Thailand is a great country to visit with friends. No matter your age, there is something for every group here. If done properly, your experiences in Bangkok and the islands will bear the same excitement (and level of secrecy) as Las Vegas. The best things to do with friends in Thailand include drinking on the famous bar streets, island hopping with a longtail boat, visiting temples, eating street food, and saying ‘yes’ to the unexpected.
If you don’t know very much about Bangkok, then the city can seem overwhelming. We’ll explain everything you need to know about the best places in Thailand.
Famous Bar Streets
Bangkok has several infamous bar districts. If you’re out with friends, you have to visit one of these streets to see what the hype is about. Bangkok’s most famous strip is known as Khao San Road.
You might notice that Khao San Road isn’t close to any of the major BTS or MTR lines. The cost of land skyrockets near public transportation hubs. The business logic behind this popular tourist attraction lies in the cheap land prices. Khao San was actually developed recently and took advantage of this knowledge.
With this in mind, recognize that Khao San Road isn’t going to be the most authentic version of a Thai night out. While locals love to explore this district, they have quite a few other jaunts that have been around for much longer. If you want to skip the tourist trap, check out RCA.
RCA or Royal City Avenue is found in Ratchadapisek (good luck pronouncing that), another famous district in Bangkok that is suited for younger crowds. This club street is always crowded (7 nights a week). The most popular spots are Route 66 and Onyx. Public transportation is extremely close by in this part of town.
If you and your friends are looking to repeat the misdeeds of The Hangover cast, visit Nana Plaza or Soi Cowboy. Bangkok has a lot to offer your group of friends. Cities all over Thailand have their own versions of these hectic bar streets. In Pattaya, this area is known as Walking Street. It’s referred to as Bangla Road in Phuket.
The Southern islands of Thailand offer a glimpse into a paradise like few other beaches in the world. If you’re visiting with friends, we highly recommend timing your trip to align with Koh Pha-ngan’s Full Moon Party. There are three islands in a nearby vicinity – Koh Pha-ngan, Ko Tao, and Ko Samui.
Koh Pha-ngan has earned its reputation as the party island. Whether it’s a Full Moon Party, a Half Moon Party, a Quarter Moon Party, or even a Black Moon Party, they’re willing to bring out buckets of alcohol for any of the moon’s conditions. It’s a great place to go with friends if your aim is to create memories you’ll never remember.
Ko Tao is a popular island for divers. If you and your group of friends are PADI certified, Ko Tao is a legendary spot for those who enjoy snorkeling and diving. The nearby reefs are labeled as marine parks by the government to protect the coral and increase the reef’s overall longevity.
Beware if you and your friends choose Ko Tao as your end destination. The island has received a lot of terrible press after it has botched several tourist-related murder investigations in a row. Rumor has it that a mafioso-like family runs the island and has an iron grasp on the local police department.
If you and your friends are looking to atone for the sins of your night our in the bar district, there are temples throughout almost every corner of Thailand. The religious buildings are known for being ornate, extravagant, and architecturally stunning.
If you and your friends want to explore the best temples in Thailand, then check out the Sanctuary of Truth, Wat Phra That Lampang Luang, Wat Pa Maha Chedi Kaew, Wat Arun, Wat Chaiwatthanaram, Wat Pho, Wat Pha Sorn Kaew, Wat Suthat, and the Tiger Cave Temple.
Even the least known temples in popular cities are elaborate beyond an average American’s comprehension. When perusing pictures online, it’s hard to distinguish between certain temples in your quest to decide where to spend time. Rest assured that there are no bad choices for your group of friends. Just make sure you ask the right person to take your group photograph!
Eating Street Food
Street food in Thailand is beyond tasty. Whether it’s satay pork or fried chicken with sweet and sour sauce, the bang for the buck will blow your mind. Your taste buds and wallet will both thank you. A common meal from a vendor with a grill only costs about 10 – 50 Baht (33 cents to $1.67 USD).
Many Westerners are scared of street food and let their ‘uppity-ness’ get the best of them. We’ve been conditioned to expect absolutely unfathomably clean eating conditions. It’s a reason why they don’t offer cat cafes in the United States.
A street food vendor buys their food fresh that morning and only buys as much as she can sell. If it’s not refrigerated and that intimidates you, it’s important to recognize that it was likely bought fresh that morning. However, one should always use their best judgment before saying yes to the various roadside ‘noms’.
It’s also always fun to watch your friends try to eat a bug like a fried tarantula. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. The center cavity tastes like a crab (to some… I am not one of those people).
Go to a Muay Thai Fight
Muay Thai is a competitive sport practiced throughout Thailand. This sport is arguably the most popular in the country. People cheer on their small-town heroes from local provinces in hopes that they become new champions.
Bangkok is the best city to watch Muay Tha fights, as it is the center stage in Thailand for the sport. In Bangkok, you can choose from Channel 7 Stadium, Rajadamnern, GMM Grammy Studio, and Lumpinee Boxing Stadium.
Depending on the type of Muay Thai fight you are looking to see, you could pay nothing. Alternatively, you could end up shelling out a hundred dollars. A helpful tip is to remember that the arenas that broadcast their fights are usually free. The bigger stadiums like Lumpinee and Rajadamnern charge about $60 a person.
If you find the right match, you could even participate. If fighting a lightning fast Thai man isn’t your cup of tea, convince your more drunk friend instead.
All in all, there are endless opportunities and activities for your friends throughout Thailand. Whether you choose an outdoor adventure hiking through the Thai mountainside or an all-night party that ends when the sun rises, Thailand is the right place for you and your friends. The question quickly becomes… how long do you and your friends plan to stay?
Whether it is a Muay Thai Fight, eating crazy street food, or exploring the ruins of an ancient temple, you’ll always have something fun and exciting awaiting your friends. Bring a camera, drink responsibly, and have a blast! Cities in Thailand like Bangkok, Phuket, Krabi, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Pai, and Pattaya are sure to leave you speechless!
Is traveling in Thailand safe for women?
Yes, Thailand is very safe for women (and LGBT travelers). The police have two branches: Thai police and tourist police. Both groups are extremely vigilant when it comes to deterring crimes. As is the case in any city, exercise caution when alone or at night. A safe mode of transportation is Grab if you need to get from point A to point B.
How long can I stay in Thailand?
If you are an American who entered the country without a visa, you can stay in Thailand for 30 days. This is called a visa exemption. You can visit an immigration center to extend this duration by an extra thirty days. If you visit an embassy and secure a visa ahead of time, you can stay for 60 or 90 days.