Where to stay in Thailand, the best areas

Whether you spend your vacation exploring some of Thailand's fascinating history in the ancient capital of Chiang Mai or prefer to head to one of the country's many beach clubs to relax in the sun, it is advisable to learn a little about each area before choosing where to go. staying in Thailand.

With a myriad of natural wonders and man-made beauty, Thailand holidays offer a piece of paradise. Located in the heart of Southeast Asia and extending towards the Malay Peninsula, the country has it all: dream landscapes, a lush jungle dotted with colorful villages, magnificent temples, charming cities, good food, renowned hospitality and some of the most spectacular beaches in the region.

Listed below are some of Thailand's most popular vacation spots along with information that can help you choose the best locations to stay based on your tastes.

Where to stay in Thailand: Idyllic islands

Thailand comprises hundreds of tropical islands, and there are so many heavenly beaches to choose from:

  • Koh Samet e Koh Chang in the Northern Gulf they feature white sands and beautiful green interiors and are the closest islands to Bangkok.
  • The beautiful islands of Koh Samui, Koh Phangan e Koh Tao in the Southern Gulf they are famous for their scenic beauty and diving.
  • On the Andaman coast, travelers can discover the crescent-shaped white beaches of Thailand's largest island, Phuket, and the spectacular karst sands of the province of Krabi.

Koh Samui

Koh Samui is an island in the Gulf of Thailand, just off the east coast of the mainland. It is approximately 435 miles south of Bangkok, reachable in just over an hour by flight. The neighbour Koh Phangan, it's about an hour by ferry.

Dotted with coconut palms and virgin forests, Koh Samui is a microcosm of Thailand's beaches. Beyond the beaches, travelers also love the tourist cities, the variety of hotels with infinity pools and world-class restaurants. Waterfalls and trails inland give a taste of Thailand's rugged tropical mainland.

Most of the resorts are located on the east coast. Chaweng is the busiest beach resort and stretches over three kilometers - the longest beach on Koh Samui.

Located just ten minutes south of Chaweng, Lamai it is the second largest beach on Koh Samui and is slightly smaller and quieter than its famous northern neighbor, especially in the low season.

For a quieter holiday choose a resort on the northern shores, for example a Bo Put, just 20 minutes from lively Chaweng. Its mile-long beach is a family favorite due to its shallow waters and abundance of shade.

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Where to stay in Thailand, the best areas
Wat Chalong o Wat Chaiyathararam a Phuket, Thailandia – Foto da Istock

Located off the Andaman coast of Thailand, Phuket it is the largest island in the country and was the first to develop a tourism industry. It's a great place to stay if you like a corner of paradise with all modern comforts and conveniences. Despite the proliferation of sophisticated resorts and family hotels, the island hasn't lost its charm.

The island of Phuket is quite large, around 50km long and 20km wide, which means you have to be extra careful in choosing your hotel or you might end up in a resort far from anywhere, which might be fine for some, but not for most people.

Most visitors choose to stay in the city of Patong, on the west coast of the island, near the huge Patong beach. The town is full of shops, markets, restaurants and bars and is also home to most of the hotels on the island.

There is a wide choice in all price ranges. As the city is quite large, it is necessary to choose carefully the location of the hotel as local taxis (tuk tuk) are quite expensive even for short journeys.

Nightlife lovers should seek accommodation within walking distance of Bangla Road, which is the undisputed center of night entertainment. Hotels near Bangla have easy access to the beach and shops.

For people who do not wish to be too close to the noise of the city center there are other options such as Hill's Nanai Rd, where many establishments have a splendid view of the sea or the quiet southern part of Patong Beach. You can always reach the Bangla and the main shopping areas with a walk of about 20 minutes.

Phuket has many alternatives even for those who prefer a slower pace of life. Especially popular with families with small children are the quiet villages of now e Kata offering attractive beaches, shopping and nightlife.

There are many other locations scattered around the island in breathtaking scenery and with almost exclusive access to their small beaches perfect for people who want to relax.

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Where to stay in Thailand, the best areas
Phi-Phi island, Krabi - Thailandia - Photo da Istock

The beaches and islands of Krabi province boast some of Thailand's most spectacular scenery. There Phanghan bay, between the mainland of Krabi and the island of Phuket, has stunning limestone karst formations that form a fantastic backdrop for a tropical vacation.

Phi Phi Don e Ko Lanta they are two of the most famous islands where several quality hotels operate, but there are more than 150 islands scattered around the coast that can be easily visited by boat.

La Krabi town it's a city that's convenient enough to get to some of Thailand's most beautiful beaches, but it's not particularly attractive in itself. Staying here is cheaper but most visitors opt for one of the many more scenic spots nearby.

Ao Nang Beach it is in an absolutely beautiful location about a 20 minute drive from Krabi town. It is a small seaside village, dedicated entirely to foreign visitors, with many shops, bars, restaurants and even a McDonalds lining the streets. Even if its size is small, you shouldn't stay too far from the main beach to avoid having problems finding taxis or tuk tuk when you need it.

Other attractive options are the beaches Railay e Tonai east of Ao Nang, accessible by water taxi.

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Where to stay in Thailand for the culture and history


Where to stay in Thailand, the best areas
Bangkok, Thailand - Foto da Istock

The cosmopolitan capital Bangkok it is full of life, amidst noisy tuk-tuks and markets, dotted with richly decorated temples and full of fascinating tourist perspectives. Spending a couple of days here is a must for any traveler who wants to learn about Thai culture and history.

Bangkok is such a big city that it is not possible to choose a hotel that is close at hand but if you choose one near a Skytrain station it is your best bet.

Head to the old city area, known as Ratanakosin, hugging the banks of the Chao Phraya River, for a delicious dose of culture and temples.

Find out where to sleep in Bangkok

Chiang Mai

The original capital of Thailand, Chiang Mai, attracts year-round visitors attracted by the city's rich history, ancient architecture, and stunning setting in the hills of northern Thailand.

This ancient river city, which rewards meditation, massage, and complementary medicine is an important stop on any cultural tour of Thailand.

Being less touched by mass tourism than most of Thailand's other popular destinations, it allows visitors a more authentic experience. But this also has its drawbacks, as transportation is less organized and quite expensive by Thai standards. So it is important to choose the right part of the city to stay in.

The best choice for most people is to stay close to Thapae Gate or to night markets. Here you will find many nearby restaurants, bars and shopping areas that cater specifically to foreigners and where basic English is spoken.

However, many people go to Chiang Mai to escape the typical tourist experience and for them there are many resorts located outside the main tourist areas, immersed in spectacular scenery. Some of the most luxurious resorts Chiang Mai has to offer are Four Seasons in the Beautiful Mae Rim Valley, or The Chedi Chiang Mai, on the banks of the Mae Ping River.

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Where to stay in Thailand, the best areas
Where to stay in Thailand - Ayutthaya - Photo from Pixabay

This city World Heritage Site it was the royal capital of Siam between the 14th and 18th centuries and is the perfect place to explore Thailand's deep and fascinating history.

The city is full of temples, shrines and ruins. Most of them are contained on an island surrounded by rivers and canals. Here you will find countless stone Buddhas and illustrious Khmer-influenced palaces.

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Where to stay in Thailand to explore nature

Khao Sok National Park

Thailand is blessed with some of the most beautiful scenery in Asia and has a wealth of national parks to protect its diverse nature. The Khao Sok National Park area in southern Thailand has one of the oldest rainforests in the world, where limestone mountains and deep valleys are covered in rich exotic flora and fauna.

Explore lakes, caves and waterfalls on a nature trek, search for monkeys, clouded leopards, tapirs and sun bears, and get up close to an elephant at the elephant camp in the hills of Elephant hills.

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Where to stay in Thailand to relax

Ko Phi Phi

Where to stay in Thailand, the best areas
Where to stay in Thailand - Koh Phi Phi - Photo from Pixabay

The Phi Phi archipelago boasts stunning clear waters, jungle-covered islands, white sand beaches, and the stunning Phi Phi Leh - a magical paradise with a gorgeous lagoon hidden behind limestone cliffs. She is so beautiful that she was chosen to represent the secret paradise in the movie 'The Beach'.

Find your hotel in Phi Phi Don

Ko Lanta

Part of a scenic archipelago off Thailand's southern Andaman coast, Ko Lanta offers miles and miles of pristine palm-fringed beaches. There are a few resorts lining the west coast offering tranquility and luxury.

This welcoming and friendly place is a paradise for scuba diving and snorkeling. The crystal clear waters surrounding the island are home to coral reefs teeming with marine life.

Visitors can trek into nature in its ancient rainforests, exploring its waterfalls and caves. Calmer than the other Thai islands, it is easy to arrive with one of the daily boats and then, once there, travel by motorbike.

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