I decided to ask my fellow travel bloggers to tell me what they would rank as the beautiful places in Thailand, and together we came up with this epic bucket list! Putting this together really made me want to book my next trip to Thailand…. read on and see if you do too!
By Allison from She Dreams of Alpine
The Thailand coastline has some of the most dramatically beautiful beaches in the world, and Railay Beach is among the most jaw-dropping. Railay Beach is not accessible by land, but it is only a short boat ride over from Ao Nang. You can also get there by boat from Phuket or Krabi.
When you get to Railay Beach you will be swept up in the energy that surrounds it. People come from all over the world to enjoy this area, and particularly rock climbers who come to climb on the steep dramatic coastal cliff faces in Railay as this area is some of the best rock climbing in Thailand.
There are also several iconic caves to explore around Railay including Princess Cave and Diamond Cave, or you can just enjoy the relaxed beach vibes and the local bars. However you decide to spend your time here, you will not be disappointed!
Kanchanaburi is most well-known for the dark history of the Death Railway built by prisoners of war in WWII from there across the River Kwai and beyond. While I would highly recommend a visit to the museums and cemeteries, and even a ride on the Death Railway itself to understand more about what happened there, it is also home to some beautiful places too.
There are beautiful forests and easily accessible waterfalls, including the most accessible Erawan Falls, said to be some of, if not the most, beautiful waterfalls in Thailand. There are seven tiers to the falls with great spots for swimming, just make sure you watch your belongings or lock them away as monkeys might come looking for food amongst them!
By Nate from Travel Lemming
If you’re tired of the crowds and hustle of Krabi and Phuket, grab a ferry and head on down to Koh Lanta, a large and still largely untouched island filled with an endless array of gorgeous vistas.
There’s plenty to do and see in stunning Koh Lanta. Spend an afternoon snorkeling out on the water, or head inland to hike through the thick jungle to visit some bubbling waterfalls.
The most beautiful places on this wonderful island, though, are – you guessed it – the beaches!
Most visitors spend their beach time on the aptly-named Long Beach, which stretches for kilometers along the island’s most developed coast.
But for a unique and isolated experience, hop on a motorbike and ride an hour to the smaller secluded beaches that dot the southern tip of the island. The views are particularly stunning from the cliffs over Nui Bay Beach.
Whether you’re traveling Thailand solo, visiting as a couple, or have the entire family along for the ride, there’s something for every type of traveler in gorgeous Koh Lanta.
By Allan from Live Less Ordinary
Nan Province is one of the lesser known “Lanna” provinces in northern Thailand, bordering Laos, where the capital Nan once was known as the “Middle City”, due to its location roughly halfway between Chiang Mai (Thailand) and Luang Prabang (Laos).
However, unlike the more popular backpacker destinations in the north such as Chiang Mai, Pai, and even Chiang Rai, Nan has been mostly overlooked by tourists in the past, and the heart of the old town still shares that “Ta Ton Yon” feel, which in Lanna is a phrase meaning chilled and laid back. The streets are still quiet, and the old town is small and close-knit, meaning it easy to navigate and explore, with free bike hire often offered at the local hotels and guesthouses.
A tour of the ancient Buddhist temples and old town sites is a must, and I suggest starting at Wat Phumin temple, located centrally to the pedestrian night market which sets up on Phakong Road on each night of the weekend (06:00 PM, Fri-Sun).
By Inma Gregorio from A World To Travel
On top of getting certified in diving, the Turtle Island (aka Koh Tao) offers many more things to its visitors. Named one of the most beautiful Thailand islands in countless listicles, Koh Tao has a few spots that make it an unbeatable destination for those looking for stunning landscapes and some island time. Like the viewpoint – a 20min hike – where you can admire the nearby Nangyuan Island and its pristine beaches, Chalok Baan Kao or Sairee beach, a great location for sunset. Can’t wait to go back!
By Lauren from The Downlo
The largest city in Northern Thailand, Chiang Mai is where you go “if the mountains are calling.” Once the capital of the kingdom of Lanna, the Old City is still an important cultural and religious center. Home to more than 300 dazzling temples, hill tribes, and natural wonders, Chiang Mai is everything chaotic, harried Bangkok is not.
Of particular interest is the incredibly ornate Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, Doi Inthanon National Park, home to the highest peak in Thailand, Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, where you can learn to care for the majestic creatures and the vibrant night markets.
The city is a place to immerse yourself in Thailand’s rich culture, connect with locals whose families have been there for centuries, marvel at ancient architectural, and embrace a slower way of life than the big urban sprawl. You can chase waterfalls, shop for local handicrafts, and peruse the ruins and ancient villages.
By Mike of Live Travel Teach
Lod Cave is a tucked away just past the popular Pai in Thailand and makes a beautiful day trip from there or an even better idea is to drive the whole Mae Hong Son Loop and see stunning rice terraces, mountains, and villages on your way to and from Lod Cave. Be careful though, reading more about the Mae Hong Son Loop and Lod Cave will have you booking a flight to Thailand today!
Giant stalagmites climb up from the floor in this natural wonderland as bats roost among the stalactites high above. The river running through this cave has carved out many smaller caverns and created some truly magnificent rock formations making Lod Cave one of the most beautiful places in Thailand. The best way to visit Lod Cave is by renting a motorbike but there are tours that leave from Chiang Mai and Pai too. The cave is 1,666m long and depending on the season can be explored by boat or on foot.
By Lotte from Phenomenal Globe
Thailand has lots of beautiful islands but one of my favorites would have to be Koh Samet. North to South, Koh Samet measures just 7 kilometers, so it’s not very big. But there is plenty to do and I love the laidback vibe of this small island in the Gulf of Thailand.
You can go on a snorkeling trip and walked around the island. The main village is Hat Sai Kaeo where you can find restaurants and shops. If you prefer peace and quiet I highly recommend the beautiful bay Ao Prao. With luxury resorts and stunning sunsets, it’s the perfect place to wind down after visiting busy Bangkok. And the great news is, you can travel from Bangkok to Koh Samet in just 3-4 hours!
Koh Yao Yai
By Andra from Our World To Wander
Thailand has plenty of islands to choose from. With white beaches, turquoise water, palm trees watching over you, plenty of fish to play around with, cliffs rising from the water and covered in greenery. However, Thailand also has tons of tourists. And this is how we get to the island of Koh Yao Yai. One of the islands where you can still enjoy some peace and quiet, escape the frenzy of touristic places.
One might think that there are not so many tourists because there aren’t so many things to do there. But no, that’s not true. Located half-way between Krabi and Phuket, Koh Yao Yai offers a wide range of activities. From day trips in the famous Phang Nga Bay or the Phi Phi Islands to kayaking around the island, wandering around its plantations on a scooter, getting mesmerized by the mangrove forests. So go ahead and discover Koh Yao Yai, enjoy its serenity!
Khao Sok National Park
By Kavita from Kavey Eats
I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Thailand has 127 National Parks, protecting swathes of the country’s land and marine habitats. Khao Sok National Park is one of the most popular ones, not least because of its accessibility; you can reach the park easily from Phuket or Surat Thani airports, both a little over an hour’s flight from Bangkok.
As well as verdant jungle and towering limestone mountains, Khao Sok National Park is known for the beauty of Cheow Lan Lake, a man-made lake created in 1987 by the building of Ratchaprapha Dam.
Although there is wildlife to be seen in the jungles of the park, including many species of monkeys, deer and birds, a huge attraction is the lake itself. Boat trips allow visitors to appreciate the beauty of the exceptionally clean and clear water – which appears emerald green in the sunlight – and the imposing limestone hills jutting upwards.
Visitors can stay overnight at many locations within the park including a number of options in the forest. I loved our experience at one of Cheow Lan Lake’s floating camps, its tents built on platforms that float on the water at the lake’s edge. Swimming and kayaking are key activities, as well as walks in the jungle itself. Nature lovers will appreciate the beauty and peaceful relaxation offered by this experience.
By Laurence from Finding the Universe
Found just north of Bangkok (around an hour to ninety minutes journey time), Ayutthaya is a must when in Thailand. For a time, this was the world’s largest city, with over a million inhabitants. Dutch and French explorers called it the most beautiful city they had ever seen.
Unfortunately, Ayutthaya was a victim of its own success, and a slightly jealous invading Burmese army burnt the place to the ground in 1767.
Thankfully, while most of the city was destroyed, the stone-built temples survived. It is these temples that give a glimpse into the majesty of the city, and are the main attraction for visitors today. The city has grown back up around the temples, so there is more to see here than temples, but these are undoubtedly the main draw.
Ayutthaya is an easy day trip from Bangkok, but to fully immerse yourself, I’d advise spending a couple of days exploring. For more ideas, check out what to do in Ayutthaya.
By Claudia from My Adventures Across the World
Koh Wai is one of the nicest places to visit in Thailand. This lesser known island is incredibly beautiful. It takes a 20 to 45 minutes boat ride to reach it from Bang Bao harbor, on the more famous Koh Chang.
What makes this small island special is the blissful feeling of isolation one gets, thanks to the complete lack of traffic and noise. There are no roads on the island – and hence no cars. There’s just a dirt footpath that goes from one beach to the other, through the forest. Lack of electricity means that the commodities are basic, but the other side of the coin is that there are significantly less tourists compared to other places in Thailand.
Yet, the main feature of Koh Wai is the gorgeous beaches: fine, powdery white sand; a backdrop of thick palm trees, and the clearer, most azure waters one can think of, populated with incredibly colorful fish and where it’s a real pleasure to swim.
By Paul from Global Help Swap
If you want to find an island away from crowds that will blow you away with its beauty then this is it! Ko Ngai is the perfect island to get away from it all.
Ko Ngai is part of the Trang Islands in Southern Thailand. You can get to it by boat from Trang Province (which also has an airport). If your idea of the perfect Thai beach is white sand, crystal clear waters and Karst formations protruding from the sea then Ko Nagi is the island for you. It’s simply stunning.
It’s a very small island with no inhabitants so all the hotel staff come from the mainland. The beach was the best we found in all Thailand. As we woke on Christmas morning we had the beach to ourselves. My Mom said she never thought she would end up in a place like this growing up. In fact, my parents still call the island “heaven”. I couldn’t have put it better myself.
Red Lotus Sea
The Red Lotus Sea in Udon Thani is one of the most naturally beautiful places to visit in Thailand. Every winter the freshwater lake at Nong Han Kum Pavapi in Northern Thailand turns pink with blooming lotus flowers covering the serene water. The phenomenon lasts for three months from December to February and the best time to see them is in the morning from 6 am until around 11 or 12 midday. Boat tours take you along well-travelled routes that look like roads amongst the lotus flowers.
It takes around one hour to reach the lake from Udon Thani, so if you’re visiting the north of Thailand at the right time, why not add this stunningly beautiful sight to your list?
By Hannah and Adam from Getting Stamped
We’ve been traveling the world full-time for over 5 years and have been to 80+ countries but Koh Lipe in Thailand will always be the most beautiful spot to us. There are hundreds of islands in Thailand but Koh Lipe is different. It has the chill beach vibe with perfect white sandy beaches and turquoise waters.
One of our favorite things to do in Thailand and especially in Koh Lipe is rent a private longtail boat for the day for only $45 and spend the day island hopping. If you’re into diving there are some great dive sites in Koh Lipe. After a day exploring head to Sunset Beach for an epic sunset and cheap & tasty mojito.
For lunch or dinner, our favorite is Sunrise Beach Restaurant right on Sunrise Beach, they have the best Penang Curry and it’s under $3 and it’s served with your toes in the sand with an ocean view.
You might more closely associate Thailand’s capital with vibrant streets and high-rise buildings, but there is beauty to be found in this expansive city. The opulent Grand Palace and the Way Pho Temple with the reclining Buddha are just two of the beautiful sites to be seen within the city.
In between visiting colourful and dynamic markets and streets, be sure to step inside the contrasting calm and serene temple complexes. Wat Suthat and Wat Traimit are two others worth seeking out!
Koh Samui is popular with both backpackers and luxury travellers alike. It has both beach partying and wellness spas, and amazing cuisine. The island itself is surrounded by white sand beaches and palm trees, with untouched rainforest covering much of the centre. It’s a stunning place of natural beauty, with gorgeous sunsets and sunrises to be viewed.
It’s the second-most popular island to visit in Thailand after Phuket, but it manages to spread visitors across the island so it doesn’t feel completely crowded. With its own airport, it’s easier to reach than many island destinations and a beautiful place in Thailand to visit.
Koh Chang means “Elephant Island”, and despite becoming a popular package destination in the west, many parts of the jungle-covered island maintain their rustic charm. Although it’s the third largest island after Phuket and Koh Samui it’s nowhere near as developed.
Most of the accommodation is located where the sandy beaches are on the west of the island, but the rest of the island still has places to stay close to lush rainforest and gorgeous waterfalls. Jungle trekking is popular as is diving to see the coral reefs.
By Lola from Miss Filatelista
Pai is a bohemian paradise surrounded by looming mountains, tea plantations, waterfalls, and hot springs. Hippie backpackers blessed with Sak Yant tattoos have been drawn to the northern Thailand hill station for ages but it’s possible to have a remote experience if you stay in a bungalow outside of the town center.
Nature lovers will rejoice in the aforementioned sites and those on a spiritual quest will be able to indulge in yoga practice, reiki healing, and visit many Buddhist temples with larger-than-life Buddha statues erected from atop of mountains.
Pai has one of the most incredible night markets in Thailand with many clothing, crafts, and food vendors. Don’t miss the chance to try the Pad Thai made with cashews or the vegan veggie wraps that are delicious. By day many cafes serve vegan foods, kombucha, and more. Pai is the perfect place relax and unwind in Thailand for a week or more!
I know, I know. How can I include the site of the infamous Full Moon Party on the list of the most beautiful places in Thailand? Because there’s more to Koh Phangan than Haad Rin and Sunrise Beach where it takes place! The party takes place once a month, and there are some other smaller ones like the Half Moon Party taking place, but avoid the main party time and you’ll discover a beautiful island, even in Haad Rin.
There are unspoilt tropical forests and pristine beaches, some of which are best reached by long-tail boat. Head to the north if you really want to escape the crowds! As a result of its hippy days, Koh Phangan is a popular eco-tourism spot and has plenty of spas and retreats aimed at those looking to find a little balance in their life. There’s also kayaking, windsurfing, diving and other sea-based activities available, plus waterfalls and lookouts with beautiful views in the centre of the island.
Sukhothai Historical Park
The Sukhothai Historical Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site situated in a beautiful location surrounded by lakes and trees. It was the capital of the Kingdom of Siam in the 13th – 14th centuries and an influential political and religious centre. The style of the temples there left a lasting impact on Thai architecture. Ruins of the temples include 21 historical sites, a moat, and lakes, old walls, and pagodas.
The central zone is the most popular with visitors, with the outer zones being less crowded, although a bicycle or vehicle is needed to get around them all. It’s one of the most beautiful historical places to explore in Thailand.
Mu Ko Ang Thong
The Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park is a group of 42 islands that became a national park in 1980. It was initially a popular spot for backpackers after The Beach novel came out, as it seemed to embody the location described, however after filming took place in the Koh Phi Phi Islands in Krabi off the western side of mainland Thailand attention switched over there.
The waters surrounding the islands are relatively shallow so best for snorkelling and kayaking rather than diving.
The only accommodation available on the islands are basic two bedroom cottages that can be booked through the Thai government park reserve website, otherwise, you need to camp. For everyone else, day trips are the only way to visit the park.
By Slavi from Global Castaway
While not as famous as its big brother – Chaing Mai, Chiang Rai is still a place you should add to your Thailand itinerary. This ancient capital of the Lanna kingdom nowadays hosts a number of unique attractions including the Blue temple, Blackhouse museum and the cherry of the top – The White Temple.
This temple is unique not only with its snow-white design but also with its history. The original temple of Wat Rong Khun was in pretty bad shape when one of the most famous Thai artists – Chalemchai Kositpipat bought it and started the renovation.
And even though it’s not supposed to be finished in the next 50 years, it’s already the most bizarre temple in the world. On the entrance you can spot Ironman sitting on a bench, then you will cross a bridge over a sea of hands only to get inside, where popular idols represent the modern hell. Yeah, an active Buddhist temple has paintings of Batman and Pikachu inside. How cool is that?
Koh Phi Phi
Koh Phi Phi seems to be a love or hate kind of place. While I admit it’s been a few years since I went, it was definitely one of the most beautiful places in Thailand that I went to. The Phi Phi Islands have become very popular since The Beach was filmed there in 2000, and tourists to Thailand have been seeking their own slice of paradise there ever since.
After being devastated in the 2004 tsunami, the island was rebuilt and the number of hotels, guest houses and bars significantly increased. While I found some parts of the island were busy, I could still escape to ends of the beach where there were little to no people during the day, and a walk up to the viewpoint offered amazing sunset views over the islands. I loved finding small local food stalls selling delicious Thai food and steered clear of any larger establishments.
Recently Maya Bay, the location of The Beach film on Phi Phi Leh has been closed for tourism, due to the sheer amount of boats visiting and the effect on the coral reefs and the island. I think this is a step in the right direction and hope that one of the most beautiful places in Thailand can be preserved.
Mae Hong Son
While Pai is a well-known spot in the Mae Hong Son Province, there are plenty more beautiful places to see here! The city of Mae Hong Son is the perfect base for exploring more of the area. It has more of a Burmese influence and the familiar tuk-tuks aren’t really present. There are high mountain ranges surrounding the town, with waterfalls, hot springs, rafting and caves to explore.
The city has been frequented by travellers looking to explore a different side of Thailand for a while, but it isn’t quite the hot-spot that Pai is. You can reach Mae Hong Son from Chiang Mai through two routes, one passing through Pai. Just beware the roads are windy!
If you haven’t been to Thailand, this should definitely have you contemplating making it your next trip, and if you have, I’m sure this has given you more places to discover! I don’t know about you but I can’t wait to go…
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