Picture a country as diverse in its natural beauty as it is fascinating with cultural heritage. Where you can be exploring deserted tropical islands one day, and wandering through centuries-old Buddhist temples the next.
This is what you’ll find in Thailand, the Land of Smiles, a place so spectacular that one visit is never enough and you could spend a lifetime venturing from beach to village to city and always find something new to marvel at.
In today’s world of travel, where we all document our experiences through social media, it’s only normal to want to capture the best moments possible of our adventures and share them with our friends and family.
On our most recent trip to Thailand we did just that, filling up countless SD cards with images and videos of our favourite places. And even after spending almost a year total travelling in Thailand, we still found plenty of new spots to shoot.
If you’re planning a trip to Thailand (and let’s be honest, now is the perfect time to be booking that flight!), let our 7 best Instagram moments help guide you on where to visit that’ll turn your grid into a wanderlust-fueled bucket list!
Pha Jun Jaras Viewpoint – Ang Thong Marine Park, Koh Samui
Sometimes you have to work to get that perfect Instagram shot, and the Pha Jun Jaras Viewpoint in Ang Thong Marine Park is a perfect example of that.
Just a short boat ride away from Koh Samui, the spectacular island of Koh Wua Ta Lap is one of the most beautiful places in the Gulf of Thailand, with lush forests, crystal clear seas and the magnificent Emerald Lake attracting thousands of nature lovers every year.
The real crown jewel of the island though is found at the top of a steep climb at the Pha Jun Jaras Viewpoint.
Don’t let the hundreds of stairs put you off. The view from the summit is completely worth the effort, as you’ll be rewarded with one of the most magical vistas in Southeast Asia.
Phuket Old Town – Phuket
Phuket may be best known for its white sand beaches and award-winning resorts, but did you know it’s also home to a gorgeous historical town as well?
Pry yourself away from the coast and check out Phuket Old Town, with its colourful collection of 19th-century Sino-Portuguese style homes and businesses.
Wandering the narrow alleyways feels like you’re stepping back in time, and you’ll find plenty of restaurants, bars, souvenir shops and even ice creameries to keep you busy while you gaze in delight at the Peranakan architecture.
Pull up in front of your favourite colourful house and grab those Instagram snaps! Bonus points if you can coordinate your outfit to match.
Floating Rafts – Cheow Lan Lake
Khao Sok National Park is one of the most rugged places in Thailand, with an abundance of wildlife roaming the mountains from ox to elephants and even tigers.
As wild as it is though, it’s still possible to visit, and the most popular place to check out is Cheow Lan Lake, the man-made reservoir most famous for its limestone islands and unique accommodation.
Here you can spend the night in a floating bamboo raft house, where you’ll literally be sleeping on top of the lake in a basic yet comfortable room that can only be accessed by boat.
There’s nothing quite like watching the sunrise while gently rocking in your own floating hotel cabin, hypnotised by the sounds of gibbons swinging and hornbill birds singing.
Koh Yao Noi
Throw a dart at a map of southern Thailand and you’ll likely land on a tropical island that looks like it’s inspired a million ‘Wish You Were Here’ postcards. Koh Yao Noi, just 45 minutes from Phuket, is no exception.
This traditional and tranquil spot is the smaller sister of nearby Koh Yao Yai, but what it lacks in size it makes up for gorgeous Instagram spots!
Jump on a longtail boat and cruise around the sea to find your own private beach, or simply zip around between the fishing villages for a real local vibe. No matter where you go you’re guaranteed to be filling your grid with more content than you can shake a smartphone at.
The Temples of Chiang Mai
There’s more to Thailand than just beaches (and delectable food). The Land of Smiles is also home to some of the most fascinating cultural buildings in Asia.
Chiang Mai, Thailand’s spiritual hub in the north of the country, is teeming with Buddhist temples that will take your breath away.
You could spend months visiting every temple in Chiang Mai, but if you’re looking for the most photo-worthy options to see in a day, check out Doi Suthep, Wat Umong and Wat Suan Dok.
Finish up your temple-hopping excursion at Wat Phra Singh in the Old Town, which is sensational when the sun sets and the lights of the complex turn on.
Wat Arun – Bangkok
No trip to Thailand is complete without a few days spent bouncing around all the amazing things to do in Bangkok.
This bustling metropolis is truly one of the most interesting capital cities in the world, and no matter your interests you’re sure to find plenty of things to photograph during your trip.
When it comes to temples and royal residences, the Grand Palace and Wat Pho are two of the most beautiful places to visit. But our personal recommendation if you’re looking for a uniquely Bangkok Instagram shot is to head across the river to Wat Arun, aka the Temple of Dawn.
If you’re really lucky you may even find a few monks dressed in their flowing orange robes climbing the steep steps. No need for selfies here – Wat Arun guide you in what you want to shoot.
Elephant Hills – Khao Sok National Park
We have saved the best for last on our list of the top 7 Instagram moments during our recent trip to Thailand – Hanging out with rescued elephants!
The elephant is the national symbol of Thailand, and you’ll never forget the first time you see one up close.
Thankfully the days of riding elephants for tourism are coming to an end, so the best way to spend time with one of these majestic creatures is to visit a reputable sanctuary. These days Thailand has a number of responsible, sustainable elephant sanctuaries around, and one of the best is Elephant Hills in Khao Sok National Park.
Elephant Hills is home to 12 female elephants that have been rescued from the logging and entertainment industries. They have been brought to their sprawling property to rehabilitate and live out their days under the watchful eyes of trained mahouts who put their health and wellbeing above all else.
You can visit Elephant Hills on one of their exclusive safaris, where you’ll learn all about the Asian elephant, prepare food for them and observe the happy animals wandering around. It truly is an experience that will stay with you forever.
About the authors: NOMADasauras
Alesha and Jarryd are the co-founders of NOMADasaurus, Australia’s largest adventure travel blog. Travelling the world together full-time since 2008, they seek out unique cultures, adventures and destinations, documenting their experiences through writing, photography and video. You can follow their journey on their website, Instagram and YouTube.