31 amazing things to do in Thailand
- 1 1. Climbing, Railay
- 2 2. Sea kayak in Krabi
- 3 3. Motorcycle to the border to Myanmar
- 4 4. Visit the Golden Triangle
- 5 5. Muay Thai kickboxing
- 6 6. Soak in Songkran
- 7 7. Visit an elephant sanctuary
- 8 8. Visit the Chao Praya River
- 9 9. Shop at the Chang Mai night market
- 10 10. Visit the hill tribes
- 11 11. Watch a Fire Spin Show
- 12 12. Go, beach hopping
- 13 13. Look at Wat Pho
- 14 14. Visit the Grand Palace
- 15 fifteen. Take a boat with a long tail
- 16 16. Watch a movie at Siam Square
- 17 17. Watch a Mui Thai match
- 18 18. Release a lantern at the Yi Peng Festival
- 19 19. Drive a tuk tuk
- 20 20. Get a Thai massage
- 21 21. Attend a cooking class
- 22 22. Visit the bridge on the Kwai
- 23 23. Visit a floating market
- 24 24. Take the slow boat to Laos
- 25 25. Chiang Rais Wat Rung
- 26 26th Meditation Retreat
- 27 27. Caving in Krabi
- 28 28. Go to a waterfall
- 29 29th Chiang Mai Temple Tour
- 30 30. Doi Suthep
- 31 31. Ayuthaya
- 32 32nd mountain bike, Chiang Rai
- 33 33. Hang out in Pai
- 34 34. Eat street food
- 35 35. Railway market
It is hard to believe how many times we have been to Thailand. It was the destination where our journey began and we keep coming back. Every time we discover new things to do in Thailand.
These are our favorites!
We have been to Thailand several times and it is still a top destination for the most intrepid travelers. Friends and readers always ask us where to go in Thailand and what to do in Thailand.
It is the first stop on the Southeast Asia trip of most people. That's why we thought we would share our expertise from our trips to Thailand since the year 2000!
Lean back and plan your next vacation in Thailand. You will not regret it.
1. Climbing, Railay
We go climbing in Railay every time we come to Thailand and never tire of visiting Railay.
There are literally hundreds of routes for climbers of all levels. Even if you have no previous experience, you will find many schools offering introductory courses on complete courses where you will learn how to run your own routes.
We climbed both the Hot Rocks Climbing School and King Climbers and both were fantastic. There is no better scenery for climbing in the world.
Stay overnight in Railay
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In Railay there are many accommodations. We found the Railay Bay Resort right on Railay.
But there are so many places to stay near Ao Nang and Tonsai. Wherever you choose to stay, spend at least a few days exploring this incredible part of Thailand.
We enjoyed the Ao Nang Paradise Resort
2. Sea kayak in Krabi
Sea kayaking with the original sea kayaking company of Thailand. John Gray Sea Canoe is one of our favorite pastimes in Thailand.
John Gray himself pioneered the region's sea kayaking business, bringing his expertise and experience from exploring sea caves in Hawaii to Southeast Asia.
Paddling through a cave to reach a beautiful lagoon in the middle of an island in the Andaman Sea is a moment you will never forget.
Make sure you stay on one of the uninhabited islands in the area and spend a private evening in complete silence.
3. Motorcycle to the border to Myanmar
If you learn how to drive a scooter, you can enjoy your entire Thailand travel experience.
The smiling albino creates custom tours and we did a motorcycle tour of Northern Thailand where we had a thorough riding lesson and tested to make sure we were able to drive through the winding mountain roads and city traffic.
It was a unique experience to have the freedom to explore the pristine North Thailand countryside off the beaten track.
Stay overnight in Chiang Rai
We settled in Chiang Rai at The Legend, which is right on the Mae Kok River.
4. Visit the Golden Triangle
Driving through the winding mountain roads was exciting and the scenery outstanding, but the highlight was the road to the border and the view over Myanmar.
Standing on the border between Thailand, Myanmar and Laos is a unique experience. What was once infamous for the opium trade today is filled with lush tea terraces, temples and mountain peoples.
You can do the kitschy tours from Chiang Mai or rent a motorbike (or book at Smiling Albino) and go on hikes through the mountains on your own and meet the villagers.
5. Muay Thai kickboxing
Do you want a great way to get in shape? Sign up for a Muay Thai Kickboxing course.
There are schools across the country and you can sign up for a few short days or stay for months. You will learn from real ex-Thai boxers how to kick, punch and block.
In addition, you will learn how to perform the Wai Kru, the ceremony that Muay Thai boxers perform before each match.
We trained with Rawai Muay Thai and found her great. The hotel is located one hour north of Phuket, we were close to the beach and the restaurant next door was amazing as it provided training for people.
6. Soak in Songkran
It only happens once a year, but if you're in Thailand during the Songkran festival, you need to experience it. It is the world's largest water battle in which the Thai New Year is celebrated. (Songkran Festival usually takes place at the beginning of April)
We were lucky enough to be on one of our trips during the Songkran Festival in Thailand.
It's the hottest time of the year and how do you cool off better than throwing ice-cold water for days on end? It is a festive time in the old Thai New Year.
7. Visit an elephant sanctuary
Skip riding elephants and visit an elephant sanctuary instead, which provides shelter for former tourist and wooden elephants.
Elephants in Thailand have lived a hard life, and the sanctuaries that are opening up are giving them a safe haven to survive the rest of their lives.
Visit our trip to the Save the Elephant Foundation
8. Visit the Chao Praya River
Many of the best things in Thailand are on the Chao Praya River in Bangkok.
Many of Bangkok's main tourist attractions are along the river.
- The Great Palace and Wat Pho
- China Town
- Temple of the Dawn (Wat Arun)
- The National Museum
- Flower market
You can get on and off for the low price of 20 baht (less than 1 US $) for the tourist boat or 8 baht for the local boat.
You can even get a day pass to get in and out as often as you want for 100 baht.
You can take the boat directly to the Taksin Bridge, where you can take the Sky Train back to the city center.
Are you looking for accommodation in Bangkok? Read our post about accommodation in Bangkok – A guide to the best neighborhoods
9. Shop at the Chang Mai night market
At night, the streets of Chang Mai come alive with ranks of sellers.
Prices seem to be higher here than elsewhere in Thailand, but once you know what you have to pay for things, you can get them at the right price.
Half the fun is acting anyway. You have everything to choose from and can buy all the souvenirs and clothing you need from a single source.
Stay overnight in Chiang Mai – Ratilanna Riverside Resort
10. Visit the hill tribes
We are not fans of an organized tour to the hill tribes of Thailand. They have been exploited in the past.
We visited hill tribe people on private tours and had wonderful intimate experiences. If you book a mountain folk tour, be sure to book an ethical tour.
Thailand Hill Tribe Holidays offers great tips for visiting the hill tribes of Northern Thailand.
11. Watch a Fire Spin Show
If you hang out on the beach of your choice in southern Thailand, you have the opportunity to see a fire show known as Fire Sparkle Poi Shows.
This is an incredible spectacle. If you hang out long enough, you might even learn how to turn Poi, and who knows, at some point you'll be able to rise to poi-spinning for sparklers!
12. Go, beach hopping
We spent weeks relaxing on the beaches of Thailand.
The beaches of Thailand are the most beautiful in the world. Unfortunately, we always compare other beaches around the world with those in Thailand and other countries.
Thailand's best beaches – in our opinion
- Koh Samui
- Koh Lanta
- Koh Lipe
- Railay Beach
- Phra Nang
- Kho Phi Phi
13. Look at Wat Pho
In Wat Pho is the 46 meters long and 15 meters high lying Buddha.
This golden beauty is Thailand's largest Reclining Buddha and is located in Bangkok's oldest wat. It's the first thing most people in Thailand see and do, and I can understand why it's great.
14. Visit the Grand Palace
A visit to Thailand would not be complete without the Grand Palace.
What is really funny is that we did not see it until our second visit. And we only really explored it the third time.
The former royal residence covers an area of 218,400 square meters; It is indeed magnificent and houses the Emerald Buddha (which is really made of jade)
Accommodation in Bangkok – We have a whole list of accommodation in Bangkok, divided into districts.
fifteen. Take a boat with a long tail
When you imagine boats in Thailand, you think of the longtail boat. A longtail boat is a covered long hull with a long outboard motor.
The propeller juts into the water and throws a long tail at the back of the boat. It is one of the most photographed pictures of southern Thailand.
16. Watch a movie at Siam Square
We can not help it, we love movies and wherever we go, we always go to a movie.
We've been to the movies all over the world and many times when I think of a particular movie I've seen, I remember where I saw it.
In Bangkok, you have certain seats and have to stand in front of each movie while watching a montage of the king. (We were not there the new king was crowned, but expect it to be the same)
17. Watch a Mui Thai match
We completed our Muay Thai training and now it's time to enjoy the games. We were fortunate enough to see an international match in Thailand a few years ago.
There are matches every night somewhere in Thailand, and that's a big part of the country's tradition. Make sure you participate in a match to really immerse yourself in the culture.
18. Release a lantern at the Yi Peng Festival
Yi Peng has gained a lot of popularity over the years due to its instant photo opportunities.
But it's a wonderful time to be in the country. It takes place in November next to the Loi Krathong Festival.
Both festivals are lantern festivals. Yi Peng lets revelers release paper lanterns in the sky and Loi Krathong lets believers release bamboos and boats in the river.
Use only environmentally friendly lanterns!
Where to celebrate Yi Peng and Loi Krathong
- Bangkok – Chao Praya river
- Chiang Rai – also celebrates Yee Peng
19. Drive a tuk tuk
You have to drive at least once Tuk Tuk, while you visit Thailand.
They are loud, dirty and a crazy ride, but you did not live until you drove through the streets of Bangkok on a three-wheeled two-stroke engine.
20. Get a Thai massage
Massages are cheap in Thailand and they are heavenly. We recommend a Thai massage every few days to keep your body supple.
21. Attend a cooking class
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We love Thai food and it is even better if you know how to cook it.
Our very first visit to Thailand lit our senses and we learned about Thai food. I am so glad that we participated in a Thai cooking class so that we can do our favorite recipes at home.
Imagine creating your own Pad Thai at home. Or what about Green Curry? These are our favorite dishes when we are back in Canada.
22. Visit the bridge on the Kwai
Do you remember the movie The Bridge on the Kwai? It tells the story of the Death Railway built by British POWs and forced laborers from all over Southeast Asia. Built by the Japanese using forced labor of hundreds of thousands of civilians from Southeast Asia.
The railway still works today and is a popular tourist attraction.
But there are many memorials paying tribute to the thousands who died, including the Chungkai War Cemetery and the JEATH War Museum, where you can learn more about the history of the Death Railway.
23. Visit a floating market
We love riding boats in Thailand and there are many floating markets that you can visit near Bangkok.
The markets were a big part of Thailand's daily life so sellers could trade their goods on the extensive waterways. Today they are mostly for tourists, but it is still great to visit them!
24. Take the slow boat to Laos
Drive along the Mekong from Luang Prabang Laos to Chang Rai and enjoy the scenery.
See the mighty Mekong and meet the locals who live on its shores.
Share the slow boat to Thailand with locals driving home from the market and watch life unfold as you cruise along the Rivers Banks for two days.
tip: Bring something to eat and drink and a few cards or games to deal with the journey.
25. Chiang Rais Wat Rung
Wat Rong Khun also known as the White Temple is one of the most beautiful temples in Thailand.
The restoration began in the late 20th century and has been transformed into pure beauty of white, intricate patterns and mirrored reflections.
26th Meditation Retreat
We did a multi-day meditation class in Chiang Mai and it was heavenly.
We were the only two people in the class and worked on different types of meditation and Tai Chi. While we talked to our teacher, we cooked vegetarian food and were really connected during that time.
It may not seem that way, but learning to meditate can be one of the greatest adventures of our lives. There are many courses throughout the Chang Mai region.
27. Caving in Krabi
Sea kayaking is very popular in Krabi, but make sure you drive inland through a mangrove forest to the river system.
As you approach a limestone cliff, a dark splinter appears between the rock and the water, and you would ask yourself: are we going in there? If you lie down to make it in some places, you enter the cave and paddle under stalactites. It's a thrill.
Take a look at some hieroglyphics and then plunge into a lagoon surrounded by high cliffs. It is the absolute sky. We went with Sea Kayak Krabi and they were excellent.
28. Go to a waterfall
Thailand is full of waterfalls. You can hike to one in almost all major tourist areas. But we loved the waterfall in Kho Samui.
If you swim in the pool under the waterfalls and let the water run over your head, you can cool off on a long, hot day. Find your favorite waterfall in the country and spend the day sunbathing on rocks and cooling off in fresh water.
29th Chiang Mai Temple Tour
Chiang Mai is full of temples. In fact, there are more than 300 temples to discover.
A visit to the temples of Chiang Mai is a highlight of every trip to Thailand. Monks walk the grounds and study Buddhism. At Wat Suan Dok, you can even see monks singing every week.
30. Doi Suthep
Just a few miles outside of Chiang Mai is the beautiful Doi Suthep Temple. Rent a taxi, a tuk-tuk or a tomb taxi to take you to the temple in the early morning and avoid the crowds.
Walk the 309 steps to the complex, where we could enjoy an exceptional panoramic view of Chiang Mai and a stunning scene of golden temples.
Ayutthaya is just over an hour from Bangkok and is a popular day trip. Ayuthaya dates from the 13th century and is the former ancient capital of Siam.
Ayutthaya Archaeological Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with many historic temples.
32nd mountain bike, Chiang Rai
We did a mountain bike tour from the streets of Chiang Rai to the surrounding countryside. Cycling on impressive hills and rice paddies was a challenging yet entertaining ride.
It's amazing how fast you get out of the busy streets into the quiet farmlands.
We did not encounter single lane mountain biking, but the trails and trails were great fun and we had to finish the ride on a long tail boat back to town. You must add this to your list of things you can do in Thailand.
33. Hang out in Pai
Pai is a relaxed and popular hotspot for backpackers, hippies and artists.
It is a great place to relax, enjoy the hot springs and explore the waterfalls.
34. Eat street food
Some of our best restaurants in Thailand were out in the street. Just make sure that you only eat cooked food. Street foods in Thailand are generally safe. It is fresh, well cooked and there is a high turnover of food. Look for street vendors with long lines and places where the locals eat.
35. Railway market
Take a 70km trip from Bangkok to Maeklong Market.
The train travels through the center of this world-famous market, with the wheels only a few inches away from the beautifully landscaped fruits and vegetables displayed along the edges of the route.
Sea caves, canoes and culture on the islands of Thailand
Things to do in Chiang Mai
Staying in Bangkok – A guide to the best neighborhoods