Where to Stay in Thailand? 12 Best Places You Need To Visit ๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ญ

Are you unsure where to stay in Thailand? Having travelled extensively throughout the country, Iโ€™ll share the best destinations for your holiday in this comprehensive guide.

where to stay in thailand

I’ve travelled extensively in Thailand and, in recent years, have taken a tour once a year. But before my first trip to Thailand, I was as confused as you might be: where should I go in Thailand?

It’s such a vast country.

So, if you’re planning a trip to Thailand but are unsure where to stay, you’ve come to the right place.

Kristoffer Fons from Destination Well Known, in Thailand

Whether you’re into cultural experiences, family-friendly destinations, or hidden gems, you’ll find inspiration here to choose the perfect place for your next holiday in Thailand.

Let’s get started with the guide: where to stay in Thailand?

1. Koh Yao Yai & Noi

Koh Yao Yai and Koh Yao Noi are two of the most underrated destinations in Thailand, in my opinion.

These islands, located between Phuket and Krabi, are ideal for those wanting to escape the large tourist crowds and experience a more authentic Thai island life.

You can expect beautiful, pristine beaches and a tranquil atmosphere on Koh Yao Yai and Koh Yao Noi. The islands are perfect for nature lovers and those seeking peace and quiet.

Hong Island near Koh Yao Noi
I went on a day trip from Koh Yao Noi to Hong Island and it’s probably the best day out I’ve had in Thailand.

Here, you can enjoy kayaking, snorkelling, and hiking through lush landscapes. The beaches are not crowded, and you’ll often have them almost to yourself.

Travellers to these islands are often couples, families, or solo travellers who appreciate scenic surroundings and a relaxed vibe. There are good options for staying in small, cosy resorts and bungalows on the beach, providing an intimate and authentic experience.

Koh Yao Yai and Koh Yao Noi are perfect for a holiday where you can unwind and enjoy Thailand’s natural beauty without the large tourist crowds.

Where to stay in Koh Yao Yai & Yao Noi

santhiya yao yai, best place to stay in koh yao yai

On Koh Yao Yai, there’s no doubt – I recommend staying at Santhiya Koh Yao Yai.

I’ve been there twice and think it’s absolutely phenomenal.

I also made a video about the place where I stayed in a villa with a private pool:

Over on Koh Yao Noi, there are also plenty of good hotels.

I’d recommend looking at a place like Cape Kudu Hotel, which is located by the water and has views of the fantastic cliffs this part of Thailand is known for.

If you stay here, you should also take a day trip to the Hong Islands:

2. Bangkok

    Bangkok is a surprisingly exciting city full of contrasts. You’ll find everything from glittering temples and bustling markets to modern shopping centres and vibrant nightlife here.

    It would be a shame not to experience Bangkok for just a few days, as the city offers unique experiences you won’t find elsewhere.

    Bangkok Thailand
    The Wat Arun temple and the Chao Phraya river in Bangkok.

    Explore the Grand Palace, take a trip on a traditional longtail boat on the Chao Phraya River, and enjoy authentic Thai food at one of the many street food markets.

    Bangkok is hectic, but that’s part of its charm and attraction.

    Where to stay in Bangkok?

    I’ve written a more extensive guide on where to stay in Bangkok, but a hotel I was super pleased with on my last trip to Thailand is Eastin Grand Phayathai.

    The location is fantastic, and I can’t fault the hotel, which has two infinity swimming pools with stunning views over Bangkok.

    3. Koh Samui

      Koh Samui is an easy and convenient holiday island, perfect for families and travellers who appreciate familiar comforts.

      The island offers beautiful beaches, luxurious resorts, and various activities, from water sports to golf and yoga.

      Chaweng in Koh Samui
      Chaweng Beach in Koh Samui.

      With many restaurants, shops, and entertainment options, Koh Samui is an ideal destination for a relaxed yet entertaining holiday.

      Chaweng Beach is known for its lively nightlife, while Lamai Beach offers a more relaxed atmosphere.

      Where to stay in Koh Samui?

      I’d recommend Fisherman’s Village for families, Chaweng or Lamai for couples or solo travellers, but check out my comprehensive guide on where to stay on Koh Samui for more lesser-known areas on the large island.

      Sea Dance Resort in Koh Samui

      If I have to point out a hotel on Koh Samui, it’s undoubtedly Sea Dance Resort – it’s probably one of the best places I’ve stayed in Thailand.

      It’s not that it’s a five-star luxury hotel, but it just had a perfect vibe.

      I stayed in one of the villas with a private pool, which was truly delightful.

      4. Krabi

      Krabi is a fantastic destination with countless opportunities for adventure and relaxation.

      If you stay in Ao Nang, you can easily access excursions to spectacular places like Railay Beach and the Phi Phi Islands.

      Kristoffer Fons in Krabi
      Krabi is one of my favourite places in Thailand.

      Krabi is a whole region, so there are many small, cosy holiday areas besides the well-known spots.

      Krabi is known for its dramatic limestone cliffs, crystal-clear waters, and beautiful beaches. It’s a paradise for climbing, snorkelling, and diving.

      railay beach in Krabi
      Railay Beach is only a 5-10 min boat ride from Ao Nang.

      Ao Nang is an excellent base with many restaurants, bars, and easy access to island hopping and nature experiences.

      Krabi is probably the most beautiful area in Thailand, and it’s also where you’ll find some of the best beaches, such as the Phi Phi Islands or Railay Beach near Ao Nang.

      Where to stay in Krabi?

      Good question, as there are so many great areas. I’ve written a large guide where I go through some of the best places and recommend hotels, so take a look at the guide on where to stay in Krabi.

      Kristoffer Fons in Ao Nang Beach
      Ao Nang beach is also pretty cool.

      Most travellers will enjoy staying in Ao Nang and using the town as a base for excursions. It’s not that Ao Nang is a super exciting town, but there are plenty of restaurants and bars, and you get a lot of value for money when it comes to hotels.

      So, I’d recommend booking a decent hotel like Panan Krabi Resort and enjoying having a good base while taking day trips to places like Railay, Phi Phi, Hong Island, etc.

      Check out my video where I take a day trip from Ao Nang to Maya Bay on Phi Phi:

      5. Koh Lanta

        Koh Lanta is a lovely, family-friendly island where not much happens, but peace and relaxation are the main focus. The island is known for its long, calm beaches and laid-back atmosphere.

        It’s a perfect place for families wanting to spend quality time together without stress.

        Koh Lanta

        I visited here on my first trip to Thailand when I was in my early 20s, and I think I found it a bit too quiet – now that I’m in my early 30s, Koh Lanta sounds really delightful ๐Ÿ˜€

        Here, you can enjoy snorkelling, diving, and relaxed beach days. Koh Lanta is also home to several cosy restaurants and small shops, giving the island a charming and local feel.

        Where to stay in Koh Lanta?

        I recommend staying by one of the island’s best beaches, with the best selection of restaurants and a bit of life – Long Beach.

        For example, there’s a fantastic hotel like Long Beach Chalet, where you can stay in holiday cottages right on the beach.

        6. Koh Kood

          Koh Kood is a relatively unspoiled holiday paradise, often called a hidden gem. Although there are other tourists, the island is charming with its pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters.

          Koh Kood is ideal for those seeking peace and tranquillity in beautiful surroundings. Here, you can snorkel, dive, and hike in the lushness of nature.

          Koh Kood

          The island might be somewhat overshadowed by the nearby Koh Chang (which we’ll get to later in this guide), but I highly recommend not just staying on Koh Chang when you travel to this part of Thailand.

          The island has limited resorts, ensuring an exclusive and peaceful experience. There are some truly nice hotels here on Koh Kood.

          Where to stay in Koh Kood?

          Several have written in their reviews of High Season Pool Villa & Spa that it’s the best hotel they’ve ever stayed in.

          I haven’t stayed there myself, but it’s undoubtedly a place I need to visit – it looks really good.

          7. Phuket

            Phuket is the most touristy area in Thailand, but you can still find really good places, and not all towns in Phuket are as festive as Patong ๐Ÿ˜€

            Phuket International Airport makes getting here easy, too.

            Patong Beach in Phuket
            Patong Beach – one of the most popular areas in Phuket.

            Phuket offers fantastic beaches, luxurious resorts, and many activities and nightlife.

            Kata and Karon Beaches are good alternatives with a more relaxed atmosphere.

            Nai Harn Beach in Phuket
            Nai Harn Beach in the southern part of Phuket.

            Phuket is also an excellent base for island hopping to surrounding islands and nature experiences.

            Travellers here range from party-loving tourists to families and couples.

            Where to stay in Phuket?

            I’ve also written a comprehensive guide to the best areas and places to stay in Phuket, so take a look there to better understand where to stay in this part of Thailand.

            I stayed in Patong on my last trip to Phuket, which was surprisingly fine, but next time I think I’ll try staying at the beautiful Surin Beach, and I’ve got my eye on the hotel The Surin Phuket.

            8. Chiang Mai

              Chiang Mai is Thailand’s second-largest city, located in the north. It has an entirely different vibe than the tourist islands. The city is known for its historic temples, night markets, and cultural experiences.

              In recent years, Chiang Mai has become a bit of a hotspot for digital nomads working in the IT industry, so there are also incredibly many cool coffee shops – and you certainly don’t need to have your laptop with you to enjoy them ๐Ÿ˜€

              Chiang Mai

              Chiang Mai is perfect for those wanting to experience Thailand’s rich culture and traditions.

              It’s especially great for day trips, where you can trek in the mountains, visit local villages, and enjoy the fantastic food scene.

              The city is also great for wellness and yoga retreats, making it a fascinating destination in Thailand and not ‘just’ a big city.

              Where to stay in Chiang Mai?

              There are everything from cheap hostels to luxury resorts in Chiang Mai. I’d choose a hotel close to the centre, so it’s easy to get around and experience the city’s many attractions and food markets.

              Kiri Hotel Chiang Mai is a good option for a modern hotel with a swimming pool to cool off after sightseeing.

              9. Koh Chang

                Koh Chang is one of Thailand’s largest islands and offers a mix of beautiful beaches, lush rainforest, and a relaxed atmosphere.

                Koh Chang
                Lonely Beach in Koh Chang.

                The island is ideal for nature lovers and those wanting to escape the more touristy places. Here, you can go hiking, snorkelling, diving, or enjoy the peace on the many beaches.

                White Sand Beach is famous for its beauty and facilities, while Lonely Beach attracts backpackers and those seeking a more bohemian vibe.

                Travellers here on Koh Chang range from adventurous backpackers to couples and families.

                Where to stay in Koh Chang?

                Koh Chang is Thailand’s third-largest island, so it’s a huge area, but there’s also a lot of jungle where there aren’t many hotels.

                A really good place to stay on Koh Chang is Klong Prao Beach, the longest sandy beach on the island.

                There, I’d look at a place like Koh Chang Paradise Resort & Spa, which is right on the beach and has a swimming pool with sea views.

                10. Pai

                  Pai is known for its beautiful nature and relaxed atmosphere. This small town in northern Thailand is surrounded by mountains, waterfalls, and hot springs.

                  Pai is perfect for those wanting to relax and enjoy nature.

                  Pai Thailand

                  Go on hikes, bike rides, or visit the many local markets. The town has a cosy, bohemian vibe with many cafes, restaurants, and small shops.

                  Pai is an excellent destination in Thailand if you love nature and want to experience an area of Thailand that’s not on every other tourist’s radar.

                  Where to stay in Pai?

                  There are many fabulous hotels in Pai, where they’ve put a lot of effort into the dรฉcor in beautiful Thai style.

                  One of them is Pai Village Boutique Resort, which is close to the main street in Pai but still has a unique and more rural feel.

                  11. Khao Sok

                    Khao Sok National Park is one of Thailand’s most fantastic nature experiences. The park is known for its dramatic limestone cliffs, dense rainforest, and large freshwater lakes.

                    Kristoffer Fons in Khao Sok National Park

                    I’d had Khao Sok on my radar for several years, but it took a few trips to Thailand before I finally visited Khao Sok – that was a mistake.

                    I highly recommend everyone visit the national park – even if it seems like a long trip from the more traditional holiday areas.

                    Jungle trek in Khao Sok

                    You can drive to Khao Sok from Phuket and Krabi in about three hours, making it easy to combine with other well-known tourist areas.

                    There are plenty of opportunities to go jungle trekking and take boat trips on the enormous lake, so there’s enough to do in Khao Sok for at least two nights.

                    You can also stay on the lake in floating bungalows and experience nature’s peace and beauty up close.

                    Where to stay in Khao Sok?

                    Typically, you stay in an area of the national park where a small tourist village has been built, and it’s much more charming than it sounds.

                    It’s a small area with many hostels and hotels, where you live in harmony with nature.

                    That wasn’t quite for me, so I stayed a bit away from the town at Magical Mountain View Resort, which I highly recommend.

                    Magical Mountain View Resort in Khao Sok
                    The cosy little hotel in Khao Sok.

                    It’s a nice little hotel with a restaurant and pool, but there are no shops or restaurants nearby, so you need to be prepared to take a taxi to get anywhere.

                    An alternative suggestion, located near the town and restaurants, could be Malulee KhaoSok Resort, which has received really good reviews from previous guests.

                    12. Khao Lak

                      Khao Lak is a tranquil holiday area two hours north of Phuket.

                      It’s a family-friendly destination with beautiful beaches and a relaxed atmosphere.

                      Khao Lak is perfect for those seeking a peaceful holiday away from the more hectic tourist areas.

                      Khao Lak, family-friendly area in Thailand

                      Many of my friends and former schoolmates who have had children have enjoyed travelling to Khao Lak with small kids.

                      You can enjoy snorkelling, diving, and exploring the nearby national parks here.

                      The area also offers good restaurants and cosy markets, where visitors can experience the local culture. Travellers here are often families and couples seeking relaxation and nature.

                      Where to stay in Khao Lak?

                      The entire coast around Khao Lak Village is filled with hotels, many of which are relatively modern (the area was heavily hit by the tsunami in 2004).

                      I’ve got my eye on La Vela Khao Lak, which is a large hotel with four different pools – so there are places where adults can relax and where kids can play. The hotel is also right on the beach.

                      Thailand is a country filled with diverse destinations to suit every traveller’s needs and desires.

                      Thailand Railay Beach
                      You’ve got something to look forward to…

                      Whether you’re into city life, cultural experiences, relaxing beach holidays, or adventurous nature experiences, Thailand has something to offer.

                      I think I’ve been to Thailand six times now, and I’m not done yet ๐Ÿ˜€

                      I hope this guide has helped you find the perfect place to stay for your next Thailand holiday.

                      Websites I use to book my trips ๐Ÿ‘‡

                      โ€ข Booking.com has the best offers on hotels and unique places to stay
                      โ€ข GetYourGuide is the best place to book tours & activities with free cancellation
                      โ€ข This power bank is the one thing I never travel without
                      โ€ข Welcome Pickups is the best & safest place to pre-book airport transfers

                      Psst ๐Ÿ‘€ Have you subscribed to my Youtube channel and my Instagram where I provide more useful travel tips?