With a welcoming culture and incredibly diverse landscape, it’s not hard to see why Thailand in Southeast Asia is so popular with holidaymakers.
Not only is the coastline filled with immaculate beaches and limestone karsts, the cosmopolitan cities offer so much to explore by day or night. Culture vultures have plenty to get stuck into with temples, galleries, palaces, clubs and night markets in abundance. And beach lovers will appreciate the endless swathes’ of sand and clear blue sea.
A holiday to Thailand offers many opportunities to island hop, so you can make the most of your time seeing more of this beautiful country. We’ve explored Thailand’s capital, Bangkok, and the popular islands of Koh Samui, Krabi, Pattaya and Phuket all within easy reach.
Be dazzled by the bright lights and swarming crowds of Bangkok. The intoxicating city is to home to cultural and historical landmarks, such as the famous Grand Palace, Wat Arun and Wat Pho.
The incredible floating markets of Tha Kha, Damnoen Saduak and Amphawa are where you’ll find vendors selling fresh produce along the waterways. And Asiatique The Riverfront boasts over 1, 500 boutiques for a shopping experience like no other.
As well as countless attractions to keep you busy, the sheer size and height of Bangkok will amaze you. Burgeoning skyscrapers, swanky hotel complexes and restaurants, and towering office blocks make this concrete jungle an incredible place to explore.
Popular with backpackers exploring the Gulf of Thailand, Koh Samui has a little bit of everything – palm-fringed beaches, exciting nightlife, friendly bars and welcoming locals.
Whether you choose to visit the Big Buddha temple, Fisherman’s Village, Chaweng Beach or the Samui Elephant Sanctuary, a cultural adventure awaits you. The famous Full Moon parties take place on Ko Pha-ngan island, a short boat ride away from Koh Samui.
If wellness is something you’re looking forward to in Thailand, then Koh Samui ticks all of those boxes It’s not uncommon to find beach yoga classes taking place here, and you can take your pick of spas to enjoy Thai treatments and massages.
In the lively city of Pattaya, take your pick of places to eat, drink and stay. One of the original holiday beach resorts since the 60s, Pattaya caters well to tourists who want to enjoy laid-back beach days and vibrant city life in one holiday.
While Pattaya is largely family friendly, it’s not hard to find bars and clubs that stay open well into the early hours. Nightlife here is known to be some of the best, especially on Walking Street (pictured above) and at Mixx Discotheque. By day, the main beach of Ao Pattaya offers great watersports facilities and boat trips over to Ko Lan.
Elsewhere, shopping malls, floating markets, cabaret shows and botanical gardens will keep you entertained. A trip to The Sanctuary of Truth is a must too – a temple constricted entirely from carved wood.
With over 150 islands in this province, Krabi will take your breath away. Dotted with spectacular caves, imposing karst cliffs, dense jungle and exotic wildlife, there’s no shortage of things to see and do.
Nature lovers will relish in the national parks such as Ko Phi Phi National Marine Park just off the Krabi mainland, and Mu Ko Lanta National Park in southern Krabi, while Wat Kaew Korawaram temple in downtown Krabi shows off Buddhist architecture.
One of the most popular beaches, Railay Beach, sits between Ao Nang and Krabi. Ao Thalane Beach is also accessible by boat and offers plenty of opportunities for kayaking, snorkelling and monkey-spotting.
The largest island in Thailand is a heady mix of beeping trucks, party resorts and thriving bars and restaurants. But Phuket offers a slice of the quiet life in its unspoilt beaches such as Kamala Beach and Mai Khao Beach. Footsteps from the nightlife and main strip on Bangla Road, Patong Beach is where you’ll find the largest crowds.
For a taste of Thai cuisine, try a cooking class or head to one of the many food night markets. And if sightseeing is on your agenda, visit the Golden Buddha at Wat Khao Rang or Wat Chalong. If you’re travelling with the family, then a zip line experience or visit to Phuket Aquarium in Cape Panwa is an interesting day out. In the south, Rawai has a great selection of lively bars and restaurants.