What Is Thailand Known For?

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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?

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1- The Grand Palace

Grand Palace And Temple In Bangkok, Thailand
The Grand Palace is what Thailand is known for.

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

Panorama View Of Bangkok City With Chaopraya River
Bangkok is the city Thailand is most known for.

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.

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3- Thai Cuisine

Traditional Pad Thai
Thai cuisine is what food is Thailand known for.

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.

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4- Beaches And Islands

Coastal Cliffs And Beaches
Beaches and islands are what Thailand is famous for.

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

Floating Market In Thailand
Floating markets are what Thailand is known for.

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

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6- Muay Thai

Muay Thai And Fight With A Boxing Coach And Training
Muay Thai is a sport Thailand is known for.

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

7- Nightlife

Couple Men And Women On A Rooftop Bar In Pattaya
Nightlife is what Pattaya, Thailand, is known for.

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

Colorful Thai Silk
Thai silk is what Thailand is famous for producing.

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

Wat Phra Singh Temple In The Old Town Center Of Chiang Mai
Ruins of ancient kingdoms is what Thailand is best known for.

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.

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10- Fantastic Festivals

Songkran Tradition On Thailand
Songkran is a festival Thailand is known for.

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

Thai Buddhist Temple Bangkok, Thailand
Buddhist temples are what Thailand is most known for.

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.

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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

World Map With Magnified Thailand

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Roger Szlatiner
Born and raised in New York City, Roger has always had the desire to see what the world had to offer. After building out his career in the corporate world and obtaining his Master of Science in Technology, Roger felt that his true passion came from writing and sharing his experiences with others. He is currently working on publishing his first book which is a mixture of his travels and working within different industries and cultures, and the crazy that comes with that. He’s spent the past couple of years writing content and poetry as well. When asked where his favourite travel locations are, he’ll immediately reply ‘anywhere in Southeast Asia’. Everything from the controlled chaos to the variety of places to see and food to eat kept him in the region often. When he’s not on his next trip, you can find him living between Indonesia and Vietnam.