When you’re traveling to the other side of the world to the beautiful Kingdom of Thailand, there are certain things you simply can not miss out on, and we’re already itching to tell you everything! From warm beaches and Thai massages to street food and floating markets, a trip to Thailand just isn’t complete without making sure these top ten travel tips are on your first time in Thailand itinerary.
1. Take a temple tour in Bangkok
I don’t think there is a better way of getting to know the Thai culture and history than visiting the temples of Bangkok. Especially the first time you are going to Thailand.
Two of Thailand’s most treasured landmarks are in Bangkok, and you should visit them both.
One of them is the Grand Palace, a majestic palace with golden spires and the former home to the Thai royalty.
Within the borders of the 61-acres grounds, there sits one of the wonders of the world: the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew). Explore its history and treat yourself to some gifts at the Gems Gallery afterward.
The Temple of the Reclining Buddha – another one that should be on every Thailand itinerary – which dates back to the 16th century is another beautiful place that should definitely be included on your travel itinerary and is located right next to the Grand Palace.
On the opposite side of the Chao Phraya River, there is the majestic Wat Arun – the temple of Dawn. It is one of the most important landmarks of Bangkok and it’s easily recognizable by its unique shape. If you manage to climb the steep stairs of this amazing building not only will you burn all the fried rice you had the night before but you’ll also get to admire a breathtaking view of the city.
2. Admire the sunset on Chaweng Beach in Koh Samui
On the east coast of Koh Samui, which has a reputation for pristine white beaches and thousands of palm trees, is Chaweng, one of the busiest and biggest towns that have sprung up next to the island’s best beaches.
Lined with coconut trees and boasting warm beachy temperatures all year round, Chaweng Beach is a dreamy place to visit and a must-see on your Thailand bucket list.
Chaweng Beach offers the best of both worlds: chilling and watching the sunset or enjoying the nightlife until the sun rises again.
Finding a spot on the beach or a seat at a nearby bar for drinks and dinner – either way, watching the sun go down is pretty flipping fantastic.
If you’re not into drinking at the bars, you may be tickled pink to know that you can grab a bottle of wine and drink it right on the beach.
3. Soak in the sun on a beach in Koh Lanta
Koh Lanta is one of Thailand’s most beautiful islands, just off the coast of Krabi – and it’s quite easy to get to both by car and boat!
The long coastline means that it’s packed with beaches where you can relax in the sunshine and take in a good dose of Vitamin D.
With all of the beaches in Thailand, Koh Lanta has some of the finest beaches in the country, and if you’re lucky, you’ll be able to find a deserted strip where you can swim and soak in private.
The most secluded beaches are located towards the southern tip of Koh Lanta – among these Mu Ko Lanta National Park, Bamboo Bay and Nui Beach are the most tranquil. While going a bit north, you’ll find longer and busier beaches such as Kantiang Bay and Long Beach.
And when you finally got your perfect tan make sure to explore the island as there are many fun and interesting things to do in Koh Lanta. From soaking in the nature of the National Park to enjoying a cooking class – the list of activities is endless.
4. Try the authentic Pad Thai
Pad Thai, the national dish of Thailand, is a staple in the Thai diet. Long, long ago in the late 1930s, Plaek Phibunsongkhram (aka Phibun) came into power.
He wanted to transform the country so he held a competition to create the new national dish. Guess what won? Pad Thai! If your preference is spicy, sour, sweet, salty, or bitter you can find each of these flavors in Pad Thai dishes.
Even if you’re enjoying Pad Thai on the regular in your own home country, you’re in for an eye-opening experience once you’ve chowed down on authentic Pad Thai in Thailand.
Pad Thai literally translates to “fried Thai” and it’s certainly a required dish to enjoy while you’re touring the “Land of Smiles.”
5. Shopping at Floating Market
If you’re searching for charm, authenticity, and a completely local experience, exploring one of the three most popular floating markets on the high seas near Bangkok is a must.
Wooden boats are piled high with brightly colored tropical fruit, fresh vegetables, and ready-to-drink coconut juice.
Try local food, pastries, and desserts cooked in authentic floating kitchens. The scent of typical Thai spices will make you feel hungry very quickly.
Bring your camera to capture the colors, the people, and the local Thai souvenirs you’re bound to buy.
Some of the floating markets are more touristy than others but all of them will leave you with great memories and amazing pictures. Nonetheless, these are always on the list of things to do in Bangkok Thailand.
The most famous floating markets are located south-west of Bangkok and are easily reachable with a day trip. Among these, the usual top choices are the Damnoen Saduak, the Tha Kha, and the Amphawa floating market.
6. Get an authentic Thai massage in Chiang Mai
When you visit Thailand, you’ll be covering considerable ground. With all of the walking and sweating, your body may feel a bit weary.
Chiang Mai – another city in the list of must see places in Thailand – which means “New City”, is the largest city in northern Thailand, and a perfect destination for a Thai massage that will leave your body feeling like new.
Beyond being one of the most popular backpacker destinations in the world, this laid-back province is the perfect locale to enjoy an authentic Thai massage – in fact, all the best Thai Massage Schools are located in Chiang Mai.
The ever-popular Thai massage will re-establish the energy lines of your body, you’ll feel refreshed, recharged, and ready to continue your Thai adventure.
7. Party in Patong in Phuket
For as chill and relaxing as Koh Lanta is, Phuket is the complete opposite.
If you’re looking for a place to party and dance the night away, Phuket and more precisely Patong – the undisputed nightlife central is your destination.
For the biggest clubs and the craziest nights, explore Bangla Road. Beer bars, go-go bars, street performers, vendors, lounge bars, games, live music, nightclubs, beach clubs, sunset bars, live theatre, plus cabaret means there is something for everyone, no matter your taste in entertainment.
Past sunset, every day, Patong gets incredibly crowded with tourists from all over the world wanting to experience the notorious nightlife of Phuket, one of the top destinations in Thailand.
8. Kayaking in Ao Nang
The best coastal kayaking in Thailand starts from the Ao Nang area. Situated in the province of Krabi, Ao Nang is a little corner of Paradise – surrounded by hidden islands and gorgeous bays, it is a wonderful spot for a relaxing holiday.
If you’re looking for gentle and fun kayaking out on the open sea, link up with a kayaking tour when you arrive – there are many located on the main walking street directly on Ao Nang Beach.
Sea canoes are available by the hour if you want to playfully paddle around and explore the beauty of the famous ancient limestone caves, hidden lagoons, and canyons.
Easy-to-spot creatures like hornbills, kingfishers, smaller herons, and even monkeys are visible, plus millions of brightly colored tropical fish.
Don’t forget to rent/buy a waterproof bag for keeping your valuables safe (and dry!) during your kayaking adventures.
9. Snorkeling in Koh Rok
Koh Rok Island is a pristine island with white sand like baby powder and bright, bright blue water that is completely transparent.
What better conditions for snorkeling! The warm water is chock-full of marine life and you’re bound to see brightly colored tropical fish, starfish, coral reefs, and even small sharks if you’re lucky.
Koh Rok is reachable by speedboat from Koh Lanta and from Phuket and makes a perfect one-day trip destination since staying overnight is impossible as for now.
If you enjoy snorkeling, sunbathing and swimming, it’s very likely you’re going to fall in love with this island.
10. Try Street Food in Bangkok
If you’re a food lover, Bangkok is a perfect place for you to explore the culinary cuisine that is affordable and insanely delicious. You can’t go hungry!
The street will be full of infinite options like Thai boat noodles, suckling pig, bird’s nest soup, Kobe beef noodles, roast duck, jungle curry, shrimp, vegetables, salads, fruits, desserts, dancing shrimp, and griddle cakes galore.
Stalls with food piled high can be easily found around the entire city but check out the areas such as Chinatown, Khao San Road, and Rattanakosin for the ultimate experience.
Note: Mondays are street cleaning days in Bangkok, so only about 50% of stalls are open.
When you travel to the other side of the world and visit the gems and historic places throughout Thailand, be sure to take time to savor the unique cuisine, take a dip in the warm water, and relax in ways you might not get to when you’re going about your daily life back at home.
Whether you are traveling to Thailand alone or with some company, we truly hope you enjoy Thailand as much as we did – there’s no place quite like it!
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