These 13 Stunning Places Will Make You Want To Visit Thailand Right Now!
Huge white sandy beaches. A crystal clear blue ocean in so many different shades. Elephants bathing in the jungle river. Hundreds of thousands lanterns raising high up into the sky. Memories you make when you visit Thailand. This country has so much to offer, you barely will be able to put it into the right words. But there is much more magic than you think.
I am talking about never-ending fresh green rice field valleys, shiny golden Buddha temples, bigger than you can ever imagine. I am talking about those hidden gems, you will only find if you leave the beaten tracks and find your own way. These 23 photos of stunning places will inflame your wanderlust and make you want to visit Thailand in an instant!
1| BLUE LAGOON – KRABI
If you are visiting Thailand, you should not ever miss out on visiting a national park. No matter if you make it to Krabi to see this STUNNING blue lagoon (seriously – when I arrived I couldn’t believe the color of this water. I took like 25 pictures and stared at them as it was THAT turquoise blue. No filter needed. This color killed me. I was so amazed I sat there for 2 hours only gazing at the water, wondering how anything in life could ever possibly be so damn beautiful) but you have to make it to one of the national parks around the place you stay at (YES! You have to.). You will not forgive yourself if you leave Thailand without visiting one of those natural wonders. I mean that. Every one of them are keeping one of those amazing secrets. Crystal turquoise blue water pools, cliffs with a view you could never even think of, bamboo forests which will make you feel like a little bug – no matter what it will definitely be well worth visiting.
2| WAT RONG KHUN / CHIANG RAI
Arriving at Wat Rong Khun made me feel a bit strange. I somehow managed to go in from the back entrance and made my way all the to the front where was surprised with not only strange faces and weird sculpture but also very modern art with a clear meaning.
I am quite sure you won’t find any similar temple to this one in Thailand. The ‘White Temple’ is a piece of art from the National Artist Chalermchai Kositpipat. The well-known Buddhist, formerly famous for his religious paintings, wanted to build a very special monument to Buddha. He started to build Wat Rong Khun (the Thai name for ‘The White Temple’) in 1997 and it was soon to be clear, that this would not turn out as a traditional temple.
When you make your way through the temple and its surroundings you will find surreal sculptures on the entrance, superheroes and movie stars on the inner walls and more artistic installations. All of them present the surreal vision of Buddha’s lessons from the perspective of Chalermchai Kositpipat.
3| ‘GRAND CANYON’ OF PAI
There is not much to say, others than: WOAH!
4| CHEOW LAN LAKE / KHAO SOK
I barely can describe the feeling when you drive your little scooter into the south entrance of Khao Sok national park, a few miles up the road and you arrive on a hill looking over this lake! Breath taking. You can literally add the same picture twice on both sides and would have had only half of the lake captured in it. The 165-square-kilometre wide artificial lake was built in 1982. To be used as source of electricity the lake was created by the construction of Rajjaprapha Dam by the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand. No matter what the use of the lake is in nowadays – hiking, sleeping on floating huts and visiting caves is not the only adventure you can book yourself in to here. Don’t miss to pay a visit to Cheow Lan Lake in Khao Sok – you won’t find a more spectacular setting for karst topography in Thailand than the Cheow Lan area.
5| WAT MAHATHAT / AYUTTHAYA
This buddha head in the ancient temple of Wat Mahathat in Ayutthaya will leave you speechless. After the temple was destroyed during the invasion in 1767 the temples where left behind with many vandalized Buddha images and Buddha heads. The ruins have not been restored until the Department of Fine Art of Thailand in the early 1950s decided to start the restoration work. The exact story of this entwined Buddha head will always be the head’s secret but one theory suggests that after the ruins have been left behind the tree grew around the head of the destroyed Buddha statue. Another theory is, that possibly a thief tried to steal the head and brought it over to the wall to hide it but couldn’t move it any further. So he had to leave the head behind and it got entwined in the tree’s roots.
6| ERAWAN WATERFALLS / KANCHANABURI
2.1 km leading up to a 7 level waterfall. The last level is hidden and not many people will get up to it as most of them get stuck in the bigger waterfall pools. But do you really wanna get stuck in there when you can have THIS all to yourself?
7| WAT THA TON / THA TON
Hidden in the mountains of the northern Chiang Mai province is this spectacular Crystal Pagoda. Follow the way all the way up to the top of the hill in the village of Tha Ton and you will find this amazing Buddhist complex. Nine levels will lead you to the top and each present a holy place to visit for Buddhist pilgrims. Level 8 and 9 are 2km apart from each other, high above the Mae Nam Kok (Kok River).
At level 8 you find on of the most stunning pagoda you will find in Thailand. This small but colorful and magnificently decorated building rises on top of the hill with a fantastic view over the Mae Nam Kok and the surrounding scenery. Every step up the hill is totally worth what will wait for you up there. Don’t forget to have a look inside to find out about which surprise the Crystal Pagoda keeps inside for you.
8| THAM LOT CAVE / SOPPONG, MAE HONG SON PROVINCE
It is just phenomenal when you sit on the bamboo raft, float through the darkness and you hear the sound of the bat’s wings, the cat fish jump out of the water just next to the raft and at the very end of the cave you can imagine to see a light. The Tham Lot Cave is the largest cave opening in South East Asia with a river passing through. Walking through the national park to its entrance you can hire a local guide to explore the cave with a bamboo raft. In between you have the opportunity to jump on land and walk through the small tunnels and hallways in the 3 little caves to see what is inside of this huge mountain. When you reach the end you will have not only this fascinating view through the exit of the last cave into the scenery but also the chance to see a super special sunset!
9| KHAO SOK NATIONAL PARK / KHAO LAK PROVINCE
When you want to visit Thailand there is no way around this national park! Whether you hike on your own to find wild monkeys swinging through the trees, rushing rivers with crystal clear water or never-ending bamboo forests building huge tunnels or you hire one of the very knowledgable local guides to bring you to all the other hidden gems – the Khao Sok national park is truly a very special treasure hidden in the southern part of Thailand. Make sure you won’t miss out on it.
10| WAT THAM SUA / KRABI
1260. This is the number you will find on top of the hill, marking the last step you need to take before you reach this stunning view! If you think ‘Well,that’s gonna be an easy task to do’ wait until you see the staircases you need to overcome. Steep uneven steps, some are over 35 cm high the next might be only 10 cm high but also really small to step onto. Never before did I encounter stairs to be as awful wot walk up as those – but never have I been as highly rewarded for pushing through as I got rewarded with this view. The huge golden Buddha statue is wonderful decorated with mosaics on its base and you will find another little shrine on the other side of this platform. I really didn’t want to leave this place as it was not only stunning but also so peaceful to be there and watch all the people reaching the top of this challenging hill.
11| MAEKLONG RAILWAY MARKET / SAMUTSONGKRAM
It’s just another day in Samutsongram. The market is on, fruit and veggies are well presented on their plates, people bargaining prices and the train is just going through the market. Wait… what?! Yes. This is a daily fresh market held on a 300m long railway track which is still in use. And this is just one of Thailand’s bizarre market places – but one of the coolest ones you should definitely go and see. A few minutes before the train approaches the market a loud signal will be blast over the market. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the locals start rushing now. Nah. Sabai sabai! Living it thaistyle. They shop until the last-minute and the train already reaches the market entrance. Then everyone just takes their products a few metres back in, puts down the awnings and umbrellas and gets the fresh products out of the way before the train arrives. What a spectacle!
12| WAT PHRA THAT DOI SUTHEP / CHIANG MAI
To visit Thailand means also to learn about its culture and traditions. One place to perfectly do so is Chiang Mai. The city in northern Thailand is rich of history, temple complexes and you can learn about the country’s culture everywhere you go. The temple on top of the hill Doi Suthep is one of the ornate temple complexes you will find. It is still to be expanded and more shrines to be built but you already find a lot of wonderful gold shimmering statues wonderfully decorated with green glass ornaments and beautiful patterns. If you make it to the little shrine with the ‘fortune teller elephant statue’ you should definitely try your luck and see if your dreams will come true.
13| KHAO KHAD HILL / PHUKET TOWN
Oh how many surprises were waiting for my friend and me when we walked up the hill (ok, ok – we took the scooter most of the time, it was a lazy Sunday though). Not only did a tiny monkey, which supposed to be super cute, chased us quite creepy for the bananas which were hidden in my friend’s scooter seat (how did the monkey know, dammit?!) but also did we got invited to take part in a once in a lifetime Thai family celebration with a very typical dance show which was mind-blowing! The monkey hill in Phuket town does not disappoint and especially not in one point: this amazing view.
As promised, there are many more stunning places to see when you visit Thailand. I can highly recommend to just get lost and you will find those hidden gems. Chok dee!