Temples, markets, beaches: Thailand must-sees to add to your itinerary

Temple in Thailand
Marissa Boling/Staff

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So … I should be getting on a plane flying to Bangkok, Thailand, right now.

I grew up in California in one of the few Thai households there are here in the Golden State. However, my grandparents own a house in Thailand, so I would get the opportunity to go a lot when I was younger. I would have been fortunate enough to be visiting the beautiful country for the fourth time! My trip this year was sadly canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. An upside to all of this is that we get extra time to plan and research our upcoming trips.

If Thailand is on your bucket list, there are a few places that locals recommend everyone check out. I put together a guide of sites, temples and places you need to see if you ever get the chance to visit Thailand!

Suan Chatuchak (Bangkok)

Chatuchak is famous for being the largest market in Thailand! Thailand is widely known for its market life. Operating only on weekends, the Chatuchak market has vendors come from all over to sell anything. You will find almost anything you can think of at a great price, from household supplies to knickknacks to replica designer leather goods to handmade jewelry. Last time I went, I scored a gorgeous wicker bag for only $10!

Rawai Beach (Phuket)

Of course, I had to throw in a beach location! Phuket is one of the most well-known cities in Thailand, with its rainforests, clear waters and constant events. However, Rawai Beach is one of my favorite destinations because it is just a viewing point for beautiful sunsets. People come to this west-facing beach to experience the best sunsets Thailand has to offer.

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep (Chiang Mai)

One of the most sacred temples in Thailand, Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is known for its serene backgrounds in the mountains and the wide arrangement of gold Buddhas, structures and sculptures. The local Thai residents visit this temple for their regular religious practice. But you’ll also find a lot of tourists and guides willing to help you navigate through the process. It can be a very spiritual process, historical process or both. Pro tip: Make sure you cover up your shoulders and your knees whenever you attend the temple!

Staneemeehoi (Bangkok)

This restaurant is famous for young men dressing up in women’s bikinis and dresses working as servers and performers. Thai culture and its ties with Buddhism show a lot of acceptance and admiration for transsexualism, drag and mixing masculinity and femininity. People come to this restaurant from around the world to have fun and enjoy another layer of the culture. In the center of another night market, you can shop while you watch the performances, then grab a drink inside after. I definitely recommend stopping by to get a glimpse of Thai pop culture.

I am so lucky to have been to these places, and I am missing it more than ever! Hopefully, we can all keep staying safe and socially distanced so that we can travel again one day. Oh, how I miss airports. Overall, if you’re planning and manifesting your future trips like I am, Thailand and these hot spots are a great choice!

Contact Marissa Boling at [email protected].