Been to Bangkok’s dizzying sky bars and enjoyed the views? You’re not the only one. Thousands of visitors and locals gather on the Thai capital’s rooftops each year, clinking glasses, making friends and dancing the night away. But when in Thailand, amazing vistas aren’t just found in Bangkok. There are breathtaking views far beyond the City of Angels, many of which are considered attractions in their own right.
Whether you’re team jungle-view or team mountain-view, you’re sure to get your money’s worth (and, often enough, a good leg workout) in the Thai kingdom, one of the best countries on Earth to look down on – you know what we mean!
Khao Ngon Nak viewpoint, Krabi
Almost exactly 500 metres above sea level and enveloped entirely by tropical rainforest, this viewpoint in Krabi province is as spectacular as it sounds. Make your way to Hat Noppharat Thara National Park if you’re in for the challenge: it’s a solid two-hour climb with some rather strenuous legs, but you’ll be rewarded with a myriad of viewpoints at the top! Up there, it’ll take you a good hour or two to take in a panorama of otherworldly-looking karst formations spanning all the way to the horizon. Do remember to also take a picture of the summit’s distinctive, jutting rock – just not with yourself on it.
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai
If your legs are still recovering from Khao Ngon Nak but you’re eager to explore another vantage point, northern Thailand’s culture capital of Chiang Mai has just the place for you. Doi Suthep is a jungle-clad mountain located outside town and the vast majority of visitors get here via songthaew – the good news is that the famously-colourful Thai vehicles get you all the way to the top! Upon arrival, you’re guaranteed to lose yourself in the sweeping views of Chiang Mai below, though don’t neglect the sacred, mountaintop Buddhist temple just behind you: with its golden chedi and intricate murals, it’s just as stunning.
Phu Chi Fa mountain, Chiang Rai
Another viewpoint in Thailand’s northern highlands, Phu Chi Fa is the stuff National Geographic covers are made of. It’s a bit of trek to get here from the nearest city, Chiang Rai, but at an astonishing height of 1628 metres, this place is surely worth the journey. Sunrise aficionados (and who are we kidding, isn’t everyone?) arrive at dawn to watch the sun creep up from a fluffy blanket of clouds hanging in the valley below. As if the spectacle wasn’t magical enough, the clouds will eventually give way to unhindered views not just of the surrounding Thai mountains, but also of Laos’ Mekong River valley – it doesn’t get more epic than this!
Monkey Hill, Phuket
Okay, so Phu Chi Fa is hard to beat in terms of natural grandeur, but a much more humble viewpoint on sunny Phuket deserves a special mention. Monkey Hill is just fifteen minutes by tuk-tuk outside the island’s picturesque old town, though we recommend you walk up to the top: it’s only on foot that you’ll encounter the curious local macaque monkeys that give the viewpoint its name. The panorama of Phuket’s southeast from the summit is certainly pretty (and the sunset views are the definition of romantic if you ask us), but we are just as smitten with the cheeky primates – though if you brought a snack, better hold on to it… just saying!