Thailand is a fascinating country jam-packed with unique experiences that you won’t find anywhere else in the world. However, with all the ancient temples to visit, natural wonders to explore, and cultural activities to enjoy, choosing which landmarks in Thailand to visit can be tricky.
To help you sort through the mammoth amount of must-visit places in Thailand, we’ve put together this list of ultimate Thai landmarks. In this guide, we’ve covered everything from Thailand’s most famous temples and historical sites to stunning natural wonders. Here are the top landmarks not to miss during your trip to the Land of Smiles.
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Best Thailand Landmarks – Quick Overview
Before we dive into the absolute best landmarks of Thailand, here’s a quick look at the sites included in this guide.
- Famous Landmarks in Thailand: Wat Phra Kaew, The Grand Palace, Wat Rong Khun, Damnoen Saduak Market, Doi Inthanon, Ayutthaya, Golden Mount Temple, Wat Pho, Chatuchak Market
- Natural Landmarks of Thailand: Railay Beach, Erawan Falls, Phang Nga Bay, Pai Canyon, Khao Sok National Park, Khao Sam Roy Yot National Park
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15 of the Most Incredible Landmarks in Thailand
The Grand Palace
The Grand Palace is hands down the most popular landmark in Bangkok. It was built in 1782 and served as the former Thai King’s home for nearly 150 years. Today, the Grand Palace is an important national monument and one of the most Instagrammable places in Bangkok!
The sprawling complex consists of three separate courts: the outer court, the inner court, and the central court. If you don’t have time to explore every inch of this 218,000 m2 complex, head straight to the main court, where you’ll find beautiful temples and ornate edifices. With that said, it’s worth exploring the inner court too (time permitting). Here you’ll find the royal residences, government offices, and various court halls.
The easiest way to access the Royal Palace is on a guided tour. However, if you prefer to explore the temple at your leisure, best to take a taxi there. The palace is open from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm, and the entrance fee is 500 Baht. Before heading out to this spectacular Thai monument, though, make sure to dress modestly. And remember to cover your knees and shoulders. Here are some more tips on what to pack for Thailand.
Address: Grand Palace, Na Phra Lan Road, Grand Palace Bangkok 10200, Thailand.
Where to stay: Riva Arun Bangkok
Suggested tour: Bangkok Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew Half Day Tour
Wat Phra Kaew
Another Thai landmark not to miss is the impeccable Wat Phra Kaew. Also known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, Wat Phra Kaew is Thailand’s most sacred temple and dates back to 1784.
The temple is located on the same grounds as the Grand Palace and houses Thailand’s most important deity – the Emerald Buddha. The figurine is made of solid jasper and clothed in gold and diamonds, making it even more striking.
Along with this ancient masterpiece, there are also many other interesting pieces on display. While the Buddha and artifacts are undeniably beautiful, be sure to take some time to appreciate the exquisite Royal architecture featuring colorful designs and elaborate carvings.
Wat Phra Kaew is one of the most beautiful temples in Asia and a huge must when spending a bit of time in Thailand’s capital. Entry to Wat Phra Kaew is included in the Grand Palace ticket, which costs 500 Baht. You can see the temple between 8:30 am to 3:30 pm. But since it is a popular tourist attraction in Bangkok, arrive early for the best experience.
Address: Na Phra Lan Rd, Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang, เขตพ ระนคร Bangkok 10200, Thailand
Where to stay: Inn a Day
Suggested tour: Bangkok Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew Half Day Tour
Railay Beach is a beautiful utopia in Krabi Province, located a short flight from Bangkok. Revered for its massive limestone cliffs jutting out from land and sea, soft sandy beaches, incredible sunsets, and relaxing vibes, Railay is hands down one of Thailand’s most unique places to visit!
Although Railay is not an island, part of its charm lies in the fact that it is only accessible by boat. Most travelers visit Railay on a day trip from Ao Nang. However, if your itinerary in Krabi is flexible, spending a few days here is highly encouraged.
Railay is the perfect place to relax and spend some time enjoying nature at its very best. The bay consists of two main areas; East and West Railay. While each of them boasts incredible scenery, the eastern part of the island sees fewer crowds making it a great place to unwind.
Address: Railay Beach, Krabi Province, Thailand.
Where to stay: Railay Great View Resort
Suggested tour: Krabi 4 Islands Tour
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
If you want to trade Bangkok’s bustling streets for a unique experience, there’s no better place than Damnoen Saduak Floating Market.
Located less than 2 hours drive from Bangkok in Ratchaburi Province, Damnoen was originally built to improve trade and transportation in the area. Today, it serves as a major tourist hub providing a tiny glimpse into bygone days. Damnoen Saduak is arguably one of Thailand’s most popular water markets and makes for an excellent day trip from Bangkok.
Nearly 200 waterways string together this maze-like market, making it a great place to soak up the pulsing atmosphere, take photos, shop, and test your tastebuds. Along the way, you’ll encounter dozens of vendors selling various wares right from their boats. From fresh fruit and souvenirs to artworks and pad thai whipped up right in front of you – Damnoen is an eye-popping experience that definitely deserves a spot on your Thailand landmarks bucket list!
While it’s possible to visit the market independently, you’re better off joining a day tour to experience all of its best bits. The market is open from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm, but come before noon to really experience it at its best! Oh, and don’t forget to haggle – the vendors are notorious for ripping off tourists!
Address: Damnoen Saduak, Damnoen Saduak District, Ratchaburi 70130, Thailand.
Where to stay: Khum Damnoen Resort, Ratchaburi
Suggested tour: Bangkok Floating Markets Tour
No Bangkok itinerary would be complete without visiting one of the city’s most important Buddhist temple complexes – Wat Pho.
Located right in the heart of Bangkok’s Old City, Wat Pho, more commonly known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, has a lot going for it.
The incredible Thai monument dates back to the 17th century and houses everything from ornate temples and colorfully decorated stupas to dozens of golden Buddha statues and even a massage and medicine school. While there are lots to keep you busy, the highlight here is undoubtedly the massive 46-meter-long sleeping Buddha covered in gold leaf. Note, though, that you’ll need to take your shoes off before entering the complex. Similar to other religious sites in Thailand, remember to cover up.
After a walk around the complex, opt for a relaxing massage. Since Wat Pho’s masseuses are famous for their “healing hands,” there’s no better place to experience a traditional Thai massage!
Wat Pho can easily be combined with a visit to the Grand Palace and Wat Arun. Alternatively, hop in a taxi to get to this historical landmark of Thailand. The temple is open from 08:00 am to 6:30 pm daily. However, it’s best to visit in the morning or just before closing to skip the crowds. The entrance fee is 200 baht.
Address: 2 Sanam Chai Rd, Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200, Thailand.
Where to stay: Arun Riverside Hotel
Suggested tour: Bangkok and Surrounding Areas Car Charter
Recommended by Bridget from The Flashpacker.
Visit the historic city of Ayutthaya, 80km north of Bangkok, for its serene temples and laid-back vibe. This incredible Thailand landmark, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was founded in the 14th Century. Ayutthaya was the second capital of Siam before the Burmese burnt to the ground in 1767, destroying the city’s wooden palaces. However, its surviving brick and stone temples, built in the graceful Sri Lankan and Khmer architectural styles, are magnificent.
Admission to Ayutthaya’s six main temples – Wat Phra Mahathat, Wat Ratburana, Wat Phra Ram, Wat Phra Si Sanphet, Wat Chai Watthanaram, and Wat Mayehong – are covered by a pass costing 220 baht, which will save you time and money. Temples within the Ayutthaya Historical Park are open from 8 am to 6 pm daily.
Although it deserves an overnight stay, many people visit Ayutthaya as a day trip from Bangkok, making the 100-minute journey from the capital’s Hua Lamphong station.
Address: Ayutthaya Historical Park is at 196 4 Khlong Tho Rd, Pratu Chai Sub-district, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya 13000.
Where to stay: Baan Pomphet
Suggested tour: Private Ancient Ayutthaya Day Tour
The Golden Mount Temple
Recommended by Cecilie from Worldwide Walkers.
Wat Saket, also known as the Golden Mount Temple, is one of Bangkok’s most incredible temples. The temple has been renovated and improved by many Thai kings, but it’s still unknown exactly which year the temple was built. It’s believed to date back to the Ayutthaya Era.
The temple is commonly known as The Golden Mount because of its golden chedi that sits at a 77-meter height. To reach the golden chedi, you have to climb more than 300 steps, which will take you past a small garden with a little waterfall and a lot of old temple bells that you can ring for good luck.
Once you reach the top, you get an amazing 360 view over Bangkok. It’s best to visit in the early evening, as it’s also one of Bangkok’s best sunset spots!
Even though it’s an incredible temple, it’s less popular than other temples in Bangkok, which means it’s not overrun by tourists. It’s open from 7 am to 7 pm every day, and the entrance fee is 50 Baht.
The Golden Mount is one of the most famous landmarks in Thailand, so visiting is an absolute must if you’re passing through bustling Bangkok.
Address: 344 Thanon Chakkraphatdi Phong, Ban Bat, Pom Prap Sattru Phai, Bangkok 10100, Thailand.
Where to stay: Bangkok Publishing Residence
Suggested tour: Bangkok and Surrounding Areas Car Charter
Recommended by Cecilie from Worldwide Walkers.
Erawan Waterfall is one of the most beautiful attractions in Thailand created by Mother Nature herself. It’s a 7-tier waterfall hidden within the Jungle of Erawan National Park, located only 3 hours West of Bangkok and 1 hour North of Kanchanaburi.
Erawan Falls is a popular place for local Thai people to enjoy a day off. The intense color of the emerald pools against the lush green jungle makes it one of the most beautiful landmarks in Thailand.
You can easily spend a full day exploring all of the seven tiers of Erawan Waterfall, which stretches over 1500 meters. It’s a humid and sweaty hike through the jungle, but luckily you can cool down and go for a swim in all of the waterfalls on the way.
Erawan National Park is open every day between 8 am and 4:30 pm. The visitor fee for foreigners is 300 Baht. Erawan National Park is also famous for its many hiking trails, caves, and wildlife, but the incredible waterfall remains the ultimate best thing to see in this area of Thailand.
Address: Tha Kradan, Si Sawat District, Kanchanaburi 71250, Thailand.
Where to stay: The Float House River Kwai Resort
Suggested tour: Kanchanaburi Custom Tour from Bangkok
Recommended by Caroline from CK Travels.
Doi Inthanon is the highest mountain in Thailand and is a must-see for adventure travelers and nature lovers. Besides being one of Chiang Mai city’s most popular day trips, there are also many things to see and do at this Thai landmark. Highlights include visiting the Wachiritharn Waterfall and taking in the incredible panoramic views of lush highland forest scenery from the Royal Twin Pagodas’ gardens. Trekking is also extremely popular, with some stunning nature walks taking you through paddy fields and past hill tribe villages.
Other facilities in the National Park include markets, shops, cafes, and restaurants. The Royal Project Kitchen is a lovely spot for lunch and has some very pretty gardens to explore.
Doi Inthanon National Park is a one-hour drive south of the city, and can easily be slotted into your Chiang Mai itinerary. The park’s entrance fee is 300 Baht for foreigners, which is usually included as part of the package price for organized tours. Make sure you dress in layers, as temperatures in the park can be quite chilly.
Address: Ban Luang, Chom Thong District, Chiang Mai 50270, Thailand.
Where to stay: Nok Chan Mee Na
Suggested tour: Doi Inthanon National Park Day Tour
The White Temple (Wat Rong Khun)
Recommended by Alice from Adventures of Alice.
More commonly known to locals as Wat Rong Khun, the White Temple in Thailand is truly breathtaking. Located in Chaing Rai, it’s a popular landmark of Thailand and an absolute must-see if you’re in the northern region of the country.
Compared to other Thai temples, it’s quite modern, having first opened its doors to the public in 1997. The designer (Chalermchai Kositpipat) put much thought into the structure, and it features a Bridge of the Cycle of Rebirth and a Gate of Heaven.
On the front of the bridge, there are millions of hands reaching out, symbolizing desire. As well as its beautiful, pearly white colors, there is also a gold section towards the back of the temple, which represents the body.
Many people travel to the White Temple via a day trip from Chaing Mai, and there are many tours available online. If you prefer not to take a tour, you could also take a public bus, or drive yourself. Just a heads up – the roads are a bit mad and the journey will take you almost 4 hours!
Wat Rong Khun is open daily from 8 am to 6 pm, and the entrance to the temples is 50 Baht per person. Remember to cover up your shoulders and knees when visiting the temples in Thailand. Another important rule when visiting here – don’t turn back on the Bridge of Rebirth. This is believed to be the crossing between heaven and hell.
The temple is a maze of symbolism and beautiful architecture and truly is one of Thailand’s most beautiful landmarks. Whether you’re visiting the country for a week or a month, definitely take some time on your Thailand itinerary to visit the White Temple.
Address: 60 หมู่ที่ 1 Phahonyothin Rd, Pa O Don Chai, Mueang Chiang Rai District, Chiang Rai 57000, Thailand.
Where to stay: Akyra Manor Chiang Mai
Suggested tour: Private Tour of White, Blue and Black Temple from Chiang Mai
Khao Sok National Park
Recommended by Jessie from Pocket Wanderings.
One of Thailand’s best natural landmarks is the Khao Sok National Park, located in the province of Surat Thani. It is a sprawling nature reserve filled with dense jungle, an emerald-colored lake, and an abundance of plants and wildlife. The rainforest dates back 160 million years and holds the title of the oldest evergreen rainforest in the world. That in itself is enough reason to add Khao Sok National Park to your bucket list!
There are two main options for getting to the park from popular nearby areas (such as Phuket, Khao Lak, Surat Thani, Krabi, and Ko Lanta). A private taxi or minibus is the best option, or there are various bus services for a more budget-friendly alternative.
Be sure to spend at least one night in a jungle treehouse for a unique experience. For another fun experience, stay in a floating bungalow on the lake. These are located in the depths of the park, where you can enjoy the rare experience of being completely cut off from the outside world. With no signal or wifi, as well as limited electricity, it’s a wonderful chance to get back to nature for a couple of nights.
Address: 62 Khlong Sok, Phanom District, Surat Thani 84250, Thailand.
Where to stay: Anita Dream House
Suggested tour: Khao Sok Discovery Day Tour from Phuket
Khao Sam Roy Yot National Park
Recommended by Margarita from The Wildlife Diaries.
Thailand is well known for its temples, beaches, delicious cuisine, and friendly locals. But you don’t often think about it as a wildlife safari destination. And this is what makes Khao Sam Roy Yot National Park one of the most amazing landmarks in Thailand – it combines the best of all worlds.
Stretching along the coast of Prachuap Khiri Khan Province 60 km south of Hua Hin, Khao Sam Roy Yot is the best place in the country to see the adorable Dusky langurs, as well as crab-eating macaques, a wide variety of birds, and a few reptiles. A good way to explore the mangroves in the park is by taking a boat tour along the Khlong Khao Daeng waterway. The pier is located next to the idyllic temple – Wat Khao Daeng that looks almost toy-like set against the backdrop of the towering limestone cliffs.
But the most iconic attraction in Khao Sam Roy Yot is Phraya Nakhon cave – a giant cave that hides a delicate little temple inside. Located halfway up the side of a mountain, the cave is so vast that there is forest growing inside it. It’s a steep climb from Hat Laem Sala beach, but the sight of the ornate mini temple bathed in the sunlight filtering in from the opening in the roof of the cave is absolutely worth it.
Address: Kui Buri District, Prachuap Khiri Khan Province, Thailand.
Where to stay: Hansar Pranburi
Suggested tour: Private Charter from Hua Hin to Khao Sam Roy Yot
Phang Nga Bay, Phuket
Recommended by Peta and Jonas from Exit 45 Travels.
Phang Nga Bay lies off the southern coast of Phuket Island in Thailand, and is an easy day trip from areas like Kata, Karon and Patong. It is characterized by sheer limestone cliffs and rock formations and mangrove forests, and small islands. Two of the most famous spots in this beautiful bay are Koh Tapu, otherwise known as James Bond Island, and Kho Panyee.
James Bond Island became famous after being featured in the 1974 James Bond movie ‘The Man with the Golden Gun.’ It can get a little busy with tour groups, but the area surrounding this island is truly beautiful.
Kho Panyee is a fishing village built on stilts in the middle of the bay. This is the home to a Muslim community that relies heavily on tourism and fishing to survive.
Phang Nga Bay is a popular area for boating and sailing due to the many safe and picturesque places to anchor. If you like sea-kayaking, the bay offers abundant opportunities to explore the many islands and hongs (cave inside an island) of Koh Panak and Koh Hong.
Address: Ao Phang Nga National Park, Phuket, Thailand.
Where to stay:
- Phang Nha National Park: Le Erawan Phang Nha Hotel
- Phuket: Phuket Marriot Resort & Spa
- Koh Yao Noi: Jaiyen Eco-Friendly Resort
Suggested tour: James Bond and Phang Nga Bay Day Tour
Recommended by Matt from No Hassle Travel.
In the north of Thailand is the spectacular Pai Canyon, a natural landmark that offers impressive 360 views of the picturesque Thai landscape. Being an ideal spot for exploring and admiring the scenery, it also provides some fantastic photo opportunities.
A popular time to visit Pai Canyon is during the sunset. The best part? There are plenty of viewpoints to sit and watch after trekking around the canyon’s narrow dusty trails. It is also much cooler around this time, as the heat can become unbearable at mid-day.
A trip to the canyon comes in two parts: a stairway climb to the main viewpoint and a light trek around the canyon on narrow pathways. Hiking boots are not necessary, but some sneakers with a good grip are recommended.
Pai Canyon can be found just off Highway 1095, around 8km south of the town Pai. The canyon is not too big or complex, and depending on how far you decide to hike, 1-2 hours can be spent here. The canyon is free to enter for all.
Pai Canyon is an adventurous day activity that’s well worth a visit during a trip to Northern Thailand!
Address: Pai Canyon, Mae Hi, Pai District, Mae Hong Son 58130, Thailand.
Where to stay: Pai Village Boutique Resort
Suggested Tour: Private Custom Tour between Chiang Mai and Pai
Recommended by Elena from Passion for Hospitality.
The Chatuchak Market, also known as JJ Market, is Bangkok’s most famous and largest outdoor weekend market. Over 15,000 stalls and 11,500 vendors sell literally everything one can imagine! From clothes and accessories to handicrafts, food, antiques, and even pets!
The market is divided into 27 sections, which makes it easier to navigate this huge outdoor bazaar. JJ Market was originally a flea market assembled in the 1950s by the former prime minister and dictator, Plaek Phibunsongkhram. He created a policy that each province should own a flea market. Over 200,000 visitors head here every weekend, making it a very popular tourist attraction in Thailand. Whether you’re looking to buy some Thai souvenirs, fake designer bags, or even a new pet cobra, JJ Market is well worth a visit.
Exercise a few precautions when buying antiques and be careful of what is genuine and fake. Also, don’t forget to practice your haggling skills!
Address: Kamphaeng Phet 2 Road, Chatuchak, Bangkok, Thailand.
Where to stay: Le Bonheur Poshtel Bangkok
Suggested tour: Damnoen Saduak Floating Market & Chatuchak Market Half-Day Tour
Famous Landmarks in Thailand Conclusion
While this post barely scratches the surface of incredible landmarks in Thailand, it should give you a good starting point! How many of these famous Thai landmarks have you visited? If you feel we’ve missed anything, let us know in the comments below!
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