29 Famous Landmarks in Thailand

Published Categorized as Thailand Travel, Asia Travel, Destinations, Travel Blog
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From natural landscapes, to cultural and historical landmarks, here are 29 of the most famous landmarks in Thailand!

There are many iconic landmarks in Thailand worth visiting and our list just touches on some of the most well-known and famous  places of Thailand. Known as The Land of Smiles, the country is a popular (and affordable) tourist destination showcasing some amazing natural sights and landscapes.

With stunning beaches and islands, modern bustling cities, temples with cultural and historical significance, and amazing natural landscapes, there is an abundance of famous landmarks in Thailand worth visiting if you are planning a trip here.

Stare in wonder at the Grand Palace and the Emerald Buddha, popular Bangkok landmarks, or take an island-hopping tour to Ao Phang Nga National Park or Ang Thong National Marine Park. No trip is complete without seeing at least some of the cultural, Thailand historical sites or natural landmarks.

Planning a trip to Thailand can be quite challenging as there are so many things to see and do across the country. So, read on to see the top 29 must-see landmarks in Thailand you should consider visiting on your next holiday to Thailand. We have no doubt you will discover your own favourite landmarks in Thailand along the way.

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Did You Know?

  • The real name for Thailand’s capital city, Bangkok, is Krungthepmahanakhon Amonrattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilokphop Noppharatratchathaniburirom Udomratchaniwetmahasathan Amonphimanawatansathit Sakkathattiyawitsanukamprasit. Made up of Pali and Sanskrit root words, the name means “City of Angels, Great City of Immortals, Magnificent City of the Nine Gems, Seat of the King, City of Royal Palaces, Home of Gods Incarnate, Erected by Visvakarman at Indra’s Behest.” In Thai, people usually call Bangkok’ Krung Thep,’ which is the shortened version of the city’s full name.
  • There are over 40,000 temples in Thailand, and more than 30,000 of them are still in active use. 
  • Thailand was known as Siam for most of its history. The country changed its name to Thailand in 1939, and reverted back once more to Siam for a short period of time between 1946 and 1948. In 1948, the country changed its name officially to the Kingdom of Thailand.

“One of the dreams on my wish list is to spend more time in Thailand.”

– Kevin Kwan –


Famous Landmarks in Thailand

2.1 Bridge Over the River Kwai, Kanchanaburi
2.2 Hellfire Pass, Kanchanaburi
2.3 Historic City of Ayutthaya
2.4 Koh Lanta Old Town, Koh Lanta
2.5 Sukhothai Historical Park, Sukhothai
2.6 Tha Phae Gate, Chiang Mai
3. Cultural Landmarks in Thailand
3.1 Big Buddha, Phuket
3.2 Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, Ratchaburi (Outskirts of Bangkok)
3.3 The Grand Palace, Bangkok
3.4 Wat Arun / Temple of Dawn, Bangkok
3.5 Wat Pha Lat / The Monk’s Trail, Chiang Mai
3.6 Wat Pho / Wat Phra Chetuphon, Bangkok
3.7 Wat Phraw Kaew / Emerald Buddha Pavilion, Bangkok
3.8 Wat Pra That Doi Suthep / Golden Mount Temple, Chiang Mai
3.9 Wat Rong Khun / White Temple, Chiang Rai
3.10 Wat Tham Suea / Tiger Cave Temple, Krabi
4. Natural Landmarks in Thailand
4.1 Ang Thong Marine Park, Surat Thani
4.2 Ao Phang Nga National Park, Phuket
4.3 Cheow Lan Lake, Khao Sok National Park
4.4 Erawan Falls, Kanchanaburi
4.5 Khao Phing Kan / James Bond Island, Ao Phang Nga National Park
4.6 Koh Nang Yuan, Surat Thani
4.7 Maya Bay, Koh Phi Phi Leh
4.8 Pai Canyon, Pai
4.9 Railay Beach, Krabi
5. Other Famous Landmarks of Thailand
5.1 BLES Elephant Sanctuary, Sukhothai
5.2 Chatuchak Weekend Market, Bangkok
5.3 Chinatown, Bangkok
5.4 The Baan Dam Museum (Black House), Chiang Rai
6. Famous Landmarks in Thailand FAQs
7. In Summary – Famous Landmarks in Thailand
8. Trip Planners for Thailand: Related Blog Posts


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Best Thailand Landmarks – Summary

Before we go into more detail about Thailand’s best landmarks, here is an overview of the sites we will be covering in this blog post.

  • Historical Landmarks in Thailand: A Bridge Over the River Kwai in Kanchanaburi, Hellfire Pass in Kanchanaburi, Historic City of Ayutthaya, Koh Lanta Old Town in Koh Lanta, Sukhothai Historical Park in Sukhothai, Tha Phae Gate in Chiang Mai
  • Cultural Landmarks of Thailand: Big Buddha in Phuket, Damnoen Saduak Floating Market in Ratchaburi (Outskirts of Bangkok), The Grand Palace in Bangkok, Wat Arun / Temple of Dawn in Bangkok, Wat Pha Lat / The Monk’s Trail in Chiang Mai, Wat Pho / Wat Phra Chetuphon in Bangkok, Wat Phraw Kaew / Emerald Buddha Pavilion in Bangkok, Wat Pra That Doi Suthep / Golden Mount Temple in Chiang Mai, Wat Rong Khun / White Temple in Chiang Rai, Wat Tham Suea / Tiger Cave Temple in Krabi
  • Natural Landmarks of Thailand: Ang Thong Marine Park in Surat Thani, Ao Phang Nga National Park in Phuket, Cheow Lan Lake in Khao Sok National Park, Erawan Falls in Kanchanaburi, Khao Phing Kan / James Bond Island in Ao Phang Nga National Park, Koh Nang Yuan in Surat Thani, Maya Bay in Koh Phi Leh, Pai Canyon in Pai, Railay Beach in Krabi
  • Other Famous Landmark in Thailand: BLES Elephant Sanctuary in Sukhothai, Chatuchak Weekend Market in Bangkok, Chinatown in Bangkok, The Baan Dam Museum / Black House in Chiang Rai

Read on to learn more about these amazing landmarks in Thailand.

Historical Landmarks in Thailand

Thailand, once known as Siam, offers a rich landscape full of even richer historical sites ready for you to discover. With hundreds of years of history and no presence of European colonization, Thailand has managed to preserve its historical treasures. From the 400-year-long kingdom of Ayutthaya and the Grand Palace in Bangkok, to more recent history during World War II, the history is fascinating. Read on for more information on the historical places in Thailand worth visiting.

Bridge Over the River Kwai, Kanchanaburi

old arched bridge over a river

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The Bridge over the River Kwai is a well-known landmark in Thailand with some historical significance. It is known as being a symbol of the Burma Railway, also known as the Death Railway. The main purpose of its construction was to create a rail link between Thailand and Myanmar.

It was built by prisoners of war during World War II in 1942 as part of an elaborate prisoner of war camp system designed by Japanese general Tomoyuki Yamashita. It was also used to transport Allied prisoners of war across the river. Approximately 180,000 to 250,000 Allied POWs were forced to build the bridge and were held at the camp before its liberation in 1945.

Today, the bridge is a significant symbol of Allied victory and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It remains a popular tourist destination featuring a Railway Museum and War Museum where you can learn more about the history of the bridge and the prisoners who were held there and died (records estimate the number could be as high as 102,000) during its construction.

There are many cemeteries where the fallen can be remembered. The easiest to visit is the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery located near the railway station which holds the graves of more than 7,000 POWs from Australia, England and India. Visitors can also walk across the bridge or take a boat ride across the river.

The Bridge over the River Kwai is located in Kanchanaburi, approximately 120 kilometres from Bangkok. You can travel to Kanchanaburi by bus from the Chatuchak bus terminal in Bangkok, however, the best way to travel to there is by train. The train runs on the railway line that was a part of the original Thai-Burma line and leaves twice a day from Thon Buri Station in Bangkok. 

The Bridge over the River Kwai is a beautiful historic bridge. It is well worth your time to visit.

Top Tip: If visiting in November, don’t miss the annual 10-day festival which is held to commemorate the prisoners of war that died building the Death Railway.

Address: Tha Ma Kham, Mueang Kanchanaburi District, Chang Wat Kanchanaburi, Thailand

Opening Hours: N/A

Entrance Cost: Free of Charge

Where to Stay:

Suggested Tours: Erawan National Park + Kanchnaburi 14-Hour Small Group Tour and Historical Day Tour to River Kwai

Hellfire Pass, Kanchanaburi

Recommended by Sarah at ‘ASocialNomad’

memorial site at hellfire pass tunnel

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Hellfire Pass is in western Thailand, about a 90 minute drive from the town of Kanchanaburi. It is a railway cutting on the route of the infamous Thai-Burma death railway. From Kanchanaburi you can take the train to Namtok Station (about 2.5 hours) and there are three trains a day at 6:07 am, 10:30 am, and 12:30 am. From Namtok Station you’ll need to take a taxi or a songthaew the remaining 20 kilometres to Hellfire Pass. 

There is a museum and interpretive centre at Hellfire Pass and also a walking trail that allows you to walk 2.5 kilometres along the route of the railway that was built by Allied prisoners of war and slave labour during World War II. The museum and walking trail is open from 9 am until 4 pm, apart from Thai holidays. There is no fee to enter, but donations for the upkeep of the trail and the museum are welcomed. There is a free-to-download audio guide that covers the walking trail. The trail is the death railway route and is both very informative and tremendously moving.

The walking trail is just 30% of the route that the prisoners used to walk to and from their work. There is a memorial in the pass to those who suffered, died, and survived here. 

The museum contains memorabilia from survivors and family members, as well as personal stories, but the audio program – in the words of some of the men who left here alive – and the noise of the jungle as you walk is what will remain in your memory long after you leave this place.

“When you go home, tell them of us and say we gave our tomorrow for your today.”

Top Tip: You will need to take water, mosquito repellent as well as decent walking shoes.  It is rough underfoot, hot and this is the jungle.

Address: Tha Sao, Sai Yok District, Kanchanaburi, Thailand

Opening Hours: 9:00am – 4:00pm

Entrance Cost: Free but a donation is gratefully appreciated

Where to Stay:

Suggested Tours: Erawan National Park + Kanchnaburi 14-Hour Small Group Tour and Historical Day Tour to River Kwai

Historic City of Ayutthaya

Recommended by Abi at ‘IGOA-Adventure

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We recently spent two months travelling around wonderful Thailand where we learnt a lot about its history and culture. Did you know that the capital of Thailand used to be somewhere else rather than Bangkok? I certainly didn’t and it wasn’t until we reached Ayutthaya that we discovered Thailand’s fascinating ancient history! 

Ayutthaya was, up until 300 years ago, the capital city of Thailand. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage site and after spending a few days there it’s clear to see why so many people find this place so magical! It’s brimming with ancient ruins of temples, royal palaces and ceremonial halls scattered within the old city which sits comfortably on a small island surrounded by the river. It is so grand and majestic there is a distinguished aura of sacred spirituality about the place. It’s is an archaeologists dream and a historians heaven, and is somewhere every traveller should visit while in Thailand!

The ruins are incredibly wonderful it’s hard to decide which to visit first. I recommend at least three days there to explore the city properly! My favourite temple was Wat Phra Si Sanphet which is huge and has a beautiful display of ancient craftsmanship with large parts of its pagodas still standing. Wat Chaiwatthanaram was also amazing and located just outside the old city. The latter being a great place to head in the afternoon to watch the sun pass over its walls (it closes at 5pm) but you can sit outside the barrier and watch the sunset. To have seen these buildings in their hey-day would have been something incredible! 

It’s really easy to reach Ayutthaya as it has a train station and is on many of the bus routes. I know that there are tours from Bangkok which arrange day trips or overnights visits. It’s around an hour north of Bangkok. We actually came down from Chang Mai on our way to Bangkok and made a four day stop in Ayutthaya. We went second class on the overnight sleeper train which cost us 900 THB (£21) each. 

The main sites are open around 8am to 5pm but sometimes close a little earlier. It’s best to go in the morning as it gets super-hot and there’s little shade, especially if you’re walking from site to site. If you want to hire a tuk-tuk to take you around the sites it’s about 300 THB per hour or so – although, if you’re doing a full day there’s a lot of room for negotiating! We didn’t use a tuk-tuk and chose to walk and cycle, hiring a bike for 50 THB each. There’s also a package ticket that includes six of the temples for 220 THB, this includes: Wat Phra Si Sanphet, Wat Mahathat, Wat Ratchaburana, Wat Phra Ram, Wat Chaiwatthanaram, and Wat Maheyong. 

We visited Ayutthaya in February and it was hot. Although not so humid, it rained only once which was actually welcomed. However, the best time to visit is between November and January as it’s slightly cooler and dry. We also visited a great night market which was just up the road from our hostel, Zleepinezz Hostel (highly recommend this place!) which was where we grabbed our dinners most nights. They served delicious Asian savoury dishes and sweets – we tried some interesting flavours – but I’m still hooked on their holy basil stir fry and sticky rice! 

Top Tip: It’s best to go in the morning as it gets super-hot and there’s little shade, especially if you’re walking from site to site.

Address: Ayutthaya Historical Park Ayutthaya, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, Thailand

Opening Hours: 8:00am – 5:00pm

Entrance Cost: Package Ticket for 6 Temples 220 THB: Wat Phra Si Sanphet, Wat Mahathat, Wat Ratchaburana, Wat Phra Ram, Wat Chaiwatthanaram, and Wat Maheyong

Where to Stay:

Suggested Tours: Ayutthaya Full-Day Trip with Cruise and Lunch and Ayutthaya Historical Park Small-Group Day Trip

Koh Lanta Old Town, Koh Lanta

Recommended by Cheryl at ‘Live Why Wait’

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In the province of Krabi, on the east side of Koh Lanta (Lanta Yai) is Lanta Old Town. Koh Lanta is a travel destination not to be missed with most holidaymakers heading directly to the west coast and its stunning beaches.

Lanta Old Town is often missed by visitors and, in my opinion, that is a mistake. Lanta Old Town is a must-see!

Originally known as Sri Raya, it was once the capital of Koh Lanta and the major port and commercial hub. Originally a fishing village and home to sea gypsys (ChaoLay), their timber homes were built on stilts to accommodate high and low tides. Chinese merchants later followed and their influence is also evident.

Today it is a quaint little town where time has stood still. The homes of the Gypsys and Chinese settlers have been transformed into restaurants and specialty shops, all while preserving the authenticity of their origins.

When you walk the streets of Lanta Old Town you feel immersed in its history, with beautifully ornate buildings and Chinese lanterns lining the street. Browse the shops for hand-crafted wares and souvenirs. Walk the long pier where locals’ fish and island tours depart. Visit the museum (free of charge but with a donation box) or take a photo of the Giant Lobster (yep – that’s right!) and the shipwreck.  

The best thing to do in Old Town Lanta is have lunch at one of the restaurants. Enjoy an authentic Thai meal while overlooking the ocean and the nearby islands. It’s such a tranquil experience.

To visit Lanta Old Town from the westside you can hire a scooter for the day (200 – 250 THB). Or you can negotiate with a tuk-tuk driver to take you over. The best time to visit Koh Lanta is November to March in their dry season.

Top Tip: Have lunch at Apsara Restaurant. The menu is authentic Thai and the service is amazing!

Address: Ko Lanta Yai, Ko Lanta District, Krabi, Thailand

Opening Hours: N/A

Entrance Cost: Free of Charge

Where to Stay:

Sukhothai Historical Park, Sukhothai

Recommended by Baia at ‘Red Fedora Diary’

traditional thai temples with a mountain and blue sky in the background
Sukhothai: One of the Most Famous Landmarks in Thailand

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Sukhothai Historical Park is one of the famous places in Thailand if you are after history and architecture. The park encompasses ruins of the ancient capital of the Kingdom of Sukhothai. Spread over around 70 sq. km, this UNESCO World Heritage Site has about 190 breathtaking ruins.

In Sanskrit, Sukhothai meansdawn of happiness” and ideally describes this former capital’s environment, ambiance, and history. Many tourists coming to Thailand often skip visiting Sukhothai completely, and of those who do visit, most do it as a day trip or a stopover. Therefore, you can see it almost crowd-free.  

Sukhothai Historical Park is 14 kilometres from the city centre and is divided into five zones. Each of them has different admission fees. The central part has essential architectural wonders of the former kingdom. Therefore, spend at least half of the day seeing this massive part of the park.

Wat Mahathat is the main temple located right at the centre of this area, glaring with glory and grandiose.  

Sukhothai is in the lower Northern part of Thailand. It takes around 7 hours by bus to get there from Bangkok. Buses are comfortable with AC and depart every day.

The park is open every day from early in the morning. Since it gets pretty hot during the day, start the exploration as early as possible. The park is open from 6:30 am till 7:30 pm.

Each zone costs 100 THB, but if you plan on exploring all of them, consider buying a pass for 350 THB.

Top Tip: Rent a bike next to the box office to explore the park as you’ll be walking quite a lot.

Address: 3 498/12 Mueang Kao, Mueang Sukhothai District, Sukhothai, Thailand

Opening Hours: Sunday to Friday: 6:30am – 7:30pm; Saturday 6:30am – 9:00pm

Entrance Cost: 100 THB Per Zone or All Zone Pass is 350THB

Where to Stay:

Suggested Tours: Sukhothai Historical Park and Countryside Cycling Tour

Tha Phae Gate, Chiang Mai

Recommended by Jade at ‘Two Tall Travellers’

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Founded in 1226, Tha Phae Gate is a fascinating place to visit. It was famous for being one of the most used entrances to the Old City over 700 years ago.

Tha Phae Gate is the eastern entrance to the Old City of Chiang Mai in the north of Thailand, protected by the moat that flows around the square. You can follow the old crumbling walls around the city, learning about the history of the ancient kingdom, and it’s reconstruction in the 20th Century.

The gate itself is free to visit and open 24/7, but beware of the tourist traps nearby. There are people outside the gate charging 20 THB for some bird seed, so that you can get a photo next to the gate with the birds flocking around you. Don’t pay this because all they do is sprinkle the food around to encourage the birds, and then kick objects towards the birds so that they fly up around the tourists for their photo!

Within the city walls, there are plenty of hotels, restaurants, temples and shops to explore, so I would recommend planning to spend a whole morning or afternoon wandering around the area. You can easily take a Grab taxi (download the app) or jump into a local songthaew for between 20 – 50 THB from most places in the city.

Top Tip: Visit just before 5pm so that you can take some lovely photos with the late afternoon sun, and then take a stroll around the Walking Street Market to buy souvenirs and delicious street food.

Address: Thapae Rd, Chang Khlan Sub-district, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Opening Hours: N/A

Entrance Cost: Free of Charge

Where to Stay:

Suggested Tours: Chiang Mai Private Tuk-Tuk Tour of City Temples

Cultural Landmarks in Thailand

Thai culture is evident everywhere you travel in Thailand, and as such, it is prevalent amongst some of the most iconic landmarks in the country. The main religion in Thailand is Buddhism and this is reflected in many of the most well-known landmarks in Thailand.

Big Buddha, Phuket

big buddha on top of mountain in phuket
The Big Buddha, Phuket: Image by Miltiadis Fragkidis at Unsplash

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Phuket is one of the many beautiful a tropical island located in Thailand. It is known for its beautiful beaches and lush jungles, but it also is home to one of the iconic landmarks in Thailand. The island has many Buddhist temples, the biggest and most famous of which is the Big Buddha Phuket, also known as Mingmongkol Buddha.

Today, the Big Buddha Phuket is a popular tourist destination located in the Nakkerd Hills in Phuket, not far from Chalong. The easiest way to get to the Big Buddha is by tuk-tuk, or by renting a scooter.

Construction originally began in 2002 as a replica of Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok, but it is still under construction and has since grown to be much larger. The statue is 45 metres tall and 25.45 meters wide. It is made from concrete covered in Burmese white marble.

The Big Buddha Phuket attracts millions of visitors every year, who come to see its impressive size and beauty. It is an important religious site for Buddhists who believe that the statue represents the perfect embodiment of wisdom and compassion. The statue is also popular with tourists who come to see the beautiful natural scenery surrounding it and amazing views of Kata and Karon Beach, Chalong and the entire southern part of the island.

The temple features a main hall with a golden statue of the Buddha and an extensive collection of religious artefacts. There is also a library and several meditation areas. The temple is open from dawn to dusk every day except for holidays.

The Big Buddha Phuket is the biggest and most famous Buddhist temple on the island. It is a must-see for anyone visiting Phuket, and its stunning architecture is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Top Tip: Ensure you wear appropriate clothing to visit this Buddhist temple or alternatively, you can borrow a sarong for free.

Address: ยอดเขานาคเกิด Karon, Mueang Phuket District, Phuket, Thailand

Opening Hours: 8:00am – 6:00pm Every Day

Entrance Cost: Free of Charge

Where to Stay:

Suggested Tours: Phuket Half-Day City Highlights and Viewpoints Group Tour

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, Ratchaburi (Outskirts of Bangkok)

Recommended by Milijana at ‘World Travel Connector’

boat on river at a floating market in bangkok

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The fabulous Damnoen Saduak Floating Market on the outskirts of Bangkok is the most famous floating market in Thailand. The market is famous in Bangkok and a popular tourist attraction in Thailand, regularly visited on a day trip from Bangkok. Visiting Damnoen Saduak Floating Market on a day trip is one of the best things to do in Bangkok

If you want to get a unique experience in Thailand, allow time to visit Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. It covers a net of ‘khlongs’ (canals). The market is known for local Thai vendors who sell their products (fresh local produce and classic Thai dishes) from the boats while slowly drifting along the canals. The market’s visitors usually buy foods from boats, sit on the docks and enjoy their meals in a unique ambiance. Many visitors choose to take a boat ride along the canals and explore this fascinating market from a boat.

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market got worldwide recognition thanks to James Bond as the market was a filming location for The Man with Golden Gun. But that wasn’t the only movie filmed there. Damnoen Saduak Market has served as the setting for several movies.

Hardly any place in Thailand is more vibrant and exciting than Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. Tourists know that and the boat vendors are aware of it. So, expect tourist prices along with tourist crowds. Expect to pay a few Thai baht more, but don’t hesitate to bargain. Despite that, visiting Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is one of the best things to do in Thailand.

Damnoen Saduak Market is in the greater Bangkok area. It is located 100 kilometres (62 miles) from the centre of Bangkok. It’s an open-air market with no entrance fee. The market is open from 7 am to 3 pm on weekdays and from 7 am to 5 pm on weekends. But the market is the busiest in the morning until noon.

Taking a Damnoen Saduak Market tour is one of the most popular trips from Bangkok. Book your place on the Damnoen Saduak Market tour in Bangkok and get ready to see one of the most amazing places in Thailand.

Top Tip: Don’t forget to take your camera with you. Many fantastic photo opportunities await you! 

Address: หมู่ที่ 9 51 Damnoen Saduak, Damnoen Saduak District, Ratchaburi, Thailand

Opening Hours: Monday to Friday: 7:00am – 3:00pm; Saturday and Sunday: 7:00am – 5:00pm

Entrance Cost: Free of Charge

Where to Stay:

Suggested Tours: Damnoen Saduak Market and Maeklong Railway Market and Damnoen Saduak Floating Market 6-Hour Tour

The Grand Palace, Bangkok

Recommended by Vidyut at ‘Triplyzer’

golden stupa at the grand palace in bangkok
The Grand Palace: A Famous Landmark in Thailand Not to be Missed!

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Spread over an area of more than 200,000 sq. feet, the majestic Grand Palace is not just a popular site in Bangkok, but also a top travel destination in Thailand for backpackers through to luxury 5-star travellers. It is considered to be one of the most famous buildings in Thailand.

Constructed in the 18th Century, it was the official residence of the Thai King for more than a sanctuary. Today it is only used for royal ceremonies.

On its expansive grounds are numerous religious and royal structures. The complex is bounded on all sides by high walls and the entry is restricted through a single gate known as Wiseedtschairi Gate. The ticket window is located next to it and if you want to avoid long queues, we recommend you book online.

The entrance fee is 500 THB and allows you to wander freely through the ground and explore the various buildings.

There are over 100 buildings on the grounds but only a selected few are open to the public. As a tourist you will be mostly roaming in the Outer Court which is where the Emerald Buddha is located, and will be one of the highlights of your visit.

Also known as Wat Phra Kaew, this famous temple in Thailand is also considered to be one of the most sacred in Thailand. Two demon statues guard the entrance of the building inside of which houses the brilliantly sculpted golden statue of Buddha, so large that it is difficult to capture it in one frame.

The other places of interest include The Great Chakri Palace – royal residence, Phra Thinang Amarin Winitchai – the throne room, Phra Mondop – the royal library, Prasat Phra Debidorn – the Royal Pantheon, and Dusit Maha Prasat. Access to these varies from restricted to limited.

The palace’s central location by the Chao Phraya River makes it easily accessible from any point in Bangkok. Sanam Chai is the nearest BTS Skytrain station and from there it’s a 20-minute walk to the entrance. On the way, you will cross Wat Pho, allowing you to combine your trip.

Top Tip: It is one of the most visited sites and famous sites in Thailand Bangkok so it’s always crowded. However, if you arrive as soon as it opens you’ll share the courtyard with only a few others.

Address: Na Phra Lan Rd, Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok, Thailand

Opening Hours: Everyday: 8:30am – 3:30pm

Entrance Cost: 500 THB

Where to Stay:

Suggested Tours: Grand Palace, Wat Pho & Wat Arun Flexi Private Temple Tour and Bangkok City Highlights Temple and Market Walking Tour

Wat Arun / Temple of Dawn, Bangkok

Recommended by Krisztina at ‘She Wanders Abroad’

intricate carvings on a temple in bangkok
Wat Arun, Bangkok

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Wat Arun is one of the most popular tourist attractions of Thailand and tops the list of monuments in Thailand. It is a must-see for anyone visiting Thailand. The temple is beautiful and unique, and its location on the river makes it even more special. Even if you only have one day in Bangkok, make sure to include Wat Arun on your list of places to visit!

Wat Arun is located on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok Yai district, opposite Wat Pho and Grand Palace. Often referred to as the ‘Temple of Dawn’, Wat Arun is known for its stunning architecture and intricate design.

It is easy to spot because of its tall spire, which is adorned with ceramic tiles and looks like a giant piece of multi-coloured candy. The temple is made up of seven levels, each with its own unique design. There are over one million ceramic tiles on the exterior of the temple!

Wat Arun is open daily from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm. Admission to the temple is 50 THB for foreigners and free for Thai citizens. One of the most scenic ways to get to Wat Arun is to hop on a riverboat at the Tha Tien Pier, close to Wat Pho.

You can explore the temple complex on your own, or you can take a guided tour. Either way, you will be impressed by the beauty of Wat Arun.

Top Tip: The best time to visit Wat Arun is early morning or late afternoon when the sun is not too harsh.

Address: 158 Thanon Wang Doem, Wat Arun, Bangkok Yai, Bangkok, Thailand

Opening Hours: Everyday: 8:30am – 5:30pm

Entrance Cost: 50 THB for foreigners and free for Thai locals

Where to Stay:

Suggested Tours: Grand Palace, Wat Pho & Wat Arun Flexi Private Temple Tour and Bangkok City Highlights Temple and Market Walking Tour

Wat Pha Lat / The Monk’s Trail, Chiang Mai

Recommended by Pete at ‘The Backpacking Family’

the monks hiking trail in chiang mai

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The Monk’s Trail is a peaceful jungle trail leading up to an impressive hill temple called Wat Pha Lat. Monks use this trail to walk between the temple and Chiang Mai town to collect Alms in the morning. The best time to see monks is between 7 am – 11a m. Earlier in the morning you are likely to catch them coming down the trail. Later in the morning you are likely to see them trekking back up the trail to the temple.

The total distance up and down the monks trail is around 2.4km (around 1.5 miles). Most of the route is covered by trees. At a steady pace, it is likely to take around 30 – 40 minutes to hike up the monks trail. It is FREE to hike up the monks’ trail and explore Wat Pha Lat. 

Wat Pha Lat has many buildings, pagodas and pavilions. Several features make Wat Pha Lat particularly unique and attractive: The location on a jungle mountain affords excellent views over Chiang Mai. There is a river running through the temple site with pools and small waterfalls. Wat Pha Lat also has several buildings of different styles and ages. There is an old well and many statues, shrines and images of Buddha. Several areas of Wat Pha Lat are showing signs of age and deterioration, giving the temple an ancient mysterious intrepid feel.

Wat Pha Lat is located close to Chiang Mai on the east side of the hill in the Doi Suthep-Pui National Park, just over 5km to the west of the centre of Chiang Mai old city. The start of the monks’ trail leading up to Wat Pha Lat is located at the end of Pilgrim’s Path road to the south of Chiang Mai Zoo. If you are based in the Chiang Mai old town a taxi (Bolt or Grab) will cost around 100 THB (£2 or $2.50 USD).

Top Tip: The best time to see the monks walking the trail is between 7 am – 11 am.

Address: Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Opening Hours: N/A

Entrance Cost: Free of Charge

Where to Stay:

Suggested Tours: Doi Suthep, Wat Umong & Wat Pha Lat Sunrise Small-Group Tour

Wat Pho / Wat Phra Chetuphon, Bangkok

Recommended by Kenny at ‘Knycx Journeying’

golden buddha lying on their side

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As a popular travel destination in Thailand, Bangkok is also a historic and religious city with most of the important sites located along the Chao Phraya River. The best way to experience these places is by hopping on the Chao Phraya Hop-on-hop-off boat that stops at a number of Thailand top attractions including the Grand Palace, Wat Arun, and Wat Pho.

Wat Pho is located near the Grand Palace and it is one of the most famous ancient temples in Thailand. It’s possible to simply take a walk from the entrance of the Grand Palace or take the hop-on-hop-off boat and hop off the station at Wat Pho.

The temple complex is open to visitors between 8 am and 6:30 pm daily. Entering the temple is free, and the best time to visit the temple is in the early morning when you can witness the monk’s chanting ritual, as well as beat the crowd and stay away from the afternoon heat.  

Wat Pho features a 46-meter-long reclining Buddha that takes up the entire interior of the temple hall and it’s widely recognized among travellers from all over the world. A reclining Buddha is a symbol and major iconographic in Buddhist art. A reclining Buddha represents the last stage of the Buddha’s life who entered Parinirvana – a stage of great salvation after death. 

Top Tip: There are a number of cafes like Make Me Mango or Blue Whale Café, and some of them have a balcony that offers some of the best views of Wat Arun during sunset.  

Address: 2 Sanam Chai Rd, Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok, Thailand

Opening Hours: Everyday: 8:00am – 6:30pm

Entrance Cost: Free of Charge

Where to Stay:

Suggested Tours: Grand Palace, Wat Pho & Wat Arun Flexi Private Temple Tour and Bangkok City Highlights Temple and Market Walking Tour

Wat Phraw Kaew / Emerald Buddha Pavilion, Bangkok

Recommended by Brodi at ‘Our Off Beat Life’

Famous Landmarks in Thailand-Grand Palace and Wat Phraw Kaew from atop Wat Arun
The Grand Palace and Wat Phraw Kaew from atop Wat Arun

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The Emerald Buddha Pavilion in Bangkok is also known as Wat Phraw Kaew. It’s located right in downtown Bangkok across the street from Sanam Luang Park. The Emerald Buddha Pavilion is part of The Grand Palace.

Thanks to its central location you can get to Wat Phraw Kaew by bus, river ferry, or a Grab rideshare. Grab is an app similar to Uber or Lyft in North America, and it is commonly used throughout Southeast Asia and is perfectly safe to use. 

The palace complex is open 8:30 am to 3:30 pm daily. The cost is 500 THB (~$14.60 USD) for foreigners to enter. Thai people may enter for free. You must be conservatively dressed to be allowed entry meaning shoulders and knees must be covered for both men and women. If they aren’t, you will be sent back to the complex entrance to rent floor-length robes.

Wat Phraw Kaew is one of the top tourist attractions in Thailand, so it is fairly busy every day of the year. Make sure you get there early in the day if you want to finish everything in your Bangkok itinerary

The Grand Palace has been home to the Thai King for over 150 years. The grounds and architecture of the palace complex are incredibly ornate and impressive. 

The Temple of the Emerald Buddha inside the Grand Palace is one of the most sacred sites in Thailand. Each season, the King of Thailand changes his robes in the temple to bring good fortune to the country.

Top Tip: A beautiful and often overlooked view of the Grand Palace and Wat Phraw Kaew can be seen from atop Wat Arun, across the river.

Address: The Royal Grand Palace, Na Phra Lan Rd, Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok, Thailand

Opening Hours: Everyday: 8:30am – 3:30pm

Entrance Cost: 500 THB

Where to Stay:

Suggested Tours: Grand Palace, Wat Pho & Wat Arun Flexi Private Temple Tour and Bangkok City Highlights Temple and Market Walking Tour

Wat Pra That Doi Suthep / Golden Mount Temple, Chiang Mai

thai temple roofline against a blue sky

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The history of Wat Phra That Doi Suthep can be traced back to the time of the Buddha. After he attained enlightenment, he travelled throughout India teaching his insights to people. One of his stops was at a mountain called Phra That Doi Suthep, which is now one of the most popular Buddhist temples in Thailand.

The temple is located just a short drive from the city of Chiang Mai and it is included on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The temple was built in 1367 and it has been abandoned, rebuilt and renovated several times since then.

Today, Wat Phra That Doi Suthep or the Golden Mount Temple, in Chiang Mai is the most sacred temple in the region. As such, it is a popular tourist destination for people who want to explore Buddhist culture. It’s also a great place to take pictures because of the beautiful landscape and the impressive architecture.

The entrance to the temple complex is guarded with two colourful glass adorned snakes (nagas) with a long 306 step-staircase leading to the entrance. The main attraction at Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is the Buddha statue known as the Golden Buddha. The pagoda is made out of glittering gold and it is one of Thailand’s most famous landmarks.

Other attractions at Wat Phra That Doi Suthep include a meditation hall, a stupa where relics are stored, various smaller temples and a pagoda. There are also several gardens that offer beautiful views of the cityscape and the surrounding areas.

Top Tip: While visiting Chiang Mai, be sure to take the time to explore the many other attractions in Chiang Mai including temples, markets, and the surrounding small towns.

Address: 9 หมู่ที่ 9 Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Opening Hours: 6:00am – 8:00pm Everyday

Entrance Cost: 30 THB

Where to Stay:

Suggested Tours: Doi Suthep, Wat Umong & Wat Pha Lat Sunrise Small-Group Tour

Wat Rong Khun / White Temple, Chiang Rai

Recommended by Alex and Leah at ‘Alex and Leah on Tour

white ornate temple
Northern Thailand Landmark: White Temple, Chiang Mai

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The White Temple, known locally as Wat Rong Khun, is a beautiful, glistening temple situated 13 kilometres outside of Chiang Rai in Northern Thailand. Remarkably the whole site was built within the 1997 calendar year and is a stunning piece of architecture that you must visit. 

The White Temple is renowned as one of the most beautiful temples to visit in Thailand (there is certainly a lot of competition) with its unrivalled white architecture and peaceful atmosphere. Within the walls of the main temple itself are very detailed paintings of modern-day superheroes and famous figures which, according to the artist, attempt to highlight that they will not be able to save us from our sins or ultimate death. 

There are numerous ways to visit the White Temple. If you’re staying in Chiang Rai then it is easy to visit by either private tuk-tuk (fare to be negotiated), or by the public bus which leaves every 20 minutes from platform 8 of Chiang Rai bus terminal; your journey takes around 30 minutes and costs 20 THB. Alternatively, if you’re attempting to visit from Chiang Mai, we would highly recommend taking a one-day tour of Chiang Rai which will include the White Temple in one of your many stops.

The temple itself is open from 8am every day and closes at 5pm on weekdays and 5:30pm on weekends. Entrance costs 50 THB for foreigners and is free for Thai nationals; the stall is situated at the temple’s entrance and is easily noticeable. We’d recommend visiting between the months of October and April when the weather is cool and manageable. 

Top Tip: Try and visit the temple as early as possible to avoid the crowds; this enables you to enjoy your visit in peace and allows for more uninterrupted photos. 

Address: Phahonyothin Rd, Pa O Don Chai, Mueang Chiang Rai District, Chiang Rai, Thailand

Opening Hours: Monday to Friday: 8:00am – 5:00pm, Weekends:  8:00am – 5:30pm

Entrance Cost: 50 THB

Where to Stay:

Suggested Tours: White Temple & Golden Triangle Day Trip from Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai Famous Temples Small Group Tour from Chiang Mai

Wat Tham Suea / Tiger Cave Temple, Krabi

Recommended by Martina at ‘PlacesofJuma’

temple to buddha on top of a mountain

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One of the most beautiful sights in Thailand is certainly the Tiger Cave Temple in Krabi. This Buddhist temple is also called Wat Tham Suea and is one of the most special landmarks of the region among connoisseurs.

This sight is best reached from the nearby resorts of the Krabi region like Ao Nang or Klong Muang. The nearest town is Krabi Town and from there the cheap minibuses or motorcycle-cabs also lead to the temple. The most uncomplicated and convenient way to get there, however, is by taxi which can be arranged cheaply for the round trip to the temple.

The Tiger Cave Temple has no official opening hours, so you can visit this attraction at any time. Some prefer to go in the very early morning, to enjoy the calm beauty. The entrance is free of charge, but the monks are happy about a donation.

The special feature of the Tiger Cave Temple is not only its name (no, there are no tigers here) but especially the location of the temple. The main temple is located on a steep limestone cliff, which can only be reached by 1200 steps. Recommended is a visit in the early morning, when it is not yet too hot and the climb is still pleasant.

Top Tip: As an insider tip I can recommend a visit at sunset. From the temple terrace you can enjoy a wonderful view over the Krabi region. Flashlights for the descent should not be forgotten.

Address: 35 Krabi Noi, Mueang Krabi District, Krabi, Thailand

Opening Hours: Everyday: 5:00am – 5:00pm

Entrance Cost: Free of Charge but donations are gratefully accepted

Where to Stay:

Suggested Tours: Krabi 4-Hour City Tour with Tiger Cave Temple and Krabi Tiger Cave Temple Sunset Tour

Natural Landmarks in Thailand

Thailand is world renowned for its beautiful natural landscapes and pictures of these are used heavily in their marketing campaigns, for very good reason. When planning your trip, ensure you allow enough time to see at least one of the following natural landmarks in Thailand as they really are unforgettable!

Ang Thong Marine Park, Surat Thani

Recommended by Julie at ‘Julie Around the Globe’

aqua blue ocean waters with islands

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Located in the Gulf of Thailand, near Koh Samui, Ang Thong Marine Park is one of the best national parks in Thailand and a must-visit during your trip! The park was established in 1980 and consists of 42 islands covered by lush jungle and limestone formations. It became very popular after the movie The Beach came out.

To get there you will need to book a tour from Ko Samui or Ko Phangan, either as a day trip, or as a “round-trip” ticket if you plan on spending the night on one of the islands within the park.

At the Park Headquarters on Ko Wua Ta Lap, you can rent a bungalow or camping equipment. There, you will also find restrooms, showers, and a restaurant. You can enjoy the beach, visit the Buaboke Cave, and hike to one of the park’s best viewpoints, where you’ll get to see most of the park and its islands.

There are plenty of amazing snorkelling spots within the park where you will see lots of colourful fish and an amazing reef. Many of these snorkelling spots can be accessed right from the beach.

Ko Mae Ko and its stunning Emerald Lake is also a must-visit. The climb to the lake is arduous but well worth it. Another popular island is Ko Wua Talap and its two beaches located on opposite side of the island but both are connected via a trail through the jungle.

The entrance fee is 300 THB for foreigners (usually not included in the prices of the tours). Depending on what you want to do and see, you can choose between different tours, each of which will have a different focus i.e. more on hiking or kayaking while others include more snorkelling or diving. The best option is to book a tour that features a mix of everything.

Make sure to bring sunscreen, mosquito repellent, and good shoes if you want to hike to one of the viewpoints.

Top Tip: The rainy season in this area of Thailand is from September to December, so try to avoid these months if you can.

Address: 45/1-2 Moo 1 Thongsala Ko Phangan, Surat Thani, Thailand

Opening Hours: N/A

Entrance Cost: 300 THB

Where to Stay:

Suggested Tours: Mu Ko Ang Thong Park Sunset Cruise and Ang Thong National Marine Park Day Trip by Speed Boat

Ao Phang Nga National Park, Phuket

islands of limestone in a bay

Website / More Info                Directions

Ao Phang Nga National Park is one of the most popular Southern Thailand attractions. It consists of approximately 42 islands covering 400 square kilometres, the most notable of which is James Bond Island and Kho Panyee, a fishing village built on stilts in the middle of the bay. This is the home to a Muslim community that relies heavily on tourism and fishing to survive.

Tourists are attracted to the national park for its beautiful scenery, mangrove forests, aqua marine waters, soft sand beaches, and limestone cliffs and rock formations. Popular activities include snorkelling, scuba diving, rock climbing, caving and canoeing. Phang Nga Bay is also a popular area for boating and sailing due to the many safe and picturesque places to anchor.

Top Tip: It is possible to join a tour offering overnight camping on the beaches, making it possible to really explore this beautiful national park.

Address: Mueang Phang-nga District, Phang-nga, Thailand

Opening Hours: 8:30am – 4:30pm Everyday

Entrance Cost: 200 THB for Adults, 100 THB for Children

Where to Stay:

Suggested Tours: James Bond Island Excursion by Longtail Boat and James Bond Island Luxury Sunset Cruise

Cheow Lan Lake, Khao Sok National Park

Recommended by Helen at ‘Curious Goose’

A longtail boat moored at a floating raft house on Cheow Lan lake
A longtail boat moored at a floating raft house on Cheow Lan Lake

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Cheow Lan Lake is a beautiful emerald-green lake which sits in the centre of Khao Sok National Park. The lake is surrounded by rugged limestone cliffs, which rise high above the thick rainforest.

To get to Khao Sok, you will need to take a shared minivan from Phuket, Krabi, Koh Lak or Surat Thani. As Cheow Lan Lake is a protected area within Khao Sok National Park, you must join a guided tour in order to visit it. You can choose from a one day tour, or the more popular overnight tour, where you’ll sleep in a floating rafthouse on the lake. Depending on which company you book with, expect to pay around 2820 THB (£64) per adult for the overnight package (including the 300 THB National Park fee and 20 THB cleaning fee).

During the tour, you will join a guide on a jungle trek through the rain forest, float on a bamboo raft to explore a hidden cave and take part in a boat safari. You’ll see wildlife such as gibbons, snakes, insects, hornbill birds and if you are lucky, you might even spot elephants! You will also have free time to relax, swim or kayak in the lake.

When visiting Cheow Lan Lake, make sure that your camera / phone is fully charged and take a portable battery charger with you. Electricity is limited and you’ll want to make sure you have enough battery for all the photos you will take!

The beauty of Cheow Lan Lake and its surroundings in Khao Sok National Park is really quite breathtaking and a worthy addition to your Thailand itinerary

Top Tip: Khao Sok National Park is a rainforest, so be prepared for some rainfall year-round and pack your raincoat. Don’t worry though, the rain is often just a short downpour.

Address: Khao Phang, Ban Ta Khun District, Surat Thani, Thailand

Opening Hours: N/A

Entrance Cost: Cost of Guided Tour (includes 300 THB National Park fee + 20 THB cleaning fee)

Where to Stay:

Suggested Tours: Khao Sok Luxury 2-Day / 1-Night Lake Expedition

Erawan Falls, Kanchanaburi

Recommended by Cecilie at ‘Worldwide Walkers’

waterfall in jungle
Erawan Falls – Tier 3

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One of the most famous natural landmarks in Thailand is without a doubt Erawan Falls. It’s a unique waterfall that has 7 tiers marked by blue, emerald pools, and it stretches several kilometers through the jungle. Spending a day at Erawan Falls is a phenomenal way to enjoy Thailand’s nature and everything that it has to offer.

You can swim in all the 7 tiers of the waterfall, although you’ll see that some places are more suited for it than others. It’s also possible to enjoy a nice jungle hike in the National Park by following the Waterfall Trail to the last tier of Erawan Falls which takes approximately 1.5 hours return. Erawan Falls is certainly one of the most perfect places to enjoy a day spent in Thailand’s nature.

Erawan Falls is located in Erawan National Park, only an hour away from Kanchanaburi, and about 200 kilometers West of Bangkok. It’s an ideal day trip for those looking to escape bustling Bangkok for a day. Erawan National Park is open every day from 8 am to 4:30 pm with an entrance fee of 300 THB. You can either join a day tour or get there yourself with the local bus from Kanchanaburi.

You can visit Erawan Falls all year round, but it’s often very crowded during weekends and holidays, so you will have more of the nature to yourself if you come during the weekdays. It’s such a magical place, and you won’t regret putting it on your next Thailand itinerary.

Top Tip: Get your free-nature-pedicure in Erawan Falls. Erawan is home to the Garra Rufa fish, which you can find in the Fish Spas around the world.

Address: Tha Kradan, Si Sawat District, Kanchanaburi, Thailand

Opening Hours: Everyday: 8:30am – 4:30pm

Entrance Cost: 300 THB entrance fee to Erawan National Park

Where to Stay:

Suggested Tours: Erawan National Park + Kanchnaburi 14-Hour Small Group Tour and Historical Day Tour to River Kwai

Khao Phing Kan / James Bond Island, Ao Phang Nga National Park

a limestone karst in a bay of calm water
One of the Most Famous Landmarks in Thailand – James Bond Island: Image by Sven Vahaja at Unsplash

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Some of the most stunning natural landmarks in Thailand are located in Phang Nga Bay. One of the most iconic is Khao Phing Kan, better known as James Bond Island, made famous as it was the filming location for the 1974 James Bond Movie ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’

Positioned off Phang Nga Bay in Southern Thailand, the island is a popular destination for day-trippers from Phuket or Krabi. The easiest way to visit is via one of the many island-hopping tours via long-tail boat.  

Ko Ta Pu (the most recognisable feature) is the name of the tall 20-metre-high limestone formation emerging from the clear, blue waters just off the coast and is the most photographed landmark on the island.

Enjoy stunning beaches and colourful marine life, striking limestone formations, hidden caves, dense mangroves, and kayaking in calm, crystal clear waters.

Top Tip: If you want to avoid the masses of tourists visiting on tours, we recommend renting a private boat and plan for a whole day out where Khao Phing Kan will be a very brief stop, ideally at a time when there are fewer tourists.

Address: Phang-nga, Thailand

Opening Hours: 8:00am – 4:30pm Everyday

Entrance Cost: Free of Charge

Where to Stay:

Suggested Tours: James Bond Island Excursion by Longtail Boat and James Bond Island Luxury Sunset Cruise

Koh Nang Yuan, Surat Thani

Recommended by Pete at ‘The Backpacking Family

islands joined by a sandbank
Nang Yuan Viewpoint Located on the South Island

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Koh Nang Yuan is a small island located off the northwest coast of Koh Tao with a breathtaking viewpoint. There are a couple of small islands here linked by sandbars. The view point is on the smaller south island. 

To get to Koh Nang Yuan, arrange a boat from the walking street on the north side of Sairee Beach on Koh Tao. You will see boats advertised along this section. A good price for the return trip is around 150 – 200 THB per person. The boat ride takes around 15 minutes. There is an entrance fee of 250 THB to the islands. To get to the viewpoint, walk across the sandbar then walk along the wooden walkway and follow the steps up the hill. It takes around 10 to 15 minutes to walk up to the viewpoint. 

Take care at the viewpoint as there are some steep drops. To get to the actual viewpoint rocks you will need to scramble over rocks a little to the end. After enjoying the Koh Nang Yuan viewpoint there are some beautiful beaches with crystal clear water to enjoy snorkelling or swimming. The island has a small cafe serving food and drinks, however, the prices are pretty high by Thai standards. 

Koh Nang Yuan is open for visitors between 9:30am – 4pm. The best time to visit is during the dry season (January – June). Nang Yuan Island is a no drone zone and has a no plastic bottle policy. Food and drink is expensive on the island (bring water in a non-plastic bottle).

Top Tip: If you plan to do a snorkelling day trip around Koh Tao, they normally include a stop at Koh Nang Yuan for an hour or two. They normally ask you to pay the entrance fee in addition to the trip price. We highly recommend Oxygen Tours for great snorkelling trips

Address: Surat Thani, Thailand

Opening Hours: 9:30am – 4:00pm

Entrance Cost: 250 THB

Where to Stay:

Suggested Tours: Koh Tao & Koh Nang Yuan Day Trip by Speedboat

Maya Bay, Koh Phi Phi Leh

blue water bay with lots of boats
Maya Bay in Koh Phi Phi: Image by Humphrey Muleba at Unsplash

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Maya Bay, one of the most famous landmarks in Thailand and beautiful places of Thailand, has just recently opened again after being closed for years to allow the ecosystem to regenerate due to over-tourism.

It is located in Ko Phi Leh, an island in the Phi Phi archipelago in Krabi Province in southern Thailand. The island is uninhabited and lies about 2 kilometres from the beautiful island of Koh Phi Phi Don.

It was made famous by the movie ‘The Beach’ with Leonardo Di Caprio, and since, the stunning bay has attracted millions of visitors over the years. It is a breathtaking sight, with soft white sand beaches and turquoise waters surrounded by limestone karsts rising from the waters to almost enclose the bay.

Maya Bay can be reached by ferry from Phuket or on an island-hopping day trip from Phuket or Krabi. Alternatively, many visitors choose to stay on Koh Phi Phi Don and take a trip to Koh Phi Phi Leh.

Top Tip: As a part of the regeneration program, Maya Bay will be closed during certain times of the year. Please check the website to ensure it is open when you are planning to visit.

Address: เกาะพีพีเล Ao Nang, Mueang Krabi District, Krabi, Thailand

Opening Hours: N/A

Entrance Cost: N/A

Where to Stay:

Suggested Tours: Phi Phi Islands Full-Day Speedboat Trip from Krabi and Phi Phi Islands and Maya Bay Day Trip with Lunch from Phuket

Pai Canyon, Pai

Recommended by Abi at ‘IGOA-Adventure

sunset view from a canyon

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If you’re heading to Northern Thailand, it’s likely you’ll be heading to Chang Mai, but there’s also some incredible places to check out near Chang Mai too… enter Pai. You may have already heard of Pai, but if you haven’t, Pai is a great spot for kicking back and relaxing! It’s much smaller than Chang Mai and tucked away into the mountains, but it’s got something magical about it which attracts visitors from all over. 

There’s a place in Pai known as Pai Canyon which is a breath-taking viewpoint very close to the town centre. As the name suggests it’s a sort of canyon, but very small, overlooking the mountains with fantastic sunset opportunities! There isn’t much of anything there except some benches and narrow walking trails but the view is all you will need. It is an exceptionally beautiful place! It’s free to enter and takes around 5 minutes to climb to the viewpoint. The hiking trails weave around the canyon and can take as long you want, but an hour is a good amount of time to enjoy the views. There is free parking but it does get full, especially at sunset so be sure to get there early enough. 

The best way and the way I recommend reaching Pai is to rent a scooter and ride the four hours from Chang Mai to Pai. It may seem like a lot but this is, in my opinion, the only way it should be done! Once out of the city you will pass along the mountain road which is really beautiful. The road twists and turns up and down the mountain before you reach Pai and the views are incredible. There’s a small waterfall about halfway which makes for a nice stop and rest, it’s called Mork Fa Waterfall and costs 150 THB to enter. 

It’s possible to rent a scooter from AYA Service for 140 THB a day and drop it off at the AYA Service in Pai should you not want to ride back. (Note: Additional 300 THB Pai service charge and a 2200 deposit for bike and helmets – which you will get back is applicable). My best advice if you’re doing this is to make sure you get a comfortable bike, maybe a slightly bigger one with cushioned seats if you can. You can arrange for AYA to take your bag too if you are staying in Pai longer. 

We spent only one night in Pai and chose to catch the bus back which cost 150 THB each. We booked this in the morning and had no problems getting on a bus that day. It’s worth mentioning that Pai is really quirky, it’s full of bars and restaurants but we did feel it had quite a young party scene and it wasn’t somewhere we would have wanted to stay for too long, although one night was certainly not long enough! 

There’s some great cafes in Pai and one we really enjoyed was Lemon Thyme Cafe and Tom Yum King. In the evening, Pai walking street comes alive with food stalls and crafts, although there were more food stalls than anything else. This was fun to walk along; we had the best deep fried oyster mushroom burrito – it was enormous – enough for the both of us!

Top Tip: Be cautious however, not to go during the burning season (which runs from late Feb to April) as the smoke will obscure the views.  We did actually visit in March, the worst time to go for this, as we had no choice. Even though it was okay and not as bad as we had heard, the views were not as clear as it could have been, which was a bit disappointing, so I recommend to avoid visiting this time of year if possible!

Address: Mae Hi, Pai District, Mae Hong Son, Thailand

Opening Hours: N/A

Entrance Cost: Free of Charge

Where to Stay:

Suggested Tours: Chiang Mai & Pai 2-Day Sticky Waterfalls Private Trip

Railay Beach, Krabi

Recommended by Alex and Leah at ‘Alex and Leah on Tour

sun setting over the water
Railay Beach, Krabi

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Railay Beach (pronounced Ray ley) is a small cape between the municipalities of Krabi and Ao Nang in Southern Thailand. It attracts a wide variety of visitors from families to backpackers, but all are seeking the peninsula’s beautiful white beaches and mesmerising blue waters.

Due to the high limestone cliffs that surround the beach, Railay is only accessible by boat. However, boats arrive throughout the day from the neighbouring hotspots of Phuket, Phi Phi and Krabi. The easiest and most convenient method of securing a ticket is by visiting a local travel agent in the days before visiting Railay Beach. The price of transport will differ according to your location, but it will likely cost you 200 THB per person from Krabi, 400 THB from Phi Phi and roughly 1,000 THB from Phuket. 

Once you are there, there are plenty of hotels and resorts to choose from, no matter your budget. All of Railay is easily walkable and you can get from one side to the other in 5 minutes!

If there is one thing you should do whilst in Railay, it is rock climbing. Famous around the country for its natural rock climbing mountains, Railay has routes for all abilities and even if you’ve never tried such activity, you must give it a go. Whilst it does cost 1,000 THB per person, the experience is definitely worth it and you’ll manage to see some amazing views from the places you reach

Top Tip: If you fancy relaxing but aren’t able to find any shade on the beach or handle the annoying sand flies, we’d recommend buying a drink or two at the Sand Sea Resort. This will allow you access to the comfortable deck chairs and hotel pool so you feel at ease under the baking Thai sun.

Address: Ao Nang, Mueang Krabi District, Krabi, Thailand

Opening Hours: N/A

Entrance Cost: Free of Charge

Where to Stay:

Suggested Tours: Krabi 7 Islands Sunset Tour with BBQ Dinner and Snorkelling and Half-Day Rock Climbing at Railay Beach

Other Famous Landmarks of Thailand

BLES Elephant Sanctuary, Sukhothai

Recommended by Caroline at ‘Veggie Way Farer’

asian elephant
Image by Dusan Veverkolog at Unsplash

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There is no shortage of elephant sanctuaries in Thailand. Some warrant the label ethical, while others play the marketing game just right. The sad fact of the matter is, it is very hard to deduce if an elephant sanctuary is actually doing right by its inhabitants.

Boon Lott Elephant Sanctuary (BLES) in Sukhothai is ethical, and then some. It has been featured many times on Animal Planet and has received the seal of approval from Responsible Thailand, the branch of the Thai tourism office in charge of ethical tourism.

BLES can be seen as a retirement home for the elderly elephants, founder Katherine has made it a point not to bring younger elephants in as in her words “this is perpetuating the cycle”. By purchasing – you read that right, elephants are considered property under Thai Law – an elderly elephant you ensure its owner will not go straight out and purchase a youngster with that cash.

The sanctuary does not accept day visitors, instead, a 4 night 5 day stay is offered with full (vegan) board. Prices are not cheap (6,000 THB a night), and due to the guest numbers being limited, waiting times to visit run up to 2 years. But, those able to visit are rewarded with an unparalleled experience and a deeper understanding of the plight of the Thai elephant.

The team behind BLES organizes a pick-up and drop-off at the Sukhothai airport to ensure you arrive safely on their premises.

Top Tip: You will need to plan a visit to BLES well in advance as there is a long wait list of up to 1 – 2 years in advance.

Address: Ban Tuek, Si Satchanalai District, Sukhothai, Thailand

Entrance Cost: 6,000 THB per night including meals, transportation to and from either Sukhothai Airport or Uttraditt bus or train station, lots of elephant time and unlimited unforgettable memories

Chatuchak Weekend Market, Bangkok

large outdoor markets from above

Website / More Info                Directions

Chatuchak Weekend Market in Bangkok, also known as JJ Market, is the largest and most famous outdoor market in Thailand. It is visited by over 200,000 people every weekend by both locals and tourists alike, making it a very popular landmark to visit in Thailand.

With over 15,000 stalls spread out over 35 acres, the Chatuchak Market is well worth a visit. The vendors sell everything you could possible want including Thai souvenirs, fake designer goods, handicrafts, food, antiques, and even pets! 

Due to the sheer size of these markets, it can be a little overwhelming! However, the market is divided into 27 sections, each of which sells specific things and can be found easily on a map which can be purchased at the entrance. The map makes it easy to navigate this huge outdoor market.

Expect to practice your haggling skills as items vary from inexpensive to overpriced (tourist prices). Along with shopping, enjoy a meal at one of the many street food stalls. At the end of your day, enjoy a cheap foot massage which are available everywhere throughout the market.

On Saturday and Sunday, the market is open from 9:00am to 6:00pm. The market is also open for wholesale goods on Friday evening from 6:00pm to midnight. It can get very hot later in the day, so we advise visiting the market in the early morning and later in the afternoon.

You can travel to Chatuchak via the BTS Skytrain to Mo Chit Station or take the MRT Subway to Chatuchak Park Station. It is also easy to travel to by taxi or tuk-tuk.

Top Tip: Purchase a map of the market at the entrance to help you navigate the market. It can be difficult to find your way back to a stall, so if you find something you like, it is best to buy it there and then!

Address: สวนจตุจักร Kamphaeng Phet 2 Rd, Chatuchak, Bangkok, Thailand

Opening Hours: 6:00pm – Midnight Friday; 9:00am – 6:00pm Saturday and Sunday

Entrance Cost: Free of Charge

Where to Stay:

Chinatown, Bangkok

Recommended by Rachel at ‘Round the World Rachel’

Website / More Info                Directions

Chinatown in Bangkok is an absolute must-see area while you visit Thailand on your next vacation. The Chinatown in Bangkok is one of the biggest Chinatowns in the world with visitors coming from all over.

You will want to visit after dark when the streets and laneways really come alive, with street food vendors serving long queues of hungry tourists. Foodies rejoice! Chinatown is home to some of the greatest regional Chinese delicacies such as Soup Dumplings and Szechuan hotpot. Get your street food fix, or opt for one of the many sit down restaurants such as T&K Seafood Restaurant. It’s practically an institution in Chinatown!

If you are looking for even more nightlife, you might enjoy some of the speakeasy bars in the neighbourhood. Ku Bar is one of the most notable spots right now, with several other trendy spots nipping at their heels for the party crowd.

Cultural vultures are also appeased in Bangkok’s Chinatown, with numerous temples in the area. Chinatown Gate is a great photo op too.

Visiting during the day will be slightly underwhelming, but if you are looking for a bargain, the shops in the area give you great wholesale prices on multiple items of Chinese imported clothing and shoes.

Getting there can be difficult with public transport, but the area is serviced by the BTS if you are willing to walk a mile or so to get to Yaowarat Road. Otherwise, book a taxi or Grab to take you to the doorstep. There is a convenient water taxi stop on the riverside of Chinatown if you are feeling exceptionally adventurous.

Top Tip: If you are planning to shop at markets in Bangkok during your trip to Thailand, there are much better markets for their range of items and prices.

Address: 156 ซอย วานิช 1 Chakkrawat, Samphanthawong, Bangkok, Thailand

Opening Hours: N/A

Entrance Cost: Free of Charge

Where to Stay:

Suggested Tours: Chef-Designed Bangkok Food Tour and Michelin Guide Street Food Tour by Tuk-Tuk

The Baan Dam Museum (Black House), Chiang Rai

Recommended by Caroline at ‘CK Travels’

museum in the north of thailand

Website / More Info                Directions

The Baan Dam Museum, otherwise known as the ‘Black House’ is an art gallery styled like an actual temple which is a highly worthy inclusion in your Chiang Rai itinerary. Located in the same town as the famous White Temple, the Black House could be considered as the White Temple’s gothic brother.

Set amongst lush green northern Thailand surroundings, The Black House is an artful portrayal of hell which houses a collection of around 40 dark wood buildings featuring works by famous Thai artist Thawan Duchanee, plus other up and coming contemporary artists. It also houses a huge collection of skins, teeth, bones and taxidermy.

If you are lucky you might see live cultural performances on site, choreographed by some of Chiang Rai’s leading artists.

Located a 25 minute drive from Chiang Rai town, the best way to visit the Black House is on a shared or private tour. If you prefer to make your own way there then you can take a tuk-tuk (expect to pay at least 300 THB return), or you can take a local bus. The benefit of making your own way is that you can visit earlier in the day to avoid the large tour groups.

The Black House is open every day from 9am until 5pm, but is closed for lunch from 12pm to 1pm. The entrance fee is 80 THB and thereare souvenir shops and restaurants located around the entrance.

Top Tip: Book a private one-day sightseeing trip with a company called Lanna Cultural Tours, which also includes a visit to the White Temple, a tea plantation and the Golden Triangle.

Address: 333​ หมู่ 13 พิพิธภัณฑ์บ้านดำ Nang Lae, อำเภอเมือง Chiang Rai 57100, Thailand

Opening Hours: 9:00am – 5:00pm (closed 12:00pm – 1:00pm) Every Day

Entrance Cost: 80 THB

Where to Stay:

Suggested Tours: White Temple & Golden Triangle Day Trip from Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai Famous Temples Small Group Tour from Chiang Mai

Famous Landmarks in Thailand FAQs

The most famous places to visit in Bangkok are the following:

  1. Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
  2. The Grand Palace
  3. Wat Arun
  4. Wat Phra Kaew
  5. Chatuchak Weekend Market

The best temples in Thailand are the following:

  1. The White Temple in Chiang Rai
  2. Wat Arun in Bangkok
  3. Wat Pho in Bangkok
  4. Tiger Cave Temple in Krabi
  5. The Black House in Chiang Rai

Thailand is famous for the following:

  1. Street food
  2. Elephants
  3. Tuk-tuks
  4. Buddhism
  5. Islands

The top 5 major landmarks in Asia are the following:

  1. Angkor Wat in Cambodia
  2. Great Wall of China
  3. Mount Fuji in Japan
  4. Taj Mahal in India
  5. The Grand Palace in Thailand

Essential Travel Planning Resources for Thailand

These are our favourite companies to use when we travel to Thailand. They consistently turn up the best deals and offer great customer service, and overall, are better than their competitors. These companies are always our starting point when we need to book a flight, hotel, tour, transportation etc.

Book a Tour:
We mostly travel independently, however, some places are better to visit with a guided tour. We use both GetYourGuide and Viator to find great deals on tours in Thailand.

In Summary – Famous Landmarks in Thailand

With so many amazing landmarks in Thailand to visit and experience, you will be spoilt for choice! Whether you’re looking to see spectacular natural landscapes or stunning beaches, or visit sights with historical significance, there’s plenty of landmarks to visit when you’re in Thailand.

Are you planning a holiday to Thailand? Have you visited any of the famous landmarks in Thailand listed above, or have we missed a Thai landmark we should add to this list? Post your tips and questions below.

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Want more info to help you plan your Thailand holiday? Check out all the articles we’ve written on travel in Thailand below and continue planning your trip.

Other Famous Landmarks in Asia and Around the World

Want to discover more famous landmarks in Asian countries and other countries around the world? Here are some more posts that you might like!

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By Peta Wenzel

We are Peta (Australian) and Jonas (Swedish/Australian), a couple in our mid 40’s / early 50’s who have been travelling the world fulltime since January 2018. We met and lived on the Gold Coast, Australia and spent many evenings researching and watching YouTube vlogs about travel and dreaming of the day we would retire and be able to enjoy a lot more travel ourselves. Over the years, a number of events happened to family and friends and an opportunity arose which made us decide to not wait but to instead take a “Gap Year”. We are now in our 3rd year of travel and still hunger for new adventures and embrace the uncertainty that comes with full-time travel. If you want to know more about who we are, why we choose this lifestyle and how we do it, please follow our adventures and see how you can do it too.

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