How many travelers have had their hearts stolen by Thailand? Too many to count we’d guess! We’ve certainly fallen for this beautiful country’s charms again and again, and though the country has changed drastically since the glory days when the first intrepid explorers founded the Banana Pancake Trail, it has lost none of its allure – we just can’t stay away! Whether you’re into partying the nights away on sugar spun beaches or losing yourself in temples or on jungle treks, Thailand offers enticing experiences by the truckload – there’s something for everyone on its exotic shores.

In honour of one of our favourite countries, we’ve rounded up our top 10 destinations in Thailand – some of the places we have had a blast in the past. However, we still feel like we’ve barely scratched the surface…

The Travelettes Top 10 Destinations in Thailand, koh manta
photo by Rushen via Flickr

1. Bangkok

The golden gates of Bangkok have welcomed travellers into the country for decades – it’s the first stop on any backpacker’s itinerary. A sprawling Asian city of hooting tuk-tuks, glittering skyscrapers and incredible street food, it really is the most amazing East meets West experience. Navigate the notorious Khao San Road where every night’s an epic street party and you can get the best massages right on the side of the road, shop ’til you drop at the numerous street markets, and indulge in deliciously authentic Pad Thai or cut price mojitos. This is the city that never sleeps – there’s always something fun to do in Bangkok.


2. Koh Pha Ngan

One of my absolute favourites, this wild, jungle island is so much more than just the hedonism of Haad Rin. The Full Moon Party may be something of a rite of passage and a pretty crazy experience, (though its effects on the environment probably showcase the darker side of tourism in Thailand) but the rest of the island is dotted with sublime beaches, roads meant for biking and laid-back village communities. It’s true that Koh Pha Ngan knows how to throw a party or two, but there are plenty of super chilled places to escape to, particularly on the secluded east side of the island. Plus, this legendary island is home to the Thong Sala night market, also known as Thai food heaven.



3. Koh Tao

Little Koh Tao may be small in stature but it’s big on charm. With its white sands, spectacular dive scene and amazing seafood barbecues, Koh Tao offers a little slice of paradise where you can drink buckets and watch fire-dancing in Sairee Village if that’s your bag, or do yoga on a beach at sunrise if you prefer. Sunsets on Koh Tao are an event in themselves – watch the sky set on fire as the sun sinks into the sea and you’ll soon be at one with the 10 Commandments of Koh Tao-ism. It’s my new religion don’tcha know?

To get to Ko Tao and Ko Pha Ngan you will most likely have to go via Samui as that’s the biggest nearby island which also hosts the nearest airport. To relax the journey, why not stay in a villa in Samui before hopping on the ferry to Ko Tao?


4. Chiang Mai

When you’ve had your fill of beaches, rest assured there is another side to Thailand and head to the north where the beautiful city of Chiang Mai offers glittering temples or ‘wats’ such as the glorious Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, bustling markets such as the mammoth Night Bazaar and opportunity to head out on jungle treks, come face-to-face with hill tribes and help out at elephant sanctuaries. They don’t call Chiang Mai the ‘rose of the north’ for nothing.

The Travelettes Top 10 Destinations in Thailand, Chiang Mai
photo by Paul Arps via Flickr

5. Pai

Just a few hours drive out of Chiang Mai lies the gorgeous little community of Pai. If you can brave the slightly white-knuckle experience of taking a Thai mini-bus round the sharp bends and mountain roads en route, you’ll be rewarded with one of the best backpacker hotspots of Thailand’s north. Chilled out guesthouses, swaying hammocks, pools with epic views – Pai is the place to kick back, meet like-minded individuals and stay up all night discussing jacking in your life back home and forming a self-sufficient community in these rolling, green hills. Make sure you visit the canyon to witness an unforgettable sunset.

The Travelettes Top 10 Destinations in Thailand - Pai
photo by Maksim Million via Flickr

6. Koh Lipe

I didn’t choose the beach life, the beach life chose me… Koh Lipe is all about the white sands, sunshine and sparkling Andaman Sea. It’s the place du jour for Thai island life this decade, and just as the other big name beach beauties such as Phi Phi, some are already mourning the fact that the secret is out. You can’t really say the place is as undeveloped as it was seven or eight years back but with its half-moon crescents of fine, white sand and thick jungle interior, the island still has plenty of untamed beauty to discover. It’s an island of easy-going reggae bars rather than thumping clubs – long may it last.

The Travelettes Top 10 Destinations in Thailand, koh like
photo by ilf_ via Flickr

7. Koh Yao Noi

Here’s one for those desperately seeking the last Thai frontier and an escape from the mass tourism of Thailand’s island hang-outs. Koh Yao Noi may be close to ritzy Phuket and bustling Krabi, but it is a world away in terms of culture. Think basic beach hut complexes, secret beaches and peaceful surroundings. You can hop on a boat to explore the beautiful surrounding islets or indulge in a spot of rock-climbing if you so desire. But really life on Koh Yao Noi is all about soaking up the scenery and finding your inner zen. Sounds just dreamy.



8. Koh Chang

Koh Chang is unique in that its a huge island that somehow manages to incorporate all of the cool things that the popular island of the south offer in one chunky package. It has a rugged kind of appeal with its towering mountains, thick jungle, smattering of beaches and traditional fishing villages, but if it’s a swanky resort and pumping nightlife you’re looking for, well, the ‘beast of the east’ has got that too! Although much of the island has been developed, its so huge that there are still beautiful areas to discover such as the tiny villages of the east coast. Come here for the chance to get up close and personal with all sorts of wildlife, from monkeys to mongooses – you might even spot dolphins off the southeast coast – and to discover waterfalls, hiking trails and jungle experiences by the dozen.


9. Koh Lanta

Lovely Lanta! I spent a wonderful Christmas here once a few years back and from the sounds of it, Lanta’s still got it. Excellent roads make it the ideal place to try your hand on a scooter and explore the many beaches and mini-communities that line its shores. It’s a charming, chilled out sort of destination where the days turn into weeks and the weeks turn into months. It’s so big, you can travel around and enjoy a difference experience each week. From the pristine national park where you can snorkel, dive and island hop to your heart’s content, to the traditional sea gypsy villages where you can explore the culture of the island and the backpacker hotspots where ‘happy shakes’ a-plenty are enjoyed – there’s something for everyone on this special island.

The Travelettes Top 10 Destinations in Thailand, koh manta
photo by Tetsuji Sakakibara via Flickr

10. Ton Sai and Railay

These are the beaches that Thai postcards are made of. Turquoise waters, snow white sands and most spectacular of all, those dramatic karsts and plunging cliffs rising up out of the Andaman Sea creating a seductive backdrop that you’ll want to write home about. The iconic long-tail boats are kept busy hustling travellers from one stunning beach on the peninsula to the next, but the atmosphere retains a certain boho charm. Chill out with a beer at sunset, marvel at the gorgeous scenery and maybe try your hand at a bit of rock-climbing – this part of Thailand has cliffs for days.


Ready to pack your bags? You might want to check out my sister’s How to travel Thailand in one month. Don’t forget to send us a postcard!

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The Travelettes Top 10 Destinations in Thailand

All images by Alex except 6,7,8,9,12 via Pixabay/Flickr

Alex Saint is a writer based in Bristol, England – a place she calls home due to its friendly, diverse atmosphere and never-ending list of fun things to do. She loves tattoos, quirky fashion, pugs and, of course, travelling.

Keep up with the Saint sisters and their adventures in Bristol, London and beyond at and @saintsonaplane or Alex herself @alexsaint13