Places To Visit in Thailand
Thailand is a Southeast Asian country. It's known for tropical beaches, opulent royal palaces, ancient ruins and ornate temples displaying figures of Buddha. In Bangkok, the capital, an ultramodern cityscape rises next to quiet canalside communities and the iconic temples of Wat Arun, Wat Pho and the Emerald Buddha Temple (Wat Phra Kaew). Nearby beach resorts include bustling Pattaya and fashionable Hua Hin. Popular destinations are Bangkok, Pattaya, Ko Samui, Ko Pha Ngan, Ko Tao, Khao Sok National Park , Phuket City and Patong.
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Bangkok, Thailand’s capital, is a large city known for ornate shrines and vibrant street life. The boat-filled Chao Phraya River feeds its network of canals, flowing past the Rattanakosin royal district, home to opulent Grand Palace and its sacred Wat Phra Kaew Temple. Nearby is Wat Pho Temple with an enormous reclining Buddha and, on the opposite shore, Wat Arun Temple with its steep steps and Khmer-style spire.
Traditional teak buildings like the grand Vimanmek Palace and the residence-turned-museum Jim Thompson House contrast with the city’s skyline of modern high-rises. Shopping options range from the upscale mega-malls of the Ratchaprasong district to the thousands of tiny stalls at overflowing Chatuchak Weekend Market. The city’s renowned food scene spans traditional street-cart snacks – spicy, sour, sweet and salty – to upscale international restaurants. Bangkok is also known for its exuberant nightlife, with venues ranging from swanky rooftop lounges to basic backpacker bars and nightclubs of the notorious Patpong district.
Pattaya is a city on Thailand’s eastern Gulf coast known for its beaches. A quiet fishing village as recently as the 1960s, it’s now lined with resort hotels, high-rise condos, shopping malls, cabaret bars and 24-hour clubs. Nearby, hillside Wat Phra Yai Temple features an 18m-tall golden Buddha. The area also features several designer golf courses, some with views of Pattaya Bay.
Jet-skiing and parasailing are popular activities on Pattaya's busy beachfront, which is lined with lounge chairs and umbrellas. Jomtien Beach, to the south, is quieter and popular for windsurfing. Neon-lit Walking Street, which is closed to traffic each night, is packed with go-go bars, discos and massage parlors, while Art in Paradise features 3-D and interactive paintings. To the north, Naklua Bay also has beaches, a village-like vibe and the Sanctuary of Truth, an wood shrine covered with intricate Buddhist and Hindu carvings.
Ko Samui, Thailand’s second largest island, lies in the Gulf of Thailand off the east coast of the Kra Isthmus. It's known for its palm-fringed beaches, coconut groves and dense, mountainous rainforest, plus luxury resorts and posh spas. The landmark 12m-tall golden Big Buddha statue at Wat Phra Yai Temple is located on a tiny island connected to Ko Samui by a causeway.
The popular beaches of Chaweng and Lamai, on the east coast, have lounge chairs and strolling vendors, while the towns around them are the island’s party centers, packed with pubs, go-go bars and nightclubs. On the north side is the more laid-back village of Bo Phut, which features former Chinese shophouses converted to stylish restaurants, cafes and boutique hotels, as well as a night market selling street food, clothing and souvenirs. Nearby lies tranquil Maenam Beach, while the old capital Nathon lies on the west coast. Day trips to the limestone-cliff islets of Ang Thong Marine National Park offer snorkeling and diving.
Ko Pha Ngan
Ko Pha Ngan is an island in southeast Thailand that’s renowned for its monthly Full Moon Party. This boisterous night-long celebration, which is tied to the lunar calendar, draws revelers to its southeastern peninsula, Haad Rin. Most festivities center on Sunrise Beach, whose beach bungalows attract a backpacker crowd. On the north coast lie quieter, white-sand beaches including Hat Khuat and Hat Thian.
Lining the east coast are sheltered beaches like the palm-fringed Ao Thong Nai Pan. All over Ko Pha Ngan are upscale spas, Thai kickboxing camps, and meditation and yoga retreats like those offered at the Buddhist monastery of Wat Khao Tham. The island’s mountainous center is crisscrossed with dense jungle and scenic waterfalls like Than Sadet, within the national park Than Sadet–Ko Pha Ngan. The island is also a gateway to Ang Thong National Marine Park, a reef-lined island chain that’s popular with snorkelers and scuba divers.
Ko Tao is an island in Thailand and forms part of the Chumphon Archipelago on the western shore of the Gulf of Thailand. It covers an area of about 21 km². Administratively it forms a district of Surat Thani Province. As of 2006 its official population was 1,382. The main settlement is Ban Mae Hat. The economy of the island is almost exclusively centred on tourism, especially scuba diving.
Phuket, a rainforested, mountainous island in the Andaman Sea, has some of Thailand’s most popular beaches, mostly situated along the clear waters of the western shore. The island is home to many high-end seaside resorts, spas and restaurants. Phuket City, the capital, has old shophouses and busy markets. Patong, the main resort town, has many nightclubs, bars and discos.
Patong Beach is large and full of activity, with vendors offering rental lounge chairs and umbrellas, and a variety of water sports. Smaller Kata Beach, to the south, is also busy. Karon and Rawai beaches, near the island’s southern tip, and those along the island’s northwestern and eastern coasts, are more tranquil and less developed. Phuket is also known for its scuba diving among coral reefs, its Gibbon Rehabilitation Project and the neighboring islets of Phang Nga Bay, which have dramatic, towering limestone cliffs and caves. Other attractions include the Wat Chalong Buddhist temple complex and the Phuket Big Buddha statue.
Khao Sok National Park
Khao Sok National Park is a nature reserve in southern Thailand containing dense virgin jungle, towerlike limestone karst formations and the man-made Cheow Lan Lake. It’s home to rare species such as the giant parasitic Rafflesia flower, hornbill birds, gibbons and tigers. The park can be explored by elephant-back safari, hiking trail, and raft, canoe or kayak via the Sok river.
The Sok river and its tributaries feed into waterfalls such as the stepped, rafting-friendly Bang Hua Rat and gently sloping Tharn Sawan. The waterway makes its way back to Cheow Lan Lake and Ratchaprapha Dam, where overnight visitors can rent rustic bamboo huts, treehouses, tent campsites or floating bungalows around the edge of the lake. Longtail boat rides on the lake pass small islands, karsts and caves, including the stalactite- and stalagmite-studded Nam Talu complex.
Patong is a beach resort town on the west coast of Phuket Island, facing the Andaman Sea in the southwest of Thailand. Its sandy, crescent beach is lined with cafes, restaurants and bars. The famously raucous nightlife scene features beer bars, go-go bars, nightclubs, massage parlors and cabarets that overflow into the street along neon-lit Bangla Road and in the Patong OTOP Shopping Paradise complex.