The information in this article is inspired by The Rough Guide to Thailand, your essential guide for visiting Thailand.
When choosing from all the things to do in Thailand, you won't want to miss Ko Kood. The fourth-largest island in Thailand, forested Ko Kood (also spelt Ko Kut and Ko Kud) is still a wild and largely uncommercialised island. Though it’s known for its sparkling white sand and exceptionally clear turquoise water Ko Kood is as much a nature-lover’s destination as a beach-bum’s.
Discover more divine beach destinations in Thailand.
Located 300 m from Ao Noi Beach, TA YAI HOMESTAY provides accommodation with a restaurant, a garden and an ATM for your convenience. The homestay features both WiFi and private parking free of charge. Some units are air conditioned and include a patio and/or a seating area with a flat-screen TV.
Set within 1.3 km of Klong Chao Waterfall and 2.2 km of Ban Lak Uan, Small Guest House Koh Kood offers rooms with air conditioning and a private bathroom in Ko Kood.
Koh Kood Beach Resort is 4 km away from Klong Yai Kee Waterfall. It boasts an outdoor swimming pool. Guest rooms come with a private balcony overlooking the sea. The resort provides free Wi-Fi in the lobby area and free two-way shuttle service from the resort to Ao Salad Pier.
When you're planning what to do in Thailand, river boats and bicycles are the perfect way to explore the scattered temple ruins of this former capital. Ayutthaya comes alive each year for a week in mid-December, with a festival that commemorates the town’s listing as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The highlight is the nightly son et lumière show, featuring fireworks and elephant-back fights, staged around the ruins.
To get the most complete impression of Ayutthaya check this tour of Ayutthaya.
Offering city views and a terrace, One Dhatu Ayutthaya Premium Homestay offers accommodation situated conveniently in Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, within a short distance of Wat Mahathat, Chao Sam Phraya National Museum and Ayutthaya Historical Park.
Located in Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, less than 1 km from Wat Mahathat, Patone Hostel provides air-conditioned rooms and a shared lounge. Located around 1.2 km from Chao Sam Phraya National Museum, the hostel with free WiFi is also 1.8 km away from Ayutthaya Historical Park.
Located in Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, 1.4 km from Wat Yai Chaimongkol, Baan Canalee (บ้านคานาลี) provides accommodation with free bikes, free private parking, a garden and a terrace. All rooms feature a kitchenette and a private bathroom. The accommodation offers a shared kitchen and free WiFi.
During Taoist Lent, fasting Chinese devotees test their spiritual resolve with acts of gruesome self-mortification. For nine days, usually in October or November, the celebrations for Ngan Kin Jeh – the Vegetarian Festival – set the streets of Phuket buzzing with processions, theatre shows and food stalls.
Also, don't miss on the oportunity to experince Thailand cuisine with this Phuket old town 15-taster food tour.
Less than 3 km from Rassada Pier, Mei Zhou Phuket Hotel - SHA Plus offers well-appointed rooms with free Wi-Fi and comfortable seating areas. An outdoor spa pool is also available.
Boasting a bar and a terrace, Peranakan House - SHA Plus is set in Phuket Town, 3 km from Prince of Songkla University and 3.3 km from Chinpracha House. This 3-star hotel offers room service and a kids' club. The hotel offers an outdoor swimming pool, fitness centre and a 24-hour front desk.
Located in Phuket Town, 3.6 km from Thai Hua Museum, HOMA - SHA Extra Plus provides accommodation with a restaurant, free private parking, an outdoor swimming pool and a fitness centre.
The Khmers of neighbouring Angkor left a chain of magnificent temple complexes across the northeast, including this one at Phimai. Hemmed in by its old city walls and encircled by tributaries of the Mun River, the small modern town of Phimai is dominated by the charmingly restored Khmer temple complex of Prasat Hin Phimai.
No one knows for sure when the prasat was built or for whom, but as a religious site it probably dates back to the reign of the Khmer king Suriyavarman I. Parts of the complex are said to be older than Cambodia’s Angkor Wat.
Thailand is undoubtedly an exotic destination. If you are looking for another unusual places to travel to - check out our list of the most exotic travel destinations.
Chatuchack market is Bangkok’s most enjoyable – not to mention hot and exhausting – shopping experience. Chatuchak is divided into 27 numbered sections, plus half a dozen unnumbered ones, each of them more or less dedicated to a particular genre.
The demarcation is nothing like as clear-cut as the market’s website would have you believe, but if you have several hours to spare, it’s fun just to browse at whim.
The market’s primary customers are Bangkok residents in search of idiosyncratic fashions including second-hand clothing and homewares, but Chatuchak also has plenty of collector- and tourist-oriented stalls.
Best buys include antique lacquerware, unusual sarongs, traditional cotton clothing and crafts from the north, silver jewellery, and ceramics.
Admire the Reclining Buddha and the lavish architecture, and leave time for a relaxing massage.
Wat Pho is the oldest temple in Bangkok and is older than the city itself, having been founded in the seventeenth century under the name Wat Photaram. Dubbed Thailand’s first university, the wat is still an important centre for traditional medicine, notably Thai massage, which is used against all kinds of illnesses, from backaches to viruses.
The country’s most unmissable sight, incorporating its holiest and most dazzling temple, Wat Phra Kaeo. No visitor should miss this huge complex, which encompasses the country’s holiest and most beautiful temple.
Hanging together in a precarious harmony of strangely beautiful colours and shapes, Wat Phra Kaeo is the apogee of Thai religious art and the holiest Buddhist site in the country. Built as the private royal temple, Wat Phra Kaeo occupies the northeast corner of the huge Grand Palace. The official opening marked the founding of the new capital and the rebirth of the Thai nation after the Burmese invasion.
Immerse yourself in the cultural and historical heritage of Bangkok byexploring the Grand Palace, the Emerald Buddha Temple and Wat Pho.
Find more great places to stay in Bangkok.
Easy trails and tours, night safaris and a healthy cast of hornbills and gibbons - Khao Yai National Park encapsulates the phenomenal diversity of Thailand’s flora and fauna. It’s one of the very few national parks to maintain a network of hiking trails that visitors can explore by themselves, passing dramatic waterfalls, orchids and an abundance of wildlife.
Take a break from Bangkok and spend the day in nature, exploring Khao Yai National Park.
With Khao Yai National Park reachable in 46 km, The Gallery Khao Yai Hotel and Residence - SHA Plus provides accommodation, a restaurant, an outdoor swimming pool, a bar and a garden. The lodge features both WiFi and private parking free of charge.
Set in Khao Yai, 45 km from Khao Yai National Park, InterContinental Khao Yai Resort, an IHG Hotel offers accommodation with a restaurant, free private parking, an outdoor swimming pool and a fitness centre.
Home to superb food and the chief religious and cultural riches of the south - tucked away beneath the islands - Nakhon Si Thammarat, the south’s second-largest town, occupies a blind spot in the eyes of most tourists.
Nakhon’s neglect is unfortunate, for it’s an absorbing place. The south’s major pilgrimage site and home to a huge army base, it’s relaxed, self-confident and sophisticated, well known for its excellent cuisine and traditional handicrafts.
To get to know Thailand better, read 18 facts you didn't know about Thailand.
Situated in Nakhon Si Thammarat, 4.3 km from Ban Hua Trut, Grand Fortune Hotel Nakhon Si Thammarat features accommodation with a restaurant, free private parking, an outdoor swimming pool and a fitness centre. Each accommodation at the 5-star hotel has garden views, and guests can enjoy access to a bar and to a garden.
Set in Nakhon Si Thammarat, 2 km from Ban Na Khian, Toledo Pool Villa offers accommodation with a fitness centre, free private parking, a garden and a terrace. This 3-star hotel offers room service, luggage storage space and free WiFi. The hotel has family rooms.
Located in Nakhon Si Thammarat, 800 m from Ban Samphao, Natural High Beach Cafe and Homestay provides accommodation with a bar, free private parking, a shared lounge and a garden.
A jaunt up Doi Suthep, the mountain which rises steeply at the city’s western edge, is the most satisfying brief trip you can make from Chiang Mai. Beautiful Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, dominates the hillside and gives a towering view over the goings-on in town. This is the north’s holiest shrine, its pre-eminence deriving from a magic relic enshrined in its chedi and the miraculous legend of its founding.
It’s northern Thailand’s most important place of pilgrimage. The best known processions are on Makha Puja, the anniversary of the sermon to the disciples, and Visakha Puja, the anniversary of the Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and death.
This tour to Chiang Mai will help you to get a full experience.
Of the many courses on offer in the town, cookery classes are the most instantly gratifying and popular. The most popular course is how to cook Thai food (especially at the cluster of small schools on and around Soi 5, Thanon Ratchdamnoen), followed by Thai massage.
Chiang Mai offers a balmy escape from Bangkok’s humidity. Check our 5-day tailor-made tour to Chiang Mai.
Located in Chiang Mai, 100 m from Chang Puak Market, Premier Hostel Chiang Mai offers air-conditioned rooms and a shared lounge.
Set in Chiang Mai, less than 1 km from Chiang Mai Night Bazaar and 1.7 km from Tha Pae Gate, Dream Garden Villa Hotel Night Bazaar ChiangMai offers accommodation with free WiFi, air conditioning, a shared lounge and a garden.
Located in Chiang Mai, 1.6 km from Chiang Mai International Convention and Exhibition Centre, Merchant Villa- SHA Extra Plus provides accommodation with an outdoor swimming pool, free private parking, a bar and a shared lounge.
A spectacular 600km trip, winding over steep forested mountains. Two main roads head in opposite directions from Chiang Mai over the western mountains, meeting each other in Mae Hong Son. The heart of Thailand’s most remote province offers the irresistible prospect of tying the highways together into a 600km loop.
Set in rich mountain scenery, with a strong handicraft tradition and some intriguing temples. Ringed by high mountains, the small but prosperous provincial capital of Nan, 225km northeast of Lampang, rests on the grassy west bank of the river. The town comes alive for the Lanna boat races, usually held in late October or early November.
Set in Nan, 3.9 km from Wat Phra That Chae Haeng, CuteinNan Hostel offers air-conditioned rooms and a shared lounge. Around 1.6 km from Nan, the property is also 3.1 km away from Ban Na Tho and offers free WiFi. Attractions in the area include Ban Du Nua (1), 4 km away, or Ban Pua Chai, located 5 km from the property.
Set in Nan, 7.7 km from Wat Phra That Chae Haeng, River Valley Resort offers accommodation with a garden, free private parking, barbecue facilities and a terrace. The property is around 1.9 km from Ban Nam Lom, 1.9 km from Ban Hua Wiang Nua and 3.3 km from Nan. Rooms come with a patio with a garden view.
Set 1.2 km from Ban San, Bee Bee Home offers accommodation with a garden, barbecue facilities and a 24-hour front desk for your convenience. The homestay features both WiFi and private parking free of charge.
Combining elements of acupressure and yoga, a pleasantly brutal way to end the day. With their focus on indulgent self-pampering, spas are usually associated with high-spending tourists. The treatments on offer at Thailand’s five-star hotels are often little different from those used by traditional medical practitioners. They have long held that massage and herbs are the best way to restore physical and mental well-being.
Spiritual practices and meditation are an integral part of Thai culture. Read more about meditation centres and retreats in Thailand.
Nightlife is concentrated at Hat Rin, climaxing every month in a wild full moon party on the beach. A couple of smaller outdoor parties have now got in on the act: the Half Moon Festival (twice monthly, about a week before and after the full moon) and the monthly Black Moon Party, both at Ban Tai on the south coast.
Set in Koh Phangan, within a few steps of Baan Tai Beach and 200 m of Baan Kai Beach, Sand Terrace Beach Bungalows offers accommodation with a terrace and free WiFi as well as free private parking for guests who drive.
Located in Koh Phangan, within a few steps of Baan Tai Beach and 1.2 km of Thong Sala Beach, Laewan Guesthouse provides accommodation with a shared lounge and free WiFi throughout the property as well as free private parking for guests who drive.
Castaway Beach Bungalows are Eco friendly, all built from sustainable and renewable materials. Situated just right on the beach, Castaway Beach Bungalows are built in a traditional wooden style.
A popular choice for families, with its many long beaches and plentiful but low-key resort facilities makes Ko Lanta one of the best things to do in Thailand for a beach-lovers. Although Ko Lanta can’t quite compete with Phi Phi’s stupendous scenery, the thickly forested 25km-long island has the longest beaches in the Krabi area.
The island is especially popular with families, in part because of the local laws that have so far prevented jet-skis, beachfront parasols and girlie bars from turning it into another Phuket, though resort facilities are expanding fast.
Hop on a long tail boat and spend a full day snorkelling and discovering the unique beauty of Ko Lanta.
Lanta Mermaid Boutique House is located along Klong Dao Beach, a 3-minute walk from the beach and 2 km from Ko Lanta Pier.
Located a 2-minute walk from Klong Dao Beach, Diamond Sand Palace features bungalows with balconies and cable TVs. Traditional Thai massage services and cooking classes are available to guests.
Just a 5-minute walk from Klong Khong Beach, Lanta Just Come Hotel offers free Wi-Fi in its public areas. Its rooms feature a blend of modern and traditional Thai furnishings.
Walking through the beautiful, rainforested scenery of northern Thailand’s mountains comes with the bonus of getting to know the fascinating hill tribes.
Many travellers’ itineraries take in a few days’ trekking in the hills and a stint snorkelling or diving off the beaches of the south. Trekking is concentrated in the north, but there are smaller, less touristy trekking operations in Kanchanaburi, Sangkhlaburi and Umphang.
Read more about trekking in Thailand.
Spend a full day trekking, exploring Haew Narok and Haew Suwat Waterfalls.
Thailand’s most scenic train journey is also its most historic, using the track constructed by World War II POWs. The two-hour journey along the notorious Thailand–Burma Death Railway from Kanchanaburi to Nam Tok is one of Thailand’s most scenic and most popular train rides. Three trains operate daily along the Death Railway in both directions, but they often run very late.
Discover the stunning River Kwai and its surroundings with this 3-day tailor-made trip.
Even novice climbers can scale the cliffs at Ko Yao Noi, Phi Phi or the Railay peninsula for an unbeatable perspective on the Andaman seascape.
The limestone karsts that pepper southern Thailand’s Andaman coast make ideal playgrounds for rock-climbers, and the sport has really taken off here in the past fifteen years.
Most climbing is centred round East Railay and Ton Sai beaches on Laem Phra Nang in Krabi province, where there are dozens of routes within easy walking distance of tourist bungalows, restaurants and beaches.
Try this rock climbing tour at Railay beach in Krabi.
For a brief but brilliant period (1238–1376), the walled city of Sukhothai presided as the capital of Thailand but by the sixteenth century the city had been all but abandoned to the jungle. Now an impressive assembly of elegant ruins, the Old City, 58km northwest of Phitsanulok, has been preserved as Sukhothai Historical Park and is one of Thailand’s most visited ancient sites.
Hire a bicycle to explore the elegant ruins of Thailand’s thirteenth-century capital.
Experience the best places to visit in Nothern Thailand with our tailor-made 7-day tour.
Set in Sukhothai, within 1.4 km of Sukhothai Historical Park and 500 m of Ban Dan Lan Hoi, Phiphu Art and Gallery Boutique Sukhothai offers accommodation with free bikes and free WiFi throughout the property as well as free private parking for guests who drive. The property is around 2.8 km from Mueang Kao, 4.3 km from Ban Pak Khlong and 6.3 km from Ban Rong Pla Thong.
With Sukhothai Historical Park reachable in 12 km, The Nature Sukhothai features accommodation, a restaurant, an outdoor swimming pool, a bar and a shared lounge. Free WiFi is available throughout the property.
Situated in Sukhothai, 13 km from Sukhothai Historical Park, Mango House features accommodation with an outdoor swimming pool, free private parking, a shared lounge and a garden. The property is located less than 1 km from Sukhothai, 4.3 km from Ban Khwang and 4.4 km from Ban Kluai. The resort provides city views, a terrace, a 24-hour front desk, and free WiFi is available.
If you prefer to plan and book your trip to Thailand without any effort and hassle, use the expertise of our local travel experts to make sure your trip will be just like you dream it to be.
Ready for a trip to the meditation centres and retreats in Thailand? Check out the snapshot the Rough Guide to Bangkok or the Rough Guide to Thailand. If you travel further in Thailand, read more about the best time to go, the best places to visit and best things to do in Thailand. For inspiration use the Thailand itineraries from The Rough Guide to Thailand and our local travel experts. A bit more hands on, learn about getting there, getting around the country and where to stay once you are there.
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Top image: Phi Phi Leh, Thailand © Dan Mammoser/Shutterstock