I wrote a post about Korean dramas where I mention that my mom and I would watch them as a sort of mother-daughter bonding time. Well, Thai dramas were a family-bonding time in our house and that’s how I became a superfan of them.
Thai dramas are not as popular to watch as other Asian dramas, but they are growing in popularity.
If you’ve exhausted all the Korean Dramas on Netflix or want to venture deeper into the world of Asian dramas, give Thai dramas a go!
There is more yelling, more jealousy, more craziness… and did I mention lots of yelling? But Thai dramas also have a sweet romantic storyline and that’s where they hook you.
So, if you’re ready to read more about the best all-time Thai dramas to watch, here’s my list!
The List of All-Time Best Thai Dramas to Watch
One thing to mention: Thai dramas are significantly harder to find fully subtitled in English than Korean dramas, so I did my best to find fully subtitled dramas. I’ll include a link at the end to a list of other (usually free) streaming services to download and watch more Thai lakorns.
1. Wanida (2010) – Best Thai Drama for Historical Romance
Quick facts: 15 episodes | Historical Fiction, Romance, Drama | Watch on Dramacool
Plot: Set in the 1940s, Wanida comes from new money as her father, Dao, is a loan shark collecting money from his borrowers. Major Prajak comes from a noble family line and old money, but the family is going through some financial setbacks. Upon their first meeting, Major Prajak and Wanida get off on the wrong foot but it seems fate has a different plan for them.
Dao forces Major Prajek’s hand into marriage to his daughter Wanida to clear debts that Major Prajek’s brother can’t pay back. Unbeknownst to Wanida, she believes her father when he arranges this “love” marriage for her.
Why I love it: Wanida is on my list of best all-time Thai dramas because it is set in a different time. The costumes in this film do not disappoint with cute a-line dresses, 40s hairstyles, and a Thai twist. The plot, though starts off high-handed, is actually pretty well thought out as the story goes on, and there is significantly less yelling and screaming than the usual Thai lakorns.
Character-wise, I do love a strong female lead, and Wanida is strong-willed, independent, and very talented. Major Prajak is oblivious to all the manipulations of his ex-girlfriend and mother (which can be a tad annoying), but he turns out okay in the end. Wanida is one of my top 3 go-to Thai lakorns.
2. Thara Himalai (2010) – Best Thai Drama for Starting a Series
Plot: Doctor Thipthara, or Nam (meaning water), is the youngest of quadruplets of Adisuan family. As she is working in the hospital, a badly injured man, Phuwanet, shows up under her care. Nam believes that Phuwanet is out of a home and job so as he is healing, she offers him a position on their family farm.
Phuwanet is actually the crown prince of Parawat and had just escaped an assassination attempt on his life. So he decides to go into hiding by letting Nam believe he is homeless.
Why I love it: The 4 Hearts of the Mountain series was the beginning of a new phase of Thai actors and actresses making this one of the best all-time Thai dramas. The family dynamics just hook you in starting with Nam. When you find out she’s the only girl out of 4 quadruplets, you know there is going to be some good brother plotting schemes.
The plotline follows Phuwanet and Nam as they try to figure out who tried to assassinate him which means there really isn’t a jealous love interest – that’s a plus! The story truly focuses on the budding romance of the 2 main characters and their problematic circumstances, including the antics of her protective brothers!
Check out my favorite OST here: Thara Himalaya by Endorphine
3. Duang Jai Akkanee (2010) – Best Thai Drama for Romantic Comedy
Quick facts: 12 episodes | Part of 4 Huajai Haeng Koon Kao Series (4 Hearts of the Mountain) | Romance, Comedy, Family Drama | Watch on Dramacool
First – I need to address the distracting Youtube cover of the video. They aren’t kissing in this scene and that isn’t a tongue just hanging out. They’re supposed to be sharing a romantic picnic sharing a piece of apple. Ok, now that that’s settled…
Plot: A classic Romeo and Juliet storyline, Akkanee (Fai-meaning fire) and Ajjima (a.k.a. Jeed) are sworn enemies from their parent’s generation. Fai is one of the quadruplets and the one managing the Adisuan family farm while Jeed also has a heart for farming and overseeing her own family farm. Since their farms border each other and they don’t really like each other, chaos ensues every time they meet.
Why I love it: Duangjai Akkhanee is the 2nd installation of the 4 Hearts of the Mountain series and makes the list of best all-time Thai dramas. If I haven’t touted enough in Nam’s story above, the family dynamics just get better in this 2nd film. Even more, the chemistry between Fai and Jeed is off the charts! This is a hate-to-love story, one of my favorite story plots when it comes to Thai dramas.
Out of the 4 part series, the story of Fai and Jeed is the most comedic and romantic. I also think the characters make a stunning couple. There are heavy themes such as gambling and plotting murder, which makes this story more than just a rom-com. The only critique I have is a jealous girl with a high-pitched voice.
4. Panyachon Kon Krua (2012) – Best Thai Drama for Lighthearted Romance
Quick facts: 12 episodes | Romance, Comedy | Watch on Dramacool
Plot: Cha-aem’s professor is creating a scriptwriting contest for all the students in her class. In order to win this contest, Cha-aem decides she needs to do some real-life research, so she poses as a maid to write her script. The nephew of her new boss, Tam, is suspicious of this new, beautiful maid and does all he can to root out the “truth.”
Why I love it: This Thai romantic comedy is one of the best all-time Thai dramas to watch. It has many cute scenes that make you gush with its fun music. The best part of it all is that there’s not really a jealous ex on the verge of revenge. You get the character development of Cha-aem as she continues her research, but is involved with real-life events.
I also love both of the characters as they are from the 4 Hearts of the Mountain series mentioned above.
Check out my favorite OST here: Yaa Mong Ma Dai Mai by Mark and Kim
5. Love Destiny (2018) – Best Thai Drama for 17th Century Historical Romance
Quick facts: 40 episodes | Historical, Romance, Comedy | Watch on Dramacool
Plot: Kadesurang is doing archeological research in Ayutthaya with her friend Reungrit when they encounter a vengeful ghost, Karakade. When Karakade followsKadesurang and Reungrit on their drive back home, they become terrified and Reungrit crashes the car. Through the accident,Kadesurang finds out that Karakade is calling for help with her life in Ayutthaya from 300 years ago.
Karakade dies and Kadesurang enters her body and starts living life in historical Ayutthaya. Because of their two completely different personalities, everyone starts to fall in love with the new Karakade whereas they hated her before. While romance is blossoming, the political state of Ayutthaya is going through corruption and betrayal as well.
Why I love it: I absolutely love historical romances and Love Destiny does not disappoint. The subtitlers explain the differences between the old Thai and modern Thai dialects. The costumes are beautiful and the setting of Ayutthaya is gorgeous. The drama does a great job of going back and forth between Kadesurang learning about the historical city and her living in the actual place.
With so many episodes, the plot does a thorough job of incorporating every single character and the current state of Ayutthaya; the whole drama spans 4-5 years which does drag a little at times during all the political unrest. However, the two main leads are exciting to watch as they have wonderful chemistry on screen.
6. Mae Krua Kon Mai (2021) – Best Thai Drama for Mischievous Romance
Quick facts: 26 episodes | Romance, Comedy | Watch on Dramacool
Plot: Lomdao is returning from America when she discovers her grandmother has arranged a marriage for her with a reputable doctor, Param. Having no success convincing her grandmother to call off the engagement, Lomdao decides to disguise herself as a maid (Faidam) to work in Dr. Param’s house and see if he would indeed be a good husband.
Why I love it: The humor in this show is hysterical! I was laughing out loud in the middle of the night as I watched. The characters are easy to like – Lomdao is a strong and sassy female lead while Param isn’t your typical oblivious male lead. The story is a little unbelievable at times like Lomdoa forgets that they’ve met each other before, but this lakorn is heartwarming overall.
7. Thong Ek The Herbal Master (2019) – Best Thai Drama for Romantic Medical History
Quick facts: 14 episodes | Historical, Romance, Comedy, Medical | Watch on Dramacool
Plot: Chaba is a feisty and strong girl who wants to learn to sword fight rather than create floral wreaths and learn to cook. One day her mom gets sick and she needs to find a doctor to help. She looks for Thong, the herbal master who refuses to help at first, but then concedes and helps her mother recover. Chaba realizes that she wants to learn the science of medicine as well and pesters Thong Ek (thong’s grandson) to teach her.
Why I love it: This is yet again another historical drama. I enjoyed seeing how the Thai people worked with natural medicine in the past. I do enjoy the female lead in general and she does great in this film. Both leads create wonderful humor in this film as they start to fall in love. The film does have darker themes such as witchcraft and shamanism.
8. Kaew Tah Pee (2006) – Best Thai Drama for Soapy Romance
Quick facts: 17 episodes | Romance, Drama, Soapy | Watch on Dramacool
Plot: Lada was happily in love when she discovered that her boyfriend is already married and she was accused of being his mistress. Contemplating suicide on a bridge after this hard news, Nu accidentally bumps into Lada, knocking her off the bridge.
He does successfully save her and Lada guiltily learns that Nu is a blind man. She walks him back home and believes that he is a poor man living in a shack, so she starts to befriend him. As Lada’s life continues in turmoil, Nu offers her a reprieve by being his caretaker in France after his eye surgery.
Why I love it: I love the plot of this Thai lakorn and the romance that develops between Nu and Lada. This makes one of the best all-time Thai dramas because of all the usual themes of kindness, gentleness, and jealousy. The best part of this drama is all the supporting characters who only wish the best for both Nu and Lada.
There is some yelling and manipulative plotting to where Nu could be a little smarter, but I think the heroine and supporting characters make it up the in story.
9. Mae Ka Khanom Wan (2009) – Best Thai Drama for Food Culture
Quick facts: 8 episodes | Romance, Action | Watch on Lakorn Galaxy
Plot: Baipai opens up a Thai dessert restaurant after quitting her job. All her recipes were given down by her grandma and she becomes a success. She accidentally meets the mafia boss Wacharawat, and as he continues to encounter Baipai, he is drawn to her desserts.
Why I love it: The number 1 reason why this drama is on the list of all best all-time Thai dramas is because of the Thai desserts. This drama does such a great job of explaining each Thai dessert and the meaning behind them if any, and it all looks delicious.
10. The Crown Princess (2018) – Best Thai Drama for Romantic Action
Quick facts: 12 episodes | Action, Romance, Drama | Watch on Dramacool
Plot: Princess Alice becomes endangered after her coronation ball by villains of her small country, Hrysos. She is moved to Thailand where Navy Seal Officer Davin becomes her bodyguard.
Why I love it: I chose to watch this Thai lakorn because of the 2 main characters. They starred together in Duang JaiAkkhanee (featured in #3) and their chemistry is off the charts! I loved this movie more because of them than the plotline. This is an action-packed movie and less focused on romance, though there are plenty of heart-wrenching scenes, which makes it to the list of best all-time Thai dramas.
11. Buang Banjathorn (2002) – Best Thai Drama for Time Travel
Quick facts: 15 episodes | Historical Fiction, Romance, Drama | Watch on Lakorn Galaxy
Plot: Praenuan finds herself heartbroken and returns to her late father’s estate that was left to her in her will. While at the estate, Praenuan sleeps in an enchanted bed that takes her to the past. She meets and falls for Laoperng, who is the leader of the village she finds herself in. Praenuan travels back and forth between the past and present through this enchanted bed.
Why I love it: I do love an interesting time travel story. This makes the best all-time Thai dramas list because of the costumes and traditional life that Praenuan finds bringing the viewer a glimpse into traditional Thai life. If you can’t tell, I do love dramas that have a historical or cultural aspect to them.
There is a 2017 remake, however, I haven’t seen it yet. I couldn’t find a complete subtitled version – you can check out the original on Youtube.
Oldies but Goodies – No English Subtitles Available
12. Manee Yard Fah (2000) – Best Thai Drama for Cross Country Romance
Princess Areeya escapes her country to Thailand for safekeeping as a traitor is trying to kill the royal family and overtake the throne. She poses as a wife to the Captain of the navy and they start to fall in love, but Areeya has a duty to return to her country.
This Thai drama brings back nostalgia and researching it has made me want to watch it again.
13. Ban Sai Thong (2002) – Best Thai Drama for Family
When Pojaman’s father passes away, he directs her to go live in Ban Sai Thong (name of the house) with her aunt in Bangkok. As she does, she discovers that she is the actual owner of the house. When the eldest son arrives back home, he realizes this as well and tries to return the house to its original owner
This Thai drama is probably my introduction to Thai lakorns (I can’t remember one before it!). There is A LOT of family drama, but the themes of kindness, forgiveness, and karma do shine through, along with romance from our 2 main characters.
If you’re into super soapy lakorns, there is a remake of Ban Sai Thong that is fully English subtitled. Update: this Thai lakorn is uploaded but not actually subtitled. Womp womp.
14. Ruk Prakasit (2000) – Best Thai Drama for Farm Life Romance
When Nit’s father passes away, she drops out of school and starts looking for a job. She gets a referral to work at a notable farm. To get away from her haughty sister-in-law, Nit accepts the job and finds herself in a whole new form of drama.
The only downside is the hero’s sister, who is a minor annoyance. However, I do enjoy the storyline. I love seeing beautiful farmland and the chemistry that grows between the 2 main characters.
There is a remake of this film and it is fully subtitled so you can watch that version on Lakorn Galaxy. I myself haven’t seen it yet.
Skip These Thai Dramas
Pathapee Leh Ruk (2010): This is the story of Din and the 3rd installment of the 4 Hearts on the Mountain Series. It focuses on Din running the family hotel and falling in love with one of the employees. The chemistry between these 2 never picked up for me and it didn’t leave the same satisfying feeling as the first 2 of the series.
Wayupak Montra (2010): This is the story of Lom, the 4th installation of the 4 Hearts on the Mountain series with the quadruplets… and it did not go well. The script turned into the dark spiritual side of the Thai culture and it didn’t translate well into the drama. Most of it is just witch-hunting and spiritual oppression. Unfortunately, Wayupak Montra just didn’t make the cut.
Raeng Pradtanaha (2013): I do so love the 2 main characters which was the reason why I chose to watch this drama. And yes, there are cute, romantic scenes, but the plot just doesn’t pull through. Thae is supposed to be our mean heroine, but in the middle of the show, she turns out to be kinda nice, and then it runs into your usual Thai lakorn. If they held her personality throughout the drama… maybe I may have liked it better?
5 Tips for Watching the Best Thai Dramas
Since I grew up watching Thai dramas, I feel that I’m a self-made expert on the topic and providing recommendations. If you’re new to the Thai world, do know that these are not similar to Korean dramas at all.
There are a few trigger warnings (mentioned below), but I’m less affected by the triggers due to long-term exposure, but if anything is sensitive to you, like all things – read the labels and tread carefully.
1. When you start searching for Thai dramas, you’ll notice that it’s also referred to as Thai lakorn, which is the Thai translation for “soap opera.” Thai lakorns aren’t classy like Korean dramas, but they do portray the life and style of Thai people clearly and you’ll see that through their films.
2. Trigger Warnings with Thai Dramas: You’ll see themes of rape, abduction, kidnapping, forcible marriage, deceit, manipulation, greed, LGBT, and much more.
I oftentimes feel hesitant introducing Thai lakorns to people who are sensitive to these topics because they’re not hidden or glossed over in the films.
So if anything on this list affects you, please do your research before diving into a lakorn. I can tell you that at least 1 of these themes is in every Thai lakorn.
And after the rape scenes, manipulation, or deceit, you’ll find the affected characters still in love. That’s typical in a Thai drama.
3. On the other hand, you’ll also see themes of extreme kindness, gentleness, patience, forgiveness, goodness, and many more.
Thai people believe in karma – what you do to someone, you’ll receive in return, possibly tenfold. I believe that’s one of the reasons why you see such disparity between the two.
One character will have all the rage, deceit, manipulation, and greedy heart, while another (usually one of the main characters) will play the extreme opposite of goodness, kindness, forgiveness, and gentleness.
4. After all the trigger warnings I mentioned, Thai people are also conservative, strange I know – it’s just the way the culture is. You’ll see awkward kissing scenes and bashful looks in budding romances.
5. Cultural tip: Thai people use specific words to address another person.
For example, a person formally addressing another person would say “Khun,” but if they are friends or acquaintances, they would drop that term.
You’ll also often notice that females will say “kha” and men will say “kraap” after addressing someone; it’s a soft ending to the sentence.
So after all of these tips, I hope you will enjoy your first (or many) Thai dramas. They are heartwarming and definitely have their own personality!
Wrapping Up the List of All-Time Best Thai Dramas to Watch
This is in no way an exhaustive list, but these are my go-to’s when I’m itching for a Thai drama. I hope you found something here that sparks your interest and makes you want to jump on the lakorn train.
Are you an avid Thai lakorn watcher or is this your first introduction to them? What’s on your list? Comment below and let me know!
You might also be interested in more Asia-related content:
- Top 27 Forced or Fake Marriage Thai Dramas to Watch
- 28 Popular Thai Dramas on Netflix to Watch 
- The 6 Best Korean Dramas to Watch
- 19 Fun Things to do in South Korea: Seoul and Jeju Island
- 15 Fun Things to do in Hanoi at Night
- Top 3 Foodie Destinations to Visit in Southeast Asia
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Here is a quick glance at all my go-to travel tips and resources that I use to plan every trip! For more information, check out my travel resources page.
- Booking flights: I use Google Flights to check all routes and find the best flights. Then I compare them with Expedia (for reward points) and Skyscanner (for the lowest prices) before I book.
- Accommodations: I love budget-friendly rentals or booking at a hotel where I can earn points. For hotels, I go through Booking.com or book directly with Marriott (for points + rewards). When I travel internationally, I’ll book through Hostelworld for very budget-friendly stays. For vacation rentals, I usually look through Airbnb, but you could also use Vrbo. Expedia also has some great bundles for hotels, flights, and car rentals altogether.
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- What to Pack: I almost always travel by backpack. For products I like, check out my packing guide page for all the things I take with me on different trips.