Things to Do in Thailand - page 2
Grandmother and Grandfather Rocks - or Hin Yai/Hin Ta - are rocky outcrops on Lamai Beach. Often photographed and commented on, the rocks bear an uncanny resemblance to male and female genitalia.
The rocks are set on a lovely stretch of beach, and create tranquil rock pools when the tide is in.
The 42 karst islets of Ang Thong National Marine Park (Mu Koh Ang Thong) in southern Thailand comprise a picturesque seascape spanning more than 95 square miles (246 square kilometers). These limestone pinnacles harbor secluded powdery beaches, sheer cliffs, and caves, and are home to myriad birds, monkeys, dolphins, and other wildlife.
In a city and country known for its colorful markets, none stands out so vividly as Pak Klong Talad Flower Market (Pak Khlong Talat). Stalls feature local and imported fresh-cut flowers piled high: delicate orchids, bunches of colorful carnations, fragrant roses, lilies, forget-me-nots, and more. Vendors also sell flower arrangements and hand-strung garlands.
Talu Island (Koh Talu) is a privately-owned island in the Gulf of Thailand. It’s around a 30-minute boat ride from the mainland town of Bangsaphan, and approximately three hours from Hua Hin. The island is a popular day trip due to its pristine beaches lined with palm trees, crystal-clear waters, and tropical wilderness inland.
Koh Talu’s shallow waters are ideal for snorkeling, and it’s the closest place to Hua Hin for scuba diving, with reasonable depths and good visibility. Further inland, a wild tropical rainforest covers the landscape of the island, with some fantastic opportunities for trekking. There is only one resort on the island, and it offers activities such as mountain biking, kayaking, and sailing in addition to beach and garden bungalow accommodation.
Talu Island is also home to a sea turtle conservation programme, where turtle eggs are harvested and nurtured before being released into the ocean when they’re nine months old.
Krabi’s Tiger Cave Temple (Wat Tham Suea) is a spiritual center that’s famed for its 1,237 steps which lead to the massive, gilded Buddha statue which dominates the peak. While the climb is not for the faint of heart, the spectacular views of Krabi, the surrounding countryside, and the Andaman Sea make the effort worthwhile.
Koh Panyi is a charming Muslim fishing village built on stilts over the water. Visit to see the 18th-century houses, the mosque, and the floating market. The area is a popular stop on tours of the region that also take in well-known sights such as James Bond Island (Khao Phing Kan) and Hong Island.
With its heady smorgasbord of street food, gold merchants, wooden shophouses, and ancient Chinese temples, there’s never a dull moment in Bangkok’s Chinatown, also known as Yaowarat. Exploring the bustlingsois (side streets) of the city’s oldest district is a must on any trip to the Thai capital.
Koh Samui is known for its incredible beaches, turquoise waters and sandy shores. But hidden away from the coastal wonder lies one of the most unique temples in the nation—Wat Khunaram.
While this gilded red and white temple may look typical to travelers who climb the dozen or so stairs that lead to its entryway, once inside, visitors will find a site unlike anywhere else. That’s because a vertical glass casket holds the mummified body of Loung Pordaeng—a famous monk—in his most meditative state. Locals say his meditation techniques, which required less oxygen than his peers—are responsible for his still well-preserved state. Visitors can come tour the site, learn about the life of this religious icon, and bear witness to local Buddhists praying at wat shrines.
Home to the world's largest gold Buddha statue, the Temple of the Golden Buddha (Wat Traimit) is a prominent stop on Bangkok’s temple trail. Measuring nine feet (three meters) tall and weighing more than five tons (4,535 kilograms), the Buddha attracts floods of visitors who come to marvel at its size and gleaming golden surface.
Step into the tropical forests of Phang Nga to visit one of southern Thailand’s most important temples, Cave Temple (Wat Suwan Kuha). Commonly known as the Cave Temple, it sits inside a large cave complex and features many religious statues—the most prominent being the 50-foot (15-meter) golden reclining Buddha in the Tam Yai cave.
More Things to Do in Thailand
The golden spire of Wat Phra That Doi Suthep glitters near the summit of Doi Suthep, a 5,499-foot (1,676-meter) mountain outside Chiang Mai. The wat, established in 1383, is one of northern Thailand’s most sacred temples. The International Buddhist Center at the wat hosts informal discussions, chanting, and meditation.
The spectacularly ornamented Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew) is one of the most important Buddhist temples in Thailand. Located within the Grand Palace in Bangkok’s Old City, a site highlight is a sacred pre–15th-century statue of the Buddha in a seated meditation pose carved from a single block of jade.
Take a walk beneath the water as sharks and rays glide overhead at Underwater World Pattaya. This walk-through aquarium highlights the diverse range of marine creatures found in Thai waters, from shallow rock-pool dwellers to colorful coral and deep-ocean fish. More than 2,500 critters are on display, representing some 200 species.
In keeping with Ko Pha Ngan’s party spirit, Slip N Fly is more than just a water park. It’s a daytime pool party, with two 130-foot (40-meter) slides, a couple of smaller slides, a large freshwater pool, plus dancers, musicians, and DJs. As you’d expect, the island’s notorious “bucket” drink options flow throughout the day.
Nearly 200 different ruins are strewn across the 27-square-mile (70-square-kilometer) Sukhothai Historical Park (Historic Town of Sukhothai), including towering Buddhas, ornate palaces, and crumbling temples. The UNESCO World Heritage Site—one of Thailand’s most impressive—hints at what the country’s first capital might have looked like in its golden age.
The stunning Maya Bay (Maya Beach) became a major tourist attraction after the 2000 film,The Beach, was filmed here. It’s situated within Thailand’s Phi Phi Islands, off the coasts of both Krabi and Phuket on the mainland, and is distinguished by its beautiful white-sand beach sheltered by limestone cliffs on three sides.
There are in fact several beaches here, but most are small and some only exist at low tide. The main beach, where most boats drop passengers just offshore, is a 200-meter long strip of silky white sand. It’s surrounded by clear waters filled with colorful coral and an abundance of exotic fish, making it an absolute haven for snorkelers. Walking inland is also a treat, with a path that winds through lush greenery and reveals some simply spectacular scenery.
It’s true that Maya Bay’s popularity has taken a certain degree of the shine from this once little-heard of slice of paradise. It’s become so well-known that its shores are filled with hoards of boats dropping visitors off and picking them up throughout the day, particularly in peak season. Visitors should arrive early in the morning to avoid the larger part of the crowds.
Please note: Maya Bay (Maya Beach) is closed indefinitely due to overtourism.
The Big Buddha Phuket is hard to miss. Built on a patch of virgin rain forest on Khao Nakkerd Hill high above Phuket, this gigantic 148-foot (45-meter) statue is one of the island's most prominent landmarks, easily seen from most places in the south. From the statue’s base, visitors enjoy panoramic views of Chalong Bay and Phuket town.
The 2.5-mile (4-kilometer) stretch of sand known as Pattaya Beach ranks among the area's liveliest beaches. The crescent-shaped coast remains lively day and night, with the party atmosphere of the bars and restaurants of Beach Road to one side and a host of water sports—wind surfing, jet skiing, parasailing, or banana boating—to the other. The popular beach also serves as a departure point for diving expeditions to Pattaya's offshore coral islands.
Apart from the beaches, Koh Samui’s most distinctive attraction is the golden Big Buddha Temple (Wat Phra Yai) visible above the red-tiled rooftops on the island’s north coast. The 40-foot (12-meter) Buddha statue can be seen from several miles away—even from a plane—and the site is an active place of worship.
Thailand’s answer to Barcelona’s La Sagrada Família cathedral, the Sanctuary of Truth (Prasat Sut Ja-Tum) was begun in 1981 and is scheduled for completion around 2050. The wooden structure is a whopping 345 feet tall (105 meters tall), hand-carved by artisans using traditional techniques, and full of Hindu and Buddhist sculptures.
The prominence of Phuket’s beaches and out islands mean that Phuket Old Town is often overlooked. Yet, it offers a wealth of 19th-century architectural delights and fantastic photo ops. Beside the latticed windows of Malay-style shop-front buildings on Soi Rommanee, Old Phuket Town boasts temples, museums, and restaurants.
A tiny, remote cluster of five uninhabited islands some 10 miles off the coast of Koh Lanta in the Thai Andaman, Koh Haa (also written Koh Ha or Ko Ha) hides an underwater paradise. Here, striated granite pinnacles dotted with gnarly trees tower above some of Thailand’s clearest and bluest waters. Koh Haa's shock of white sand beneath its central, protected cerulean lagoon affords a breathtaking backdrop for some of the best snorkeling and diving in the country.
Comprised of northerly Ko Haa Neung, central Koh Haa Sam and southerly Ko Haa Yai, as well as two tiny unnamed pinnacles guarding sentry at the mouth of the lagoon, the underwater landscape is just as rugged as the rocky islets themselves. Protected swim-through caves hide lobster, morays and schools of shimmering fish, while vibrant coral is littered with psychedelic nudibranchs (sea slugs), and drop-offs provide the occasional glimpse of deeper denizens such as sharks. Sixteen recognized dive sites with names such as Lost Pinnacle, The Cathedral, Lionfish Den and Cliff Jump Cove divulge some of what’s in store.
With limestone rock formations jutting out of the emerald green sea, Phang Nga Bay (Ao Phang Nga) in Thailand is famous the world over for its natural beauty. Many visitors to Thailand will find themselves crossing the bay on the way to popular tourist spots, such as Phuket or Krabi, but this place deserves some dedicated exploration time of its own.
This partially ruined wat, possibly the largest structure in ancient Chiang Mai, dates back to the year 1441 and is most famous as the former home of the incredible Emerald Buddha. Nowadays, a jade replica fills the eastern niche of Wat Chedi Luang, although you can see the original in Bangkok at the Wat Phra Kaew.
- Things to do in Krabi
- Things to do in Phuket
- Things to do in Koh Samui
- Things to do in Chiang Mai
- Things to do in Bangkok
- Things to do in Ko Pha Ngan
- Things to do in Koh Tao
- Things to do in Ko Lanta
- Things to do in Ko Phi Phi Don
- Things to do in Surat Thani
- Things to do in Cambodia
- Things to do in Laos
- Things to do in Gulf of Thailand
- Things to do in Southern Thailand and Andaman Coast
- Things to do in Northern Thailand