Thailand is a vast nation with much to see and many interesting places to discover. Whilst many tourists head to Thailand in search of idyllic beaches and stunning natural landscapes, Thai cities are also well worth exploring.
Thailand is geographically divided into 6 regions:
- Northern Thailand
- Northeastern Thailand
- Western Thailand
- Central Thailand
- Eastern Thailand
- Southern Thailand
For administrative purposes, a 4-region split is used in which the western and eastern areas are combined with Central Thailand.
Across these regions, there are currently 32 cities. Although some are more well known amongst foreigners and receive a significantly higher number of international visitors, each city has its own unique charm.
Full List of Cities in Thailand
The 32 cities in Thailand are listed in order of size, largest population first.
- Bangkok (Krup Thep)
- Pak Kret
- Hat Yai
- Chaophraya Surasak
- Surat Thani
- Udon Thani
- Chiang Mai
- Nakhon Ratchasima
- Khon Kaen
- Nakhon Si Thammarat
- Laem Chabang
- Nakhon Sawan
- Chiang Rai
- Ubon Ratchathani
- Nakhon Pathom
- Ko Samui
- Samut Sakhon
- Om Noi
- Sakon Nakhon
- Samut Prakan
- Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
- Mae Sot
What is the Capital of Thailand?
The capital of Thailand is Bangkok, also known as Krung Thep Maha Nakhon, situated in central Thailand, on the delta of the Chao Phraya River. Bangkok is the largest city in Thailand, measuring just over 1,568 km2 and with an estimated population of 5.66 million.
Not only is Bangkok the most visited city in Thailand, but also the world, attracting more than 22 million international visitors annually.
Bangkok has an interesting history. Previously 2 separate municipalities divided by the river: Krung Thep on the east bank and Thon Buri on the west, the 2 were united in 1971 to create the single city-province. A year later the 2 surrounding provinces were incorporated to create Krung Thep Maha Nakhon, or Bangkok, as it is known today.
Before the creation of Krung Thep, the capital of Thailand used to be Ayuttaya which can be visited on a day trip from Bangkok. There have been reports that the Thai government is considering relocating the capital city in the future, although there are no official plans in place yet.
Where did the name Bangkok come from?
Whilst locals call the Thai capital Krung Thep, meaning the City of Gods, foreigners know the city as Bangkok.
It is believed that the name means village of the wild plums from the words bang village or district) and makok (wild plums).
Which Cities in Thailand Have an Airport?
Most overseas visitors arrive at Suvarnabhumi Airport (IATA: BKK, ICAO: VTBS), which is also known as Bangkok Airport, from where they take a connecting flight or make their way to their final destination by a form of Thai transportation.
Suvarnabhumi is just one of 2 international airports in the city, the other being Don Mueang International Airport.
In addition to this major aviation hub, there are several other international airports in Thailand’s major cities:
- Chiang Rai: Mae Fah Luang Chiang Rai International Airport
- Hat Yai: Hat Yai International Airport
- Phuket: Phuket International Airport
- Ko Samui: Samui International Airport
- Surat Thani: Surat Thani International Airport
- Rayong: U-Tapao International Airport
- Udon Thani: Udon Thani International Airport
In general, transportation between these airports and the city center is good, but visitors are advised to plan their journey in advance for a hassle-free trip.
Foreigners should also check the Thai visa requirements well ahead of departure. Travelers who require a visa can make the most of the Thailand eVisa system if they are flying into Bangkok, Phuket, or Chiang Mai International Airports.