If you’re considering taking a trip to Thailand anytime soon, then refer to this list as the Ultimate Guide to Thailand’s must see and do!
Read more for where to stay, what to do & how to save money doing it!
10.) Become an Elephant Ambassador
Volunteer with Elephants at the Elephant Nature Park, watch them thrive in their natural habitat & become an ambassador to help protect the dangerously endangered Asian Elephant.
At the park you can volunteer to make food for the elephants, give them baths or be a part of the Veterinary Student program if you have any medial experience or education in the field.
Tip: This activity needs to be booked well in advance as spaces fill up quickly to stay the week at the park. You can volunteer from one day to two weeks, and longer with approval from the park after your stay.
Cost: 12,000 THB per week, roughly $350 USD. This includes 3 buffet style meals a day, a bed with a net cover in a shared room & an up close experience with the elephants in their natural environment.
Accommodation: Stay on site at the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Fall asleep to the sound of the elephants singing & wake up to them taking mud baths in the morning.
Check out my video to see what its like using positive training to encourage a baby elephant to let us clean his snare wound!
9.) The Island of Koh Samui:
The countries wealthiest island, located in the Gulf of Thailand, has an amazing mile long stretch of walkable white sand beach in Bang Rak, arguably Koh Samui’s most scenic area.
On the tip of Bo Phut beach, just west of Bang Rak, you’ll find the best seafood restaurants in all of Thailand. They are housed inside the Fisherman’s Village, a small quaint tourist area filled with great shops and many opportunities to bargain.
Every Friday night they close off the street to traffic (which is great because you have to be very aware in Thailand of drivers, there is NO pedestrian right-of-way) for hundreds of little shops and food trucks to offer their many unique and delicious products to the passersby.
One of Thailand’s largest and must see statues, the Big Buddha is magnificent in size, overlooks the ocean and the detail in the artwork and surrounding sculptures are astonishing.
Tip: Ladies and Lady-Boys, you must cover your shoulders to enter all temples in Thailand. Always carry a sarong or towel with you for this purpose, otherwise you will be borrowing the second hand bathrobes offered at the entrance that are likely covered in other people’s sweat!
Cost: Free, but making a donation at any Temple is appreciated.
Accommodation: You can find very cheap accommodations on this Island, I stayed at Beach House Samui with an ocean view room for 30 USD/1000 THB a night. Check out this video to see what to expect from a hotel in Thailand for 30 USD a night!
8.) A Thai Massage:
These massages are offered just about everywhere. It’s known as the lazy man’s yoga, and is a mix between a coconut oil rub down and deep tissue massage.
The massage itself is a little painful during the process, but you definitely feel like jelly when they are finished with you.
Tip: They will offer you pants to wear large enough to fit the Big Buddha – wear them. They are going to have you so twisted up at some points you’ll be thankful for covering up all of your private parts!
Cost: 7 USD/250 THB for one hour.
7.) The Famous Full Moon Party:
Held every month during the full moon on the island of Koh Pha Ngan, this Full Moon Party surely should be on your bucket list.
You will see everything from flaming jump ropes, excessive drug use, sex on the beach, amazing body art, psychedelic light shows, signs saying ‘Welcome to Thailand’ engulfed with fire, and much, much more.
It’s a must do experience, at least once in a life time. You will never find a more epic party than the Full Moon Party held in Koh Pha Ngan, Thailand.
Cost: The Party is free, but check out my blog for a detailed list of costs and tips!
Accommodation: I stayed at the Palita Lodge in Koh Pha Ngan for about $60 USD a night. It's a beach front hotel in the center of the Full Moon Party, but has great rooms away from the shore for a quiet experience.
6.) The Famous Railay Beach, Krabi Province:
A backpackers paradise, this little slice of heaven is known as the hippie chic paradise of the world. Only accessible by boat, Railay beach consists of a couple dozen resorts, little trinket shops and is surrounded by Thailand’s most amazing islands in the Andaman Sea.
Tip: Keep your hotel rooms locked and windows closed. The monkeys are known to break in and ransack the place looking for food! Don’t walk around eating, a monkey could jump on your back and rip the food out of your hand. Ladies: wear your hair up when they are near, carry double strap back packs instead of purses and don’t wear dangling earrings.
Cost: Meals average $10 USD, street food is available as well as fine dining. Casual attire around the island but bathing suits are not acceptable dinner wear at most restaurants.
Accommodation: Though the hotels run about twice what you paid throughout the rest of Southern Thailand, it’s definitely worth it because of the islands that surround you. heap Bungalows can run around 60 USD/2000 THB nightly. Plus, when you wake up in the morning you feel like you entered a scene in the Jungle Book, with monkeys hanging from every tree looking down, waiting for you to be that ignorant tourist that walks around eating a banana.
5.) Muay Thai Boxing Camp:
Available almost everywhere in Thailand.
This is the perfect experience to get some easy lessons in Muay Thai. It’s fun, safe, and most importantly an experience you’ll never forget.
If you get a chance, go see a professional Muay Thai fight. The rush is exhilarating when the guys beat the crap out of each other, very similar to a live MMA fight like in the States.
Cost: Training Camp 200-2000 THB, Live Fights: 100-2500 THB.
Check out the video of the Muay Thai training lessons I took in Koh Pha Ngan!
4.) Patong Beach:
A resort town located on the west coast of Phuket, this crescent shaped beach is known for its raucous night life. This area features beer bars, night clubs, go-go dancers, happy ending massage parlors and transgender cabarets.
It’s great for people watching, however skip the famous ping-pong shows; this is not the kind of ping-pong you are expecting. These women are doing very unsettling things with ping-pongs, cigarettes, razor blades (yes, I said razor blades), fish, frogs, and much, much more.
Tip: Let me be clear – these women are prostitutes, and will do just about anything for money. Most are not old enough to be making their own decisions, some were sold to the market and some are refugees from other countries. This scene is targeted specifically at men, but DO NOT take part in it. These poor women are only in this industry because there IS an industry, and if we quit paying to see the shows, the women might get a chance at a better life.
Cost: The walking street is free, but be prepared to bring tips for all the other more appropriate shows.
Accommodation: Hotels & hostels are available all over the area ranging from 7-60 USD a night.
3.) Ang Thong National Marine Park:
This is a protected marine park consisting of 42 small Islands on the east coast in the Gulf of Thailand. You can take day trips to these magnificent islands from Koh Samui or Koh Pha Ngan, that include breakfast, lunch, snorkeling, kayaking and hiking to spectacular views.
Though there was so much to do and see on this one-day tour, I have to say the best part of it was the hike to the top of the mountain, where I was able to capture some of the most beautiful photos I’ve ever taken (see cover photo of this blog post).
Click here to watch the video!
Though the terrain is rough, bring some hiking shoes and go slowly, it is absolutely worth it. When you get to the top you get to look down on some of the 42 islands, the crystal clear waters and the swaying palms.
Cost: Day tours run about 1700 THB/45 USD per person, but include all things listed above.
2.) Koh Tao, the Gulf of Thailand:
Located on the western shore of Thailand, this island forms part of the Chumphon Archipelago – the string of beautiful islands littered across the gulf of Thailand.
Koh Tao is known for its beautiful stretch of white sand beach that connects the two islands, a perfect place for pictures and a day of relaxing.
Cost: Day tours run between 1200-1750 THB depending on the packages you choose.
1.) Koh Phi Phi – Leh and Don:
Thailand’s most prized possession, these two islands are known for the crystal clear waters, amazing photo opps, and have been chosen to film some pretty famous movies like "The Beach" with Leonardo DiCaprio.
Phi Phi Don – This is where you will be getting hotel. I recommend staying about a week so you can get the full effect of the area. It’s buzzing with many tourist shops and is a famous island to become a certified diver. The night life on the beach is amazing and there is an abundance of day trips, including the famous James Bond Island.
Phi Phi Leh – This magnificent crescent white sand beach is there the famous movie ‘The Beach’ was filmed.
Tip: This beach is an absolute must see, but I recommend as early as possible, as the beach fills up with hundreds of tourists quickly.
Cost: Day trips to Phi Phi Leh and James Bond Island run between 400 THB – 1500 THB per person depending on the packages you choose.
Accommodation: My hotel room cost 30 USD/1000 THB per night located in the center of the island.