13 Best Places To Visit In Thailand For First Timers
For first-time travelers, the most memorable places to visit in Thailand might include the old towns with their temples and delicious Thai street food, the sandy beaches with palm trees and turquoise waters, or the bustling streets in Bangkok and the waterway through the floating market. This Southeast Asian treasure never fails to dazzle with its breathtaking beaches, awe-inspiring landscapes, tantalizing cuisine, and captivating cultural experiences.
This blog post will unveil the top 13 destinations in Thailand curated exclusively for first-time visitors. Let’s discover the mesmerizing allure of Thailand and craft memories that will stay with you forever.
Why Thailand Is The Perfect Location For Remarkable Adventures
Thailand’s natural beauty sets the stage for amazing journeys. The country offers an array of landscapes, from the lush jungles of Khao Sok National Park to the pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters of the islands in the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand. Adventurers can embark on thrilling activities such as trekking through dense forests, exploring hidden caves, snorkeling or diving among vibrant coral reefs, and even encountering majestic elephants in ethical sanctuaries.
For those seeking cultural immersion, Thailand’s ancient temples and historical sites provide a window into its fascinating past. From the awe-inspiring Grand Palace in Bangkok to the ancient ruins of Ayutthaya and Sukhothai, travelers can explore the remnants of an illustrious history while marveling at the intricate architecture and spiritual significance of these sacred places.
Thailand – A destination that you must visit once in your lifetime
Thai food is renowned worldwide for its bold flavors, fresh ingredients, and vibrant culinary traditions. Its harmonious blend of sweet, sour, salty, and spicy flavors attracts many foodies with a symphony of tastes, creating the iconic Pad Thai, a stir-fried noodle dish with a perfect balance of tanginess and sweetness, or the aromatic and creamy Green Curry.
Thailand’s warm and welcoming locals contribute to the uniqueness of the encounters. Whether participating in a traditional Thai cooking class, engaging with hill tribe communities in the north, or joining in the vibrant festivities during Thai festivals, visitors can connect with the locals, gaining insights into their customs, traditions, and way of life.
>> See Tour: Best Of Thailand
13 Perfect Places To Visit In Thailand For First-time Travelers
Glorious Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai
- Best for: Cultural Enthusiasts, Nature Lovers, Adventure Seekers
- When to visit: During the cool and dry season, typically from November to February.
- What to do: Explore the iconic White Temple (Wat Rong Khun) for its intricate architecture and dazzling white exterior, discover the Golden Triangle through a boat trip on the Mekong River, trek through hill tribe to explore the picturesque countryside, experience the Night Bazaar with colorful stalls offering local handicrafts, clothing, and delicious street food. It’s a fantastic place to shop for souvenirs, enjoy live music, and savor the bustling atmosphere, etc.
- Regional food to try: Sai Ua (Northern Thai sausage) and Khao Soi (coconut curry noodle soup)
In Chiang Rai, the mystical province nestled in the heart of northern Thailand, whether you seek cultural immersion, adventure, spiritual enlightenment, or simply a moment of serenity, this land beckons you with open arms. It’s a destination that caters to the discerning traveler eager to uncover hidden treasures beyond the beaten path. Prepare for a captivating journey filled with cultural wonders, breathtaking landscapes, and unforgettable experiences.
Savor the vibrant street food in Chiang Mai
- Best for: Cultural Enthusiasts, Nature Lovers, Family Travelers
- When to visit: The cool and dry season from November to February.
- What to do: Immerse yourself in the rich heritage of Chiang Mai by exploring its awe-inspiring temples, participate in an authentic Buddhist meditation retreat, embark on a trek through lush jungles, Indulge in the vibrant markets and culinary delights of Chiang Mai, learn to cook authentic Thai dishes in a traditional class guided by expert chefs, etc.
- Regional food to try: Khao Soi (coconut curry noodle soup) and Kaeb Moo (crispy pig rinds)
Chiang Mai, the city of peace, offers a captivating blend of ancient traditions and breathtaking landscapes. It is a perfect destination for every wanderlust-filled soul who seeks tranquility, exploration, or a taste of authentic Thai culture. Tourists might effortlessly be captivated by the city’s ancient temples and cultural heritage, revel in the abundance of outdoor activities, from trekking to ziplining, or explore meditation retreats and engage with Buddhist traditions.
Discover the ultimate relaxation destination at Pai Hot Spring
- Best for: Nature Lovers, Adventure Seekers, Relaxation Seekers
- When to visit: The best time is from November to February, when the weather is pleasantly mild.
- What to do: Trek through lush jungles to marvel at the stunning Pai Canyon, visit local villages to interact with the friendly locals and even participate in handicraft workshops, pamper yourself with a traditional Thai massage, practice yoga amidst serene surroundings, or indulge in a soothing hot spring spa treatment, etc.
- Regional food to try: Sai Ua (Northern Thai sausage) and Khao Soi (coconut curry noodle soup)
For years, Pai Town has been a popular destination in Northern Thailand for backpackers and alternative travelers. It is encircled by breathtaking mountains, rice farms, and some of the nation’s greatest hot springs. Prepare to be amazed by Pai’s breathtaking landscapes, cultural treasures, and exhilarating activities that will leave you craving for more.
>> See Tour: Northern Thailand Adventure & Pristine Beach
Ancient Buddha statue in the Sukhothai Historical Park
- Best for: History Enthusiasts, Nature lovers, Family Travelers
- When to visit: During the cooler months, from November to February.
- What to do: Immerse yourself in the magnificent World Heritage Site of Sukhothai Historical Park, visit the local communities and interact with the warm-hearted locals, experience traditional Thai arts and crafts, savor authentic local cuisine that will tantalize your taste buds, etc.
- What to eat: Kuay Tiao Sukhothai, the Sukhothai rice noodles mixed with ground peanuts, beans, chili, and lime.
One of history’s greatest treasures is Sukhothai, the ancient kingdom of north-central Thailand. With its awe-inspiring ancient ruins, serene landscapes, and warm hospitality, Sukhothai promises an unforgettable journey for all who seek to delve into Thailand’s glorious past. Come and experience the magic of Sukhothai, where time stands still and memories are made.
Unique photography angle at Wat Chaiwatthanaram Temple, Ayutthaya
- Best for: History Enthusiasts, Culture Seekers, Adventure Seekers.
- When to visit: From November to February, it is when the temperatures are comfortable without the scorching heat.
- What to do: Wander through the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Ayutthaya Historical Park, marvel at the intricate architecture and ancient temples (Wat Mahathat, Wat Phra Si Sanphet, and Wat Chaiwatthanaram), embark on a serene boat ride along the Chao Phraya River, pedal through the city’s charming streets, encounter gentle giants at the elephant camps in Ayutthaya, etc.
- What to eat: King River Prawn is Ayutthaya’s specialty, so you should try grilled prawns or a traditional dish with hot tamarind sauce.
The capital of the historical kingdom Siam is Ayutthaya, which nowadays is a collection of ruins and temples situated around one hour north of Bangkok. The enchanting allure of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, where echoes of the past whisper through magnificent downfalls and vibrant traditions, has welcomed curious tourists from all over the world. Pack your bags, embark on a journey through time, and let Ayutthaya weave its spell on you!
Mysterious Demon Guardian at Wat Phra Kaew
- Best for: History Enthusiasts, Foodies, Family Travelers
- When to visit: From December to February, the best time for pleasant temperatures and clear skies.
- What to do: Visit the awe-inspiring temples (Wat Arun and Wat Phra Kaew), explore the bustling markets like Chatuchak Weekend Market or floating market, take a long-tail boat ride along the Chao Phraya River, explore the luxurious malls such as Siam Paragon and CentralWorld, etc.
- What to eat: Try the fried banana pancakes, Tom Yum soup, mango sticky rice, spicy papaya salad, and Pad Thai when having a street food tour in Bangkok.
Bangkok, one of the top places to visit in Thailand, is ready to welcome you with open arms. The seamless combinations of tradition and modernity allow this city to gain the fourth position in the top 10 most searched tourist locations globally, after New York, London, and Paris. Tourists surely can expect a one-of-a-kind journey in this captivating metropolis, whether it is a gastronomic pleasure, an exciting experience, cultural immersion, or just a fun trip.
The famous Bridge in River Kwai, a memorial of the Second World War
- Best for: History Enthusiasts, Nature Lovers, Family Travelers
- When to visit: From November to February, when the temperatures and rainfall in the town are moderate.
- What to do: Visit the iconic Bridge over the River Kwai (a poignant reminder of the World War II era), explore the nearby museums and learn about the construction of the Death Railway, delve deeper into history at the Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum, immerse yourself in nature’s wonderland at Erawan National Park, indulge in the serenity of Sai Yok Noi Waterfall, etc.
- What to eat: Must-try foods include deep-fried chicken feet, fried rice, BBQ fish, and gluttonous rice balls.
Nestled in the western part of Thailand, Kanchanaburi is a haven for travelers seeking an escape from the bustling city life. Known for its historical significance, stunning natural beauty, and warm hospitality, this enchanting province offers a unique and authentic experience that will leave you in amazement.
Escape to the ultimate haven of tranquility at Hua Hin Beach
- Best for: Beach Lovers, History Enthusiasts, Family Travelers
- When to visit: From November to February, when the weather is pleasant with sunny days.
- What to do: Witness stunning sunsets at the iconic Hua Hin Beach, visit the stunning teakwood summer retreat Maruekhathaiyawan Palace, discover the architectural marvel of Wat Huay Mongkol, join thrilling adventures like kiteboarding or horseback riding along the beach, stop at Kaeng Krachan National Park for scenic hiking trails or waterfalls, etc.
- What to eat: The fresh seafood Pad Thai at the night markets.
Discover the enchanting coastal town of Hua Hin, a renowned tourism destination that captures the hearts of visitors from around the globe. Nestled in the Gulf of Thailand, Hua Hin offers a unique blend of natural beauty, rich history, and vibrant culture. Whether you’re seeking a relaxing beach getaway or an adventure-filled holiday, Hua Hin has something for everyone!
Embark on a journey to the awe-inspiring Phanom Rung Historical Park
- Best for: History Enthusiasts, Adventure Seekers, Nature Lovers
- When to visit: January, July, and August are ideal for Buriram travel.
- What to do: Marvel at the awe-inspiring Khmer temples, witness world-class racing events and feel the roar of the engines, sample Buriram’s signature dishes, explore the lush Phanom Rung National Park, trek through picturesque landscapes and discover hidden waterfalls, participate in the world-famous Buriram Candle Festival, etc.
- What to eat: Isaan food, Thai Papaya Salad, Spicy Laab Salad (Northern Thai Spicy Beef Salad), Koi Pla (spicy raw fish salad)
Although located in the northeastern region of Thailand as a small and secluded city, Buriram is well-connected by road and air, offering various accommodation options to suit every budget and preference. From luxury resorts and boutique hotels to guesthouses and budget-friendly accommodations, you’ll find a variety of choices in the city and its surrounding areas. Prepare to embark on a mesmerizing journey to Buriram, a captivating destination that will truly enchant your senses and leave an indelible mark on your heart.
Uncover the beauty of the Andaman Sea on a boat tour in Krabi
- Best for: Beach Lovers, Family Travelers, Nature Lovers
- When to visit: From November to April, you can enjoy clear blue skies and explore the region’s wonders to the fullest.
- What to do: Embark on an awe-inspiring journey to the iconic Phi Phi Islands, indulge in rock climbing adventures on Railay Beach, scale magnificent limestone cliffs and be rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views of the Andaman Sea, escape to the secluded beaches of Koh Lanta or visit the enchanting Emerald Pool, explore the vibrant markets of Krabi Town, etc.
- What to eat: Various seafood dishes in the Maharat Market.
Situated on the Strait of Malacca in southwest Thailand, Krabi is a laid-back port town renowned for its stunning beaches and ocean vistas. The well-known Phi Phi Islands is located in Krabi, attracting thousands of tourists with numerous activities like trekking, picturesque boat rides, village market shopping, temple hopping, etc. With its breathtaking landscapes, pristine beaches, and vibrant culture, Krabi is a must-visit destination for every wanderer seeking an exotic getaway.
>> Read More: Koh Phi Phi Travel Guide
Stunning Sino-Portuguese architecture building in Phuket Old Town
- Best for: Romantic Getaways, Family Travelers, Adventure Seekers
- When to visit: From November to April, when the weather is pleasantly warm and dry.
- What to do: Explore the sandy haven (Patong Beach or Kata Noi), take a trip to the famous Big Buddha perched on Nakkerd Hill, embark on a hiking trail to explore hidden waterfalls, go on an exhilarating snorkeling or diving expedition to discover vibrant coral reefs, wander through colorful streets lined with well-preserved Sino-Portuguese architecture, etc.
- What to eat: Mee Hokkien (Hokkien-style noodles that have pork, seafood, wheat noodles with tasty broth)
Travelers worldwide are drawn to Phuket, a fascinating island getaway nestled in the blue seas of the Andaman Sea. This charming province in Thailand, also known as the “Pearl of the Andaman,” provides the ideal fusion of breathtaking natural beauty, a rich cultural legacy, and never-ending adventure.
> See Tour: Thailand Temples and Beaches
Aerial panoramic view of Coral Cove beach
- Best for: Family Travelers, Adventure Seekers, Beach Lovers
- When to visit: From December to February, with idyllic weather and clear blue skies.
- What to do: Relax on stunning beaches (Chaweng Beach, Bophut Beach, and Lamai Beach), discover hidden waterfalls tucked away in the lush jungle, visit the majestic 12-meter golden statue of Buddha Temple, explore the Fisherman’s Village in Bophut, Head to the lively streets of Chaweng or Lamai with an array of bars, clubs, and beachfront parties, etc.
- What to eat: Fresh seafood and mango sticky rice
Koh Samui, a tropical paradise, offers an amazing trip to one of the most popular places to visit in Thailand. It is also highly renowned for being one of the most livable locations and the second-largest island in the country. This charming “Island of Coconut Trees” is well-equipped with shops, dining options, and pubs. It even has its own airport. Discover the magic of Koh Samui and experience a slice of paradise in the heart of Thailand.
Unleash the adventurer within Khao Kho Hong Mountain in Hat Yai
- Best for: Cultural Enthusiasts, Nature Lovers, Family Travelers
- When to visit: From November to February, when the weather is more pleasant.
- What to do: Visit Hat Yai’s awe-inspiring temples and cultural sites, ascend to new heights at Wat Hat Yai Nai where a majestic golden Buddha statue gazes upon the city, marvel at the intricate architecture and ornate decorations of the Phra Maha Chedi Tripob Trimongkol, uncover a treasure trove of local products and souvenirs, immerse yourself in the electric energy of our bustling night markets, etc.
- What to eat: Chen Loong Boat Noodle in Kho Hong district
Hat Yai, located in southern Thailand, is the largest city in the Songkhla Province and serves as a major transportation hub for the region. But in contrast to the well-traveled routes of major tourist destinations like Bangkok and Phuket, Hat Yai provides the allure of a genuine Thai experience that certainly creates a unique journey.
From avid shoppers and culinary connoisseurs to culture enthusiasts and nature lovers, our vibrant city promises an unforgettable escape for every wanderer.
How To Fully Enjoy Your First Trip In Thailand
What To Pack
- Lightweight Clothing: Thailand has tropical weather, so breathable items are appropriate. Some cotton T-shirts, shorts, skirts, active dresses with comfortable shoes or sandals are great options if you want to do a lot of walking. Also, swimwear is essential for stunning beaches, while a couple of long-sleeved shirts and pants are for visiting solemn places or local events.
- Sun Protection: To shield oneself from the harsh sun, always carry a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen with a high SPF.
- Weightless Rain Jacket: Since Thailand occasionally receives rain, it’s a good idea to bring a small travel umbrella or a lightweight rain jacket.
- Inspect Repellent: Bring an effective travel-sized insect repellent. A couple of long-sleeved shirts and pants might protect your skin, too.
- Travel-sized Amenities: Shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothbrush, and a small first aid kit stocked with bandages, antiseptic cream, and any prescription drugs that may be required.
- Reusable Water Bottle: You should carry a reusable water bottle for its convenience and to keep yourself hydrated. It’s also being kind to the environment.
- Suitable Adaptor: To charge your electronics while in Thailand, pack a universal travel adaptor. Type A, B, and C outlets are used in this country.
- Cash and Cards: Bring an international credit card and some Thai Baht for exchanges in small shops.
- Important Documents: Remember to include your passport, travel insurance details, airline tickets, and copies of other necessary paperwork. Remember to check the latest visa requirements in Thailand.
Enjoy every moment while traveling to Thailand
What First Timers Should Know
- It is not advisable to visit too many places for the first time. It is impossible to see every temple, every island, and every city in Thailand in a single trip. To ensure that you don’t spend half of your trip to Thailand traveling instead of enjoying your destinations, choose your favorites and stick with them.
- You should learn about the culture through the Internet before the trip. Becoming familiar with Thai culture is worth the effort. Make sure you wear suitable clothing for visiting Thai temples (usually no shoes and long sleeves), and avoid touching monks if you’re a woman.
- Bargain is typical in Thailand marketplaces and smaller stores. But it’s crucial to do it with a smile and with respect.
- Tipping is not required, but it is appreciated when someone provides excellent service. In restaurants and for services like massages or cabs, tipping is usual at roughly 10% of the total payment.
- Download the Grab application: You can book a car or bike on your phone and know exactly how much you will have to pay.
- The street food in Thailand is worth trying. But remember to select food stands where there is a significant turnover of food, as this indicates freshness, and pay attention to the sanitary and hygienic methods while preparing food.
- But Thai food can be extremely spicy. With the typical individual, even a moderate spice may be excessively intense.
>> See Tour: Essential Thailand
Create Your Unique Journey In Thailand With APT
Thailand is a captivating destination that beckons first-time visitors with its diverse and enchanting attractions. From the bustling streets of Bangkok to the tranquil beaches of Phuket, and from the ancient ruins of Ayutthaya to the lush jungles of Chiang Mai, you can find the best places to visit in Thailand for your dream vacation.
So pack your bags, embrace the spirit of exploration, and Craft Your Thailand Trip with Asia Pioneer Travel to unveil the treasures and create memories to cherish for a lifetime.