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.

Blurry picture of walking street in Pattaya, Thailand

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.

  • Koh Samet
  • Rayong
  • Koh Kood, Koh Chang

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

  • Krabi
  • Koh Lanta

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.

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    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!

    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:

    • Chatuchak Market (JJ Market)
    • Victory Monument

    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

    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.

    A picture of the ocean in Hua Hin, Thailand.

    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.


    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.

    • Koh Samet
    • Koh Chang

    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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