of backpackers, or solo travelers. The resort town sits in the space of landscapes underlined by limestone and lush green rainforests. Take a long tail boat to the charming Railay Beach, walk through the Thung Teao Forest Natural Park, and have a dip in the Klong Thom Hot Springs.

Fun Things To Do In Krabi

Check out Railay Beach – Railay Beach is a contender to be one of the prettiest beaches in the world. The only way you can get there is by taking a boat from Ao Nang Beach in Krabi. There are no cars, bikes, or any other sort of vehicles there, which adds to its untouched beauty.

Go whitewater rafting – Head to the Songprak River for an exhilarating whitewater rafting experience. Join your experienced instructor as they take you down the 7-kilometer river around sharp twists and turns, hoping nobody falls out. Nothing’s guaranteed, though.

Hit the sea for some kayaking – Krabi is all about watersports, and there’s kayaking where there are water sports. From Ao Nang Beach, you’ll be able to hire a kayak for the day and go at your own pace. Alternatively, some vendors offer organized group tours where you’ll stop at a couple of locations along the coast which are equally as fun.

Tasty Food And Drinks To Try In Krabi

Khao Man Kai – This simple dish consists of rice that has been cooked in a rich broth with some added tender chicken, salad, and a spicy dip. It’s similar to Hainanese chicken rice, a Chinese dish that you might have tried before. Almost every traditional Thai restaurant sells some variation of Khao Man Kai. If they don’t understand, just say you want some chicken rice.

Krating Daeng – Energy drinks are massive in Thailand; everyone drinks them. If you walk into any local convenience store, you’ll find someone rooting in the fridge where the energy drinks are. Krating Daeng is the Thai version of Red Bull, but much more potent. Avoid having one before bedtime, or you won’t be able to sleep.

Tourist sitting on a longtail boat in Phi Phi Island, Thailand
Krabi is the ideal spot to get your perfect Instagram shot whilst on the iconic island boat © Getty Images

What To Know Before Visiting Krabi

  • Krabi isn’t the cheapest place in Thailand, so to save money, shop for goods in 7-Eleven, a convenience store chain that is very affordable and has a place on every corner of Thai towns, cities, and villages.
  • If you decide to stay a couple of nights in Railay Beach, remember that after 6 pm, the boats stop running, so you won’t be able to get back to the Ao Nang until the following morning.

Want more interesting tips and information on traveling? Read more Kiwi.com articles!

Frequently asked questions

When Is The Best Time Of Year To Fly To Thailand?

Christmas to mid-March is the best time of year to travel to Thailand as it's the weather, and the weather is nice but never gets cold enough for some skiing, and there's barely any rain. Some people will avoid traveling to Thailand during these months as it gets incredibly touristy, and they'll leave it until the monsoon season because it's better value.

How To Find Cheap Flights To Thailand

Here at Kiwi.com, our goal is to make sure you visit the destinations on your bucket list. Through our travel hacks and technology, we find our customers the cheapest fares online that no other flight website will show you.

To get started booking your Thailand holiday, visit our Thailand destination page, select the city where you want to begin your adventure, and we'll provide you with endless flight options for the dates you're traveling.

What Is Thailand Known For?

Thailand is known as the land of smiles because Thai people are some of the happiest in the world. You'll notice when you see locals interacting with each other or when someone serves you something in a supermarket you'll always be greeted with a smile.

What's The Best Food In Thailand?

Choosing the best food in Thailand is difficult because there's so much to choose from.

First-time visitors in Thailand should start with classic dishes like Pad Thai or Khao Soi. But, if you have already had your fair share of them, sample a Papaya Salad or indulge in a tasty Pad Krapow.

How Many Days Do I Need In Thailand?

One month is the perfect amount of time to spend in Thailand. To get the most out of your trip and see all the best places to travel, start in the north of the country in Chiang Mai and slowly make your way down to the islands in the south while stopping in Bangkok along the way.