Kayakers cruise in Cheow Larn Lake with deep green jungle behind them

Our top Thailand tours and excursions

Thailand is overflowing with guided tours and excursions, but not all are created equal. That’s why we only ever recommend the best of the best: the experiences guaranteed to get you under the skin of Thai culture.

What makes a great experience? For us, it always starts with the people. A fantastic guide is your magic key to understanding Thailand, whether it’s getting to grips with war history or learning how to make a killer green curry. They’re not just there to make sure you don’t get lost; they’re there to take you inside their culture and show you what makes this country tick.

You might be exploring the Chiang Mai countryside on the back of a vintage Vespa, stopping off to admire the views and visit old-fashioned farmhouses. You might be island-hopping in the southern islands, visiting hidden coves to splash about in coral reefs. Or you might be in the heart of Bangkok, sampling street-food treats as you explore the city’s world-famous nightlife. Whatever the experience, expect full immersion, hands-on fun, and the company of some of our favourite people in all of Thailand.

Our top picks

You won't want to miss out on these must-dos hand-picked by our expert team

Tour the Chiang Mai countryside by vintage Vespa

Active
Scenery
Chiang Mai

Hop on the back of a scooter, leave the crowds behind, and discover Chiang Mai’s mountain scenery in style — on the back of a vintage Vespa!

The countryside surrounding Chiang Mai is a stunning setting for a scooter tour: think rippling rice paddies backed by forested mountains, and rolling green farmlands dotted with traditional, thatched-roof villages. With an expert driver to tackle the twists and turns, you’ll be free to soak up the scenery from the back of your Vespa — with plenty of stops along the way to get into the rhythm of countryside life. Eat lunch in a tropical garden, visit a hilltop temple with a giant Buddha, stop in at a Thai farmhouse, and learn how elephant dung can be used to make sustainable materials. Equal parts exhilarating and enlightening, this tour is one of our favourite ways to see a different side of Chiang Mai.

Kings & khlongs: Half-day tour of the canals of old Bangkok

Culture & History
Bangkok

Before Bangkok became famous for its busy nightlife and glitzy malls, it was known as the “Venice of the East”: threaded through with hundreds of canals (or khlongs) and lined with teakwood homes and shrines.

A half-day tour of Thonburi will introduce you to a little slice of that old Bangkok, where transport is by longtail boat instead of skytrain, and where life still moves at a lazy pace in teakwood villages along the khlongs. After puttering past old shophouses and temples, whose eclectic architecture reflects the region’s centuries of trade, you’ll disembark to explore an icon of Bangkok: the sparkling, mosaic-encrusted temple of Wat Arun. From here, it’s a short walk to the Grand Palace, whose magnificent complex of over 100 buildings has been the seat of Thai royalty for over two centuries.

Kayaking and snorkelling in Ang Thong Marine Park

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On the water
Scenery
Ko Samui

Encompassing 42 jewel-like islands in the Gulf of Thailand, Ang Thong National Marine Park is a wonderland of dense jungle, hidden waterfalls and sandy beaches so brilliant they almost hurt the eyes.

As far as we’re concerned, the best way to discover this natural playground is with a full day’s island-hopping by speedboat, with plenty of stops to feel the sand between your toes, trek to mountain viewpoints, and swim in warm, clear waters among coral reefs darting with fish of all colours, shapes and sizes. Stop for a delicious buffet lunch on the shores of Ko Pha Luay, then spend the afternoon chilling out beneath the palm trees, swimming, or perhaps heading back out on the water for a kayaking adventure to some of the more remote corners of the marine park. If you ask us, that’s as close to a day in heaven as you’ll find on Planet Earth.

Island-hopping in the beautiful south

On the water
Scenery
Thailand

Once you’ve seen one island, you’ve seen them all — or have you? Spend a day island-hopping in Thailand’s beautiful south and discover a treasure trove of hidden coves, pearl-white beaches and vivid coral reefs.

Whether it’s Phi-Phi, Phuket, or Krabi, Thailand’s southern reaches are world-famous for their palm-fringed sands and turquoise seas basking in the heat of the tropical sun. But while they might all sound alike, Thailand’s southern islands can be surprisingly diverse, encompassing uninhabited jungle islets, sleepy seaside fishing towns, upmarket enclaves and deserted, hidden coves. The best way to get a sense of the variety is to spend a day island-hopping by boat, swimming among coral reefs teeming with fish, stopping to sample seafood fresh from the waves, and cruising to beaches so stunning they’ve starred in Hollywood films.

Meet gentle giants at Elephant Hills

Responsible entreprise
Wildlife
Khao Sok NP

Combine luxurious, safari-style tents with a world-class, animal-friendly elephant sanctuary — all set against the backdrop of the magical Thai rainforest — and you get one of our favourite wildlife experiences in Southeast Asia.

Deep in the Khao Sok National Park, surrounded by towering limestone mountains and virgin jungle, is Elephant Hills: part nature park, part wildlife sanctuary, and part luxury eco-lodge. After you’ve settled into your tent on Thailand’s most beautiful lake, there’s a whole menu of amazing experiences to get stuck into. Head out canoeing on the Sok River as hornbills fly overhead, drink cocktails in the club bar as you watch traditional Thai dance, and — of course — meet the elephants who call this paradise home. Elephant Hills is committed to the welfare of these gentle giants, so you’ll be able to meet, touch, feed and interact with them, but not ride them.

Visit the Bridge on the River Kwai

Culture & History
Kanchanaburi

Learn about one of the darkest periods in Thai history: the construction of the “Death Railway” and the Bridge on the River Kwai.

To wander the sleepy streets of riverside Kanchanaburi, it’s hard to imagine that this was the setting for one of the most horrific events in Thailand’s history. During WWII, thousands of local people and Allied prisoners of war were forced to build the infamous “Death Railway”, including the famous Bridge on the River Kwai. The bridge still stands today, and monuments commemorating those who died constructing it are found throughout Kanchanaburi. Visiting these memorials and reading first-hand accounts of their suffering at the Railway Museum is a sobering experience, but it’s unmissable if you want to understand the trauma of this important piece of Thailand’s history.