Thailand, also known as the Land of Smiles, is one of the most touristic places on the planet.
Even so, it is a country that offers you once in a lifetime experiences.
Most of the people think that Thailand is only about white sand beaches with palm trees and paradisiac pristine golf.
Well, Thailand has so much more to offer.
Here are some of the most amazing things to do in Thailand.
Chat with a Monk
In Chiang Mai, there is an opportunity to chat with Buddhist monks due to an exchange program that takes place in various temples.
Discussions usually involve young priest during the training period. It is an excellent way for you to understand the culture and religion and also how they see life and its values. And in return, the monks improve their English.
Don’t lose moments like this in your travels, because you can learn about the essential things in life.
Our detailed experience can be found in our article Chatting with a monk in Wat Chedi Luang Temple
Take a day trip to Ayutthaya
Ayutthaya is the former capital of Thailand. Long before Bangkok, Ayutthaya was a city of 1 million inhabitants, surrounded by 12 km of walls and 3 natural rivers, and it was one of the most powerful cities in the world at that time.
Today it is a small province town with 50,000 inhabitants, where the distances between the main historical objectives are very small. Still, it is a perfect place to feel the vibe of the old days.
The ancient capital Ayutthaya can be reached easily by doing a day trip from Bangkok with the help of a tour company. However, you can also reach it by train or by bus.
Once arrived there you might want to consider renting a bicycle or a tuk-tuk for the day in order to cover most of the area. Unfortunately, we couldn’t visit Ayutthaya, but on the next trip to Thailand, we won’t miss it.
Visit the Floating Markets of Damnoen Saduak
For centuries, rivers and canals were the main transport network in Thailand, having people, goods, and information all traveling the country by boats. So the floating markets were a common thing back then. Nowadays, they are very rare to find.
Damnoen Saduak floating market is now a very touristic place but you can still feel the old-times vibe.
Vendors sell their products directly from their narrow wooden boats. You can find everything from fresh vegetable, food cooked on the spot on their mobile grills, coffee shops, clothing, and souvenirs.
Our detailed experience can be found in our article Visiting the Floating Markets of Damnoen Saduak
Visit one of the Hill Tribe in Northern Thailand
In Northern Thailand, there are still authentic tribes.
Thai provinces of Chiang Mai, Mae Hong Son, and Chiang Rai are home to hundreds of small villages of people who left China, Myanmar, and other countries.
They came to Thailand about 200 years ago as refugees in search of a better life.
Each of them has their own distinct culture, traditions, and language. Homestay and visits to remote communities and tribes in different countries is an off-the-beaten-path experience and one thing that we really like to have when we are visiting.
This way we have the opportunity to meet authentic local people, rarely-explored places, their culture, traditions and to learn from their way of life.
And we try to do it in a responsible way.
Basically, we had the incredible opportunity to experience the life of an authentic tribe in Northern Thailand and at the same time, the local hill tribe people earned money by hosting us.
We had the help of Thailand Hilltribe Holidays, who organized this amazing experience for us.
Our detailed experience can be found in our article Staying with an authentic Hill Tribe in Northern Thailand
Play with Elephants in Elephant Jungle Sanctuary
In many of our travels, we had the chance to ride elephants, but we considered it a very irresponsible way of enjoying these amazing animals.
There’s a dark side to elephant tourism that many people just don’t seem to be aware of.
So, we found Elephant Jungle Sanctuary and their mission to protect and care for mistreated elephants rescued from tourism and logging industries.
Elephant Jungle Sanctuary in Chiang Mai has many visit options like morning or afternoon visits, full-day visits, and overnight stay, where you can feed, bathe and play with the elephants.
We choose the Full Day Visit from 8:00 to 17:00 in the company of elephants.
We loved interacting with them, feeding or giving mud baths without riding them.
This is a must-do while in Thailand!
Our detailed experience can be found in our article Playing with the Elephants in Elephant Jungle Sanctuary
Harvesting Green Tea in Northern Thailand
Chiang Mai has one of the best tea areas in the country, so I made some research and I found out about Araksa Tea Garden, which is one of Thailand’s oldest tea plantations.
Due to the height of the farm, the quality of soil and water, the land is ideal for planting tea.
We booked a morning session and enjoyed the beautiful landscape, took part in tea harvesting, preparing and of course, we did enjoy a cup of tea.
I always wanted to see the tea process from leaves to my cup, and in Araksa I had this opportunity.
Our detailed experience can be found in our article Harvesting Green Tea in Northern Thailand
Go to Mae Klong Railway where trains pass through the middle of the market
Maeklog Railway Market is perhaps one of the most unique markets in Thailand and is a must-do if you are visiting Bangkok.
This is a small market exactly on the railway tracks next to Maeklong Railway Station and trains run through it several times a day.
When everyone heard the traffic signal of the train, they moved their umbrellas and stalls waiting for the train to pass, then in less than a minute, you are again in a middle of a busy market.
It is a mind-blowing experience and we liked it a lot.
Our detailed experience can be found in our article Mae Klong Railway a unique market
Have a drink on top of Bangkok
Bangkok has a breathtaking skyline. What better place to enjoy it except on top of one of its sky bars?
We went to the Cielo Sky Bar and we had a nice sunset and a lovely evening.
The sky bar offers a 360-degree panoramic view of Bangkok, and you will be able to see a very unique view over the Chao Phraya River.
And it is an affordable place.
Lay Back on Railay beaches
It is one of our favorite destinations in Thailand.
The pristine beaches, the incredible scenery, the jungle, the laidback vibe is everything that you may wish for.
Actually, Railay isn’t an island, but since you can only access it by boat, it feels like one.
This amazing place is very close to Krabi and if you are close to this area, don’t miss it.
This piece of paradise has four beaches and limestone cliffs that rise from the sea providing incredible scenery.
Our detailed experience can be found in our article Lay back on Railay beaches
Don’t miss Hong Islands
Hong Islands are a small group of tropical islands close to Ao Nang coastline, which can be visited by private longtail boat, speed boat or day tours.
Part of the National Marine Park, these little islands have breath-taking scenery, white beaches, turquoise water like the definition of true paradise.
They are considered to be among the most beautiful in Krabi province.
Our detailed experience can be found in our article Day Trip to Hong Islands
Learn to cook Thai food
Thai cuisine is known worldwide. So why not to learn how to make the most heavenly tasty Thai food from scratch?!
Most Thai cooking classes start at the market, where you can learn how to select good ingredients and then go to the classroom where you will learn to cook different traditional Thai dishes.
It is a fun experience, so we do recommend you to do it.
Take a street food tour
It is a real adventure and a real deal for you. While in Thailand, try to find street food. Most of the cities have at least one market of this type.
This is the best way to try different Thai food at affordable prices and you will discover things that you even couldn’t imagine.
Visit the Grand Palace
The Royal Palace is Bangkok’s most important sight
After the destruction of Ayutthaya (former capital city), King Rama I, moved the capital beyond the Chao Praya River, transforming a small village into the astonishing capital of today. Everything started with the rise of thick walls. Bangkok has never been conquered, and each king added his own building, temple or pagoda.
The Palace has become an emblem of traditional architecture and a must place for you to visit.
Hike to Phi Phi Viewpoint
For the best view of the island hike up to the Koh Phi Phi Viewpoint. Go early in the morning to beat the afternoon heat and don’t forget lots of water. It’s quite a workout but totally worth it.
Don’t miss the Lantern Festival in Chiang Mai
One of the top things to do in Thailand in November is to watch the thousands of lanterns float and illuminate the sky during the Yi Peng Lantern Festival.
It is considered one of the most beautiful and magical festivals in Asia.
Take a boat ride along the Chao Phraya River
One of the things not to be missed, while in Bangkok is to take a boat along the Chao Praya river.
Hop on a local boat and start your adventure. It is a great way to see the real Bangkok and its locals, to escape the touristic places and chaotic traffic, not to mention it is super cheap.
Get a Thai Massage
Thai massage is world known, so it is the perfect moment to try one.
Take a private boat tour around Phi Phi Islands
50 years ago Phi Phi Islands was an undiscovered paradise having only small villages of Muslim fishermen living their lives quietly.
Everything started in the ’90s, with some curious backpackers exploring the area. But tourism exploded after the famous movie “The Beach”.Everyone wanted a piece of paradise, so after 2000, tourism grew so fast and islands were expanding exponentially for tourism.
It is touristic because these are probably the most beautiful islands in Thailand. Everybody is allured by the tropical beaches, warm waters, and amazing sights.
I couldn’t think of a better way to explore Phi Phi Island than book a private boat tour to explore it on your own pace.
Our detailed experience can be found in our article Phi Phi Islands