Thailand has always been one of the most visited and highly rated tourist destinations in South East Asia, and there are many good reasons for this. From exotic beaches with all-night Full Moon Parties to sprawling metropolitan cities with bustling nightlife to wonderful cuisine and culture, Thailand has it all. Local Thai people are so genuine and hospitable that every traveler will leave the country full of fond memories and warm feelings. In fact, many foreigners have chosen Thailand as their second home away from home.
In Thailand, whether you are looking for an outstanding luxury resort or a budget cozy homestay, there is always something for everyone.
Check out our guide below for the top 4 places to stay in Thailand:
The capital city of Thailand, Bangkok, never disappoints. It is a big, modern, hectic metropolis with a mixture of high rises and low-built homes. While visiting Bangkok, you don’t want to sit in a car doing your sightseeing, because the real-life in Bangkok takes place on the street. Visitors to the city definitely need to check out Khao San Road at least once. This is one of Bangkok’s most famous streets and it has a vibrant, fun, and very, very loud vibe. The street is sealed off to vehicles so visitors can take a stroll among the thousands of shops, bars, and food stands.
Bangkok is also home to many famous attractions such as the ancient Grand Palace and the Reclining Buddha of Wat Pho. The city offers great experiences like a boat trip on the Chao Phraya River, a Thai massage that will relieve all your muscle aches and pains, and amazing shopping opportunities with 8,000 stalls inside the Chatuchak Market alone. Thai cuisine is to die for and everyone who visits Thailand finds themselves craving the food after they go home. If you are into nightlife and entertainment, Bangkok is certainly the place to be.
With so many things to experience, here are our recommendations on some of the best areas to stay in Bangkok:
This is the number one shopping heaven in Bangkok with hundreds of luxury shopping centers, department stores, designer labels, and trendy fashion boutiques, all in one area stretching over a couple of miles.
Sukhumvit is quite close to Siam Square, and this is where you should go for luxury hotels, great restaurants, and amazing nightlife. You will enjoy checking out the various atmospheric cafes hiding away in the alleys in this area. Thailand is also known for its sex industry, and Sukhumvit has two famous red-light districts that curious visitors often visit, which are Nana Plaza on Soi 4 and Soi Cowboy near Soi 23.
Silom is Bangkok’s Wall Street by day and a red light district by night. This area houses many international and local corporations, law firms, and financial institutions. At night, it changes completely into a hotspot for street life, sidewalk stalls, and street vendors. The small alleys are always filled with visitors, and many also come to visit the infamous Patpong red-light district. Patpong has a super busy night market as well as many small bars and brothels. If you want to see a completely different Bangkok at night, this may be the place to go.
As a bustling city, Bangkok has all types of accommodation that will suit everyone. Some of the best hotels in the city are Anantara Siam, Sheraton Grand Sukhumvit, Banyan Tree Bangkok, Riva Surya, Dusit Thani, and The Siam.
2. Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai is famous not only because it is the biggest city in Northern Thailand, but also because of its many unique charms that are the envy even of the country’s capital city, Bangkok. There are good reasons why Chiang Mai is called the “Rose of the North”.
Firstly, there are some amazing temples in the city such as Doi Suthep – its most famous attraction and a must-see in Chiang Mai. The 13th-century temple Wat Phra That Doi Suthep stands on top of a mountain at 1073 metres above sea level. The temple is the shrine to a large white elephant which is said to have carried a relic of the Buddha’s up the mountain before dropping dead, and so the temple houses a replica of the Emerald Buddha. The mountain top offers amazing views of the whole city of Chiang Mai.
Secondly, if you are a nature lover, you must visit the Maesa Elephant Camp where you can watch the elephants draw and play football. You can pet and help clean the elephants and visit the babies in their sanctuary. It is really interesting to see the elephants and the villagers live side by side and it is good to know that these elephants are free from mistreatments.
Thirdly, Chiang Mai is world-famous for its various festivals, such as the Lantern Festival that takes place in November. It is the second most important festival in Thailand, just behind the water Songkran festival. As the name suggests, you will see thousands of beautiful lanterns released into the night sky, which creates a breathtaking, picturesque scene that you will surely never forget.
Choosing the right place to stay in Chiangmai may be a bit more difficult as each area offers a different vibe. The top 3 areas are Old City, Riverside and Night Bazaar:
Chiang Mai Old City
At the heart of the city is Chiang Mai’s Old City quarter. If you are trying to decide where to stay in Chiang Mai and you are interested in visiting ancient temples, shopping in trendy boutiques and bustling markets, and indulging in a Thai massage every other day, then this is the place to be. You will be close to all the action, and this will be the ideal area for budget travelers and families. The Old City has a wide range of cheap accommodation options, spas, and restaurants but not many large resorts.
Chiang Mai Riverside
If you are looking for resort-style accommodation and relaxing vacation, then Chiang Mai’s Riverside will be a good choice. It is just a 10-minute drive from the city centre, and offers a pretty view of the Ping River along with a very laid back vibe compared to other busier areas like the Old City or Night Bazaar. There are plenty of waterside restaurants, bars, and cafes in this area, but most cater to the more luxurious side of things. Despite this, they are still very much affordable as Chiang Mai is rated as one of the cheapest destinations in Asia.
This lively area is ideal for shoppers, families, and large groups. It has the largest night market and also great nightlife with friendly beer bars, late-night discos, and clubs around LoiKhroh Road. You will be able to find a wide range of accommodation here, from budget guesthouses to luxury resorts.
With these three fantastic options, you should be able to find the area that best fits your travel plan. Some of the most booked hotels in the city are the Imperial Mae Ping, Casa Marocc, dusitD2, Le Meridien, Bodhi Serene, Dusit Princess Chiang Mai, Empress Hotel Chiang Mai, and Tamarind Village. As one of the most charming cities in Asia, you cannot go wrong with a trip to Chiang Mai.
Phuket is Thailand’s largest island, located in the beautiful Andaman Sea. It is the second most visited place destination in all of Thailand. Due to its rich history and well-developed tourism industry, there are a lot of activities to enjoy while staying in Phuket. Popular choices include swimming and chilling in the beaches, cruising the Phang Nga Bay, watching Muay Thai in Saphan Hin Stadium, taking a trip to Khao Phra Thaeo Wildlife Park, strolling the Phuket Old Town and Weekend Market, and visiting the nearby environmentally preserved zones of Similan Islands. The list of activities is endless.
The best places to stay in Phuket are of course around its beaches, but different areas also have different flavors with distinct characteristics.
Out of the many different areas in Phuket, the following three areas are most recommended:
If you are not just interested in Phuket’s beaches, but also in experiencing Phuket like the locals, Phuket Old Town may be the best area for you. Within the Old Town, there are many old temples, museums, and shopping opportunities for you to enjoy. Furthermore, the food in the Old Town is widely regarded as the best on the island, with so many different cuisines such as Burmese curries, Hokkien noodles, dim sum, and rotis. This is a result of the island’s history as a popular trading post.
Patong is the opposite of Old Town in every aspect. While Old Town is all about the traditions of Phuket, Patong is focused on tourism. It has the densest concentration of bars, clubs, shops, and restaurants on the island. This is where all the parties are, so if partying is your cup of tea, you should hit up Patong.
In comparison to Old Town and Patong, Kata offers the best of both worlds, with a nice balance between the old and the new. While it doesn’t have as many shops, restaurants, and bars as Patong, it is less crowded so you could take your time and enjoy the area.
Phuket can fulfill your every need regarding accommodation, from low-end CouchSurfing to luxury five-star resorts right on the beach. For budget travelers, you should look into hostels that have dorms and private rooms, such as Fulfill Hostel in the Old Town. It is conveniently located in the center of the Old Town so you can easily travel to the main points of interest in the area. For mid-range, 4-star resorts, Centera Villa Phuket, and Sala Phuket are great places to stay, as they offer affordable accommodation whilst also being luxurious. If you are not worried about cost, high-end establishments such as COMO Point Yamu or Trisara Resort are the place to be, as you can enjoy your private beaches, fabulous swimming pools and delicious meals throughout your stay.
4. Koh Samui
When talking about Thailand, we cannot forget about Koh Samui. It is the country’s second-largest island and also one of the most popular destinations for local and foreign visitors. This is not a surprise, given the island’s white beaches, crystal clear blue water, and layers of palm trees; Koh Samui is indeed a heaven on earth.
It is natural that when visiting Koh Samui, the first choice is to stay in one of the island’s exclusive and luxurious resorts, but the island also offers many other types of accommodation from budget guesthouses to beachfront bungalows, so you will be able to find a place to stay within your budget range.
Some of the best areas to stay in Koh Samui are:
This is the most popular area in Koh Samui with lots of dining options and nightlife.
It is the second busiest area in Koh Samui, with fewer tourists and bars selling happy-hour cocktails all-day.
This area is more laidback and quieter; there is no traffic but you will not be able to find parties here.
This is where you will find luxury resorts with great sunsets, but it is quite far from the party scene.
Some of the most popular hotels on Koh Samui include Amari Koh Samui, Novotel Samui Resort, and Ozo Chaweng Samui which is located on the beachfront of Chaweng Beach; Sala Samui and Samui Mekkala Resort & Pool Villa on Chaoeng Mon; Le Meridien and Thai House Beach Resort on Lamai Beach. If you are not looking for high-end hotels, each area has many other budget hotel options for individual travelers.
A trip to any of these cities (or even better, all of them) will help you understand why Thailand is one of the top destinations in the world. The country has so many things to offer, from crazy nightlife to exotic beaches and islands, that will keep you busy and entertained throughout your stay. If you have never visited Thailand, it is time to do yourself a favor and book your next trip to this wonderful country right away!