Best Places to Visit in Thailand

With a history that spans centuries and an exotic and friendly culture, Thailand welcomes travelers with tropical beaches, chaotic cities and world-renowned culinary traditions. But with all that Thailand has going, you might be overwhelmed by where to head first. U.S. News considered attractions, seasonality, food options and more to determine the best places to visit in Thailand. Got a favorite? Vote below to help decide next year's list.

SUMMARY

Best Places to Visit in Thailand

  • Bangkok
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    Bangkok

    #1 in Best Places to Visit in Thailand

    Thailand's capital city is nothing short of exhilarating. The city offers a hearty mix of big city bustle alongside ancient attractions including Wat Arun and Wat Pho. While here, be sure to visit the Chatuchak Weekend Market, one of the largest street markets in the world, and eat multiple meals at one of the city’s 300,000 street food stalls. Just don't forget to pack modest clothing for visits to sacred sites, or you won’t be admitted.

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  • Chiang Mai
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    Chiang Mai

    #2 in Best Places to Visit in Thailand

    Chiang Mai is a welcome reprieve from the commotion of Bangkok. Here you'll be treated to beautiful, mountainous landscapes and an Old City full of historical temples such as Wat Phra Singh and Wat Chedi Luang. Night markets are also a must-do here, so pencil in time for the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar or the Sunday Walking Street. And no matter what, don’t forget to visit the Elephant Nature Park for some R&R with Thailand’s gentle giants.  

  • Phuket
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    Phuket

    #3 in Best Places to Visit in Thailand

    Phuket is the largest island in Thailand and also the most popular with travelers. The island draws visitors in with its many white-sand, turquoise water beaches and relatively low travel costs, including everything from food to hotels.  Hit up the popular Patong Beach, take a long tail boat tour through the Picturesque Phang Nga Bay or head inland to Phuket Town to experience more local culture and find cheaper lodging options.

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  • Chiang Rai
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    Chiang Rai

    #4 in Best Places to Visit in Thailand

    The northernmost province in Thailand is geographically diverse with its mountains, rivers, floodplains and jungles. Can't-miss sights include Buddhist temples such as the ornate Wat Rong Khun (White Temple) and Wat Phra Kaew as well as unique attractions like Baan Dam Museum and the Hall of Opium. Travelers highly recommend grabbing a meal (or two) at the Night Bazaar, where you'll find street food vendors and locally made souvenirs. 

  • Phang-nga
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    Phang-nga

    #5 in Best Places to Visit in Thailand

    Although the region was devastated by the 2004 tsunami, the Phang-nga province has recovered and rebuilt. During the dry season (November to April), tourists descend upon the province's four national parks to hike, dive and snorkel. It's also a great place to admire the natural beauty of southern Thailand. While here, be sure to hit up sights such as James Bond Island, which can be found in Ao Phang Nga National Park.

  • Ko Chang
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    Ko Chang

    #6 in Best Places to Visit in Thailand

    Translating to Elephant Island, Ko Chang is more secluded than Phuket but no less beautiful. Its west coast is dotted with stunning coastlines and a variety of accommodation options, while the interior of the island offers tropical jungles to explore and elephant sanctuaries to visit. Keep in mind that Ko Chang's tourist infrastructure isn't as well developed as other Thai islands, so getting here is a bit more of a trek. 

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