From frenetic towns to jungle wildernesses, Thailand is a country full of variety for anyone looking to indulge their inner explorer. There’s so much to love about this incredibly diverse destination, wherever your interests lie you’ll create experiences to last a lifetime – but there are some essentials you should try to fit into your Thai adventure if at all possible…
Visit a Street Market
Whether it’s food, clothing or electronics, the street markets of Thailand are a must. Get ready to haggle, and throw yourself into the unique mix of sights, sounds and smells!
Chatuchak Market – The largest outdoor market in the world, join over 200,000 visitors wandering over 8,000 stalls across 35 acres. The stock is incredibly diverse. If you can imagine it, Catauchak Market most likely sells it!
Floating Markets – Watch as boats are piled high with local cooked food and fruit, prepared and sold on board. Walk along the riverside or take your own boat tour, with some of the most popular floating markets including Khlong Lat Mayom and Amphawa.
Food Markets – If you’re searching for that perfect Pad Thai, the nightly food markets are always worth a wander. Yom Jinda Road in Old Town Rayong is highly rated, with Silom Road in Bangkok’s business district always full of great tasting options for busy workers.
Go Ziplining in Chiang Mai
What better way to see the jungle than on a zipline? Chiang Mai boasts the longest ziplines in Thailand, with some reaching over 600 metres! With the help of expert instructors, it generally takes two to three hours to complete a full course. It’s a fun, physical way to explore the jungle canopies of Thailand. Don’t forget to invest in a GoPro, to avoid missing out on capturing nature as it flies past your eyes!
Experience Buddhist Temples
Thailand is famous for its temples – and with over 40,000 temples across the country, you’ll never have to go far from your path to visit one during your travels. Wat Arun, or the ‘Temple of Dawn’, is famed for its eye-catching 230 foot spire. Arrive at sunset to see the temple begin to light up at night, looking out over the Chao Praya River. Wat Pho is the home of the emerald Buddha, intricately carved to immense detail from one single block of jade. Or while in Bangkok, visit one of its oldest temples at Wat Pura Kaew – with the 160 foot long reclining Buddha one of the temple’s highlights.
Visit an Elephant Conservation Centre
Come face to face with one of the world’s most magnificent animals with a visit to an elephant rescue centre in Thailand. Most offer day visits or a tour of the grounds, where you’ll be able to observe them in their natural environment, and learn about the lives of elephants in Thailand and how their habitats are being managed and protected.
If you’re lucky enough to be staying in Thailand for a longer period of time, you might also want to explore the opportunity of volunteering at one of these centres, and contributing directly to the welfare of elephants in Thailand.
Laze on Paradise Beaches
Thailand has extraordinary diversity in its natural beauty, highlighted perfectly in Thailand’s selection of stunning beaches. With soft white sands and clear seas framed by coconut groves – and plenty of opportunity to island hop – you’ll find it easy to discover your own vision of the perfect beach.
Koh Phi Phi Lee was made famous as the location for the 2000 film The Beach, today a national park but open to tourists. Fans of the film can also head to Haew Suat, the spectacular waterfall which featured as the entrance to their paradise.
Ko Samui is always a popular choice for backpackers seeking adventure in a breathtakingly beautiful location. But those seeking the quieter life will find the Ko Lanta district has plenty of spots to be alone.
Go on a Mountain Trek
Perhaps not the most relaxing of ways to explore Thailand, but certainly one of the most rewarding. And for those who challenge themselves by strapping on their hiking boots, they will be rewarded with majestic views over Thailand’s mountainous inland terrain.
While up in the hills, don’t miss the chance to take a tour and visit local tribes, giving you a window into authentic village life in Thailand. One popular choice is Chiang Mai as a base for visiting the Karen tribe, with lots of opportunity to see the wildlife up close while ascending ancient trails.
Richard Harbourne, Travel Counsellor
Thailand is a country I have had the pleasure to visit 13 times and it is one of my favourite destinations. The Thai people are amongst the friendliest in the world and are very accommodating. I lived in a town called Pattaya for 4 months for around 10 years when I decided to go travelling and see Asia. I got settled very quickly and fell in love with the place. I have also visited Phuket in recent trips which is Thailand’s largest Island and sits in the deep blue waters of Anadaman Sea. Phuket has some of the best diving in the world in the crystal clear waters and unspoilt beaches and also has vibrant nightlife but not so much as Pattaya.