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  • Writer's pictureKatrina Julia

Top 10 Things to Do in Thailand

I traveled to Thailand for the first time in 2024. I am wondering why in the world I didn't come to Thailand sooner. You know how sometimes a destination seems incredible on Instagram and when you travel there, it disappoints you? Thailand is not that.

Travel to Thailand is far beyond what you may imagine.

I spent about two months in Thailand between February and April traveling to Bangkok, Chang Mai, Krabi and Phuket. I spent about two weeks in each city in Thailand.

Thailand, officially known as the Kingdom of Thailand, is a Southeast Asian country celebrated for its vibrant culture, diverse landscapes, and captivating cities. Renowned globally for its cuisine, Thai food tantalizes taste buds with its bold flavors and aromatic dishes, from spicy curries like green curry to beloved street food staples like pad thai and som tam.

The country's beautiful tropical beaches, such as those found in Phuket and Krabi draw millions of visitors annually with their pristine white sands, crystal-clear waters, and exceptional opportunities for diving and snorkeling.

Thailand's rich cultural heritage is evident in its numerous temples and historical landmarks. The Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok, alongside the ancient ruins of Ayutthaya, stand as significant testaments to the country's illustrious past. Buddhism is deeply ingrained in Thai society, reflected in the thousands of temples scattered across the country, including iconic sites like Wat Arun and Wat Pho in Bangkok.

Beyond its cultural treasures, Thailand offers vibrant nightlife scenes, traditional arts such as Thai dance and Muay Thai, and warm hospitality that has earned it the nickname "Land of Smiles."

In addition to its cultural allure, Thailand's natural beauty captivates visitors with lush jungles, majestic mountains, and cascading waterfalls. National parks like Doi Inthanon beckon outdoor enthusiasts with opportunities for trekking and wildlife encounters.

Thailand also caters to shoppers with bustling markets and modern malls, offering everything from local handicrafts to high-end fashion.

Moreover, the country's spa and wellness offerings, including traditional Thai massage and holistic therapies, provide rejuvenation and relaxation amidst the bustling energy of Thai life.

Thailand truly embodies a harmonious blend of ancient traditions and modern delights, offering an unforgettable experience for travelers seeking adventure, culture, and serenity.

With my travel to 7 continents now at 40+ countries, Thailand captivated me in more ways than one.

It is time to put Thailand on your bucket list.

During my full-time travels in Thailand, I stayed about two weeks each in Bangkok, Chang Mai, Krabi and Phuket. Originally, I planned to travel to Thailand for one month between Bangkok and the beach. However, I quickly realized I wanted to travel to Chang Mai AND I wanted to spend ore time at the beaches of Thailand.

Whether you will spend one day, a week, or two months like I did, you will love it.

Thailand Highlights

Thailand is historically, culturally and geographically known for several aspects:

Rich History and Culture

Thailand's rich history and vibrant culture span millennia, shaped by ancient civilizations, Indian influences, and the impact of neighboring empires. The country's heritage includes the Sukhothai Kingdom, known for promoting Theravada Buddhism and Thai script, and the prosperous Ayutthaya Kingdom, which flourished as a major trading hub before its fall to the Burmese in 1767. The subsequent establishment of the Rattanakosin Kingdom in 1782, with Bangkok as its capital, marked a new era under the Chakri Dynasty, ushering in modernization and nation-building.

Thai culture is deeply rooted in Theravada Buddhism, with monasteries and temples playing central roles in daily life. Traditional arts and crafts thrive, including silk weaving, pottery, and classical dance forms like Khon. Thai cuisine is celebrated worldwide for its bold flavors and diverse dishes, showcasing a unique blend of sweet, sour, spicy, and savory flavors.

Festivals such as Songkran (Thai New Year) and Loy Krathong (Festival of Lights) highlight religious and cultural traditions, while Thai architecture, characterized by intricate designs and ornate decorations, adorns temples, palaces, and traditional houses across the country.

Thailand's cultural identity is further expressed through its language, Thai, renowned for its unique script and tonal system. This linguistic heritage reflects historical connections with neighboring Southeast Asian countries.

From the grandeur of the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew to the charm of traditional wooden houses in rural villages, Thailand offers a captivating blend of ancient traditions, vibrant festivals, and artistic expressions that continue to shape its modern society and enchant visitors from around the world.

Strategic Location

Thailand is situated in Southeast Asia, bordered by Myanmar (Burma) to the west and northwest, Laos to the northeast, Cambodia to the southeast, and Malaysia to the south. Its southern coastline extends along the Gulf of Thailand to the east and the Andaman Sea to the west. The country's geographic location contributes significantly to its climate, natural landscapes, and biodiversity.

1. Peninsula and Coastline:

Thailand's southern region comprises a peninsula that extends southward, forming the Isthmus of Kra. This area is characterized by a jagged coastline dotted with numerous islands, including popular tourist destinations like Phuket, Koh Samui, and Koh Phi Phi.

2. Mountainous Terrain:

The northern part of Thailand is dominated by mountain ranges, including the Shan Hills and the Thanon Thong Chai Range. Doi Inthanon, the country's highest peak, is located in the northern province of Chiang Mai.

3. Central Plains:

he central region of Thailand is characterized by vast, fertile plains through which the Chao Phraya River flows. This area is the country's agricultural heartland and home to the bustling capital city of Bangkok.

4. River Systems:

The Chao Phraya River is the major river in Thailand, flowing from the central plains through Bangkok and into the Gulf of Thailand. Other significant rivers include the Mekong River, which forms part of the border with Laos, and the Mae Klong River.

5. Climate:

Thailand experiences a tropical climate with distinct wet (monsoon) and dry seasons. The southwest monsoon brings heavy rainfall from May to October, while the northeast monsoon brings drier weather from November to February. The southern region, including the Andaman coast, receives rainfall primarily from the southwest monsoon.

6. Biodiversity:

Thailand's diverse geography supports a wide range of ecosystems, including tropical rainforests, mangrove swamps, limestone karsts, and coral reefs. The country is home to diverse flora and fauna, including elephants, tigers, gibbons, and a vast array of bird species.

Thailand's strategic location in Southeast Asia has historically facilitated trade and cultural exchange with neighboring countries and beyond. Its geographic diversity—from lush mountains and fertile plains to stunning coastlines and islands—makes Thailand a captivating destination for travelers seeking natural beauty, outdoor adventures, and cultural experiences.

Thailand Tsunami 2004

The Thailand tsunami of December 26, 2004, was triggered by a massive undersea earthquake off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia, which generated powerful tsunamis affecting several countries around the Indian Ocean. In Thailand, the tsunami struck the southwestern coast, devastating popular tourist destinations like Phuket, Krabi, Khao Lak, and the Phi Phi Islands.

The impact was catastrophic, leading to extensive destruction of buildings, infrastructure, and boats along the coastline. The tsunami caused a significant loss of life, with thousands of local residents and tourists tragically losing their lives or going missing.

The aftermath of the tsunami had profound effects on Thailand's tourism industry, a crucial part of the country's economy. Many resorts and businesses suffered severe damage, resulting in a decline in tourist arrivals following the disaster. Thailand, along with other affected nations, embarked on a massive recovery and rebuilding effort, supported by international aid and assistance.

The tragedy highlighted the importance of improving tsunami warning systems and disaster preparedness measures to better respond to future natural disasters in coastal regions.

As I traveled to Krabi, Phuket and witnessed Tsunami zones, I thought often about the Tsunami of 2004 praying for the families of the victims.

Thailand in the Movies

Thailand has been a popular filming location for movies due to its diverse landscapes, vibrant cities, and rich cultural heritage. Some famous movies filmed in Thailand include:

1. The Beach (2000):

Directed by Danny Boyle and starring Leonardo DiCaprio, "The Beach" is perhaps the most well-known movie filmed in Thailand. It was primarily shot on location in the Phi Phi Islands, particularly at Maya Bay on Phi Phi Leh. The film showcases the stunning natural beauty of Thailand's tropical beaches and islands.

I loved my Day Trip to Phi Phi Islands with GetYourGuide.

2. James Bond: The Man with the Golden Gun (1974):

The James Bond film "The Man with the Golden Gun," starring Roger Moore as Agent 007, features iconic scenes filmed in Thailand. The movie highlights the picturesque limestone karsts of Phang Nga Bay, including the famous James Bond Island (Khao Phing Kan), which has since become a popular tourist attraction.

3. Hangover Part II (2011):

This comedy film, part of "The Hangover" series, is set in Bangkok and features various locations around the city. The movie humorously captures the chaotic and vibrant nightlife of Bangkok, including scenes at popular spots like Khao San Road and the Sky Bar at Lebua State Tower.

I am sitting on the Icon Siam rooftop that is on the 7th floor next to Starbucks across from this building right now as I write this.

4. Good Morning, Vietnam (1987):

While primarily set in Vietnam, parts of this acclaimed film starring Robin Williams were shot in Thailand, particularly scenes depicting the U.S. military bases in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War era.

5. Only God Forgives (2013):

Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn and starring Ryan Gosling, "Only God Forgives" is a crime thriller set in Bangkok. The film showcases the city's neon-lit streets and explores its underworld, providing a visually striking depiction of urban Thailand.

6. The Hangover Part III (2013):

The third installment of "The Hangover" series also features scenes set in Thailand, specifically in Bangkok. The film adds to the comedic portrayal of the city's nightlife and cultural contrasts.

These movies highlight Thailand's appeal as a cinematic backdrop, showcasing its stunning landscapes, bustling cities, and unique cultural atmosphere to audiences around the world.

Beautiful Beaches

Thailand's coastal beauty is exemplified by its stunning beaches, each offering a unique experience. In Phuket, Nai Harn Beach is a favorite among locals and tourists alike, boasting soft sands and clear waters ideal for swimming and relaxation. I spent five days at an Airbnb within walking distance.

Moving to the Krabi province, Railay Beach stands out for its dramatic limestone cliffs and secluded atmosphere, accessible only by boat. Nearby, Phra Nang Beach captivates with its pristine shoreline and the iconic Princess Cave, a unique attraction filled with offerings to a local sea goddess. I visited Railay Beach four times during my two weeks in Krabi for 100 baht/about $3 USD on a Long Tail Boat one way.

Embarking on island-hopping adventures from Krabi, Tup Island and Poda Island are must-visit destinations. Tup Island is famous for its sandbar that emerges during low tide, connecting it to Chicken Island. Poda Island charms visitors with its white sandy beach and excellent snorkeling opportunities in the surrounding coral reefs. I took a day trip on a luxury long tail boat from Krabi to 4 Islands at sunset.

Whether you're drawn to the bustling shores of Phuket or the secluded paradises of Krabi's islands, the country's diverse beaches promise unforgettable experiences against the backdrop of azure waters and lush landscapes. Each beach tells its own story, inviting travelers to explore and indulge in the natural wonders of Thailand's tropical coastline.

Thailand Sex Industry

Discussing Thailand's sex industry involves addressing complex social, cultural, and economic factors. Prostitution in Thailand is illegal but widely practiced, especially in urban areas and tourist destinations. While both men and women engage in sex work, women constitute the majority of sex workers.

Thailand is also known for its "ladyboys" or transgender women, who are often part of the sex industry but also work in other sectors. Ladyboys face discrimination and marginalization in Thai society but have gained visibility in entertainment and beauty pageants.

Sex tourism is prevalent in Thailand, attracting visitors primarily from Western countries seeking cheap and accessible sexual services. This phenomenon has both positive and negative impacts, contributing to the economy but also perpetuating exploitation and human trafficking.

Efforts to regulate and address issues within the sex industry have been made by the Thai government and various organizations, focusing on improving working conditions, combating trafficking, and providing support for sex workers. However, challenges persist due to deep-rooted social attitudes, economic inequalities, and the lucrative nature of the industry.

I definitely witnessed different elements throughout my travels to Thailand.

Thailand Cuisine

Thailand's cuisine is renowned for its vibrant flavors, fresh ingredients, and aromatic herbs and spices.

Some iconic dishes include fresh spring rolls, known as Por Pia Sod, which are made with rice paper wrapped around fresh vegetables, herbs, and sometimes shrimp or tofu, served with a savory dipping sauce. I ate these often at Icon Siam's Sook Siams Food Market in Bangok.

Another favorite is Som Tam, a spicy papaya salad featuring shredded green papaya, cherry tomatoes, green beans, peanuts, and chili peppers, dressed in a tangy lime juice, fish sauce, garlic, and palm sugar dressing.

Pad Thai is perhaps the most famous Thai noodle dish, made with stir-fried rice noodles mixed with eggs, tofu, shrimp or chicken, bean sprouts, and crushed peanuts, seasoned with tamarind paste, fish sauce, and chili. I ate Pad Thai with shrimp several times in Krabi.

Tom Yum soup is a fragrant and spicy soup featuring lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, chili peppers, and lime juice, with seafood like shrimp or squid adding depth to the flavors. Green Curry, or Kaeng Khiao Wan, is a vibrant curry made with green chili paste, coconut milk, vegetables, and your choice of protein. I had the best Tom Yum at a rooftop spot across from Wat Arun aka Temple of Dawn in Bangkok.

For dessert, Thai pancakes known as Roti are a popular treat, served sweet with condensed milk, sugar, or bananas, or savory with curry sauce or chicken. I asked for a healthy version with egg whites only.

Thai Iced Tea, or Cha Yen, is a sweet and creamy beverage made from strong brewed black tea, sweetened condensed milk, and spices, served over ice.

Coconuts are a ubiquitous ingredient in Thai cooking, used for coconut milk in curries and coconut water for refreshing drinks. I love fresh coconuts and coconut everything.

Thai cuisine is all about balancing sweet, sour, spicy, and salty flavors, creating dishes that are not only delicious but also a delight for the senses. Exploring Thailand's diverse culinary offerings is a wonderful way to experience the country's rich cultural heritage and its abundance of fresh, tropical ingredients that define Thai cooking.

It's not easy to narrow down Thailand to a Top 10 Things to Do. I thought about doing separate Top 10 Things to Do for Bankgok, Chang Mai, Krabi and Phuket, but decided to do a Top 10 Thailand Things to Do and include highlights and day trips.

Thailand Top 10 Things to Do

  1. Experience Bangkok and Chang Mai Temples on a Boat with a Thai Costume

  2. Visit World Famous Railway and Floating Markets near Bangkok

  3. Give Back and Get a Massage by an Ex-Prisoner in Chang Mai

  4. Take a Day Trip from Chang Mai to a Elephant Sanctuary and Doi Inthanon National Park

  5. Spend a Day at Thailands Beautiful Beaches : West Railay, Phra Nang, and Nai Harn Beaches

  6. Take Thailand's Famous Long Tail Boats to 4 Islands at Sunset

  7. Explore Breathtaking Hong Island near Krabi, Thailand

  8. Travel to Phi Phi Islands : Thailands Breathtaking Beaches and Famous Film Spot

  9. Spend a Day at Hot Springs and Emerald Pool near Krabi, Thailand

  10. Taste Thailand's Tantalizing Food All Around the Country

All shots are my own on Canon EOSM100, Sony A330, and/or my iPhone 13 or via Airbnb.

Travel to Thailand

Travel to Thailand is easy with all major airlines flying in and through Bangkok. There are countless flights available to and from Chang Mai, Phuket, and Krabi.

I traveled to Thailand from Egypt via Etihad Airlines from Cairo with a stopover in Abu Dhabi on my way to Bangkok. I stayed in a Bangkok Airbnb with condo style living about two weeks.

I traveled from Bangkok to Chang Mai via a AirAsia flight covered and hosted by

I stayed in a Chang Mai Airbnb condo style living for <$17 a night for about two weeks.

I flew to Kuala Lumpur via AirAsia via and stayed in an incredible condo with an infinity pool for about 48 hours to easily do a visa run vs. extending my visa in Thailand.

I flew from Kuala Lumpur directly to Krabi. I stayed in Krabi about two weeks. In Krabi, I stayed close to town in cute bungalows for 5 days, and then a Krabi Condo Airbnb. I 100% recommend the Airbnb and easy to get Grab (its like Uber). From Krabi I took a ferry to Phuket.

I stayed in Phuket about two weeks in a Phuket Condo Airbnb close to Old Town Phuket for a week, and then a Phuket Condo Airbnb close to Nai Thon Beach (about 15 min ish walking). None of my stays were sponsored. I did reach out to Thailand tourism before coming.

From Phuket, I flew via AirAsia to Bangkok and stayed for 3 days in Blossom Condos with a different host (same Airbnb as above).

I flew from Bangkok to Bali, Indonesia via AirAsia. #notsponsoredyet.

In Thailand, there is no Uber. However, Grab app essentially works the same. In Bangkok, Chang Mai, and Krabi the costs of transportation were lower than Phuket, In Phuket (likely due to Taxi regulations etc and tourism) the minimum car ride was 300+ baht / $8.

I went to Old Town, took a tour to Phi Phi, and walked. to the beach. I did take a motorcycle ride via Grab for about $2 USD/60 baht each way to and from Promthep Cape (means Best View) for sunset close to my beach Airbnb in Phuket.

Top 10 Thailand Things to Do

Undoubtedly, Thailand offers memorable experiences in the country.

I experienced a lot during my two months in Thailand.

My Thailand Travels:

Bangkok Feb 25-March 10

Chang Mai March 10-20

Visa Run/New Country Kuala Lumpur March 20-22

Krabi, Thailand March 22-April 8

Phuket, Thailand April 8-April 19

Bangkok, Thailand April 19-21

No matter how much time you have to travel to Thailand, make the most of it.

Whether you spend a day, a week, or months in Thailand always make any travels your own!

In putting together the Top 10 Thailand Things to Do, I considered how I would experience travels knowing what I know now to make it easier and more enjoyable for you.

Thailand Top 10 Things to Do includes:

  1. Experience Grand Palace and Temple of Dawn in Bangkok, Thailand Dressed Up

  2. Visit World Famous Railway and Floating Markets near Bangkok

  3. Give Back and Get a Massage by an Ex-Prisoner in Chang Mai

  4. Take a Day Trip from Chang Mai to a Elephant Sanctuary and Doi Inthanon National Park

  5. Spend a Day at Thailands Beautiful Beaches : West Railay, Phra Nang, and Nai Harn Beaches

  6. Take Thailand's Famous Long Tail Boats to 4 Islands at Sunset

  7. Explore Breathtaking Hong Island near Krabi, Thailand

  8. Travel to Phi Phi Islands : Thailands Breathtaking Beaches and Famous Film Spot

  9. Spend a Day at Hot Springs and Emerald Pool near Krabi, Thailand

  10. Taste Thailand's Tantalizing Food at Markets and Malls


1 Experience Grand Palace and Temple of Dawn in Bangkok, Thailand Dressed Up

Like millions of people around the world, I have watched Grand Palace and temples in Thailand via videos and movies like Brokedown Palace. Nothing compares to experiencing temples in Thailand in real life.

If you want to take your visit to temples in Thailand to another level, dress up in a Thai Costume.

When I was reading about dress codes to visit temples in Thailand, I came across Sense of Thai on Instagram. I thought why not go all out and dress up as a Thai Princess when I visit Grand Palace and Wat Arun?!

For about $30 USD, I rented a Thai Costume with accessories and got my hair done in an updo. Talk about a once-in-a-lifetime experience in Thailand.

I went to Wat Arun first from Sense of Thai via a boat on the river for about $2 USD for about 10 minutes. Chao Phraya River is a major river that flows through Bangkok, Thailand's capital city. Often referred to as the "River of Kings," the Chao Phraya River is a vital waterway that has played a significant role in the development and history of Bangkok.

It serves as a transportation route for boats and ferries, offering scenic river cruises that showcase the city's skyline and iconic landmarks. The river is lined with bustling waterfront communities, temples, historic sites, and modern buildings, making it a focal point of life and commerce in Bangkok.

I spent about an hour at Wat Arun aka Temple of Dawn and took a boat back across. After docking, me and two new friends from Houston on their honeymoon took a TukTuk to Grand Palace. We spent about an hour and a half at Grand Palace.

Pro-Tip: Ladies = Pay and take the mini jacket to put on top of your outfit for Grand Palace at Sense of Thai

Wat Arun, also known as the Temple of Dawn, is a stunning Buddhist temple located on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok, Thailand. This iconic landmark is known for its distinctive architecture featuring a central prang (tower) adorned with colorful porcelain tiles and seashells, which glisten in the sunlight.

The prang is surrounded by four smaller towers and is intricately decorated with intricate patterns and mythical figures from Thai religious and cultural beliefs.

Wat Arun is particularly breathtaking at sunset when the temple's spires are illuminated, creating a magical ambiance along the riverfront. After leaving Grand Palace and returning my costume (must be returned around 5pm), I walked by the river finding one of several Michelin rated restaurants with incredible views of Wat Arun across at sunset.

The Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand, is a majestic complex that served as the official residence of the Kings of Siam (later Thailand) for over 150 years. This iconic landmark is a stunning architectural masterpiece that showcases the rich cultural heritage and craftsmanship of Thai art and design.

The palace complex is situated on the eastern bank of the Chao Phraya River and covers an extensive area, featuring intricate pavilions, halls, courtyards, and gardens.

The highlight of the Grand Palace is the Wat Phra Kaew, also known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, which houses a highly revered and meticulously carved statue of the Buddha made from a single piece of jade.

The temple's interior is adorned with elaborate murals depicting scenes from Thai mythology and history. Visitors to the Grand Palace can marvel at the opulent architecture, intricate details, and vibrant colors that reflect the grandeur of Thailand's royal history and cultural traditions. However, it's important to dress respectfully when visiting the Grand Palace, as it is a sacred and revered site in Thailand.

2 Visit World Famous Railway and Floating Markets near Bangkok, Thailand

I took a Day Trip via GetYourGuide (linked in my video) to the World Famous Railway and Floating Markets near Bangkok, Thailand. I researched ways to go on my own and the cost was about the same. I decided to do a group trip and so glad I did meeting new friends from all over the world.

One of the famous railway markets near Bangkok is the Maeklong Railway Market, also known as Talad Rom Hub in Thai. This unique market is located in Samut Songkhram province, about 60 kilometers southwest of Bangkok. What makes the Maeklong Railway Market special is that it is situated along an active railway track, and several times a day, a train passes directly through the market.

The market vendors set up their stalls with fresh produce, seafood, meats, snacks, and various goods right on the railway tracks. When the train approaches, the vendors swiftly move their goods and retract their awnings to make way for the train to pass through. It's a fascinating sight to witness as the train inches its way through the market, with goods displayed just inches away from the tracks.

After the train has passed, the vendors quickly set up their stalls again, and business resumes as usual. The Maeklong Railway Market has become a popular tourist attraction due to its unique concept and the thrilling experience of witnessing a train navigating through a bustling market. Visitors can explore the market, sample local foods, and capture memorable photos of this extraordinary scene.

I bought an adorable two piece Thai outfit at the market.

It really is as crazy as it looks.

Where the Shopping Comes to You

I loved the floating market experience. It is indescribable in every way


3 Give Back and Get a Massage by Ex-Prisoner in Chang Mai

In the USA, and in every country I travel to, I look for ways to give back. In my Creator Cuba retreats, we gave scholarships to a photography school. During our Costa Rica retreat, we gave back to a animal rescue center.

In finding ways to give back in Thailand, I came across the Massages by Ex-Prisoners in Chang Mai initiative. I brought a camera and a beach dress to give to the ladies as well. Noey, who did my massage was so grateful.

In Chiang Mai, Thailand, there is an inspiring initiative known as "The Punspa Project," which involves providing massage therapy training and employment opportunities to ex-prisoners. This initiative aims to support former inmates in reintegrating into society by equipping them with valuable skills and employment prospects in the wellness industry.

The Punspa Project was established by Ajarn Samai Thongmee, a renowned Thai massage instructor, who saw the potential for empowering ex-prisoners through massage therapy training. Participants in the program receive comprehensive training in traditional Thai massage techniques, along with lessons on customer service and business management. This training not only enhances their technical skills but also boosts their confidence and self-esteem.

Upon completing the training, the ex-prisoners are offered employment at Punspa Massage, a massage center in Chiang Mai operated by Ajarn Samai. Here, they have the opportunity to practice their newfound skills and earn a stable income, providing them with a fresh start and a sense of purpose after their release from prison.

The initiative not only benefits the individuals involved but also contributes to reducing recidivism rates by offering a positive pathway for ex-prisoners to rebuild their lives and become productive members of society through meaningful employment in the wellness sector.


4 Take a Day Trip from Chang Mai to a Elephant Sanctuary and Doi Inthanon National Park

Experience the Elephants aka Gentle Giants in Thailand

I highly recommend you add Experiencing elephants in Thailand as a must in your life time. I almost did not travel to Chang Mai as I found I could experience elephants in other parts of Thailand. I am SO glad I did.

I am in awe of what I experienced with these unfathomable animals. I took a Day Trip with GetYourGuide (link with video below) to an Ethical Elephant Sanctuary a few hours away from Chang Mai called Living Green with Rainbow, our guide. We fed and bathed the animals.

My inner child (and adult self) so happy and giggly all day. I feel like the elephants connect with your soul in an unimaginable way.

One notable ethical elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai, Thailand, is the "Living Green Elephant Sanctuary." This sanctuary is dedicated to providing a safe and natural environment for rescued elephants, where they can live freely and comfortably without being subjected to harmful practices like riding or performing.

Living Green Elephant Sanctuary prioritizes the well-being and ethical treatment of elephants, aiming to educate visitors about responsible elephant tourism.

With Living Green Elephant Sanctuary, we experienced observing elephants in their natural habitat, feeding them, and bathing them in the river. The sanctuary emphasizes ethical interactions with elephants, promoting respect for these majestic creatures while fostering awareness about conservation efforts and the importance of protecting elephants in their native habitats.

By supporting ethical elephant sanctuaries like Living Green, visitors contribute to the welfare of elephants and help promote sustainable and responsible tourism practices in Thailand. This allows elephants to thrive in a safe and nurturing environment while raising awareness about the need to protect these endangered animals for future generations.

After experiencing the elephants in an ethical sanctuary, we visited Doi Inthanon National Park including Thailand's Highest Point, Royal Project (my favorite temples in Thailand) and 5+ Waterfalls.

Doi Inthanon is the highest mountain in Thailand, located in the Chiang Mai Province of northern Thailand. It is part of Doi Inthanon National Park, a popular destination known for its cool climate, lush forests, and stunning natural attractions. At the summit of Doi Inthanon, which reaches an elevation of 2,565 meters (8,415 feet), visitors can enjoy panoramic views of mist-covered mountains and surrounding valleys.

The Royal Agricultural Station Inthanon, also known as the Royal Project, is an initiative aimed at promoting sustainable agriculture and preserving the environment in the region. It focuses on research and development of farming techniques that benefit local communities while minimizing environmental impact. The Royal Project promotes organic farming practices and cultivates various crops such as fruits, vegetables, flowers, and coffee.

Doi Inthanon National Park is also renowned for its beautiful waterfalls, including Wachirathan Waterfall and Siriphum Waterfall. Wachirathan Waterfall is one of the most impressive waterfalls in the park, cascading down a series of rocky ledges amidst lush greenery. Siriphum Waterfall, located nearby, is smaller but equally picturesque, offering a tranquil setting for visitors to relax and enjoy nature. These waterfalls are accessible via hiking trails within the national park, making them popular stops for nature lovers and adventurers exploring Doi Inthanon.

During your travels to Chang Mai, Thailand I recommend walking in Old Town and experiencing the Sunday Walking Market.

Chiang Mai is a vibrant city located in northern Thailand, renowned for its rich history, cultural heritage, and natural beauty. As the largest city in the region, Chiang Mai offers a unique blend of traditional charm and modern amenities, making it a popular destination for travelers from around the world.

Key highlights of Chiang Mai include:

1. Historical and Cultural Sites: Chiang Mai is home to numerous ancient temples (wats) and historical landmarks, including the iconic Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, situated on a mountain overlooking the city. The Old City area of Chiang Mai is surrounded by a moat and remnants of ancient walls, with picturesque temples such as Wat Chedi Luang and Wat Phra Singh.

2. Local Markets and Cuisine: The city is known for its bustling markets, offering a wide array of handicrafts, textiles, and local delicacies. The famous Night Bazaar and Sunday Walking Street Market are must-visits for shopping and sampling delicious street food. Chiang Mai's cuisine is distinct from other regions of Thailand, with dishes like Khao Soi (noodle soup with curry), Sai Oua (spicy northern Thai sausage), and Khanom Jeen Nam Ngiao (rice noodles in spicy broth) being local favorites.

3. Nature and Outdoor Activities: Surrounding Chiang Mai are lush mountains, waterfalls, and national parks, providing ample opportunities for outdoor activities such as trekking, zip-lining, and visiting hill tribe villages. Doi Inthanon, Thailand's highest peak, is located nearby and offers stunning viewpoints and hiking trails.

4. Art and Culture: Chiang Mai has a thriving arts scene, with many galleries, studios, and workshops showcasing traditional Thai crafts such as pottery, weaving, and wood carving. The city hosts the Chiang Mai Art and Culture Center, as well as the annual Chiang Mai Flower Festival and Yi Peng Lantern Festival, which attract visitors with their vibrant displays of art and culture.

Overall, Chiang Mai is a charming city that combines ancient traditions with modern developments, offering a diverse range of experiences for travelers seeking history, culture, nature, and culinary delights in the heart of northern Thailand.

I loved the time I spent in Chang Mai.


5 Spend Days at Thailand's Beautiful Beaches

The world famous West Railay Beach is a must for travel to Thailand. I visited 4 times from Ao Nang taking a Long Tail Boat for 100 baht/about $3 USD each way. The first time I went I spent the entire day between West Railay Beach and Phra Nang Cave and Phra Nang Beach.

The second and fourth time I visited I went for a few hours around sunset. The third time I visited I went with my group tour to 4 Islands on a Luxury Long Tail Large Boat.

West Railay Beach, located in Krabi province, is a stunning destination accessible only by boat due to the towering limestone cliffs that surround it, cutting it off from the mainland. To get to West Railay Beach, visitors typically take a longtail boat from Ao Nang or other nearby areas like Ao Nam Mao or Krabi Town. Longtail boats are traditional Thai wooden boats with a long propeller shaft, often decorated with colorful tassels, that navigate the coastal waters.

When traveling to West Railay Beach by longtail boat, it's important to consider the tides. The best time to arrive or depart from Railay Beach is during high tide, as the water can be shallow and rocky during low tide, making it challenging for boats to approach the shore. Local boat operators are knowledgeable about the tides and typically schedule their trips accordingly.

West Railay Beach is famous for its stunning white sand, clear turquoise waters, and impressive limestone cliffs that provide a picturesque backdrop. The area is also known for its rock climbing opportunities, with numerous climbing routes catering to climbers of various skill levels.

About 5-10 minutes walking from West Railay Beach, Phra Nang Beach is another beautiful spot, known for its soft sand and crystal-clear waters. Phra Nang Beach is famous for the Phra Nang Cave, a small cave filled with offerings to the spirit of the sea, and the Princess Cave, where visitors can see colorful phallic-shaped statues left as offerings by local fishermen for good luck and prosperity.

Both West Railay Beach and Phra Nang Beach offer a tranquil and scenic escape for visitors seeking natural beauty and outdoor activities in Krabi. Whether you're sunbathing on the beach, exploring the caves, or rock climbing along the cliffs, Railay Beach and Phra Nang Beach are must-visit destinations for those exploring the stunning coastline of southern Thailand.

See for yourself

During my travels to Phuket, my favorite beach is Nai Harn Beach. It is calm with clear water. I went there daily during my stay walking distance. from the beach. I love the sand and the sea.

Nai Harn Beach is a beautiful and relatively tranquil beach located on the southern tip of Phuket island in Thailand. It is renowned for its soft white sand, clear turquoise waters, and lush green surroundings. Nai Harn Beach is less developed compared to some of the more popular beaches on Phuket's west coast, making it an ideal spot for those seeking a quieter and more relaxed beach experience.

The beach is framed by verdant hills and cliffs, creating a picturesque backdrop for sunbathers and swimmers. The waters at Nai Harn Beach are generally calm and suitable for swimming during the high season (November to April). However, visitors should exercise caution during the monsoon season (May to October) when rougher seas and stronger currents may occur.

Nai Harn Beach is popular among both tourists and locals alike, offering a range of amenities including beachside restaurants serving delicious seafood and Thai cuisine, as well as sun loungers and umbrellas for rent. The beach area is relatively spacious, allowing plenty of room for visitors to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of the surroundings.

Nai Harn Beach is also a popular spot for sunset viewing, with the evening sky casting a golden glow over the tranquil waters, making it a perfect way to end a day in paradise on Phuket's southern coast. i went for several sunsets.

Speaking of sunsets, Promthep Cape, also known as Laem Promthep, is a scenic viewpoint and iconic landmark located at the southernmost tip of Phuket island in Thailand. It is famous for its stunning panoramic views of the Andaman Sea, surrounding islands, and dramatic coastline.

I took a motorcycle to and from Promthep Cape for about $2USD each easy. SO fun!

Shh don't tell my mom.

Promthep Cape is a popular spot to watch the sunset, offering breathtaking vistas as the sun dips below the horizon, casting a golden glow over the ocean and rocky cliffs. Visitors may climb the stairs to the viewpoint at Promthep Cape, where there is also a lighthouse and a shrine dedicated to the goddess of the sea. The cape is a must-visit destination for travelers seeking natural beauty and spectacular views while exploring the southern region of Phuket.

Beyond the beach, if you love colors and cafes, I recommend you add Old Town Phuket to your itinerary.


6 Take Thailand's Famous Long Tail Boats to 4 Islands at Sunset

I researched a number of island tours from Krabi, Thailand to 4 and 7 Islands. I chose a 4 Island Long Tail Luxury Boat at Sunset with Anda Sea Tours. Our guide, Palm amazing. The time at each island just right. The food - the BEST on any tour in Thailand (and maybe in the world!)

This tour is one of the BEST Things to Do in Krabi, Thailand. No contest.

Don't believe me? Just watch.

The exact tour I experienced from Krabi, Thailand. is linked in the comments in the video.

The "Four Islands" tour near Krabi, Thailand, is a popular day trip that typically includes visits to Railay Beach and Phra Nang Cave Beach, Chicken Island, Tup Island (Thale Waek), and Poda Island.

Railay Beach and Phra Nang are stunning destinations surrounded by limestone cliffs, offering pristine sands and clear waters perfect for swimming and snorkeling. Phra Nang Cave Beach is known for its cave filled with offerings and unique rock formations.

Chicken Island features a distinctive rock formation resembling a chicken's head and neck, making it a great spot for photos and snorkeling among colorful marine life. Tup Island, or Thale Waek, is famous for its sandbar that emerges during low tide, connecting it with Chicken Island. Poda Island boasts a beautiful beach with soft sand and snorkeling opportunities around the coral reefs.

I loved every island and especially Tup Island aka Thale Waek (means separated sea) with the sand bar.

As part of the 4 Island Trip I chose, we experienced dinner at sunset on our luxury long tail boat. Pinch me moments for sure.

his experience offers a magical setting with the sky painted in hues of orange and pink, casting a romantic ambiance over the turquoise waters.

For those interested in unique experiences, some tours like mine also offer a chance to witness bioluminescent plankton in the water after sunset. The plankton emit a glow when disturbed, creating a mesmerizing natural light show in the dark ocean. We saw a few plankton during our stop nothing like my experience with bioluminescence in Holbox though.

However, it's important to note that jellyfish season can occur during certain months, typically from May to July, when jellyfish are more prevalent in the waters. Visitors may exercise caution and inquire with local tour operators about the safety and conditions of the water during these times.

7 Explore Breathtaking Hong Island near Krabi, Thailand

When Googling things to do near Krabi, Thailand, I discovered Hong Island. An untouched island with only two beaches, unfathomable view points, nature walk, lagoon, and a pier.

I thought about taking a tour. I quickly discovered it is very easy to go to the Ao Nang Public Pier for Long Tail Boats and take a public boat to Hong Island. In 2024, it is 500 baht/$14 USD for a round trip Long Tail Boat to Hong Island. For the minimum, you simply need to wait for at least 6 people or pay for the full boat.

The boat ride to Hong Island is about 1 hour each way, and well worth it with the breathtaking lagoon, untouched beaches, and incredible views from the top of the island.

Hong Island, Not to Be Confused with Hong Kong

Hong Island, also known as Koh Hong or Ko Hong, is a stunning island located off the coast of Krabi Province in Thailand. It's part of the Than Bok Khorani National Park and is renowned for its natural beauty, pristine beaches, and crystal-clear waters.

Here's a detailed overview of what makes Hong Island so special:

1. Location: Hong Island is situated approximately 3.5 kilometers off the coast of Ao Nang in Krabi Province. It's easily accessible by boat from Ao Nang or other nearby islands like Phi Phi.

2. Scenic Beauty: The island is characterized by its dramatic limestone cliffs, lush greenery, and secluded white sandy beaches. The water around Hong Island is incredibly clear, perfect for snorkeling and observing marine life.

3. Main Attractions:

-Hong Lagoon: One of the highlights of Hong Island is the hidden lagoon, accessible through a narrow entrance that opens up into a stunning emerald-green pool surrounded by towering cliffs. It's an ideal spot for kayaking and swimming.

- Beaches: Hong Island features several beautiful beaches including the main Hong Beach and others like Lagoon Beach and Pakbia Island Beach. These beaches are known for their tranquility and picture-perfect scenery.

- Snorkeling: The waters around Hong Island are teeming with colorful coral reefs and marine life. Snorkeling here offers a chance to see tropical fish, sea turtles, and vibrant corals.

4. Activities: Apart from snorkeling and swimming, visitors can explore the island's hiking trails, relax on the beaches, or take guided kayak tours to explore the hidden caves and lagoons.

5. Accessibility: Hong Island is a popular destination for day trips from Ao Nang, Krabi Town, or nearby islands like Phi Phi. Many tour operators offer speedboat or long-tail boat tours to Hong Island as part of a larger itinerary that often includes other nearby attractions.

6. Conservation: As part of a national park, Hong Island is protected to preserve its natural beauty and marine ecosystem. Visitors are encouraged to respect the environment by not leaving any waste behind and avoiding damage to coral reefs.

7. Visiting Tips:

- Plan to visit early in the morning to avoid crowds, especially during peak tourist seasons.

- Bring sunscreen, a hat, and plenty of water as shade can be limited on the beaches.

- Respect any regulations set by the national park regarding activities like snorkeling and kayaking.

Overall, Hong Island is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and beach enthusiasts seeking a tranquil escape surrounded by some of Thailand's most breathtaking coastal scenery.


8 Travel to Phi Phi Islands : Thailands Breathtaking Beaches and Famous Film Spot for Beach

You may have heard of Phi Phi Islands from the famous movie, Beach filmed on Maya Bay. Phi Phi Islands are every bit as beautiful as what you've seen in the movies, on Instagram and on YouTube.

I decided to visit Phi Phi Islands from my travels and time in Phuket. I visited via a GetYourGuide experience and met some incredible new friends.

The Phi Phi Islands in Thailand consist of Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Leh, both known for their exceptional natural beauty and crystal-clear waters. Phi Phi Don is the larger and inhabited island with a bustling village, Tonsai, offering various accommodations, restaurants, and shops. Visitors to

Phi Phi Don can engage in activities like snorkeling, diving, hiking, and exploring scenic viewpoints.

On the other hand, Phi Phi Leh is a smaller, uninhabited island famous for Maya Bay, featured prominently in the movie "The Beach" starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Maya Bay is celebrated for its stunning cove surrounded by limestone cliffs and pristine white sand, attracting tourists from around the world.

Phi Phi Islands are conveniently accessible from Krabi and Phuket. From Krabi, it takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour by speedboat or ferry to reach Phi Phi Islands, which are approximately 40 kilometers southwest of Krabi. Meanwhile, from Phuket, the islands are around 46 kilometers southeast, with a travel time of 1.5 to 2 hours by boat. The islands' proximity to these popular tourist destinations makes them a favored choice for day trips or longer stays.

"The Beach," a movie directed by Danny Boyle and based on the novel by Alex Garland, significantly boosted the global fame of Phi Phi Islands, particularly Maya Bay. The film's portrayal of an exotic, secluded beach paradise captivated audiences and contributed to increased tourism to the area.

However, the islands have faced environmental challenges due to excessive tourism, particularly affecting sensitive ecosystems like Maya Bay. Efforts are underway to manage and preserve these natural treasures while continuing to provide memorable experiences for visitors to Phi Phi Islands.

Make sure you check during certain times of year the islands may be closed.


9 Spend a Day at Hot Springs and Emerald Pool near Krabi, Thailand

During my first week in Krabi, I traveled to Emerald Pool and Hot Springs with Airbnb Experiences. I highly recommend you go with a group because of the timing and transportation. We started off with the Emerald Pool, followed by Hot Springs, and the Tiger Cave.

If you know me, you know I love adventure. At the same time, I am all about my energy and safety. After climbing about 400+ steps up to Tiger Cave in a dress with a tripod and my phone in my hand in the super hot heat, I decided to climb back down. You decide for yourself.

10 Taste Thailand's Tantalizing Food at Markets and Malls

During my travels to Thailand, I tried varying Thai food at the Icon Siam Sook Siam Food Market near Gate 7, Sunday Market in Chang Mai, Night Market in Krabi, and more.

To give you an idea, at Icon Siam, I ate 5 spring roles, papaya salad, pad thai, coconut, and coconut ice cream for <$7

Some of my favorites included Tom Yum Soup with Seafood near Wat Arun, Fresh Spring Rolls in Icon Siam, Kale and Seafood at Night Market in Krabi, Thai Pancakes Healthy Version with Egg Whites only at Railay and Night Market in Krabi, Chicken with Basil, Shrimp on a Stick on my 4 Island Tour, and Pad Thai with Seafood countless times. My favorite was at Coffee Club near my Airbnb in Krabi. Icon Siam, Walking market, Krabi night market

Thailand is undoubtedly an incredible place to eat incredible food.

What would you eat first?


Top 10 Things to Do in Thailand

Is travel to Thailand on your bucketlist?

Whether you want to experience temples in Bangkok, floating markets, once-in-a-lifetime experiences with elephants, long tail boats, unfathomable islands and beaches in Thailand, or any of my other Top 10 Things to Do in Thailand you will fall in love with the Land of Smiles.

What activities interest you to do for Top 10 Thailand Things to Do?

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