6 Thai attractions you can tour from home for free

Find the ride you need in

Been indoors for too long? Got itchy feet? Banish the cabin fever now with these fantastic virtual tours to six Thai attractions.

Shadow puppet show, Nakhon Si Thammarat

Itching for a holiday in the friendly Land of Smiles?

We get it. You didn’t exactly jump for joy on hearing that Thailand extended the temporary ban on all international flights to the Kingdom until June 30, 2020.

The good news though is that you don’t need to stick it out. You can armchair-travel now and marvel at ancient temples, historic sites, jaw-dropping museums, hip roof houses and astounding handicraft villages – all for free and from the comfort of your home.

So let’s jump in and explore six of TourismThailand’s virtual tours.

1. Be flabbergasted at Wat Nan Ta Ram

Some 75 kilometers north-east of Phayao city in Thailand’s north – roughly 200kms east of Chiang Mai – you’ll find a Shan-style community temple that was restored in the 1920s. 

Wat Nan Ta Ram was constructed in an area where most residents are of Tai Lue descent – a group of people that live scattered in various Asian countries, some of whom in Northern Myanmar. That’s why Tai Lue motifs adorn the whole temple, such as the peacock or sun ray design at the gate’s gable.

Entering the wooden building on your laptop, you stop dead in your tracks as you gaze at the golden, ruby-robed Buddhist deities in amazement. They sit between a myriad of ridge poles and behind flowers, radiating poise. 

Touring this temple online will definitely evoke wanderlust.

2. Get a slice of Thai history at Khum Chao Luang Museum

Engulfed by a garden that sprawls with lush vegetation, Khum Chao Luang is situated in the old town of Phrae in Thailand’s north, some 200 km south-east of Chiang Mai. This mesmerizing museum used to be the home of Chao Luang, Phrae’s last lord, and was the filming location of the Thai movie “Roi Mai.”

For good reason!

Its teak floorboards and ceilings, its white and pale green design and the turn-of-the-century images galore, as well as the numerous carvings, clothes and the furniture epitomize earlier life in Phrae and a complex slice of Thai history.

In just a few clicks, you can tour the whole two-story mansion and appease your travel bug. Peep in, you’ll love it!

3. Walk from earth to heaven at Prasat Phimai Khmer ruins

In the Isaan city of Nakhon Ratchasima, you’ll find a historical park called Prasat Phimai that consists of spectacular Khmer ruins, with an outer wall that stretches a whopping 565m by 1,030m. 

Entering Prasat Phimai, you walk over the Naga Bridge, a cross-shaped terrace with holy snake-decorated railings. What’s so special about this gateway is that it represents the path from earth to heaven. 

Touring the historical park online, you can stroll right into the 28m high shrine that’s made of white sandstone and adorned with meticulous Hindu deity carvings. After a maze of corridors, you run into a replica stone sculpture of cross-legged Angkor King Jayavarman VII of the Khmer empire. Behind this statue is the holy seven-head-snake that served for protection some centuries ago.

In a nutshell, this is the virtual tour for you if you’re into ancient ruins.

4. Tour the hip roof house of Ban Than Khun Ratthawut Wichan

In Nakhon Si Thammarat, Southern Thailand’s second largest province, you’ll find a 108-year-old Panya-style house where Lord Ratthawut Wichan, the former district chief of Klai City, used to live a century ago.

Khun Ratthawut Wichan’s descendants renovated the hip roof house with its sloping ends and sides in 1993, preserving both the exterior and interior’s original condition for generations to come.

From handicrafts, wooden sun recliners and furniture with a rustic charm to golden-colored pots and pans as well as framed photographs of young King Bhumibol and Lord Ratthawut Wichan, there’s plenty to discover. 

Touring Ban Than Khun online gives you a flavor of Nakhon Si Thammarat and its days gone by. This virtual tour feels so real you can almost hear the rattling of the cabinets while “walking” on the floorboards. We approve!

5. Explore the shadow puppet museum of Ban Nang Talung Suchart Subsin

Another cultural attraction of Nakhon Si Thammarat worth touring is Ban Nang Talung, which translates to “shadow puppet performance home”.

Even though many tourists don’t associate Thailand with shadow puppets, the Land of Smiles has used them for ages to tell stories. Besides, these intriguing narratives plus the puppeteers’ dolls vary from region to region. The shadow puppet plays originate in Thailand’s south and are influenced by Thai Muslim and Malaysian traditions.

Thanks to a few Thai people, particularly the late craftsman and national artist Suchart Subsin, this old tradition has lived to tell the tale. Therefore, it doesn’t come as a surprise that Subsin’s former home is now an edifying museum devoted to shadow puppets.

Stepping inside this wooden house from your laptop, you see the gallery right in front of you. Ban Nang Thalung spotlights a great many shadow puppets from all over the Kingdom as well as other countries, say Indonesia and Cambodia, and musical instruments that accompany Nang Thalung plays into the bargain. 

Aside from dozens of works of art, you’ll also spot framed images of farming life in the past as well as photographs and several sculptures of King Chulalongkorn (Thailand’s King Rama V), who modernized Siam in terms of both culture and technology. 

Touring this museum online, you’ll get a taste of Thailand’s quirky side. Highly recommended!

6. Marvel at Wat Phra Mahathat Wora Mahawihan

Also situated in the fascinating city of Nakhon Si Thammarat is the province’s main Buddhist and most striking temple called Wat Phra Mahathat Woramahawihan. This jewel-encrusted temple with its Lanna-style stupa and small pagodas is located on the city’s sand bar where the old town was built.

Wat Phra Mahathat is Nakhon’s oldest temple and also the most valued one, not only in the province but also the whole Kingdom.

Entering it online, you’re welcomed with a sight for sore eyes. Stairways lead up to golden Buddha sculptures that are protected by the vigilant eyes of two Krut magic eagles – half-bird half-man creatures – as well as lions and Yaks, Thailand’s giant demons. 

Don’t settle for that!

Walk through walls and explore all corners of Wat Phra Mahathat. Admire golden Buddha figures aplenty plus a golden deity statue that wears something the shape of a wingsuit. And let’s not forget the paintings of traditional Thai style Hanuman monkeys and Buddha relics.

In a word, you don’t want to miss this 3D virtual tour.

Still got cabin fever? 

Well, once you’ve had your fill of virtual tours, relax and explore what our trips are like. Sooner or later, Thailand will lift the ban on international flights to the Kingdom.

Enjoy the thrill of anticipation, leave a comment below and share!

Posted June 18, 2020
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Philipp Meier
Philipp Meier is a Phuket-based travel writer passionate about Thai culture and wandering off Thailand’s well-trodden tourist trail. His work has been published on the Nat Geo Traveller India, South China Morning Post, Culture Trip, BootsnAll, GoNOMAD, and elsewhere. You can find him at Writer Philipp Meier and LinkedIn.
image of blog writer Phil