Do you plan to visit Thailand but you are still confused on choosing which cities to visit? Then you can start by glancing at the top 10 cities to be visited by tourists, especially foreign tourists.

As a prima donna of tourism in Southeast Asia and Asia, Thailand certainly more than 10 cities worth to be included in the tourism itinerary. However, if you are a novice traveler who are still confused in making choices, this following 10 cities are expected to represent a dash of Thai charm before venturing to other semi-mainstream or even anti-mainstream destinations.

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1. Bangkok

Bangkok
Bangkok, via edition.cnn

As the capital of Thailand, Bangkok is also the main gateway to enter the country, especially for tourists who come by airplane. Automatically, this city is also become a city that is most visited by foreign tourists, that’s why the name of Bangkok was always on the top list of city names that must be visited while in Thailand.

However, the reason Bangkok is visited by many tourists is not only because of its status as the capital of the country alone. This city really does have many irresistible tourist charms. Many tourists describe Bangkok as a city with two interesting contrast sides.

Bangkok has a distinctive metropolitan face, with skyscrapers and modern modes of transportation that reaches almost all corners of the country. Interestingly, Bangkok also maintains many historic tourist spots, including palaces and temples, which makes the atmosphere in Bangkok even more contrast.

The contrast of the atmosphere in Bangkok does not only lingers around that spot. Bangkok also has a lot of hype night clubs, while having popular areas and streets as a place to hold a party by the side of the road. One of them is Khao San Road, which is known as backpacker’s paradise.

In addition, despite having many luxury shopping centers that offer an atmosphere of international class shopping, Bangkok is also studded with a variety of cheap markets where tourists can bargain goods and buy a variety of cheap trinkets.

Futhermore, Bangkok also has many tourist activity options. For example, a city once titled as the Venice of the East also has a water tour. Tourists can ride various types of boats down the river and various canals in Bangkok.

Alternatively, if they suddenly get bored with modes of practical and modern transportation such as the Skytrain, tourists can also try to ride the Tuk Tuk, a typical Thai traditional vehicle, which is ready to take you traveling to various attractions in Bangkok. Anyhow, tourists are guaranteed not going to feel bored while staying in this charming city.

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2. Ayutthaya

Wat Chaiwatthanaram in Ayutthaya
Wat Chaiwatthanaram in Ayutthaya, via strippedpixel

If you claim to be lovers of the romance of the past, then this Ayutthaya must be included in your itinerary list. The city, that is approximately 85 kilometers north of Bangkok, is indeed a historic city. In the past Ayutthaya had been the second capital city of Siam (after Sukhothai), as well as being the largest city in the world (in the 1700s).

Its strategic location that lies between China, India, and Malay has made this city become the largest trading city in Asia and the world, and had been visited by many immigrants from various countries.

Now, Ayutthaya has become a historic city that has been recognized by the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city which located in an island and surrounded by three rivers (the Chao Phraya River, the Lopburi River and the Pa Sak River) also has many flakes of temples and palaces that have been a silent witness to Ayutthaya’s grandeur in the past.

There are also lodging facilities and some nightspots (mostly located on the Northeast side of Ayutthaya), therefore tourists can explore Ayutthaya with great satisfaction without worrying of their fashion style while staying at Ayutthaya.

As additional information, Ayutthaya is often visited as a side trip from Bangkok. If your tour is based in Bangkok, you can contact various travel agents in the city to design a day trip to Ayutthaya.

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3. Chiang Mai

a Temple in Chiang Mai
a Temple in Chiang Mai, via icanholidays

On the northern side of Thailand, there is Chiang Mai city that is often called as “Rose of the North”. The city of Chiang Mai is the provincial capital of the same name, as well as being the fifth largest city in Thailand. But do not imagine Chiang Mai as just an ordinary metropolitan city, because here you can find a lot of interesting attractions, ranging from various temples, museums, to beautiful natural scenery. Furthermore, you can also find many historic tourist spots, most of which you can find behind the walls of the old city.

Not just that, Chiang Mai also has its own airport which is approximately 3 kilometers away from the city center. The airport serves domestic flights, as well as international flights. If you depart from other countries such as Singapore, Myanmar, and China; You can choose a flight that directly landed at Chiang Mai International Airport.

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4. Pattaya

Pattaya
Pattaya, via thai-trips

Do you claim to be lovers of beach life as well as frenetic night life? If so, then Pattaya should not be absent in the list of cities to visit while in Thailand. The seaside town, which is approximately 150 kilometers from the southeast side of Bangkok, has plenty of cool beaches, ranging from popular beaches that never deserted from visitors, to hidden beaches which offering a private ambiance.

Various activities can also be done in the beaches of Pattaya, ranging from just sunbathing, enjoying a variety of culinary by the beach, to savoring various water sports.

Not only that, Pattaya is also famous for its festive nightlife. The sex industry and sex tourism are  another image of Pattaya that can not be refuted. But in recent years, the local government is seriously directing Pattaya tourism to be enjoyed by many types of travelers, including those who travel with family.

Therefore, now in Pattaya you can find various attractions for family-friendly, such as the availability of various theme parks, museums, aquariums, and other attractions.

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5. Phuket

Phuket
Phuket, via mapliv

Well, Phuket is not merely a name of a city. Precisely, Phuket is an island located in southern Thailand, as well as being the largest island in Thailand. But still, this island is worth including in the list of places to visit when you are in Thailand, especially if you are a novice traveler who are still looking for information about popular tourism in the country which is popular by the name of the White Elephant.

Phuket offers many things sought by tourists, especially foreign tourists. In this island you can find beautiful beaches that can be enjoyed free of charge aka totally free. Besides the beach, Phuket also has many other attractions; Ranging from the old town area filled with ancient Sino-Portuguese architecture buildings, beautiful temples – including temples with huge-sized Buddhas, various view points – a place to enjoy Phuket from a height, and many more.

Like other popular tourist areas in Thailand, Phuket also has an area that offers a festive atmosphere of the night. The most popular spot to celebrate the night in Phuket is Bangla Road, a place where you can mingle with tourists from all over the world and local residents with various professions.

Oh, you also should know that currently in Phuket there is an ongoing trend to hold a wedding. You can arrange your dream wedding party, as well as directly design a honeymoon in Phuket and surrounding areas. This trend is increasingly favored by tourists, and goes on sale as another charm of Phuket.

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6. Chiang Rai

White Temple in Chiang Rai
White Temple in Chiang Rai, via orientalescape

Chiang Rai is the capital of Chiang Rai province, which serves as a service city for the province. Located at the northern tip of Thailand, Chiang Rai has a lot of interesting attractions that make this city worth a visit by tourists. One of the attractions is the existence of several buildings and temples that have unique and unusual architectural designs, such as the Baan dam Museum (aka Black Temple, or Black House), as well as the White Temple.

This city also has many other temples and museums to visit. But if you are more interested in nature-themed tours, Chiang Rai also has many beautiful destinations to visit. Starting from Kok River, a 130 km long river; Chiang Rai beach is popular as a picnic spot in the summer; Tea plantations that offer gorgeous landscapes; natural hot spring baths; waterfall; cave tours, and many more.

No wonder that Chiang Rai has become favourite spot for tourists lovers of nature, including those who like to do mountain trekking.

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7. Chumpon

Koh Tao in Chumphon Archipelago
Koh Tao in Chumphon Archipelago, via kosamui

Chumpon is the name of a city that also became the capital of Chumpon Province. This city is located on the southern side of Thailand, and has become the gateway to Chumphon Archipelago – a tourist zone that located in Chumphon and Surat Thani provinces, with areas include several popular sights such as Koh Samui, Koh Tao, Koh Phangan and Mu Ko Chumphon National Park.

As a city, Chumphon has a fairly long coastline of 220 kilometers. Automatically, this beach has become the main tourist attraction that you can find in this city. Interestingly, the beaches in Chumpon is relatively quieter than other popular tourist attractions in Thailand, so you will be able to find a variety of beaches with a natural atmosphere that is still very well preserved.

Besides having various beaches, Chumphon also has several National Parks, tropical islands, waterfalls, as well as various other facilities such as various museums, parks, temples, night markets, and other facilities. Chumphon also offers some tourist activities that may be hard to find elsewhere, such as night fishing, snorkeling, diving, rafting, seeing fireflies, bird watching, and hunting.

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8. Nakhon Ratchasima

Ban Prasat in Nakhon Ratchasima
Ban Prasat in Nakhon Ratchasima, via wikimedia commons

If you prefer to travel to the northeast of Thailand, you may consider visiting Nakhon Ratchasima. This city is the capital of Nakhon Ratchasima Province, as well as being one of the largest cities in Isaan, a region in Thailand.

As a city, in fact, Nakhon Ratchasima is not so popular to be visited for its tourist object. The city is more often visited by tourists who want to explore other areas in Isaan. This is mainly because the transport network from this city to other areas in Isaan has been very good. But that does not mean the city is lacking of tourist attractions, either.

In Nakhorn Ratchasima there are also some interesting attractions, such as museums, national parks, various temples, dams, spots to do historical tours in Ban Prasat, zoo, and many other attractions. While for those who like to do shopping, this city also has some modern shopping centers and traditional markets (including the night market) which is quite interesting to explore.

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9. Surat Thani

a Temple in Surat Thani
a Temple in Surat Thani, via IanR/panoramio

Back to the southern side of Thailand, there is a city called Surat Thani which is also quite interesting to visit. Surat Thani, or commonly called Surat, is the capital of Surat Thani province. The distance is approximately 651 kilometers south of Bangkok. Together with Chumphon, this city is also the gateway to Chumphon Archipelago.

As a tourist destination, Surat Thani actually has no major attractions. In contrast to other cities in Thailand such as Bangkok and Pattaya, which was developed seriously to become a tourist city.

Surat Thani is more popular as one access to Koh Samui, the second largest island in Thailand as well as the largest island in Chumphon Archipelago. In other words, in Surat Thani you will find it difficult to find foreign tourists and various facilities that will be liked by international tourists.

However, that could be the appeal of Surat Thani. In this city you have the opportunity to see how real Thai life and culture are; ranging from knowing the friendliness of the local people, enjoying their unique cuisine, and performing various local daily activities that may be difficult for you to do if you are in another popular tourist city. For those of you who are bored and saturated with the overly mainstream tourist ambiance, you can consider visiting Surat Thani.

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10. Sukhothai

Sukhothai Historical Park
Sukhothai Historical Park, via fanagotours

Another small town worth a visit, especially for those who do not like the atmosphere of festive and mainstream tour is Sukhothai, thus the name of the city, is the capital of the Sukhothai Province. The city is 427 kilometers from Bangkok, used to be the capital of the Siamese (or Thai) kingdom for about 140 years, before it was moved to Ayutthaya and now Bangkok.

As the ‘former’ capital of a kingdom, Sukhothai is famous for its historical tour. This city is located not far from the ruins of the ancient city of Sukhothai (only about 12 kilometers away) – called Sukhothai National Historical Park, and the historical park has many historic spots that will be liked by those of you who love archeology.

The great thing is, the majority of the ruins in the historical park are in a very well preserved condition due to the restoration process that has been done many times. Oh, besides that, the 70 square kilometers of Sukhothai National Historis Park is now recognized by UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can explore this historical park in various ways, from walking, to renting a bicycle.

After having fun exploring Sukhothai National Historical Park, you can continue your exploration around the new city of Sukhothai. The city also has several other interesting places, ranging from various National Parks (such as Sri Satchanalai National Park and Ramkhamhaeng National Park), museums, palaces, and temples.

Alternatively, you can continue exploring to other cities like Phitsanulok, which has many choices of hotels and restaurants to stop by and enjoy the food.

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Note:

Photos taken from various sources without any additional edits other than the resizing process.

 

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