What makes Thailand a beautiful country
The most beautiful destinations in Thailand
Like hardly any other country, Thailand is equally popular with package tourists and backpackers. For many travelers, it is the entry-level destination in Southeast Asia. Here is a selection of the most beautiful places from north to south.
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Thailand: the most beautiful destinations
If you are flying to Thailand, you should think about where you are going. Many things can be linked together well, but there is hardly enough time for everything.
But where are the most beautiful beaches in Thailand and where are the most beautiful temples? Do you want to go to the Andaman Coast or the Gulf Coast? Which islands are particularly beautiful? Or would you prefer to go on a cultural discovery tour in northern Thailand?
The following post takes you on a journey through the country, names the most beautiful destinations and lesser-known alternatives.
You can travel to Thailand on your own. If you don't want to plan yourself, you can, for example, book a private Thailand tour or take part in a group tour.
Mountains and forests attract many tourists to northern Thailand. The starting point is usually the city of Chiang Mai, which can be reached in just over an hour by plane from Bangkok. It is also popular with long-term holidaymakers because of its relaxed atmosphere. The many temples and the huge night market are among the highlights and you can take part in many interesting tours in and around Chiang Mai. The alternative Elephant Nature Park is a highlight.
Even further north is Chiang Rai with the unique Wat Rong Khun temple. The place is located in the mountains near the Golden Triangle, a popular travel destination. This means the border area between Myanmar, Laos and Thailand.
Backpackers discovered the small town of Pai years ago. In the meantime, however, it has become quite touristy here.
The cities in the far north are often used as starting points for tours to mountain tribes, for elephant rides (not recommended!) Or for kayaking.
The historic temple city of Sukhothai, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is about halfway between Bangkok and Chiang Mai.
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Interest? Check out some sample routes here.
In no part of the country are fewer tourists lost than in the northeast. Therefore, the search for the original Thailand has the greatest chance of success here.
Most travelers experience this area only when passing through to Laos. Chiang Khan, Nong Khai or Ubon Ratchathani, for example, are definitely interesting travel destinations.
Highlights include the Pimai Historical Park with ruins of an ancient temple district of the Khmer Empire of Angkor. In Prakhon Chai you can also see buildings from this period (Prasat Mueang Tam and Phanom Rung).
Bangkok and the surrounding area
Bangkok alone is worth the trip. Most vacationers come here at the beginning or at the end of their trip. This is of course also due to the fact that Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport is not only Thailand's larger airport but also the gateway to Southeast Asia.
Still, Bangkok is not for everyone. If you ask travelers, their opinions about staying there vary widely. This is mainly because the city is noisy, hot and stressful. But for me Bangkok is one of the best cities in the world. And I claim that if you know and understand the really good tips on how to save money and, above all, time when choosing the right means of transport in Bangkok, you will get a lot more out of your stay in the metropolis.
Because there is really a lot to see in Bangkok: temples, skyscrapers, markets, department stores, the Royal Palace, China Town, the (former) backpacker mile Khao San Road or green spaces like the beautiful Lumphini Park. Or how about a boat trip on the Chao Phraya or a visit to Thai boxing. It is best to avoid the city at the beginning of your vacation, as it is particularly difficult to acclimatise here. In the end, however, you should plan a few days in any case.
Here is an overview of the best tours and excursions in Bangkok best tours and here are the best attractions in Bangkok.
Ayutthaya, Siam's old royal city, is 70 kilometers north of Bangkok. A day trip there is worthwhile.
The historic town of Kanchanaburi is located west of Bangkok. There is the "Bridge on the Kwai", which became world famous through the novel and feature film of the same name. A popular destination from there is the Erawan National Park with its beautiful waterfall. The nearby Sai Yok National Park is hardly known. There are also many waterfalls and some beautiful caves there.
A popular destination 200 kilometers northeast of Bangkok is the Khao Yai National Park. He is the oldest in Thailand and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2005.
The Gulf of Thailand
There they are, these three beautiful islands. Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao are rightly among the most popular travel destinations in Thailand.
The largest island with the most visitors is Koh Samui. Many tourists who want to go to the neighboring islands also come via the international airport there. The hippest beaches are Chaweng and Lamai. Almost everything here is built up with hotels and facilities. There are fast food shops, shopping streets and entertainment areas. In addition to these two hotspots, there are many other beaches on the island. The quiet Mae Nam Beach, for example, is popular with families and couples. In addition to the beaches, there are numerous other attractions on Koh Samui.
To the north of Koh Samui, the neighboring island of Koh Phangan is within sight. This is where the legendary full moon parties take place, and more than 10,000 visitors dance here on the beach. Pay attention to the dates, because even if you don't want to go to the party, you have to cope with the side effects: fully booked boats, more expensive accommodations, etc. On Koh Phangan there are many quieter bays and beautiful beaches such as Thong Nai Pan in addition to the party beaches Yai Beach.
The smallest island Koh Tao is the highlight for divers and those who want to become one. Nowhere else in the world do so many people get their diving license. And not without reason, because the underwater world has a lot to offer. In some places you can start from the beach, a large number of other diving spots can be reached by boat in less than an hour. The island is also ideal for snorkeling, for example in the bays of Tanote Bay and Hin Wong. Many backpackers are drawn to Sairee Beach.
You have to find out for yourself which island is the most beautiful for you. It used to be said that the smaller the island, the more original it gets. This means that Koh Samui was the destination for package tourists and Koh Tao for backpackers. Koh Phangan was something in the middle. You can now also book your AC bungalow on Ko Tao as a flat rate. And of course you can still backpack to Ko Samui.
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The east coast of the Gulf of Thailand
One of the most famous resorts on the east coast is Pattaya. It is one of the most visited places in Thailand. Opinions differ greatly, however. A little further south is the island of Koh Samet, which is particularly popular with Thais.
If you want to get to know Thai life away from the standard routes, you are in good hands in Chanthaburi. Further south is the charming little town of Trat. It is a transit station on the way to the offshore islands. The largest and most famous is Koh Chang. The neighbors Koh Mak and Koh Kood are also enjoying increasing popularity. There are also many small islands such as the Laoya Islands or Koh Kham.
By the way, it's not far from here to the Cambodian border.
The west coast of the Gulf of Thailand
Tourism has only spread in a few places. One of them is Hua Hin. Especially Thais have a good time here for a few days.
On the way to Hua Hin, however, you can still visit some beautiful destinations off the standard routes. For example the caves of Ratchaburi or the historical city of Phetchaburi with its many temples.
Further south is Ban Krut. The 15 kilometer long bay is still a tip. It is very quiet during the week, but on Fridays there are whole busloads full of weekend visitors. On the way from Hua Hin, Prachuap Khiri Khan is also worth a stop.
The Mu Ko Chumpon National Park with the islands Ko Ngam Yai and Ko Ngam Noi is mainly approached by boats from Chumpon because of its underwater world.
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Andaman Sea / Thailand's west coast
The long beaches of Khao Lak are particularly popular with package holidaymakers and divers. The island of Koh Kho Khao, located a little to the north, is a beautiful place for those looking for peace and quiet and for beach walks. The journey to Koh Similan National Park, one of the best diving spots in Thailand, is possible from both locations in a short time. The Similans are also great for snorkeling. The same applies to the beautiful Surin Islands and the island of Koh Tachai. In the hinterland of Khao Lak it is not far to the beautiful Khao Sok National Park.
Popular with backpackers are the islands of Koh Phayam a little further north and the "small" Koh Chang (not to be confused with the "big" one in the Gulf of Thailand).
Phuket is located south of Khao Lak. The great beaches attract millions of (mostly) package holidaymakers to the island year after year. Backpackers often ignore Phuket because the island is considered overcrowded and there are few places where cheap accommodation is available. This is a shame, because Phuket still has many beautiful corners and little-visited beaches. The capital Phuket Town with its clubs and the artist scene is enjoying increasing popularity.
It's not far from Phuket to two world-famous postcard motifs. On the one hand there is the beautiful Phang Nga Bay, where James Bond once hung on the rock, and then of course the Phi Phi Islands. Maya Bay was the location of the film The Beach with Leonardo di Caprio. The consequences are not difficult to guess.
Maya Bay in particular is hopelessly overcrowded today. Every morning, speedboats from Phuket, Ko Lanta and the tourist strongholds around Krabi compete to have as many holidaymakers as possible photographed on the beach for half an hour. Then it's off to Ko Phi Phi Don for dinner. The island was pretty much built up after the tsunami. Many visitors are disappointed.
Update (2019): Maya Bay has been closed to visitors indefinitely so that nature can relax. When and how it will continue has not yet been determined.
It is much quieter than on Koh Phi Phi on Phuket's large neighboring island Koh Yao Yai. The beaches there are a good place for those looking for peace and quiet.
The landscape of the Krabi region around the provincial capital Krabi Town is famous for the limestone cliffs towering up everywhere. The most popular is the beach town of Ao Nang. From there you can make nice tours to the offshore islands. Here, too, everything is very touristy. Accommodation is also available on the neighboring beaches of Ton Sai, Phra Nang and Rai Leh. All can only be reached by boat. There are many excursion destinations in the area, for example the Tiger Cave Temple.
South of Krabi are Koh Jum (Koh Pu) and the elongated island of Koh Lanta, which is also suitable for diving and snorkeling trips (e.g. Koh Rok). Many families go on vacation here.
Islands that have not yet been conquered by mass tourism can be found further south, for example Koh Ngai (Koh Hai) and Koh Mook (Koh Muk) or Koh Libong. Some have beautiful beaches and even nicer names like Koh Bulon Lae or Koh Lao Liang.
Tourism is growing fastest on Koh Lipe. The paradise island is located in the Tarutao National Park on the border with Malaysia. Lonely beaches and untouched nature, on the other hand, await you on the island of Koh Tarutao.
The best travel credit card for Thailand
You can save a lot of money on your travels with the right credit card. Here you can find out which cards you can use to withdraw cash free of charge worldwide and pay in local currency at no additional cost. And who is currently the only provider who reimburses you for the foreign fees at the machine, for example in Thailand or Vietnam.
Here is the credit card comparison
My eBook “Fascination Thailand. Useful tips for backpackers and individual tourists «.
So, that was a little round trip through Thailand. If you are still not sure where you want to go, read my article "Thailand - where to go first?".
555 tips for Bangkok. The insider's guide to Thailand's capital
At last! All tips for Bangkok in one book. We have gathered 555 interesting places for your trip to Bangkok. You will not find such a multitude of sights in any other travel guide. There are also many useful tips and explanations to help you find your way around the city. This will save you time and money. In addition to many insider tips, you will also find everything you need to know about getting around the city, choosing the right area to stay overnight and route suggestions for your stay.
All information about the book
Book a round trip?
Here on Fascination Southeast Asia you will find all the information you need to travel to Thailand on your own.
If you prefer a guided trip, for example because you don't have the time to plan or you want to rely on local professionals, a modular trip might be just the thing for you. Since June 2018, such trips can also be booked through Fascination Southeast Asia in cooperation with a tour operator from Bangkok. We put the trip together exactly according to your wishes. Until you like it. Interest? Then take a look here:
What are your favorite places in Thailand?
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About the author
Stefan has been traveling to the countries of Southeast Asia since 2006 and often spends several months there. In 2013 he founded Fascination Southeast Asia and since then has also written several eBooks and books on the subject (including the insider travel guide “555 Tips for Bangkok”). Between his travels he lives and works in Düsseldorf.
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