What Are Thailand’s Main Tourist Attractions and Activities?


Most people spend a few days in the Thai capital, but many find the pollution, traffic congestion and chaotic street life extremely wearing. There’s plenty to take you off the street, however, including the glittering Grand Palace compound and its beautiful gigantic Reclining Buddha; the comprehensively stocked National Museum; the massive Chatuchak weekend market; with over eight thousand different nightlife that suns the full range from cutting-edge clubs to depressing strip joints.


Thailand’s beaches are among the world’s best. You’ll find the most developed and expensive resorts, and some of the finest sands, on the islands of Ko Samui and Phuket, while backpakers tend to head for the more budget oriented Ko Pha Ngan, Ko Tao, Ko Lanta and Ko Mook. Krabi’s Railay beaches are nothing short of stunning, Ko Samet makes and easy and economical break from Bangkok and Ko Chang is handy for travelers heading in and out of Cambodia.


Unlike the organized treks in the Himalayas, Thailand’s “hill-tribe treks” focus on the ethnic-minority villages that you walk to, rather than on the walking itself or the scenery. The hill tribes live way out in the sticks, but their villages are connected by tracks, so the hiking is not difficult. Most treks last two to four days and feature nights in the villages, as well as an elephant ride and river rafting. The main trekking centres are the northern cities of Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, but routes out of both are hugely over subscribed, so it’s better to start from Mae Hing Sin, Pai, Kanchanaburi or Umphang instead, where trails are quieter and more rewarding.

The ruined former capitals of Sukhothai and Ayutthaya

Dating from the thirteen century, Sukhothai is a beautiful example og thoughtful city planning enlivened by lakes and elegant statues of the Buddha. The 300-year-old temples and palaces of Ayutthaya display a refined mix of Hindu and Buddhist sculpture and are fun to explore by bicycle. Both sets of ruins are now conserved as historical parks. There are plenty of sobering World War II sights in the town, as well as reasonable range of trekking, rafting and cycle options that make the most or the fine river scenery, plus some appealing rafthouse accommodation too.


Sited on the banks of the River Kwai, the town is most famous for its role as a POW camp in World War II and for its bridge, whose destruction by the Allied Forces was immortalized in Davis Lean’s movie. There are plenty of sobering World War II sights in the town, as well as a reasonable range of trekking, rafting and cycling options that make the most of the fine river scenery, plus some appealing rafthouse accommodation too

Khao Sok National Park

Here you can sleep in a tree house under limestone karst, wake to the sound of the hooting gibbons, and take an adventure tour via waterlogged caves and jungles trails to a lake

The ancient Khmer temple of Phanom Rung

This exquisite pink sandstone complex was built in the tenth century as a blueprint for the Angkor temples across the border in Cambodia

Thai massage

Enjoy a traditional massage at Bangkok’s Wat Pho temple, then learn the techniques yourself at a course in Bangkok or Chiang Mai.

Snorkelling and diving off the remote Similan Island

The turquoise water, powdery sands and banks of coral are regularly visited by sharks, rays and turtles

The Mae Hong Song loop

Hire a motor bike and spend as many days as you can spare on the circular 600-kilometre route through the glorious upland scenery of the remote northwest

Kayaking along the Krabi coastline

An exhilarating way of exploring the spectacularly craggy outcrops and remote uninhabited islands of the south west-coast

Sang Khom

It’s great to just chill out in this idyllis tree-shaded little town on the Mekong river, where you can hire bicycles to visit traditional local villages and mess about on the water in inner tubes and dugout canoes


This laid back north-Thai town has a distinct New Age air and is the perfect place to take some courses in alternative therapies, browse the art shops and arrange a trek.

Full-moon beach party

Join the hordes for the monthly full-moon parties on Ko Pha Ngan, an infamous back-packers’ beach rave attracts up to 30,000 clubbers.

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Accommodation – Definitions of Accommodation Types

Accommodation Styles

Have you ever wondered what accommodation options are available when you go travelling? The following is an insight into, and in many cases a definition of, the most common and popular accommodation options available.

Bed and Breakfasts

A traditional Bed and Breakfast, or ‘B & B’ as they are often denoted, is a residence or property where both the owners and guests live under the same roof. A Bed and Breakfast is often a large family home or property which has either been specifically converted, or purpose built, to accommodate guests in their own rooms, and in most cases with private bathrooms. In some cases bathrooms may be shared amongst guests. The hosts live on the same premises as the guests, usually in a separate part of the Bed and Breakfast. As the name suggests this accommodation option includes both bed and a sumptuous breakfast freshly cooked, or prepared, each morning by the hosts.

Self Contained Accommodation

Self Contained Accommodation provides all the facilities you may require to live. Some facilities, such as laundry, may have to be shared but your accommodation will include full cooking facilities and a refrigerator. Self contained accommodation can vary from quaint historic cottages, functional homes, cabins, and modern apartments. The self contained option is ideal for families, groups and those who want a bit more privacy.


Hotel accommodation usually consists of a room with an ensuite bathroom and lounge area, though some hotel rooms are more like large apartments and fully self contained. Many hotels will include and in-house restaurant, swimming pool and may offer conference facilities.


This form of accommodation has evolved from the word combination of ‘Motorist’ and ‘Hotel’ to give a ‘Motel’. Motels are literally accommodations for those people with vehicles who can drive up to the doors of their rooms. The rooms usually consist of a bedroom and an ensuite bathroom, though some motels (or Motor Inns) do offer apartment style, fully self contained options.


Farmstays are located on rural properties and offer guests accommodation and an opportunity to experience day to day farm life and its activities. Farmstays accommodation will usually consist of a purpose built unit or cabin separate from the main farm homestead and may be either fully self contained or at a minimum be a bedroom with ensuite and the opportunity to eat with the hosts.


Houseboats are a popular accommodation option in many areas of Australia. They are literally large floating motel rooms or fully self contained luxurious homes which enable guests to cruise down the river or cruise the lakes whilst enjoying all the benefits of water based holiday.

Caravan Parks

Caravan parks have evolved into mini resorts, or ‘Tourist Parks’ as many are now called. They may offer all of, or a mixture of permanent onsite caravans available for short term or long term hire, powered and unpowered sites for visiting caravans, camping sites and onsite self contained cabins. Caravan parks will contain an amenities block which will include shared toilet and bathroom facilities and a laundry. Many will also include a camp kitchen, BBQ’s, swimming pools, mini golf, kiosks, open fire places and children’s play grounds.

Backpackers and Youth Hostels

Backpacker and youth hostel accommodation provide a cheap and convenient option for budget travellers. Rooms will nearly always include a shared bathroom, though some Youth Hostel rooms are more like motel rooms. Single and double rooms are often available but more often rooms are dormitory style. Kitchen facilities are shared, as are laundry and lounge rooms. They are a great way to meet and join up with other travellers, to discuss stories and to relax from the sometimes pressures of travelling.