What's new in Thailand?

Phuket, Thailand.

The 'Land of Smiles' is firmly on Mabrian's list of top 10 outbound destinations for GCC travellers

From the gleaming Buddhas, cacophonous night markets and culinary delights of Bangkok to the cultural heritage of Chiang Mai and the crystalline waters of Koh Samui’s coastline, the kingdom caters for every kind of traveller. 

Travel intel sourced by Mabrian shows that the country’s golden temples, or wats, are among its leading attractions. Bangkok’s Wat Arun, on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River, and Wat Pho, also known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, get the most social media mentions. 

The capital city’s China Town – one of the largest in the world, founded in 1782 by the immigrant Chinese population – also ranks in Thailand’s top five attractions. Elsewhere, the picturesque Phi Phi Islands (the film set location of The Beach) and cabaret bar-lined Patong Beach on Phuket’s west coast (pictured), round out the top five.

Thailand’s prime minister Srettha Thavisin shared the government’s vision to drive its tourism industry to the next level, generating more than US$95bn in overall tourism in 2024, with more than US$18bn in revenue and 8.5 million visitors coming from Europe, Africa and Middle East markets.


New Attractions
Bangkok’s newest shopping attraction is EmSphere mall, which opened in December 2023. The six-storey retail space features more than 1,000 fashion, beauty, homeware and luxury car brands, along with restaurants, a beach club and a kids’ play area.

Antiquities have also been given a new home, as 100,000 artefacts have been gathered at the Central Storage of National Museums in Pathum Thani, north of Bangkok.

Food meets fashion at Gaggan at Louis Vuitton, a new restaurant from bombastic chef Gaggan Anand, whose eponymous 14-seat restaurant sits at number three on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list in 2024. In partnership with the luxury fashion house, Gaggan at Louis Vuitton is located at LV The Place in Bangkok, and has a menu based on the chef’s five preferred flavour profiles: sweet, sour, salty, spice and surprise.

The latest tasting menus at Bangkok’s other highest-ranking restaurants shouldn’t be overlooked either. Since opening in 2021, chef Pichaya ‘Pam’ Soontornyanakij’s Potong (located in what used to be her family’s pharmacy) offers exceptional 20-course Thai-Chinese tasting menus in the heart of Bangkok’s Chinatown.

Paying homage to their grandmothers’ home cooking, chef Thitid ‘Ton’ Tassanakajohn serves Thai history on a plate at Nusara, while the Sühring twins Mathias and Thomas create haute-German masterpieces inspired by their gran’s well-thumbed recipe book at their self-named leafy culinary retreat in an uncharacteristically calm patch of Bangkok.

Phi Phi Islands

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New Hotels
InterContinental Chiang Mai The Mae Ping is one of a number five-star properties to open in Thailand’s northern capital. The graceful, 240-key hotel opened in January 2024 combining luxury with architectural motifs and traditional Lanna arts, blending old and new.

Offering calm amid the chaos, the newly-opened Samala Hotel Bangkok is the third hotel from Kingston Hotels Group in the capital. Tucked away on Sukhumvit Soi 15, its design celebrates rich Thai heritage through a modern lens, and features 222 keys, a rooftop pool, Thai restaurant and a soon-to-open speakeasy bar. 

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Another hotel set to shake up the capital’s exclusivity scene is Aman Nai Lert Bangkok – an urban oasis that pays tribute to the revered Nai Lert family, headed up by Thailand’s ‘Beloved Millionaire’, who helped both develop and preserve the landscape. Designed by Jean Michel Gathy and nestled in Nai Lert Park, the hotel will offer 52 suites, 50 residences and wellness facilities when it opens in autumn 2024.

Travel and tourism data intelligence provider Mabrian shared insights on Azerbaijan as an outbound destination for GCC travellers:


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