6 Fun Things to Do in Thailand

fun things to do in Thailand
Image Source: vvillashuahin.com

6 Fun Things to Do in Thailand

Enjoying the Land of the Free

The many things to do in Thailand start from holistically experiencing the numerous temples scattered around the cities, buying food by making your way through a floating market on water, partying and exploring a whole road filled with shops that cater to every tourists’ needs, enjoying the beach and boat rides in the peninsula, and plenty more! It’s your chance to explore the city, the rural areas, the beach, the historical temples, and a culture filled country that won’t seize to amaze you.

I. All About Thailand

Thailand is officially known as the Kingdom of Thailand which I must say fits the kingdom-like beauty of the country with a cultural twist to it. Ever heard of the country Siam? I’ll take a wild guess that you haven’t. Unless you’re born in the early 1900’s or you’re a history-nerd, you wouldn’t have known that Thailand was officially known as Siam until June 23 of 1939.

The word ‘Siam’ comes from the word Śyāma, which means dark or brown which refers to the skin color of the Thai. Even if they decided to call their country Thailand, they reverted back to the name Siam in 1946. But it didn’t last long because they decided against it and reverted it back to Thailand. It turns out that the US is not the only ‘land of the free’ because the word ‘Thailand’ means the ‘land of the free’! No wonder they decided to stick with Thailand rather than Siam.

Land of the Free

The word ‘Thai’ in Thailand has two meanings: ‘free’ and the Thai people. So, Thailand is also the land of the Thai people. But of course, the ‘land of the free’ has that ring to it. The old Siam was renamed to ‘Thailand’ because it was the only Southeast Asian country that didn’t get colonized by the Europeans! A great reputation like that did need a change of name, don’t you think?

Let’s talk further about Thailand’s location, currency name, landscapes, cities and people for you to be fully equip with important knowledge before you start travelling to the rich culture of the Kingdom of Thailand!

Where is Thailand?

Thailand is located in the heart of Southeast Asia, encompassed by Myanmar (or Burma), Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia and the Gulf of Thailand.

What is the Currency of Thailand?

Their currency is called Thai Baht. One U.S. dollar equals to 30.99 Thai Baht as of August 2020.

What are the Landscapes in Thailand?

Thailand has diverse landscapes consisting of forests, grasslands, wetlands, rivers, rice fields, broad plateau and coastlines on beaches. This is because the country has two sections: a main section in the north connected with a thin but long, narrow peninsula in the south.

What are the Regions and Cities of Thailand?

First know that cities, towns and communities are listed under regions. These are the 7 regions and their cities, towns and communities:

  • Bangkok Metropolitan

Bang Bua Thong, Bang Kruai, Bang Mueang, Bang Phun, Bang Pu, Bang Sao Thong, Bang Si Mueang, Bueng Yitho, Dan Samrong, Khlong Luang, Khu Khot, Krathum Baen, Krathum Lom, Krung Thep [Bangkok], Laem Fa Pha, Lakha, Lam Sam Kaeo, Lat Luang, Lat Sawai, Na Di, Nakhon Pathom, Nonthaburi, Om Noi, Om Yai, Pak Kret, Pak Nam Samut Prakan, Pathum Thani, Phraek Sa, Plai Bang, Puchao Saming Phrai, Rai Khing, Rangsit, Sai Ma, Samrong Nuea, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon, Sanan Rak, Sao Thong Hin, Suan Luang, Tha Khlong, and Thanyaburi.

  • Central Region

Ayothaya, Khao Phra Ngam, Khao Sam Yot, Khok Tum, Lam Ta Sao, Lopburi, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, Phra Phutthabat, and Saraburi.

  • Eastern Region

Ang Sila, Ban Bueng, Ban Chang, Chachoengsao, Chanthaburi, Chaophraya Surasak, Chonburi, Huai Yai, Khet Udomsakdi, Laem Chabang, Map Ta Phut, Na Pa, Nong Prue, Nong Tamlueng, Pattaya, Rayong, Saen Suk, Samet, Si Racha, Takhian Tia, Thap Ma, and Wang Nam Yen.

  • Northeastern Region

Amnat Charoen, Ban Pet, Ban Phai, Buriram, Chaiyaphum, Chum Phae, Hua Thale, Isan, Kalasin, Kham Yai, Khon Kaen, Loei, Maha Sarakham, Mueang Kao, Mukdahan, Nakhon Ratchasima, Nakhon Phanom, Na Klang, Nang Rong, Nong Bua, Nong Bua Lamphu, Nong Khai, Nong Samrong, Pak Chong, Pho Klang, Roi Et, Saen Suk, Sakon Nakhon, Sisaket, Surin, Ubon Ratchathani, Udon Thani, Warin Chamrap, and Yasothon.

  • Northern Region

Aranyik, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Kamphaeng Phet, Khelang Nakhon, Khlong Lan Phatthana, Lampang, Mae Cho, Mae Sai, Mae Sot, Mae Yao, Mueang Na, Nakhon Sawan, Nan, Phetchabun, Phichit, Phitsanulok, San Sai Luang, Takhli, Tha Sai Luat, Thep Nakhon, Uttaradit, Wiang Phang Kham, and Wichian Buri.

  • Southern Region

Ban Phru, Chumphon, Hat Yai, Kathu, Khlong Hae, Khlong Khut, Kho Hong, Khuan Lang, Ko Samui, Krabi, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Narathiwat, Na San, Pak Phanang, Pa Tong, Pattani, Phatthalung, Phawong, Phuket, Ratsada, Sadao, Sateng Nok, Satun, Singhanakhon, Songkhla, Surat Thani, Tha Chang, Tha Kham, Thung Song, Trang, Wichit, and Yala.

  • Western Region

Cha-am, Hua Hin, Kanchanaburi, Pak Phraek, Phetchaburi, Ratchaburi, Samut Songkhram, Suphanburi, Tha Pha, and Tha Yang.

All About the Thai People

Thai People, or the Siamese, have diverse cultures, languages and religions. The four major languages of Thailand are Tai, Mon-Khmer, Austronesian and Sino-Tibetan. Standard Tai is the national language because it is the most used language in the main section of the country. But don’t you worry as English is also widely used, often for business and school.

The religion of Thai people are mostly Buddhism (which is the religion of 94.6% of the people), a small percentage are Muslim (4.3%), and 1.1% of the population are either Christians or Protestants. Not much Christians around these parts despite the attempts of Christian missionaries in the 16th century. While most of the Muslims are found in south Thailand, but there also are some of them in the capital city, Bangkok.

II. What are the Best Cities to Visit in Thailand?

Chiang Mai
Image Source: chiangmai.bangkok.com

What are the Best Places to Visit in Thailand? Where to go in Thailand? How to get around Thailand? Woah there! Ask no more and find you answers here where I feature the top 3 cities of the Land of the Free! Including theirhistorical attractions, beautiful sceneries, enormous statues and their stories and arts packed with culture and history.

3. Chiang Mai

If you want a getaway from work, school or anyplace stressful, Chiang Mai welcomes you with open arms. Its not a retreat in the middle of forests or endless grasslands, but a city filled with temples, massage parlors, night markets that’ll leave you no choice but to feel the buzz of excitement and buying, and plenty of street food to try the Thai cuisine influenced by Indian, Chinese, Burmese and other Southeast Asian cultures.

To really get that calming and unwinding-feel, make your way to the Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep temple that rests on a hilltop overlooking Chiang Mai in all its glory.

2. Ayutthaya

If Bangkok is famous for its urban themes and Grand Palace while Chiang Mai is famous for being a relaxing and cultural retreat, then Ayutthaya is known for it’s rich history and culture within the walls of its temples, the statues of Buddha, and the very earth that it owns. So, when in Ayutthaya, the Ayutthaya Historical Park is the place to see! It is on an island in the middle of three rivers, and a part of it was even deemed an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991.

If UNESCO could see their effort in preserving and developing true Thai art, that is definitely something the rest of the world needs to see to.

Ayutthaya also has massive temples and stucco towers from what was left of the ruins in 1767. One of the famous temples is Wat Mahathat where the head of a Buddha statue surrounded by the roots of a tree.

1. Bangkok

Bangkok is called the Venice of the East because it has 83 canals. The boats carry fresh food which makes these canals practically a floating market. It also has Buddhist structures with gold-layered spires, graceful pagodas, and giant Buddha statues. Most of these can be found in the Grand Palace. This is over two centuries old, and it used to be the home of the Thai King, the Royal court and the administrative seat of government.

You won’t see as much, gold and curvy designs with sharp points as this place has. But if you do decide to visit this elegant palace, make sure to be fully clothed and dressed appropriately as it has been and still is a sacred place. Don’t worry, you don’t need to bring out your tuxedo, a simple shirt, long pants and fully covered footwear would do the trick!

Another thing you must do in Bangkok is ride the BTS Skytrain. It is an air-conditioned train that travels and goes around Bangkok! It’s also not just for tourists as it is built to get the locals to zip in and out of places faster at a cheap price. So, not only will you get to explore and get to places faster, you will also be able to save money!

A fun fact before you leave this section, Bangkok is just a mere nickname. It’s real name is Krungthepmahanakhon Amonrattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilokphop Noppharatratchathaniburirom Udomratchaniwetmahasathan Amonphimanawatansathit Sakkathattiyawitsanukamprasit. Don’t look at me, I didn’t butt-text you that, you can even Google it! It actually translates to:

“The city of angels, the great city, the eternal jewel city, the impregnable city of God Indra, the grand capital of the world endowed with nine precious gems, the happy city, abounding in an enormous Royal Palace that resembles the heavenly abode where reigns the reincarnated god, a city given by Indra and built by Vishnukarma.”

III. What are the Fun Things to Do in Thailand?

Image Source: befreetour.com

And finally, you are now ready to find out the things to do in Thailand! But beware that these activities are all different and categorically distinct from one another!

1. Visit the Grand Palace in Bangkok

Apparently, it is usually the top thing to do and visit in most of the online articles. And who can blame them. The architecture and colors of this magnificent piece of art and history just oozes with power, longevity and elegance that makes you ogle in awe.

2. Visit the Floating Markets

If you want a chance in scenery of the old and regular marketplace then the floating market of the canals in Thailand should be a level-up. Instead of the sturdy walls and floor that marketplaces are built to have, the canals of Thailand have boats that carry fruits, vegetables, meats, spices and souvenirs for all those who dare leap from boat to boat that occasionally rock back and forth.

3. Take Boat Rides Around Thailand

If you’re tired of travelling on foot or vehicles on wheels, a boat ride should spice things up for you then! Thailand has beautiful beaches and coastlines that are picture and tourist ready. They offer boat trips from island to island and trips around Bangkok.

4. Go wild on Khao San Road

I think it’s safe to say that you need to go here simple because Leonardo DiCaprio has. Khao San Road is called the ‘backpacking center of the universe’ because it is a kilometer-long road of bars, hotels, travel agents, clubs, restaurants and massage parlors for all tourists to have a good time! So, if you’re the conservative type that avoids the crowds, it’s best that you go here in the morning and afternoon. But for all those who want to get loose and party till they drop, head on down to Khao San Road by 10pm.

5. Enjoy an Ethical Elephant Experience in the Elephant Nature Park

The elephant is Thailand’s national animal! They are considered as highly revered animals but they are forced to take refuge in the Elephant Nature Park to avoid the growing cases of animal cruelty (i.e. be kept in zoos to perform tricks). The park is a rehabilitation center of elephants to live in peace with humans. But this park is not a one-stop-shop kind of place. It offers luxury accommodations, camping in affordable tents and, of course, interactions with elephants and not watching them perform for our amusement! Your paid visit will help the rehabilitation center continue to help the elephants in the park and continue to save them all.

6. Climb the Sathorn Unique Tower

This erect skyscraper may blend in the city skyline from afar. But if you take a closer look, you’ll see that it’s missing its windows and is actually too shabby to be habitable. That’s right, it’s abandoned! It is known as the ‘Sathorn Unique’ because it was under construction during the late 1900’s but because of the global financial crisis, the building was never completed.

It isn’t apart of any tour guide’s list but because of its history and the suspicion of it being haunted, you can go on a quest to climbing all 49 floors of the building with a small payment to the security guards at the bottom. My advice is you go with friends and family. Just in case there really are ghosts lurking around.

IV. Main Takeaways

things to do in Thailand
Image Source: pullman.accor.com

After having read this, hopefully you’ve learned a thing or two about some of the fun and very exciting things to do in Thailand. Now that you know more about Thailand, its cities and activities, let’s recap everything we just read before we start booking plane tickets and hotel rooms.

All the facts about Thailand that you need to know is:

  • Thailand is officially known as the Kingdom of Thailand.  
  • It used to be called Siam.
  • The word ‘Thailand’ translates to both ‘land of the free’ and the land of the Thai people.
  • It is in the heart of Southeast Asia.  
  • Their currency is called Thai Baht.
  • It has diverse landscapes consisting of forests, grasslands, wetlands, rivers, rice fields, broad plateau and coastlines on beaches. This is because the country has two sections: a main section in the north connected with a thin but long, narrow peninsula in the south.
  • It has 7 regions (Bangkok Metropolitan, Central Region, Eastern Region, Northeastern Region, Northern Region, Southern Region, and Western Region) that consist of cities, towns and communities.
  • The four major languages of Thailand are Tai, Mon-Khmer, Austronesian and Sino-Tibetan.

All the facts about Thai people that you need to know is:

  • Thai People, or the Siamese, have diverse cultures, languages and religions.
  • The religion of Thai people are mostly Buddhism and a small percentage are Muslims, Christians and Protestants.

The Best Cities to Visit in Thailand

1. Bangkok

2. Ayutthaya

3. Chiang Mai

The 6 Fun Things to Do in Thailand are:

1. Visit the Grand Palace in Bangkok

2. Visit the Floating Markets

3. Take Boat Rides Around Thailand

4. Go wild on Khao San Road

5. Enjoy an Ethical Elephant Experience in the Elephant Nature Park

6. Climb the Sathorn Unique Tower

things to do in Thailand
Image Source: lonelyplanet.com

Appendix

Figure 1.1  |  Top 10 Best Cities in Thailand from 3 Different Sources

RankTripAdvisor (Best things to do)PlanetWare (Top-rated)U.S. News (Best places)
1BangkokBangkokChiang Mai
2Chiang MaiAyutthayaBangkok
3AyutthayaChiang MaiPhuket
4Chiang RaiHua HiTrang
5KanchanaburiPhuketRailay Beach
6PattayaPattayaAyutthaya
7Nakhon Ratchasima  KanchanaburiPhang Nga
8SukhothaiKrabiSimilan Islands Marine National Park
9Surat ThaniSukhothaiKo Chang
10Hua HinPaiKhao Sok National Park
Websitehttps://www.tripadvisor.in/Attractions-g293915-Activities-Thailand.htmlhttps://www.planetware.com/thailand/top-rated-cities-in-thailand-tha-1-55.htmhttps://travel.usnews.com/rankings/best-places-to-visit-in-thailand/

Note: All items in bold indicates that it is mentioned in the list of another source.

Figure 1.2  |  Ranking of the Best Cities in Thailand

RankRestaurantBreakdown (The lower the score, the better)
1BangkokTop 1 + Top 1 + Top 2 = 4 / 3 = 1.33
2Chiang MaiTop 2 + Top 3 + Top 1 = 6 / 3 = 2
3AyutthayaTop 3 + Top 2 + Top 6 = 11 / 3 = 3.67

Figure 2.1  |  Top 6 Things To Do in Thailand from 3 Different Sources

RankGapYear (Things you need to do in Thailand)The Crazy Tourist (Best things to do in Thailand)Thailand by Hotels.com (Best things to do in Thailand)Wanderlust (Best things to do)
1Take a tuk tukVisit the Grand PlaceThe Grand Palace & Wat Prakeaw  Marvel at The Grand Palace, Bangkok
2Visit the Grand PalaceHave a Thai MassagePhang Nga Bay (boat)Meet Myanmar (Burma) and Laos in the Golden Triangle
3Go wild on Khao San RoadVisit The Damnoen Saduak Floating MarketSimilan Islands (boat)  Enjoy an ethical elephant experience
4Eat InsectsSpend an Evening in Nana Plaza (Soi 4)Floating MarketsHop through some of the world’s prettiest islands (boat)
5Wat ArunClimb the Sathorn Unique TowerPhi Phi Islands (boat)Meet the hill tribes of northern Thailand
6Take a long boat through Bangkok (boat)Visit a Ping Pong ShowDoi Suthep (Chiang Mai)  Go off-the-beaten-track in Chiang Mai (Chiang Mai)
Websitehttps://www.gapyear.com/articles/travel-ideas/101-things-you-need-to-do-in-thailandthecrazytourist.com/top-25-things-to-do-in-thailand/https://travel.usnews.com/rankings/best-places-to-visit-in- thailand-guide.com/attractions/top10-attractions.htm/https://www.wanderlust.co.uk/content/top-10-things-to-do-in-thailand/

Note: All items in bold indicates that it’s categorically mentioned in the list of another source.

Figure 2.2  |  Ranking of the 6 Things to Do in Thailand

RankRestaurantBreakdown (The lower the score, the better)
1Visit the Grand Palace in BangkokTop 2 + Top 1 + Top 1 + Top 1 = 5 / 4 = 1.25
2Visit the Floating MarketsTop 3 + Top 4 = 7 / 2 = 3.5
3Take Boat Rides Around ThailandTop 6 + Top 2 + Top 3 + Top 5 + Top 4 = 20 / 5 = 4
4Go wild on Khao San RoadBased on judgement
5Enjoy an ethical elephant experienceBased on judgement
6Climb the Sathorn Unique TowerBased on judgement

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