17 BEST Places to Visit in Thailand for First Timers

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If you’ve never traveled to Thailand before, you’re really missing out! From the bustling capital of Bangkok filled with stunning temples to the white sand beaches that offer serene solitude, you’ll find there are many great places to visit in Thailand for first-timers.

Thailand offers tourists a little bit of everything. Whether you’re looking for lively nightlife, incredible natural landscapes, wildlife encounters, or somewhere to shut off from the rest of the world surrounded by crystalline azure waters, you can find it all here in Thailand.

But when it comes to mapping out your itinerary for your very first trip to Thailand, it can be hard to know what places to add to the list.

To help you out, we’ve prepared this list of the best places to visit for your first Thailand trip so you can be confident about which destinations to add to the list.

Places to Visit in Thailand For First Timers: Cities and Provinces

But first, let’s begin with the cities. Even if you are not planning to visit Thailand for the cities, they are unavoidable. Chances are you are going to fly into Bangkok or another major city, and use this as your starting point.

But before you rush off to somewhere new, here are some cities you should visit on your first trip to Thailand and why you should visit them.

1. Bangkok

The Giant Swing in Bangkok

Bangkok, Thailand’s bustling capital, is a city known for its vibrant energy and awe-inspiring culture. It’s the most visited city in the world and most likely your first stopping point on your Thailand trip. So without a doubt, it is one of the places you must visit in Thailand for your first time.

But you should make sure to spend some time in Bangkok before checking out the rest of the country, and not just use it as a stepping stone. And here’s why…

As one of the world’s premier travel destinations, Bangkok has something for everyone – floating markets, street food vendors peddling exotic dishes, hundreds of temples and shrines, and a lively nightlife scene. 

During the day, you can take in the floating markets or vibrant atmosphere of Chinatown before heading to Khao San Road in the evening to experience the hubbub of this iconic street. The nightlife in Bangkok is one of the things that Thailand so famous, so be sure to experience it while you can.

Nestled among some of Bangkok’s oldest neighborhoods lie countless temples that preserve the city’s spiritual history. 

But best of all, Bangkok is a mecca for street food. It’s arguably the number one city in the world for street food, since everyone and their grandma is eating out on the streets on plastic stools after work.

From rich coconut curries to delicious spicy papaya salads to Michelin-star Pad Thai noodles in Bangkok – your tastebuds will come alive as you’re served with a smile by friendly locals.

Bangkok truly lives up to its nickname as “the City of Angels.”

Places to visit in Bangkok

Khao San Road

No trip to Bangkok would be complete without visiting the Grand Palace and the outstandingly beautiful temples in the Old Town district. A must-see attraction is Wat Pho, home to the famous Reclining Buddha statue. 

Other popular attractions in Bangkok include Jim Thompson’s House Museum, Wat Arun, and taking a river cruise along the Chao Phraya River. Be sure to time your visit for the weekend, where the river cruises pass through the khlongs (canals) and towards the bustling floating markets of Khlong Lay Mayom. 

Don’t miss a chance to visit Chinatown, a bustling neighborhood with street food galore (except on Tuesdays as this is street cleaning day).

For nightlife, Khao San Road has an array of bars and clubs, and the chance to try scorpion or tarantula. 

Bangkok offers something for everyone; street markets, shopping malls, high-end restaurants and rooftop bars. 

To truly experience Bangkok, it’s best to wander around and get lost in its vibrant streets.

2. Phuket

Kamala Beach in Phuket

Phuket is known around the world for its pristine beaches and lush tropical beauty. Located on the shores of the Andaman Sea, Phuket is an island connected to mainland Thailand by a bridge and has 15 smaller islands you can visit nearby.

It’s known for its vast white sand beaches which are fringed by impressive rock formations and limestone cliffs, creating a picturesque backdrop to its stunning coastline. The waters here teem with marine life making it popular among scuba divers and snorkelers alike. 

The island also has many other attractions to offer, such as elephant sanctuaries, temples, the bustling colonial architecture of Old Town Phuket, bustling markets, and vibrant nightlife. 

For those seeking adventure, there’s plenty to do too; from kayaking and rock climbing to jet skiing and paragliding – or simply enjoying a sunset cruise or boat tour to the Phi Phi Islands for the day.

Phuket has become one of Thailand’s top tourist destinations. It has all the amenities of a modern resort town without sacrificing its charming character and pristine surroundings which make it so unique. 

Places to visit in Phuket

Big Budhha in Phuket

Phuket is a destination known for its dazzling white sand beaches and bright blue waters, which can be best seen from the Karon Viewpoint, where visitors can gain amazing views of the Andaman Sea. 

Another must-see attraction in Phuket is the Big Buddha, which has panoramic views of the island. 

For adventure seekers, a trip to Phang Nga Bay can provide amazing opportunities to explore limestone caves, hongs, and mangrove forests. 

For relaxation and rejuvenation, check out the many beaches on the island, such as Kamala Beach, Karon Beach, and Kata Beach.

Of course, Phuket is well known for its nightlife. Nightlife seekers will find plenty of bars and clubs along Patong beach as well as Bangla Road, where music lovers can enjoy live bands and DJ sets all night long. 

The Old Town of Phuket should not be missed, which features colorful and cute Sino-Portuguese architecture. Be sure to visit on the weekend and check out the weekend market!

3. Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is a city in the northern region of Thailand and is known for its stunning natural beauty, elephant sanctuaries, annual lantern festival, and ancient Buddhist temples. 

It is one of the most popular destinations for travelers looking to learn a bit more about the unique culture of Thailand. 

Chiang Mai is one of the most popular places to watch Muay Thai, otherwise known as Thai Boxing, as well as step back in time in the Old City walls, which contain several historic sites and ancient temples.

Places to visit in Chiang Mai

Elephant Jungle Sanctuary in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is full of incredible attractions and places to visit. One must-see for first-time visitors is the ancient temple of Wat Chedi Luang. This Buddhist temple, built in the late 14th century, is full of intricate carvings and stunning architecture. 

Most people think Chiang Mai is worth visiting just to see the elephant jungle sanctuaries, but we recommend you look up the reviews and ask about the reputation of companies before choosing a package. If they allow you to ride the elephants, they are not an ethical company.

Another popular destination to visit in Chiang Mai is Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, an iconic temple sitting on top of a mountain reached by a winding road that provides a breathtaking view of the city. 

For those feeling adventurous, trekking routes such as MaeSa Valley or Samoeng Loop offer a chance to explore lush landscapes and meet hill-tribe communities. 

Shopping enthusiasts should visit the Night Bazaar for a bustling atmosphere full of food stalls, souvenirs, and handicrafts. 

Finally, be sure to take part in some cultural activities in Chiang Mai. It’s a great spot to do a cooking class and learn how to make delicious Thai food.

It’s also the most famous place to visit in Thailand for the lantern festival, where you can see hundreds of lanterns float to the skies at once.

4. Krabi

Tiger Cave Temple Pagoda

Krabi is an idyllic, tropical province in southern Thailand renowned for its stunning beaches, limestone cliffs, and spectacular islands. 

Once a humble fishing village, Krabi has evolved into a popular tourist destination due to its rich culture, history, and outstanding natural beauty. 

Krabi’s history dates back to the 7th century when it was part of the ancient and powerful Srivijaya Empire.

The area has long been known as a center of culture and commerce, which is evident in its stunning architecture, temples, and monuments like the Tiger Cave Temple. 

Krabi also boasts an abundance of natural attractions including lush jungles, spectacular waterfalls, underground caves, hot spring pools, and many coral reefs perfect for snorkeling or scuba diving. 

Additionally, Krabi has some of the best food in Southeast Asia with fresh seafood dishes being particularly popular. 

With its rich heritage, incredible nature, and laidback atmosphere, Krabi is an unforgettable destination in Thailand for first timers.

Places to visit in Krabi

Krabi Night Market

While many think of Krabi as a region, it’s actually a small town surrounded by incredible natural beauty and fascinating temples.

Most people choose to stay in Ao Nang, which sits right on the beach, about 35 minutes scooter ride from Krabi Town. For those looking for more seclusion and scenic beaches, head over to the stunning Railay Beach, which is only accessible by boat.

Ao Nang has plenty of restaurants, markets, and shops to explore, as well as a beach – which isn’t as nice as Railey, but you can easily catch the boat over for a day from Ao Nang Beach.

Lastly, don’t forget to visit the Emerald Pool and the Hot Springs, located just outside Ao Nang – these hidden gems are perfect for relaxing away from the hustle and bustle of city life!

One of the top places to visit near Krabi is the Tiger Cave Temple (Wat Tham Suea), which has a strenuous 1,237 steps up to the top of the cave’s mountain, offering incredible views of the region and its iconic limestone mountains.

5. Pai

Sunset in Pai

Pai is a small mountain town in Northern Thailand that has become an increasingly popular destination for tourists visiting Thailand for the first time. 

With its unique mix of traditional Thai culture, stunning natural beauty, and relaxed atmosphere, Pai truly has something to offer everyone. 

The small town’s location in the countryside makes it the perfect place in Thailand for first time visitors who are looking for a more laid-back experience than what they’d find in larger cities like Bangkok or Chiang Mai. 

Additionally, Pai is known for its picturesque scenery, with rolling hills dotted with rice fields and traditional wooden buildings, as well as its historic sites that date back over 300 years.

All in all, Pai is an amazing destination that combines natural beauty, cultural heritage, and an unbeatable atmosphere – perfect for anyone looking to explore the real Thailand!

Places to visit in Pai

Pai Canyon

Pai is famous for being a hippy backpackers haven and is home to the iconic Pai Canyon, a unique gorge with a soft orange rock that gives it a Mars-like appearance. It’s one of the best places to visit at sunset as the rock surface shimmers in the setting sun.

One of our favorite things to do in Pai is to hire a scooter and drive around the nearby mountains, checking out the rice paddies and stopping off at tea houses for refreshments. 

Be sure to check out the bamboo bridge, one of the many bamboo structures in Thailand (though this was one of our favorites)

Another popular place to visit is the Wat Phra That Mae Yen temple, another great spot for sunset in Pai. From the top, you’ll find a Big Buddha statue overlooking incredible views of the area from its hilltop location. 

Thung Yee Pheng, a picturesque valley surrounded by lush greenery, is the perfect spot for hiking and exploration. 

The region is also famous for its caves and rocky landscape. You’ll find plenty of waterfalls to visit like Mo Paeng Waterfall and caves to explore, such as Tham Lod Caves and Fish Cave.

The town is small and easy to walk around. Head to the Walking Street in the evening for street food and evening entertainment in the many bars and restaurants.

6. Chiang Rai

Chiang Rai countryside

Chiang Rai is an ideal destination for first time visitors to Thailand and is usually the last stop people visit before heading across the border to Laos. 

Located towards the north of the country, it provides a beautiful backdrop of mountain ranges and lush terrain. 

With its rich history, Chiang Rai has been a part of many different cultures and civilizations. It was home to the ancient Thai Lanna Kingdom and has continued to preserve its unique traditions over the centuries. 

It’s also known for having some of the most interesting temples in all of Thailand, including the famed White Temple, Wat Rong Khun. 

Chiang Rai is worth visiting if you want an authentic experience in Thailand while still enjoying modern amenities.

Places to visit in Chiang Rai

White Temple in Chiang Rai

Chiang Rai offers a variety of attractions, from ancient temples to fascinating museums. 

The most unmissable place to visit in Chiang Rai is Wat Rong Khun, also known as the White Temple. This stunningly ornate temple was designed by Thai artist Chalermchai Kositpipat, who imbued it with Buddhist symbolism. 

Other places of interest include the Black House Museum, which is known for its rather phallic display of wooden sculptures, as well as Wat Rong Suea Ten, also known as the Blue Temple. 

For nature lovers, Doi Tung Mountain provides breathtaking views of both Thailand and Myanmar and also houses several hill tribe villages. 

Adventure seekers can partake in activities like trekking, mountain biking, rock climbing, or kayaking down the Mae Kok river. 

7. Pattaya

Pattaya Viewpoint

Pattaya is located on the east coast of the Gulf of Thailand and just 160 km from Bangkok, making it an easy destination to visit for those who want to visit the beaches but don’t have a lot of time in Thailand.

Pattaya has a long and fascinating history dating back to the 16th century when it was founded by immigrants from Hainan Island in China. 

Over time it has grown into one of the most popular tourist destinations in Thailand and offers a wide range of activities for visitors, both young and old. 

Pattaya is known for its vibrant nightlife scene, and stunning beaches with crystal clear waters, to cultural attractions such as temples, markets, and local festivals – there is something for everyone. Pattaya is easily one of the best place to visit in Thailand for first-timers.

Places to visit in Pattaya

Sanctuary of Truth

Pattaya is a vibrant beach city known for its tropical climate, stunning beaches, and lively nightlife on the infamous Walking Street.

There are numerous places to visit in Pattaya that will satisfy every kind of traveler. From the top of Buddha Mountain and the famous Big Buddha Temple to the bustling Jomtien Beachfront and many fascinating temples, there is much to explore. 

For first-time visitors, it is best to start with a tour of Alcazar Cabaret, where you can enjoy a unique combination of traditional Thai culture with modern entertainment. 

The Khao Phra Tamnak Hill Viewpoint is also worth a visit – take in the panoramic views from this scenic hilltop spot. 

The Sanctuary of Truth is an incredible sight. This wooden temple has been entirely built by hand with no nails or screws. It’s truly a work of art. 

Wat Yansangwararam Vihara temple is another must-see destination – it features beautiful murals and statues within its gardens. 

Of course, no trip to Pattaya would be complete without taking part in some water activities – head to Underwater World Pattaya for snorkeling or scuba diving experiences. 

8. Hua Hin

Hua Hin City

Hua Hin is an idyllic beach town located on the southern coast of Thailand. It is one of Thailand’s oldest resort towns, having been popularized by the Thai royal family in the late 1920s as a quiet escape away from Bangkok. 

Its long history of royal patronage and cultural significance has made it a popular destination for tourists from all over the world. 

It’s surrounded by lush jungles and beautiful mountains that are perfect for exploring. With its proximity to major cities like Bangkok, it’s easy to get here via train or car. 

From its amazing natural scenery to its vibrant culture, it truly has something for everyone — making it an ideal choice for first time travelers to Thailand.

Places to visit in Hua Hin

Hua Hin Beach

Hua Hin has pristine white sand beaches, lush green mountains, and diverse cultural attractions, making it a great destination for first-time travelers to Thailand and seasoned travelers alike. 

Visitors should check out the Hua Hin Night Market for some authentic Thai food and street shopping, or visit Khao Takiab Temple, a sacred Buddhist temple built on the side of a mountain. 

Not to be missed is Hua Hin Beach, with its stunning turquoise waters and lively beach culture. 

There are also numerous activities to choose from such as fishing, kayaking, snorkeling, and even kite surfing. 

For a more relaxed experience, head to Wat Huay Mongkol Temple – an ornate Thai Buddhist temple with beautiful gardens perfect for reflection and relaxation. 

Other must-see attractions include Pai Circus Water Park and Plearnwan Vintage Town where you can take a step back in time with its vintage marketplaces and rustic buildings. 

From swimming in the crystal clear waters of Hua Hin Beach to exploring the unique local attractions, there is something for everyone in this tropical paradise!

9. Ban Rak Thai


Ban Rak Thai is one of the most beautiful and historically-rich places in Thailand, but it still remains somewhat of a hidden gem. 

It has been a major tourist destination since the 1800s when Chinese businessmen visited to explore trade opportunities. 

Its stunning landscape consists of lush green forests, spectacular waterfalls, hot springs, and rivers. 

Ban Rak Thai has an incredibly rich history as it was once home to some of Thailand’s earliest inhabitants. 

There are also many local restaurants where you can sample authentic Chinese cuisine and even have dinner with a view of the stunning surrounding mountains.

Places to visit in Ban Rak Thai

Chasa RakThai Resort

Ban Rak Thai is a serene Chinese village located in the Chiang Rai Province. Those who come to Ban Rak Thai cannot miss the stunning Wat Huay Pla Kang temple, which boasts intricately detailed stupas and statues of Buddha. 

Nearby, the Wat Tham Pla Forest Temple offers visitors a unique chance to explore a large cave filled with beautiful stalactites and stalagmites. 

A highlight of visiting Ban Rak Thai is the chance to take part in the traditional ceremonies held at the ancient White Temple complex. 

Visitors can also take a dip in the refreshing waters at Mae Kok River, or wander through lush tea plantations to get breathtaking views of the village lake. 

For an unforgettable experience, visitors can spend a day exploring Doi Mae Salong Mountain Park, where they can admire spectacular vistas and vegetation and spot rare wildlife like hornbills and macaques.

Just make sure you pack something warm, as Ban Rak Thai is very cold due to its high elevation.

Read More: Does It Snow In Thailand?

Places to Visit in Thailand For First Timers: Islands

Thailand is world-famous for its beaches and idyllic islands, so if it’s island life you’re looking for, don’t miss these unforgettable places!

10. Koh Samui

Koh Samui Beach

Koh Samui is a stunning island located in the Gulf of Thailand, renowned for its pristine beaches, lush jungle-clad mountains, and romantic resorts for a Thailand honeymoon

It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Thailand and boasts a unique blend of traditional Thai culture with modern-day amenities. 

With its rich history dating back to the 16th century, Koh Samui has an abundance of fascinating attractions to explore. From colorful temples and ancient ruins to stunning waterfalls and national parks, there are endless opportunities to experience the remarkable beauty of this island paradise.

As a first time visitor to Thailand, Koh Samui offers something for everyone. Its lively nightlife scene offers plenty of activities including beachfront bars and nightclubs where you can dance until sunrise. 

Spend your days exploring bustling markets or relaxing on one of the soft white sand beaches with crystal clear waters perfect for swimming and snorkeling adventures. 

With its captivating scenery, warm hospitality, and year-round sunshine Koh Samui is certainly a must-see destination for anyone visiting Thailand!

Places to visit in Koh Samui

Wat Plai Laem

Koh Samui is a beautiful tropical destination in the Gulf of Thailand, offering many amazing places to visit. 

Visitors can take a dip in the crystal clear waters of Lamai Beach, or explore the stunning views from the peak of Khao Hua Jook Mountain. 

Other must-see attractions include Ang Thong National Marine Park, where travelers can kayak through limestone caves and lagoons; and Wat Plai Laem temple, with its expansive statues and colorful shrines. 

For adventure seekers, there are plenty of activities such as snorkeling, diving, rock climbing, sailing, and more. 

Those looking for luxury will enjoy the high-end resorts with upscale amenities like spas and fine dining restaurants. 

Visit Fisherman’s Village for a romantic stroll along the pier and pick up some local souvenirs at Chaweng Night Market. 

Related Reading: Koh Samui vs Koh Phangan: Which Should You Visit?

11. Phi Phi Islands

Koh Phi Phi

If you are looking for islands to visit in Thailand for the first time, you can’t go wrong with the iconic Phi Phi islands.

With stunning crystal clear waters and white sand beaches, it’s no surprise that they are often called the ‘Pearls of the Andaman’. 

Its rich history dates back to the 16th century when Chinese fishermen settled on the islands, and it has since become a popular tourist destination with its stunningly preserved natural beauty. 

It is also home to many stunning wildlife species such as green turtles and monkeys that can be appreciated by visitors. 

Moreover, the Phi Phi Islands have great accommodations for first time visitors to Thailand – ranging from budget-friendly hostels to luxurious resorts – making it an easily accessible yet unforgettable experience!

Places to visit in Phi Phi Islands

Koh Phi Phi Viewpoint

There are countless attractions to experience, from snorkeling or diving amid vibrant coral reefs to exploring caves such as Viking Cave or Pileh Lagoon. 

For a different kind of thrill, visitors can explore Monkey Beach or take a boat tour to see Maya Bay – the breathtaking beach famously used in the movie The Beach. 

Other attractions include beautiful waterfalls and hikes up to viewpoints with spectacular views of the islands. 

No matter how you choose to explore them, these islands will not disappoint – they offer something special and unique for everyone!

12. Koh Pha Ngan

Thong Nai Pan Noi Beach

Koh Pha Ngan is an island located in the Gulf of Thailand, just off the coast of Koh Samui. It is known for its beautiful white sand beaches and crystal clear waters, making it a top destination for beachgoers. 

The history of Koh Pha Ngan dates back to over 2000 years ago when it was part of the ancient sea-faring ships’ trade routes. 

This makes the island a great place to explore the both traditional and modern culture. 

Visitors can take advantage of the stunning scenery and enjoy activities such as snorkeling, kayaking, yoga classes, or simply lounging by the beach. 

For nightlife enthusiasts, there are many bars and clubs available to enjoy every night. 

First time visitors will especially love Koh Pha Ngan because of how easy it is to access all major cities in Thailand, as well as its friendly people who are always willing to help out tourists and show them a good time. 

All in all, Koh Pha Ngan is an excellent destination that offers something for everyone.

Places to visit in Koh Pha Ngan

Haad Rin Beach

First time visitors to Koh Pha Ngan should not miss the island’s picturesque beaches, such as Haad Rin Beach where the infamous monthly Full Moon Party takes place. 

Another popular beach worth visiting is Thong Nai Pan Noi, which boasts white sand and crystal-clear waters ideal for swimming and snorkeling. 

The Ang Thong National Marine Park is also a must-see for nature lovers and offers mountains, caves, secluded bays, and pristine coral reefs teeming with marine life. 

Other attractions to check out include Chaloklum Bay with its bustling nightlife and many restaurants, Wat Khao Tam temple located atop a hill overlooking the sea, beautifully cascading waterfalls like Than Sadet Waterfall, and Hin Kong which is home to some of Koh Pha Ngan’s best dive sites.

Read More: How to Get From Bangkok to Koh Phangan

13. Koh Tao

Koh Tao

Koh Tao is a tropical paradise for vacationers looking to escape reality. With its breathtaking beaches, clear blue waters, and lush jungle landscapes, there is something for everyone. 

The island’s history dates back to prehistoric times with archeological evidence suggesting that it has been a popular destination since at least the Iron Age. 

Koh Tao is also home to some of the best diving spots in Thailand and around the world, making it ideal for first-time visitors who want to explore the marvels of marine life without having to go too deep. 

The island is well known for its laid-back atmosphere and tranquil environment, perfect for those looking to relax and take in stunning natural beauty. 

Places to visit in Koh Tao

Shipwreck dive in Koh Tao

First time visitors should not miss out on the opportunity to snorkel or scuba dive in the spectacular coral reefs teeming with colorful marine life and explore the magnificent underwater world. 

For those seeking adventure, there are plenty of activities such as biking tours, rock climbing excursions, and kayaking trips. 

Other amazing attractions include exploring the majestic mountainside viewpoints overlooking Koh Tao’s bay – complete with picturesque sunset views – or visiting some of the island’s many waterfalls where you can swim beneath a curtain of cascading crystal-clear water. 

For a quieter experience, take a peaceful stroll along Mae Haad beach or relax at one of the tranquil spa resorts while enjoying delicious local cuisine. 

Lastly, no trip to Koh Tao would be complete without taking part in one of its famous full moon parties – perfect for letting loose and having fun under the stars!

Places to Visit in Thailand For First Timers: National Parks & Heritage Sites

For the history buffs and culture vultures, don’t miss a chance to see these unforgettable historic landmarks in Thailand.

14. Ayutthaya

Wat Phra Ram In Ayutthaya

Ayutthaya, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the most beautiful and rich cultural cities in Thailand. 

It was once the royal capital of Siam and a thriving trading port, with numerous temples and other monuments that bear witness to its past grandeur. 

The ruins of this former kingdom offer visitors a unique glimpse into the culture and history of Southeast Asia. 

Ayutthaya is also home to various festivals throughout the year, such as Songkran – the Thai New Year Festival – which gives tourists an opportunity to discover more about local customs and culture. This is an event that shouldn’t be skipped off your Thailand bucket list!

With its rich cultural heritage, vibrant atmosphere, and awe-inspiring views, Ayutthaya is definitely worth a visit for first time travelers to Thailand!

Places to visit in Ayutthaya

Ayutthaya Temple

A few of the sites you should make sure not to miss include Wat Mahathat, Wat Phra Sri Sanphet, Wat Chaiwatthanaram, and Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Historical Park.

In addition to these four sites, there are several other temples throughout the city that are worth visiting. 

Wat Ratchaburana is another important temple built by two brothers who were kings of Ayutthaya during the 14th century. 

The Temple of the Reclining Buddha, Wat Lokaya Sutha, is located near the old palace grounds and features a large reclining statue of Buddha on its grounds. 

For those interested in art and culture, there’s also the Chao Sam Phraya National Museum which displays artifacts from Burma and other countries as well as local artwork from the Ayutthaya period. 

After exploring these attractions for yourself, be sure to take a boat ride along the riverside to take in all the scenic views around this beautiful city!

15. Khao Sok National Park

Khao Sok National Park

Khao Sok National Park is one of Thailand’s most beautiful and pristine national parks.

Located in the southern region of the country, this tropical paradise offers an unrivaled jungle experience with its dense rainforest, rugged limestone karsts, stunning natural waterfalls, and spectacular wildlife. 

The park is rich in history; it was declared a protected area in 1980 and its name translates to “mountain of paradise”. 

Khao Sok National Park is also home to some of the oldest rainforests in the world – more than 160 million years old! 

First-time visitors can enjoy unparalleled hiking trails, exciting wildlife-watching opportunities, canoeing, and kayaking tours on the Srinamon River, as well as breathtaking vistas from atop one of the park’s many lookout points. 

With its remarkable biodiversity, diverse flora and fauna and plenty of activities to suit all ages and interests – Khao Sok National Park is a must-visit destination for any traveler looking for a unique outdoor adventure in Thailand.

Places to visit in Khao Sok National Park

Cheow Lan Lake

Khao Sok National Park is a breathtakingly beautiful natural paradise in Thailand. It offers visitors a wide range of activities such as trekking, rafting, and canoeing through its lush jungle landscape. 

The park also features stunning limestone mountains and numerous crystal-clear lakes and rivers. 

A must-see for first time visitors is Cheow Lan Lake, which boasts emerald-green waters surrounded by towering limestone cliffs. 

Another highlight of Khao Sok is the impressive variety of wildlife, including Asian elephants, clouded leopards, gibbons, and hornbills amongst many others. 

For those looking for an adventure, there’s the famous jungle trekking trail that traverses the park’s ancient rainforest. 

At night, visitors can camp at one of the park’s many campsites surrounded by large limestone boulders or enjoy a river cruise before watching a mesmerizing sunset over the lake. 

With so much to explore in Khao Sok National Park, it promises to be an unforgettable experience!

16. Khao Yai National Park

Khao Yai National Park Thailand
Khao Yai National Park in Thailand

Khao Yai National Park is an incredible destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. 

Located in the central region of the country, it’s one of the oldest and largest national parks in Southeast Asia. Established in 1962, the park covers an area of 2,168 square kilometers, boasting lush rainforests, waterfalls, limestone caves, and grasslands. 

It’s also home to an incredible array of wildlife including tigers, elephants, bears, and rare birds. 

Khao Yai is a great place for first time visitors; with its well-maintained roads and trails, they can explore the unique landscape and experience the diverse range of flora and fauna that call this place home. 

The park offers activities like camping, bird-watching, and jungle trekking; it’s truly a remarkable place to relax and enjoy nature. 

Places to visit in Khao Yai National Park

Cave in Heo Suwat Waterfall
Heo Suwat Waterfall

From breathtaking sunrises over Haew Narok Waterfall to camping in Heo Suwat, visitors will find plenty of places to explore and amazing sites to see. 

A must-see attraction is the Khao Nang Ram Wildlife Sanctuary which houses hundreds of species of animals including elephants, tigers, and hornbills. 

Other attractions worth checking out include the Thung Kula Rong Hai Salt Pans where you can witness how salt pans are used to create various products from food to medicine, Khao Phra Bang Khram Nature Study Trail for nature walks, and SalakPhet Viewpoint for panoramic vistas. 

Adventure seekers won’t want to miss trekking through the jungle terrain or scaling up one of the park’s many peaks with its stunning views. 

Whether you’re looking for a peaceful escape or an adrenaline-filled adventure, Khao Yai National Park has something for everyone.

Read more: The Most Dangerous Animals in Thailand

17. Sukhothai Historical Park

Sukhothai Historical Park Thailand

Sukhothai Historical Park is one of the most historically significant and visually stunning places in Thailand. 

Located in Sukhothai, on the Northwestern side of Thailand, the park contains ruins of ancient palaces and temples, which were constructed during the kingdom of Sukhothai that ruled from 1238 to 1438. 

The park is bordered by a large lake and surrounded by mountains, making it a picturesque destination. 

The park also provides insight into Thai culture and history through its exhibits depicting the life of people at that time. 

For first-time visitors to Thailand, exploring Sukhothai Historical Park is a great way to get an idea of this country’s rich cultural heritage. 

Places to visit in Sukhothai Historical Park


Sukhothai Historical Park is home to multiple incredible cultural heritage sites, making it a must-see location for travelers visiting Thailand. 

The park possesses five distinct zones, with the Central Zone boasting some of Thailand’s most impressive historical structures. 

This area encompasses the remains of the ancient royal palace, the famed Wat Mahathat temple complex, and many more spectacular ruins. 

In addition, visitors have the unique opportunity to explore the enormous Wat Si Sawai temple as well as Wat Sa Si and its impressive prang towers. 

Other highlights include the ancient city wall and moat that encompasses Sukhothai’s central zone and offers an insight into the ancient culture of this region. 

For those interested in outdoor activities, there are also several peaceful lakes in the park where visitors can go kayaking or take a leisurely stroll around one of Sukhothai’s many picturesque temples. 

With so much to do and see in this exquisite park, first-time visitors should make sure not to miss out on witnessing these majestic remnants of Thailand’s past.

Final Thoughts on Places to Visit in Thailand for First Timers

Whether you’re looking to hike up Thailand’s rugged mountains, climb the limestone cliffs, trek through the jungles, gaze upon historic landmarks, or simply melt away into one of its pristine beaches – there are so many exciting places to visit in Thailand for your first time.

There is a reason why Thailand is one of the most visited countries and the first port of call on the Big Four Backpacking loop – it literally has something for everyone.

We hope this guide helped you plan some top places to add to your itinerary and gave you some insight into where to go and places to visit.

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2 thoughts on “17 BEST Places to Visit in Thailand for First Timers”

  1. Friends I was in Thailand November 2023, spent a birthday there, This small country has never been occupied, the people seem to have very little stress and always smiling and are helpful, I was taken to Pattaya and was there four day and Itis hard to find the words to describe the city just a beautiful place, November was my first time ever to go there and I loved every minute of my stay, I thank you for this presentation of a wonderful and beautiful place to live and very much affordable to live and retire.


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