26 Famous landmarks in Thailand

In this episode of our famous landmarks series, we will focus on Thailand. From Thai food to Thai Massages, there are many things Thailand is famous for, but Thai landmarks are also spectacular and well-known globally. As usual in this series, we invited a few fellow bloggers to contribute to some of the most famous Thai landmarks to compose the best information possible.

Thailand is one of the most popular destinations worldwide. It’s one of the most visited countries in the world. The number and diversity of landmarks in Thailand play a massive role in this popularity. There are famous and lesser-known landmarks; there are natural and human-made landmarks; there are religious and non-religious… there’s something for everyone in Thailand, and at low costs.

So, without further delays, let’s explore some of the most famous landmarks in Thailand, from the Grand Palace in Bangkok to the Maya Bay in the Phi Phi islands, with many others in between.

Famous Landmarks In Thailand – Bangkok

Grand Palace

By Cortney Edwards from Tin Can Living

The Grand Palace is one of the most famous landmarks in Thailand. Initially built as a royal residence for King Rama I, successive monarchs have since used it. Located on Rattanakosin Island, it’s very easy to reach from anywhere in Bangkok! The palace grounds are now open to the public, and tourists can wander around at their leisure.

The Grand Palace is famous for being a beautiful work of art. The architecture and design have been very well preserved, so you can get a good feel for what the palace would have looked like when it was first built in 1782. It’s also quite fun to visit during Chinese New Year, where there are amazing colored lights displayed all over the palace!

It’s almost a city in its own right, with several different blocks of buildings. There are many beautiful temples for visitors to see inside these grounds! The Emerald Buddha temple contains one of Thailand’s most important national treasures, which was brought over from Laos during the reign of King Rama I.

This famous Thai Landmark is definitely worth a visit when you are in Bangkok! It’s pretty easy to get there on public transport, or even by boat if you prefer. The palace has some beautiful architecture, and exploring all these historical buildings is fun.

Famous landmarks in Thailand
One of the buildings in the Grand Palace

Wat Pho or The Temple of the Reclining Buddha

By Linda Stacy from Muy Linda Travels

Wat Pho, or The Temple of the Reclining Buddha, is one of Bangkok’s oldest and most important Buddhist shrines. Built in 1788 during the reign of King Rama 1, Wat Pho is a UNESCO world heritage site that houses the largest reclining Buddha in Thailand. There is a monastery, a university, and a Thai massage school within the vast temple complex. 

But the main attraction at Wat Pho is the impressive reclining Buddha. It fills the small temple where it lies and measures 15 meters high and 46 meters long. The graceful Buddha statue is covered in gold leaf and has a commanding presence. But it’s the Buddha’s feet that are the most remarkable. The soles are intricately carved with sacred symbols and inlaid with mother of pearl. Lining the temple walls are 108 bronze bowls; if you want to earn some extra good luck, you can purchase unique coins to drop into the bowls as you pass through the temple. 

Wat Pho is located near the Grand Palace in the heart of Bangkok on Maharat Road. It’s also just across the river from Wat Arun. To get to Wat Pho, catch a river ferry to Tha Tien Pier, take a tuk-tuk, or walk from the Grand Palace.

Make sure you dress respectfully when you visit with your knees and shoulders covered, and remove your shoes before entering the temple. 

Wat Pho is open daily from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm, and traditional Thai massages are available until 6 pm. 

Cool landmarks in Thailand
The reclining Buddha, one of the most famous monuments in Thailand

Wat Arun

By Alice from Adventures of Alice

Wat Arun is Bangkok’s second most famous Buddhist Temple and is located across the river from the Grand Palace. It is named after the Hindu god Aruna, who symbolizes the radiations of the rising sun. It was built before 1656 by King Taksin, the only King of the Thonburi Kingdom, and Its last renovation was in 2017. It is a Khmer-style temple with four prangs and another larger one in the center. A small amount of the temple also mirrors Chinese architecture.

The temple is famous for its signature charm and beauty. It has a gorgeous white color and is thoroughly detailed with stunning orange and blue patterns. It has three main pillars, and to get to the second level, you must climb up some very steep stairs. You aren’t permitted to go inside Wat Arun; however, the outside is stunning and worth a visit regardless. It costs 50 TBH to enter the grounds.

The temple is located on the opposite side of Wat Pho, and from here, you can take a short walk to the Chao Phraya River. It’s easily one of the best things to do in Bangkok. Many ferries from here will take you across the river to Wat Arun.

iconic landmarks in Bangkok
Wat Arun, one of the iconic landmarks in Bangkok | photo via Muy Linda Travels

Wat Benchamabophit

By Christine Rogador from Romantic Places Insider

Wat Benchamabophit, or the Marble Temple, is one of the famous landmarks in Thailand. The temple was built in 1899 for King Chulalongkorn after Dusit Palace, the official residence of the King of Thailand, was built nearby. It served as a worship place for the King then, and it’s often called the “Temple of the Fifth King.” When King Chulalongkorn died, his ashes were buried beneath the statue of Phra Buddhajinaraja inside the ordination hall in the temple. 

Aside from its historical importance, the temple is a must-see in Bangkok. It shows Thailand’s popular architectural design of ornate style of high gables, stepped-out roofs, and elaborate finials.

The temple might look familiar to some because it was used as a destination for Amazing Race Season 9 as a final pitstop, and the temple facade is on the back of the 5 baht coin. 

Despite being popular enough, the place isn’t as crowded as Wat Pho, Wat Arun, and the Grand Palace. 

Wat Benchamabophit is located in Dusit District, and there’s no MRT or BTS station nearby. But Uber/ Grab is cheap and easy to book in Bangkok. If you want to save money, you can take BTS to the Phaya Thai Station and then walk between 30-40 minutes to the temple.

Well known landmarks in Thailand
Beautiful Wat Benchamabophit | photo via Romantic Places Insider

King Power MahaNakhon

By Kenny Chow from Knycx Journeying

King Power MahaNakhon, formerly MahaNahon, was completed in 2016 and is the latest addition to modern Bangkok’s skyline. Standing 312 meters tall, the 72-story high skyscraper is the tallest building in the city and has become one of the must-sees in Bangkok for Bangkok visitors. 

King Power MahaNakhon is located in the Silom and Sathon business district, and it’s easy to get there by BTS, as it is connected with the Chong Nonsi BTS Station. The building is a high-tech architecture that looks unique from afar. On its smooth and sleek surface, a cuboidal design swirls around the building in a spiral, as if the part of the building was pixelated. This unique design was created by the German Architecture firm Ole Scheeren, and it has been frequently featured on social media, in architecture, and in travel magazines.  

The building is mix-used facilities with offices, residential apartments, and a shopping center. The top floor is an observatory deck and a sky bar, where visitors can enjoy a panoramic view of Bangkok’s vibrant city skyline, Chao Phraya River, and Lumphini Park. The best way to enjoy the view is to get a drink in the sky garden with a cooling breeze. Don’t forget to take a walk on the glass platform. It is the highest in Southeast Asia and a great Instagram moment to take pictures of you at the city’s top with other buildings and traffic underneath you. 

Points of interest in Thailand
Top views from King Power MahaNakhon | photo via Knycx Journeying

Chatuchak Market

By Jane and Duncan from To Travel Too

Chatuchak Market in Bangkok is the largest market in Asia, spread out over 35 acres with over 15 000 stalls.

It is located in Northern Bangkok at 587/10 Kamphaeng Phet 2 Road Chatuchak.

You can travel to Chatuchak via the BTS Skytrain to Mochit Station or take the MRT Subway to Chatuchak Park. Travel by taxi is easy, most drivers know the way, but ensure that you ask them to turn on the meter. You can also arrange a tuk-tuk but negotiate a rate before you get in.

Opening hours are from 9 am to 6 pm, Saturday and Sunday.  The market is also open for wholesale goods on Friday evenings from 6 pm to midnight. The best time to arrive is just as the market is opening.

Hone up on your bargaining skills; you are expected to bargain for all goods. 

Travel tip: Purchase a map of the market on entry to help navigate the market. If you find something you want to buy, do it. Afterward, it will be hard to find your way back again.

The market has many food stalls and massage outlets. You can buy almost everything – trendy clothing, homewares, Thai silk products, electronics, art, antiques, books, hardware, electronics, and more.

Chatuchak Market Bangkok
Landmarks in Thailand – Chatuchak Market

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

Milijana Gabrić from World Travel Connector

No one can deny exotic Thai dishes belong to the most delicious food around the world. If you are traveling to Bangkok and want to try some tasty Thai food prepared and served in a unique atmosphere, please head to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market.

The amazing Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is Bangkok’s most popular and famous floating market in Thailand. The market features a labyrinth of canals filled with small Thai wooden boats managed by skillful vendors. The market is popular for selling fresh vegetables, exotic fruits, and traditional Thai meals from the boats. While the food is sold from the colorful boats, it’s enjoyed along the docks. For the ultimate experience, visitors usually choose to tour the market’s canals in a long-tail boat and buy the food while passing by the vendors in their boats.

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is a big tourist attraction with somewhat inflated prices, but the food is inexpensive. The market became famous for the filming set of James Bond’s The Man with the Golden Gun and Bangkok Dangerous. 

Located in Ratchaburi on the outskirts of the greater Bangkok area, it’s about an hour’s drive from the center of Bangkok to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. The easiest way to reach the market is by taking a day tour from Bangkok to the market.

Where to go in Thailand
 A food vendor in the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market 

Famous Landmarks In Thailand – North Thailand

Wat Rong Khun or White Temple, in Chiang Rai

By Nick Rosen from The world overload

Wat Rong Khun has to be one of Thailand’s oddest yet most well-known landmarks. Also known as the White Temple, this is a must-stop while traveling through the country. This is an excellent place for artists, temple hoppers, and regular tourists or locals.

Wat Rong Khun is in the capital district of the Chiang Rai Province. To get there, you’ll need to take a taxi or a tuk-tuk. Public transportation will also get you close. It’s easy, and most locals will know where you are trying to go if you need directions.

The fact that the entire temple has been painted white to symbolize purity helps make the temple stand out from all the others you see around Thailand.

It’s also known for the cultural pop icons around the temple grounds.  How often do you get to see an alien predator sticking up from the ground?

The bizarre sculptures and symbolism you will see from Hindu and Buddhist teachings tend to give this place an almost eerie feel. With frozen faces and outstretched hands, it almost has a horror movie-type quality to it.

Thai artist Chalermchai Kositpipat took over the dilapidated temple and began building it in 1997.  He decided to have it as an art exhibit styled in the shape of a Buddhist temple.  It has been privately funded for restoration and continues to have improvements made while it is open, resulting in at least nine buildings.

He hopes to use the temple and his art to spread Buddhist teachings and be a learning and meditation center.  There is no set completion date for the temple.

Iconic Thailand Landmarks
One of the most iconic Landmarks in Thailand

Sukhothai Historical Park

By Soumya from Stories by Soumya

Sukhothai Historical Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of Thailand’s most important landmarks. 

Sukhothai is located in northeastern Thailand and was the capital of an ancient kingdom with the same name. “Sukhothai” literally translates to “the dawn of happiness.”

The entire city was built between the 12th and 15th centuries. 1238 – 1438 AD was a golden period in Sukhothai’s history when the kingdom excelled in art, architecture, language, and law. Eventually, Sukhothai became the birthplace of the Thai language, religion, and art.

There are several exciting things to do at Sukhothai Historical Park, including visiting the majestic Wat Mahathat, exploring the very different Wat Si Sawai, checking out some unusual elephant temples, and getting wowed by the massive Buddha at Wat Si Chum. Be sure to notice the combination of Khmer and Sukhothai architectural styles used to construct this beautiful historic city. 

Sukhothai is easily accessible from both Bangkok and Chiang Mai. The easiest way to get here is by taking a flight to Phitsanulok Airport and then getting a bus/taxi to Sukhothai city from the airport. The bus ride takes about 90 minutes.

Ruins and buddha statues in Sukhothai Historical Park
Sukhothai Historical Park, one of the most important landmarks in Nothern Thailand

Wat Ban Rai, the elephant temple

By Sarah Wilson from Life Part2

Wat Ban Rai, aka the elephant temple, is located in Nakhon Ratchasima in northeastern Thailand. The easiest way to get to the elephant temple is to drive, but don’t worry if you don’t have a car. You can take a bus or train from Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima, a local bus to Dan Khun Thot, and then a tuk-tuk. Yes, it’s a bit of an effort, but so worth it.

When revered monk Luang Pho Khun originally moved to Wat Ban Rai, the temple severely needed repairs. The famous and popular monk appealed to locals for donations with no money for repairs. Donations poured in, and in 2001, work began to create this spectacular dharma park.
It’s possibly the most extravagant temple in Thailand, and with 20 million pieces of mosaic, it’s believed to be the largest mosaic-covered shrine in Asia.

The temple also features a fantastic collection of traditional and modern temple artwork – such as Buddha using an iPad. It needs to be seen to be believed. The temple grounds are vast, so allow yourself at least two to three hours here and bring your camera; the temple is a photographer’s dream. 

elephant temple Thailand landmarks 26 Famous landmarks in Thailand

Wat Chedi Luang, Chiang Mai

By Alan & Ros Cuthbertson from Frequent Traveller

Chiang Mai is the ‘Rose of the North,’ and lying at its heart is the historic Buddhist temple complex of Wat Chedi Luang. The temple sits within the moated walls of the Old City, one of Chiang Mai’s most popular tourist locations.

Walking within the grounds, you will find three Buddhist temples, Wat Chedi Luang, Wat Ho Tham, and Wat Sukmin. The largest and most important is the massive Lanna-style chedi (stupa) that dominates the surroundings. 

Construction of the chedi began in the 14th century under the reign of King Saen Muang Ma and was completed in the 15th century during the reign of King Tilokarat. The temple was once home to the Emerald Buddha, now housed in the Grand Palace in Bangkok.

In 1545 a large portion of the temple was destroyed during an earthquake and was left in ruins until it was partially reconstructed in the early 1990s.

Today you can walk through these peaceful grounds and admire the majestic elephants that decorate the chedi. Also within the complex is a beautiful reclining Buddha, and formidable Naga serpents stand guard at the temple entrance. Make sure to pay homage to the giant golden Buddhas inside the Viharn or learn more about Buddhism at Monk Chat.

Famous Landmarks in Thailand
Wat Chedi Luang in Chiang Mai | photo via Frequent Traveller

Wat Buppharram, Chaing Mai

By Kerry Hanson from Adrenaline Junkiez

Thailand is notorious for its stunning Buddhist temples that you can discover across the country far and wide. In the North of the country, within the popular area of Chaing Mai, is Wat Buppharram, one of the most impressive temples in the region. 

In 1497, Wat Buppharram was originally founded by King Mueang Kaeo. However, features such as the Burmese-style chedi and the ordination hall were rebuilt in the 18th and 19th centuries. It has particular significance to local people as it was where King Kawila began a sacred ritual following the reoccupation of Chaing Mai after two centuries of Burmese rule. 

Inside, you will see beautiful teak carvings, mosaic glass windows, and intricate designs that make this temple spectacle. Located on the busy Thapae Road, this temple is easy to get to on foot.

Fantastic things to see in Thailand
Wat Buppharram, a famous landmark in Chiang Mai | photo via Adrenaline Junkiez

The Golden Triangle

By Sarah Steiner from Away with the Steiners

The Golden Triangle in Thailand’s Chiang Rai Province is an area where the borders of Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar meet at the confluence of the Ruak and Mekong Rivers.

It was once a turbulent region with many battles fought between the bordering countries, and the area became known as one of the main hubs of opium production and trade.  

Today, however, it is an interesting place to explore in Northern Thailand. It boasts a serene landscape with coffee plantations, traditional villages, and beautiful views over the mighty Mekong River.  

The monument of the Golden Triangle and the viewpoint across the river are located in the sleepy northern border town of Chiang Saen.  The city was once the capital of the Lanna Kingdom, flourishing from the 13th to 18th Centuries.  While crossing the country border here isn’t possible, you can venture across the Sai River at nearby Mae Sai and explore the Burmese border town of Taichileik.

It’s easy to get to the Golden Triangle from Chiang Rai by renting a car for the 1.5-hour journey.  Or you can take one of the many tours on offer from Chiang Rai or Chaing Mai (a further three hours away).

Interesting landmarks in Thailand
 View from the Hill Tribe villages looking down over the Golden Triangle | photo via Away with the Steiners

Mount Doi Inthanon

By Antoine and Marielle of Offbeat Escapades

Mount Doi Inthanon is known as the highest mountain in Thailand. The park is filled with incredible landscapes and lush forests covering more than a thousand kilometers. It is actually part of the Himalayan mountain range. Thus, at its peak, the elevation reaches almost 2,600 meters.

To visit this majestic mountain, you first need to travel from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, rent a car or motorcycle and drive for 2 hours southwest of the old city. Upon arriving, you will be asked to pay an entrance fee of THB 300 for adults or THB 150 for children. 

Mount Doi Inthanon has various camping areas, hiking trails, waterfalls, and impeccable views of the Thanon Thong Chai Range. The park is also home to more than 360 bird species, making it an excellent bird-watching destination.

Aside from these outdoor activities, Mount Doi Inthanon is perhaps most famous for its two stupas or chedis called Naphaphonphumisiri and Naphamethinidon, which means “by the strength of the land and air” and “being the strength of the air and the grace of the land.” Trekking to these chedis is an incredible experience that promises to encounter wildlife, vibrant greenery, and unbeatable sceneries. 

Mount Doi landmark in Thailand
Mount Doi Inthanon, one of the best landmarks in Thailand | photo via Offbeat Escapades

The Ricefields of Pai

By Vicki Franz from Vicki Viaja

Thailand is full of breathtaking places and some of the most beautiful corners of the earth. One of the most underrated destinations in Thailand is the small town of Pai. You can reach it via a winding road through the Chiang Mai jungle.

Pai is a quiet little town with little to offer besides a few cafes and a night market. What makes a trip here so special is what lies around Pai: and that is incredible nature.
It is worth renting a scooter or taking a tour to discover Pai’s unique nature. A particular highlight of such a trip is the almost endless rice fields surrounding Pai. Especially during the rainy season, a visit is worthwhile. Because then the rice fields seem to shine in solid green.

During your tour through the great nature, you should also definitely plan a stop at the other highlights of Pai. These include the Pai Canyon, which is especially popular as a vantage point during sunset. But the region’s hot springs are also popular with visitors and residents alike.

After spending the day looking at the beautiful rice fields of Pai, it’s also worth stopping by one of Pai’s waterfalls.

26 Famous Landmarks In Thailand
The Ricefields of Pai | photo via Vicki Viaja

Thailand Landmarks – Kanchanaburi

Hell Fire Pass

By Bec from Wyld Family Travel

Few places on earth conjure pure fear in people’s minds, but one is Hellfire Pass, located just out of Kanchanaburi, Thailand.

Taking a guided tour to Kanchanaburi from Bangkok may be the best way for you to visit this historical WWII site. What seems like a beautiful piece of Thai landscape hides a dark secret only meters away.

Hellfire Pass, or Konyu Cutting as it was known to the Japanese, was a place of pure misery for the Prisoners of War from the Allies forced to work on the railway. It was a part of the infamous Thai-Burma Railway and was notorious for its harsh, often deadly conditions. It became known as the Death Railway.

The railway had many obstacles as it was being built, but none were more challenging than Konyu Cutting. The Prisoners of War had to cut through the dense rock for the railway to continue, and this was done with not much more than their bare hands or extremely basic tools given to them by their captors. As the cutting was being made, it got its name Hellfire Pass from the prisoners forced to work there. They said at night, when they walked from the pass, it looked like Dante’s Inferno as they looked down into it with their comrades working by torchlight.

Visiting with a tour guide gives you insight into what the Prisoners of War went through at Hellfire Pass and its impact on the local Thai people. Many tour guides in the area have had stories passed down to them from family.

At the site, the Australian Government and the Thai Government have erected a museum in memory of all the lives lost on the Death Railway. Here you can learn about the prisoners’ hardships and how pure mateship and determination pulled the toughest of men through the absolute worst situation.

Important landmarks in Thailand
Hellfire Pass, one of the most impressive WWII sites in Asia

Bridge Over the River Kwai

By Miriam from Miry Giramondo

One of Thailand’s most historically significant landmarks is the bridge over the River Kwai. The bridge was built in 1942 and is located in Kanchanaburi, 120 km away from Bangkok; it was part of the route of the Death Railway.

Its construction aimed to create a link between Thailand and Myanmar; its construction was extremely painful and resulted in the loss of numerous human lives, particularly workers and prisoners of war, who were forced into forced labor for months. The 1957 film “The Bridge on the River Kwai” is available to learn more about the story. However, this is a very dated and offensive film, to be honest.

Today it is possible to cross the bridge on foot or by train that travels about 80 kilometers to Nam Toc. The surrounding area is also attractive, where there are the cemeteries of the prisoners, on whose tombstones you can read the names of all the men who lost their lives, as well as the Railway Museum and the War Museum, which tell the whole story through their exhibits.

A significant event takes place every year in November. For about ten days, the River Kwai Bridge Festival takes place. It is a mix of lights, colors, and sounds to be surprising and amusing, but above all, remember the prisoners and war dead and all those who contributed to the construction of the famous Death Railway.

Human-made landmarks in Thailand
Bridge Over the River Kwai- Human-made Landmarks in Thailand

Erawan Falls

Erawan Falls are one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Thailand. They are located in the North of Thailand in the Erawan National park near Kanchanaburi

These waterfalls have seven tiers of waterfalls with stunning light turquoise water in limestone hills. The best part of these waterfalls, besides the beautiful views, is that you can swim in the lagoons of the waterfalls. Plus, you can even have a natural fish Spa; the water is full of tiny fish that will eat all the dry skin of your feet, just like going to the Spa.

Besides the waterfalls, Erawan National park is the ideal spot to enjoy nature, hike in the middle of the dense tropical forest, and spot some animals. The climb up the tiers of waterfalls is relatively easy until the 6th tier. The last waterfall is a bit more difficult but still doable.

The entrance fee to the park is 300 baht, and the park is easily accessible by bus (nº 8170 ) from Kanchanaburi Bus station; the last stop is Erawan Falls. Be aware that food is strictly forbidden beyond the 2nd tier. The waterfalls are also frequently packed with tourists.

Erawan Falls are definitely a natural landmark you should visit in Thailand.

Famous Landmarks In Thailand
Erawan Falls, one of the most beautiful landmarks in Thailand

Famous Thai Landmarks – Others

Big Buddha Phuket

By Trijit Mallick from Dog Travel Buff

Located on the Nakkerd Hills in Phuket, not far from Chalong, Big Buddha is one of the most famous landmarks in Thailand. The most convenient way to get to Big Buddha is by tuk-tuk, or you can rent a bike or car. The enormous white Buddha statue is 45 meters high and 25.45 meters wide. The construction of the third-largest statue in Thailand started in 2002, and it is still under construction. You can buy a piece of marble with your name and signature to be used in the construction.

The surrounding views from the top of the mountain are stunning. Enjoy the panoramic views of Karon Beach, Chalong, and the entire southern part of the island. The place is large, well-maintained, and clean. There are some other smaller Buddha statues too. You can buy souvenirs from adjacent shops, and some of the revenue goes to charity.

December and January are the best months to visit this place. It’s not that hot or humid during winter, and you can enjoy the cool breeze from the top of the mountain with great views of the blue sea and green islands.

Tip: Try to visit in the morning or evening and don’t wear a short dress, else you have to wear a sarong provided for free.

Buddha statue and staircase, Thai monuments
The giant Buddha statue in Phuket | photo via Dog Travel Buff

Phanom Rung

By Fredrik Goldhahn from Sticks & Spoons Food Travel

Located 65 km north of the city of Buriram in the Isaan province of Thailand, you will find Prasat Hin Phanom Rung, a Historical Park and Temple area with some of the most extensive Khmer and Buddhist Ruins in the country. Built during a period spanning from the 10th to the 13th century, Phanom Rung was originally a Hindu religious site dedicated to Shiva with many symbols and sculptures from Shiva’s heavenly dwellings. However, in the Buddhist 15th to 18th centuries, several Buddhist additions were made. The Temple Area consists of a lower complex of Khmer Temple buildings, basins, and gardens, but it’s at the main temple 350 meters above sea level that is the main attraction.

The 160-meter-long precision walkway leads to impressive stairs to climb up to the main temple built on the rim of a now dormant volcano. This location of the temple symbolizes Mount Kailash, the holy mountain on top where Shiva lived. The central tower made of pink sandstone represents Mount Meru, the Hindu center of the universe, surrounded by ponds, symbols for the ocean surrounding Mount Meru. The similarities with Angkor Wat regarding architecture and symbolism are apparent, and Phanom Rung also lies on the ancient route from Angkor. From the top, you can view vast fields and a rural environment with the Cambodian border just 6 km from the site in the distance.

Phanom Rung has been submitted to UNESCO as a future World Heritage Site.

phanom rung sticksandspoons landmarks in Thailand 26 Famous landmarks in Thailand
Phanom Rung in Thailand | Photo via Sticks & Spoons Food Travel

Ruins of Ayutthaya

By Becki from Meet Me In Departures

If you’re traveling through southern Thailand and love ancient relics, then visit the ruins of Ayutthaya. Here you’ll find the remnants of one of the ancient capitals of Siam. The city of Ayutthaya was founded in approximately 1350 and was home to a thriving empire until 1767, when the Burmese invaded the city, leaving it to ruin. 

If you visit the city today, you’ll be able to see parts of this once-majestic kingdom. The Ayutthaya Historical Park is a UNESCO-listed world heritage site; if you visit, it’s clear to see why.

One of the most iconic images in any Thailand advertising is that of a Buddha’s head entwined in a Bodhi tree’s trunk. This iconic landmark can be found in Ayutthaya in the temple complex of Wat Mahathat.

Getting to Ayutthaya is accessible by train, especially if you’re traveling from Bangkok. A frequent service runs from the central station in Bangkok to Ayutthaya, with various fares available, ranging from local to first class. The cheapest tickets will cost around 100 Thai Bhat. It takes about 2 hours to make the 80km north of the city. The ride is scenic and passes through stunning Thai countryside before arriving at Ayutthaya. 

Ideally, you will want to spend more than a day in Ayutthaya. The ruins are extensive, and although most of the main sites are located in the center of town, several need a bicycle or taxi to access them if time is against you. 

When you visit the Buddha’s Head in the tree, you’ll have to queue up to take a photo. The sharp eyes of the security guard will be watching over you to ensure that you don’t turn your back on the Buddha’s Head and that the height of your head doesn’t rise above the level of the Buddha’s head, which means, yes, you’ll have to crawl up to it. 

Thailand's landmarks
One of the most famous images of Thailand – Buddha’s Head in the tree

Natural Landmarks In Thailand

Railay Beach

By Martina from PlacesofJuma

One of Thailand’s most beautiful natural landmarks is Railay Beach in Krabi. This dream beach is located on the eponymous Railay Peninsula in the country’s south, and a visit is a real highlight of any trip to Thailand! Here a breathtaking postcard scenery inspires, which looks for its equals: A crescent-shaped bay with powder sugar-fine, white sand, emerald sea, and impressive rock formations bring so many visitors to the astonishment.

Surrounded by dense jungle and high cliffs, this tropical bay can only be reached by boat from the larger resorts in the area, such as Ao Nang or Klong Muang. Although Railay Beach belongs to the mainland, no road leads to it, so you already get a true island feeling during the boat ride.

Behind the beach, you will find some beach bars and fabulous resorts, ideal for a vacation in Railay. You can watch the sunset in the evening, and even in the high season, you can enjoy excellent fire shows.

Getting to the Krabi area is easy! Krabi has an international airport, but you can also take a bus from Bangkok.

Landmarks in Thai Islands
Wonderful Railay beach in Krabi Thailand | photo via PlacesofJuma

Talay Nai (Emerald Lake), Ang Thong National Marine Park

By Steve Rohan from The Trip goes on

Talay Nai, also known as the Blue Lagoon or Emerald Lake, is a beautiful saltwater lake located on Ko Mae Ko and within Ang Thong Marine Park in the Gulf of Thailand.

Steep limestone cliffs and dense jungle surround the lake. It is connected to the ocean via an underground waterway, making it one of Thailand’s most unique natural landmarks.

There are a series of viewing platforms around the translucent, turquoise waters. The water is so clear that you can see urchins resting on the bottom and brightly colored fish swimming by. You may also spot a turtle or sea snake if you are lucky!

As the lake is protected for conservation, it’s impossible to swim there. However, an equally idyllic beach is a few meters away, where swimming and snorkeling are encouraged!

You can easily reach Mu Koh and the Emerald Lake by boat tour from nearby Koh Samui and Koh Phangan. However, due to the location, the lake can be considered something of a “hidden gem”!

For true adventurers, it is even possible to hire your own boat and camp overnight on one of the idyllic islands of the marine park!

best attractions in Thailand
Thai Landmarks – Emerald Lake | photo via The Trip goes on

Thale Noi waterfowl reserve

By Marco Ferrarese from Monkey Rock World

Few people know that in the Phattalung province in the far south of Thailand, not far from Songkhla and the Malaysian border, is Thale Noi.

This inland lake of 460 square kilometers is situated about 20km inland from the coast and is the first protected non-hunting area founded in Thailand in 1975. Few travelers come here, notwithstanding this is a fantastic offbeat waterfowl reserve in Thailand, with 287 species of birds, 26 reptiles, and six mammals found here. The waterfowls are both resident and migratory, and bird watchers will find different species, such as painted storks, grey herons, little cormorants, and many others, at different times of the year.

Thale Noi is also famous for its spectacular “sea of lotus” flowers that bloom all over the surface every year from February to May, making this lake a perfect spot for photography in Thailand.

Local fishers here also use special fishing nets attached to moving poles, similar to those found in southern India and Sri Lanka, which will also delight photographers.  

As the area is quite spread out and it’s hard to get to the lake with public transport from Phattalung (which is a stop on the southern leg of Thailand’s railway), it’s recommended to rent a motorbike or a car and visit at your leisure. Charming guesthouses line the shore for the perfect morning boat trip chasing rare birds.

Beautiful Thai Landmarks
Thale Noi waterfowl reserve at sunset | photo via Monkey Rock World

Sail Rock (Hin Bai)

By Campbell and Alya from Stingy Nomads

Sail Rock is one of the most incredible natural Thailand landmarks found in the oceans of Southeast Asia. This pinnacle in the water of the Gulf of Thailand is the tip of a colossal rock underwater that sticks out 8m above the surface. Locals call the rock Hin Bai. The spectacular biodiversity around the beautiful reef that Sail Rock creates makes it world-famous, an amazing underwater world with colorful creatures and massive schools of fish.

This spectacular pinnacle is located between Koh Tao and Koh Phangan islands in the Gulf of Thailand. Many rate Hin Bai as the best spot for Scuba diving in Thailand. Strong currents turn this solitary dive site into a haven for marine life, with many giant pelagic sharks and fish species frequenting Sail Rock.

Some of the best experiences here are being surrounded by massive schools of fish like Chevron Barracuda and Big eye Trevally. Schooling Longfin Batfish and Giant Groupers close to the pinnacle makes it feel like you are diving in an aquarium. The shark life around Sail Rock is world-renowned, and divers can see Bull sharks and enormous whale sharks exploring this area. Hin Bai also has terrific opportunities for macro photographers with plenty of small critters living in the colorful hard and soft coral covering reef stretches.

This spectacular underwater landmark is easy to reach from Koh Tao, Koh Samui, and Koh Phangan.

Fish Sail Rock (Hin Bai)
Fish in Sail Rock (Hin Bai) | photo via Stingy Nomads

Maya Bay, Ko Phi Phi Le

Maya Bay is possibly the most famous landmark in Thailand. One could even say that it is one of the reasons Thailand became so renowned globally. Maya Bay is a stunning beach located in Ko Phi Phi Le, an island of the Phi Phi archipelago. 

Maya bay is breathtaking, with fine white sand, transparent turquoise waters, and high limestone cliffs – it is one of the most beautiful in the world. It became worldwide known with the film The Beach with actor Leonardo DiCaprio as the leading actor. Tons of tourists traveled to Thailand influenced by the film and the mesmerizing Maya Beach. 

Nowadays, the island and, therefore, the bay is closed to tourists due to environmental issues caused by over-tourism. The massive number of people visiting the island destroyed its corals, the island, and its ecosystem.

The closest you can go to Maya Beach is visiting the  Ko Phi Phi Don, the largest island of the Phi Phi archipelago; you can reach the island by ferry from Phuket. Surrounding the island, you will find the famous Thai long-tail boat that transports you to the other island of Phi Phi.

Phi Phi Island in Thailand famous landmark
Maya Bay, Ko Phi Phi Le | photo by happystock in Depositphotos

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Famous Landmarks In Thailand

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