33 Best Local Experiences in Thailand
Travel to Thailand, and experience it the local way.
The ultimate list of Thailand tourism places that you’ll love!
People travel to Thailand from all over the world, and there’s a good reason for that. The rich culture, vibrant cuisine, and unmistakably beautiful views of Thailand make it one of the most visited southeast asian countries! Thailand tourism places are all about experience and adventure. So, read on to discover 30 of the best local experiences that you cannot miss.
1. Island Hopping at Krabi
You can go from merely looking at Thailand tourism places and beaches, to actually experiencing it at Krabi. White sand beaches, coral reefs, aquamarine and crystal clear waters; all of this and more make the Krabi island tour an unmatched experience. You could choose to go for a day tour, hopping between Railay Island, Koh Tup, or Koh Poda. The local long-tail boats, called Rua hang yao, are what make this an even more authentic journey. These boats have been a mode of transport between islands for decades! You could even spend a whole weekend here and see Koh Hong, James Bond Island, and snorkel or scuba dive.
2. Shop While You Float
Nothing says “authentic Thailand” like the Floating Markets of Bangkok. Notably one of the most famous and unique attractions in Thailand, the Floating Markets are over a century old. They represent real Thai culture and heritage, as eager sellers and shoppers sail through the canals and shop from floating stalls. Markets like Damnoen Saduak, Amphawa, and Khlong Lat Mayom are must-see spots when you travel to Thailand.
3. Prasat Saat Ja-Thaam The Sanctuary of Truth
Thailand is known for being home to some of the most marvelous temples and shrines, including the Sanctuary of Truth. Located in Pattaya, it’s constructed completely with teak wood and zero metal or nails. The temple is architectural genius. What makes it even more special is the fact that it’s an unfinished construction, and almost a half-palace, half-shrine structure. It sports a number of symbols and motifs that represent tradition, culture, history, and the religious expressions of Buddhism and Hinduism.
4. A Day in Ayutthaya
Did you know? There is an entire ancient city located in Thailand, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya District is one of the famously known Thailand tourism places. It is home to the ‘Buddha Head in the Tree’ structure. It also features a number of other temples and shrines. These gorgeous structures rest magically on an island located within the district itself, and boasts a rich view and representation of local Thailand history. Founded in 1350, this district continues to be an archeological marvel, and once can see wall paintings, palm leaf manuscripts, and works of art surviving that period.
5. Ring it in with Muay thai
Muay Thai is a classic and ancient Thai fighting technique which was used in history as an art of protection. And this hand-to-hand form of combat continues to be the fastest martial art in the world! Today, it has turned into a perfect form of art-meets-entertainment. Muay Thai used a fighting technique of 8 ‘weapons’ – elbows, fists, knees and legs. The show ‘Muay Thai Live: The Legend Lives’ is showcased at the Brick Bistro Dinner in Bangkok. It is one of the must-see Thailand tourism places. Tourists who travel to Thailand rarely miss this traditional fighting form.
6. A Trip Underwater
There’s nothing better than getting to witness the alluring life present underwater, and up close! Underwater World in Pattaya is all about watching hundreds of different underwater species swim, to discovering marine species that you didn’t know existed. Sharks, Koi fish, turtles; you’ll be glad you decided to travel to Thailand and experience something so unique.
7. Rock Climbing at Ao Nang, Krabi
Ao Nang’s soaring limestone cliffs draw sport climbers from around the world. Discover them on this full-day climbing course, with a maximum of four climbers to every instructor/guide. You can see Krabi from way up high during this thrilling rock climbing and ziplining tour with longtail boat ride and lunch included. Your experience would include learning basic climbing techniques, equipment use, and safety practices on the crags of Railay Beach and PhraNang Cave Beach. After lunch, you can spend the afternoon climbing and trekking, with a spectacular 50-foot (15-meter) rappel (abseil). This is an experience that is both thrilling and enticing!
8. Relax the Thai Way
In Thailand, the job of a professional masseuse is nothing short of art. The traditional Thai massage technique is one that has been inherited and perfected over centuries of practice. In fact, Thai massages are known to be an experience you can’t find anywhere else! Phuket is known to have some of the most exclusive spas in Thailand, using locally sourced oils, traditional relaxation techniques, and even an ambience that stays true to Thai culture. You cannot travel to Thailand and skip this traditional spa experience.
9. Ride Through Mae Hong Son Loop
A step away from the usual tourist itinerary, this well-known road runs through the Mae Hong Son Province. The area is touted to be the most mountainous area in all of Thailand. Rich with Shan and Northern Thai minority communities and culture, the route begins and ends at Chiang Mai. One would be able to complete the loop after travelling its length of 600 km, and it takes approximately 3-4 days to complete.
10. Become a Thai Chef
No, we’re not kidding. People travel to Thailand from all over the world for its delicious cuisine. However, there’s also a famous spot where they can learn to cook it. At Suwanee Thai in Chiang Rai, you can take cooking classes to make exotic Thai curries, Pad Thai, papaya salad, and much more. The ingredients you use in these classes are locally, farm grown as well. Right from Kaffir lime, Bok Choy, and freshly made coconut milk, to flat rice noodles, and traditional oyster; all ingredients represent the palette of Thailand.
11. The Highest Peak in Thailand
In the list of Thailand tourism places, the “Roof of Thailand” is one such spot that is incomparable. Locally named Doi Inthanon, it towers over national park and is visited by many enthusiastic nature lovers from all over the nation. Hiking up to the top of this peak, you can view the most unreal sunrise and sunset, waterfalls, rare bird species, and lush landscapes.
12. Get Wrapped in Silk
Along San Kamphaeng Road in Chiang Mai, one can find several workrooms where silk in many textile forms can be purchased. The silk found in Thailand is exquisite to say the least, used right from clothing to home decor. The Jim Thompson Thai Silk Museum in Bangkok allows people to watch the weaving of silk into luxurious pieces, and shop for unique pieces.
13. Visit Wat Rong Suea Ten, Chiang Rai
Chiang Rai Blue Temple or Wat Rong Suea Ten is a magnificent blue structure that has now become a landmark in Chiang Rai. It is located in Rong Suea Ten in the district of Rimkok a few kilometers outside Chiang Rai. It is a recent temple which is still under construction even if its main hall is now completed. It is above all its magnificent blue interior with a large white Buddha that marks the spirits. The paintings are reminiscent of the style of what you can see inside the White Temple (Wat Rong Khun). The great standing Buddha, also white, standing in front of the back, is also superb. Between the White Temple, the Black House and the Blue Temple, Chiang Rai is definitely the city of colorful temples!
14. The Elephant Island
This is a part of Mu Koh Chang National Park, and is locally known as Koh Chang. Being Thailand’s third largest island, Koh Chang offers travelers a beach experience that is both serene and secluded. Consider this island as a paradise beach village, with white sand stretches and crystal clear waters that will blow your mind. Here, one can also visit waterfalls, hike to mountain tops, and stay at luxury resorts.
15. Explore Lopburi
One can find Lopburi nestled in central Thailand. This is one of Thailand’s oldest cities, home to a large population of monkeys. As a tribute to the monkey community, the Phra Prang Sam Yot temple or Monkey temple is a marvel too. This rustic little city is rife with money-lovers and lovers of older Thai architecture.
16. Visit the Dawn of Happiness
Historically known as Sukhothai, the “Dawn of Happiness” is another UNESCO World Heritage site that is on the list of Thailand tourism places. This magnificent historical park in northern Thailand spans across 27 miles. One can also find the intriguing 13th century ruins, the temple complex in its center, and the Hindu and Khmer influenced scriptures.
17. Thailand’s Famous National Park
With its rich environment of dense jungle and flora and fauna, the Khao Sok National Park is a nature reserve in southern Thailand. Whether it’s the floating raft homes in Cheow Larn Lake, or a marvelous hike through the forest, this tour is filled with great views. It presents the perfect opportunity to get off the grid and come closer to nature when you travel to Thailand.
18. Take a Speed Boat to Similan Islands
Located at a distance of 70 km from the Phang Nga, the Similian is a group of breathtaking islands that have it all. One can try snorkeling, speed boating, scuba diving, or simply spend days exploring the aquamarine waters. This congregation of islands is a perfect example of unique Thailand tourism places. The area here includes Koh Payang, Koh Miang, Koh Similan, and 6 more such islands.
19. Midnight Foodie Tour
Nothing says ‘authentic Thai food’ like the local food markets and stalls found all over the country. In the city of Bangkok, where Tuk Tuks are the easiest mode of transportation, one can take a complete tour of such food markets. The midnight Tuk Tuk food tour takes people all over Bangkok, from one market to the other. Here, they can indulge in signature Thai delicacies, desserts, and grilled feasts. Thai Green Curry with vermicelli, Seafood Khao Phat, Khao Soi, Yum Pla Duk Foo, and spicy papaya salad are some must-haves!
20. Party Under the Full Moon
What started as a tradition in the early 80s has now become an annual or semi-annual event for locals and tourists alike. Many tourists travel to Thailand to be a part of the Full Moon festivities, which happens across the beach of Koh Phangan. Beaches like Haad Rin see thousands of people come together, as both local and global artists keep the spirits alive all night.
21. Experience the FantaSea
Thailand’s cultural shows are often a great example of how rich its traditions are. The famed FantaSea theme park in Phuket puts elaborate shows and storytelling on display. From folklore to original musicals, an array of local artists come together to perform to Thai music. One can expect the perfect combination of glamour, lights, and fantastic sets that are hard to forget.
22. Night time Shopping at Chiang Rai
One cannot travel to Thailand and come back empty-handed. Shopping in Thailand is known to be fashionable, affordable, and a holistic experience on its own. The Night Market at Chiang Rai is one such spot that offers some of the best street shopping in Thailand. Be it clothes, curios for the house, gifts for family, or fashion jewelry, the market is always busy and always rife with great offers. In fact, Thai shopping markets are known to be a favourite for global designers! Fashion enthusiasts flock to these markets due to the unbeatable styles, variety, and also the affordable prices that can’t be found anywhere else.
23. Witness the Big Buddha
Touted to be one of the greatest structures and landmarks in Thailand, the Big Buddha is a massive structure. One can visit this gigantic sculpture at the top most point of the Nakkerd Hills in Phuket. It is a symbol of peace, and also a place of worship for locals and tourists alike. Staying true to its Buddhist culture, the shrine emits positive energy and invites everyone to meditate, pray, and marvel at its beauty.
24. The Ultimate Train Ride
For lovers of scenic train rides with a dash of adventure, the ‘Death Railway’ train ride is an experience to behold. While it does sound dangerous, the ride itself is a popular tourist attraction due to the history behind its construction. The Thailand-Burma ride starts from Tham Krasae Rail station till Bridge over River Kwai in Kanchanaburi, providing the most breathtaking view throughout the journey. The line stretches entirely on the side of a mountain range.
25. The Hill Tribes of Northern Thailand
Between the Chiang Mai and the Golden Temple, one can be acquainted with a number of traditional Thai hill tribes. The people who reside in the nuclear villages in this district have a rich history and culture to share. Hmong Village, Karen Village, and Akha Village are some of the most visited places, home to the long-neck tribes of Thailand. Here, one can also visit elephant camps and the Queen Sirikit Botanic Gardens.
26. Eat Like A Local
Thai cuisine cannot be loved enough, and the diversity it offers is only the cherry on the cake. The numerous local food markets in Thailand are often swarming with food lovers. The Bangkok Chinatown food street is one such landmark where people seated at street side tables relish all types of food. Everything from sticky mango rice and seafood skewers, to spicy Tom Yum soup and soy vegetables can be enjoyed here.
27. Travel Local at Pai
For a more secluded and offbeat experience, Pai is one of those lesser known Thailand tourism places. Located along the Mae Hong Son Loop, the area has an abundance of nature and peace to offer. On a short trip here, one can engage in a number of activities. Exploring limestone caves, checking out Mo Paeng Waterfalls, visiting the hot springs, and hiking to the white Buddha on the hill.
28. The Thai Festival of Lights
Locally known as Loy Krathong, or Yi Peng, this is one of the most coveted festivals celebrated in Thailand. Just like Diwali is the Festival of Lights in India, this is Thailand’s own version of a light festival. Around the end of each year, people all over Thailand gather together and release bamboo lanterns into the sky at nighttime. This tradition marks the bringing in of good and positive times, and is truly a spectacle to witness. Places like Sukhothai and Chiang Mai are ideal for this experience.
29. Learn diving at Koh Tao
Koh Tao is one of the world’s top destinations when it comes to the number of annual dive certifications issued, with over 70 dive schools to choose from! Here, the courses are among the most affordable in the world, the teaching standards are high, the conditions are easy, and the dive sites are abundant. Most diving courses span over four days, right from orientation, to learning the basics, and of course getting to apply the knowledge into actually diving in. The beautiful, crystal clear waters at Koh Tao, and also the abundance of coral reefs and marine life, make it one of the best spots in the world to become a certified diver!
30. The Grand Palace
For many reasons, the Grand Palace in Phra Nakhon, Bangkok, is one of the greatest examples of the grandeur in Thai culture. The magnificent Palace and its surrounding compound are a memoir of the Royal Family. Several local ceremonial celebrations take place at the Palace, which are open for the public to view. Divided into the Royal residence, and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, it showcases not only the most intricate Thai architecture, but also the strong Buddhist cultural influences. A visit here is nothing short of stepping into a uniquely enriching environment.
31. Weekend Road Trip to Hua Hin
Located about 200 kilometres (124 miles) from Bangkok, Hua Hin is a popular seaside destination for travellers to Thailand, and for most, it’s their first taste of beach life in the Land of Smiles. If you book a 48-hour tour, you must definitely start off with the Hua Hin biking experience. You can also add spots like Khao Takiab or Cha Am beach, Mrigadayavan Palace, Cicada Market, Wat Tham Khao Tao, and the Hua Hin Railway Station to your itinerary!
32. Luxury Speed Boat in Chao Phraya River
What a wonderful way to spend your time in Thailand. Enjoy your own private yacht charter with your friends, family, or co-workers. At Chao Phraya River, you have access to tons of professional luxury speed boat services, catering to different requirements. This unique and exciting experience includes stay, dining, and visiting temples along the Chao Phraya riverside. You can pre-book a package beforehand for great deals, and make the most of this offering.
33. Wellness Sanctuary at Sidhorn Kempinski, Bangkok
Vacation is all about taking a break from a busy lifestyle, and focusing on wellness. The Sidhorn Kempinski Wellness Sanctuary in Bangkok is the perfect spot to rejuvenate your senses and revive your energy! At this exclusive wellness centre, you can choose from a number of retreats, packages, and programs, where you can experience luxury spas, body treatments, different forms of therapy, expert group classes, and much more! It’s the perfect getaway for both singles and families.