Thailand offers so much beauty and we love exploring more and more of our new home. We asked Thailand bloggers and experts, where the most beautiful places in Thailand and these were their responses – get planning your trip around gorgeous Thailand now!
Considered one of the most beautiful Thai islands, Koh Samui is famous for its idyllic palm-fringed, white sandy beaches and warm emerald waters.
Located in the Gulf of Thailand, the best time of the year to visit Koh Samui is during the dry season, from February to August.
Besides relaxing on its stunning beaches, there are many other things to do and see in Koh Samui, including the impressive Temple of the Big Buddha, the popular Grandfather and Grandmother Rocks, and the picturesque Fisherman’s Village in Bo Phut beach.
From Koh Samui, I’d also recommend taking a day trip to the spectacular Angthong National Marine Park, a dreamy archipelago of more than 40 virgin islands that inspired Alex Garland’s book The Beach.
Foodies should pay a visit to Karma Sutra, a cool and Instagrammable restaurant in Bo Phut serving mouth-watering Thai food. Afterwards, grab a drink at the nearby Coco Tam’s beach bar.
And if you’re looking for a budget waterfront resort on the most beautiful beach on the island, look no further than PS Thana Resort, which offers 3-star accommodation on the stunning Choeng Mon beach.
Recommended by Vanda from The Yogi Wanderer
Chiang Mai, also known as the Rose of the North, is a bustling city that will woo nature lovers, culture-buffs and foodies alike. Nestled among forest-covered mountains and dotted with temples, Chiang Mai is a feast for all the senses.
It is hard to run out of things to do in Chiang Mai. At its heart lies the historic walled Old Town with its narrow streets, the stunning temple ruins of Wat Chedi Luang, tucked-away food markets and a plethora of restaurants – put Amrita Garden and Bodhi Tree Cafe 2 on your list.
Right in the middle of it all is the beautiful boutique hotel Villa Duang Champa. Take a seat at their spacious front terrace, order a delicious cocktail (the best I tried in Chiang Mai) and watch the world fly by in tuk-tuks and scooters, before heading out to explore.
The surrounding neighbourhoods of Chiang Mai are no less enticing. Mingle with the in-crowd of locals and expats in Nimmana Haeminda, visit the Baan Kang Was artist village, shop till you drop at the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar, hire a scooter and make your way to Mon Tha Than waterfall. Before you know it, your time in Chiang Mai has flown by!
Recommended by Kathi from Watch Me See
Koh Ngai is definitely one of the most beautiful places in Thailand. The views from this little island are amazing with stunning limestone islands dotting the calm blue sea. You will share your time on the beautiful beach with characterful hermit crabs, whilst hornbills swoop overhead and monitor lizards patrol between the bushes.
Most of the hotels here are along the main beach but development is low key and the island remains a quiet and unspoiled paradise. Thanya Resort is probably the best accommodation on the island, but Koh Hai Fantasy Resort is a great option if you are travelling with young children.
The main thing to do on Koh Ngai (also known as Koh Hai) is to lie back and relax on the beach, but if you are keen to be a bit more active you can snorkel from the beach, take a kayak out to sea, hike through the jungle or enjoy a day trip to the nearby islands of Koh Mook or Koh Kradan.
Recommended by Chris from More Life in your days.
Thailand is almost bursting at the seams with breath-taking islands to visit. So, what then makes Koh Lipe, one of the southern Thai islands so beautiful?
It’s probably that, unlike some of the more popular islands on the tourist map, Koh Lipe still feels almost like the last outpost of authentic travel. You won’t find the commercial hubbub of Phi Phi, or the loud longtails of Krabi by Koh Lipe, but instead a lot of travellers making their across this small island on foot.
While tourism is definitely booming on Koh Lipe (as people flock from nearby Koh Lanta), the island still retains its laidback charm – yes the evening streets are busy with people in search of their pad thai fix, but generally many of the beaches are still quiet and you can definitely get off the beaten track here. Just hop on a taxi boat to neighbouring Koh Adang – an entirely unpopulated, deserted island – for a hike up to the viewpoint, or make your way up to Bulow Beach and crunch your toes in the silky white sand, as the azure waters lap at your feet.
Strap on your snorkelling mask and drift out to the nearby corals, check out the black stone beach nearby or just spend the day reading your book with banana pancakes at Bloom Restaurant.
Recommended by Lee from The Travel Scribes.
Koh Phangan is Thailand’s 5th largest island, which became famous for its Full Moon party. Beyond that, though, it’s one of the most beautiful islands and one with a unique vibe.
Most of the island is a protected nature reserve, so it’s lush and green. The beaches are absolutely lovely, and range from the fully pristine and hard to get to (such as Bottle Beach or Thong Nai Pan Noi/Yai) to pretty little beaches easily accessible for anyone (e.g. Sri Thanu Beach right in the Sri Thanu village).
The greenery offers great hiking opportunities too. With the middle of the island quite hilly, you can count on some amazing viewpoints.
There’s a high number of restaurants and cafés in Koh Phangan, check out e.g. the popular Thai restaurant Pum Pui or a newly opened Indigo Café.
Stay e.g. at Seaflower Bungalows, a wonderful mid-range option straight on Haad Chao Phao beach with one of the most gorgeous sunset views. For a luxury option, the Kupu Kupu Resort offers stunning sunset views as well and a private beach. There are many hotels and resorts on Koh Phangan with plenty of options for any budget.
Recommended by Veronika from Travel Geekery
In the small town of Chaiya, in the Surat Thani province is nested the Suan Mok forest Monastery. This off-the-beaten track place is one of the most beautiful ways to experience the local culture of Thai Buddhism.
You will love walking around the forest and seeing the different celebrations going on there and learning about the Thai culture as this monastery is a place where locals come regularly. I personally stayed there during a 10-day silent meditation retreat and it is one of my favorite places to relax in a beautiful setting as it is tucked away from everything. You can stay there for free if you participate in chores. I particularly enjoyed walking around the forest and seeing wooden houses nested behind the lush bodhi trees, as well as the wildlife and the outdoor hot springs.
The Surat Thani province is also where Ko Tao and Ko Pha Ngan are, only a short bus and ferry ride away so you can easily add this stop to your itinerary.
Recommended by Lucile from LucileHR
Chiang Mai is an unmissable city to visit in Thailand with its unique cuisine and relaxed atmosphere away from the party islands. Located in the North, it lacks beaches but holds one of the most beautiful places in Thailand: Doi Suthep. Doi Suthep is a mountain overlooking the city of Chiang Mai.
The main attraction to visit is What Phra That Doi Suthep which is a Buddhist temple and sacred to many Thai people. Looking up from the bustling city, the mountain radiates an intriguing midst. This can be reached by car, Songthaew or hike via the ‘Monk’s Trail’. If you want to get there by Songthaew as the cheapest option, read my full guide on how to use Chiang Mai’s Songthaews. I recommend visiting the mountain before dawn for fewer crowds and more tranquillity.
There are places to stop along the mountain for look-outs, hidden temples and waterfalls. Once you’re at the top, you must climb the stairs to reach the temple. Even walking over 300 steps, there are elegant decorations to marvel at. Here you need to be dressed suitably and remove footwear. If you’re lucky you could potentially be the only visitors there as I was and you can watch the Monks starting their daily routine including ringing the gong. When you find the right corner, you can watch the sunrise over Chiang Mai which concretes the fact you’re in one of the most beautiful places in Thailand.
Recommended by Shireen from The Happy Days Travel
During our babymoon to Thailand, we especially liked Ayutthaya as one of the most beautiful places in Thailand. The town is oozing with that energy you get when there’s one temple, oh wait, another one and another one. In fact, there are hundreds of Wats scattered around Ayutthaya and its vicinity.
The best way to discover them is by bicycle. Definitely worth a visit are Wat Phra Mahathat – with the iconic head in the tree roots, the stunning Wat Chair Watthanaram – one of the most beautiful temple complexes in Ayutthaya and Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon – with the iconic 7m long lying Buddha.
Ayutthaya is a popular day trip destination from Bangkok. You can reach it in 2 hours by train or on a tour. However, it’s a charming little town where you can easily spend a couple of days. Apart from doing Wat-hopping, make sure to visit the night market, take a walk along the river or go on a boat tour.
We stayed at the Q Zone Boutique hotel which we like very much (great garden, yummy breakfast and free bikes) apart from the very hard mattresses – which is pretty standard in Thailand.
Recommended by Kath from Mums on FlipFlops
Khao Sok National Park
Of all the beautiful places in Thailand, Khao Sok National Park in the Surat Thani province of Southern Thailand was definitely a highlight. From lush rainforests to jaw-dropping limestone cliffs and valleys, impressive caves, beautiful lakes and wild animals in abundance, Khao Sok delivers on every level.
2-3 hours north of Krabi and Phuket, Khao Sok is best enjoyed for at least 2-3 days. We stayed at the awesome Riverside Cottages in a river-view room surrounded by rainforest. We booked a national park tour through Riverside Cottages which meant we would get to stay a night in the floating water bungalows on the stunning Cheow Larn Lake – by far my favourite day of the entire trip! Super simple, with no electricity, phone signal or WIFI, we were left without distractions to enjoy the beauty of the lake, rainforest and limestone mountains around us.
Whilst in the national park, we took part in on-foot jungle treks, wildlife boat safaris around the lake and a spot of canoeing. Khao Sok is home to approximately 200 wild elephants, as well as tigers, gibbons, monkeys and incredible birds, although wildlife sightings are more common in the wetter months from May to November.
Recommended by Zara from Passport for Living
I fell in love with Phuket on a surprise holiday for my 30th birthday. Having last explored Thailand aged 19 with my overlarge backpack, it was such a treat to experience the more luxurious aspects of this beautiful part of the world. Phuket, Thailand’s largest and most popular island, is so much more than its reputation as a slightly seedy party town. There are stunning, boutique and peaceful accommodation options, as well as lots of exquisite restaurants if you’re a foodie like me.
I highly recommend Black Ginger, whereupon arriving you’ll be escorted over a peaceful lagoon on a hand-operated ferry. I also loved strolling through Phuket Old Town, admiring the brightly painted, Sino-Portuguese townhouses whilst browsing in eclectic shops and dining on street food. Phuket is also exceptionally beautiful underwater; we opted for a dive excursion and explored the stunning coral and marine life of the Andaman coast.
Recommended by Jessica from Jessica Pascoe
Bang Po in Koh Samui is my pick of favourite destinations in Thailand. We rented a stunning villa from ’One Fine Day,’ to accommodate our extended family, a very affordable option.
We ate in the villa with exquisite Thai food prepared by our host and chef, Bee. Our favourite dishes including Pad Thai, green papaya salad, garlic grilled prawns and fantastic curries.
We also dined at the nearby Namu restaurant, at the W Resort and Spa sampling delicious Japanese food, prepared in front of us. Pepenero Restaurant, owned and operated by a delightful Italian was also excellent, with authentic Italian food.
For recreation, we hired a boat diving and snorkelling around Koh Tao Island. The water clarity was exceptional, as were the beaches. Sundowners, from one of the local beach vendors, was our favourite way to finish the day.
For rest and relax we indulged in early morning yoga sessions, poolside, overlooking the ocean. This was followed in an afternoon by a luxurious massage.
The benefit of hiring a villa in Koh Samui is, you have your own resort.
Recommended by Jane from Blog The Globe
Koh Nang Yuan
Undoubtedly our favourite little piece of Thai paradise had to be the 3 islands of Koh Nang Yuan which are the only 3 in the world to be connected by 1 sandbar. This unique trio sits around a 15-minute long-tail boat ride away from the larger main island of Koh Tao which is also world-renowned for its diving locations and marine life.
With crystal clear tropical blues and a 15-20 minute hike up to an Instagram worthy viewpoint, there is no shortage of things to enjoy on this island. Couple that with the opportunity to snorkel amongst trigger and parrotfish, relax on the beach or zipline between the 3 islands then there really is something here to cater to all tastes.
With only one hotel on the island, which is the Nangyuan Island Dive Resort, you have a unique opportunity to enjoy Koh Nang Yuan in the peace and quiet of the departing tourists at the end of the day. The Nangyuan Island Dive Resort is also host to the only restaurant on the island which has a delicious mix of BBQ, Thai and Western food.
When visiting the islands of Koh Tao, Koh Samui or Koh Phangan then you absolutely have to make sure you at least stop off for a day trip to Koh Nang Yuan.
Recommended by Ivana from Wander in Two
So those are some of the most beautiful places to visit in Thailand – where do you want to visit next? Let us know in the comments below!