It is very difficult to create a list of just the 10 best viewpoints in Thailand from the dozens available. The stunning and varied landscape of the kingdom creates breathtaking scenery around practically every turn. It is hardly a surprise that most of the places on our list are right by the side of a tarmacked road as you could put a bit of road almost anywhere in the country and you’ll probably create two or three new viewpoints along the way!
With rugged mountains in the north, jungle-covered hills in the middle, the glittering lights of the capital city and then the sandy beaches of the islands towards the south, there’s something for nearly any breed of landscape photographer to enjoy in Thailand. We’ve picked out a selection of the very best, with each providing jaw-dropping vistas from elevated viewpoints.
Doi InthanonChiang Mai
At the heart of the 482 sq km Doi Inthanon National Park to the west of Chiang Mai, the titular peak is Thailand’s highest, rising to 2,565 metres (8,415 ft) above sea level. Fortunately, you don’t need to be a mountaineer to enjoy the stunning view as there is a tarmac road right to the top, where you will find a beautiful little garden and a couple of pagodas.
How to Shoot: While the endless tracts of verdant hills make a breathtaking view at any time of the day, it is particularly striking at sunset, with the two pagodas silhouetted in the dying light and the rugged landscape beyond turning blue with distance and looking like ripples on a pond. Read More...
Samet Nangshe ViewpointPhang Nga Bay
Samet Nangshe Viewpoint has very quickly gone from being practically unheard of to one of the most popular panoramas in Phang Nga. Located on a hilltop just a 30-minute drive from Phuket, it provides stunning views over the limestone islets of Phang Nga Bay and, being far enough away from civilisation to avoid light pollution, the Milky Way is even visible at certain times.
How to Shoot: Make sure you check online for when and if the Milky Way will be visible. After a couple of hours enjoying the beauty of the galaxy, the rising sun peeking between the tiny islands makes for further astounding pictures. Read More...
Khao Ngon Nak ViewpointKrabi
The trail to the summit of the Dragon Crest Mountain (Khao Ngon Nak in Thai) is approximately 4 km long and takes about two and a half hours to reach the highest viewpoint, situated 565 metres above sea level. The climb is not that difficult, but we recommend that only those in a decent physical condition attempt it. Along the way, hikers encounter a stream, two viewpoints, a waterfall and, last but not least, the panoramic summit.
How to Shoot: There is a famous jutting rock at the summit, from which you can enjoy a fantastic landscape of sheer rocky outcrops on the otherwise flat land. It is also the place you should sit for the iconic “living life on the edge” picture, though you do so at your own risk.
Baiyoke Tower IIBangkok
Baiyoke Tower has been a prominent feature of the Bangkok skyline since its completion in 1998, rising 309 metres above the Pratunam area. It lost the title of being Thailand’s tallest building in 2016 to the MahaNakhon Building, but it still offers excellent views of the surrounding city, which stretches out to the horizon in every direction.
How to Shoot: The night shot from here, looking out east over the tangle of expressways, is a classic, while those with a video camera setting or GoPro might consider a time lapse video. While the natural instinct is to go straight for the revolving observation deck on the 84th floor, you get equally great views from the skywalk on the 77th. Read More...
Nang Yuan ViewpointKoh Tao
Just off the northwest coast of Koh Tao, Koh Nang Yuan is actually a collection of three tiny islets linked by a sandbank. The white sandy beach is one of the best in Thailand, but is also one of the busiest, thanks to its immense popularity and small size. The southernmost of the three islets is where you get the best view, requiring a fairly easy 10-15 minute hike to get up to the rocky overlook.
How to Shoot: Try to go either early in the morning or late in the afternoon to stand more of a chance of seeing a deserted beach beneath you. Read More...
Northern Viewpoint Khao YaiKhao Yai National Park
The stunning Khao Yai National Park covers an area of 300 sq km, with plenty of breathtaking sights to see. With excellent tarmac roads, it is also very easy to explore and enjoy. This is one of the best views and is sometimes referred to as Kilometre 30 Viewpoint – unsurprisingly because it is at the 30 km marker on Thanarat Road. With plenty of roadside car parking, it offers a great view of the verdant valley below.
How to Shoot: While the midday sun offers the most even lighting, dusk and dawn both provide beautiful colours and more distinct contours, which will bring your pictures to life. Read More...
While Phuket has plenty of beautiful viewpoints, this one offers probably the most impressive sight. It is also known as the Three Beaches Viewpoint, as you can get three of Phuket’s best beaches in a single shot: Kata Noi nearest to you, Kata Beach in the middle and Karon Beach in the distance. You’ll also see Phuket’s Big Buddha on the hilltop to your right and the tiny Koh Pu to the left.
How to Shoot: Most people take their pictures from the car park by the coast road, but there is an equally good view down the steps behind it, with the added bonus of fewer other people blocking your shot. You can get interesting shots here at almost any time of the day or night. Read More...
Phi Phi ViewpointKoh Phi Phi
Despite being sometimes known as “Phi Phi Viewpoint 2”, this is the one many people think of as the one and only. It’s not difficult to see why as it offers an outstanding view across Koh Phi Phi Don, with the beautiful Loh Dalum Bay beneath you and Tonsai Village on the narrow strip of sand connecting the rocky outcrops which form the main part of the island. While it’s a bit of a trek to get up to the viewpoint directly from the village, the route around the back is easier and there is a small café at the top.
How to Shoot: It is best to photography the view in the morning or at midday. That gives you the beautiful turquoise water in the bay and means that the opposite cliffs are nicely lit. Leave it too much beyond 13:00 and they will be in deep shadow. Read More...
Lom Sak CliffsPhu Kradueng National Park
The viewpoint on the Lom Sak Cliffs has a rocky outcrop similar to that at Khao Ngon Nak Viewpoint, but with a massive tree growing right next to it. The rolling jungle-covered landscape below certainly makes for an impressive view – one of several in Thailand’s second-oldest national park. The park is situated in Loei Province, in Thailand’s rural northeast, making it a little tricky to reach. The viewpoint itself, however, is right by a tarmac road, with a café nearby. Phu Kradueng Mountain itself is one of Thailand’s best treks, standing at an elevation of 1,316m with a very unique set of flora and herds of wild deer and elephants to enjoy on the top.
How to Shoot: Phu Kradueng National Park is closed during the rainy season, so make sure you’re visiting between October and May. Aim to be there for sunset to get the best pictures as the light filters through the branches of that massive tree.
Phu Chi FaChiang Rai
Technically, the view from Phu Chi Fa isn’t actually of Thailand, as the clifftop viewpoint is actually right on the border with Laos. Situated about 90 km east of Chiang Rai City and requiring a bit of a trek to get to, it is one of the more remote viewpoints in Thailand, yet is still extremely popular, particularly with locals. On a clear day, you get a fantastic view of the rugged countryside and the Mekong River valley. On a not-so-clear day, the 1,628-metre elevation puts you well above the clouds, making it quite a mysterious (if soggy) view.
How to Shoot: Dawn is the most popular time to visit this viewpoint for a beautiful “sea of mist” effect.