One of the most important things to consider when organising a holiday in Thailand is seasonality. Thailand has two key tourist seasons that generally fall as follows: November to March: Bangkok, the east, northern Thailand and the Andaman coast and islands; June to September: Gulf of Thailand – Koh Samui, Koh Phangnan and Koh Tao.
April is the hottest month, but is also when the nation celebrates the Thai New Year, so if your clients don’t mind the heat it is definitely worth a visit to experience one of Thailand’s most fun festivals.
Here are the top ten things for visitors to do in Thailand:
The Grand Palace is over 200 years old and is the number one attraction in Bangkok. Others are the Emerald Buddha and nearby Wat Pho, home to the largest reclining Buddha in Thailand. Another must see is Wat Arun, the Temple of Dawn, which is stunning from a distance and intriguing close up, with its mosaic detailing, as you climb to the top. Visit by night too for a completely different view of the temple.
The Golden Triangle is situated in Chiang Rai and is the gateway to the Mekong region where Thailand, Laos and Myanmar all meet.
The elephant is Thailand’s national symbol and a revered animal. Get up close and personal, train to become a ‘mahout’ and learn more about these magnificent animals at:
- Chiang Dao Elephant Camp, Chiang Mai
- Elephant Conservation Centre, Lampang
- Anantara Golden Triangle Resort, Chiang Rai
- Various camps and safaris across southern Thailand, such as Elephant Hills.
Thailand has over 5,000 miles of coastline just waiting to be explored. Travel by longtail boat and explore as many beaches and islands as possible! See Phang Nga Bay and the limestone rocks that are so famously photographed.
Hill Tribe Villages
Akha, Lisu, Hmong and Karen tribes are found across the north of Thailand. Spend a day or a few nights with a local family to learn and experience their way of life.
Visitors are very welcome to join in local celebrations. Must see events include Loi Krathong and the famous floating lanterns in November, Songkran/Thai New Year water festival in April, and the Naga Fireballs in October – a natural phenomenon that occurs just once a year.
Get there early to avoid crowds and get the best bargains. Don’t forget your camera as these markets are very colourful! They include:
- • Damnoen Saduak, Ratchaburi. This is the most famous of the floating markets and is located 100km southwest of Bangkok en route to Hua Hin/Cha-am
- • Amphawa Floating Market, Samut Songkhram. Open in the afternoons and situated next to a temple
- • Taling Chan Weekend Floating Market, Bangkok. Only recently discovered by tourists, the market is entirely authentic and frequented by locals.
Visit Death Railway Bridge over the River Kwai and stop by the Tiger Temple to learn about the tigers with the monks who care for them. You can even get to feed and walk with them.
National Parks and Ancient Ruins
Take a bike ride around the ancient city of Sukhothai or visit the famous Buddha statues in Ayutthaya. Thailand is a country with diverse landscapes, so visit one of the many stunning national parks, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, or waterfalls to experience the best of green tourism:
▪ Doi Inthanon National Park – Thailand’s highest peak, Chiang Mai
▪ Pha Daeng National Park, Chiang Dao, Chiang Mai
▪ Khao Yai National Park – considered one of Asia’s largest monsoon forests and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Nakhon Ratchasima
▪ Sai Yok National Park – several waterfalls, caves and particularly rare animals, Kanchanaburi
▪ Khao Sok National Park – considered the greatest in southern Thailand, Surat Thani
▪ Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park – towering limestone cliffs, caves and beaches. The park’s lagoons and coastal marshlands are excellent for birdwatching, Prachuap Khiri Khan
▪ Phang-nga National Park, Phang Nga Bay
▪ Tarutao National Park, Satun, near Trang
▪ Phi Phi Islands National Park, Hat Noppharat Thara, Krabi.
▪ Phimai Historical Park – 12th century Khmer ruins, Nakhon Ratchasima
▪ Phanom Rung Historical Park – ancient Khmer ruin, dating from the 12th century, constructed of sandstone, Buri Ram, lower north east waterfalls
▪ Khao Sai Dao Waterfall – wildlife sanctuary, 16-level waterfall that flows year round, Chanthaburi, near Trat
▪ Erawan Waterfall – seven tiers of waterfalls, each feeding freshwater pools you can swim in, Kanchanaburi Province
▪ Thilosu Waterfall – considered by many to be the most beautiful waterfall in Southeast Asia, Chiang Mai.
From street stalls and markets to modern malls you can shop at every turn in Thailand! Shopping centres are open from 10am to 10pm and most have Foodlofts for lunch, snacks and dinner.
▪ Chatuchak (JJ) Weekend Market (Saturday/Sunday), all day
▪ Asiatique Night Market (riverside), open 4pm – midnight, seven days a week
▪ MBK, Platinum, Terminal 21 shopping centres at market prices
▪ Siam Paragon, Central World, Gaysorn Plaza, Emporium for brand name shops.
▪ Chiang Mai Night Bazaar, daily from 6pm
▪ Wualai Walking Street Saturday Market, from 2pm.
There are a variety of shops and local markets throughout the north and north-east that specialise in local handicrafts, wooden carvings, silverware, silks, pottery and furniture. Korat and Khao Yao in Nakhon Ratchasima have a popular night market and Premium Outlet Village.
An excuse to shop can be found at every corner you turn in Thailand, even on the beaches and islands! All the major resorts offer local evening and weekend markets for clothes, souvenirs, homewares and much more.
Phuket has several shopping malls including Central Festival and Jungceylon. Pattaya is also home to Central Festival. Hua Hin has a very popular night market and two shopping centre outlets are situated near to Cha-am.