Thailand attracts scores of tourists from India annually. Nearly 300 weekly flights connect Indian cities to popular Thai destinations. From lip-smacking food, stunning scenery and welcoming locals, Thailand lives up to high-expectations of its Indian tourists. So, what are you waiting for? Be a part of the mind-boggling 2 million Indians that visit Thailand to see the expanse of beauty, culture, and tradition. This country offers countless reasons to visit it!
Here are the top 10 places that every Indian must visit in Thailand:
Shopping and parties may be the first two things that pop into your mind. But Thailand’s rich history, preservation of monuments and buildings from a bygone era are equally commendable, if not more. The remarkable similarities in the Indian and Thai culture can be easily noticed in the religious history and the architecture of Thailand’s temples. This is why Ayutthaya is the first on our list.
Interestingly sounding similar to Ayodhya, Ayuthaya is a ruined city with beautiful temples. It was the former capital of the Kingdom of Siam whose customs and heritage were rooted by Hindu ways. Ayutthaya has 3 major attractions- the Old Royal Palace, the Wat Phra Si Sanphet and a humongous bronze statue of a sitting Buddha. Take an enjoyable ferry out for a day or two and ride round the land on a TukTuk or bike to enjoy an authentic historical Thai experience!
Thailand truly seems to have it all with Kanchanaburi. You’ll forget the beach lifestyle and the parties back in the mainlands when you visit here. Packed with glittering waterfalls, captivating caves, and a thick jungle all around, Kanchanaburi’s province resembles much of India’s bountiful forests.
Kanchanaburi’s iconic historical landmark, the Bridge over the River Kwai has been immortalized in countless books and films. “Death Railway consisting of 415 km track stretched from Thailand to Myanmar, secured supplies for the Japanese army during the Greater East-Asian War. The unfortunate deaths of the prisoners and labourers (estimated at 106,000) who built it imparted the name to this landmark. The highlight of Wat Tham Suea is a striking 18m-tall Buddha covered in a golden mosaic, which is a beautiful sight. It is surrounded by several styles of stupa, the biggest being 69m tall, and is full of murals of Kanchanaburi’s history and Buddha images.
3. Khao Lak
If crowded beaches make you feel weary and out of place, try a more off-beat path which still gives you the comfort of civilisation.
Khao Lak’s beaches are wild yellow-sand, long, shimmering scenes surrounded by a band of forests and hills. Scuba diving is even more of an experience here when it rains! Head over to see the world’s largest flower, the Rafflesia, at Khao Lak National Park which is only a couple of kilometres away.
With dozens of vegetarian dishes to choose from even in a place this isolated, Thailand ensures spicy, lip-smacking delicious food that is just perfect for the Indian food palate, and also offers great alternatives if you’re not a fan of seafood.
4. Chiang Rai
The often overlooked and heavily underrated city of Chiang Rai is just a 3-hour bus ride from the popular city of Chiang Mai. Once part of the Golden Triangle, this city used to be a hub for the opium trade. With numerous sightseeing places and lesser crowds, this is a hidden gem on our list. You can witness the grandeur of many temples, whose tiers, break and tier patterns create dynamic visual rhythms. Although Hindu temples are mainly for offering prayers, the temples in Thailand are visited more so for their art and architecture.
Another popular attraction is the White Temple, officially known as the Wat Rong Kun. This is a relatively newer art structure, open to visitors since 1997. Built by a local artist, it’s an interesting collusion of modern art and Theravada Buddhism symbolism.
The striking Blackhouse, or ‘Baan Dam’, is one of them. Marvel at this masterpiece that is designed by National Thai artist Thawan Duchanee, who used a set of around 40 structures to signify the cycles of life and death.
5. Coral Island, Pattaya
Known as Koh Larn, this island is amongst the most stunning ones in the entire world. Its white-sand beaches and emerald water offer a serene spot that you won’t find anywhere else.
Just 45 minutes from Pattaya, Coral Island has exciting water sports like jet skiing, parasailing, scuba diving and swishing along in banana boats. Wander around and discover the hidden wonders of this small nook.
Phuket is among the finest islands around the world with warm, sunny weather all year round. This tropical island offers long stretches of powdery beaches with an option to explore a diverse marine life. And it doesn’t end there! Visit the iconic Phuket Old Town that features the iconic Sino-Portuguese styled building that houses quaint little coffee shops, museum, and colorful alleys
If you want a wholesome experience of relaxation with adventure; island hopping in Phuket, should be on your itinerary.
Phuket is surrounded by a bunch of gorgeous islands that will excite every type of traveller. From snorkeling to watching the spectacular sunsets and sights to hiking, get ready to explore the islands of Phuket.
7. Phi Phi Islands
Go island-hopping on a cruise to all of Phi Phi islands’ main attractions. Famous for its many movie cameos, this island has limestone rocks, lagoons, and much more to explore!
The Khai islands nearby also offer a superb snorkelling experience with schools of colourful tropical fish and bright corals. Take the Krabi tour for a complete package of these best getaways combined.
Sukhothai was once the capital of the Thai Empire. This is where the lantern festival of ‘Loi Krathong’ originated, which calls for thousands of flowers and burning candles floating down the lakes and rivers. It is also known as the Festival of Lights, and is largely similar to the Hindu festival of Deepavali.
Sukhothai’s beauty has survived the tests of time. It is mostly known for the artisanship and beauty of the handcrafted gold accessories and trinkets often made. And if you are fascinated by India’s many massive monuments, then you will definitely love visiting this city.
9. Chiang Mai
Popularly known as ‘The Rose of the North’ and with an enchanting location on the banks of the Ping river, the city and its surroundings are blessed with stunning natural beauty and a uniquely indigenous cultural identity.
A paradise for adventure lovers and nature enthusiasts alike, Chiang Mai is nestled in the mountainous part of Northern Thailand. Even on your first visit, this charming city is sure to steal your heart with its beautiful sceneries, thrilling adventures and a cool relaxing aura.
Known for being influenced by many cultures of the world, you can visit some of the iconic floating market or even grab a bite of some authentic Indian food in Bangkok! The city’s atmosphere is cheerful with welcoming faces around. The chaotic demeanour adds to the charm and makes it seem much smaller than it is.
Travel by tuk-tuks and catch the cultural shows or even a massage! You could also witness the open-water, floating markets that give you a peek into the local Thai life. Apart from these attractions, you can also visit the large temple of Wat Phra Kaew situated in the middle of the city of Bangkok. If you like walking the bustling Indian markets, then the Chatuchak Weekend Market is a must-go place to visit
Despite the obvious differences, Thailand has many shared experiences with India, which will make it feel like a home far away from home. Therefore, it’s time you went on that long-awaited trip to Thailand now! Doesn’t matter if you go with your friends or family, this beautiful cultural haven will never cease to amaze you.