Thailand has a rich and colorful history that has spread out throughout the globe. From it’s cuisine to it’s festivals, it’s a place that deserves multiple visits as you’ll get different vibes from each city you visit. What is Thailand famous for? There’s fun and chaos in Bangkok as everything comes together, or a more serene approaches in cities such as Chang Mai. Then there’s plenty of beautiful beaches throughout the nation that are considered some of the best in the world. Below we’ll take a closer look at what Thailand is known for, looking at its rich history and culture and what it has shared with the world.
- What Is Thailand Known For?
- Plan Your Trip
- 1- The Grand Palace
- 2- Bangkok – The Capital
- 3- Thai Cuisine
- 4- Beaches And Islands
- 5- Floating Markets
- 6- Muay Thai
- 7- Nightlife
- 8- Thai Silk
- 9- Ruins Of Ancient Kingdoms
- 10- Fantastic Festivals
- 11- Buddhist Temples
- 12- Traditional Thai Massage And Wellness
- 13- Ethical Elephant Sanctuaries
- 14- Indigenous Hill Tribes
- 15- Tuk Tuks
What Is Thailand Known For?
1- The Grand Palace
Thailand is still a monarchy and the Grand Palace is a royal compound in Bangkok built in 1782 that is a whopping 2,346,532 square feet (218,000 square meters).
It was the official residence of the Siam kings until 1925 but these days, it’s not the home of the monarchy although there is a temple calle the Chapel Royal where the royal family can pray in private.
The complex of buildings is a unique blend of European and Thai architectural styles and a marvel to explore.
These days, certain sections open to visitors and there’s a museum inside worth visiting. Don’t miss the Emerald Buddha, which is a famous statue carved from a single block of jade.
Recommended tour: Bangkok: Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew Guided Walking Tour
2- Bangkok – The Capital
The Great City of Angels is a cosmopolitan city with that balances the old with the new.
This vibrant and bustling city has fantastic shopping in mega malls and traditional markets, yet continues to pay homage to its roots through shrines and temples throughout the city.
There’s plenty of green spaces everywhere for those who want to relax and the city comes alive at nighttime.
Bangkok can get really hot, so while it’s busy, many people tend to really come out at night time when the sun sets.
There are night markets to enjoy where there’s plenty of food and shopping to be done, such as the famous Jodd Fair market.
You will be mesmerized by all the neon lighting everywhere and epic partying that can happen, if you so choose to participate.
The people are friendly and welcoming helping to add to the positive vibe.
It’s also home of Red Bull, the energy drink Red Bull that has its roots in a Thai beverage called Krating Daeng created in the 1970s.
- Bangkok: City Highlights Temple and Market Walking Tour
- From Bangkok: Ayutthaya Temples Small Group Tour with Lunch
- Bangkok: Evening Tour with Wat Arun, Wat Pho & Tuk Tuk Ride
3- Thai Cuisine
There’s a good chance that you’ve tried some type of food from Thailand, such as spring rolls or Pad Thai.
There’s no shortage though of not only delicious food but extremely spicy food as well.
Dishes like tom yum is a spicy and sour soup served with shrimp, making it tasty with a huge kick.
There’s also a lot of influence in the diet from practicing Buddhists, meaning plenty of tasty vegetarian options as well.
There’s a huge amount of tofu based options you’ll find on your quest for tasty food as well as tasty rice and rice noodles as a part of many dishes.
It’s a place to spoil yourself with some massive portions of seafood as well.
Thai cuisine takes a lot of influences from their neighbors as well, especially from India, as you’ll notice plenty of curry based options.
4- Beaches And Islands
Thailand is almost synonymous with beaches and islands.
There’s around 2,000 miles (3,219 km) of beaches in Thailand and over 1400 islands to explore.
One of the most popular is Ko Phi Phi, an archipelago of islands that starred as the mysterious remote island in the movie “The Beach”.
It’s also easy to get off the beaten path and go exploring to other locations such as Ko Phang which can be a bit of a trek to get to but will also be well worth it once you arrive.
Then there are more common locations such as Phuket which is home to one of the most popular beaches in the world.
No matter what, there’s a big boating community throughout the nation and they are ready to help when it comes to exploring the sheer number of islands and beaches, many that are still untouched jungles.
Recommended tour: Phuket: Maya, Phi Phi, and Bamboo Island with Buffet Lunch
5- Floating Markets
Throughout Thailand, you can go shopping for goods by boat as numerous floating markets sell food, trinkets, souvenirs and clothing.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that these are just tourist attractions, as you’ll typically be able to get some of the freshest produce possible, as well as some delicious seafood to easily enjoy by the river or on a boat.
There are numerous options when it comes to which floating market to explore, and it can even be done a bit outside of Bangkok, such as going to the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, which is the most popular option.
It’s a huge market where you will be able to see the sellers in traditional clothing selling their items.
While this market is popular with tourists, bargaining is still common practice and can be quite fun at this or any of the floating markets throughout the country.
Recommended tour: Bangkok: Damnoen Saduak Market and Maeklong Railway Market
- 30 Things To Do In Bangkok
- 22 Famous Landmarks In Thailand
- 22 Things To Do In Isaan
- Bangkok To Ayutthaya Day Tour
- Bangkok Shopping Guide
- Where To Buy Thai Silk
- Thailand Itinerary (2 weeks)
- When is The Best Time To Visit Thailand?
- 20 Thailand Drinks To Try
- Bangkok At Night
- 15 Floating Markets In Bangkok And Beyond
- Where To Stay In Phuket
- Where To Stay In Bangkok
- A Guide To Phuket’s Old Town
- 20 Things To Do In Phuket
- 20 Islands In Thailand
- 20 Thai Cities To Visit
- 20 Things To Do In Chiangmai
- Chiangmai At Night
- 20 Thai Food Dishes
- Everything You Need To Know About Living in Thailand
- 15 Things Thailand Is Famous For
6- Muay Thai
The word Muay itself means boxing and this traditional Thai boxing can be traced back to several hundred years ago and takes several techniques and elements from the original martial arts of Thailand, Muay Boran.
It has since been modernised into the martial art we know today, with additional rules included.
Yet where Muay Thai and regular boxing differ is that Muay Thai uses more than just hands for the fighting.
They are known for using elbows, knees and even kicking on top of just regular boxing techniques.
This leads to a much more faster pace and brutal combat sport that requires a lot of training.
Muay Thai shows in many of the cities of Thailand are a fun and engaging spectacle with the mixture of traditional rituals combined with the sport itself.
Recommended tour: Bangkok: Muay Thai Boxing Tickets at Rajadamnern Stadium
Thailand has one of the best nightlife scenes in Asia.
When the sun sets the cities turn into a haze of neon lights and brightly lit signs.
There’s always someplace to go for everyone.
It’s not just a time for adults to go out and grab their favourite drink at one of the numerous mega clubs.
There are also night markets that allow for families to gather together, go shopping and grab a bite to eat as well.
You can catch a Muay Thai fight, eat delicious and cheap street food or party it up as much as you want.
There’s plenty of live music in clubs and bars or you can choose to be the singer and spend some time at a KTV bar.
How much you want to party and what you want to see is all going to be dependent on you, but Thailand’s nightlife is its own beast of an experience.
8- Thai Silk
Silk and Thailand go back thousands of years and it’s a part of Thai culture and wardrobe today.
Most of the silk is used domestically, with a small amount exported throughout the world.
While other countries produce much more silk than Thailand, where they differ is in the skill of silk making.
Thailand is considered by many to be one of the best producers of silk, so for those who are seeking quality, you know now where to get it from.
The government itself is involved in helping to preserve this skillset and the farmers of the silkworms themselves to ensure that this industry remains strong.
Whether it’s the Mudmee technique which helps develop the unique patterns or the Brocade patterns that bring a more embossed finish, Thailand silk exudes quality and the colours last a long time.
Recommended tour: Bangkok: Jim Thompson House and Baan Krua Community Tour
9- Ruins Of Ancient Kingdoms
There is no lack of history to explore when you visit Thailand, from the 13th-century Sukhothai, the first capital of Siam to the second lavish capital of the Siam kingdom of Ayutthaya, which has extensive ruins still standing.
The Burmese razed Ayutthaya in the 18th century but you can still view massive towers or wats and imagine how majestic they once were, with some of the prang towers still standing tall.
Explore the Khmer kingdom by visiting the Khmer ruins in Isaan, home to the sandstone sanctuary of the Prasat Hin Phimai which has beautiful carvings to marvel at.
Chiang Mai also has its own set of ruins for the Lanna Kingdom.
Here you can see Wat Phra Singh which has a beautiful Buddha statue or head to Wat Chedi Luang and see its vast complex.
- Bangkok: Ayutthaya & Lopburi Monkey Temple Private Day Trip
- From Bangkok: Private Tour to Ayutthaya & Summer Palace
- From Bangkok: Ayutthaya & Ayothaya Floating Market Day Trip
10- Fantastic Festivals
Festivals are aplenty in Thailand and helps to continue along the rich cultural history of Thailand throughout each generation.
In fact for those that travel to Thailand, it’s important to note when these festivals occur to plan accordingly.
For example, typically in early February each year there is the Chiang Mai Flower festival.
One can see the fresh blooms happening in intricate designs and colors.
There’s also the mysteries surrounding the Bang Fai Phaya to view the Naga fireballs that occur around October.
This happens along the Mekong River.
Of course, the biggest and most unique festival that occurs is Songkran or Thai New Year.
While Thailand celebrates both New Year’s Eve and Chinese New Year, this festival is one of the most fun out there.
It typically happens around April and is a massive water fight in the streets! Make sure to wear bright colors!
11- Buddhist Temples
While there are too many to mention each one here, there are plenty of Buddhist temples throughout Thailand to enjoy.
It’s a big part of the culture and heritage and you will see them glistening from a distance as they tend to be covered in gold leaf.
There’s a fabulous temple at the Grand Palace known as Wat Phra Kaew, where the Emerald Buddha is located.
The architecture is quite stylish blending both Khmer and Siamese styles.
Wat Pho is another great option which has the Reclining Buddha and a massive collection of over 100 statues of Buddha made out of bronze.
There’s also Wat Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai which comes with views that are picturesque.
Always make sure when visiting any temple to follow the rules, and wear the proper attire.
There will typically be signs that can help clarify what that may mean.
12- Traditional Thai Massage And Wellness
Thailand is known for traditional Thai massage which has become popolar throughout the globe.
There’s plenty of options to enjoy it and it’s a blend of acupressure, stretches and rejuvenation.
You will come out feeling relaxed and refreshed.
It’s a part of their culture and is all about releasing tension and stress in a natural way that has your body recovering in no time.
There’s also a tapestry of herbs and spices that can be used to make baths to soak into and detoxify, such as turmeric baths.
There’s a slew of wellness retreats that will combine these types of treatments and many more, with the serene spirituality of the surrounding nature and temples everywhere.
It will be combined with the healthier aspects of Thai culinary delights.
This is just a sampling of what is possible and is ingrained in everything that is Thai.
Many come to visit Thailand simply to decompress and bring back a sense of calm.
13- Ethical Elephant Sanctuaries
Thai culture reveres the mighty elephant but at the same time they were used as worker animals and have been abused.
There’s a growing push to revere elephants by helping these poor animals live a comfortable life.
There are elephant sanctuaries that are popping up throughout Thailand where you can enjoy elephants in their natural habitat and interact with them in an ethical way.
Not only are you able to play with the elephants but there are activities that are available, such as washing elephants and feeding them.
Do your research before committing to an elephant sanctuary and make sure that they are following ethical practices and not exploiting the animals in any way.
There should be total transparency available and qualified professionals working at this place, with spacious enclosures.
In addition it should come with visitor education beforehand so that visitors can properly handle the activities.
- Chiang Mai: Waterfall, Elephant Sanctuary and Bamboo Rafting
- Chiang Mai: 2-Day Jungle Trek with Elephant Farm & Raft Ride
14- Indigenous Hill Tribes
There are seven major hill tribes that are a part of Thailand, each as unique as the next.
The ethnic tribes have traditions and rituals that are truly a wonderful sight to experience and see.
The Karen tribe is known for their long necks and wearing necklaces around them while the Akha tribe has no hierarchy and acts in an egalitarian way.
They can be very welcoming and are also incorporating other cultures to adapt to the changing times.
You can see most of them in the northern and western parts of Thailand in the mountainous regions.
It can be quite a trek to get to these areas and proper planning is needed ahead of time, but they can be almost like living museums showing a historied part of Thailand.
Recommended tour: From Chiang Mai: Doi Inthanon National Park Day Trip
15- Tuk Tuks
With noisy motors and LED-covered lights that shine brightly in the evenings, these three-wheeled vehicles started when a huge shipment of second-hand motorised ones were sent to Thailand.
Since then, the Tuk Tuk has become a main mode of transportation for locals and visitors.
It’s an excellent mode of transportation that helps take you through the winding streets in the cities and roads throughout Thailand.
Do remember that it’s best practice to negotiate the price of the trip beforehand as these are not a metered service.
If you don’t negotiate, a Tuk Tuk ride can also end up being more expensive than other modes of transportation, but it’s definitely an experience you won’t forget anytime soon.
Recommended tour: Bangkok: Markets, Temples and Food Night Tour by Tuk Tuk
You may also be interested in:
- What is Turkey known for?
- What is Portugal known for?
- What is Greece known for?
- What is France known for?
- What is Belgium known for?
- What is Switzerland known for?
- What is Poland known for?
- What is Australia known for?
- What is Mexico known for?
- What is Germany known for?
- What is Croatia known for?
- What is Hungary known for?
- What Is Romania known for?
- What is The Netherlands known for?
- What is Scotland known for?
- What is Canada known for?
- What is Japan known for?
- What is China known for?
- What is Singapore known for?
- What is Vietnam known for?
- What is Thailand known for?
- What is Cuba known for?
- What is Argentina known for?
- What is Colombia known for?
- What is Spain known for?
- What is Italy known for?
- What is Ireland known for?
- What is Oregon known for?
- What is Colorado known for?
- What is Tennessee known for?
- What is Hawaii known for?
- What is Alabama known for?
- What is Illinois known for?
- What is Mississippi known for?
- What is Nevada known for?
- What is Maine known for?
- What is Idaho known for?
- What is Delaware known for?
- What is Maryland known for?
- What is Wisconsin known for?
- What is Miami known for?
- What is Virginia known for?
- What is West Virginia known for?
- What is Massachusetts known for?
- What is Boston known for?
- What is Florida known for?
- What is Kentucky known for?
- What is Indiana known for?
- What is Montana known for?
- What is Nebraska known for?
- What is Pennsylvania known for?
- What is Vermont known for?
- What is Arizona known for?
- What is California known for?
- What is South Carolina known for?
- What is North Carolina known for?
- What is Texas known for?
- What is Michigan known for?
- What is Ohio known for?
- What is Louisiana known for?
- What is Oklahoma known for?
- What is New York known for?
- What is Georgia known for?
- What is Utah known for?
- What is Connecticut known for?
- What is Rhode Island known for?
- What is Iowa known for?
- What Is Minnesota known for?
- What is New Hampshire known for?
- What is Arkansas known for?
- What is New Jersey known for?
- What is Missouri known for?
- What is North Dakota known for?
- What is South Dakota known for?
- What is Wyoming known for?
- What is Alaska known for?
- What is Washington known for?
- What is Seattle known for?
- What is New Mexico known for?