Travel to Thailand: 5 Must-See Destinations

Thailand is a big country full of beautiful landscapes, rich history, and amazing beaches.  So many towns and areas that it can seem quite overwhelming for people when trying to set up a travel itinerary. 

We spent over 3 months traveling in Thailand touring around the country and saw a lot of different types of areas and enjoyed them all for different reasons.

Here are the following 5 destinations Thailand that we enjoyed the most..


We were a bit overwhelmed at the thought of spending time in a big city like Bangkok.  When we booked our flights to Thailand, I was worried that it might be too busy for us since we have lived our whole lives in rural areas. But since this trip about getting outside out or our comfort zone, we figured we would go for it.

I am so glad that we did because even though Bangkok is a huge city, it is quite manageable, inexpensive to get around whether by taxi, skytrain, or subway, and has so many amazing sights to see.  There are more beautiful Wats (temples) then my children care to remember, great shopping markets, and inexpensive melt-in-your-mouth-good street food.

Bangkok gets a bad rep worldwide as being a sin city of sorts.  That may be true for night dwellers, but there is also a whole lot more to the city then that.  I am willing to bet you will have a great time in Bangkok no matter what you are after!

Chiang Mai

A favorite among nomadic travelers, Chiang Mai offers all the luxuries and Western amenities of a city with far less chaos then Bangkok.  It's also significantly less expensive than Bangkok.  Chiang Mai is only a 1-hour flight or a comfortable overnight train ride from Bangkok, and it is a great jumping off point for exploring Northern Thailand.

We did not find it to be as incredible as the many western expats living there, but we did spend an entire month enjoying our hotel in Chiang Mai, the sights, and soaking in the history.  It is a walled city with a moat, and if that doesn't sound cool enough there is also Doi Suthep, a great zoo, parks, and enough tourist attractions to keep you busy for weeks.

Pai landscape
Of all the places we have been so far Pai, Thailand is one of our favorites.  It is the perfect location for laid back family exploring through rice fields, caves, waterfalls, and more.  There is a really peaceful feel in town and in the areas surrounding Pai while still offering a great variety of restaurants and markets.

Aya company runs minivans from Chiang Mai multiple times a day and although it is a seriously curvy drive, it only takes 3 hours.  At the same company, you can and, I would add, should rent motorbikes. With these we had total freedom to explore hill tribes, rice paddies, elephant camps, and off the map waterfalls.

Of all the towns we visited, Pai gave us the best memories and offered the most outdoor time in Thailand...well maybe all of Thailand except the gorgeous beaches...

Thailand beaches
Phi Phi island
The beaches is a tough area to narrow down to just one town because there are so many and they are all so beautiful.  Admittedly, we only traveled to a few but they were all breathtaking.

First we traveled to Koh Samet, which is a short 2 hours from Bangkok.  Although it may not be the most beautiful and crystal clear of the Thailand beaches, it was stunning and offered a fun and easy break from the city.  The island has no fresh water of it's own and it is fascinating to see the huge boats stopping at every resort to deliver water.  The nightly beach life with relaxing restaurants and entertaining fire shows makes it a must see for families and backpackers alike.

We missed out on Koh Samui but have heard great things. Instead we ventured to Phuket in order to spend some time at the famed  Phi Phi Island.   Phuket was definitely more expensive than any other area in Thailand, but since it has an architecturally interesting town center and beaches for peace and relaxation as well as partying I think its a no brainer to add Phuket to your must see list!


Ayutthaya was a last minute addition on our tour around Thailand, and we still rave about how happy we are that we added it.  A world UNESCO heritage site, this town is incredibly beautiful and so full of history.   The town is really an island surrounded by 3 rivers and was once the capital of Siam.

Although the rivers and markets of Ayutthaya are wonderful to explore, the true reason to visit this town, a couple hours from Bangkok by train, are the temple ruins.  Once a bustling city of over a million inhabitants, the ruins are spread out and once entering the grounds there is a sense of stepping back in time.  If you have even a day or 2 to add something to your itinerary I think Ayutthaya is a must!

So there you have it!  Have you traveled to Thailand?  What is on your must see list?

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  1. Thailand seems to be amazing place for the vacation,thanks for specifying the awesome place over there.