The Thailand Travel Guide

Cbill / Pixabay


Bangkok, Thailand

  • Wat Pho: Temple of the Reclining Budda
  • Chatuchak Weekend Market
  • Grand Palace
Bangkok Pexels / Pixabay


Ayutthaya Temple complex ruins, Thailand (UNESCO, Wat Ratchaburana Temple)

Ayutthaya Temple Ruins, Thailand – sasint / Pixabay


Lopburi, Thailand (Monkey City, imposing Khmer-style temples)

  • Prang Sam Yot, Lopburi, Thailand


Pitsanulok, Thailand


Sukhothai Ruins, Thailand (Former capital of Thailand)

Sukhothai, Thailand qimono / Pixabay


Kamphaaeng Phet, Thailand (fortified city)


Chiang Mai, Thailand (mountains)

  • Lantern Festival (Nov 23, ’18
Chiang Mai, Thailand Mariamichelle / Pixabay


Chiang Rai, Thailand

Chiang Rai, Thailand Jonny_Joka / Pixabay


Golden Triangle, Thailand (three country border between Thailand, Laos and Myanmar was historically an opium poppy producer, not anymore generally speaking. Although parts of the area is said to produce meth for world market now, but there seem to be little to no dangers from that trade to travelers based on reports and data)

  • Mae Sai (Myanmar border crossing mountain town, gem/jewelry trading post)
  • Mae Salong (More like a remote Chinese village, Originally settled by fleeing soldiers from China)
  • Chaing Saen (riverside town is 7th century birthplace of Lanna Kingdom, river barge trade from China)
  • Chiang Khong (Laos border town)


Pai, Thailand (Great mountain scenery and laid back living)


Mae Hong Son, Thailand


Mae Sairiang, Thailand


Kanchanaburi, Thailand (On the River Kwai – made famous from WWII prisoner camp. Great soft-adventure scene)

Kanchanaburi, Thailand 3887894 / Pixabay


Sangkhlaburi, Thailand


Nakhon Ratchasima (Khorat), Thailand

Khorat, Thailand Josch13 / Pixabay


Khao Yai National Park (UNESCO, One of the largest intact monsoon forests in Asia, wild elephants, tigers)

Khao, Yai National Park, Thailand Josch13 / Pixabay


Phanom Rung Historical Park


Surin, Thailand

Elephant in Surin, Thailand joeclub_ake / Pixabay


Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand

Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand Suwit_Luangpipatsorn / Pixabay


Muddahan, Thailand


Nakhon Phanom, Thailand (Laos border town along Mekong)


Nong Khai, Thailand


Ban Chiang Archaeological Site (UNESCO)



Andaman Coast

Ranong, Northern Andaman Coast, Thailand (town of 30,000 is a short 45 minute boat ride to Mynamar. Tremendous food and emerging expat scene. Base to reach Similans, Surins or Burma Banks on live aboards)

Ranong, Thailand rmac8oppo / Pixabay


Ko Chang, Northern Andaman Coast, Thailand (back to basic island, no ATMs, no 24 hr. electric. This is the smaller Ko Chang, not to be confused with the much more popular eastern seaboard Thai island)

Ko Chang, Northern Andaman BANITAtour / Pixabay


Koh Phayam, Northern Andaman Coast, Thailand (Popular island with budget travelers and backpackers, beach-laden island has gone mainstream but without selling out – yet; only drawback is snorkeling isn’t great)

  • Ao Yai Beach, Koh Phayam
  • Ao Khao Kwai, Koh Phayam
  • Ao Mea Mai Beach, Koh Phayam


Laem Son National Park, Andaman Coast, Thailand (covers 60 km of coastline and 20 islands, incl Ko Phayam)


Khao Sok National Park, Andaman Coast, Thailand (wettest spot in Thailand, believed to be over 160 million years old, making it the oldest rainforest in the world)

  • Two day/1 night trips to Chiaw Lin in park where you sleep on floating huts on a lake and go on canoe excursions is $75 per person incl 3 meals day)
Chiaw Lin, Khao Sok, Thailand naiwor / Pixabay


Surin Islands NP, Northern Andaman Coast, Thailand (Five gorgeous granite outcrop islands of rocky headlands, sheltered white beaches and healthy rainforests. Popular with divers. 5 miles from Myanmar. Mid Oct-Mid May).

  • Bungalows for $60/day. $2.50/per to camp with own tent ($8 w/o)


Koh Phra Thong (Golden Buddha Island), Andaman, Thailand (home to 300 people. West coast has a 10km virgin beach – a Thai rarity)

  • Horizon Eco Resort, Koh Phra ($40); 7 wood and bamboo bungalows made from natural local products. Perfect base to explore the Surin Islands by snorkeling/island hoping day trip
  • Koh Ra, Andaman, Thailand (Encircled by beaches and mangroves, barely inhabited island. Very small island, but with impressive wildlife)


Hat Khao Lak Beaches, Northern Andaman Coast, Thailand


Similan Islands, Northern Andaman Coast, Thailand (Stunningly beautiful island chain popular with divers and backpackers, 9 islands; Mu Koh Similan National Park)

  • Ko Miang, Similan Islands (has bungalows/tents)
  • Koh Similan, Similan Islands (tents – wise to book ahead for bungalows: Operates Oct 15-May15. $34 bungalows, $17 camping incl tent)
Similan Islands, Thailand Lekies / Pixabay


Ao Phang-Nga, Andaman, Thailand (turquoise bays, limestone towers, white beaches make a spectacular landscape)

  • Koh Yao Noi, Andaman, Thailand
Ao Phang-Nga, Thailand Engin_Akyurt / Pixabay


Koh Yao Yai, Andaman, Thailand



Phuket Island, Andaman Coast

Phuket Town (old town area of artists and musicians)

Phuket Town, Thailand Mariamichelle / Pixabay


Leam Phanwa, Phuket (jungle covered peninsula south of Phuket town, the last vestige of old Phuket. Resorts near the southern tip. Phuket Aquarium. Peace and quiet. Rustic beaches. Where cheap condo is located.


Ko Sireh, Phuket (tiny island connected to Phuket by a foot bridge)


Rawai, Phuket (delightful area teaming with expat retirees and artists. Lots of tiki bars and seafood grills.


Coral Island, Phuket, Thailand (1 resort; 15 minute speedboat ride)


Patong, Phuket (most notorious destination on Phuket. Anything can be had for a price. Sleazy, but honest about it, which visitors find refreshing)

Patong, Thailand GjataErvin / Pixabay


Kata, Phuket (Lively beach, attracts visitors of all ages)

Kata Beach, Thailand nutraveller / Pixabay


Karon, Phuket (Lots of sandy beaches – best farther north, chilled out with some sleazy mixed in. Mega resorts.


Kamala, Phuket

Kamala, Phuket, Thailand qimono / Pixabay


Surin, Phuket (nice beach, 5-star resorts)


Ao Bang Thao, Phuket (8 km long white sand beach. Southern half with 3 and 4 star resorts. Northern peaceful bliss)


Nai Harn Beach, Phuket


Koh Raya, Phuket, Thailand (Yacht destination, divers book most cheap rooms)



Krabi Province

Krabi Town, Andaman Coast, Thailand (jumping off point for Karst studded Krabi peninsula)

  • Wat Tham Seau temple, Krabi Town (40 minute and 1,260 step climbs leads to golden buddha)
  • Sea Kayak, Krabi Town ($25/day rental)
  • Phangnga Bay, Krabi, Thailand
Krabi, Thailand nextvoyage / Pixabay


Railay Beach, Andaman Coast Thailand (Accessed by boat from Krabi, climber paradise with fairytale limestone formations)

  • Phra Nang Beach, Railay (B#55, Cave)
  • Sa Phra Nang Lagoon
  • Ao Nang Beach
  • Hat Noppharat Thara Beach
Railay, Thailand mkitina4 / Pixabay
Railay Beach, Thailand rungthip37 / Pixabay


Ao Nang, Andaman Coast, Thailand (unchecked development in stunning scenery, ugly-pretty, with a slight seedy undercurrent. Great beaches.

  • Ko Hong hidden lagoon kayak, Ao Nang
Ao Nang, Thailand naiwor / Pixabay


Koh Phi Phi, Phuket/Krabi, Andaman Coast, Thailand (#5, B#19; Where “The Beach” was filmed, extremely scenic island, big package tourist day trips; Can find a room for $20/night)

  • Ko Phi Phi Don (hedonistic paradise, main island – all amenities)
  • Ko Phi Phi Leh (smaller island, undeveloped – only visited on day trips/sunset cruises )
    • Monkey Beach, Ko Phi Phi Leh
  • Maya Bay, Ko Phi Phi
Ko Phi Phi, Thailand Juan_Luis / Pixabay
Ko Phi Phi, Thailand moritzklassen / Pixabay


Koh Lanta, Andaman Coast, Thailand  (Once dominated by backpackers, Lanta has morphed into a midrange island. 22km main road- great or motorcycle. Considered one of the top islands in the world currently)

  • Lanta Old Town (Ban Si Raya), Koh Lanta (original port and commercial center frequented by Chinese and Arab sailing vessels because of its safe harbor. Century old stilt house
Koh Lanta, Thailand hdi / Pixabay


Koh Yao Noi, Andaman, Thailand


Koh Sukorn, Andaman, Thailand


Koh Jum, Andaman, Thailand

  • Ao Luboa beach, Koh Jum


Koh Mai Phai (Bamboo Island), Andaman, Thailand (No resorts, tent camping


Trang Islands, Andaman, Thailand (less developed than other Andaman Islands)

  • Ko Ngai, Trang Islands (encircled by coral and white sand beaches)
  • Ko Muk, Trang Islands (unforgettable island)
    • Emerald Cave (Morrakot Cave), Ko Muk: leads to a secret beach in a hidden cove where legend says pirates buried treasure. Can only access at lower tides.
    • Haad Farang (Haad Sai Yao), Ko Muk: (quiet beach, with karst formations and jungle surrounding it, perfect waters for swimming. Rent a kayak for $2/hr and paddle around the corner to Emerald Cave. Most bungalows and restaurants/night life tucked back in the jungle off the beach. Really nice Ko Yao Viewpoint Restaurant, perched on top of a limestone outcrop is perfect spot for sunset. $40, for oceanfront bungalow, half that price slightly back in forest).
    • Ao Sabai Beach, Ko Muk: islands only inhabited beach, not far from Emerald Cave, feels like a secret hideaway.
  • Koh Kraden, Trang IslandsSouthern Andaman Coast, Thailand (Popular backpacker island. Tiny island has to medical or ATMs)
  • Koh Libong, Trang Islands (Trang’s largest, sleepy island with a few resorts)
Trang Islands, Thailand Quangpraha / Pixabay


Koh Tarutao Marine National Park, Andaman Coast, Thailand (Encompasses 51 barely developed islands surrounded by health coral reefs. Called the ‘Maldives of Thailand’. Closed end of May – September.

  • Koh Lipe, Thailand (Very popular backpacker island and park’s most popular island, picture perfect beaches. Widely considered at top 10 island in the world currently)
    • Sunrise Beach, Ko Lipe (B#28, good restaurants and affordable resorts)
  • Koh Tarutao, Thailand (Biggest island in the group, still rustic. Home to park HQ)
  • Ko Adang (Former pirate haunt, white sand, healthy corals)
  • Ko Rawi (great beaches, almost completely uninhabited)
Koh Lipe, Thailand fxxu / Pixabay
Koh Lipe, Thailand fxxu / Pixabay


Koh Bulon Leh, Southern Andaman Coast, Thailand (clear water, great beaches)



Ko Chang & Eastern Seabord

Ko Si Chang, Eastern Seaboard, Thailand (Once a royal beach retreat. Gets busy on weekends. Fishing village atmosphere)


Pattaya, Eastern Seaboard, Thailand

Pattaya, Thailand jorisamonen / Pixabay


Rayong, Eastern Seaboard, Thailand


Ban Phe port (Ferry service to Ko Samet)


Koh Samet Island, Eastern Seaboard, Thailand (Off the coast of Rayong, gets lots of weekenders from Bangkok. Popular with locals, Chinese and Russians. Island is a NP, and development is much slower than most Thai islands, mostly international package tourists at resorts. Flashpacker Favorite. Enjoys its own micro-climate and stays relatively dry in rainy season)

Fire Dancer on Koh Samet, Thailand peerawaz / Pixabay


Koh Mun Nork, Eastern Seaboard, Thailand (Very nice Private island with resort @$125.night)


Chanthaburi, Thailand (historic river waterfront town close to beach. Lots of locally grown fruit stalls)

Chanthaburi, Thailand BiG-FOTOSKIT / Pixabay


Khao Khitchakut National Park (wild elephants)


Namtok Philo National Park (Popular waterfalls/pools trail)


Trat, Eastern Seaboard, Thailand (Generally transition points for travelers headed to Cambodia border or Koh Chang; Trat has a charming guesthouse scene)


Koh Chang, Eastern Seaboard, Thailand (2nd biggest island in country, big resorts, daily flights from Trat. Part of a larger National Park that includes surrounding islands. Becoming more resorty, less backpacker friendly. Still a top backpacker destination however)

Koh Chang, Thailand qimono / Pixabay
Inexpensive beachfront Spa, Koh Chang, Thailand unserekleinemaus / Pixabay


Koh Kut (Koh Kood), Eastern Seaboard, Thailand (4th largest Island, solitude, some say the perfect Thai island, Ta Pho Beach)

Koh Kood, Thailand katgalamay / Pixabay


Koh Mak, Eastern Seaboard, Thailand (Backpacker island is the biggest privately owned island in Thailand, no crowded beaches or noisy bars.)


Ko Wai, Eastern Seaboard, Thailand (Tiny island with gin clear water and excellent corals)


Koh Chang Noi, Eastern Seaboard, Thailand (Backpacker island that is still fairly off the beaten path)



Hua Hin & the Upper Gulf

Phetchaburi, Upper Gulf, Thailand (Temples, palaces, cave shrines, riverside markets, full of macaque monkeys)


Kaeng Krachan National Park, Upper Gulf, Thailand (wild elephants, tigers, leopards, tapir)


Hua Hin, Upper Gulf, Thailand (elegant alternative to Pattaya, favored by older Europeans, neglected by backpackers)

Hua Hin, Thailand sharonang / Pixabay


Prachuap Khiri Khan, Upper Gulf, Thailand

Prachuap Khiri, Thailand Basecamp_Stock / Pixabay


Chumphon, Upper Gulf, Thailand



Ko Samui & the Lower Gulf

Koh Samui, Lower Gulf, Thailand (Original backpacker island, hotel guests mainly packaged tourists. Still retains its island vibe. Considered one of the top islands in the world.)

  • Chaweng Beach, Ko Samui (most secluded and peaceful beach on island, palm finged sand beach. Beachfront resturants/bars)
Koh Samui, Thailand rmac8oppo / Pixabay


Koh Pha-ngan, Lower Gulf, Thailand (Backpacker mecca with legendary full moon parties. Generally mellow and delightful except when 30,000 come together monthly for full moon parties at Hadd Rin beach. Book ahead, as rooms fill up and prices are higher the longer you wait)

  • Hadd Rin (Hat Rin) Beach, Ko PhaNgan Island (Considered a top 100 beach in the world)
Koh Phangan, Thailand AnjaStreng / Pixabay


Koh Tao, Lower Gulf, Thailand (Smallest of the Samui Islands, and extremely popular with backpackers One of the cheapest places to learn to dive in the world)

  • Shark Bay beach: (Popular snorkeling area with blacktip reef sharks. Smaller ones closer to shore, swim out to deeper areas to see big blacktips. Never been any incidents with sharks here. Locals say the sharks have come and gone peacefully for generations.
Koh Tao, Thailand kevskoot / Pixabay


Koh Nang Yuan, Lower Gulf, Thailand (secret beach hideout, more of a divers island, great snorkeling. Large bay is shallow, calm and sheltered.

Koh Nang Yuan, Thailand Poswiecie / Pixabay


Koh Pangan, Lower Gulf, Thailand (sits just north of Ko Samui)


Mu Ko Ang Thong Marine NP, Lower Gulf, Thailand (42 jagged jungle islands feature limestone cliffs, peach colored beaches and hidden lagoons. Reach from Ko Samui, often void of visitors)

  • Koh Ma Island connecting to Pha-Ngan by a sandbar is the snorkeling spot.


Surat Thani, Thaialnd

Surat Thani, Thailand PRASONG_K / Pixabay


Hat Yai, Thailand

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