Where to Stay in Thailand

Written by Jan Meeuwesen
Updated on
Our travel recommendations are based on our personal experiences and research, written by locals and travel experts with deep familiarity with the destination. When you book a hotel or tour that we link to, we may earn a commission.

Thailand is one of the most popular tourist destinations in South East Asia. The country has it all – big metropolitan cities, gorgeous beaches, and expansive national parks.

Travelers of every variety arrive in Thailand every year; it is a country that caters to one and all. Thailand is a beacon of strength in terms of international tourism. Many have tried to replicate their success and very few have achieved it. From fantastic infrastructure to the kindest and genuine welcome any traveler could ask for, everyone leaves Thailand with a smile.

On that note, Thailand is considered to be the Land of Smiles, and with good reason. The local people are, generally, as happy and hospitable as can be. Provided travelers are conscientious and respectful, Thailand can easily become a home away from home.

With such diversity to explore, Thailand is not to be missed by any kind of traveler. Whether you’re looking for out and out 5-star luxury or a budget backpacking adventure, Thailand seldom disappoints.

Resort or homestay? Hostel or ideally-located hotel? The possibilities are endless in the land that was once known as Siam.

Let’s explore where to stay in Thailand.


Bangkok, ThailandSource: TWStock / shutterstock

Bangkok is the big, bold and beautiful capital city of Thailand. Home to 8.2 million people, travelers are bound to find a new friend or two in this hectic metropolis.

The city is one of contrasts. Upon first look, Bangkok looks like any other buzzing, modern town. Scratch beneath the surface, however, and travelers will learn that there is so much more to Bangkok than meets the eye.

Whether it be exploring the floating food markets or roaming the ancient Grand Palace; cowering beneath Wat Arun or gazing in awe at the Reclining Buddha of Wat Pho, there is something mesmerizing to observe around every corner.

One of Bangkok’s most famous streets is called Khao San Road. Famously the starting point for Alex Garland’s book ‘The Beach’, Khao San Road has become Bangkok’s backpacker’s hub.

Loud, frenetic and too much fun, Khao San Road is a must-visit for every traveler during their first trip to Bangkok – it is something of a rite of passage.

Good For: Active Travelers, Art Lovers, Architecture Enthusiasts, Budding Historians, Budget Backpackers, City Slickers, Couples, Culture Vultures, First Time Visitors, Families, Foodies, Luxury Travelers, Sightseers, Shopaholics, Whistle-Stop Travelers

Neighborhood Highlights: The Grand Palace, Wat Arun, Wat Pho – The Reclining Buddha, Wat Pera Kaew, Khao San Road, Chatuchak Weekend Market, MBK Center, Yaowarat Road, Wat Traimit – Phra Phutta Maha Suwana Patimakon Golden Buddha, Thonburi, Lumphini Park, Wat Saket, Victory Monument, Vimanmek Mansion, Siam Park City

Hotel Recommendations:

  • 1905 Heritage Corner – 1905 Heritage Corner is an exceptional hotel in Bangkok – one of the very best. There is a boutique feel to 1905 Heritage Corner and the hotel showcases the best of Thai hospitality. The rooms are ornate and in keeping with the heritage feel of the hotel and grounds. There is air conditioning.
  • Ibis Styles Bangkok Khaosan Viengtai – Ibis Styles Bangkok Khaosan Viengtai is a good option for mid-budget travelers who want to stay in a central location. The hotel offers air-conditioned rooms complete with a minibar and tea and coffee facilities. There is a swimming pool available for guests to use at their leisure.
  • Chillax Heritage – Chillax Heritage is a top pick hotel in Bangkok. Just a 5-minute walk from Khao San Road, Chillax Heritage offers guests free WiFi and a complimentary breakfast in some room rates. There is a well-equipped fitness center and a swimming pool for guests to make use of.

Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai, ThailandSource: Take Photo / shutterstock
Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai frequently tops the charts as one of the cheapest cities in Asia. For budget backpackers looking to stretch their budget or for digital nomads keen to watch the pennies, Chiang Mai is a great option.

That said, Chiang Mai is far more than a cheap and cheerful getaway; it has to be one of the most charming cities in Asia. With temples aplenty and dozens of boutique stores, Chiang Mai provides the perfect exploration-relaxation ratio for travelers.

Chiang Mai is the biggest city in Northern Thailand. It acts as a gateway to many off the beaten track destinations like Pai and Doi Suthep National Park.

For foodies, Chiang Mai is a must-visit. At the night market, travelers can find some of the most authentic Thai food in the city. Friendly locals serve up everything from Pad Thai to Tom Yum Soup and it is a great opportunity for travelers to experience ‘real Thailand’. Chiang Mai is a haven for vegan and vegetarian travelers too.

Good For: Active Travelers, Art Lovers, Architecture Enthusiasts, Budding Historians, Budget Backpackers, City Slickers, Couples, Culture Vultures, First Time Visitors, Families, Foodies, Luxury Travelers, Like a Local Travelers Sightseers, Shopaholics, Whistle-Stop Travelers

Neighborhood Highlights: Chiang Mai Night Bazaar, Nightly Food Market, Wat Chedi Luang, Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, Wat Phra Singh, Doi Suthep National Park, Chiang Mai Sunday Market, Bhubing Palace, Tha Phae Gate, Wiang Kum Kum, Royal Park Rajapruek, Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden, Wat Pha Lat, Art in Paradise, Buak Hard Public Park

Hotel Recommendations:

  • U Chiang Mai – U Chiang Mai is a top pick boutique hotel in the heart of Chiang Mai. With outstanding service and fantastic facilities, guests love U Chiang Mai. The hotel offers an airport shuttle service and the staff can assist with taxis to other destinations too. The rooms are ornate and simply gorgeous.
  • De Lanna Hotel – De Lanna Hotel is a good hotel option in Chiang Mai. Offering affordable rooms and high levels of service, De Lanna Hotel is something of a hidden gem. There is an outdoor saltwater swimming pool for guests to relax in. There is an in-house restaurant and bar too.
  • De Naga Hotel – De Naga Hotel is a very good hotel in Chiang Mai. With a spa, in-house guests have everything that they could possibly need. There is a bathtub in every ensuite bathroom. For travelers seeking a luxurious stay with great value for money, De Naga Hotel is just the ticket.

Chiang Rai

Chiang Rai, ThailandSource: artpritsadee / shutterstock
Chiang Rai

Situated in northern Thailand, the city of Chiang Rai is an often overlooked destination in Thailand. Abundant in culture and offering affordable luxury, Chiang Rai is a real hidden gem.

For travelers who like the sound of Chiang Mai but are unsure about the potential crowds, Chiang Rai is an ideal option. Quiet enough to feel relaxed, yet busy enough to create an atmosphere, Chiang Rai is a real winner.

Chiang Rai sits very close to the borders of Myanmar and Laos. For travelers continuing their adventures to the northern regions of South East Asia, Chiang Rai is a must-visit.

The most iconic landmark in Chiang Rai is Wat Rong Khun. The bright, white temple is famed for its intricate and quirky design features. It is, in fact, a privately-owned art exhibition set within a restored Buddhist temple. Funded by Chalermchai Kositpipat himself, the temple and the artwork are still works in progress. It is well worth a visit.

Good For: Active Travelers, Art Lovers, Architecture Enthusiasts, Budding Historians, Budget Backpackers, City Slickers, Couples, Culture Vultures, Foodies, Like a Local Travelers, Overland Travelers, Sightseers, Whistle-Stop Travelers

Neighborhood Highlights: Chiang Rai Night Market, Wat Rong Khun – The White Temple, Wat Rong Seur Ten, Wat Phra Kaew, Wat Huay Pla Kang, Singha Park Chiang Rai, Baandam Museum, Doi Tung Mountain, Wat Phra Sing, Wat Phra That Doi Chom Thong, Hilltribe Museum, Wat Mung Muang, Hot Springs Pongprabaht, Pong Phra Bat Water Fall

Hotel Recommendations:

  • Grand Vista Hotel Chiangrai – Grand Vista Hotel Chiangrai is a fabulous hotel that offers guests a whole host of facilities. There is a wonderful spa within the hotel offering an extensive range of treatments. All rooms have a flat-screen TV complete with access to channels. A good breakfast is included in the room rate.
  • Hi Chiangrai Hotel – Hi Chiangrai Hotel is a top pick in Chiang Rai. There is a modern feel to the hotel and the rooms are bright and airy. All rooms have air conditioning. Some premium rooms offer views of the hotel’s swimming pool. Breakfast is served with both Asian and Continental styles.
  • Nak Nakara Hotel – Nak Nakara Hotel is a popular hotel in Chiang Rai. Guests love the large outdoor swimming pool and the shaded sun loungers. There are traditional Thai massage services available and other wellness treatments at the Nak Nakara Hotel spa. The rooms are colorful and generous.


Phuket, ThailandSource: aphotostory / shutterstock

When prospective travelers dream of the pristine white beaches of Thailand, chances are that their vision looks rather similar to Phuket. Phuket is the biggest of the Thai holiday resort regions and welcomes hundreds upon thousands of travelers every year.

Much like the rest of Thailand, Phuket caters to everyone from the lavish and luxurious to the cheap and cheerful. Phuket is beyond prepared for tourists and travelers; the whole province is dependent upon tourism and has been for decades.

For travelers seeking a seamless seaside getaway in Thailand, Phuket is just the place. There is always enough beach space to go around and the waters are crystal clear. Phuket acts as a gateway to the even more spectacular islands of the Andaman Sea.

During a holiday to Phuket, it is customary to take a day trip to Thailand’s iconic islands, like those of Koh Phi Phi National Park.

If travelers are down for a party, head to Phuket City after dark.

Good For: Active Travelers, Architecture Enthusiasts, Beach Bums, Budget Backpackers, Couples, Culture Vultures, First Time Visitors, Families, Foodies, Luxury Travelers, Sightseers, Shopaholics, Scuba Divers, Whistle-Stop Travelers

Neighborhood Highlights: Phuket City, Paton Beach, Karon Beach, Chalong Beach, Wat Chalong, Big Buddha Phuket, Thalang Road, Phuket Tricky Museum, Thai Hua Museum, Chinpracha House, Banzaan Fresh Market, Phuket FantaSea, Hat Kata Noi, Koh Phi Phi National Park, Hat Kata, Coconut Island, Ko Lon, Sirinat National Park, Koh Raya Island

Hotel Recommendations:

  • Le Meridien Phuket Beach Resort – Le Meridien Phuket Beach Resort is a fantastic hotel in Phuket. Situated on Karon Beach, Le Meridien is a top pick for international travelers. There is an expansive swimming pool and large sun lounger area. The rooms are generous in size and many offer views of the ocean.
  • Hyatt Regency Phuket Resort – Hyatt Regency Phuket Resort is a very good hotel on Kamala Beach. Offering world-class service and excellent facilities, the Hyatt Regency sees guests come back year after year. There is an outdoor infinity pool and wonderful sunbathing area. Many of the modern rooms offer views of the ocean.
  • The Mangrove Panwa Phuket Resort – The Mangrove Panwa Phuket Resort is set within a private tropical garden offering guests complete privacy. The staff are wonderfully hospitable and go above and beyond for their guests. The in-house restaurant is fantastic and serves a range of Asian and international dishes. There is a spa and swimming pool too.

Koh Samui

Koh Samui, ThailandSource: Muzhik / shutterstock
Koh Samui

Koh Samui is one of the most popular island destinations in Thailand. Set in the Gulf of Thailand, Koh Samui is the country’s second-largest island. Famed for its vast white beaches and shady palm trees, Koh Samui is a dream come true for so many travelers.

The inland areas of Koh Samui are covered by mountain rainforest and dense jungle. Nestled deep within the foliage lie some of the island’s most exclusive and luxurious resorts.

Chaweng Beach is the most popular destination in Koh Samui, closely followed by Lamai Beach. At the famous Lamai Beach, travelers will find vibrant beach bars selling happy hour cocktails all day long.

For culture vultures who do want to embrace a more authentic Thai experience in Koh Samui, a visit to Wat Phra Yai would be the order of the day. The huge golden statue can be seen for miles around and depicts the Lord Buddha.

Koh Samui is a popular destination for budget backpackers seeking a boozy beach party.

Good For:Active Travelers, Architecture Enthusiasts, Beach Bums, Budget Backpackers, Couples, Culture Vultures, First Time Visitors, Families, Foodies, Luxury Travelers, Sightseers, Shopaholics, Scuba Divers, Whistle-Stop Travelers, Party People

Neighborhood Highlights:Chaweng Beach, Lamai Beach, Wat Plai Laem, Wat Phra Yai, Na Mueang Waterfall, Ko Taen, Bophut Beach, Fisherman’s Village Walking Street, Laem Sor Pagoda, Hin Lat Waterfall, Lipa Noi Beach, Samui Go-Kart, Ko Pha Ngan – Full Moon Party Island

Hotel Recommendations:

  • Santiburi Koh Samui – Santiburi Koh Samui is a superb hotel that offers outstanding service from start to finish. There is a boutique feel to the hotel and the staff take excellent care of their guests. Guests love the private swimming pool. The free parking is a bonus – many travelers opt to explore by moped.
  • Crystal Bay Beach Resort – Crystal Bay Beach Resort is a bestselling hotel on Lamai Beach. All rooms have access to free WiFi and there is a minibar in every room. There is a traditional Thai spa within the hotel that has an extensive treatment menu. There is an outdoor swimming pool too.
  • Thai House Beach Resort – Thai House Beach Resort is a fabulous hotel right on the Lamai beachfront. There are rooms and beach bungalows available; all have air conditioning and an ensuite bathroom. There is a very good breakfast included in the room rate that is not to be missed. There is an airport shuttle service.

Krabi – Ao Nang

Ao NangSource: Lukasz Janyst / shutterstock
Ao Nang

Ao Nang is the beautiful beach resort town that sits within the Thai province of Krabi.

Krabi town is home to an international airport that makes it as easy as can be for travelers to access the exquisite beaches of the area.

For years, Ao Nang was the little sister to Phuket – somewhat quieter and off the beaten track. While Ao Nang has matured and expanded, there is an authenticity to Ao Nang that travelers love.

The town Ao Nang is best known for its long stretches of beach that sit along Thailand’s Andaman coast. Ao Nang is a great base for scuba divers or keen snorkelers. The beach of Ao Nang offers the most direct route to the highly photogenic islands of Phi Phi and Ko Poda.

Although day trips can be booked far in advance, the old fashioned way works best in Ao Nang. Get chatting with one of the many boatmen along the beach and barter a good price.

Good For: Active Travelers, Beach Bums, Budget Backpackers, Couples, Culture Vultures, First Time Visitors, Families, Foodies, Off The Beaten Track Travelers, Luxury Travelers, Market Lovers, Sightseers, Shopaholics, Scuba Divers, Party People

Neighborhood Highlights:Ao Nang Beach, Phi Phi Islands, Koh Phi Phi Don, Ko Lanta Yai, Railay Beach, Koh Poda, Tiger Cave Temple, Ko Ngai, Tup Island, Mu Ko Lanta National Park, Ko Klang, Khao Phanom Bencha National Park, Than Bok Knhorani National Park, Ko Kai, Viking Cave, Tha Pom Klong Song Nam – Mangroves & Lagoons

Hotel Recommendations:

  • Sabai Resort – Sabai Resort is a quaint hotel close to Ao Nang Beach. Offering simple but affordable accommodation, Sabai Resort is a great option for travelers looking for value for money. There are family rooms available and all rooms have air conditioning. Some rooms even offer cooking facilities. There is a swimming pool.
  • AliSea Boutique Hotel – AliSea Boutique Hotel is a top pick hotel in Ao Nang. There is a stylish feel to AliSea Boutique Hotel and there is even a rooftop swimming pool. There is a spa and wellness center in-house where guests can relax and unwind. Breakfast is included in most room rates.
  • Phra Nang Inn by Vacation Village – Phra Nang Inn by Vacation Village is a modern and stylish hotel in Ao Nang. There is a boutique feel to the hotel and guests can relax and unwind in the garden or on the beach. Ao Nang beach is less than a one minute walk away. A good breakfast is included.

Koh Lanta

Koh Lanta, KrabiSource: Petr Malyshev / shutterstock
Koh Lanta

Koh Lanta is the ideal place for travelers who are seeking a quiet and retreat-like place to stay in Thailand. Koh Lanta has its fair share of fun but it also has lights out just after dark.

For travelers seeking affordable accommodation, a place away from the big crowds and beautiful beaches, Koh Lanta is a great idea. It is a little more challenging to access Koh Lanta but it is well worth the extra effort.

Koh Lanta sits between the Phi Phi Islands and Ao Nang on the mainland. It is a great place to stay for snorkelers and scuba divers. Koh Lanta is home to some of the best diving spots in Thailand.

Travelers who enjoy just kicking back on a beach will feel right at home on Koh Lanta. There are no big, flashy attractions, simply some of the most breathtaking coastline in South East Asia.

The waterfalls and mangrove of Mu Ko Lanta National Park are ever so photogenic and the wildlife abundant.

Good For: Active Travelers, Beach Bums, Budget Backpackers, Couples, Culture Vultures, Eco-Conscious Travelers, Off The Beaten Track Travelers, Like a Local Travelers, Luxury Travelers, Nature Lovers, Scuba Divers

Neighborhood Highlights: Mu Ko Lanta National Park, Phra Ae Beach, Bamboo Bay, Klong Klong, Khlong Chak Waterfall, Nui Beach, Phi Phi Islands, Lanta Animal Welfare

Hotel Recommendations:

  • coco cape lanta resort – coco cape lanta resort is a fabulous hotel on koh lanta. as a top pick in koh lanta, coco cape offers guests an outdoor swimming pool and easy access to the beach. there is a lavish breakfast spread laid on daily and restaurant and bar are open late.
  • relax bay resort – relax bay resort is set a 7-minute walk from the beach and is a brilliant budget option for travelers exploring on the cheap. there is free wifi throughout the hotel. guests can opt for either a room with a fan or with air conditioning. activities like yoga classes are laid on daily.
  • Lanta Coral Beach Resort – Lanta Coral Beach Resort is a bestselling hotel in Koh Lanta. Situated 3 minutes from the beach and surrounded by coconut palms, the hotel is tranquil and picturesque. There are air-conditioned rooms available or cheaper rooms offer a fan. There is WiFi throughout the hotel and free parking for mopeds.

Where to Stay in Thailand:

  • Bangkok
  • Chiang Mai
  • Chiang Rai
  • Phuket
  • Koh Samui
  • Krabi - Ao Nang
  • Koh Lanta