If you have already started preparing your trip, this list of 25 things to do in Thailand will come in luxury. They are a lot of places and experiences that, in my opinion, cannot be missing from your travel itinerary. Let’s start!
Things to do in Thailand
1. Be amazed by Bangkok: if you have days to spare, save yourself one to wander aimlessly around the capital. Will not leave you indifferent!
2. Visit some of the most important temples in Bangkok, such as Wat Pho or Wat Arun. Also, if you have a chance, enjoy Wat Arun at sunset, from the riverside just in front of the temple. The sun sets behind the temple and the picture is this beautiful:
3. Although it is very crowded, the Grand Palace is a must in Bangkok. I would love to be able to tell you a time when things relax a little, but unfortunately, it is always packed to the brim. Hopefully, soon they limit the capacity!
4. Stay in a hotel with infinity pool in Bangkok, even if only for one day. I would recommend that it be the last day of your vacation to treat yourself. I did it the last time I was in town and it was the finishing touch for that trip. Here you have my accommodations in Bangkok and my accommodations in Thailand.
5. Get familiar with Thai cuisine: pad thai, curries of all kinds, Kao Soi, meat skewers, fish, mango sticky rice, etc. Just a tip: if you are not a spicy lover, always ask for your ‘no spicy’ dishes. And since we are talking about food, take advantage and take a Thai cooking course. We have been very well told about the courses at the Mai Kaidee restaurant in Chiang Mai and Bangkok. You also have this course at Silom Cooking School.
6. Give yourself a Thai massage. Now that’s one of the best things to do in Thailand. Although the first time it impresses a little because basically they twist your whole body, then you stay very very relaxed. If not, you always have the option of choosing a relaxing massage or a foot massage. Be that as it may, take advantage that in Thailand they are cheap and give yourself more than one.
7. Learn the art of haggling in Thai street markets. Chatuchak is the market that they put on weekends in Bangkok and it is so big that you will get out of there with a master in haggling.
8. Come to Khaosan Road and let the quintessential ‘backpacking’ street surprise you. I would pass by you day and night, to see the contrast. By day it is a fairly quiet and relaxed street. At night he goes a little crazy. There you will find practically everything. The surrounding streets are also very lively, so don’t be left alone with Khaosan.
9. Take advantage of the fact that the fruit in Thailand is delicious and drink juices without stopping. My advice is that you drink them in restaurants, where they are usually served in a glass and you can ask that they not bring you a straw. On the street, they will serve them in plastic and with a straw, two wastes that probably will not be recycled. They also have the juices in ‘shake’ format, which is something like a slush. They’re my favorites!
10. Surely you associate Thailand with seeing elephants, something totally normal. If you want to see elephants, choose to do it responsibly. In the next video we give you some keys to see elephants responsibly and here is a link with recommendations from FAADA.
11. You are also likely to associate Thailand with throwing lanterns into the air. This practice, which has gone from being a local holiday to a tourist attraction, has very serious environmental consequences. Here I tell you more.
12. Learn some Thai: it doesn’t hurt to learn some basic phrases, right? ‘Hello’ and ‘thank you’ are the two words that I always try to learn when I travel.
- Hello (basically as a greeting at all hours): Sabadee Ka (Krap if it is men)
- How are you ?: Sabadee Mai Krap / Ka
- I’m fine, I’m not fine: Sabai / Mai Sabai
- Goodbye: Bai Bai
- Not spicy: Mai Pet
- Thank you (if you are a man): Kop Kung Ka / Krap
With these words you put them in your safe pocket, they will like to see that you are interested in knowing a little of their language.
13. Another thing to do in Thailand is to tour the ruins of Sukhothai by bicycle. The enclosure is the perfect size for cycling and you can see the most important ruins in one day.
14. Don’t miss the Ayutthaya ruins either. Of course, in this case, the room is much larger and there are more temples. I would rent a motorcycle from you.
15. Try the different ways of getting around Thailand by public transport: you have a train, a sleeper train, a bus, boats, and so much more.
16. And since we are talking about public transport, don’t forget to try the two most traditional forms of transport: the long tail, a traditional boat that you will find on islands like Koh Phi Phi or Koh Lipe; and the well-known tuk-tuk, which especially in Bangkok is already considered a tourist and even more expensive than a taxi, but hey, you have to try it because it’s so much fun!
17. Be sure to include some of the best islands in Thailand in your itinerary based on the season in which you travel.
18. And as you get closer to the sea, take the opportunity to snorkel or learn to dive. We take the Open Water in Koh Tao, we have dived in the Tarutao Marine Park and we take the Advanced Course in Koh Phi Phi.
19. Another thing that I think is important to do in Thailand is to learn a little about its culture and religion, which is so different from ours. Some basic notions of Buddhism will help you to understand their temples and how to respect their customs.
20. Do Trip-Drop, or what is the same, lend a hand during your trip to a small organization or school that may need material help. Here you have more information.
21. Discover the blue temple in Chiang Rai, which for me is one of the most essential things to do in Thailand. I liked it even more than the white temple, which is also very beautiful but there were many people.
22. In Chiang Mai, you also have a lot of temples to discover. But the best thing about Chiang Mai, in my opinion, is its cafes and restaurants. You have something for everyone: more local and cheap places, a little more expensive places, vegan, vegetarian places, more western restaurants, etc.
23. Another thing to do in Thailand is to dine at a night market. They are practically everywhere because it is quite typical for people (both locals and tourists) to eat on the street. My recommendation? Take a small stainless steel Tupper (that does not weigh) in your backpack and so you can buy things to eat at night markets without having to pack everything in plastic.
Also, take some cutlery or chopsticks to eat it. It may seem like it takes up a lot of space in your backpack, but nothing is further from reality: I carry it on planes on food full for the flight and during the trip I use it a lot, especially in Thailand.
24. Delve into Bangkok’s Chinatown and eat at the street stalls. If you can go at night, better than better, because the neon lights, the people on the street and the food stalls, make the atmosphere incredible.
25. Take a reusable water bottle with you and learn to #Travel Without Plastic. In Thailand, there are drinking water dispensers at every step. This way you will avoid those single-use waste and I assure you that you will also save a little money that you can spend in pad thai 🙂 Here are more tips for traveling without plastic in Thailand.
So far my list of essentials! As you can see, there are many things to do in Thailand and, if you organize yourself well, you can fulfil them all on a trip of 20 days or so. Now it’s your turn: do you think I’ve forgotten some essential? Is there anything you would add to the list? Tell me in a comment!