Thailand is a country which has scope for many once-in-a-lifetime travel experiences.The trick then lies in deciding the right ones for your trip.

The good news is, we have already done the homework for you. Our comprehensive list of the 23 best sightseeing experiences in Thailand covers everything the country is famous for – beaches, temples, island tours, national parks and its abundant natural beauty.

Temples and Monuments

1. White Temple/ Wat Rong Khun

White Temple

From the second you walk into this temple complex, you are left speechless. The exterior is an architectural masterpiece, with many statues and faces of demons, the eye for detail in each, more than impressive.

The interiors would astonish you even more. The images of Kung Fu Panda, Batman, Superman, Michael Jackson and Star war characters adorn the walls.

In your disbelief, you might just miss the seated Golden Buddha. There is a small seating area next to the Buddha where you can sit and offer prayers.

Cost: INR 100/ USD 2
Location: Bangkok

2. Wat Arun

Wat Arun

Wat Arun is the most photographed temple in Thailand, it’s 200 feet tall spire visible from a mile away.

The temple is best visited in the evening, when its glittering golden shadow lights up the adjacent Chao Phraya River.

The climb to the top of its spire is steep and can be a bit scary, but an unadulterated view of the river and the nighttime Bangkok skyline make it totally worth the effort.

Entrance Fee: INR 200/ USD 3
Location: Bangkok

3. Sanctuary of Truth

Every piece of this magnificent structure is made entirely of wood. Sanctuary of Truth is more of a heritage monument, its 350 foot tower piercing the skies.

It’s on the edge of a beach and away from the hustle and bustle of Pattaya city. You can enjoy some tranquil moments admiring the intricate work and sweeping views of the ocean.

The traditional dance performances at the monument are entertaining too.

Entrance Fee: INR 1000/ USD 16
Location: Pattaya

4. Wat Pho

Wat Pho

It’s the house of the reclining golden Buddha, an imposing 150 feet statue – the main highlight of the temple.Wat Pho houses the highest collection of Buddha images in Thailand.

It’s also the birthplace of traditional Thai massage. Needless to say, it’s an experience you should not miss.

Entrance Fee: INR 200 / USD 3
Location: Bangkok

Zoo/ Aquarium

5. Safari World

Safari World

Safari world is Africa’s Savannah brought into Bangkok’s very own backyard. The highlight of the zoo is the interaction it allows with the animals.

You can feed Giraffes, play a game of Frisbee with adorable sea lions, watch dolphins jump in the air and click selfies with a bunch of friendly orangutans.

Apart from sharing space with exotic animals from all corners of the world, there are plenty of exciting animal shows to keep you occupied throughout the day.

Cost: INR 2300/ USD 36
Location: Bangkok

6. Sea Life Ocean World

Sea Life Ocean world is one of the largest aquariums in Southeast Asia with more than 30000 marine species.Its uniqueness though, lies in the experience.

A glass tube is the only thing separating you from massive sharks casually passing by. If you have the heart for it, you can even scuba dive with them.

Befriending turtles and adorable penguins are all part of this fun filled experience. If you are traveling with kids, this is a must see.

Cost: INR 1400/ USD 22
Location: Bangkok

National parks

7. Erawan National Park

Erawan National Park

It’s a land of waterfalls, natural pools and gentle streams. Its biggest attraction is the 7 tiered waterfall, flowing in seven layers. You need to walk through the jungle to reach every level.

The trek though easy at the start, gets steeper as you climb towards the higher layers. Don’t give up though. As you climb more, the crowds get thinner and the luminous green pools get prettier. A free pedicure is guaranteed as the tiny fishes love nibbling at your feet.

Cost: Adult: INR 600/USD 10; Child INR 400/ USD 6
Location: Kanchanaburi, a 3 hour drive from Bangkok

8. Ang Thong Marine Park

Ang Thong Marine Park

Ang Thong Park is like a group of islands scattered across the sea like pieces of an emerald necklace. Each of these small islets is a paradise with lagoons, limestone cliffs and beaches.

The climb to the emerald lake point is steep and quite a workout in itself, but the view from the top is the highlight of the trip. On one side you will see a sheet of emerald cradled against the cliffs and on the other side, innumerable islands floating in the sea.

You can spend the entire day swooning over the picture perfect scenery by hiking through the jungle or kayaking in its waters.

Cost: INR 3950/ USD 61
Location: Koh Samui

9. Khao Sok National Park

Khao Sok is a national park where island meets the jungles. One end of the natural reserve has a massive lake with towering rocky cliffs popping out from them. You can go for a leisurely boat ride on this lake and stay in floating raft houses.

The other end of the park is heavily forested with plenty of trails for walking. You can climb waterfalls, swim through dark caves, spot giant lizards and snakes and may be stumble on the largest flower in the world.

Cost: INR 600/ USD 9
Location: Can be done from Phuket or Krabi

Natural Attractions

10. Promthep Cape

Promthep Cape

If you love chasing sunsets and Instaworthy landscape portraits, Promthep Cape is the place to be. At the very tip of Phuket, it’s a viewpoint overlooking the ocean.

It tends to get overcrowded in the evening, but you can escape majority of the selfie stick toting tourists by walking to very edge of the cape. The shadow of the reddish sun on the ocean as it sinks behind the ocean is just mesmerizing.

Location: Phuket

11. Emerald Pool & The hot water springs

Emerald Pool Krabi

The Emerald pool is like an oasis in a jungle. It’s a respite from the sweltering heat of Thailand. Its true beauty though, lies in its changing shades. If you want this to be your private swimming pool, reach early in the morning.

A short walk from the emerald pool leads to a natural hot water jacuzzi. This rocky cascade of waters forms shallow pools where you can enjoy a refreshing dip. It’s the perfect way to end a sweaty hike through the forest.

Location: Krabi

12. Maya Bay

Maya Bay

Heaven on earth will stop being cliché when you land up at Maya Bay. It’s a lagoon of pale teal water wrapped around ragged cliffs. A narrow channel makes it possible for you to reach its sheltered coves by speedboat.

It’s been overrun by tourists ever since DiCaprio starrer The Beach opened our eyes to existence of such a world. Don’t worry, you can still find warm waters to swim in and a patch of sand to lounge about.

Location: Koh Phi Phi

13. Phu Chi Fa

Phu Chi Fa

No matter how early you arrive on the summit of Phu Chi Fa, you will find photographers armed with tripod stands waiting for the exact moment. The sun rise is indeed that special.

As the sun rises, you can see the peaks of mountains, appearing like small boats over a sea of clouds. They slowly spread out to reveal the lush green valley below, a land where Thailand, Laos and Myanmar converge.

Tip: You will need to stay near Phu Chi Fa the night before to make it in time. Also remember to keep warm clothes with you as it gets chilly in the morning.

Location: Chiang Rai

Markets

14. Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

All tourist brochures will have an image of the Damnoen Saduak Floating market, often represented as place to observe Thai culture.

Its river ways are full of wooden boats selling fruits and vegetables to the locals. Like any Thai market, it’s colourful and loud. You can cruise along on a boat and witness a glimpse of everyday life in Thailand.

The market gets extremely crowded in the morning, so if you want to escape the chaos, it’s better to reach as early as possible.

Location: Near Bangkok

15. Maeklong railway market

Maeklong Railway Market

Maeklong market is one market which stands out from the rest. Why you ask? It has a train passing right through the middle of it.

A charming bell gives a warning a few minutes before the train arrives and within seconds, vendors wrap up their stalls to make way for it. The basket of fruits and vegetables are shifted just enough to ensure that they don’t get chopped off.

And as the train passes, tourists and locals stand daringly close to it. Once it’s gone, the vendors coolly set up their stalls as if nothing happened. Such marvelous things can happen only in Thailand.

Location: Near Bangkok

16. Chatuchak Weekend Market

Some say the Chatuchak Market has 8000 stalls, others say 15,000, but either way it’s by the far the biggest one you will visit. It has everything you could want but can’t see it all in one day. In fact, you will need a market map to help you navigate.

Whether you buy anything from here or not, at least taste the street food here.We recommend the coconut ice-cream

Note: The market is open only on Saturdays and Sundays.

Location: Bangkok

Beaches


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17. Railay Beach

Railay Beach

Thailand has more beaches than you can see in a month, but if there is one beach that stands out from the rest, it’s Railay. Its landscapes are so dramatic that they seem straight out of a movie.

The beach is cut away from the mainland and can be reached only by boat.  That makes it feel like you are going to a castaway island.There is plenty to do on the beach.

You can rent a kayak or go for stand up paddle boarding.You can explore its caves or just stroll along the beach.

Daredevils can try their hand at rock climbing on the massive limestone cliffs guarding the beach.

Location: Krabi

18. Nai Harn Beach

Nai Harn beach is one of the quieter patches of sand in Phuket, away from all the commercial establishments. It’s hardly crowded, giving it the feeling of a private beach.

The waters are cleaner and the sands are softer. The beach has great views – you can see an island, promthep cape – the southernmost point in Phuket and a viewpoint.

Note: The currents are strong here, so swimming is not advisable.

Location: Phuket

19. Bottle Beach

Bottle beach is an untouched paradise protected by its remoteness. It can be reached only by a boat taxi or a hike through the jungles.

It’s a perfect ring of golden sand disappearing into varying shades of blue, flanked by a lush mountainous cove surrounding it.

It’s the kind of place where you just swing on a hammock, read a book and disconnect from the world.

Location: Koh Phangan

Island Tours

20. Phang Nga Bay cruise

James Bond Island

The Phang Nga bay cruise is a bucket list item for anyone who lands in Thailand. It lets you take in the dramatic scenery that you have until now seen only in movies.

The trip starts with James Bond Island – a funnel shaped rock magically standing in the water. A scene from the Bond movie “The Man with the Golden Gun” was shot here. A selfie here is alone worth going.

Kayaking through underwater caves, exploring the mangroves and enjoying lunch in a floating village are also part of the adventure.

Cost: INR 3600/ USD 56
Location: Phuket

21. Phi Phi Island Tour

Ever since Dicaprio backpacked on this island in the movie Beach, Phi Phi has seen thousands of young travelers from around the world.

Sandwiched between two picturesque bays, its waters oscillating between green and blue colors are an invitation to divers. Diving here is like jumping into an aquarium.

On the way, you can check out Viking cave – a cave carved into a mountain hugging the sea and Pileh cove – a bay with such transparent waters that you can see till the very bottom.

Cost: INR 4300 / USD 67
Location: Can be done from Phuket or Krabi

22. 4 Island Tour

4 island Tour

The 4 island tour takes you to the charming islands of Koh Tup and Koh Mor, both separated from each other by a narrow sandbar. The highlight of the tour is walking from one island to the other on this patch of sand.

The waters around the sandbar are crystal clear, making them ideal for snorkeling.

Cost: INR 2050/ USD 32
Location: Krabi

23. Coral Island Tour

Coral island is the best place near Pattaya for snorkeling. With 7 beaches on the island and corals a short swim from the shore, it doesn’t get better than this.

The island is a hub for watersports – Parasailing, Banana Ride, Undersea walk, it has them all lined up for you.

Cost:  Starts INR 900 / USD 14
Location: Pattaya

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If you want to avoid reading hundreds of articles like these to plan your trip, download Ithaka.

It is a fun way to discover Thailand and plan your entire trip by talking to someone who’s already been there and done that!

From helping you discover the coolest destinations to recommending activities, your travel buddy on Ithaka will help you plan your entire trip.

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