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Top Holidays

Your ultimate Thailand bucket list

  • Inspiration
  • By Ellena Rowlin
  • Published 29 March 2019
  • Revised 12 June 2023
  • Published 29 March 2019
  • Revised 12 June 2023

Ah, the powder white sands, city mazes and pinnacles of gold temples dotted across Thailand are calling your name.

In a country known for its patchwork of vast landscapes and fascinating culture, alongside the sprinkles of island paradises in the sapphire waters, it wouldn’t be a mistake to assume you’ll be spoiled for choice of sights to see, scents to smell and seas to swim.

With Winged Boots’ expertly-researched bucket-list of what to get up to while you’re in The Land of Smiles, you’ll be going from new tasting experiences to encounters with some of the planet’s most endearing creations quicker than you can say green Thai curry… oh, and we recommend you try that too.

Unsure about where to stay? Find out which part of Thailand is right for you. 

Head to Koh Pha Ngan for a legendary burst of neon face paint, burning flames spelling out ‘Full Moon Party’ and sandcastle buckets filled with alcohol.

1. See a temple

It’s a must in Thailand. The religious culture is tremendous here, with scenes of orange-clothed monks floating past you becoming a regularity as you start to travel around.

Bangkok’s Wat Pho is a great place to start because, trust us, once you get temple-hopping around, beholding the magnificent architecture and decorative adornments, you won’t be able to stop.

The ancient temples are breath-taking for those history geeks, and if that’s what you’re seeking, Ayutthaya is the place to head for.



2. Eat a fried bug from a street stall

Snacking is a way of life in Thailand, and when it comes to the local cuisine, the wildlife hasn’t got away scot-free. Why not try a fried worm, cockroach or cricket next time you’re browsing the street food stalls? It is protein-enriched, apparently. ​

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3. Visit a waterfall

If you search hard enough you could find a plunging waterfall in nearly every province across Thailand. These aqua oasis’ are where locals retreat to, as much as tourists, in the humid weather.

Two of our favourites are Mae Ya Waterfall, an hour outside of Chiang Mai and Bang Pae Waterfall, on the outskirts of Phuket. To make it easier, stay at Amanpuri in Phuket. It's been a holiday destination for the likes of Jay-Z and Beyoncé!

Mae Ya Waterfall

Mae Ya Waterfall

4. Go snorkeling or diving to see coral reefs

Beach bums listen up. Southern Thailand is the place for you!

Once you’ve bought your social media feed to life on the most instagrammable islands like Koh Tao, Koh Lipe and Koh Samui, the next thing to dive into is the crystal-clear waters, full of beautiful coral reefs and bustling marine life.

Snorkelling or diving in these inviting seas will bring turtles, manta rays and huge schools of colourful fish to your eyeline without much searching.

Wondering where to stay on the islands? We love The Ritz-Carlton Koh Samui with it's coastal views and excellent snorkelling spots. 

5. Bargain at a street market

It’s a tradition anywhere in this part of the world – trying your best to weasel your way down to the lowest price can be a few minutes (or hours depending on your bargaining skills) of unexpected fun.

Make sure to have a good sense of humour though and the vendors will turn into your best friend, and hopefully give you a fabulous deal too.

Going to a street market is a must regardless of your bargain-hunter beady eyes, with the opportunity to weave around hundreds of stalls, some steaming with Thai aromas and some full of the latest tourist-magnet souvenirs.

Thai street market

Thai street market

6. Get a Thai massage

But know what you’re getting yourself into before! This traditional therapy is designed to heal combing pressure and yoga postures, so if you’re more into sleeping than stretching, a back massage or facial may be more up your street. When in Thailand though…

7. Go to a Full Moon Party

Head to Koh Pha Ngan for a legendary burst of neon face paint, burning flames spelling out ‘Full Moon Party’ and sandcastle buckets filled with alcohol. Infamous across the globe, this is where to head for one of the most memorable raves of your life. 

Your crib for the holiday? Easy! We recommend The Sarojin with its swoon-worthy villas and spa. 

8. Visit an elephant sanctuary

Although there’s no denying the amazing pictures you’ll get snuggled up to these gentle giants, the experience will be unforgettable and one that is helping a bigger cause. Just make sure you do your research and head to a genuinely ethical sanctuary – take a look at our review of Elephant Nature Park Sanctuary.

There are some excellent accommodation options in Chiang Mai, including Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai with it's award-winning spa. 

Elephant Nature Park Sanctuary.

 Elephant Nature Park Sanctuary.

9. Get a picture of a long boat on turquoise sea 

The classic scene of paradise. Any of the stunning islands or beachside spots in the south will provide you with that quintessential picture of quaint long boats suspended on the glass-like waters underneath.

Combine that with striking rock formations covered in forest-green shrubbery in the background and you have yourself a breath-taking sight. 

10. Go to a Muay Thai match 

This is the ultimate sport for both the Thai public and tourists. Known as “the art of eight limbs,” spectating this sport from VIP ringside seats, while watching the commotion of the only place where betting is legal, is a rite of passage.

This isn’t one for the squeamish though – the use of fists, elbows, knees and shins can become quite something!

Muay Thai match 

Muay Thai match 

Has your wanderlust been conjured even more?

Give our expert team of personal travel managers a call on 0203 816 098 or enquire here to start planning a bucket list worthy trip to this diverse country.

You'll be striking off our hit-list straight away - after all, enticing culture is all around the moment you step out of your air-conditioned transfer and into the radiant sun.  

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