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5 Essential Thailand Activities for First-Timers

Thailand is known for a lot of things—from their lovable elephants and sweeping forests, to their stunning old temples and exciting Full Moon parties. If you’re a first-time visitor, it can be overwhelming to plan that itinerary because of all the sights to see. But before you try to cram everything into a weekend trip, make sure you don’t miss out on these essential activities.

Visit the Wat Phra

The Golden Temple of Wat Phra
Image Credit: Freedom Destinations

The golden temple of Wat Phra is present on almost every Thai travel brochure—and for good reason. Its origins date back to the early 1300s, and legend has it that it was built to house a bone from Buddha’s own shoulder. Today, it remains one of the most spiritually significant places in Thailand and a popular pilgrimage destination for Buddhist locals. You can get a glimpse of it by making your way to the summit of Doi Suthep (via hike or car), a mountain overlooking the city from northwest Chiang Mai.

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Go on a Food Tour

Thailand Food Tour
 (Image Credit: Michelin Guide)

You can’t talk about the wonders of Thailand without giving their cuisine a special mention. Boasting a diverse selection of flavors, sampling their local delicacies is something that all visitors should do. If you’re in Bangkok, be sure to have a bowl of guay teop, which is their local variety of noodle soup. Meanwhile, the northern regions are famous for their unique version of som tam, a type of shredded vegetable meal. But don’t be fooled by the amount of vegetables in their dishes—they’ve got options for meat-lovers too, whether you’re into hearty bowls of chicken curry or spicy beef.

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Scope the Gaming Landscape

Rajamangala National Stadium
(Image Credit: Wikimedia)

Thailand is Southeast Asia’s local hub for anything gaming-related—be it esports, Muay Thai, or football matches. In fact, their very own Rajamangala Stadium is a strong contender in being chosen as the official venue for the future World Cup, which is a testament to how promising their sports industry is. You can immerse yourself even further by joining in with the locals and placing bets, as wagering on matches is another key part. Plus, there are numerous tips on how to bet online, so don’t worry if you’re a first-timer. And even if you’re not the biggest sports fan, scoping the gaming scene will give you a good glimpse into their culture.

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Watch a Cabaret Show

A Cabret Show in North Thailand
(Image Credit: Sun Leisure World)

Western countries may have their flashy Broadway musicals, but Thailand has its own version that is famous among locals and travelers alike. Siam Niramit is a state-of-the-art theatre located in the heart of Bangkok, which regularly hosts extravagant stage productions and shows. If you want something truly unique and offbeat, you can make your way to the Calypso Cabaret, which can be found in the entertainment area of Asiatique. Thais are fond of ladyboy performances, and after a colorful, exciting night, you’ll soon see why.

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Shop at the Local Markets

 (Image Credit: Seenic Wander)

When you’re in Thailand, you’re never too far away from a market. Street shopping by day is a given, but when the sun sets, it becomes even more exciting at the night bazaars. Rot Fai Market is a well-known train night bazaar along Srinakarin where you can find the cheapest items in the country. From clothing and souvenirs, to handicrafts and other knick-knacks, there’s bound to be something for every kind of traveler.

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Of course, this list only scratches the surface that is Thailand. This place has so much to offer, like bar crawls, unique museums, and countless more historical sites. You just have to know where to look.

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