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20 Best Places to Visit in Thailand in 2022

20 Best Places to Visit in Thailand in 2022

The best places to visit in Thailand will show you an ancient Southeast Asian culture, with incredible food and art, filled with warm and friendly people.

Thailand is a kingdom with a storied history. Among Thailand’s thriving economies is tourism.

Visitors come from around the world to immerse themselves in important art, famous spicy cuisine and beautiful beaches with soft sands and turquoise seas.

But what are the top places to visit in Thailand and what should you see?

In such a vibrant country, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.

That’s why we’ve put together a guide of all the best cities in Thailand and places not to be missed when you visit the Land of Smiles.

Using real travelers’ reviews and editor experiences, we’ve gathered the best cities to visit in Thailand based on attractions, food, hotel options, and ease of travel.

Except for Chiang Mai which is easily and cheaply accessible by air, the best way to travel through Thailand is by train.

It may be a little slower to travel by train, but you can see more of the countryside. Train travel is also quite convenient and easily booked through your hotel or hostel.

Map of Thailand

Thailand is a sprawling country with a mix of famous islands, rural land and jungle. Check out our map of Thailand to help you get a better understanding of the various regions and cities to visit.

Map of Thailand

As you can see Thailand is pretty spread out.

Best Places to Visit in Thailand This Year

Bright Khalasin Building in Thailand

Include these top places to visit in Thailand on your itinerary. Almost every square mile of this age-old world will surprise and delight you.

1. Chiang Mai

A silver temple in Chiang Mai, one of the best places to visit in Thailand.

Undoubtedly one of the best cities in Thailand, Chiang Mai is located in the mountains of northern Thailand.

It’s an old city founded in 1296 when it was the capital of the bygone Lanna Kingdom.

You can still see the moats and walls in the Old City district. There are also tons of Buddhist temples.

You could spend hours exploring the narrow lanes, old buildings, temples and musueums of Chiang Mai’s Old City.

It’s easy to find your way around and a relaxing way to spend a morning or afternoon.

Include a visit to the famous temples of Wat Phra Singh, Wat Chedi Luang and Wat Phan Tao.

Then go to Bo Sang Village, famous in Thailand for colorful, hand-painted umbrellas of all sizes. Buy one or a few for souvenirs.

Two different tribes live in the surrounding mountains. Tourists love the opportunity of a close look into their culture.

On the way to visit them, look through the beautiful, lush forestland for picturesque waterfalls.

If you can, make sure you can make a stop at the Elephant Nature Park to see elephants in their element in a unique setting.

An excellent hotel in Chiang Mai is the Phor Liang Meun Terracotta Arts Hotel. Close to the city gates, this four-star hotel has a restaurant and swimming pool.

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2. Kanchanaburi

One of the best cities to visit in Thailand is known for playing an important part in World War II history.

Kanchanaburi was the site of the Death Railway which crosses the River Khwae Yai at the Death Railway Bridge.

It’s commonly known as the Bridge over the River Kwai.

The original bridge was destroyed by bombs in 1945, but a replica stands in its place and attracts visitors from all over the world.

The JEATH War Museum remembers the prisoners of war who died as they were forced to build the bridge.

Hellfire Pass Memorial caused the deaths of 700 British and Australian soldiers during construction. An adjacent museum details the tragedy.

Tourists can learn about Thailand’s fascinating rail history at the Thailand-Burma Railway Centre.

And also visit the graves of Allied soldiers at the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery. Kanchanaburi does have a sobering war history.

But there is more to this West Thailand town. Erawan Waterfall is perhaps the most beautiful in the whole country.

You can find it in Erawan National Park along with limestone caves in an expansive rainforest.

Natee The Riverfront Hotel Kanchanaburi, with a restaurant and pool, is a superb rated hotel not far from the bridge and museum.

See Related: Best Thai Street Food Dishes to Try

3. Pai

This adorable mountain town is one of the most popular cities in Thailand and has a few incredible temples.

Pai is in the Mae Hong Soon Province in northern Thailand. On the banks of the Pai River, it’s surrounded by hot springs, forested mountains and waterfalls.

Visitors can explore the stalls and shops of Pai Walking Street or find a cafe or bar and simply relax.

There are also many things to do outside of town, like river rafting, hiking and mountain climbing.

The town has a laid-back, natural vibe. The Pai Island Resort is an ideal hotel choice to take advantage of the sheer environmental beauty.

Sunrise in charming Pai, one of the best places to visit in Thailand.

4. Chiang Saen

What is the oldest city in Thailand? With a culture as ancient as Thailand’s, it’s only natural visitors want to see its roots.

Found in the Chiang Rai Province, Chiang Saen is a sleepy river town on Thailand’s border with Myanmar and Laos.

It’s easily accessible by bus from Chiang Rai.

Besides remnants of history that started in the seventh century, there are also temples to explore, such as Wat Pa Sak and Wat Phra That Pha Ngao.

Take a walk along the Mekong River. Be sure to try some delicious Thai food from one of the street vendors.

Then grab a table or mat and enjoy the slow pace of Chiang Saen.

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5. Trang

One of the best places to visit in Thailand is considered the perfect coastal base for exploring the islands and mountains of Trang Province.

It’s called Trang and it’s surrounded by wild beauty, filled with friendly faces and known for amazing food.

Check out their unique blend of Malay, Indian and Indonesian cuisine at the Night Market or Cinta Walking Street.

During the day visitors can easily hop to and from the surrounding islands in the adjacent Indian Ocean by hiring a boat.

There are many islands too, all with white sand beaches and warm waters. Back in Trang, lots of festivals are held throughout the year.

The Hop Inn Trang is a solidly good hotel conveniently located in town with air-conditioning and balconies.

Night markets are found throughout Thailand.

6. Ratchaburi

Ratchaburi is a province and one of the top places to visit in Thailand due to its natural beauty and famous Damneon Saduak floating market.

From boats made out of wood, vendors hawk food and souvenirs in the khlongs or canals. The market is a fun touristy thing to do.

Other big draws are the hot springs of Bo Khlong and Khao Chon terraced waterfall.

Visitors from around the world love the caves and mountains of this scenic province.

A woman sells food in a typical floating market in Thailand.

7. Koh Phangan

This island is one of the best places to visit in Thailand especially if you like a good party,

The all night Full Moon Party is held every month and draws fun-seekers and backpackers to the peninsula of Haad Rin.

The white sand beaches on the other end of the island, Hat Khuat and Hat Thian are more quiet and secluded when you need some peace.

Other than the monthly lunar festivities, this tropical paradise has perfect weather and endless natural beauty.

The beauty doesn’t end on the turquoise water’s surface. World-class scuba diving is easy to book here. You can even get certified if you need to.

Bright, beautiful fish and coral are on vivid display under the gentle waves for both divers and snorkelers.

Koh Phangan has an excellent marketplace in the Thong Sala night market.

Find excellent seafood, amazing street food, and other local cuisine here.

For a few baht, rent a motorbike or scooter for independent exploring. Or, head to the hills for a gorgeous hike.

We suggest going full-on resort here. Treat yourself to the extra amenities and privacy at any of the beautiful retreats like Baan Manali Resort.

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8. Mae Hong Son

The province of Mae Hong Son is another of the top places to visit in Thailand because of its scenic mountain ranges and slower pace.

The province sits in northwestern Thailand on the border with Burma. Mostly shrouded in mist, it has an ethereal vibe.

Few tourists make it here, but the ones that do come seeking peace, quiet and wild natural beauty.

The best way to get to this remote paradise is by flying from Chiang Mai. You can also take a mini-bus but any routes through the mountains are arduous.

You should prepare for a little queasiness because of the switchbacks. But once you’ve reached Mae Hong Son, you’ll be enchanted.

The Fern Resort Mae Hong Son is close to the airport with a free shuttle service. This retreat features charming bungalows with air-conditioning and balconies.

Mae Hong Son has a magical quality and is one of the best cities in Thailand.

9. Koh Chang

One of the best places to visit in Thailand for hiking in unspoiled, rugged beauty is the island of Koh Chang.

Mu Ko Chang National Park has challenging trails with incredible tiered waterfalls. On Koh Chang’s coast, beaches and little towns beckon backpackers.

Lots of wildlife abound and diving and snorkeling the crystal clear waters are popular activities.

Unfortunately, elephant rides are offered, but we don’t recommend them. The animals aren’t usually treated well and you can’t see anything from them anyway.

The only way onto the island is by ferry. Many visitors take the bus, typically from Bangkok or Pattaya, to one of the ferry piers.

For lovely air-conditioned guest accommodations with free wifi and a swimming pool, try Koh Chang Paradise Resort & Spa.

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Best Cities in Thailand to Visit

The provinces and mountain towns have some of the best places to visit in Thailand, but the cities pack a powerful punch.

Dining, entertainment and culture, these are the best cities in Thailand and you can’t miss them.

10. Ayutthaya

Ayutthaya is one of the most popular cities in Thailand because of its history when it served as the capital of the Kingdom of Siam.

The ruins are now a part of the Ayutthaya Historical Park. This archaeological site holds palaces, temples and many statues.

The park sits on an island between three rivers of the Menam, Lopburi and Pasak. You could spend days here learning about the area’s significant history.

The Buddhist temple called Wat Chaiwatthanaram is one of the most visited sites in the park. It’s impressive, beautiful and tells of the Buddhist influence on Thais.

Wat Phra Si Sanphet is the most important temple on the site. It was thoroughly plundered by the Burmese but hundreds of little Buddha statues were spared.

They’re now on display in Bangkok at the National Museum. Many of Ayutthaya’s Buddhas, though, have been scattered around the world.

Visitors can see another famous Buddha at Ayutthaya–a stone head in a tree. After its temple was abandoned, the head ended up in a growing tree.

It’s iconic Thailand but still considered sacred.

The best way to see all of Ayutthaya’s treasures is by renting a bike to travel between the ruins.

It’s recommended to spend at least one night here since there’s so much to see. Baan Luang Harn has a superb rating and offers a swimming pool and garden.

Wat Chaiwattanaram in Ayutthaya, one of the best places to visit in Thailand.

11. Hua Hin

The delightful seaside city of Hua Hin is one of the best places to visit in Thailand and was once a summer residence for the Thai royal family.

Hua Hin is a cosmopolitan resort town with upscale shopping, dining and championship golf. You will find traditional markets too.

This is the ideal retreat for families as it’s laid back with friendly people and easy to get to.

The area was developed largely in the early 1920s when the royal family took an interest in it and had a palace built.

Maruekhathaiyawan Palace is now open to visitors who love to see its Victorian design.

The Hua Hin Train Station is wonderfully Instagrammable because of its unusual Victorian-Thai style. You don’t have to have a ticket to take a souvenir pic.

There are a couple of worthwhile markets too. The Cicada Market is where you can find handmade art.

The Hua Hin Night Market is vibrant and amazing with fresh and cheap seafood for sale alongside other wares.

Visitors also like the Plearn Wan Shopping Village done in a vintage 1960s style. There are shops, cafes and even open-air movies.

For big family fun, plan a day at Black Mountain Water Park. Cool off with water slides, a wave pool, a kids’ pool and a lazy river.

For accommodations, the five-star Hua Hin Marriott Resort and Spa is a full-service hotel with all the modern comforts.

Hua Hin is a cinch to get to. Buses, trains and mini-vans make frequent trips to and from Bangkok.

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12. Krabi Town

Krabi Town’s laidback vibe makes it one of the top places to visit in Thailand and a wonderful chance to experience typical Thai life.

Many visitors pass through Krabi Town on their way to other better-known tourist spots.

But for those that stick around, the friends they make and the treasures they see are worth making Krabi Town a true destination.

Breathtaking scenery aside, Krabi Town is home to both natural attractions and city sights.

Tiger Cave Temple is an iconic wonder and made of caves nestled in the jungle. Monks still live and worship in this beautiful area.

If you can handle the climb, there is a hike up to a limestone tower. At the top are incredible views of the Andaman Sea as well as “the Buddha’s footprint.”

Another totally Instagrammable attraction are the peaks of the Khao Khanab Nam Mountains.

Inside them are caves where many human skeletons have been found–likely ancient people who were trapped there by floodwaters.

The Emerald Pond is a popular swimming hole. Found in the Thung Teao Forest Natural Park, the crystal lagoon is perfect for a post-forest trek dip.

The Krabi Hot Springs is another fantastic place for a dip. Natural bathtubs seemed carved out of rock and are filled with thermal spring water.

Natural mineral salts soothe muscles and are said to cure other ailments. At any rate, taking a soak in the rainforest is as relaxing as any bath can get.

Take an evening stroll along the Krabi Riverside to Thara Park to catch cool sea breezes and watch the boat traffic.

Compared to the hustle and bustle of Thailand’s big cities, this small metro area with so much to do and see feels like an oasis.

The Ingnam Pool Villa is a 4-bedroom house with a pool and free parking. It’s centrally located in Krabi Town and great for groups. 

The sea near Krabi Town, one of the best cities in Thailand.

13. Koh Tao

The island of Koh Tao is on our best cities in Thailand list because of its exciting restaurants and nightclubs and it offers some of the best diving around.

This is a popular place to visit for international tourists as well as Thais. So, it can become crowded on long weekends.

The main attractions are by far the beaches and diving. The only way to reach the island is by boat.

There are many guesthouses and inns available. Cape Shark Villas, however, is a full-service resort with a private beach and is rated highly.

14. Sukothai

One of the best cities to visit in Thailand is another quiet, thoughtful place full of history and culture.

Sukothai is a UNESCO World Heritage City with countless important sites and ruins.

From 1238 until 1438, it was the capital of Siam–the very first–and considered the birthplace of Thai culture.

The name means the dawn of happiness and during its kingdom’s reign, it was a place of great prosperity.

Wat Mahathat is the spiritual center and was once considered the center of the universe.

It’s one of the most photographed temples in the city, especially with its sitting Buddha behind collapsed columns.

Consider renting a motorbike if you want to see all the temples and statues in this fascinating historical site.

The park is not far from the city, but hiring a tuk-tuk is the best way to get there.

Sriwilai Sukhothai is a hotel focused on giving guests a local experience. They offer a spa with a pool and all guestrooms have a private balcony.

Sukothai is one of the best places to visit in Thailand because of its rich history.

15. Lopburi

Lopburi is one of the most popular cities in Thailand due to its famous Macaque monkey population which is thought to bring good luck.

Yes, the wild monkeys are mischievous, but they’re also kind of cute. Bring a sense of humor and don’t look as if you have anything good to eat with you.

Lopburi is also an ancient city with incredible ruins, a palace and Khmer-era temples.

Vendors sell local delicacies like coconut jelly mushrooms alongside souvenirs. The area is quite fascinating and charming.

The best way to get to Lopburi is to take a van, bus or train from Bangkok. The train is slower but way more scenic.

You can easily explore the old city zone where the Khmer temples and ruins (and monkeys!) are on foot.

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16. Phetchaburi

Phetchaburi should be on any culture seeker’s best places to visit in Thailand list as it’s rich in art and lore.

It offers amazing temples and shrines, interesting markets and classic wooden shopping centers.

One of the city’s highlights is Phra Nakhon Khiri Historical Park, which was once a royal summer residence.

This coastal city is also an ancient one adjacent to Thailand’s largest national park. Kaeng Krachan National Park features a large lake, waterfalls and tons of wildlife.

Surrounding the city, high in the hills, are many caves with fascinating shrines and statues–including seated and reclining Buddha figures–deep inside them.

Nearby, a few uncrowded beaches, each with its own vibe, offer a fun way to spend an afternoon sunbathing or swimming.

One of them, Had Puek Tian beach, does not have swimming, but it does have intriguing statues emerging from the water.

Phetchaburi is an art and culture lovers paradise.

Phetchaburi is a culture seeker's must see city to visit in Thailand.

17. Bangkok

The capital city of Bangkok does make it on our top places to visit in Thailand list. It’s a large modern city but also filled with ancient shrines and temples.

It’s also famous for teeming with Thai life and hospitality. Bustling with tourists and residents, Bangkok offers a feast for the senses.

Tour the golden temples, float through the markets on the canals or shop for anything and everything.

The food in Bangkok is divine as well. Whether from a street stall or a world-class restaurant, you’ll discover flavors found nowhere else on the planet.

The city is also known for its nightlife and anything-goes districts. Everywhere you turn in Bangkok, there’s something new to see.

Make the highly rated Chatrium Hotel Riverside Bangkok your home base in the city. It’s a modern highrise with a pool, spa, and several restaurants.

18. Khao Sok National Park 

The stunning Rafflesia kerrii, one of the world’s largest and fluffiest blooms, is only one of the natural wonders waiting in this unusual and beautiful national park in southern Thailand. More than 400 species of birds including hornbills, woodpeckers, barbets, and kingfishers are found here, along with monkeys, elephants, gaurs (wild ox), and boars.

A new road (with a tollgate) provides access to one of Thailand’s best-kept secrets. Towering limestone cliffs, pristine jungle, and amazing wildlife make it a top destination for those looking for an adventure off the beaten path.

Some of the best activities in Khao Sok National Park include exploring the jungle by foot or on an elephant, cruising down the river on a bamboo raft, swimming, and is also one of the best places in Thailand to see the Rafflesia kerrii, the world’s largest flower. This parasitic plant can grow up to 1 meter in diameter and has a pungent smell that attracts insects for pollination.

Phang-Nga province is located on the mainland, just north of Phuk can easily be visited in a day trip from Phuket, but it’s best to stay overnight in the park.

The best way to reach Khao Sok National Park is by road via Takua Pa town. From there, visitors can take a bus to the visitors center of the park. Another option is to take a minibus or taxi directly from Phuk.

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19. Khao Yai National Park

Khao Yai National Park is best known for its wide range of natural habitats and the variety of animal life it supports. The park’s forests comprise many different plant types, including mixed deciduous, evergreen, pine, and teak. It has an abundant population of birds, reptiles, and mammals.

The best time to visit Khao Yai is during the dry season, which lasts from November to April.

Getting to Khao Yai National Park from Bangkok is best done by car or bus. A taxi ride from the capital takes approximately two hours. Regular buses are also available but require a transfer in Pak Chong. The best way to get around K.P. is by hiring a car or motorbike.

There are several entrances to the park, the most popular of which is from Pak Chong.

Khao Yai National Park is Thailand’s oldest and most-visited national park.

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20. Sukhothai Historical Park

When in Thailand, it’s a must-see historical site and UNESCO World Heritage Site to explore at Sukhothai Historical Park. Renting a bike is an excellent way to discover this enormous ancient complex.

The biggest Buddhist temple in the park is Wat Mahathat, which may be the world’s largest with several colossal Buddhas on the floor. The temple has a chedi (pagoda) that soars to sixty-seven meters, making it the tallest in the park.

The best time to visit the park is during the cool season, from November to February.

Sukhothai Historical Park is about a three-hour drive north of Bangkok in Northern Thailand.

Final Thoughts

Whichever way you look at it, Thailand is one of the best tourist destinations in the world. From its stunning natural landscapes and awe-inspiring temples to its delicious cuisine and fascinating culture, there’s something for everyone in Thailand.

So there you have it: twenty must-see places in Thailand. From the natural beauty of Khao Sok and Khao Yai National Parks to the ancient ruins of Sukhothai, these destinations are sure to please everyone.

Don’t forget to add the capital city of Bangkok and Phuket to your itinerary – both cities offer plenty of things to see and do along with a great cultural experience.

FAQ

What part of Thailand should I visit?

If you aren’t sure where to go, then Bangkok would be best because it’s the most developed and still has an interesting culture. It’s a great way to immerse yourself in Thai culture before venturing to more unknown destinations around the country.

Is Thailand a safe place to visit?

Thailand is not the safest place to visit in the world, but it still shouldn’t prohibit you from visiting. Just like any other country that you are traveling to, you need to take the right precautions and always be aware of your surroundings.

What is the coolest place in Thailand?

Some great places to visit in Thailand are Hua Hin Beach, James Bond Island (Koh Tapu), Krabi Coastal Town, Chiang Mai Night Market, and Koh Phi Phi. Don’t miss these amazing destinations on your first trip.

Be sure not to just focus on temples and tourism attractions. Remember that there is a ton of great natural scenery, hiking trails, stunning waterfalls, and national parks here.

When is the best time to visit Thailand?

The best time to visit Thailand is during the dry season which usually runs from November through April.

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