The Land of Smiles (2023) – We Seek Travel


A useful travel guide containing the best tours in Thailand. From the incomparable white-sand beaches in Koh Samui to the exhilarating floating market in Bangkok– My guide will help you plan your trip and pick epic bookable experiences!

Thailand is undeniably popular among tourists visiting not just Southeast Asia, but Asia itself. Although the country isn’t the most visited on the continent, I consider it one of Asia’s best primary travel destinations.

My travels have taken me to iconic Buddhist Temples like the Wat Rong Khun in Chiang Rai to the gleaming turquoise waters of Phi Phi and Koh Tao. I’ll never forget the first time I landed in Thailand to train Muay Thai in Bangkok and was blown away by the endless possibilities for epic adventure travel.

Since then, I’ve come back to Thailand over five times traveling independently and taking dozens of tours, from island day trips in Krabi to spicy street food tours in Chiang Mai.

In this epic Thailand tour roundup guide, I’ll list the top 13 tours in the entire country. I’ve handpicked these tours that I believe tick all the boxes as the ultimate exploration and adventure experience in the Land of Smiles.

In a Hurry? Here Are My Top Picks for Tours in Thailand

Based on my extensive travels and research here are my three standout tours for exploring incredible Thai islands, breathtaking temples, and unmissable floating markets. Read on for more.

Things to Know About Booking Tours in Thailand

As a whole Thailand boasts some incredible and unique tours. This is due to its vast range of landscapes which sets it apart from other destinations in the world. Thailand offers visitors an opportunity to explore tropical islands, picturesque views over mountainous landscapes, breathtaking temples situated in major cities, and floating markets boasting delicious traditional food.

Due to the vast differences in landscapes and wonders, it is, of course, necessary that the tours provided cater to a variety of different needs. There is a range of private and group tours throughout Thailand that are perfect for families, friends, and solo travelers. Some even allow you to customize the locations for the day which I found to be a game changer in Chiang Mai as I was able to visit some lesser-known locations without needing to rent my own vehicle or motorbike.

While I do a lot of independent travel around the world, I must note that I often book tours, especially in Thailand as they provide a time-efficient and cost-effective way of seeing the best sites for an unbeatable price.

Walking the 1237 steps of the Tiger Cave Temple in Thailand

13 Best Tours in Thailand You Can Book Today

I’ve spent several months exploring different regions of Thailand, from the northern jungles of Chiang Mai to the tropical southern islands in Krabi. After all this time, here are my top 13 favorite tours in Thailand based on my experience, traveler reviews, and inclusions.

Note: This list isn’t ranked but organized by region to aid in planning your travels. Direct booking links are provided for your convenience.

An infographic list of the best tours in Thailand.

1. From Krabi: Phi Phi Islands Speedboat Day Tour

If exploring the Phi Phi Islands is on your mind, this Phi Phi Islands tour from Krabi is an ideal option.

Out of the full-day tours of Phi Phi Islands that I’ve come across, this one has to be the most complete. This 7-and-a-half hour tour not only includes classic destinations such as Maya Bay and Bamboo Island, but also the incredible Phileh Lagoon.

The fact that you also get to visit Phi Phi Don, Monkey Bay, and Viking Bay all on the same tour is pretty mind-blowing. It is a solid option for the adventurers out there, and it certainly ticks all the boxes in a very short space of time.

If these popular Phi Phi Island locations aren’t enough to float your boat, this tour has some other impressive options. After finishing your morning at Phi Phi Don, you will be treated to a free buffet lunch which is provided by the tour company.

This serves delicious buffet Thai food at a hotel restaurant, so you can be assured that it is going to be tasty.

You can’t go wrong with this Phi Phi Islands tour, and it is one of my favorite tours in Southern Thailand.

2. From Krabi: Hong Islands Day Trip by Speedboat

Hong Islands is one of the most stunning destinations in Southern Thailand, due to its breathtaking views and picturesque beaches.

Stunning limestone cliffs can be seen from every direction, but this isn’t the only positive. In my opinion, one of the best beaches in Thailand is on Hong Island, which makes it even more incredible to visit.

This tour features a visit to Hong Island and multiple other hidden island gems nearby. It isn’t typically possible to visit these islands without a tour, so you are guaranteed to be in for a treat.

In addition to this, you can book a kayaking session while on the island. Alternatively, you can do what I did and climb to the top of the 360 viewpoint. Once at the top it offers magical views across the surrounding islands.

When comparing to the Phi Phi Island tour above, I found that the Hong Islands have slightly healthier marine life. However, the water is much greener and when snorkeling in the Phi Phi Islands, I found the water was significantly clearer.

This is perfect for the explorers out there!

Hong Island Tour by Speedboat

3. From Krabi: Emerald Pool, Blue Pool, and Tiger Cave Temple Tour

Your vacation to Krabi deserves a day trip to the Emerald Pool and the Tiger Cave Temple.

These are both some of the most popular tourist destinations in Krabi, so it would be a shame to miss them. This one can get popular, but luckily the tour leaves quite early. I spoke to our tour guide and he mentioned that they do this because the best time to visit is during the early morning when the site opens to avoid crowds.

This day tour cuts right to the chase with the Emerald Pool being the first stop on the list. You are allowed to swim inside this pool, and there isn’t a much better way to experience its cleansing waters.

After finishing your dip in the Emerald Pool, it is time to stop for some local Thai cuisine at a restaurant. Once you have finished eating, you will journey to both relaxing hot springs and the Tiger Cave Temple.

An additional benefit of taking this tour is that it is with a small group. I found this beneficial when I was on this tour as we didn’t spend a lot of time waiting for people.

Emerald Blue Pool in Krabi

4. From Railay: Beginner’s Half-Day Rock Climbing Tour

Have you ever tried rock climbing before? Better yet, have you ever tried rock climbing in Thailand before?

What makes this tour unique is the fact that you can climb directly on the cliffs of Railay Beach. This is one of Thailand’s insanely pristine beaches known for its fascinating limestone caves and turquoise waters.

The cliffs at Railay Beach are both high and naturally perfect for rock climbing.

Of course, this can mean a lot of fun with the right safety precautions, and this tour comes with an expert instructor who will guide you every step of the way. The fact that the tour consists of a small group also helps with the safety element.

Personal attention is vital when climbing, and this tour provides that and much more. It includes free climbing safety gear, bottled water, and hotel pickup and drop-off.

If you are a fan of sports and aren’t afraid of heights, this is bound to be a highlight of your trip to Thailand!

Rock Climbing at Railay Beach, Thailand

5. From Phuket: Maya, Phi Phi, and Bamboo Island

This speedboat tour covers a large number of destinations as the one I mentioned at the beginning. However, this one leaves from Phuket and not Krabi.

What makes this one of the best tours in and of Thailand, is a fitting combination of locations all rolled into one with a buffet lunch included.

You can visit Pileh Lagoon, which is one of Southern Thailand’s uninhabited national parks. In addition to this, Maya Bay is where a young Leonardo DiCaprio filmed The Beach in the year 2000. This has made the bay one of the most popular places in Thailand today!

The destinations are what make this tour epic, and for roughly 2,000 Thai Baht per person, it is worth the price.

Speed boats at Pileh Lagoon

6. From Koh Samui: Coral & Pig Island Small-Group Tour

It isn’t often that you get to go to a tropical island filled with wild pigs!

Yes, that’s right.

This island is known as Koh Madsum, and it features wild pigs who roam around its sands. Feel free to take a selfie with these pigs as you want, before heading to Koh Tean for lunch.

This tour offers some unique and interesting options.

Instead of taking the boat they typically provide, you can choose to do the tour in a luxurious long-tail boat. These are traditional in Thailand, and they will give you the full local experience while touring Thailand’s tropical islands.

This is one of the best tours in Thailand for its uniqueness.

Coral & Pig Island Longtail Boat Small-Group Tour, Koh Samui

7. From Bangkok: Ayutthaya & Ayothaya Floating Market Day Trip

The culture of Thailand is what has made it the country it is today, and Ayutthaya is a staple piece of the country’s local culture.

This is reflected in both its ancient Buddhist temples, and the ancient ruins they have left behind. Wat Phra Mahathat is the oldest temple in Ayutthaya and is a perfect example of how temples used to be in the old capital.

While on this tour, you will visit Ayutthaya Floating Market (which isn’t actually a floating market), and three popular temples in Ayutthaya.

The tour covers the ancient city in great detail, it is unmissably one of the best tours in Thailand for temple exploration.

Ayutthaya & Ayothaya Floating Market Day Trip

Top Tip: The wet season in this area runs from May through to October. This can make visiting the sites difficult due to flooding and heavy rain. Mik Simmons from A Journey of Life mentions that the best time to visit Ayutthaya is between November and February.

8. From Bangkok: Damnoen Saduak Market and Maeklong Railway Market

The city of Bangkok contains two extremely popular markets, and these are known as Damnoen Saduak Floating Market and Maeklong Railway Market.

Not only are these both local markets with fascinating sights to see, but they bring a welcoming introduction to local culture.

You will start this tour by visiting the Maeklong Railway Market. This market is positioned directly next to the railway tracks in the area, which makes for some captivating sights. I made sure to keep my tour guide in sight however found myself drifting off in different directions snapping shots on my camera of people making and selling unique food dishes.

Next, you will visit the floating market known as Damnoen Saudak. Here, you will tour the floating market by boat, and feel free to purchase some of the goods offered by locals. However, I always ask my tour guides about the price that you should pay for such items before making any ‘overpriced’ deals on these tours.

This tour is one of those true culture trips making it one of the best tours in Thailand.

Damnoen Saduak Market and Maeklong Railway Market

9. From Chiang Mai: Doi Inthanon National Park Day Trip

There is a fair share of Northern Thailand day trips out there. However, you really can’t go wrong with this one from Chiang Mai to Doi Inthanon National Park.

This tour highlights Thailand’s fascinating culture, reflected in visits to the Grand Pagoda Nabhapolbhumisiri, and the Doi Inthanon National Park.

What is probably the most stunning element of the tour is the trip to Sobhad Village. This village is in one of the more rural areas of Chiang Mai, featuring one of Thailand’s special hill tribes, known as the Karen Tribe.

Here, you will learn more about the local community and have a real up close and personal experience with the locals. I was able to capture some great portrait shots showcasing the stretched necks of the Karen Tribe during this tour however in saying it is important to ask before photographing anyone in the village.

From Chiang Mai Doi Inthanon National Park Day Trip

10. From Chiang Mai: Chiang Rai Temples

Chiang Rai is home to a phenomenal Buddhist Temple called Wat Rong Khun.

This amazing temple is known as an architectural masterpiece, and the delicate designs of its statues and exterior are beyond sacred. I must mention that it is important to dress modestly or bring a scarf to cover when visiting the temples throughout the day. I witnessed many tourists with shorts and t-shirts who then needed to pay extra to buy a sarong to cover themselves when I visited.

After seeing the white temple, it is time to journey to Wat Rong Suea Ten, also known as the Blue Temple which was built in 2016 and sits on 6 acres of land. Seeing this with your own eyes will put you into a state of amazement. Remember that wearing shoes within the Blue Temple is prohibited.

Alternatively, if you book this as a private tour you can choose to skip seeing the Blue Temple, you are able to see the Golden Triangle which borders Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar. This is a pleasant alternative option for those interested, and it is a perfect place for those history lovers out there.

This is one of the best temple day tours you can do from Chiang Mai in my opinion as it is flexible to suit desired locations.

Wat Rong Khun Tour

11. From Chiang Mai: Doi Inthanon Tour, Elephant Sanctuary, Trekking Trail

Elephants are a key part of any trip to Chiang Mai. Who doesn’t love elephants after all?

For this reason, I would say the trip to the Elephant Sanctuary on this tour is the best part of it. These animals truly are gentle giants, and you can’t beat getting in close physical contact with them.

While at the Elephant Sanctuary, you will get to pet them and throw water on them gently. This is healthy for their bodies as it allows them to stay clean and absorb water through their skin.

Some other impressive locations you will visit on this awesome tour in Thailand include Doi Inthanon National Park, and Pha Dok Saew walking trail.

Top Tip: Elephants have been an important part of Thailand’s culture for thousands of years. In recent times tourism for riding elephants has risen, and with that comes cruelty. In irresponsible sanctuaries, elephants get whipped, picked, and even worse tortured for people to ride them. It is important to do your research before visiting any elephant parks in order to make an educated decision about which one to visit. I found Vegan On The Map’s article Top Ethical Elephant Sanctuaries a great read that outlines many ethical elephant sanctuaries.

12. Chiang Mai Street Food Tour

The city of Chiang Mai is packed with food stalls at every turn. That is especially the case with their bustling night markets. The food found here is some of my favorite in the whole country, especially the creamy coconut Khao Soi.

You will start this food tour with a local guide who will take you to two separate local night markets. Both of these night markets contain mouthwatering and flavorful Thai dishes.

In my opinion, the best aspect of this tour is that it is a small group tour. This gives you a great opportunity to ask your guide as many questions as you want. It also gives you more time to move around and try different dishes without having to wait for a large group.

Overall, this is one of the best food tours in Chiang Mai and I highly recommend taking this if you want to immerse your tastebud in delicious Thai food.

Looking for a Longer Tour?

Have more time to explore Thailand? Want to meet other travelers and learn more about the beautiful Thai culture and important landmarks from a local guide?

Instead of booking day trips, why not plan your Thailand vacation with a multi-day tour?

13. From Chiang Mai: 11-Day Tuk Tuk Tour in Northern Thailand

Our best tours in Thailand list wouldn’t quite be complete without this whacky tuk-tuk tour.

It is important to mention that this is much more expensive than the other options on this list. However, this tour covers a large portion of the entire area of Northern Thailand.

I haven’t come across many day tours that include Pai as a destination, which is honestly a shame. Pai is essentially a mountain village surrounded by a gorgeous rainforest atmosphere and offers many things to do. I spent 2 weeks exploring Pai and I was in awe of what it had to offer. From breathtaking landscapes to epic waterfall adventures.

Along with all of the above, you’ll visit Mae Sariang, Mae Hong Son, and Doi Inthanon.

By booking this tour you’re going to create some unforgettable memories!

Plan a Trip to Thailand

Are you organizing your trip to Thailand? If you prefer independent travel like me, read my guide on planning a trip to Thailand. Alternatively, check out the useful resources below that I use to plan all my trips around the world for the past 5 years of non-stop travel.

FAQs About Tours in Thailand

When is the best time to visit Thailand?

Although Northern Thailand and Southern Thailand are slightly different in terms of weather. I would personally say the best time to visit the country is from November until early April. During the dry season in the country, the average temperature can range from 20°C to 30°C. The benefit of coming during this time is that it is perfect for outdoor activities.

Are there any other tours in Thailand you would recommend?

I would say these tours cover a large portion of places to visit in Thailand. However, each location has many tour options available that would simply make this list too long. I’ve written blog posts based on tours in specific locations. These include Phi Phi Islands, Krabi, and Chiang Mai to help with selecting a tour that suits your needs.

What should I wear on a temple tour?

When visiting temples you should wear modest clothing which covers the shoulders and knees. A sarong or scarf can be used to cover up.

Do I need to book tours in advance?

Depending on the time of year that you’re visiting it is recommended to book in order to secure a spot. During the busy season, tours sell out quickly.

Packing List for your Thailand Tours

We all know the feeling of forgetting something once you’ve already boarded the bus or boat on your day tour. Here’s a handy image you can save of the essentials to pack for a day trip in Thailand.

Thailand tour packing list

Looking for a Place to Stay in Thailand?

I have a range of blog posts covering the best places to stay whilst visiting Thailand that you can check out below.

More Thailand Travel & Adventure Guides

Did you enjoy this guide on the best tours in Thailand? If you did, feel free to check out more of our tour guides covering the different areas in Thailand!

Pinterest pin to the best tours in Thailand.

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