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  • "Must See/Must Do's in Thailand? "

Lauren Cochran

St. Louis

Must See/Must Do's in Thailand?

Considering a Trip to Thailand - looking at spending time in Bangkok, Chang Mai, and Phuket area - what are definite can't-miss? 

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Most Mentioned Places for this Question

  • Wat Arun (unknown)

    Bangkok 10600

    3 mentions

  • Chiang Mai (city)

    Chiang Mai

    2 mentions

  • Wat Pho (attraction)

    248 Thanon Thai Wang Bangkok 10170 02 281 2831

    2 mentions

  • Michelle Halpern

    top answer by

    Hi Lauren! I just got back from a trip to all three of those cities. I definitely recommend hitting up all three if you have time.

    Bangkok: We flew into Bangkok and spent about 24 hours exploring the city, although I would recommend allocating 2-4 days if you have the time. Highlights: get a cheap river boat pass which will allow you to see all of the temples and the Grand Palace in one day. DEFINITELY go to Wat Arun- and make sure you are appropriately dressed with coverage for your legs/shoulders. Other suggestions: explore Chinatown & taste test some street food. Get dinner/drinks at the top of Le Bua tower for an amazing view overlooking the city. We didn't have time, but were told that the flower markets are amazing and the mall there is apparently the most Instagrammed spot in the world!

    Phuket: We spent most of our time in Phuket area on the water, but I would definitely recommend chartering a boat for a day or taking a day cruise to one of the islands near Koh Khai Nok - they are complete paradise and feel super remote. On Koh Khai Nai you can scuba dive, jet ski, relax, and swim with the fish in crystal blue water, etc. The Phi Phi Islands are also a must -- Koh Phi Phi has a bunch of cute shops and a great party scene at night. Go on the hike to the lookout spot where you can get a whole view of the city. If you ask around, people will know what I'm talking about :) If you want an amazing dinner, check out Papaya (there are 2 locations--go to the original location). Best meal I had our whole trip! Also do a 1/2 day boat tour to Maya Beach (where the movie The Beach was filmed). Some of them will also take you to "monkey island" nearby where you can feed the monkeys -- very cool.

    Chiang Mai: My FAVORITE place in Thailand. In just three days we: visited Doi Suthep temple (a must), Palad Temple (gorgeous and not touristy), an orchid/butterfly farm, the Tiger Kingdom, went bamboo rafting, did a waterfall/hiking trek, saw a lady boy show aka the Chiang Mai Cabaret Show, went to the Sunday night markets (the best one all week so try to go during the weekend), got thai massages ($4 US for 1 hour), visited a silk factory, shopped at the Gem Gallery (the largest jewelry store in the world), took a cooking class with BaanThai Cookery School (so fun!), AND rode elephants. We had 3 days, but I would have spent 5 at least if possible. If you do one thing only, definitely see the elephants. It was an experience I will remember for the rest of my life. There are MANY places you can do this, but many are very touristy and/or super expensive. Our tour guide brought us to a small family owned place called "Elephant Home" in Keang Kued Village that cost us about $40 US and we had an intimate experience that was not crowded or touristy at all. Highly recommend. Let me know if you want the contact info for our tour guide/driver -- he took us everywhere and was so sweet, accommodating and helpful (and only cost us about $20 per person/per day). SO worth it. Let me know if any of the above sounds interesting and if you want more details! It's my favorite place in the world so far :)


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    • Debbie L.

      Debbie L.

      So glad to hear that you had an amazing time, Michelle! Thank you for sharing :) · (0 likelikes)

    • Kae H.

      Kae H.

      Going in February. Your info so helpful. Please share the contact for tour guide. · (0 likelikes)

    • Marina K.

      Marina K.

      Considering going around Thanksgiving as well. I would love to get the tour guide contact. Thanks for sharing! · (0 likelikes)

    • Vanda W.

      Vanda W.

      Please don't ride elephants - they are horribly abused - chained and beaten to get them to comply. · (0 likelikes)

    • Jeff S.

      Jeff S.

      Great Suggestions! Could you share the guide contact info? · (0 likelikes)

    • Anita K.

      Anita K.

      Loved your answers Michelle! Could I please get the contact info as well? · (0 likelikes)

    Mentioned in this answer:

    1. Grand Palace (restaurant)
    2. Wat Arun (unknown)
    3. Koh Khai Nok (attraction)
    4. Koh Khai Nai (attraction)
    5. Phi Phi Islands (attraction)
    6. Doi Suthep (attraction)
    7. BaanThai Cookery School (restaurant)

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  • Brent Moody

    answered by

    It really depends on the time of year. My suggestion is to shrug off the anxieties of western life, and just relax. See what you can see but be like a Thai. Songkran, and Loi Krathong, are a couple of example of holidays to experience, Wat Pho, Wat Arun,Wat Pragao, Ayutthaya Historical Park, which was the capital of Thailand before Bangkok. At Surin you might catch the annual elephant roundup. You can catch the color of the mountain flowers in the regions of Chiang Mai. You can always go to the touristy places but, if you speak the language or have a guide I recommend just going a few blocks of the beaten path in any direction. The food is fantastic, the people are friendly and the culture is too rich to drink it all in during one visit. Do what you can during this trip, but understand you will have to come back later for more.

    There is simply too much to share and too little time. Go, enjoy and go again. Enough said.... ;-)


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    2. Wat Arun (unknown)
    3. Ayutthaya Historical Park (attraction)
    4. Surin (city)
    5. Chiang Mai (city)

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  • Nam Onrit

    answered by

    I think it is not easy to recommend, your destinations: Bangkok, Phuket and Chiang Mai are the most popular places. There are a lot of things for spending the good vacation and depends on your time and interests.

    First time there, you should have 3 nights stay for each place. It is just the overview for your Thailandtrip.

    BANGKOK is the urban city where you can spend the days for eating both local Thai food on the street-side shops to outdoor markets and fine dinning restaurants include bars scene.

    For culture and history, there are many royal temples with graceful Buddha images and beautiful architectures in the old town. Chao Phrayariver is one of the must destinations you can't miss.

    PHUKET is the largest island, so a lot of spectacular beaches, bays and surrounded islands waiting for you. Day trip to beautiful islands for sun bathing, snorkeling and swimming is can't miss.

    Moreover, old town Phuket is preserved as colonial area and the source of delicious Southern Thai-Chinese cooking heritage which you can enjoy the local food there. Dimsum shops, local restaurants, roti with curry shops and kanom jeen stalls are the legend.

    CHIANG MAI on the North is the centre of Lanna culture, it is the charm of the city.

    Eating there is more than the just local food. Coffee culture is rising with the growing of coffee plantations, professional roasters, creative owners and skillful baristas throughout the city.

    Cost of living in Chiang Mai is pretty low compared to the two other. Slow pace of life here when it is not during the peak travel season (New Year / Songkran festival on April and Loy Krathong on November).

    In the old town, it packed with a hundred of temples, there are a handful of temples you can't miss such as Wat Chedi Luang Worawihan and Wat Phra Singh.

    Day trips to the nature outside the city are recommended too. Big bike rental for the adventurous trips are popular today.

    Enjoy your trip!

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    Mentioned in this answer:

    1. Bangkok (city)
    2. Phuket (city)
    3. Chiang Mai (city)
    4. Thailand (country)
    5. Chao Phraya (attraction)
    6. Wat Chedi Luang Worawihan (attraction)

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  • Darren C

    answered by

    I just came back from Chiang Mai, my own suggestion would be the hill tribe tour. You easily find and book them on-line, we used Journey Smile http://www.journeycnx.com/chiangmai-tours.php They were the cheapest I could find, great guide and excellent value for money.

    My wife and son did a 2 hour Segway tour of Chiang Mai, both said it was great fun.

    If you're heading to Chiang Mai from Bangkok, and you're looking for a unique travel experience, try the overnight sleeper train, the scenery is fantastic and it's a cheap way to travel.



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  • Duyen Pham

    answered by

    THE GRAND PALACE, Temple of the Reclining Buddha (Wat Pho), Temple of the Golden Buddha (Wat Traimit) shouldn't be missed.

    Shop til you drop with the Pratunam Market, Sukhumvit Soi 38 Night Food Market, Chatuchack weekend market .... There are so many things to buy here.

    Chiang Mai: An ancient town and not crowded as Bangkok. You can view some of these itineraries in Bangkok, Chiangmai and pattaya for recommendation. Hope they work on you!

    3-day Plan in Bangkok

    Chiang mai for backpackers

    Pattaya for beach lovers

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  • Courtney Robinson

    answered by

    I totally second Wat Arunand Wat Phowhich are both beyond amazing. I'd recommend getting to both via boat--must easier than trying to get through Bangkok traffic.

    I would also try to get to the Jim Thompson House which is beautiful--it's the home of the man who revived the silk business in Thailand which has been turned into a museum. Jim Thompson Houseimage from kurtjohnson.netBe sure to have a meal at Breeze. The view is insanely beautiful. Breeze

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