In spite of its periodic political turmoil, Thailand continues to be a favorite tourist destination. The country hosts a wide array of tourist attractions in the form of temples, white sand beaches, lush forests and national parks and bustling markets.
Further, Thailand’s well-priced flavorful native cuisine attracts fans from around the world, while its vibrant hospitality industry features options for all travel budgets. There is something for every taste and preference in Thailand and the congenial Thai people enthusiastically welcome guests to discover the many charms of their country.
Listed below are some of most popular tourist hotspots in Thailand.
Located in the north of the country, Chiang Mai is often referred to as Thailand’s ‘Rose of the North.' an ancient city, Chiang Mai dates back more than 700 years. King Meng Rai the Great founded Chiang Mai as the capital of the Lanna Kingdom on April 12th 1296. Over the years, Chiang Mai has grown to become a significant cultural hub of the north.
Modern-day Chiang Mai features a fascinating landscape where ancient pagodas and temples stand cheek by jowl with stores and hotels. Visitors to Chiang Mai use the city as a base for trekking and rafting trips to the surrounding hills though they do enjoy exploring the many points of interest within the city as well.
Apart from temples and pagodas, the scenic city hosts several elephant camps, cooking and massage schools, handicraft workshops and so forth. Additionally, Chiang Mai is also home to diverse indigenous tribes and tourists to the city enjoy exploring the many cultures and ethnicities on offer.
Krabi is located on the southeastern coast of Thailand, approximately 800 kilometers to the south of Bangkok. Krabi is renowned for its natural beauty and features a landscape dotted with an abundance of tropical isles, palm-fringed beaches, tumbling waterfalls, and craggy limestone formations and caves.
The tourist scene in Krabi is relatively new, and it is being carefully developed in order to avoid the rampant commercialization evident in many other Thai resorts.
The pace in Krabi is unhurried as the province exudes a laid-back feeling. Many of the province’s white sand beaches are accessible only by boat, and this somewhat helps control commercial interests. Krabi town and the beach areas of Ao Nang, Phra Nang and Rai Ley host a variety of accommodations including beach villas and small hotels.
The province also encompasses two National Parks, the Hat Noppharat Thara-Ko Phi Phi National Park and the Ko Lanta National Park. While the former hosts many beaches and the famed Phi Phi islands, the latter plays host to the island, Ko Lanta Yai, abode of the Chao Le people or sea gypsies.
Krabi is popular as a day trip option from resort towns like Phuket for in addition to its stunning scenery it offers a wealth of recreational activities like diving, kayaking, sailing, bird-watching, trekking and island hopping.
Pai is an old city situated on the left bank of the Pai River in northern Thailand. The city served as an important regional centre during the Lanna period. In the late 1970’s, Pai was controlled by the KMT and it was a hotspot for the opium trade. Pai was cleaned up during the 1980’s and soon served as a pit stop for bus travelers from Chiang Mai en route to Mae Hong Son. Pai currently enjoys a reputation of a rather bohemian destination home to many inter-racial couples. These couples many of who have relocated from larger cities operate cafes, guesthouses, lifestyle and jewelry stores that primarily cater to the tourists who frequent Pai. Not really a destination for sightseeing, Pai offers various recreational activities like trekking, elephant riding, bamboo rafting and so forth.
Koh Lipe, also known as Paper Island because of its topography is the southernmost Thai island situated in the Andaman Sea. It can be easily accessed from the mainland as well as neighboring Malaysia. The main island is a much developed island resort, which hosts three main beaches. An abundance of shops, restaurants, bars, massage centers populate Koh Lipe’s main Walking Street as they cater to the year round tourist traffic arriving on the island.
Pattaya Beach is Koh Lipe’s main beach. Renowned for its power soft white sand and crystal blue waters attracts hordes of tourists all year round. As a result, it hosts several hotels, resorts and guesthouses along with restaurants and bars. Other beaches on Koh Lipe include Sunrise Beach (Hat Chao Ley) that is home to the islands Chao Ley people or Sea Gypsies and Sunset Beach (Hat Pramong), another tranquil but scenic locale. Koh Lipe is within easy reach of several uninhabited islands; as a result, island-hopping aboard long tail island boats is yet another popular activity available on the island.
Cashew-shaped Ko Tao or Turtle Island is a prominent destination for diving in Thailand. The island, which forms part of the Suratthani Archipelago on the western shore of the Gulf of Thailand, is famed for offering sightings of whale sharks. As a result, throngs of dive enthusiasts head to the island year round. However, Ko Tao is not simply a dive resort for it offers a variety of recreational activities like hiking and yoga.
Phuket, the largest island in Thailand is an immensely popular beach resort. Almost the same size as Singapore, Phuket is easily accessible from several major Asian cities like Singapore, Bangkok, Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur. The island hosts several gorgeous beaches and is ideally suited for a fun in the sun holiday. Patong is Phuket’s busiest beach town, and it accordingly reeks of commercialization as it abounds with stores, malls, massage centers, tattoo parlors and more.
Khao Sok National Park
Khao Sok National Park in Southern Thailand is another much frequented tourist destination in Thailand. The park, which encompasses the world’s oldest rainforest also plays host to fascinating karst formations, stunning lakes, exciting cave systems, sparkling waterfalls and more. Khao Sok National Park is easily accessible from other hotspots like Phuket, Koh Samui, Krabi and offers abundant recreational activities like jungle trekking, canoeing, elephant encounters.
Khao Yai is Thailand’s third largest and most visited nature reserve. A UNESCO World Heritage site, it extends over 2186 sq.km and stretches across four provinces, Saraburi, Nakhon Nayok, Nakhon Ratchasima and Prachinburi. The park also encloses a tall peak Khao Rom, which rises to 1351 metres above sea level. Khao Yai‘s stunning landscape includes the world’s largest monsoon forests, tumbling waterfalls, lush valleys and much biodiversity. The park is hosts much indigenous fauna like elephants, tigers, leopards, bears, gibbons and macaques along with large pythons and other snakes and a large population of hornbills.