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Thailand doesn’t need an introduction! It is one of the most visited destinations in Asia and often also the starting point of Asian travels. When you think of Thailand the first thing that comes to mind is the delicious Thai curry and then the white sandy beaches, turquoise blue lagoons, lush forests, stunning ancient temples and the buzzing cities of Bangkok and Chang Mai! There’s so much to see and experience in Thailand, be it lounging on the pristine beaches on one of the many beautiful Thai Islands or trekking through lush jungles or simply getting a relaxing Thai massage. Thailand has a lot to offer to travellers irrespective of their budget!If you’re wondering where to start, we have put together a guide for navigating your way through the best and most beautiful destinations of Thailand to make your planning process a lot easier!

Traveling on motorbike in norther thailand we came across these amazing sculptural temples and buildings.
Photo by Mathew Schwartz / Unsplash

If you wish to explore Thailand in its entirety, it would take you around 4 weeks. If you’re travelling for around 2 weeks, you could pick your favorite islands from the list below and include that in your itinerary! That said, let’ get started!

Bangkok

View of tuk-tuks in Bangkok’s Chinatown
Photo by Florian Wehde / Unsplash

Welcome to Bangkok, the capital city of Thailand! Most travellers chose to begin their journey from here because the city is well connected with frequent and cheap flights. Bangkok is jam packed with experiences that you must have, ranging from gorgeous temples to bustling night life, from vibrant shopping markets to lush rice fields in the outskirts and to top all this off- mouth-watering Thai delicacies! Start exploring by firstly hiring a bicycle to make your way around the city. Either join a bike tour or simply follow your trusty Google Maps and discover the small back-alleys, outskirts, markets, Chinatown, temples, and canals! When you get tired, hop on to one of the long tail boats and explore the beauty of the canals that are lined by wooden houses along the shore! At night head out 45 minutes from the city to Rot Fai Market, also known as Train Market! To experience the vibrant culture of Thailand, this is the place to be as this market is majorly visited by locals only as there are over 2000 stores that sell all kinds of apparels and accessories at very affordable rates. The market is lit up with fairy lights and has  numerous food stalls that sell all kinds of authentic Thai delicacies!

An array of ingredients on offer at the amazing Floating Markets in Bangkok.
Photo by Jack Hunter / Unsplash

On your second day, get set to explore the cultural side of Bangkok. Get on a tuk-tuk and start by visiting the majestic Grand Palace (we recommend reaching early to beat the crowd), then head over to the lesser visited WatBenchamabophit Temple which is an absolutely beautiful temple which is the perfect place to experience some peace and calm! Post lunch catch a ferry to visit the 75 meter high, intricately designed, WatArun Temple, which offers a spectacular panoramic view of the city from the top! End your day by strolling and shopping at Khao San Road and grabbing another delicious Thai meal from one of the restaurants or food stalls on SoiRambuttri Road.

Photo by Evan Krause / Unsplash

On your last day in the city, start by exploring the vibrant, beautiful and quite popular Wat Pho Temple. Grab lunch from one of the floating markets of Bangkok such as KhlongLatMayom which is 20 km from the city! If it is a weekend, you can also visit the Chatuchak Market which is the largest weekend market in the city! End your day by visiting one of the rooftop nightclubs to also get a taste of the city’s buzzing nightlife!

Chiang Mai

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Chiang Mai is a city which is rich in culture as it is the home to a number of beautiful, historically significant temples. The best way to explore the city is by hiring a scooter. On your first day here, rise up early and set the day aside to explore temples such as WatPhra Singh Temple, the quiet ChediLuang Temple, the white structures of WatSuanDok and the beautiful WatDoiSuthep that is built atop a mountain thereby offering beautiful views! End your day at one of the markets in the city and chomp on some delicious Thai street food!

Busy Market - Chiang Mai
Photo by Robin Canfield / Unsplash

On your second day, if you’re visiting from November to March, spend the day taking a coffee journey at AkhaAma or otherwise you can visit the Elephant Nature Park and the Tiger Kingdom Zoo! Towards the evening you can get a Thai massage before heading out for some delectable food at a nearby night bazaar. Also, if possible do try to visit in November in time for the LoiKrathong Lantern Festival!

KhaoSok National Park

Jurassic Cliffs 🦖
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KhaoSok National Park is one of Thailand’s best kept secretswith a lush jungle filled with wild elephants, monkeys and other animals and mega limestone karsts jutting from the serene CheowLan Lake. The best way to experience the beauty and wilderness of the KhaoSok National Park is by staying in a floating raft house in the middle of the dense jungle. You can kayak through the lake, or take a cooking class in the jungle or get up and close with elephants by feeding and giving them a mud bath!

Phuket

Pileh cove is located close to Phuket, Thailand is is such a serene area. Please consider adding credit to the link in my bio :-).
Photo by Mike Swigunski / Unsplash

Known as the Pearl of the Andaman Sea, is Thailand’s largest island – Phuket. The beautiful island of Phuket has a stunning coastline, fascinating monuments, traditional temples and a vibrant culture. While in Phuket, you can spend your time exploring the Rang Hill and the Big Buddha statue and museum that offers stunning panoramic views of the island and from there head over to the incredible WatChalong Temple. Post lunch head over for a stroll in the Old Phuket Town where you will find numerous handicraft shops, museums, Buddhist shrines, Chinese temples and quaint cafes where you can stop over for an evening snack!In the evening you can head over to Patong Beach to experience a mesmerizing sunset and later on experience the bustling nightlife in the hip Patong Town which has a number of great restaurants, beer bars and night clubs.

Overlooking the beautiful Patong Beach, in Phuket. Please consider crediting this photo with a link to "www.GlobalCareerBook.com".
Photo by Mike Swigunski / Unsplash

Spend the next day island hopping on a cruise through the emerald waters of PhangNga Bay and Similan Islands! If you have the time, do spend a day on these islands to indulge in activities such as kayaking in the crystal blue waters, amidst huge limestone karsts, swimming, snorkeling or diving in the Similan Islands to explore the vibrant underwater life!

Pattaya

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Head over to Pattaya for the next couple of days to experience yet another side of Thailand. Start by visiting the Sanctuary of Truth, an intricately carved wooden building and a place of immense religious significance for Buddhists and Hindus. Symbolic of the city of Pattaya, it often hosts local plays, Thai dancing, sword fighting and Thai boxing events.

Other top attractions in Pattaya include Underwater World Pattaya, NongNooch Tropical Garden and the iconic Big Buddha Temple. The unique Pattaya Floating Market is also a must on your itinerary, for its waterfront location and a range of Thai artifacts and handicrafts that can be found here.

Pattaya beach #pattaya #beach
Photo by Jech / Unsplash

Apart from this, spend your time lounging on the pristine Pattaya beach where you can enjoy a mesmerizing sunset. From here, head over to the buzzing Walking Street which is the biggest and busiest party hotspot in Thailand!From hip bars, thundering nightclubs, elegant restaurants, go go bars to delicious street food. You can find it all here!

Phi Phi Islands

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Tropical paradise is what describes Phi Phi Islands the best! The beautiful island looks like you are living in a postcard with crystal clear turquoise and emerald waters and white sand beaches dotted with palm trees. Phi Phi Islands have some of the best diving sites in all of Thailand, a lively nightlife and to top it all off, it is quite inexpensive to spend time on the island! The island is easily accessible by a 2 hour ferry ride from Phuket and is definitely a place to spend atleast a day in. Trek up the hills, walk or lounge on the beach, kayak, swim, snorkel or dive during the day and feast on some delicious Thai food from one of the many restaurants on the island and end the day with a sunset on the beach and then heading over to dance the night away at the night clubs on the island!

KohLipe

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Being the southernmost island of Thailand, KohLipe is a bit harder to get to than the other islands and hence is a bit under the tourist radar making it a perfect place to escape the crowd and enjoy a relaxing and quiet beach vacation! KohLipe has some spectacular pristine beaches such as the Sunrise beach which as the name suggests is somewhere you should be to witness a refreshing sunrise, the Sunset beach, Pitiusas beach and Pattaya Beach! You can spend the day sun bathing or kayaking, diving or snorkeling in the clear water or take a day trip to KohAdang, a neighboring island which apart from a small restaurant and resort,  is uninhabited and perfect to spend a day visiting the viewpoint, beach, and small waterfall. You can spend the evening exploring the town, shopping from the handicraft stores or at one of the beach restaurants that serve delicious, fresh sea food!

Koh Tao

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There are a number of extremely beautiful islands in Thailand, and Koh Tao definitely ranks in the top 3. There are many spectacular beaches (some are surprisingly not crowded), with white sandy shores and clear water that is perfect for swimming or snorkeling! Head over to Freedom Beach to swim in sparkling blue water and snorkel through shallow corals, or to HaadThien beach which is also known as Shark Bay as here you can snorkel with Blacktip Reef Sharks and later on spend the evening at one of the many beach bars and restaurants at Sairee Beach! Apart from beaches, you can keep in shape by trekking up to viewpoints that offer striking views of the entire island such as John Suwan Viewpoint and Mang Viewpoint. Apart from this you can explore the island by hiring a motorbike or spend the day kayaking or paddle boarding through the azure waters!

KohSamui

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KohSamui can ideally be the last stop of your Thailand tour as KohSamui international airport will fly you anywhere in the world through Bangkok. KohSamui is another beautiful island in Thailand which attracts a lot of travellers because of its idyllic beaches, interesting attractions and avenues for budget travel. You can spend the day visiting the 12 meter high golden Buddha at Big Buddha Shrine and the neighboring shrines and then head over to interesting and colorful WatPlaiLaem temple. From here you could visit WatKhunaram to see the mummified body of Samui’s most famous monks and from there to the Secret Buddha Garden which is hidden away high in the hills in KohSamui's interior, offering majestic views and an unusual collection of statues amid lush jungle surroundings.

On the following day you can visit AngthongNatioanl Marine Park, which is an archipelago of 42 islands floating in pristine turquoise waters amidst majestic limestone rock formations! Spend the day swimming, kayaking and working on that great tan! KohSamui is a home to a number of stunning waterfalls, the most picturesque one being the Na Mueang Falls which has purple rocks that leads the way up to a pool of water of the smaller more inviting Na Mueang Falls!

Photo by William Bayreuther / Unsplash

When you’re travelling to locations as beautiful as Thailand, you would want pictures that are just as beautiful. So take a day (or more) off from selfie stick photos and hire a local photographer from Travographer who can take professional pictures of the memories that you created in Thailand!