Thailand is one of Southeast Asia’s most favoured destinations and the list of amazing things to do in Thailand is endless. This beautiful country is jam-packed with culture, stunning landscapes, delicious cuisine, welcoming people and so much more. We’ve included suggestions of the best things to do on Thailand islands, in the big cities and everything inbetween.
Thailand is undoubtedly one of our favourite countries in the world. It ticks all the boxes for us and each time we return, we discover more things to do in Thailand. The main reasons why we love Thailand so much are the warmth of the Thai people, the cuisine, the affordability, and the temperature (we love warm destinations).
We recommend planning to spend at least two to three weeks in Thailand to visit the capital city of Bangkok, the gorgeous islands, and Northern Thailand.
After visiting 189+ countries in the world, (see our map of where we’ve been and what countries remain), Thailand is still in our top 3! We’re often asked what are the best things to do in Thailand, so let’s cover our top 15 experiences now.
There’s nothing quite like it, visiting floating markets in Thailand is one of the best things to do in Thailand. There are many floating markets to choose from, however, the most famous one is Damnoen Saduak, located in Ratchaburi, around 100km from Bangkok.
Our tip is to arrive early and avoid the crowds. The best photographs can be taken during this time, so it’s worth it just for that. In the early hours, you’ll have access to the freshest food and be able to nab the best bargains too. If you’re a little short on time, I recommend this 6-hour tour to visit Damnoen Saduak floating market. Alternatively, this full day tour of Damnoen Suduak floating market and Maeklong Railway Market is a great choice. Just another one of the awesome things to do in Thailand.
Damnoen Saduak floating market
Amphawa Floating Market in Samut Songkhram is a great experience too. This market is open in the afternoons only and this half-day tour of Amphawa Floating Market is your best option to visit and soak up the vibes.
My top choice is the Taling Chan Weekend Floating Market. It’s located about 10km from the city centre of Bangkok and it feels a little more authentic than the others. It receives far fewer tourists as it’s smaller, and the food is fantastic. Make your way out there on your own or book this fantastic 4-hour group tour to experience this bustling market.
2) Go Island Hopping
Are there things to do on Thailand Islands? The answer to that is yes! You could say that Thailand has a few islands to keep you busy, there are more than 1,400 of them!
Of course, you can choose to just relax, soak up the sun and work on the tan or you can go island-hopping and explore! The islands are so popular because of the amazing things to do on Thailand islands. It’s quite easy to take a ferry between more popular islands such as Ko Samui, Koh Tao and Ko Phangan.
The things to do on Thailand islands below are endless – but we’ve selected the best experiences below.
These islands are much quieter, but boy are they gorgeous! You will never want to leave, trust me!
3) Relax on Koh Lipe
My all-time favourite things to do in Thailand (apart from eating all the food) is to escape the crowds and relax somewhere beautiful. From all of the stunning Thai islands to visit, Koh Lipe is high on my list.
This island is absolutely stunning. This is the picture-postcard shot of white sandy beaches, turquoise blue waters and the iconic colourful longtail boats bobbing around on the beach. Koh Lipe is perfect in size (making it easy to get around), and it offers superb snorkelling trips and day tours to surrounding islands.
If island hopping is high on your list of things to do in Thailand, Koh Lipe is the perfect island to spend as long as you need to recharge the batteries.
4) Explore Bangkok
Want more awesome things to do in Thailand? Explore Bangkok!
What a vibrant city this is! Upon arrival in the capital of Thailand, you’ll soon realise that anything goes here. The mixture of noises, aromas, crowds and endless traffic jams will have you bug-eyed.
Bangkok can be a little overwhelming for some visitors at first, but give it a few days and you will soon get your bearings and understand how this bustling city works. I’d recommend you plan to stay at least 2-3 days in the big city to visit the best things to do in Bangkokand get over any jet lag you may be experiencing.
Don’t miss the Best Things to do in Bangkok, Thailand:
Khao San Road
The Royal Palace
The Golden Mount
The Siam district
5) Visit the Temples in Chiang Mai
A visit to Thailand isn’t complete until you’ve experienced the mountainous region of Northern Thailand. Chiang Mai is the most popular city for visitors and those wanting to immerse themselves in Thai culture.
The Old City in Chiang Mai still retains relics of moats and walls from its history. The small alleyways lead into quaint cafes, small shops, charming guesthouses and local eateries.
Don’t miss the famous Khao Soi noodles of Chiang Mai, most places serve this delicious dish. You can find the best place to eat Khao Soi and 14 other places you need to eat in our Food Guide to Chiang Mai.
Chiang Mai is also home to hundreds of elaborate Buddhist temples, they’re scattered all over the city. The Lonely Planet Guidebook for Thailandhas an excellent walking tour to visit all the temples, plus fantastic information for the rest of your time in Thailand.
Furthermore, it has updated information about the best things to do in Thailand as you make your way around the country.
Chiang Mai is also known to have some amazing day trips to go trekking or visit local Hill Tribes. The most popular day tours I’d recommend starting from Chiang Mai are below:
6) Join a Food Tour – Delicious things to do in Thailand
If you’re not already aware, one of the best things to do in Thailand is to eat! Yes, this cuisine is world-renowned for being one of the best! And to be honest, Thai food is so much more than the popular classic dishes such as Pad Thai (fried noodles), green curry and fried rice.
To get a better understanding of the variety and complexities of Thai food, join a food tour and let a local lead the way. They know all the best eateries and spots to chow down on the tastiest food ever. From personal experience of eating my way around Thailand many times, these food tours below are highly recommended.
7) Take a Thai Cooking Class
If you take my advice and join one of the amazing food tours above, you’ll be wanting to recreate Thai cuisine back in the comfort of your own home. The best part about that is that you can!Join a Thai food cooking class in any city in Thailand and learn how to cook like a local.
The secret to Thai cuisine is all about the balance of flavours. Sweet, sour, salty and spicy is what it’s all about and your smiling Thai chef will gladly show you the ropes.
8) Hire a surfboard or take a surfing lesson
Looking for some awesome things to do on Thailand islands of Phuket or Koh Samui? Take a surfing lesson or hire a surfboard and go it alone. There are usually a few places set up on the beaches with a range of large surfboards, just perfect for practising your surfing skills.
Private surf lessons begin at around 1200 THB per hour. Alternatively, if you’d just like to hire a surfboard and get out there, surfboard hire in Phuket starts at 200THB for 1hr or 500 THB for a half-day.
9) Get a Thai Massage
After a day of discovering the best things to do in Thailand or even if you’ve just been relaxing on the beach, there is nothing better than a Thai massage.
An hour-long traditional Thai massage is priced from 200 – 300 THB ($6 – 9 USD), depending on where you get it. Northern Thailand or Bangkok is much cheaper than the Thailand islands and beaches.
You can choose a relaxing massage or maybe just a relaxing foot massage for around the same price. This is by far one of the best things to do in Thailand and it’s available all over the country.
You’ll be dreaming of these once you leave, I promise.
10) Drink a Thai Iced Coffee
To all the coffee lovers out there, you’re going to love Thailand. Just another reason why I love Thailand too. I can get my coffee fix, and it’s always affordable.
You can find amazing coffee places that sling out the perfect espresso, americano or flat white, however, the popular choice here is Thai iced coffee. Yes, they’re so good!
Things to do in Thailand – Drink Thai Iced Coffee
It’s the perfect way to cool down and still stay caffeinated. I’m not one to drink too much milky coffee, so I usually just order an iced americano. Either way, I’d agree that the best things to do in Thailand should include either coffee or food!
11) Eat Street Food
Thailand is a nation of food lovers! Seriously, Thais are passionate about cooking, eating and celebrating life with food and family. This attitude to life is seen all over the country.
As the temperature is usually tropical and warm, the most popular place to eat is on the streets! If you ask me, the street food in Thailand is arguably the best street food I’ve eaten in the entire world and I frequently eat street food in most countries.
I don’t have any worries about eating street food in Thailand. These outdoor kitchens are usually kept so clean and hygienic, that there is no need to be concerned. One of the most common questions I’m often asked is if I’m worried that I’ll get ill from it.
It seems that anywhere you go in Thailand, there is always a night market happening. The best thing about night markets in Thailand is that the Thai people really know how to organise them.
This is THE place to wander around browsing the racks of Artisan made clothing, handicrafts, artwork, and lovely souvenirs that you want to keep as memories from your time here.
Marty at the night markets in Chiang Mai, Thailand
There’s usually music playing throughout the markets and of course, every type of street food vendor you can imagine serving everything from grilled meat on sticks, mango & sticky rice or home-made coconut ice cream.
If you ask me, the best street food markets are in Chiang Mai, Pai and, Bangkok.
13) Explore the city of Ayutthaya
Ayutthaya is located about 45min by car from Bangkok or 1.5 hours via bus. The ruined city of Ayutthaya was once the most important and powerful place in Thailand. Travellers with an interest in Thai culture and history, as well as Buddhism, will love this unique destination.
The former capital of Siam (present-day Thailand), this UNESCO World Heritage Site offers you some of the best things to do in Thailand.
In Ayutthaya, you can discover multiple ruined temples spread over more than 15 sites. It’s quite large, so it will take you about a full day to visit the 6 main temples.
To visit all temples and get the most value for money, I’d recommend that you purchase a pass for 220 THB. However, if you’re not keen to visit them all, you can buy each ticket separately.
I rented a bicycle many years ago and cycled around this cool city, but now there is small group bike tour of Ayuttaya that looks like so much fun! I’ll try that on my next visit.
14) Stay in an Overwater Bungalow
Escape the big city of Bangkok and take a trip to Sai Yok National Park.
A popular spot for both tourists and locals. The best things to do in Thailand include exploring caves, waterfalls, and historical sites – all of which you will find here.
See the raft houses along its main river Khwae Noi, and book a night or two in the Floating House River Kwai. This will be one of the most memorable things to do in Thailand, so book your room early to avoid disappointment.
15) Visit Phuket – So many amazing things to do in Thailand from here
Phuket is the largest island in Thailand, located in the Andaman Sea in southern Thailand. The island is famous for offering some of the best beach resorts in the country. Its gorgeous white sandy beaches and endless options for things to do in Thailand attract visitors from all over the world.
Kata Beach is both the name of a small town on Phuket’s west coast and its popular beach. The 1.5 km long, postcard-perfect crescent of white sand beach is lined with trees throwing shade to relax and enjoy the sound of the calm waves breaking on the sand.
If you’re looking for a beautiful resort only minutes from the beach that offers amazing value for money, the Chanalai Flora Resort is highly recommended. I stayed here recently and it was bliss!
It may sound funny, but one of the best things to do in Thailand is to ensure you’re covered with the best travel insurance if things go wrong.
Make sure you get travel insurance before hitting the road. Trust us, it’s one of those things you don’t want to leave home without. We recommend either World Nomads or SafetyWing, depending on the type of traveller you are.
I hope you enjoyed reading about some of the amazing things to do in Thailand. For the most up-to-date information about any travel restrictions for travel to Thailand (covers the latest Covid updates), visit Thailand Embassy website.
🚌 Transportation: To book trains,Trainline is the best and cheapest website. To book transport in Europe, USA & Canada, we useOmio & FlixbusUS. For travel in Asia, we use 12Go.For all other countries, we use BookaWay to compare and book Bus, Ferry, or train tickets to get around.
Rach is a self-confessed travelling foodie. Her passion for food and culture has seen her eat her way through 190 countries. She's currently on a big food adventure to visit EVERY country in the world!
When Rach isn't travelling, you can find her at the beach, drinking coffee or wine with friends or chowing down on the best eats around her home city of Melbourne, Australia.