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Things to Do in Thailand

Thailand rice terrace

Thailand has it all – it is Asia in miniature. Well, maybe not exactly miniature: its 198,120 square miles are full of history, temples, beaches, jungles, delicious cuisine and, most importantly, a fun and friendly vibe. It makes for the most diverse holiday you’re ever likely to take. Experience the best of it with our tried and tested things to do in Thailand.

Discover Bangkok

Bangkok is renowned for its heady freneticism, but that’s a big part of its exotic charm. After all, there aren’t many places where you can find vibrant night life amid ornate shrines, decadent temples and the winding canal network of the Chao Phraya River. The food is an eclectic mix of humble street food and gourmet cuisine too, while luxury malls vie for sales against independent boutiques and traditional floating markets.

How to do it: For the best of Bangkok, and to experience Thailand beyond the bright lights of the capital, try our Bangkok, Jungle & Beach itinerary.

Relax in Khao Lak

Khao Lak lies on Thailand’s south-west coast. Around a two-hour drive from Phuket, it is also the gateway to the Surin and Similan Islands; renowned as some of the best diving locations in the world. Khao Lak translates as Lak Mountain, which towers over Khao Lak-Lam Ru National Park, around a 10-minute drive from the centre of the region. Wander through the forested hills, spotting reptiles, birds and butterflies as you go. 

How to do it: The best way to ensure you don’t miss a thing is to include our Khao Lak Highlights tour in your itinerary. Then get ready for a jungle adventure that sees you bathing elephants, exploring temples and bamboo rafting.

Feast on world-renowned cuisine

From gathering an eclectic mix of snacks from street-side food carts to sampling seven courses on a nighttime cruise down the Chao Phraya river this nation can't help but show off it's world class food. No trip to Thailand is complete without sampling some Green Curry and some fresh-out-of-the-wok Phad Thai. 

Laze on Koh Samui's beaches

If you’ve ever tried to conjure up images of white silica, fringed by swaying palms, chances are what you’re picturing is something from the east-coast isle of Koh Samui. Its sands – which meander along its Gulf of Thailand coastline for nine miles – are some of the most famous in the world, celebrated for their peace, relaxation and, in some places, wild beach parties.

How to do it:  For real beach relaxation, try one of our Escape beach holidays to Kamalaya – a decadent spa resort set on postcard-perfect sands.

Meet an elephant in Khao Sok National Park

Framed by ancient rainforest and lofty limestone mountains, it’s no surprise that Khao Sok National Park is said to contain more than 5% of the world’s species, from the tiger to the sambar deer to white-handed gibbons. The endangered Asian elephant is perhaps its most famous resident though, and there are plenty of extraordinary opportunities to get up-close.

How to do it:  On our Bangkok, Beach & Elephants itinerary you’ll enjoy a two night stay in the ethically-conscious Elephant Hills, where you’ll get to interact with elephants in their natural jungle setting.

Island-hop from Phuket

Phuket is incredible all on its own. There are the vast swathes of bleached sand, the dramatic limestone karsts and the colourful longtail boats that feature on all the postcards. But it’s not the only incredible landmass in south-west Thailand. Phuket is a great jumping off point for several other islands, from Phi Phi to Krabi to Koh Lanta.

How to do it: Our Island Explorer itinerary gives you four nights in Phuket, four nights on Phi Phi Island, three nights in Krabi and four nights in Koh Lanta – plenty of time to explore each isle’s snorkelling, kayaking and beach-lazing offering. 

Visit a local village like Mae Kampong

Local villages and hill tribes showcase Thailand at its most authentic – taking you back to a time before the tourists descended and to a place where the country’s rich culture is at its brightest. The tiny mountain village of Mae Kampong is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of Chiang Mai and offers delicious local coffee and an abundance of mêeang (pickled tea leaves).

How to do it: Our Temples, Palaces & Villages itinerary visits Mae Kampong, where you’ll learn about village life, trek to a waterfall and finish off the day with a delicious feast and homestay with a local family.

Explore Thailand's lesser-visited islands

Thailand tourism may be booming right now, but there are still some hidden gems to be discovered, especially when it comes to the country’s islands and beaches. Look beyond Phuket and you’ll find off-beat locations like eastern Koh Samet, south-eastern Koh Phangan and western Koh Yao Yai, ripe for discovering 2,000-year-old artwork, snorkelling in warm, teeming waters, trekking to secret waterfalls and getting your PADI.

How to do it: If all of the above sounds like you, our Undiscovered Islands itinerary fits the bill. Starting in Bangkok, it goes on to explore all of these regions, with four blissful nights in each secluded spot.

Soak up northern Thailand's culture

From the Northern Centre of Chiang Mai discover what the North of this diverse nation has to offer. From waterfalls to rolling rainforested hills there is no doubting the natural beauty of this corner of the land of smiles. However, it's the cultural highlights which will blow you away, from the lofty Doi Suthep to the glistening white palace in Chiang Rai - which would rival the beauty of the Grand Palace itself. 

Pamper yourself with a Thai massage

There’s a reason Thai massages are so well-known around the world: they’re pretty amazing. In fact, for those seeking sublime relaxation, there’s nothing better. Tapping into Ayurvedic principles and acupressure, this traditional massage technique compresses, stretches and rocks the body to relieve aching muscles and leave you feeling completely stress-free.

How to do it: Many of our Thailand beach holidays take place in resorts that offer incredible Thai massages – the Six Senses Yao Noi is particularly impressive. For the ultimate luxury spa experience, opt for the Spa Pool Villa at the Banyan Tree Phuket, where your suite has a dedicated spa room surrounded by dramatic glass walls.

For further ideas of things to do in Thailand, check out our Thailand holidays.