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Top 12 Thailand Attractions

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Known as the “Land of Smiles”, Thailand is the pearl of Southeast Asia and even one of the top travel destinations in the world. Thailand attractions, from gilded Buddhist temples and numerous historical sites to vibrant markets & bar streets and narrow white sand beaches, offer travelers once-in-a-lifetime experiences and plenty of unusual adventures. Are you already dazzled by the many attractions in Thailand? Don’t worry, we’ve listed some of the top Thailand tourist attractions here for your reference to save time in looking for more information.

1. Grand Palace

Located in the heart of Bangkok, next to the Chao Phraya River, the Grand Palace is a massive complex of ancient buildings (28 in total). It is the most perfectly preserved, the largest, and the most ethnically distinctive of Thailand’s royal palaces of all times. Considered a symbol of the Bangkok dynasty, the palace was once the residence of Kings Rama I to VIII and is now used only for ceremonies such as coronations and court celebrations.

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Located in the northeast corner of the Grand Palace, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha is one of the highlights, where visitors can see a 66-cm-high Buddha carved from a single piece of jasper.

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2. Wat Phra Chetuphon

Built in 1793 during the Ayutthaya Dynasty era, Wat Phra Chetuphon (Wat Pho) is the oldest temple in Bangkok and boasts the world’s largest reclining Buddha, 46 meters long and 15 meters high, with each sole 5 meters long and carved with 108 Buddhist patterns. The reclining Buddha is cast in iron, clad in gold, and studded with glittering gems.

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Another unique feature of the Wat Pho Temple is the stone inscriptions of Buddhist history, medicine, and literature that can be found everywhere on the pillars and walls of the corridor. In addition, there is a massage school in this temple that offers relaxing Thai massage services, which is worth experiencing.

3. Wat Arun Ratchawararam

Wat Arun, also known as Temple of the Dawn, was built in honor of Thailand’s 41st king and national hero, Taksin, who led the army to dislodge the invading Burmese army from Thailand. Second only in size to the Grand Palace, the temple is most frequently visited for its main hall and its iconic five pagodas. The grand Central Pagoda has steps leading up to the balcony at the top, where visitors can overlook the city of Bangkok, the Grand Palace, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha across the Chao Phraya River, and the natural beauty of the Chao Phraya River.

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4. Chao Phraya River

Thailand’s largest river with a total length of 1352 kilometers, the Chao Phraya runs from north to south across the whole of Thailand, finally into Bangkok Bay. Throughout Thailand’s capital city, Bangkok, the Chao Phraya River plays an important role in the transportation and the life of residents along its banks.

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A cruise on the Chao Phraya River is one of the must-try experiences in Thailand. During the daytime, visitors can take a ride on the Chao Phraya Express Boat to see many cultural sites along the way, including the Grand Palace, and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. At night the Chao Phraya River reveals a different flavor – the temple buildings along the river are colored in gold by the lights, which will surely impress you.

5. Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

The Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, commonly known as Bangkok Floating Market, is one of the best Thailand attractions to observe the daily life of local people. It usually lasts from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., with a peak between 7 and 8 a.m. Wooden boats carrying breakfast, vegetables, and fruits ply the lush tropical canals. On the boat, local women wearing distinctive straw hats hawk loudly.

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At peak times, small commercial and passenger boats create a lively scene on the canal as they cause traffic jams on the river. Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is located about 80 kilometers southwest of Bangkok city. Visitors are advised to leave Bangkok early in the morning if they want to catch the morning rush and enjoy a local breakfast.

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6. Chatuchak Weekend Market

Located in downtown Bangkok, the Chatuchak Weekend Market attracts tourists from all over the world with its abundance of goods and low prices. It is the world’s largest weekend market (open only on Saturdays), covering 0.14 square kilometers with more than 15,000 stalls. Visitors can find a wide range of goods here, from household items, clothing, handicrafts, flowers, birds, fish, and insects, to local specialties such as Mango Sticky Rice. There is no doubt that the Chatuchak Weekend Market is a shopping paradise for both foreign tourists and local people.

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7. Ayutthaya Historical Park

With many world-famous ancient sites, Ayutthaya Historical Park is a must-see attraction in Thailand for history buffs. Located in Ayutthaya, the former capital of Thailand, Ayutthaya Historical Park has been inscribed on the World Heritage List. One of the park’s oldest temples is the Wat Mahathat, where visitors can witness the spectacular sight of a Buddha’s head entwined by the roots of a linden tree.

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The Wat Phra Si Sanphet is another famous site of the park. Holding the ashes of the three Ayutthaya Kings, the only remaining structures of the temple are the three greyish-white Ceylon stupas, which look majestic and are symbols of Ayutthaya.

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8. Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

Wat Prathat Doi Suthep, aka the Double Dragon Temple, is a famous landmark of Chiang Mai located on the hillside of Doi Suthep Mountain and can be seen from anywhere in Chiang Mai. The mountain is a famous summer resort in Thailand with dense forests, colorful flowers, a cool climate, and fresh air.

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Wat Prathat Doi Suthep is built on a high platform and visitors have to walk more than 300 steps to reach it. On both sides of the steps are two colorful multi-headed divine dragons of several tens of meters long in a strange shape. The magnificent Buddha statues and the stupas covered with gold leaf are well worth seeing. Visitors can get a panoramic view of the ancient city of Chiang Mai from the observation deck behind the main hall.

9. Tiffany's Show

Established in 1974, Tiffany’s Pattaya Show is the first actual ladyboy show in Southeast Asia. The show is performed at the Tiffany Theater, which is definitely one of the best attractions in Thailand. The theater is magnificently decorated and has a capacity of 1,000 people. The superb performance, together with the world-class sound and lighting equipment, offers the perfect experience for the audience. Tiffany’s Ladyboy Show, 75 minutes each, is mainly based on New York’s Broadway classics, showing the customs and traditions from all over the world, especially the oriental feel.

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10. Wat Rong Khun

Located in Chiang Rai, the Wat Rong Khun, or White Temple was designed by Charlermchai Kositpipat, a well-known Thai artist. From a distance, the temple appears to be built of porcelain; only when you get closer will you realize that this illusion is created by white paint and glass shards.

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Wat Rong Khun is decorated in plain white to symbolize the purity of the Buddha; it is edged with shining silver mirrors to signify the Buddha’s wisdom shining throughout the universe. The temple’s interior features huge murals hand-painted by Khositphiphat, with a Buddhist theme that incorporates many modern elements. In the sun, this white temple glowed like a beautiful work of art.

11. Phi Phi Islands

Composed of two main islands, Ko Phi Phi Don and Ko Phi Phi Le, Phi Phi Islands are a sun-drenched destination. Its soft white sandy beaches, tranquil turquoise waters, and stunning natural caves make it the most popular of the outlying islands around Phuket. The islands are full of resorts, restaurants, bars, and various entertainment venues. Snorkeling is the most popular recreational activity here. Visitors can explore the wonders of the underwater world and enjoy the colorful coral and Marine life.

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12. Railay Beach

Railay Beach is located on a small peninsula near the city of Krabi, Thailand, and can only be reached by small boat. The beach contains three beaches: East Railay, West Railay, and Phra Nang. East Railay has no sandy beach, but is covered by mangroves where visitors can capture the stunning scenery; West Railay Beach is slightly larger and is usually the place where tourists are more concentrated; Phra Nang Beach is a small area and there is a stalactite cave where a goddess statue is enshrined to bless the safe return of boatmen.

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With numerous rock walls and caves, Railay Beach is one of the top rock climbing places in the world, setting up various levels of cliff climbing programs that attract cliff climbers of all ages from all over the world. During the climbing process, it is a unique experience to reach a high point and turn your head to get a bird’s eye view of the ocean.

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