If you are looking for the ultimate Thailand bucket list, you have come to the right place! The beautiful “Land of Smiles” is filled with so many things to do – from exploring its gorgeous national parks and beaches to sampling its rich cuisine and experiencing its unique traditions.
There’s something in Thailand for everyone, whether you are interested in ancient temples, bustling cities, or quiet towns nestled in nature. As one of our favorite countries in the world, we have curated this EPIC Thailand bucket list.
Make sure you add some of these things to do on your next visit to Thailand!
Thailand Bucket List: 30 Best Things To Do In Thailand
1. Visit an Elephant Jungle Sanctuary
Visiting an Elephant Jungle Sanctuary in Thailand should be on any traveler’s bucket list. These elephant jungle sanctuaries provide visitors with an intimate and up-close view of one of the most majestic animals in the world.
Visitors can interact with rescued elephants in their natural habitat, feed them bananas, give them mud baths, and bathe them in the river. Then you get to learn about their behavior, diet, and anatomy. If you are lucky, you might even be able to experience trekking in the jungle with them and making medicine balls that aid with their digestion.
Not only can you admire the national animal of Thailand, but you can also help the sanctuary, as all proceeds go towards maintaining the sanctuary and taking care of the elephants.
2. Party on Khao San Road
No one has backpacked Thailand without experiencing Khao San Road at least once. This infamous street in Bangkok is one of the most popular places for travelers to party all night long.
During the day, the street is quite calm and peaceful, but come nightfall, it transforms into a wild frenzy of music and dance parties. With an array of bars, clubs and restaurants to choose from, you’re sure to find something that you would like.
It is also a popular place to try some street insects such as scorpions, tarantulas, and other gnarly creatures. If you are visiting Thailand for the first time, don’t forget to add Khao San Road to your itinerary!
3. Experience The Legendary Koh Pha Ngan Full Moon Party
For the party lovers, your Thailand itinerary is not complete without experiencing the full moon party in Koh Pha Ngan.
Every month when the full moon rises, tens of thousands of tourists flock to this Thai Island to experience one of the world’s biggest and most renowned beach parties. They all gather on Haad Rin Beach to dance and revel in the bright moonlight until sunrise.
With stunning fire shows, jugglers, dancers, and live music from renowned DJs, it is no wonder why people fall in love with this festival-like party!
Though Koh Pha Ngan is coined as the original place for the full moon party, many islands have started their own every full moon. So if you don’t get the chance to head down to Koh Pha Ngan, you can have a similar experience on other Thai islands!
4. Check Out Bangkok Rooftop Bar
Seeing Bangkok from above is one of the best things to do in Thailand, and there is perhaps no better one to do so than on one of Bangkok’s rooftop bars.
Bangkok has a wide variety of rooftop bars to choose from, and each comes with a spectacular view of the city skyline as well as amazing drinks and eats.
The most iconic rooftop bar in Bangkok is Sky Bar at Lebua State Tower, which was featured in The Hangover Part II and offers spectacular views of the Chao Phraya River and the nearby skyscrapers. Make sure you check it out when you are visiting Bangkok!
5. Explore Khao Sok National Park
Khao Sok National Park is one of Thailand’s most spectacular natural destinations, making it an absolute must on any Thailand bucket list. Located in the Surat Thani Province in the south of Thailand, Khao Sok sprawls over almost 739 square kilometers of lush rainforest and limestone mountain ranges.
The park offers a variety of spectacular attractions, such as emerald green lakes, plunging waterfalls, ancient cave systems and wildlife viewing opportunities. Many activities are available such as trekking through the jungle trails, exploring cave systems and taking boat trips on Cheow Larn Lake.
There are also plenty of accommodation options – from tents to private lakeside cabins – that allow you to stay close to nature while still being surrounded by comfort and luxury.
6. Eat a Khao Soi In Chiang Mai
If you are visiting Chiang Mai, you must try out Khao Soi, the city’s more iconic dish. It’s traditionally made with boiled egg noodles, tumeric, shallots, red chili, ginger, garlic, cardamon, coriander, chicken or pork, and a flavorful curry-coconut broth.
The dish is unique because it’s a mixture of both Northern and Southern Thai flavors. The broth has a deep yellow color from the addition of turmeric and red chili, giving it an intense flavor that’s slightly sweet and spicy at the same time.
Along with the al dente egg noodles, this simple and delicious dish is something you must eat in Thailand!
7. Visit The White Temple In Chiang Rai
The White Temple in Chiang Rai is one of the most beautiful and unique places to visit in Thailand. Also known as Wat Rong Khun, the White Temple is a Buddhist temple complex that was designed by artist Chalermchai Kositpipat in 1997.
The temple was designed in completely white to symbolize heaven and Lord Budhha’s purity. But before you could enter heaven, visitors must pass through a small bridge that represents transition into life.
Surrounding the small bridge, visitors will find hundreds of hands reaching out from the ground. This area represents desire and temptation. Only by crossing this bridge and not falling into our desires can be reach heaven.
The White Temple is one of the most beautiful places in Thailand. At any time of the day, you’ll find plenty of people photographing and admiring the unique representations of the temple!
8. Hike Through Erawan National Park
Erawan National Park is a beautiful and grand national park located in Kanchanaburi Province of western Thailand. With its white limestone cliffs, majestic cascading waterfalls and lush jungle forest, the park is an oasis of peace and tranquility.
Most travelers come to Erawan National Park to see the epic 7-tiered Erawan Falls. The hiking trail wins through the lush forest where you’ll find plenty of flora and fauna found.
Along with the deep pools created by the waterfall, Erawan National Park is truly one of Thailand’s most spectacular natural wonders.
9. Take A Tuk-Tuk Ride
Taking a tuk-tuk ride is a must-have experience for anyone visiting Thailand. These three-wheeled motorized vehicles are the country’s most iconic transportation, with their bright colors and loud engines making them an exciting and memorable way to explore the streets of Thailand.
They might not be the quickest mode of transportation, but given the horrible traffic of cities like Bangkok and Chiang Mai, tuk-tuks are often much quicker than getting a taxi.
The traditional versions have open sides and back, allowing you to feel like you’re really part of the city as you drive through narrow alleyways and zip through traffic. Many of the drivers have uniquely decorated their tuk-tuks to give the guests a unique experience unlike any other!
10. Experience A Thai Massage
Thai massage is an ancient healing practice that has been used in Thailand and other parts of Southeast Asia for centuries. It combines elements of Ayurvedic medicine, Chinese acupressure, and yoga to create a unique form of bodywork that focuses on unblocking energy pathways, relieving stress and tension, and restoring balance both mentally and physically.
Matter of fact, it is still part of the medical system in Thailand because of its perceived benefits.
At the end of the massage, the masseuse will have had pulled your toes and fingers, cracked many parts of your body, and even walked on you! It one of the coolest experiences in Thailand!
Just make sure you go to a reputable one because the massage business in Thailand isn’t always about giving you a good massage.
11. Go Diving In Koh Tao
Koh Tao in the Gulf of Thailand is a small island paradise that is renowned for its excellent diving. It has crystal clear waters, over 30 dive sites, and an abundance of marine life, making it an ideal destination for divers and snorkelers of all experience levels.
The island is particularly well-known for its vibrant coral reefs teeming with tropical fish, beautiful sea turtles, and hundreds of species of colorful corals. There is a wide selection of dive centers offering courses from beginner to advanced level and rentals for scuba gear.
Koh Tao also offers many wreck dives to explore sunken ships. With dive times ranging from 10 minutes to two hours or more, there’s something here for everyone!
12. Visit Maya Bay
After four years of closure to recuperate the damaged ecosystem and marine life, Maya Bay is finally ready for visitors once again! This must-see place in Thailand is made famous by the 2000 movie The Beach starring Leonardo Dicaprio.
Maya Bay is renowned for its stunning natural beauty featuring crystal-clear turquoise waters, white sandy beaches and towering limestone cliffs that surround the bay.
This iconic destination located on the island of Koh Phi Phi Leh might be available for visitors, but swimming in its protected waters is highly prohibited. Nonetheless, getting a photo at this legendary spot is a must on any Thailand bucket list!
13. Explore Bond Island
Another one of Thailand’s most iconic attractions is Bond Island. Similar to Maya Bay, this destination is made famous by a blockbuster movie, and this time it’s the 1974 film Man with the Golden Gun. It is one of the many James Bond movies in the franchise.
Bond Island is a tiny island in Phang Nga Bay and it’s easy to spot from the view of its towering limestone cliffs. The best way to explore this hidden gem is by taking a island hopping tour which will take you around the bay and past other incredible islands such as Koh Phi Phi and Koh Panyee.
The most iconic attraction is the limestone formation that looks like a stone pillar in the middle of the sea. It is one of the most photographed spots in Thailand!
14. Take A Thai Cooking Class
Thailand is a country known around the world for its amazing cuisine, so taking a Thai cooking class should definitely be on everyone’s Thailand bucket list.
Doing so can give you an insight into the country’s culture and a chance to try different flavors and dishes that you may never have tried before.
Through hands-on learning, one can explore the unique flavors and techniques used in traditional Thai cooking.
Participants will learn how to create dishes like green curry, pad thai noodles, and mango sticky rice by utilizing fresh ingredients such as lemongrass, fish sauce, galangal root, kaffir lime leaves, and tamarind paste.
You might even get a chance to shop those fresh ingredients from the local market during your class!
If you truly want to experience the culinary culture of Thailand, make sure you take a Thai cooking class!
15. Go Shopping At Chatuchak Weekend Market In Bangkok
Shopping at Chatuchak weekend market in Bangkok is a must-have experience in Thailand.
With over 15,000 stalls spanning 35 acres, this is one of the largest markets in the world and offers an amazing variety of items from clothing to antiques. Shopping here is a truly unique experience and there is something for everyone.
The market is divided into 27 sections with each section having its own specialty, ranging from food to accessories to furniture. You can find all sorts of goods at unbeatable prices, including handmade souvenirs and traditional Thai products like wooden carvings or silk scarves.
The vibrant atmosphere of the bustling crowds, colorful displays and aromatic scents make it a wonderful place to be. Plus, you can pick up some delicious street food while you explore the market!
16. Participate In Songkran Festival
The Songkran Festival should be on the top of any Thailand bucket list. This traditional Thai holiday marks the New Year and is a time of celebration and honoring traditions.
This 3-day festival is full of fun activities such as water fights, parades, and religious offerings. People throw water at each other to symbolize cleansing away bad luck and starting anew for the New Year.
The Songkran Festival is also known for its unique dishes. This time of the year, people eat certain foods such as Khao Chae, Mango Sticky Rice, Thai Margarita and more.
With delicious food and a chance to participate in such unique festivities in Thailand, don’t miss the chance to go to a Songkran Festival!
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17. Explore Koh Panyee
The small island of Koh Panyee is located in the Phang Nga bay and is one of the most unique places in the world. It’s home to a traditional Muslim fishing village, which has been built on stilts since its founding in the late 18th century.
The village is home to roughly 400 families and is filled with colorful buildings, narrow alleyways, and amazing views of the surrounding islands. As well as being one of the oldest Muslim fishing villages in Thailand, you’ll find some of the freshest seafood around.
This “floating village” is one of the most unique places in Thailand. Everything is built completely on stilts, even the mosque in town! Make sure you add Koh Panyee to your Thailand itinerary!
18. Marvel at the Grand Palace
The magnificent Grand Palace has been the official residence of the Kings of Siam since 1782, and is one of the most spectacular landmarks in all of Southeast Asia.
The Grand Palace consists of over a hundred buildings and courts, sprawling across 218,000 square meters. It is filled with vibrant colors and exquisite details that make it truly breathtaking to behold.
For those looking to explore Thailand’s rich history, there are plenty of temples scattered throughout the palace grounds. Even a simple walk through the palace courtyard reveals intricate sculptures and stonework that tell tales from long ago.
The most beautiful temple is the Temple of The Emerald Budhha, or Wat Phra Kaew in Thai. It is known as the most sacred temple in all of Thailand!
19. Go Island Hopping
Thailand has hundreds of islands in the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea. From the iconic Koh Phi Phi to the lesser-known islands of Koh Mook, there’s something for everyone.
Island hopping is one of the best activities in Thailand and offers a chance to explore some of the most beautiful beaches and hidden coves. Spend your days swimming in crystal clear waters, snorkeling with exotic fish, exploring caves and hiking up mountains for incredible views.
Make sure to try out some of the freshest seafood on the islands as well!
20. Check Out A Floating Market
The floating markets of Bangkok are a unique attraction for both tourists and locals alike. Located mainly along the canals of the Chao Phraya River, these markets are bustling hubs where vendors sell their merchandise from boats.
Here, shoppers can find everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to clothing and souvenirs. As well as purchasing fresh produce, visitors can also sample some delicious local street food served up from floating kitchens often found in the center of each market.
The markets have been a part of Thai life for centuries, but it wasn’t until the early 1970s that they started becoming tourist attractions. Nowadays, visitors flock to Bangkok to experience these vibrant scenes cruising down the waterways on long-tailed boats or ‘klong’ water taxis.
There will also be plenty of opportunities for taking picturesque photographs which will serve as lifelong mementos of your visit. The most popular floating market in Thailand is Damnoen Saduak Floating Market! You can visit it on a day trip from Bangkok!
21. Admire The Big Buddha In Phuket
The Big Buddha in Phuket is one of the most iconic monuments in Thailand. Standing at 45 meters tall, the statue sits atop the Nakkerd Hills and is visible from most parts of the island on a good day. The figure is made of concrete and covered with white Burmese marble, making it look pure white.
Visitors can ascend to the base of the statue where they will discover a hall filled with statues, murals, and inscriptions depicting stories about Buddhism. A gift shop and restaurant are also located below the main attraction. On top of this, there are spectacular views over Karon Beach, Chalong Bay and the surrounding islands – perfect for those seeking out amazing photo opportunities!
The Big Buddha is not only worth visiting for its beauty but also for its cultural significance as an integral part of Thai Buddhist ritual life. So make sure you don’t miss this one on your bucket list for Thailand!
22. Experience The Loi Krathong Lantern Festival
The Loi Krathong Lantern Festival is an annual celebration of Thai culture and heritage. It is celebrated each year on the full moon of the twelfth lunar month in Thailand.
People gather to share in the festivities, which include releasing paper lanterns into the night sky and making offerings to the Goddess of Water, Phra Mae Khongkha.
The event usually takes place after sunset when people come out onto the streets carrying their handmade krathongs, which are intricate vessels made using banana leaves, flowers, and incense sticks.
After a short ceremony that involves lighting candles and saying prayers for good fortune, participants launch their krathongs into rivers, lakes or canals where they will float away under the light of thousands of colorful paper lanterns released into the sky.
In addition to lanterns and krathongs, people enjoy traditional Thai music and dance performances during this time as well as eating special treats like sticky coconut rice cakes known as ‘Kanom Krok’!
23. Explore The Ancient City of Ayutthaya
The city of Ayutthaya is a must-see destination for anyone looking to explore the amazing cultural history of Thailand. It was once the capital of the powerful Kingdom of Siam and is now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its incredible historical value.
The city is full of fascinating sites that tell the story of its former glory, from grand palaces and temples to ruins that still bear witness to its violent destruction in 1767 when the Ayutthaya Kingdom lost to the Burmese forces after 14 months of besiege.
Visitors can marvel at the intricate architecture, including Wat Phra Si Sanphet and Wat Mahathat, which are two of the most impressive Buddhist temples in the country.
The historic center of Ayutthaya is not very big, and most visitors rent a bicycle to explore this Thailand destination!
24. Swim In Emerald Pool
Emerald Pool near Krabi is a must-see destination for any traveler in Thailand. Not only does this natural pool boast crystal-clear turquoise waters, but it also has lush green surroundings with trees and shrubs making it the perfect place to relax and take in the beauty of nature.
The Emerald Pool is one of the most stunning swimming spots in Thailand, and you’ll appreciate that when you are visiting the country in the summer. The pool isn’t exactly the biggest, but it attracts both tourists and locals from all over the nearby provinces.
The area offers a tranquil atmosphere that is perfect for a refreshing dip or some leisurely sunbathing. Waterfalls flow into the pool creating gentle ripples throughout, while fish swim in the depths!
25. Partake In The Tradition of Muay Thai
Muay Thai is an ancient and revered martial art originating from Thailand. It’s also known as “The Art of Eight Limbs” for its use of kicks, punches, elbows, and knees in combat.
The atmosphere of a Muay Thai fight is incredibly thrilling and unique – the roar of the crowd, the music, the highly trained athletes showcasing their skill, the magnificent techniques of Muay Thai on full display – it can’t be beat.
Not only is it fun to watch these amazing fighters showcase their expertly honed skills, but you’ll also get to experience a part of local culture that many people never do.
After witnessing a few rounds of passionate fighting, you may even feel inspired to try out the sport yourself! There are many Muay Thai gyms scattered around Thailand designed for curious tourists that would like to try it out!
26. Try Durian
Durian should definitely be on a Thailand bucket list because of its unique flavor and texture. The fruit has a strong aroma that can be off-putting for some, but the taste is worth it!
Trying Durian should be on every Thailand bucket list because it is one of the most unique and exotic fruits the world has ever seen. It’s a fruit that is truly a feast for all five senses.
Its spiky, intimidating exterior gives way to a tantalizingly sweet flesh that has an unmistakable smell, reminiscent of almonds and onions. The pungent aroma combined with its creamy taste creates a flavor experience like no other.
What really makes durian so special is that it grows only in Thailand and surrounding countries, making it one of the most sought-after tropical fruits in the world.
27. Eat Street Food In A Night Market
No visit to Thailand is complete without eating street food in a night market. This bustling nightlife experience is an essential part of the culture of Thailand, bringing together locals and tourists alike.
The sights, sounds, and smells of these bustling night markets provide an authentic cultural experience full of history and tradition. Street vendors offer up delicious dishes like Pad Thai or Tom Yum Goong that are expertly cooked over hot coals or steaming woks.
Not only is the street food delicious, but it’s also incredibly affordable. Eating at a night market is great way to taste some of Thailand’s best dishes without breaking the bank!
28. Take An Overnight Sleeper Train
Taking an overnight sleeper train in Thailand is almost a rite of passage. It’s a great way to get from one city to another without breaking the bank, and it also allows travelers to experience an authentic part of Thai culture.
The overnight sleeper train offers both compartments for two people and ones for four, complete with comfortable beds and air conditioning. As the train whizzes through rural landscapes you’ll be able to take in the sights and sounds of Thailand.
The best part about an overnight sleeper train is that you get to wake up at your destination – how convenient!
29. Visit Pai Canyon
Located in the Northern region of the country, Pai Canyon is a stunning natural landmark with breathtaking views of tall cliffs, deep ravines, and endless emerald rice fields.
This unique geological formation is the result of years of erosion and tectonic activity, creating a surreal landscape that will take your breath away.
The canyon is especially awe-inspiring during sunset, when rays of orange light turn the cliffs into an otherworldly scene.
Make sure you have some good shoes with grip, because the terrain is very slippery! You’ll want to be extra careful when walking around because there are sheer drops on some parts of the canyon.
30. Relax On Railay Beach
Railay Beach is without a doubt one of the best beaches in Thailand. Located on the southern tip of Krabi, Railay Beach is only reachable by a long-tail boat from Ao Nang. This means that the beauty of the place is completely unspoiled.
The landscape is absolutely stunning, with its white sand beaches, towering limestone cliffs, and lush vegetation. It’s a nature lover’s paradise. Plus, the warm waters are perfect for swimming, snorkeling, or kayaking.
For those who like to explore, there are plenty of hidden caves and hidden coves to discover. And if you’re looking for a little bit of adventure, you can try rock climbing on the famous limestone cliffs.
But there’s more than just outdoorsy activities at Railay Beach – there are also plenty of restaurants and bars with delicious food and drinks located right on the beachfront!
Conclusion: Thailand Bucket List
This is the end of our Thailand bucket list, covering 30 of the best things to do in the “Land of Smiles.” These attractions are some of the reasons why we keep coming back to Thailand over and over again! Make sure you check them out on your next Thailand trip!
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