The Best Viewpoints in Thailand
If you find that Instagram and selfies are more of a priority than checking out the local cuisine of a new destination, then you might find this post of some interest.
Maybe you are one for seeking higher ground — rising above — and seeing things from an entirely different perspective to everyone else.
Either way, many would agree that from a bit higher up there is more to take in, and you can often see the best of what the immediate and the surrounding landscape has to offer from a decent viewpoint.
And Thailand does have plenty of impressive and diverse landscape when it comes to scenery. Whether you see beauty and majesty in rugged mountains, jungle-covered hills, white sandy beaches, or the glittering lights of the capital city, there’s something to suit any photographer with a bent for views and landscapes in Thailand.
Certainly it depends on what kind of surroundings you like to look out on, but if you’re a fan of any picturesque viewpoint from up high, there are a plethora of panoramic scenes that are too beautiful to miss across the country in Thailand.
We haven’t included any city views in this particular post as we covered that in a previous one.What we do have in this post though is a selection of some of the best viewpoints in Thailand, whichever way you choose to look at it.
Lom Sak Cliff (Phu Kradueng National Park)
Thailand’s northeastern Loei province is surrounded by mountain ranges by way of Phu Kradueng, Phu Luang, Phu Ruea.
This region borders Laos, and is somewhat on the remote side. This does mean though, that if you can make it up into this area of Thailand’s second-oldest national park, you are highly likely to be privvy to some pretty amazing views.
The viewpoint on the Lom Sak Cliffs, with its rocky outcrop and a huge tree growing right next to it, certainly makes for some impressive scenery. The viewpoint itself is actually right next to a road, with a café nearby. Phu Kradueng Mountain, which reaches elevations of more than 1,300 metres, contains one of the best trails in Thailand, complete with unique flora and wildlife such as deer and even elephants at the top.
The best time to try and catch this viewpoint is between October and May, possibly before sunset if you are looking to get the best pictures.
Doi Inthanon (Chiang Mai)
One of the most famous landmarks in the northern region of Thailand is undoubtedly the peak in the heart of the Doi Inthanon National Park, just to the west of Chiang Mai.
This peak is the highest in the entire country, at 2,565 metres above sea level, but it is accessible by a tarmac road that goes all the way to the top. You’ll definitely find some of the best views in Thailand up here, along with pagodas surrounded by gardens.
These hills will actually give you some great views at just about any time, but to catch the peak at sunset, with silhouettes of the pagodas makes for some particularly impressive photographic opportunities.
Phu Chi Fa (Chiang Rai)
Yet further north to the Chiang Rai regions there are more stunning viewpoints to discover.
Phu Chi Fa is a clifftop viewpoint right on the border with Laos, so much of the landscape to be seen from here is of Thailand’s neighbouring country. The viewpoint is located about 90 km east of central Chiang Rai, and is one of the more remote viewpoints in Thailand.
A bit of trekking might be necessary to get there, as is the case with many natural viewpoints, but this is still a popular point with both locals and visiting explorers.
You can get some impressive views of the rugged surrounding landscape including the Mekong River valley, and at an elevation of 1,628-metres, this spot provides some fairly mystical-looking scenarios, especially around dawn.
Koh Wua Talap (Ang Thong)
In the southern province of Surat Thani Province, you can expect more than a few stunning tropical beach island scenarios. Ang Thong National Marine Park in the region is comprised of more than 40 islands, and one in particular — Wua Talap — boasts some of the most magnificent views.
From here we are talking limestone rock formations protruding from pristine, clear waters along white, sandy beaches as far as the eye can see.
It is a pretty steep hike to the peak, although there are many gorgeous stops along the way with panoramic views from the various heights. But the view from the top makes the uphill trek worthwhile, and it is one of the best in Thailand if you like this kind of scenery.
Samet Nangshe Viewpoint (Phang Nga Bay)
This is another popular viewpoint in the picturesque southern regions of Thailand. It contains the best panoramas of Phang Nga from a spot on a hilltop.
You can get to this viewing point in just a 30-minute drive from Phuket, which makes it a popular day of half-day excursion, and you’ll certainly get some stunning views across the small limestone islands and outcroppings across the bay.
At sunrise, the east-facing view is particularly impressive for gazing at the islands stretching in both directions. The sun rises at about 5.30am to 6am, depending on the time of year, and for any early risers (or ‘late nighters’) the awe-inspiring sight of the galaxy is often clearly visible overhead before sunrise.
This viewpoint still goes under the radar of many visiting tourists due to its location, which even though 30 minutes from Phuket still entails navigating a few twisting and remote roads. It continues to gain in popularity though, and you can expect to find a few other people around the summit, especially at sunrise.
Aside from the drive, the ascent is quite long and steep, although there are benches at intervals along the way to allow for a breather. Making it to the top is totally worth the effort though, if you appreciate a good viewpoint.
The actual hill is covered in rainforest and there is a small campsite at the top with tents that you can rent for a reasonable price. This is actually a great way to get some decent photos of the Milky Way if that is your intention, but the hilltop does get quite busy just before dawn.
If tents are not your thing then down the hill from the viewpoint is a somewhat more luxurious form of accommodation by way of the Sametnangshe Boutique – a small hotel with a decent restaurant, bar, and café.
Karon Viewpoint (Phuket)
We all know that there are some great views to be had on the island of Phuket, and Karon Viewpoint is one of the most popular spots for taking in the scenery.
The viewpoint can be found between Nai Harn and Kata Noi beaches, just to the south of Kata Noi.Beach. The spot features as a stop-off point on the itineraries of many tourists. You can take in views of Kata Noi, Kata Yai and Karon beaches from here, across an 8 km vista, and the panorama looks out directly to the Andaman Sea.
If you check out the northern vista from Karon Viewpoint you might recognise it as one of the most photographed images in Phuket. This view typifies the best aspects of the island by way of its pristine blue waters and white, sandy beaches, with the contrasting deep-green tropical colours of the Phuket hillsides.
It does get quite busy at this viewpoint depending on the season, although there is generally plenty of parking space. You can get drinks and snacks and there is a reasonably a large gazebo with seats and shade.
Khao Ngon Nak Viewpoint (Krabi)
Staying with Thailand’s souther regions but this time in the incredibly scenic Krabi, we come to the Dragon Crest Mountain (‘Khao Ngon Nak’ in Thai)
The trail up to the top of this stunning viewpoint is approximately 4 km in length, and can take around 2.5 hours to get to the highest point at 565 metres above sea level. The climb is moderate, and along the trail you will pass a stream and a waterfall, as well as 2 different viewpoints before reaching the panoramic summit.
The summit has a rock jutting out from it that is quite famous, and from this you can enjoy views of some fantastic landscape. You can also opt for the iconic ‘close to the edge’ picture here if you have a head for heights.
Nang Yuan Viewpoint (Koh Tao)
Along the northwest coast Thailand you can find the highly picturesque Koh Tao (Turtle Island in Thai), which has long been a popular destination for both locals and visitors.
Koh Nang Yuan is a collection of 3 tiny islets off the northwest coast of Koh Tao, and the islands, all linked by a sandbank, have some of the best beaches in Thailand.
They are quite small though and do get quite busy, so be prepared for that if you are going with the intention of gazing across some beautiful tropical beach scenery in relative isolation. The best views can be had from the southernmost of the 3 islets. A reasonably easy 10-15 minute hike will get you up to the rocky overlook with all the best views.
It’s probably best to head off early in the morning to get the best of the views. Either that or late afternoon – at least if you would rather see some less-populated beaches.
Phi Phi Viewpoint (Phi Phi Island)
The Phi Phi islands are a group of islands in the Andaman Sea in Thailand’s south, between Phuket and Krabi. They are known for being particularly scenic, and the 2 main islands are Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Leh.
The main viewpoint is one of the highpoints of any visit to Phi Phi Don. The 186-metre viewpoint isn’t exactly that high, and can be reached in a fairly a leisurely 30-minute stroll up the well-trodden and easily-accessible path to the top.
There are various stop-off points to take a breather if need be, and when you arrive at the top, you can get cold drinks and snacks. The flat rocks at the top make welcome seats for many as they try to take in the magnificent views.
From this point you can get the best views of Phi Phi Leh, Tonsai Village, and Loh Dalum bays as you marvel at the island’s beauty and geographical features. The best time bear witness to such splendour is in the morning, at least before 10am as the sun is behind you.
It is possible to go still further by way of the 3 paths that lead in the direction of bays on the other side. A 20-minute walk along the middle path will take you to Rantee Beach, and the paths to the left and right lead to Pak Nam Beach and Ao Toh Koh which are both more like a 45-minute walk away.
These walks are only tracks though rather than trails as such, so don’t expect anything too well-maintained like a proper hiking trail. There may even be a few tricky bits, but idyllic scenery and exotic beach backdrops are always worth a little extra exploring and legwork.
Khao Yai National Park (Northern Viewpoint)
Khao Yai means ‘large mountain’ in Thai, so you can get some idea of the scenery in this national park. Khao Yai is the third largest national park in Thailand and one of the most visited.
It covers four provinces in total, but is largely in the northeastern region of Nakhon Ratchasma. The highest peak is 1,351 metres above sea level, so needless to say there are plenty of breath-taking views to enjoy. The well-maintained roads in the park also make it easy to explore.
The Northern Viewpoint is often referred to as Kilometre 30 Viewpoint due to the nearby 30 km marker on Thanarat Road. It offers some amazing views of the verdant valley own below, and is worth witnessing at any time whether midday, dusk, or dawn.