1. The Grand Palace
The Grand Palace is a complex of buildings at the heart of Bangkok, Thailand. The palace has been the official residence of the Kings of Siam (and later Thailand) since 1782. The king, his court and his royal government were based on the grounds of the palace until 1925. The present monarch, King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX), currently resides at Chitralada Palace, but the Grand Palace is still used for official events. Several royal ceremonies and state functions are held within the walls of the palace every year. The palace is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Thailand.
The Emerald Buddha (Thai: – Phra Kaeo Morakot, or Phra Phuttha Maha Mani Rattana Patimakon) is considered the palladium of the Kingdom of Thailand. It is a figurine of the meditating Buddha seated in yogic posture, made of a semi-precious green stone (jade or jasper rather than emerald), clothed in gold, and about 26 inches (66 cm) tall. It is housed in the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew) on the grounds of the Grand Palace in Bangkok.
At night, the Grand Palace is illuminated, and although you’ll likely still encounter the crowds, it’s a very romantic experience.
2. The Golden Triangle
View of The Golden Triangle
The Golden Triangle is one of Asia’s two main opium-producing areas. It is an area of around 367,000 square miles (950,000 km2) that overlaps the mountains of three countries of Southeast Asia: Burma, Laos and Thailand.
Along with Afghanistan in the Golden Crescent, it has been one of the most extensive opium-producing areas of Asia and of the world since the 1950s. Most of the world’s heroin came from the Golden Triangle until the early 21st century when Afghanistan became the world’s largest producer.
The Golden Triangle designates the confluence of the Ruak River and the Mekong River, since the term has been appropriated by the Thai tourist industry to describe the nearby border tripoint of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar
3. Elephant trekking
Tourism is a major economic factor in the Kingdom of Thailand. Estimates of tourism receipts directly contributing to the Thai GDP of 12 trillion baht range from 9% (1 trillion baht) (2013) to 16%. When including the indirect effects of tourism, it is said to account for 20.2% (2.4 trillion baht) of Thailand’s GDP.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) uses the slogan “Amazing Thailand” to promote Thailand internationally. In 2015, this was supplemented by a “Discover Thainess” campaign.
Thai Elephant Conservation Center
Among the reasons for the increase in tourism in the 1960s were the stable political atmosphere and the development of Bangkok as a crossroads of international air transport. The hotel industry and retail industry both expanded rapidly due to tourist demand. It was boosted by the presence of US GIs who started to arrive in the 1960s for rest and recuperation (R&R) during the Vietnam War. Concomitantly, international mass tourism sharply increased during the same period due to the rising standard of living, more people acquiring more free time, and improvements in technology making it possible to travel further, faster, cheaper and in greater numbers, epitomised by the Boeing 747 which first flew commercially in 1970. Thailand was one of the first players in Asia to capitalise on this then-new trend.
4. Island hopping
Thailand has over 5,000 miles of coastline just waiting to be explored. Travel by long-tail boat and discover as many beaches and islands as possible. See Phang Nga Bay and the limestone rocks that are so famously photographed off Thailand’s west coast, or island hop in the Andaman Sea off of Phuket and Krabi. Here’s you’ll discover white-sand beaches and abundant snorkelling on Ko Phi Phi Lee and Ko Phi Phi Don. Want to capture some fantastic shots while you’re snorkelling? See our expert guide to underwater photography.
Phang Nga Bay, Thailand
The calm sea and clear conditions are perfect for kayaking, too. It’s a great way to explore the islands without the masses on tourist boats or passenger ferries, and take the experience at your own pace. The coastlines of Koh Phan Ngan, Koh Tao and Koh Samui in the Gulf of Thailand are particularly picturesque.
5. Hill tribe villages
Hill tribe is a term used in Thailand for all of the various ethnic groups who mostly inhabit the high mountainous Northern and Western regions of Thailand, including both sides of the border areas between Northern Thailand, Laos and Burma, the Phi Pan Nam Range, the Thanon Range, the latter a southern prolongation of the Shan Hills, as well as the Tenasserim Hills in Western Thailand. These areas are known for their often mountainous terrain which is in some areas covered by thick forests, while in others it has been heavily affected by deforestation.
The hill dwelling peoples have traditionally been primarily subsistence farmers who use slash and burn agricultural techniques to farm their heavily forested communities. Popular perceptions that slash and burn practices are environmentally destructive, government concerns over borderland security, and population pressure has caused the government to forcibly relocate many hill tribe peoples. Traditionally, hill tribes were also a migratory people, leaving land as it became depleted of natural resources or when trouble arose.
Akha tribe elderly woman
Loi Krathong is a festival celebrated annually throughout southwestern Tai cultures, (Thailand, Laos, Shan, Tanintharyi, Kelantan, Kedah and Xishuangbanna). The name could be translated as “to float a basket”, and comes from the tradition of making krathong or buoyant, decorated baskets, which are then floated on a river. In 2015 it will be celebrated on 25 November; in 2016 on 15 November.
Floating lanterns festival
Loi Krathong coincides with the Lanna (northern Thai) festival known as Yi Peng. Yi means “two” and peng means a “full moon day”. Yi Peng refers to the full moon day in the second month according to the Lanna lunar calendar (the twelfth month according to the Thai lunar calendar).
Swarms of Lanna-style sky lanterns. khom loi are launched into the air where they resemble large shoals of giant fluorescent jellyfish gracefully floating through the sky. The festival is meant as a time for tham bun to make merit. Khom loi are made from a thin fabric, such as rice paper, stretched over a bamboo or wire frame, to which a candle or fuel cell is attached. When the fuel cell is lit, the resulting hot air is trapped inside the lantern and creates enough lift for the khom loi to float up into the sky.
7. Floating markets
A floating market is a market where goods are sold from boats. Originating in times and places where water transport played an important role in daily life, most floating markets operating today mainly serve as tourist attractions, and are chiefly found in Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam.
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is a notable floating market in Ratchaburi, Thailand, and a major tourist destination. The floating market at Damnoen Saduak is the old traditional way of selling vegetables, fruits,etc. from a small boat. Produce sold includes Malacca grape, Chinese grapefruit, mangoes, bananas, and coconut. This is also the costliest market. There is one famous fruit called as star fruit. The sellers gather at 3:00 and come back at 11:00.
Amphawa floating market
Kanchanaburi is a town (thesaban mueang) in the west of Thailand and the capital of Kanchanaburi Province. In 2006 it had a population of 31,327. The town covers the complete tambon Ban Nuea and Ban Tai and parts of Pak Phraek and Tha Makham, all of Mueang Kanchanaburi district, and parts of the tambon Tha Lo of Tha Muang district. Kanchanaburi lies 123 km west of Bangkok.
9. Ancient ruins and national parks
Prasat Hin Phimai Historical Park
The Phimai historical park protects one of the most important Khmer temples of Thailand. It is located in the town of Phimai, Nakhon Ratchasima province.
The temple marks one end of the Ancient Khmer Highway from Angkor. As the enclosed area of 1020x580m is comparable with that of Angkor Wat, Phimai must have been an important city in the Khmer empire. Most buildings are from the late 11th to the late 12th century, built in the Baphuon, Bayon and Angkor Wat style. However, even though the Khmer at that time were Hindu, the temple was built as a Buddhist temple, as Buddhism in the Khorat area dated back to the 7th century. Inscriptions name the site Vimayapura (which means city of Vimaya), which developed into the Thai name Phimai.
Phimai temple Wikimedia Commons.jpg
The first inventory of the ruins was done in 1901 by the French geographer Etienne Aymonier. They were put under governmental protection by announcement in the Government Gazette, Volume 53, section 34, from September 27, 1936. Most of the restorations were done from 1964 to 1969 as a joint Thai-French project. The historical park, now managed by the Fine Arts Department, was officially opened by Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn on April 12, 1989.
In the aftermath of the fall of the Ayutthaya Kingdom in 1767, attempts were made to set up five separate states, with Prince Teppipit, a son of king Boromakot, attempting to establish Phimai as one, holding sway over eastern provinces including Nakhon Ratchasima. The weakest of the five, Prince Teppipit was the first defeated and was executed in 1768. Phimai had also been an important town at the time of the Khmer. The temple Prasat Hin Phimai, located in the center of the town, was one of the major Khmer temples in ancient Thailand, connected with Angkor by an ancient Khmer Highway, and oriented so as to face Angkor as its cardinal direction. The site is now protected as the Phimai historical park.
10. Shop til you drop!
Chatuchak or Jatujak meaning; weekend market, situated on Kamphaeng Phet 2 Road, Chatuchak, Bangkok, is the largest market in Thailand. Chatuchak Market, also known as JJ Market, has more than 8000 stalls which are separated into 27 sections. Chatuchak Market has 9 kinds of goods: plants, antiques, pets, food and drinks, fresh and dry food, ceramics, furniture and home decoration, clothes, and book.
Chatuchak Market is open on Saturdays and Sundays, 09:00 – 18:00, and Fridays 18:00 – 24:00. You can get to Chatuchak Market by the sky train (BTS) to Mo Chit Station and taking exit no.1 and follow the crowd until you see a small entrance to the market. Another way to get to the market is by taking the subway (MRT) to Chatuchak Park Station take exit no.1 and then following the crowd until you see a small entrance to the market. Moreover, you can take taxis, buses and vans to get to Chatuchak Market or if you are driving to the market, you can park your cars at Chatuchak Park Ride and they have convenient shuttle buses between the parking lots and Chatuchak Market.