The Largest Cities in Thailand

largest cities in thailand

Thailand or the land of Buddhism, in other words, is located in southeast Asia. It borders Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, and Myanmar. The country, also the home to the first Siamese twins, is known for many iconic Buddhist temples, ancient ruins, and water transport. Other attractions include wildlife and modern entertainment.

The largest cities in Thailand bring you up close with amazing attractions, which is found all over the country. This top 10 list is sorted by city population and not counting metropolitan population numbers, which gives a higher number and more contradicting figures.

So, what do tourists and locals alike do, when they are visiting the major big cities in Thailand? I have a pretty good idea. And I have put a spotlight on each city, so keep on reading.

What are the Largest Cities in Thailand? The largest cities in Thailand are Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Pak Kret, Hat Yai, Chaophraya Surasak, Nakhon Ratchasima, Udon Thani, Chiang Mai, Surat Thani, and Khon Kaen.

1. Bangkok

Largest Cities in Thailand

Population: 5,686,646

Among the largest cities in Thailand, Bangkok is the capital and the most populous. It is especially a great destination if you are looking for an activity-filled getaway

Are you fascinated by historical and extraordinary temples?  Starting with the oldest temple Wat Pho, you can go ahead and tour numerous other temples in the city.

To have a peek at the royal history of Thailand, the 18th-century Grand Palace and the Wang Na Palace say it all. Moreover, the country’s history is well documented in the National Museum

Shopping is a great way to interact with the locals and you’ll find street vendors, the famous floating markets and malls to shop for jewelry, street food, religious items or high-end products. 

When you are all worn out, Lumpini Park is a good place to relax. And I highly recommend you visiting Khao san road and the nearby area. It is full of life -especially during the night. It’s a great party scene for the young and it’s where all the backpackers go out to drink and party. If partying all night is not your thing, it’s also a great place to enjoy the street kitchens and experience the area full of life.

Fun Fact: Most of the roads and streets in Bangkok were built on canals that were filled up and paved.

2. Nonthaburi

Population: 255,793

This is the capital city of the Nonthaburi province and second among the biggest cities in Thailand. Here, just like in other Thai cities, you can visit many Buddhist temples – among them is Wat Sanghathan for some peaceful meditation.

If high speeds and competition thrills you, then you will be right at home at Impact Speed Park. You can later have drinks and the cuisine of your choice at their Breeze Café and Bar.

The location of the city, on the banks of Chao Phraya River, makes it an agricultural region. This is a great place to stroll if you find interest in plantations. 

Do you have kids? Take them to Tooney Toy Museum and they will thank you. The numerous collections of colorful cartoon-inspired dolls and toys are just exciting. You can then play together at the Fantasia Lagoon water park and the amusement park just below it.

3. Pak Kret

Photo by  Mohigan

Population: 189,258

This is another city of the Nonthaburi province that lies on the East bank of the lower Chao Phraya river. 

Pak Kret’s Srinakarin Park is an amazing place to escape the crowd and noise of the city. The fact that it is not yet known to many people makes it the perfect spot to have some alone time and interact with mother nature.

If some ‘park-time’ is not relaxing enough, a therapeutic Thai massage at Health Land Spa & massage will definitely do the trick.

Another place that you will definitely love is the Mali market. This is an opportunity to try out the authentic local cuisine at a cheaper price, buy local items, drink, and hang out with friends. 

If you have the time, cross the river to the island of Koh Kret to sample the locally brewed beers such as the chit beer – it’s delicious!

4. Hat Yai

Photo by Fisher

Population: 159,627

The city is located in the far south part of Thailand near the Malaysian border. It is fourth among the biggest cities in Thailand.

For a picnic or a quiet time with your family, head to the beautiful and spacious Hat Yai Municipal Park. The Magic Eye 3D Museum is also a wonderful place to take photos of each other alongside amazing artworks.

Markets in Hat Yai are unique and interesting; you shop for everything from necessities to souvenirs at bargainable prices. Good examples are Hat Yai Khlong Hae floating market, Greenway Night Market, and Kim Yong market. Alternatively, there are malls and shopping complexes.

Coming back to nature, the Namtok Ton Nga Chang is a massive waterfall a little way from the town where you can dip your toes and catch a cooling breeze.

5. Chaophraya Surasak

Population: 132,172

This is a city in Chonburi Province. It is named after a nobleman and a Thai field marshal, Chaophraya Susarakmontri.

Although the city doesn’t attract a large number of sight-seeing tourists. It is a great place to learn more about the Thai culture, the Buddhist religion, and farming.

Chaophraya Surasak has 32 officially recognized temples, among them, the Wat Noen Krabok. The Buddhists in Chaophraya Surasak practice Theravada Buddhism, which is Buddhism’s oldest and most accepted school.

If you are into animal farming, find time to tour the 7 pig farms and 32 chicken farms to learn a thing or two about animal husbandry.

One of the most visited attractions in the area is The Sriracha Tiger Zoo. Here, you can get up close with the over 200 tigers and see some of the about 10,000 crocodiles in the zoo. There are also a few elephants. If you’re not a fan of wildlife in cages and regular animal “show”, this is definitely NOT the place to go.

6. Nakhon Ratchasima

Population: 131,286

The city is the capital of Thailand’s biggest province, Nakhon Ratchasima and it hosts the perfect combination of attractions for all kinds of tourists.

The Temple of the Sleeping Budha will certainly catch your attention. The statue is Thailand’s oldest reclining statue of Budha. More interestingly, nothing has been done to change the look of the statue that is said to be 1300 years old.

Your family will enjoy flying fox, go-karts, zorb balls, laser tags, and horse riding adventures at the Thongsomboon Club. You can then tour Thailand’s first National Park, Khao Yai National Park.

Now to the farming enthusiast! Get some inspiration on farming mushrooms from the mushroom farm, Mister Mushroom. Here you can mushroom flavored treats such as mushroom soup, mushroom chips, and sandwiches.

Inspired yet? Head to the Jim Thomson Farm and learn about the production of Thai Silk from silkworms and how to grow organic vegetables and herbs.

Fun Fact: A scene in Leonardo Dicaprio’s movie The Beach (the film, which inspired me to go travel/backpacking) was filmed at Haew Su Wat Waterfall at the Khao Yai National park.

7. Udon Thani

Population: 131,192

This is the capital of the Udon Thani province. Udon Thani or ‘northern city’ is not only among the biggest cities in Thailand but it also carries a good balance of modernization and Thai cultural heritage.

The Phu Phrabat Historical Park is one of the city’s most outstanding attractions. Weird rock formations, old architecture, and rock paintings that run back to 6000 years.

Do you like flowers? Check out the Sea of Red Lotuses as the locals call it. It’s especially recommended visiting in November through February when the flowers are in full bloom. The Phu Foi Lom Eco Park also has beautiful plants and is ideal for camping and hiking. 

For a wonderful shopping experience, visit the Central Plaza then party at Little Havana. At the Bang Chang Museum, there’s pottery from old settlements than date back to between 2100 BC and 200 AD.

8. Chiang Mai

Population: 131,091

This famous city is located in mountainous northern Thailand. Here, you will find numerous Buddhist temples including some of the oldest. The 14th century Wat Phra Singh and the 15th century Wat Chedi Luang are great examples.

What is your favorite shopping time? There’s a market for you. The Chiang Mai Gate market opens seven nights a week and there’s a Sunday and a Saturday Walking Street, not to mention a Night Bazaar.

Would you like to spend a day taking care of elephants? Check out the Elephant Nature Park. You can also head to Art in Paradise Museum and spend some time living an illusion and taking photos among the 3D art.

If you would rather burn some calories, there’s a waterfall that you can actually climb. Intriguing, right? The limestone at the Bua Thong Sticky Waterfalls is ‘sticky’ enough to allow you enough grip to climb up and down.

9. Surat Thani

Population: 130,114

The city is in Surat Thani Province on the western shore of the Gulf of Thailand. While it is a delight for all tourists, nature enthusiasts will have an even better time.

Are you a lover of animals? At Ang Thong National Marine Park and Khao Sok National Park, you can see diverse plant and animal species. You can also engage in canoeing, bamboo rafting, and trekking.

At the marine park, you can explore the beach and watch some limestone islands, Karst rocks, and rock cliffs at a distance. If you would like to spend more time on an uncrowded beach, check out the Khanom beach.

For more adventure in a natural setting, visit the beautiful waterfall, Namtok Vibbahadi, or the attractive cave in Khanom.

10. Khon Kaen

Population: 120,045

Khon Kaen is the capital of Khon Kaen Province and the last in the top 10 largest cities in Thailand.

One of the main attractions of the Khon Kaen city is a beautiful lake, Bueng Kaen Nakhon. You can explore the parks and shrines around it or even try fishing. The city also hosts one of the biggest water parks in Thailand, Dino Water Park.

How intrigued are you by dinosaurs? Apparently, some species lived in Phu Wiang, Khon Kaen. Tour the Phu Wiang Museum and even better, explore excavation sites that were once their home at the Phu Wiang National Park.

To get more on the history of Thailand and the region, visit the Khon Kaen Museum. Other wonderful places include Phu Pha Maan National Park and King Cobra village.

Fun Fact: There is a ‘seasonal beach’ in the city called Hat Sawan Beach (Heaven Beach). It is off the Ubonrat Dam and is only visible during the dry season.

Final Thoughts

The Kingdom of Siam, another name for Thailand, is a popular tourist destination and for very good reasons as you can see from the list above. What’s even better, each of the big cities is well equipped with tourist attractions waiting to be visited.

Depending on the kind of adventure you are looking for, you can never lack for places to go in Thailand.

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