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Authored by Illia Strikhar & Nastia Rays’ka-Ptashka

Heading to Thailand this summer? Before you check-in, it’s worth noting that the best of Thailand is so much more than the postcard perfect beaches for which it’s most famous (not that there’s anything wrong with that!).

The glorious, mysterious, and (at times) mystifying country of Thailand is a smorgasbord when it comes to things to do, places to visit, and experiences to be had. Expect a rich depth of culture. Expect a deep history and yes, expect great food.

But whether you intend to spend all summer, or can only spare a week, here are a few destinations which we feel you shouldn’t miss.

Where to Go in Thailand This Summer

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Chiang Mai

The south has the behemoth that is Bangkok and the north has Chiang Mai. Known as the “Rose of the North”, Chiang Mai is a much more relaxed city compared to Bangkok. Here you will find a unique blend of culture and history, warm locals and some of the greatest food in all of Thailand.

Explore the sprawl of street markets at night and spend the day taking up a cooking class or for the more hands-on traveller, the city is also home to a host of massage schools. There are also plenty day trips you can do to explore the surrounding nature and historical sites.

Ayutthaya

The ancient ruins of Ayutthaya (the capital city of the Kingdom with the same name) were once known for being the most spectacular city in the world, and in 1700 it was in fact the world’s largest (city).

While now in ruins, the few remaining structures give a glimpse of the impressive city they must have seen. Ayutthaya maintained its power for more than four centuries, and at its pinnacle the Kingdom ruled present day Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.

Most of the remains are temples and palaces, as those were the only buildings made of stone at that time. The Historic City became an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991; a must see for all lovers of history. It’s a popular day trip option from Bangkok, via train, car or boat.

The ancient ruins of Ayutthaya

The ancient ruins of Ayutthaya

The ancient ruins of Ayutthaya

Krabi

Krabi is a province located on the Southern part Thailand’s coast. The region is known for its web of archipelagos, where islands seem to pop out like hidden gems across the sea.

Getting to the many secluded beaches is like being in a treasure hunt, with colorful long tail boats being the transport of choice. Historians will be happy to learn about the bays and coves where merchants and pirates used to hideaway.

Sukhothai

Sukhothai is an ancient city which was discovered in the 13th century and is renowned as being the first independent Thai kingdom. The name translates to “Dawn of Happiness” and when you get lost amongst the maze of mind-blowing monuments and temples, it’s not hard to understand how the name came about.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Sukhothai is now officially a Historical Park and is one of the highlights on any traveller’s itinerary. The authorities open the park at night and you might be fortunate enough to witness the golden Buddha’s lit up, so make sure you arrive there late.

Wat Mahathat - Sukhothai

Light Show in Sukhothai Historical Park

The Islands

It goes without saying but when you go to Thailand, you must visit the islands. Much has been said about the stunning beaches of Thailand but it sure is well deserved.

Thailand’s islands can be divided into three sets. Ko Chang and Ko Samet lay east of Bangkok and are some of the most beautiful. In the Andaman you will find Phuket and Ko Phi Phi, and in the gulf of Ko Samui there are Ko Pha Ngan and Ko tao.

So if you’re bored of Bangkok make sure you compile some research on Thailand’s different islands to find out which sun-drenched paradise is for you. They’re all different and all amazing in their own way.

LOVE THAI FOOD? OUR FAVORITE THAI RECIPES: CLICK PHOTO ↓

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Illia and Nastia are passionate about each other, traveling around the world and sharing their experiences at crazzzytravel.com, a blog where you can find plenty of budget travel tips as well as practical information about numerous destinations.

They have visited 40+ countries across 5 continents, and don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. Visit their website to learn more about traveling as a couple or check their latest budget travel guide to Barcelona for couples.

Photo credits: Ayutthaya (in order of appearance) by Frank Griesbach, -RS-, & anna_d. Wat Mahathat – Sukhothai by Mike Behnken. Light Show in Sukhothai Historical Park by Ninara.

    24 Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing the list as it is very useful in our vacation planning.

    • Glad we could team up with Illia and Nastia to help :) Happy travels!

  2. Thailand seems to be the new place to go! I need to learn more about Sukhothai asap, what an fascinating place to see in real life.

    • Definitely one of the trendiest destinations this summer! Yes, Sukhothai is really fascinating, a great subject for further reading :)

  3. Thanks for featuring us Megan! If anyone has any questions feel free to ask me :)

    • Thanks for the great guest post!

  4. In our last visit to Thailand, we could only make it to Bangkok and Pattaya. We now are planning a visit to Thailand again to cover some of the beautiful islands like Phuket and Krabi. But now after reading your post, I guess we will add Ayutthaya as we love visiting historical places. Chiang Mai is another place where we want to experience the night markets.

    • Ayutthaya, although not very big, was really beautiful. There’s also a really nice guesthouse right in front of the ruins. In Chiang Mai the highlight for us was a 2-day trip into the mountains to see local tribes. A must, in my opinion ?

  5. These are wonderful recommendations. I’d love to attend a cooking lesson by the beach. I have been always interested in learning Thai cuisine. I’d like to explore the different islands like Koh Samui, Koh Tao, and Khao Sok.

    • The islands throughout Thailand are incredible – there’s so many of them and so much to see! And there’s nothing like Thai cuisine from Thailand itself – nothing else quite measures up after you leave!!

  6. You have weaved a wonderful compilation of thai experiences beyond the ordinary, touristy stuff. Ayuthhaya looks like a lost kingdom telling stories in stone:) though I’d love to do an island hopping tour with all the lovely adventures in the sea, the history buff in me would do the sukho thai belt first :)

    • That’s what we like to do! Glad you enjoyed Illia and Nastia’s post Divsi :) Hope you have the chance to visit and take in the islands and the history soon!

  7. Great suggestions. I don’t think I will ever get bored of island hopping and tasty inexpensive food.

    • Totally! ?

  8. I will be heading to Thailand soon (although still on planned) – for dental work. It will be my first time there, so I want to get the maximum out of it. Chaing Mai was already on the list, as was a few of the other spots, however, I will be adding Ayutthaya and Sukhothai to our list.

    • If you go to Chiang Mai stop by in Chiang Rai if you can – to see the White Temple. AirAsia has daily flights from Bangkok at around 30-40$ one way.

  9. I’ve long appreciated Thailand for its beauty but I had NO CLUE that Ayutthaya was once the world’s biggest city! That is crazy to think about…and makes me wonder what other cities have had the title :) This is a country with a rich history, that’s for sure!

    • I had no clue until I received their guest post either, always fun to learn something new! Glad you enjoyed the post Julie :)

  10. Havent been to the South of Thailand where the islands are but I definitely loved the north. Especially Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. Cant wait to see Ayutthaya and Sukhothai though!

    • So glad you enjoyed the north! Sounds like a great excuse to head back again and explore the south on your next trip :)

  11. I’m sad to say that from your list I have only visited the Islands! I really need to go back and explore Krabi, Sukhothai and Ayutthaya! So much history and culture to explore!

    • Sounds like a great excuse to start planning another trip :D

  12. There are lots of places to visit in Krabi. When you’re already done visiting the temple at Wat Tham Sua, you can go to the emerald pool to relax. I guarantee you that this pool is a natural gem. The water is so clear and very refreshing.

    • Thanks for the tips Thaim! Will have to look for the emerald pool on our next trip :)

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