Thailand, the Land of Smiles, is a paradise on Earth. I should know; I’ve been living here for the past ten years.
The country has a rich cultural history, with glittering temples jutting out of the lush-green forest canopies. However, visiting Thailand is more than just visiting temples.
Thailand is a treasure trove of vivid, ethereal, and fathomless natural beauty, with limestone cliffs overlooking the turquoise sea like ancient sentinels, longtail boats resting on reflective white sands, underwater theatrics of coral reefs, and dreamy lakes & tranquil nature parks.
In addition to delectable street food, unparalleled shopping, relaxing massages, and bestial Muay Thai, Muay Boran, and Muay Chaiya, the country offers a variety of other mortal pleasures.
If visiting Thailand is on your bucket list, this list of the top 10 very best things to do in Thailand will help you get started.
Top 10 Very Best Things to do in Thailand: TL;DR
- Khao Yai National Park
- Khao Sok National Park
- Street Food Tour (Chiang Mai)
- Elephant Nature Park
- The Grand Palace
- Thai Massage
- Muay Thai Fight
- Full Moon Party
- Floating Market
- Thai Cooking Class
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Best Places To Visit in Thailand | Top 10 Very Best Things To Do in Thailand
Top 10 Very Best Things to do in Thailand
1. Find Peace at Khao Yai National Park
Nothing is more peaceful than Mother Nature cradling your withered soul on her lap. If that’s what you’re looking for, head to the Khao Yai National Park, Thailand’s first national park and one of Asia’s largest monsoon forests.
The Khao Yai National Park in central Thailand is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that covers 2,168 square kilometers and is home to over 300 bird species.
The park, which is laced with mountains, forests, and hiking trails, can provide you with glimpses of wild elephants, macaques, gibbons, bears, and deer.
Pro Tip: Don’t miss a couple of picture-perfect and majestic waterfalls that are easily accessible by car.
2. Step Into the Unspoilt Khao Sok National Park
The Khao Sok National Park is one of the best-preserved and unspoiled areas in southern Thailand. The famous Cheow Lan Lake, with limestone cliffs protruding from the still waters, is at its heart.
The lake is home to some unusual flora and fauna that can be found nowhere else in Thailand.
The national park, which is one of the least populated areas in the country, has beautiful scenery.
The enchanting silence is occasionally broken by the whooshing wind and a plethora of animal calls, which only add to the peaceful tranquillity that blankets the area.
Pro Tip: Spend a night in a floating tent on a calm lake and you will never want to wake up. Top 10 Very Best Things To Do in Thailand
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3. Go On a Delectable Street Food Tour
If you’re in Thailand, eat street food. Chiang Mai, in northern Thailand, is the best place to try street food.
The city is a cultural melting pot of international and local cultures, as well as a popular destination for digital nomads. It’s no surprise that people there seek out cheap food.
Hundreds of street food stalls in Chiang Mai cater to people’s needs with delicious street food ranging from the popular and delicious local Khao Soi (my favourite Thai dish) to steamed buns, stewed pork legs, crispy roasted ducks, and more.
Pro Tip: Try the local Khao Soi – for as little as 50baht (just over $1), you’ll get a bowl of fresh noodles topped with crispy noodles, red onions, and lime and covered in the most amazing curry sauce with pork or chicken. Amazing!
4. Interact With the Gentle Giants at the Elephant Nature Park
Elephants, like luscious Thai food, are an important part of Thai culture. Thailand’s National Animal is the elephant.
At the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand, you can have an unforgettable experience interacting with these gentle giants.
As a rescue and rehabilitation centre as well as an elephant sanctuary, this location will provide you with numerous opportunities to interact with rescue elephants who have had a difficult life.
Pro Tip: Spend a memorable stay at Elephant Hills, Thailand’s first luxury tented camps. Top 10 Very Best Things To Do in Thailand
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5. Visit The Grand Palace
The Grand Palace, Bangkok’s most famous tourist attraction, oozes gold-dripping splendour that exudes a romantic vibe when lit by the soft rays of the setting sun.
The Grand Palace served as the residence of the Kings of Siam beginning in 1782. (now Thailand). Not only is the Grand Palace magnificent, but so are the surrounding structures.
When you enter the Grand Palace grounds, you will enter a different era, with Royal residences, civic buildings, and temples all designed in exotic traditional Thai architecture.
Pro Tip: Don’t miss Wat Pho (home to Thailand’s largest reclining Buddha), Emerald Buddha, and Wat Arun, all of which are nearby (the Temple of Dawn).
6. Experience a Quintessential Thai Massage
To truly understand Thai culture, you must have a traditional Thai massage, which involves a lot of cracking, slapping, pulling, and walking on your back.
You’ll be surprised, but when it’s finished, you’ll not only feel relaxed, but you’ll also feel the blood rushing through your pulsating veins.
A relaxing traditional Thai massage can cost as little as $6 per hour, but in reputable parlors, prices can reach $15 per hour.
Pro Tip: Massage scams in the name of happy endings should be avoided. Yes, they exist, but look for an authentic Thai massage parlor with open pricing. Top 10 Very Best Things To Do in Thailand
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7. Witness a Brutal Muay Thai Fight
A trip to this Southeast Asian country would be incomplete without seeing a Muay Thai fight.
Muay Thai, also known as Thai Boxing, is Thailand’s national sport, and as such, there are fights and training centres all over the country, though Bangkok is the best place to see a ring fight.
If you want to see something a little more brutal, go see a Muay Boran fight. It is not considered a sport because it was born on a battlefield and is extremely lethal. Muay Chaiya, which is also not a ring sport, is rife with similar brutality.
If this appeals to you, a local guide can (possibly) arrange for admission to a school like Muay Sangha, which is located 5 kilometers from the center of Chiang Mai.
Pro Tip: Visit the Lumpinee Stadium in Bangkok to see a Muay Thai ring fight. You can also take a quick lesson if you want.
8. Vibe at a Full Moon Party
If you like to party, attending a Full Moon Party on Koh Pha-Ngan island is one of the best things to do in Thailand.
A Full Moon Party is an all-night dance party where you can eat exquisite Thai food and order the famous Thai Bucket, which serves your favourite drink in a bucket mixed with coke and ice.
If you miss one of the Full Moon Parties, which happens once a month, there are Half Moon Parties, which are still a lot of fun but not as big. Top 10 Very Best Things To Do in Thailand
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9. Visit the Floating Markets
Make it a point to see the floating markets when you visit Thailand.
The Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, located 60 miles outside of Bangkok, is the most famous of these markets.
Locals fill their boats with fresh produce, handicrafts, spices, and various local souvenirs, which they sell to other boat owners or people on the sidewalk.
Another popular floating market is Samut Songkhram’s Amphawa Floating Market, which is only open in the afternoons.
Also, the Taling Chan Weekend Floating Market, which is mostly visited by locals, is worth a visit.
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10. Take a Thai Cooking Class
After feasting on delectable street food such as Pad Thai, you can amp up the fun by enrolling in cooking classes.
Such cooking classes are available throughout Thailand, including Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Phuket.
I recommend taking a morning class because they always start by taking you to a local Thai market to purchase all of the ingredients, which is a fascinating experience in and of itself.
If you’re not a natural chef like me, learning the basics of Thai cuisine is great for future home-cooked dishes, though it never tastes the same!
If you love Thai food, however, taking a cooking class allows you to see how they simply add spices and sauces to create the most amazing curries, and you get to eat everything you cook! Top 10 Very Best Things To Do in Thailand
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Other Things to do in Thailand
Believe me, what you’ve read thus far is only the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more that one list is insufficient. Here is a list of additional things to do in Thailand: