Thailand has traditionally been the best place to travel as a backpacker. It’s a wonderfully diverse country with plenty to see and do, with fantastic white-sand beaches, culture, heat, and the best bars to relax in at the end of the day. Plus, traveling in Thailand is cheap and simple. If you’ve never backpacked in Thailand, now is the time. Here are some of the must-see places in Thailand to put on your travel list.
1) Chiang Mai
One of the best cities in the world for backpackers, in our opinion you won’t want to leave the second-largest city in Thailand. Chiang Mai is way smaller than Bangkok and has a friendly, interesting vibe with plenty going on from cooking classes to hiking trips, yoga to massage. Here is the ideal place to go when you want to explore the mountains of northern Thailand and visit some of the hill tribes in the area.
If you’re backpacking in Thailand there is no way to miss Bangkok. Sure, you will undoubtedly stop here on your way into the country by plane or as a stopover to an island, but there is so much to see and do it deserves some special time in its own right. Bangkok is a busy, vibrant, exciting, cultural, and so much more. There is a nightlife scene to suit everyone, from the popular Koh San Road to the more upmarket experience of the sky bars (if you want to splash out one evening!) Food is plentiful and very cheap when you eat at one of the excellent food stalls that are everywhere in the Thai capital.
3) Koh Sok National Park
When you are in need of some rest and relaxation on your backpacking journey, stop in at Koh Sok National Park. Here you can sleep in a cute floating bungalow, swim in the water, take a boat trip, and just take in the wonderful scenery.
4) Koh Tao
This small island in the Thai ocean is one of the best and cheapest places to get your diving certifications. There are many dive shops to choose from and there are some stunning dive sites very close by, like Shark Island, the Twins, and Chumphon. You may even see some whale sharks.
5) Koh Phi Phi
This island was made famous by the movie The Beach. It is an idyllic place – perhaps never entirely quiet as it attracts a lot of visitors, but always fun and always beautiful to look at. There are plenty of things to do from simply chilling out in a beach bar to snorkeling, boat trips, and sunset sails.
6) Koh Phangan
If you are backpacking in Thailand you are sure to have heard of Koh Phangan, the location for the famous Full Moon and Half Moon parties. This is definitely a party place and you can have fun all day, every day, and into the night. But there are other activities on offer if you want to take it easy, such as massages, yoga, detox, and simply slumbering by the pool.
The best place for backpackers to go for adventure, Railay is on Krabi and it is where you can find all you need to rock climb in beautiful surroundings. It is the ideal place to really test yourself and get back to nature.
8) Chiang Rai
One of the cities to the furthest north in Thailand, Chiang Rai is a hidden gem and quieter than other destinations on the backpacker trail. There are some wonderful temples to explore and the glorious Wat Rong Khun, plus the mountain Phu Chi Fah.
9) Khao Yai National Park
This park is ideal for nature-loving backpackers. It is the ideal place to get away from it all and immerse yourself in the jungle life. There are hikes, and you can even spot some elephants. Khao Yai National Park is one of the best parks in Thailand and although it is the most well-known, you are unlikely to encounter many other backpackers.
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