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Top 8 Things to Do in Thailand

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Chaiwatthanaram Temple in Ayutthaya, Thailand

Chaiwatthanaram Temple in Ayutthaya, Thailand

The top eight things to do in Thailand will speak to your soul, with endless opportunities for once-in-a-lifetime adventures and sublime relaxation.

World-class beaches draw you in with pristine white sands, crystalline water, and colorful reefs, while majestic jungle terrain hides elephants and tigers. Mountain villages retain antique traditions, while hi-tech cities feature a mixture of golden temples and soaring skyscrapers.

Thailand is unlike any other destination and these are the essential things to do during your vacation there.

  1. 1. Experience Thailand’s True Culinary Flavors
  2. 2. Embark on Thrilling Active Adventures
  3. 3. Discover the Past and Present on Cultural Tours
  4. 4. Snorkel or Scuba Dive in the Alluring Waters
  5. 5. Revel in Art and Storytelling on History Tours
  6. 6. Immerse Yourself in the Magnificence of National Parks
  7. 7. Enjoy Incredible Thai Shopping Experiences
  8. 8. See Remarkable Wildlife
  9. Experience the Top Things to Do in Thailand

1. Experience Thailand’s True Culinary Flavors

Street food vendor in Bangkok, Thailand

Street food vendor in Bangkok, Thailand

The layered flavors and tastes of typical Thai cuisine focus on local ingredients and reveal an essential part of local culture. Foods, flavors, and culinary traditions change with the regions, shifting from northeastern to northwestern Thailand, and again from central Thailand to the south.

Multiple courses, ethnic village customs, contemporary aesthetics, or glamorous modern plates are tied together with ease under the diverse umbrella of Thai cuisine that you can enjoy. From Thailand food tours to cooking classes, restaurant recommendations to street food, savor the variety and flavors that abound.

Best Places for Food Tours: Bangkok • Chiang Mai • Phuket • Hua Hin • Ko Bulon Lee

2. Embark on Thrilling Active Adventures

Two inflatable kayaks in Phang Nga Bay

Kayaks in Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Thailand is a marvelous place for active tours. From hiking trails that lead to breathtaking karsts or rushing whitewater that winds through hidden valleys, the scenery will amaze you. Kayak on a pristine bay in the south or take to a trail to reach a secluded view.

The beauty of Thailand’s natural scenery steals the show, while your excursion enhances your connection to untouched nature.

Best Places for Active Tours: Khao No • Doi Chang Cliffs • Hang Nak Mountain Nature Trail • Chiang Mai • Nan • Phang Nga Bay

3. Discover the Past and Present on Cultural Tours

White lotus shaped pagoda in Ban Chiang, Thailand

White lotus shaped pagoda in Ban Chiang, Thailand

The history of Thailand is rich and bountiful, parallelling the famous landscape for which the country is known. Ancient cities represent more than 700 years of kingdoms and village life preserves a wealth of art and performance.

The faces of Thailand have changed through the centuries, but some customs remain part of its fabric. From north to south, you can embrace vibrant heritage consisting of protected ruins, mazes of conserved sculptures, and classic cities that immerse you in a present that celebrates its past.

Best Places for Cultural Tours: Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest Complex • Ayutthaya • Ban Chiang • Sukhothai •  Phimai Historical Park • Chiang Mai

4. Snorkel or Scuba Dive in the Alluring Waters

Batfish swimming along coral reef

Fish swimming along coral reef in Racha Noi, near Phuket, Thailand

Thailand is a crown jewel of scuba diving and snorkeling, with crystal-clear and warm waters year-round.

You can plunge into the depths of pristine dive sites, with excellent visibility to rainbow reefs and colorful coral, or snorkel in search of majestic manta rays.

From sea caves to limestone pinnacles, you will find an alluring perspective of the already captivating kingdom around the best islands in Thailand and beyond.

Best Places for Snorkeling or Scuba Diving: Koh Tao •  Similan Islands • Phuket • Koh Lanta • Koh Phi Phi

5. Revel in Art and Storytelling on History Tours

Colorful dragons statue with Pagoda at sunset

Dragons statue with Pagoda of Wat Huay Pla Kang in Chiang Rai, Thailand

Color has meaning in Thailand and history imbues the present with layers of it. Artistry takes the form of sculptures and tattoos, architecture and golden Buddhas, with each image reflecting a different aspect of the kingdom’s heritage.

Cities embrace their pasts by displaying history in the streets, museum galleries, and protected archeological complexes found across the country, including when exploring the best things to do in Bangkok.

Best Places for Art and History Tours: Bangkok • Chiang Mai • Pattaya • Ayutthaya • Si Satchanalai Historical Park • Chiang Rai • Kanchanaburi

6. Immerse Yourself in the Magnificence of National Parks

Sea waters winding through miles of mangroves and limestone karsts in Phang Na Bay, Thailand

Samet Nangshe Viewpoint of Phang Na Bay, Thailand

Thailand’s national parks are hidden gems that often go unappreciated.

The gorgeous landscapes are where you can experience the country’s untouched beauty and inherent splendor. From the active wildlife to curtains of waterfalls, colorful coral reefs to protected beaches, there is beauty around every corner.

With over 100 national parks, including 22 marine parks, your exploration of Thailand’s natural beauty can keep you endlessly discovering new territory.

Best Places for National Parks: Khao Yai • Khao Sok • Namtok Phlio • Kui Buri • Ao Phang Nga • Mu Ko Ang Thong

7. Enjoy Incredible Thai Shopping Experiences

Rows and rows of night market stalls

Night market in Bangkok, Thailand

Shopping in Thailand is essential. Besides glitzy malls, shopping in the country takes many forms, from trendy boutiques to classic floating markets, upscale shops to massive weekend events that can feel joyously overwhelming.

Whether eager to find a specialized store or interested in wandering around the stalls of a night market, Thailand will immerse you in a diverse and fascinating world of shopping when touring the distinctive art spaces in Chiang Mai or the famous districts of Bangkok.

Best Places for Shopping: Bangkok • Chiang Mai • Hua Hin • Krabi • Pattaya

8. See Remarkable Wildlife

Monkey eating fruit on a tree branch in front of waterfall at Khlong Lan National Park, Thailand

Monkey in Khlong Lan National Park, Thailand

Wildlife viewing is more than just a unique activity in Thailand, with the animals an essential element of the country’s celebrated ecosystem.

When you visit a protected landscape searching for wildlife, you can find more diversity than you may have expected, whether you dive into protected waters in search of whale sharks or scour the jungles hoping for glimpses of elephants, tigers, or cloud leopards. Each new possibility will bring more excitement than the last.

Best Places for Wildlife Viewing: Khlong Saeng • Erawan • Khao Sok • Ko Chang • Khao Sam Roi

Experience the Top Things to Do in Thailand

Novice monks walking through a temple in Thailand

Novice monks in Ayutthaya, Thailand

Thailand is a gem of a destination, with an endless number of fascinating things to do. Whether indulging in a romantic tropical escape or a family-friendly tour in search of elephants, there is something for every type of traveler.

Experience the perfect Thailand honeymoon, enjoy a unique tour for seniors, or find inspiration with our Thailand travel guide that offers helpful information and tips for a trip designed around your travel preferences. Find more ideas for your experience with our Thailand tours and vacations.

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