Thailand stands as one of the world’s most visited countries, with a resurgent travel industry that’s slowly but surely recovering post-pandemic. From more than 40 million tourists in 2019 to a little over 11 million last year, Thailand’s tourism has taken a hit, but is now making steps towards reclaiming its status as the freedom-seeking traveler’s dream. It’s on its way to rebecoming that bustling country that comes to mind for those imagining a “break-free” type of trip.
With a tropical climate that boosts the attractiveness of Thailand and its less-crowded travel destinations, the country takes pride in being one of the ideal places to relish freedom and embark on memorable adventures. These are the locales where, just a few years ago, you’d find an abundance of tourists. Here’s our curated list of the four must-visit places to include in your Thai journey or sights you need to specifically head to in order to recharge your batteries and feel free again.
Bangkok is a city like no other. Assuming you’re planning to visit it once in your lifetime, you shouldn’t be surprised to stumble upon foreigners from the Earth’s most distant corners. For instance, flying from New York to Bangkok will take 17 to 18 hours, assuming the average speed is 434 knots or 805 km/h. Conversely, departing from Australia’s capital will lead to more substantial savings due to its proximity to Thailand. Your flight alone will take approximately 10 hours. Opting for a Sydney airport car park further sweetens the deal by reducing the time typically spent searching for parking in the overcrowded vicinity of the airport.
Often referred to as the “great city of angels” with its official Thai name, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon, this metropolis lures in roughly 22 million international tourists annually. Most of them explore top-rated attractions designed to offer a deeper connection with oneself and the opportunity to forge lasting memories. When in Bangkok, ensure you take time to check out the following top attractions:
- Temple of the Emerald Buddha
- Temple Of Dawn (Wat Arun)
- Temple Of Dawn (Wat Arun)
- Chatuchak Weekend Market
- The Grand Palace
- Central World
- Lumpini park.
Phuket has everything you can look for in a beach and caters to any traveller and budget, whether you seek a solo journey for total freedom of mind or a family trip for bonding moments. However, regardless of the format you choose to travel in, especially if you wander around alone, be sure to take precautionary measures to secure yourself from any accident or mishap that could happen. Decent outfits, a double check of the accommodation and menu prices, increased attention to the clubs you’re entering, and the police’s number saved in your phone in case of any emergency can make the difference between a delightful and a never-to-be-repeated journey.
Behind the glitz and glamour of the Surin and Kata beaches, often chosen by individuals looking to immerse themselves in a luxurious lifestyle and the high-end, luxury spas and shops, you’ll be surprised to find a relatively modest side of the city. Phuket springs to life in the evening, attracting party-ready travellers of all budget ranges. You’ll find a wide array of street food vendors along the streets, each offering culinary delights at varying price levels. And if daily activities are what you’re into, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to engage in water or travel activities. With tropical weather that makes even months from November to February pleasant to pay a visit to this city, make sure that you’ll engage in some of the following all-time-favourite activities:
- Stroll around the Old Phuket Town
- Take pictures of the Big Buddha
- Tour the Chaithararam Temple
- Lounge on Freedom Beach.
Sukhothai, Thailand’s ancient capital housing a population of around 35,000, stands out as one of the country’s most spiritual places to sojourn. The name translates to “dawn of happiness”, which tells enough about the city to trigger a sense of curiosity to visit it. The place shelters around 190 temple ruins and ancient sites, often correlated with the inception of Thai civilization, whereas the name’s suffix. Most of them, including Wat Sa Si and Wat Mahathat, are restored at the Sukhothai Historical Park and have received the titles of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The prime seasons for experiencing this destination’s historical and cultural wealth extend from November to February, so you can start looking for accommodation, find car parking spots at providers like Parkos.com.au, and plan the itinerary as the 10th month of the year approaches. No matter when you opt to visit the city, be sure to cross the following activities off your checklist:
- Explore the remains of the city gate, walls, and historical monuments
- Ride the bicycle around Sukhothai Historical Park
- Stroll through the Sukhothai Night Food Market
- Visit the giant Buddha and Buddhist temples
- Tour the Ramkhamhaeng National Museum
- Behold the sunset’s view at Wat Mahathat.
Last, if you’re into visiting mountainous regions, Chiang Mai situated 700 km (435 mi) north of Bangkok can be precisely the place you’re looking for, thanks to its hazy mountains and multicoloured hill tribes. This mountain location entices thrill-seekers looking to hike the majestic peaks of Chiang Mai. It also attracts visitors looking to immerse themselves in prosperous cultural heritage and tour temples and those desirous to behold views of breathtaking sights, like the Wat Chedi Luang serpent carvings. If you’re into spending a few days in this tranquil city, ensure to make the following attractions part of your itinerary:
- The Elephant Jungle Sanctuary
- The Royal Park Rajapruek
- The Wat Chedi Luang
- The Wat Pha Lat.
What better places to set your soul free and enjoy escapism at its best than those outlined above? From soft-sand beaches with terrific views over the sea, culturally rich historical cities, and streets that come alive at night, the most thrilling destinations in Thailand have something for any type of traveller. It’s only a matter of time until you create a list of priorities or plan a more extended trip than initially intended to make the most out of your time in Thailand.