Sawasdee ka – hello!
If you are planning a holiday to Thailand you’ve come to the right place. We hope this post will help to kickstart your imagination and help you to start putting an itinerary together to best squeeze in all the exciting things there are to do in this amazing country!
To get some inspiration you can watch our Introduction to Thailand video here:
One of the most important things to consider is seasonality. Generally the weather is typically:
November to April : Bangkok, the east, northern Thailand and the Andaman coast and islands (warm/hot, sunny days with little/no rain. Temperatures from 25 – 35c)
May/June to October : rainy season for Bangkok, the east, northern Thailand and the Andaman coast and islands (hot, humid and tropical rain showers. Temperatures around 30c)
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December to September : Gulf of Thailand – Koh Samui, Koh Phangnan and Koh Tao (warm/hot, sunny days with little/no rain. Temperatures from 25 – 35c)
October and November : rainy season for Samui, Koh Phangnan and Koh Tao (hot, humid and tropical rain showers. Temperatures around 30c)
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Tip: Look out for travel sales and ‘off peak’ offers if you want to book the best value fares and packages.
April is the hottest month (38c) but also when the nation celebrates Thai new year so if you don’t mind the heat it is definitely worth a visit to experience one of Thailand’s most fun festivals. Plus, Sonkgran is a water based festival so it’s easy to cool off!`
For more information on when other festivals take place, from cultural to international fashion, film, music and sports events, check out the WHAT’S ON pages on our website. It’s an added bonus to your travels if you have the opportunity to get involved in one of these special occasions.
We are are often asked what the ‘not to be missed’ things to do, so here are our TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN THAILAND:
1 The Grand Palace – over 200 years old and the No.1 attraction in Bangkok. Also see the Emerald Buddha and nearby Wat Pho, home to the largest reclining Buddha in Thailand. Another must see is Wat Arun, the Temple of Dawn which is stunning from a distance and intriguing close up, with its mosaic detailing, as you climb to the top. Visit by night too for a completely different view of the temple as it sparkles like gold.
2 The Golden Triangle – situated in Chiang Rai and the gateway to the Mekong where Thailand, Laos and Myanmar all meet. Visit the view point to overlook into all 3 countries or take a boat across the river to visit them.
3 Elephant Camps – the elephant is Thailand’s national symbol and a revered animal. Get up close and personal, train to become a ‘mahout’ and learn more about these magnificent animals at:
- Chiang Dao Elephant Camp, Chiang Mai
- Elephant Conservation Centre, Lampang
- Anantara Resort, Chiang Mai
- Elephant Hills, Khao Sok National Park
- Elephants World, Kanchanaburi
Tourism Thailand supports a ‘no riding’, ‘no trekking’ policy and encourages tourists to enjoy camps and safaris where animal welfare, rehabilitation and care is the primary focus. Read more about responsible elephant tourism here.
4Island Hopping – Thailand has over 5,000 miles of coastline just waiting to be explored. Travel by longtail boat and explore as many beaches and islands as possible! See Phang Nga Bay and the limestone rocks that are so famously photographed.
Mix ‘n Match in the Andaman:
Phuket, Khao Lak, Phi Phi Islands, Koh Yao Noi, Koh Racha, Krabi, Koh Lanta, Trang, Koh Kradan
Mix ‘n Match in the Gulf:
5 Hill Tribe Villages – Akha, Lisu, Hmong and Karen tribes are found across the north of Thailand. Spend a day or a few nights with a local family to learn and experience their way of life.
6 Festivals – visitors are very welcome to join in local celebrations. Must see events include Loi Krathong and the famous floating lanterns in November, Songkran/Thai New Year water festival in April, and the Naga Fireballs in October – a natural phenomenon that occurs just once a year. Plan your next trip around an exciting festival using our calendar of key events.
7 Floating Markets – get there early to avoid crowds and get the best bargains. Don’t forget your camera as these markets are very colourful! See also a previous blog post about Bangkok’s floating markets here.
- Damnoen Saduak, Ratchaburi is the most famous of the floating markets and is located 100 kilometres southwest of Bangkok en route to Hua Hin/Cha-am
- Amphawa Floating Market, Samut Songkhram. Open in the afternoons and situated next to a temple
- Taling Chan Weekend Floating Market, Bangkok. Only recently discovered by tourists, the market is entirely authentic and frequented by locals.
8 Kanchanaburi – visit Death Railway, Bridge over the River Kwai, take a train journey along the line and pop by the thought provoking cemetery and nearby Thailand Railway museum. Go for the day or stay in the area for a few nights and book a floating river raft for a serene overnight stay in the jungle.
9 Ancient Ruins & National Parks – take a bike ride around the ancient city of Sukhothai or visit the famous Buddha statues in Ayutthaya. Thailand is a country with diverse landscapes so visit one of the many stunning national parks, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, or waterfalls to experience the best of green tourism:
- Doi Inthanon National Park – Thailand’s highest peak, Chiang Mai
- Pha Daeng National Park, Chiang Dao, Chiang Mai
- Khao Yai National Park – considered one of Asia’s largest monsoon forests and a UNESCO world heritage site, Nakhon Ratchasima
- Sai Yok National Park – several waterfalls, caves and particularly rare animals, Kanchanaburi
- Khao Sok National Park – considered the greatest in southern Thailand, Surat Thani
- Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park – towering limestone cliffs, caves and beaches. The park’s lagoons and coastal marshlands are excellent for birdwatching, Prachuap Khiri Khan
- Phang-nga National Park, Phang Nga Bay
- Tarutao National Park, Satun, near Trang -Phi Phi Islands National Park, Hat Noppharat Thara, Krabi.
- Phimai Historical Park – 12th century Khmer ruins, Nakhon Ratchasima
- Phanom Rung Historical Park – Ancient Khmer ruin, dating from the 12th century, constructed of sandstone, Buri Ram, lower north east waterfalls
- Khao Sai Dao Waterfall – wildlife sanctuary, 16-level waterfall that flows year round, Chanthaburi, near Trat
- Erawan Waterfall – Seven tiers of waterfalls, each feeding freshwater pools you can swim in, Kanchanaburi Province
- Thilosu Waterfall – considered by many to be the most beautiful waterfall in Southeast Asia, Chiang Mai.
10 Shop ’til you drop! From street stalls and markets to modern malls you can shop at every turn in Thailand! Shopping centres are open from 10am to 10pm and most have Foodlofts for lunch, snacks and dinner.
- Chatuchak (JJ) Weekend Market (Sat/Sun), all day
- Asiatique Night Market (riverside), open 4pm – midnight, seven days a week
- MBK, Platinum, Terminal 21 shopping centres at market prices
- Central Embassy, EM Quartier, Siam Paragon, Central World, Gaysorn Plaza, Emporium for brand name shops.
- Chiang Mai Night Bazaar, daily from 6pm
- Wualai Walking Street Saturday Market, from 2pm.
There are a variety of shops and local markets throughout the north and north east that specialise in local handicrafts, wooden carvings, silverware, silks, pottery and furniture. Korat and Khao Yao in Nakhon Ratchasima have a popular night market and Premium Outlet Village.
An excuse to shop can be found at every corner you turn in Thailand, even on the beaches and islands! All the major resorts offer local evening and weekend markets for clothes, souvenirs, homewares and much more.
Phuket has several shopping malls including Central Festival and Jungceylon. Pattaya is also home to Central Festival. Hua Hin has a very popular night market and two shopping centre outlets are situated near to Cha-am.
Use our handy At A Glance Guide to start planning your journey around Thailand. You can use the key to include any of our Top 10 Things To Do In Thailand activities. The map also has travel and transport information for planes, trains and buses.
We also have a selection of HD videos on our You Tube channel including Thailand Top 10 Things To Do, hotels (luxury, family, boutique), and 16 different experiences from cycling, kite surfing, spa, food & wine, elephants, home stays to families and rainforest adventures.
If you have any questions about weather, currency, language etc. check out our website for Fast Facts and FAQs. If you are still unsure of anything please feel free to contact our information team based in London, office details below.
You can read about other travellers experiences and travel tips at ‘Your Stories’ on Facebook too. A dedicated app where people have shared funny stories to romantic proposals, their favourite restaurants, hotels and beaches plus pictures from their holidays, it’s a great place to learn more about Thailand from those who have already been.
Our About Us page has more details about how you can contact our friendly Tourism Thailand team and the range of maps, booklets and general information that we can send you.
We hope this has helped you get started on planning your amazing holiday to Thailand. Keep in touch via Facebook and we look forward to hearing your own travel tales on Thailand Reunited when you get back!