5 Amazing Places to Visit in Thailand

With travel happening all across the globe, lately people have been asking me about one of my favorite countries – Thailand.

So all of this week, I’m going to tell you a little bit about 5 amazing places in Thailand!

So stay tuned all this week!  Your next vacation might just be one of these places!  The Land of Smiles calls…

Bangkok

Bangkok is the capital and most populated city of Thailand.  The city sits in the Chao Phraya River delta near the mouth of the river.

Bangkok is known for its street life and shopping, as well as cultural landmarks such as Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn), Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha), Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha), and the Grand Palace.

Bangkok, also known as Krung Thep, is apparently the nickname for the city.  The ceremonial name is “Krungthepmahanakhon Amonrattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilokphop Noppharatratchathaniburirom Udomratchaniwetmahasathan Amonphimanawatansathit Sakkathattiyawitsanukamprasit!”

In Thai, it looks like this – กรุงเทพมหานคร อมรรัตนโกสินทร์ มหินทรายุธยา มหาดิลกภพ นพรัตนราชธานีบูรีรมย์ อุดมราชนิเวศน์มหาสถาน อมรพิมานอวตารสถิต สักกะทัตติยวิษณุกรรมประสิทธิ์

The English translation – City of angels, great city of immortals, magnificent city of the nine gems, seat of the king, city of royal palaces, home of gods incarnate, erected by Vishvakarman at Indra’s behest.

Phuket

Thailand’s largest island sits on the west side of the Thai peninsula in the Andaman Sea.  Phuket is a tourist hotspot known for its beaches and nightlife.

The beaches on the southern part of the island can be busy and crowded, but the northern part of the island is quite tranquil.

And if you want to see some spectacular sunsets, visit Laem Phromthep… it’s been said that the most beautiful sunsets in Thailand are seen here!

Chiang Mai

Set in Thailand’s mountains in the north, Chiang Mai is a sprawling, modern city nestled among its ancient past.  Founded in 1296, many parts of the original Old City remain, such as walls and moats.

Home to hundreds of beautifully elaborate Buddhist temples that are adorned and carved with serpents, you could spend over a week just trying to visit them all!  A couple of the more famous temples include Wat Phrathat Dot Suthep, a temple in the hills where you can climb 300 stair steps to get to it and is the most revered and famous temple in Chiang Mai… Wat Chedi Luang is a temple complex that dates back to 1385 and is the former home of the Emerald Buddha, it’s the most famous temple in the Old City with the main chedi at 80 meters tall making it the highest point in Chiang Mai’s Old City… and Wat Lok Moli with its beautiful 3-tiered wooden roof and weathered chedi dating back to the 14th century, and even though the temple is centrally located, it’s hidden so most tourists miss it.

But if the temples weren’t enough for you, check out the vibrant Night Bazaar and the Botanical Gardens!

Chiang Rai

Chiang Rai is the northernmost major city in Thailand near the borders of Laos and Myanmar (formerly Burma).

Two of the many must-see places in Chiang Rai… Wat Rong Khun, also known as the White Temple, is actually an art exhibit in the style of a Buddhist temple.  Among the traditional Thai artwork you may also find the faces of Michael Jackson, Darth Vader, Pokemon, and Hello Kitty.  Wat Phra Kaew, originally called Wat Pa Yia, is the city’s most revered Buddhist temple.  Legend has it that in 1434, lighting struck the temple’s chedi and revealed the Phra Kaew Morakot (Emerald Buddha).  The Emerald Buddha made a long journey to Bangkok where it is now housed in a temple of the same name.

Ko Samui

Ko Samui is Thailand’s second largest island and second most-popular island destination after Phuket.  It is located on the east side of the Thailand peninsula in the Gulf of Thailand.

The tropical jungle rainforest interior has beautiful waterfalls, while the outer rim of the island has amazing palm-fringed beaches lined with coconut groves with equally spectacular resorts.

Beaches are the main attraction on the island.  Ko Samui beaches are lively with few quieter beaches that feature some of the finest 5-star resorts in the world.  Other attractions include Wat Khunaram, Wat Phra Yai, a butterfly garden, a snake farm, and Grandmother and Grandfather Rocks.

BONUS- Ayutthaya

Once one of the world’s wealthiest cities, Ayutthaya was the capital of Siam from 1350 until 1767 when the Burmese sacked and razed it.  Now dozens of ruins are scattered throughout the modern city, standing to give us a glimpse of its past.

The ruins of the old city form the Ayutthaya Historical Park.  It is an archaeological site that contains palaces, temples, and statues.  The park is on an island at the confluence of three rivers and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  The ruins are not a desolate place, as the Buddha statues (or remnants of them) are still draped in saffron yellow robes and lotus flowers dot temple altars.  

BONUS- Kanchanaburi

Located in west Thailand, you could spend a week here and still not see it all.  Kanchanaburi is famously known for the Thai-Burmese Death Railway, which was immortalized in the movie “Bridge on the River Kwai.”  You can walk over the bridge (or ride), and parts of the bridge are from the original structure.

Other places to visit while in Kanchanaburi include:

  • The Thailand Burma Railway Center & Kanchanaburi War Cemetery
  • War Museum at the Bridge
  • The Hellfire Pass & Memorial Museum
  • Chungkai Cemetary
  • The ruins at Prasat Muang Singh National Park
  • JEATH War Museum
  • Erawan National Park
  • Khuean Srinagarindra National Park
  • Sai Yok Yai waterfall

Thailand is a beautiful country… you just can’t see it all in one trip.  But I definitely suggest visiting at least once in your life!


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