ACCORDING to booking data from Agoda, Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket have topped the list of most popular Thai destinations for Chinese visitors since the Thai government introduced its visa-on-arrival fee waiver in November 2018.
Designed to promote Thailand as a tourist destination for Chinese holidaymakers, the visa-on-arrival fee waiver for Chinese tourists will be in force until Oct 31, 2019.
There is no better time for Chinese tourists to visit the Land of Smiles and according to Agoda data, city-dwelling citizens are doing so in droves. Since November 2018, Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Chengdu, and Shenzhen are the top five city origins for travelers to Thailand, and while many Chinese tourists choose to visit well-known destinations of Bangkok and Phuket, more adventurous travelers are seeking idyllic and lesser-known getaways such as Hua Hin, Krabi or the islands of Koh Samui, Koh Lanta and Koh Samet.
Here are the top destinations in Thailand for Chinese visitors (15 Nov 2018 – 31 Mar 2019):
- Chiang Mai
- Hua Hin/ Cha-am
- Koh Samui
- Koh Lanta
- Koh Samet
And here is where travelers come from (top origin cities, 15 Nov 2018 – 31 Mar 2019):
To inspire more Chinese tourists to make the most of the free visa-on-arrival program, Agoda shared five unique Thai experiences for travelers to enjoy:
Head to Hua Hin to learn about the conservation efforts by the Wildlife Friends Foundation
Located three hours away from Bangkok, Hua Hin is an elegant resort town renowned as a getaway for Thai royals. The once tranquil fishing village has steadily gained popularity as a respite from the bustling capital of Bangkok. Today, Hua Hin continues to be home to Klai Kangwon Palace, an official residence used by the royal family.
Aside from basking in the sun at one of Hua Hin’s famous beaches, travelers can consider heading to the Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand (WFFT) for a fun and educational trip catered to both children and adults. Home to over 600 rescued animals, the WFFT is committed to creating an exciting experience for guests while protecting the welfare of their animals. Be sure to book well in advance as the WFFT limits the number of guests per day.
Get your dose of vitamin D and embrace the sun, sand, and sea in Koh Samui
Thailand’s second-largest island, Koh Samui boasts turquoise waters, stretches of white sandy beaches and unmatched nightlife. If lazing on the beach makes you restless, take a sea kayaking trip and cruise through unique rock formations to the Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park. Here you can venture into and explore hidden lagoons and caves. If you’re lucky, you may even spot a whale shark!
Go on a gastronomic journey in Phuket
An integral part of Thai culture, Phuket’s street food is flavorful, fiery and fabulously diverse. Dotting Phuket’s famous Patong beach, the food stalls offer a range of traditional treats, from Pad Thai and steamed dumplings to noodle soup and the famed spicy-sour papaya salad.
For those who wish to recreate the culinary delights at home, book a Thai cooking class via Agoda.com. Start with a market tour and gather insider tips on choosing the freshest and most flavorful ingredients. Your cooking instructor will then share local cooking techniques, helping you recreate authentic Thai flavors when you make the dishes back at home.
From villas to beachfront luxury hotels or boutique hideaways, Phuket has it all.
Discover new art scenes in Bangkok
While Bangkok is known for its temples, towering malls and markets, it is also home to a vibrant creative community. Lovers of contemporary art can visit the seven-story Bangkok Arts and Culture Center, featuring Thai and international artists or head to the Bangkok University Gallery where the country’s young emerging artists showcase their work.
While in town, don’t forget to explore Bangkok’s flourishing street art scene. Intricate pieces and murals by well-known local and international artists can be found in locations such as Charoen Krung, Chinatown and Song Wat.
Check out the Pattaya floating market and be dazzled by the Alcazar Show
Known as Thailand’s largest floating market, Pattaya’s waterways are packed with boats selling fresh fruit and vegetables, traditional handicrafts and local delicacies. Divided into four main areas, each section is unique in its own way and represents architecture and culture from all parts of Thailand. In the afternoon, the floating market comes alive with cultural shows, dance, and sports such as sea boxing.
At night, don’t miss the world-famous Alcazar Cabaret Show. The legendary show has been running since 1981. Currently, the cabaret has four shows daily, held in its state-of-the-art theater in Pattaya.