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Where to stay in Thailand

Let the locals tell you where to stay in Thailand

Thailand is a place no world traveler should miss. Located in the South-East Asian Indochinese Peninsula, it is surrounded by the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand. Known for its rich culture and low cost of living, this gorgeous, exotic country has a lot to offer. Whether you are a tourist or an expat looking for a nice place to put down roots in, Thailand may turn out to be your dream destination. 

Photo credit: top.thailand

Its warm climate, pristine beaches, and wild nightlife will turn your trip into the best vacation of your life. The wilderness of its tropical jungles will enthrall those looking for an adventure. It’s also an ideal place for foodies. While Thai food is popular all around the globe, you need to visit this country to experience the real deal. You will be amazed by the variety of flavors and fascinating fragrances. Still, Thailand is an incredibly multicultural country as there are thousands and thousands of tourists and expats there. At times when you feel nostalgic about your home country, you can always visit one of the international restaurants or global chains such as McDonald’s or Starbucks. 

Thailand also offers enough landmarks to satisfy the needs of even the worst culture vulture. There are plenty of museums, palaces, monuments, and ancient ruins to visit, not to mention gorgeous Buddhist temples that will take your breath away. 

Top 5 cities to stay in Thailand

Thailand is filled with interesting, beautiful cities. To help you pick the best place for you, we’ve selected the five best destinations:

  1. Bangkok
  2. Chiang Mai
  3. Koh Samui
  4. Hua Hin
  5. Chiang Rai

We made our choices based on several important criteria:

  1. The cultural and historical value
  2. Natural wonders
  3. Food and atmosphere
  4. Nightlife
  5. Cost of living
Top 5 cities to stay in Thailand
Best for nightlife Bangkok A vibrant city full of fantastic bars, pubs, and clubs
Best bohemian city Chiang Mai Thailand’s center of culture and religion
Best for introverts Koh Samui A gorgeous island with beautiful beaches
Best for staying long-term Hua Hin A fantastic coastal city with plenty of expats
Best for visiting on a budget Chiang Rai A cute northern city with affordable cost of living

Photo credit: imangpink

Where to stay in Thailand for crazy nightlife: Bangkok

One night in Bangkok and the world’s your oyster—trust us, Murray Head knew what he was talking about. Thailand’s vibrant capital is an ideal place to stay in if you’re looking for good parties. It’s no wonder it was the world’s most visited city in 2016. As the most developed and populated city in Thailand, Bangkok has a lot to offer, from sights and temples to crowded shopping malls. Still, its rousing nightlife is what makes this great city so iconic. There are thousands of bars and clubs all around the city. Bangkok’s outstanding party culture and carefree vibe help create a hardcore nightlife atmosphere you’ve never experienced before. 

Photo credit: evanlune

Another reason why Bangkok is a fantastic place to stay in is that it is well-connected to other parts of the county, as well as major cities in the world.

Places to visit in Bangkok

Bangkok has a fantastic night scene. Here are the top places you should visit:

  • Sukhumvit
  • Royal City Avenue
  • Khao San Road

Best high-end bars and adult fun: Sukhumvit

If you’re a true party animal, make sure to pay a visit to the Sukhumvit district. This district is the epicenter of Bangkok’s nightlife. You will find various rooftop bars, cocktail bars, and go-go bars that will turn your night into an epic adventure. If you prefer a more fairytale-like experience, don’t miss Maggie Choo’s and the Iron Fairies Bar. Sukhumvit also happens to be the home of the most popular red-light districts, including the famous Nana Plaza.

Photo credit: mckoski

Best for clubbing: Royal City Avenue

If clubbing is your thing, Royal City Avenue surely won’t disappoint you. There are dozens of amazing clubs there. Iconic places such as Onyx and Route 66 are known for outstanding music programs. You can listen to the best local live bands and sometimes even international DJs.

Photo credit: route66clubbangkok

Best for casual partying: Khao San Road

Khao San Road is the must-visit street for casual party-goers and backpackers. In this lively street, you will find delicious but cheap food and booze. Just don’t get surprised if total strangers start dancing with you in the middle of the street.

Photo credit: _ayoung_e

Where to stay in Bangkok

Bangkok comes with a lot of accommodation options. The prices vary depending on the neighborhood you choose. Here are our top picks:

Budget option: this affordable private room

Midrange option: this private room with access to a swimming pool. 

Luxurious option: this beautiful apartment at the very center of the city.

Check out outer AirBnB options here

Where to stay in Thailand for a bohemian vibe: Chiang Mai

If you’re a bohemian at heart, you will probably find Chiang Mai to be your city soulmate. The capital of northern Thailand, it is surrounded by mountains, a river, and mesmerizing landscapes. Once the capital of the Lanna Kingdom, Chiang Mai is one of the greatest cultural and religious centers in Thailand. There are hundreds of gorgeous temples and galleries to keep your artistic side ecstatic. Hipsters especially appreciate it because of its incredibly raw, authentic street art and murals. Chiang Mai is also known for its distinctive cuisine so make sure you visit some restaurants. 

Photo credit: xiongofstyle

Things to see in Chiang Mai

There are hundreds of outstanding places to visit in Chiang Mail. Here are our top picks:

  • Doi Suthep
  • Lanna Folklife Museum
  • Wat Chedi Luang
  • Doi Inthanon National Park

Best overall: Doi Suthep

When visiting Chiang Mai, Doi Suthep is a place you don’t want to miss. The view from this 5400 meters high mountain is breathtaking. You will also find there a 13th-century temple, Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, a replica of the Emerald Buddha, and a white elephant shrine.

Photo credit: juntos_viajando

Best for culture vultures: Lanna Folklife Museum

If you love spending your days in museums and galleries, Chiang Mai will be a true paradise for you. Lanna Folklife Museum is a fantastic place where you can learn everything you need to know about this wonderful civilization. We also recommend visiting the Museum of World Insects and Natural Wonders, as well as the Paradise Museum. Another must-visit destination for artistic souls is San Kamphaeng Road. You will see craftsmen selling exceptional silverware, pottery, sculptures, and wood carvings.

Photo credit: lanna_folklife_museum

Best for history buffs: Wat Chedi Luang

Ruins of Wat Chedi Luang, an ancient temple, is yet another place you won’t forget.

Photo credit: marcus_on_site

Best for adventurists and nature lovers: Doi Inthanon National Park

Animal lovers will enjoy Doi Inthanon National Park immensely. It is known for being home to rare types of birds. It also happens to be the highest mountain in Thailand. If you’re up for an adventure, make sure to visit The Karen (hill tribe villages), the Night Safari, and the Doi Inthanon National Park. There is also a butterfly farm where you can see some rare species.

Photo credit: dom_38

Where to stay in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is a cozy little town that has a lot of affordable AirBnBs. Take a look at our favorites:

Budget option: this comfy room near the North Gate.

Midrange option: this Old Town condo.

Luxurious option: this exclusive suite.

For other AirBnBs, visit this page

Where to stay in Thailand for introverts: Koh Samui

Even though Koh Samui is a beloved traveling destination, it is a great place if you want to enjoy some peace and quiet. It is not as popular as Phuket and some other islands, so you won’t have to worry about tourist hordes. You can unwind on one of its palm-lined, pristine beaches and enjoy its tropical beauty. Although it’s a more relaxing destination, you certainly won’t get bored on Koh Samui. Elephant tourism the island offers is incredible, and there are plenty of spa centers and historical sights to visit. The island is located in Thailand Gulf, which makes it ideal for scuba diving and snorkeling. 

Photo credit: lx_koch

Places to visit on Koh Samui

Wondering what to do when on Koh Samui? Here are some ideas:

  • Wat Phra Yai
  • Lamai Beach
  • Angthong Marine Park

Best overall: Wat Phra Yai

Wat Phra Yai, better known as the Big Buddha, is a Buddhist temple with an amazing, golden, 12-meter tall statue of Buddha. It will probably be the first thing you notice when you arrive as it can be seen from most parts of the island.

Photo credit: reisedurstig

Best beach: Lamai Beach

If you want to unwind and get away from the crowd, Lamai Beach will be an ideal place for you. Water is deeper in this part of the island, so it’s a great place for swimming. Chaweng Beach is also worth visiting, although it’s far busier and noisier. You may enjoy it as it is filled with wonderful restaurants and bars.

Photo credit: ohmy_sallyrella

Best for nature lovers: Angthong Marine Park

Boat tours to the Angthong Marine Park are formidable. You will explore the island’s coastline, visit beautiful lagoons, and enjoy delicious food. Other great places to visit are the Nammang Waterfalls and Hin Ta and Hin Yi—a set of rocks shaped like human genitalia. 

Photo credit:angthongmarinepark

Where to stay in Koh Samui

Although some places on the island are a bit expensive, there are plenty of affordable AirBnBs. Here are our favorites:

Budget option: this fantastic apartment with a jacuzzi.

Midrange option: this modern condo

Luxurious option: this beautiful house with a pool.

You can find other Koh Samui AirBnBs here