Thailand is famous the world over for its rich culture, incredible natural landscapes, and dynamic cities. There isn’t much you can’t see or do in the Kingdom. This warm, fun and friendly country has developed from a stop on the humble backpackers’ Southeast Asian itinerary to become a fully-fledged vacation destination.
Thailand draws people to it with images of unimaginably beautiful beaches and turquoise blue seas. Then it charms its visitors with openness, vibrancy and an incredible amount of delicious food, of course. Buddhism is an important part of Thai society and many old, magnificent temples gleam golden in cities and countryside, making for interesting places to visit – if not for their beauty, then to understand more about Thai culture.
Map of the best places to stay in Thailand
With the rise in tourists flocking to Thailand, it has become easier and more straightforward to reach various destinations by plane. Many of the best places to stay in Thailand are connected by the charming and fairly reliant train network, and places that aren’t can be reached by numerous tourist and local buses.
There has never been a better time to explore this wondrous, vibrant and dynamic country, but we warn you – once you’ve been to paradise, you will always dream of returning.
From glowing Buddhist temples underneath skyscrapers to meandering markets and shining malls, modern Bangkok meets the past. Street food stalls now jostle for space as more and more trendy cafes and restaurants pop up around the city. The Thai capital is a huge sprawling city with many different areas in which to base yourself for your trip. Well connected by public transport, traveling around the city is simple via the many water taxis and busses, plus the Skytrain and metro system.
Bangkok is the most populated and developed city in Thailand, so there’s a huge amount of choice when it comes to accommodation. Budget backpacker hostels culminate around the notoriously lively Khao San Road, while high-end offerings are scattered throughout the center of the city. Choose to stay a little further out from the city center in more residential districts and be rewarded by the buzz of the local communities.
Where to Stay in Bangkok
- Eastin Grand Hotel Sathorn – With its remarkable outdoor infinity pool and a private sky bridge, Eastin Grand Hotel Sathorn makes for quite the luxurious stay in the bustling capital city of Bangkok. The rooms here are spacious and observe a contemporary yet simple décor. Amenities at this posh 5-star hotel include a fully-equipped fitness center, four international restaurants, and a highly functional business center. The rest of the downtown is just a stone’s throw away, thanks to the easy Skytrain access!
- Hotel Royal [email protected] – Set in the bustling Chinatown district of Bangkok, this stylish 4-star property is all about hospitality and grandeur. Known for its exemplary facilities and services, Hotel Royal [email protected] boasts a large outdoor salt-water pool and a well-equipped fitness center. Guests here can enjoy their meals at one of the two international restaurants or have a refreshing drink at the pool bar. Rooms are spacious with contemporary facilities to make your stay comfortable. Some of the units also have a dedicated seating area.
Charming Chiang Mai is the biggest city in Thailand’s northern region and a popular stop-off point on Thai backpacking itineraries. Once the capital of the Lanna Kingdom, the city dates back to 1559. Evidence of Chiang Mai’s rich cultural heritage can still be seen throughout the city streets – especially inside the crumbling walls of the Old City and in the hundreds of temples that dot the town.
Staying a few days in Chiang Mai is enough to take in the sights, but many who visit end up being wooed by the city’s amiable nature and local atmosphere and stay longer. It’s easy to get around on foot as many of the attractions are in the city center, but if you want to travel further afield, use the bus network or just take a tuk-tuk.
Accommodation in the city mainly caters to budget tourism; even the mid-range hotel offerings are affordable. Before you leave on the train to your next stop, make sure to check out Chiang Mai’s famous night market and try some of the tasty Thai treats on sale.
Where to Stay in Chiang Mai
- Phra Singh Village – Located in the heart of Chiang Mai, closer to all the major attractions in the city, Phra Singh Village is a lavish 5-star property that redefines grandiose and comfort. Rooms here are decorated in warmer hues and minimalist wooden furnishings. A sun terrace and a hot tub are among the many luxurious amenities you can expect to find in your unit. That’s not all! The property also boasts an outdoor swimming pool, a remarkable fitness center, and a fabulous restaurant that serves a sumptuous continental breakfast each morning.
- The Wing Boutique Hotel – Nestled in the heart of the country’s second-largest city, The Wing Boutique Hotel is in close range to some of the most popular spots in Chiang Mai. Rooms here sport a soothing vibe, with minimalist furnishings and light colors. All of them also come with a modern ensuite bathroom and a sun terrace. Start your day with a delectable buffet breakfast and have the support staff help you out with an itinerary for the day!
This lovely island is the largest of all of the Thai islands and attracts hordes of holidaymakers every year, all looking to enjoy a slice of paradise for themselves. The island may have undergone a lot of changes since the tourist industry moved in, but much of Phuket Town has retained its culture and history. Phuket is used as jumping off point for travelers heading to the smaller islands in the area, meaning it’s extremely easy to catch a bus or a boat to anywhere you want to go.
Phuket even has its own international airport and enough luxury hotels and spa resorts to cater to the many foreign tourists. There are a lot of guesthouses and hostels for budget travelers, mostly around the culturally rich Phuket Town. Even with the huge influx of tourists, the island still has so much to offer. Take a trek in the national parks in the North, hit the white sandy beaches, or just spend your days eating some of the most delicious food in the area.
Where to Stay in Phuket
- Splash Beach Resort, Maikhao – Home to the Splash Jungle Waterpark and the largest conference center on the island, the swanky 5-star resort offers a wide selection of accommodation options, including deluxe rooms, suites, villas, apartments, and penthouses. While some of these offer spectacular views of the surrounding garden landscape or the Andaman Sea, others come with a rooftop pool and patio. Other amenities at this astonishing resort include eight dining options, two swimming pools, and numerous perfect beachside spots for special occasions such as cocktail parties and weddings.
- Diamond Resort Phuket – Located within a short walking distance of Bang Tao beach, this cozy 4-star resort offers budget-friendly accommodation options in Phuket. It is packed with contemporary amenities such as a well-manicured garden, a well-maintained fitness center, a sauna, and an outdoor swimming pool. All guest units are designed elegantly and come with an ensuite bathroom as well as a kitchenette. What’s more, they also offer a hearty buffet breakfast to kickstart your day.
Ko Samui is a sumptuous, stunning, tropical Thai island. A welcome stop on many people’s Thailand itineraries, the island is drenched in virgin rainforest and edged by palm-lined beaches. People are attracted to this piece of paradise by the lure of pampering at spa resorts, partying on the beach and by its delicious local cuisine.
For a spot of luxury, head to the old Fisherman’s Village and join other tourists sipping on wine and enjoying freshly caught seafood. If you’re more of a beach bum, Mae Nam beach is the place to go for a little peace and quiet; if you are an early bird, sunrise at Chawend Beach is unforgettable. Continue onto the next island by taking one of the regular island ferries, or catch a flight from the small airport.
Where to Stay in Ko Samui
- Banyan Tree Samui – Nestled in an exclusive beachfront location, this ritzy 5-star resort takes luxury and extravagance to a whole different level. Featuring a wide range of spacious and classy villas with private infinity pools and terraces overlooking the Gulf of Thailand, the Banyan Tree Samui offers ultimate privacy and total comfort. Amenities here include a world-class spa facility, multiple fine-dining options, and a library. The resort also offers diving and fishing activities around the area.
- Sea Valley Hotel & Spa – Set on the glistening sandy shores of Lipa Noi Beach in Ko Samui, Sea Valley Hotel & Spa has a range of lavish private villas adorned with wooden furnishings and the highest quality of amenities. What’s more, some of the villas also have a private pool and spa bath facilities! Ask the warm and friendly staff to help you to arrange trekking and diving around the area. Alternatively, head over to the sea-front outdoor pool or enjoy a meal at the seaside restaurant.
The closest beach resort to Bangkok, Pattaya is a brash, fun and vibrant place where anything goes. Well known for its late nights and sex tourism, in recent years the local government have tried to make the town a little more family-friendly. Beaches in the area have seen much development since tourism started to rise in the 1960’s and, as such, they lack a lot of the luster that Thai beaches are famous for.
Always awake, Pattaya is a party city – but that doesn’t mean there isn’t anywhere to unwind. The three main tourist areas have each their own attractions: Nuklua has retained much of its classic Thai charm and Jomtien is much more sleepy, whereas Pattaya Beach is brash and busy. The best way to get around town is by taking the local bus, or just walk. Nothing is ever too far away.
Where to Stay in Pattaya
- Grande Centre Point Pattaya – If you fancy being treated like a celebrity and have a taste for the finer things in life, Grande Centre Point Pattaya is where you should head to. Aside from an outdoor swimming pool with waterslides and foam parties for kids thrice a week, the property also has a spacious shared lounge, multiple business and conference centers, and a posh restaurant and bar overlooking the entire city. The imposing rooms come equipped with all the contemporary facilities, including en-suite bathrooms and private terraces.
Blissed out Krabi sits in the South of Thailand in the amazing Andaman Sea. Well known for pretty beaches, lush natural landscapes and jutting limestone formations, Krabi province boasts an incredible 150 islands, many of which have rocky, jungle-coated interiors and are laced with white sandy beaches lapped by gleaming blue seas.
Krabi is a magnet for travelers who want to take some time out to chill on the beach, but for the more adventurous, Krabi offers a whole range of activities. Caves, waterfalls, and clear waters give the chance to try out rock climbing, kayaking, snorkeling, and hiking. Just a short flight from Bangkok, the most popular islands are easily reachable by boat from the mainland. Stay in a variety of accommodation from low priced to luxury on the Phi Phi Islands, rock climb in Railay, or find yourself living out scenes from The Beach at Maya Bay.
Where to Stay in Krabi
- Krabi Resort – The only property in the area with a private beachfront, Krabi Resort is the perfect place for an exclusive getaway from the infamous partying and unstoppable nightlife of South Thailand. Some of the luxurious bungalows and villas here are designed with traditional Thai décor, while others follow a more contemporary design with an elegant oriental touch. Amenities at the resort include two massive outdoor pools, a beachfront restaurant with signature seafood delicacies, an archery range, a junior explorer club, and much more.
If you’re looking for secluded beaches and local towns then this isn’t the Thai destination for you. Hua Hin might be Thailand’s original and well-trodden seaside resort, but it still has a lot going for it. The fun, energetic city is full of places serving great food at reasonable prices and boasts a wide selection of accommodation from budget hostels to mid-range family offerings and huge, luxury complexes.
The affluent coastal city was once the favored holiday destination of the Thai Royal family; it’s quick and easy to reach by train from Bangkok. Keen kite surfers and watersport fans flock to Hua Hin beach, but with plenty of golf courses, water parks, and spas, there’s a whole host of activities to keep the many tourists entertained.
Where to Stay in Hua Hin
- Hilton Hua Hin Resort – One of the most premium holiday properties, this glamorous 5-star resort is a slice of paradise that offers exquisite guestrooms with the most stunning views over the Gulf of Thailand. Spend an active day at the tennis court or work out at the gym. If you feel the need to relax after, treat yourself with a soothing spa and herbal bath at the spa facility. To end the perfect day, choose between one of the five international restaurants at the resort for a gastronomic delight.
A scuba diver’s dream, the island of Koh Tao might appear to be a sleepy, secluded island – and parts of it are – but it’s also a place to party and let off steam. The jungle-clad island – also going by the name Turtle Island – has all the vibrancy of a Thai town and the Arcadian beauty that Thailand’s islands are so well known for.
There’s a darker side to this paradise, however. In recent years, a string of deaths has bought controversy to the popular backpacker destination and, as such, the running of the island’s local governments and ties to mafia have been brought into question. Though the deaths have caught the public’s attention, thousands of visitors still arrive every year and enjoy their holiday, then head off happily by boat to the next destination.
Where to Stay in Koh Tao
- Dusit Buncha Resort – A one-of-a-kind beachside property, Dusit Buncha Resort offers gorgeous villas decorated in contemporary Thai style with wooden furnishings and a spacious balcony. Some of them even have private open-air bathrooms! Spend the day enjoying the best of sun and sea while sipping on a refreshing cocktail from the bar. For something more adventurous, take a one-day snorkeling trip or enjoy kayaking and boating in the azure waters of Koh Tao.
Think luminescent sands, cloud-topped mountains, and jungle interiors, Ko Lanta is the quintessential castaway island. The exotic and far-flung island was once home to seafaring nomads and today remains a chilled out place to enjoy island life. A humble stop on the backpacker itinerary, there’s a good choice of budget places to stay and – more recently – a whole host of luxury accommodation, too.
This welcoming and friendly place is a haven for scuba diving and snorkeling – the crystal-clear waters surrounding the island are home to coral reefs that teem with marine life. Calmer than other Thai islands, it’s easy to arrive by one of the daily boats and then, once you’re there, travel around on a motorbike.
Where to Stay in Ko Lanta
- Pimalai Resort & Spa – Seizing the benefits of being on a private beach in one of the most popular island destinations in the country, this snazzy 5-star resort is tucked away in a surreal tropical forest, offering you complete privacy and quiet. Adorned with contemporary Thai interiors, along with rich Thai draperies, rattan blinds, and a polished teakwood floor, rooms at the Pimalai Resort & Spa come with a personal balcony that overlooks the surroundings. Amenities here include an infinity-edge pool, a state-of-the-art spa facility, and much more.