The best places to visit in Northern Thailand & Bangkok
With a landscape carpeted in forest, steamy, elephant-filled jungles, and only the glistening golden temple spires to break up the treeline, northern Thailand is a perfect balance of culture and adventure. You’ll spend your days touring the temples and trekking with hill tribes, exploring ancient monasteries and learning to cook your favourite noodle dishes. With plenty to see and do, we’ve narrowed down our favourite destinations for your northern Thailand holiday and listed them below.
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An intoxicating blend of modern-day sophistication and centuries-old traditions, Bangkok is an intriguing city. By day, the streets throng with beeping traffic and by night, they light up in a blaze of neon. But there’s peace among the chaos too, so be sure to stay at least a couple of days to discover the golden-spired temples, floating markets and traditional craft shops hidden among the skyscrapers.
Easy-going Chiang Mai is found at the foot of northern Thailand’s picturesque peaks, surrounded by lush vegetation. The pace of life here is slower than other Thai cities, so embrace it and take your time to wander the many markets, haggle for handicrafts, meet the orange robed monks, hike in the hills, or stroll around the tranquil temples, of which there are more than 300.
In Thailand’s far north, the Golden Triangle is the meeting point of Laos, Myanmar (Burma) and Thailand across the Mekong and Ruak Rivers. The peaceful, hilly scenery lends itself well to touring the countryside or cruising the rivers at a gentle pace, calling in at various gardens, shrines and temples on the way. Don’t miss the Golden Triangle’s stand-out highlight, the unique White Temple in Chiang Rai, with its modern twist on traditional temple style.
The capital of Siam from 1351 to 1767, Ayutthaya is a cluster of crumbling monasteries, towers and palaces that come together to create a magnificent, atmospheric spectacle, giving us a hint of what life was like here almost 700 years ago. Just 50 miles north of Bangkok, Ayutthaya can easily be visited on a day trip by road or boat from the capital, or as stop-off on a longer northern Thailand itinerary.