Is Thailand Overrated? 4 Disgusting Places to Avoid

Do I think Thailand is overrated? Absolutely not. But I do believe there are many places in Thailand that aren’t worth your time or money.

Let’s face it, every country has flaws. Thailand is one of the most visually beautiful places in the world, adorned with gentle slopes in the north and tropical coastlines in the south. But traveling to the far corners of this country, you will eventually run into some despicable places.

Is Thailand Overrated? 4 Places To Avoid

Below is a list of four overrated places in Thailand to avoid during your trip:

1. Pattaya

Pattaya is a two-hour drive from Bangkok, which makes it appealing for beach lovers.

Unfortunately, Pattaya is not what you might expect when you think of pristine beaches in Thailand. This coastline is a dumping ground for the city’s garbage, therefore swimming in the ocean is not advised.

Another popular spot in Pattaya is “Walking Street”. It is jam-packed with “adult” night clubs.. if you know what I mean.

Seeing the trafficking and exploitation of Thai women was heartbreaking and turning a blind eye was even worse.

Thailand overrated Pattaya

Apart from their infamous party scene, there isn’t much else to do in Pattaya.

While we were there, we took a ferry to visit the small island of Koh Larn. We weren’t dazzled by the things we saw on Koh Larn, however, it was much better than being stuck on the mainland.

Alternative Recommendation

In my opinion, Pattaya is disgusting.

Instead, I suggest visiting the island of Koh Samet instead. Koh Samet is a three hour trip from Bangkok. It offers clean beaches and ample things to do.

To get to Koh Samet, take a bus from Bangkok to Ban Phe pier in Rayong. From Ban Phe pier, take the ferry over to Koh Samet. Speedboats are another option; the speedboats run from Ban Phe pier to Koh Samet throughout the day and late at night.

2. Phuket

Phuket is the country’s most famous island, but it is by far the most overrated place in Thailand.

Before I arrived in Phuket, I pictured limestone cliffs jutting out of the ocean, beautiful white sand beaches, and peaceful sunsets. Phuket had absolutely none of those things.

In reality, it’s a below-average island with mediocre beaches and a big Buddha on top of a hill.

Phuket, one of the most disgusting places to visit in Thailand

The reason that people are so misled by Phuket is because of Google and Instagram. Typing “Phuket” into the search bar will surely show you the most beautiful sights.

What they don’t tell you is that these incredible pictures are actually Krabi and Koh Phi Phi, NOT Phuket.

When we were exploring Phuket, we were more than excited to visit James Bond Island. This island is in Phuket but we didn’t know how terribly awful it would be.

Although the scenery was gorgeous, the island was the size of a toenail and it was body-to-body crowded. We took a few pictures, but after 20 minutes we were quickly ushered off the island.

After paying a lot of money and driving over two hours to reach James Bond Island, we were very disappointed.

Where not to visit in Thailand: Phuket

While in Phuket, we stayed in Karon Beach. We also explored Patong Beach and the surrounding areas as well. Not impressed. Do I think Thailand is overrated? No, but Phuket sure is.

Alternative Recommendation

Skip Phuket all together. It is not worth your time. I recommend Krabi instead. This is where you will find the limestone cliffs, colorful beaches, and amazing resorts (or hostels- whatever floats your boat!).

To get there, simply fly directly into Krabi using AirAsia!

We stayed in the Ao Nang area and loved it; We also actively explored Railay Beach and thought it was magnificent.

3. Chinatown In Bangkok

Chinatown is the one place in Bangkok that I felt genuinely unsafe. The chance of being robbed here seemed all too high due to overcrowded streets.

On one of the main streets, I walked past hundreds of street vendors selling old cell phones, watches, wedding rings, and iPods. I wondered where all of these gadgets and jewelry came from and at that moment I became highly aware of my surroundings.

Pickpocketers are known for roaming this area so beware!

Chinatown is one of the most overrated and gross places in all of Bangkokg

What is the appeal of Chinatown in the first place?

Chinatown is a good place to buy wholesale knick-knack items for ridiculously cheap. These items range from rings that turn your fingers green to every kind of Frozen memorabilia ever made.

In other words, Chinatown is one of the places in Thailand that is overrated.

Alternative Recommendation:

There are plenty of places in Bangkok to find culture, shopping, and delicious food. A few of these places include Chatuchak Market (JJ Market), Victory Monument, and the night market near Phra Ram 9.

Read next:

17 Thailand Island Hopping Destinations to Add to Your Bucket List

How to Explore Phu Chi Fa for Sunrise: Thailand’s Best Kept Secret

Teach in Thailand: The Most Extensive How-To Guide

4. Hua Hin

Hua Hin has a reputation for being an “awesome” Thailand beach town close to Bangkok. All I can think of when I hear Hua Hin is OVERRATED.

Don't be fooled. Hua Hin is not a nice beach town. There are so many other places to visit that are worth your time.

Beaches in Hua Hin were a huge disappointment. Aggressive peddlers swarmed and the ocean was so dirty and contaminated by garbage that we could not swim.

The nightlife was even dirtier.

During dinner at a “fancy” restaurant, rats roamed free and peddlers dangled their gadgets over our food hoping we would buy. To be fair, this was the only restaurant we tried but being that it was supposed to be a “nice” place, I was less than enthused to visit any other restaurant.

IMG_3652

After dinner, we tried to find a bar with people our age, which proved to be extremely difficult.

Everywhere we looked, a teenage girl was being picked up by an 80-year-old white man in a Hawaiian shirt. At one point, we walked past a bar that had a sign advertising 100 baht for sexual favors. It was disgusting and heartbreaking.

I would never go back to Hua Hin.

Alternative Recommendation

To say that Hua Hin, Thailand is overrated is an understatement.

Instead of spending your time in Hua Hin, I recommend planning a trip to one of Thailand’s incredible island paradises.

Although much further from Bangkok than Hua Hin, the island of Koh Chang was one of the best places we visited. I highly recommend spending some time on this secluded island. Koh Chang is one of the best hidden gems in all of Thailand.

The Wrap-Up: Is Thailand Overrated?

Although Thailand has a few overrated destinations and beach towns, it is still an amazing country with so much to offer. My hope is that you take these recommendations and turn your Thailand trip into a true adventure.

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    Is Thailand Overrated?

    10 Comments

    1. Hey Mate
      Good post I enjoyed your read while I eat breakfast in my last day in Phuket
      I totally agree with you on Phuket, very overrated and I think just a copy of Pattaya but on the other side of Thailand.

      I see too many 60 plus males trying to score with 18-25 females, that’s all I saw nothing anything culture at all. I did do a island tour to Phi Phu but that again was expensive and not as good as the movie The Beach points out.

      I am more into culture when I travel and I think Phuket has nothing Thai Culture about it. Just bars, beaches and blokes trying to score. I did figure out that all the girls working in the bars and massage parlours are from the north and have limited education, hence the work opportunities are very limited. As soon as you walk in there they see money bags and the moment you leave they flick the switch and go for another customer with money like a fat kid on cake. To me that isn’t Thai culture

      I might check out North Thailand and go hiking in the forest in Chang Mai and find me some authentic culture. Eat food with villagers and appreciate authentic beauty

      Good post mate

      1. You’ve hit the nail on the head with this comment! I agree with you whole-heartedly! Thanks for reading my blog! Northern Thailand is definitely the beautiful part of the country! Safe travels, always!

    2. phuket was very beautiful, like a pacific island with not much tourists…but they destroyed all, in a very short time (like 25 years)..i don`t see any places in thailand anymore, who are worth a visit….the nice spots are gone, only mass tourism….

      1. It was very sad to see how poorly taken care of it was. It was definitely destroyed by tourism and the possibility to profit off of tourism.

    3. Phuket has changed for the worst in the space of 2 decades. The locals are condescending, rude and genuinely feel entitled in ripping you off. They charge first world prices for 3rd world services. I recently stayed at the 5 star Centara Grand in Phuket, paid 5 star rates and all I got was sewerage contamination in our hotel rooms cold water tap. I’ve uploaded this on YouTube. See for yourself https://youtu.be/QJS3ybOfc2c

      1. This is so disheartening to hear but I’m not surprised. Having been to Phuket.. yikes. It just wasn’t my cup of tea and it sounds like you had just as much of an awful experience that we did. Personally, I will never go back there. I would much rather visit the lesser known islands or try another country. Phuket was a huge let down 🙁

        Thank you for sharing your experience. It is nice to know someone agrees with me.

    4. Just back from Phuket this week. 61 years old, Went there in 1988 with my wife, when it was beautiful. So went to see what changes had occurred. Came back, walked in the office yesterday morning and told my mate, whose Golf team had just received over the top, unbelievable quotes from the hotel they has stayed at before, that Phuket was over-rated and over-priced. He then sent the necessary e-mails to his mates. They are now going to Chiang Mai. Never a day went by and I didn’t feel someone was ripping me off. Meals arriving on your plate (crumbed fish, is not battered fish) that look nothing like the photos, $10 microwaved pizzas, which when you get it back to your hotel room you realise you can buy here in Australia from Aldi for $2.75 AUD. Bottled beer that when converted, by millimeter and price, was just as expensive, and in the restaurants, more expensive than my local pub here in Canberra. Second night (Saturday) I eat at the night markets and by midnight was on my hotel room toilet all-night, violently vomiting by 7am. Thought I has blocked the toilet at one point. Sunday – 5 litres of water, numerous Gatorades and all day in bed in the fetal position. When I recovered I found a good local gym called Maximum Fitness (expensive, but worth it) and a beer bar arear – not Bangla Street – where the girls didn’t pester you and you could watch the soccer on the HD screen. Daily pestered and grabbed by women at massage parlours as you walk by on the street. Would I go back? No bloody way.

      1. I felt the exact same way. A complete let down and totally gross. Never again!

        So sorry to hear about you getting sick. I, too, got sick in Phuket, which made the experience all the more “crappy”.

    5. I am in phuket right now sitting my hotel and have another 5 days in this dump before i head back to Sydney. There is nothing about this place that i like i am kicking myself that i didnt go to byron bay for 10 days!!! I am a 50 year old male that just wanted a little r&r in between finishing one job and starting another. I knew that there were working girls here but every thai girl not including the ones working in my resort seems to be a sex worker!!!! Every male is trying to sell me some rubbish made in nowhere and i cant find a decent meal for a decent price to save my life and i am so lucky i purchased a buffet breakfast at my hotel its the only thing thats worth the money. This was complete waste of hard earned money. Then there is the money exchange rip off from aud into thai baht, thats just a sad joke! I will never come back here and i am determined not to spend a cent more than i have to to get me through the next five days and put the money i dont spend towards a real holiday. I will get some sleep as its just plain boring and the people here are obviously limited to sex work, selling junk and ripping you off

      1. I’m so sorry you aren’t enjoying it either. I am not surprised considering how disgusting and beat down this place is. If you are still there, I would recommend taking a boat over to one of the islands. Koh Phi Phi is beautiful but I should warn that it is a total party island. So I would recommend one of the other gorgeous islands. It makes me sad that Phuket is so glorified for being beautiful and it’s just not. At all.

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