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  • How to Plan Your First Trip to Thailand — 7 Easy Steps

Thailand, the land of smiles, No. 1 for travel in Southeast Asia, is rich in culture and history, and filled with golden temples, radiant beaches, cuisine that is adored around the world, and friendly smiling people.

If you're looking for a way to rekindle your spark or to enjoy quality time with your kids, it's time to book a trip to the best vacation spots for couples or families in Thailand.

Don't know where to start? Read on for your handy guide to planning a trip to Thailand.

1. Choose Where to Go

2. decide how many days to stay.

  • 3. Consider When to Travel
  • 4. Consider Your Budget
  • 5. Taking A Guided or Independent Tour?
  • 6. Check Out Visa Policy

7. Getting to and Around Thailand

Thailand can be divided into three main regions for travelers:

  • Northern Thailand for nature, elephants, and local villages;
  • the Central Plains for Bangkok and city getaways, and
  • Southern Thailand for great beaches.

With our knowledge of Thailand and feedback from our customers, we suggest you visit Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and one or two southern beaches for your first trip , extending it to Chiang Rai and/or a national park if you have the time.

1) Bangkok — A Blend of Modernity and Tradition

Bangkok is Thailand's capital and top gateway city. It is a city that offers a unique blend of modernity and tradition, making it a perfect destination for a family or couple's trip.

For those interested in learning more about Thailand's splendid architecture and temples , the Grand Palace, Wat Arun, and Wat Pho are must-see attractions.

Whether traveling as a family or a couple, a foodie tour to discover the sophisticated flavors of Bangkok's old district in Chinatown among other local cuisine will create a deliciously memorable experience.

Your trip would not be complete without a cruise along Bangkok's ancient canals and a visit to a floating market , which would give you an insight into a bygone way of life.

For a special experience and some private time, you could spend a night in a floating house at Kanchanaburi.

Get more ideas on planning a family trip to Thailand .

Discover real reviews of Highlights Travel Family 's best-rated service across trusted platforms.

2) Chiang Mai — Have a Close Encounter with Elephants

Chiang Mai, known as the 'Rose of the North', is a wonderful destination for a family or couple's trip, offering culture, history, relaxation, and excitement as well.

You could start your trip with a visit to the famous Wat Phra That Doi Suthep temple , which offers breathtaking views of the city and its surroundings. Then explore the Old City and its many street markets, such as the Night Bazaar.

Seeing elephants usually tops the list of things to do in Chiang Mai, whether with kids or your partner. Our half-day elephant tou r allows you to feed the elephants, walk with them, and play with them in the mud of a bathing pool.

If you visit in November, don't miss Chiang Mai's Yi Peng Lantern Festival , which is a romantic event that many couples dream of.

3) The Thai Islands: Phuket or Samui?

Your Thailand trip would not be complete without visiting at least one or two of its beautiful islands. The only question is which island should you choose from so many islands on both the west and east coasts of Thailand.

Phuket , along with Krabi and Koh Phi Phi, on the Andaman Sea (west coast) is loved by families for its various exciting activities and family-friendly hotel options .

While Ko Samui , along with Ko Pha-Ngan and Ko Tao, on the east coast is very popular with couples, due to their being home to luxury resorts and a quieter vibe .

If you are traveling in your summer vacation , Ko Samui is recommended for its sunny and dry weather, while Phuket is in its rainy season.

Can't make a decision yet? Suggested read: Phuket vs Koh Samui .

4) A National Park: Enjoy Jungle Hikes and Encounter Wildlife

To enrich your stay in Thailand, you should consider including a national park in your trip, such as Kao Yai or Khao Sok.

Located north of Phuket, Khao Sok National Park is home to some of the planet's oldest rainforests, with guided activities including jungle hikes and boat tours on scenic Cheow Lan Lake. Spending a night in a "tree house" (treetop lodge) could be an experience full of lifetime memories for your kids. For couples, there's the special and romantic experience of staying in a luxury tent surrounded by rainforest.

North of Bangkok, Khao Yai National Park makes an amazing day out. 

If you're planning a trip to Southeast Asia, get some inspiration from our article: 2-Week Southeast Asia Itineraries for Couples, Families, and More .

We suggest you take at least a week for your first trip to see a spectrum of the highlights in the top three cities.

  • 7–10 days: Bangkok (2–3 days), Chiang Mai (2–3 days), and a southern island like Phuket or Koh Samui (3–4 days). See the  9-day Thailand Family Tour for inspiration. Or get more sample itineraries:  Top 5 Thailand Itineraries for 10 Days .
  • 10-15 days: For a few more days, you can discover more of Thailand, like charming Chiang Rai and a national park, you will need a few more days. See our sample itineraries for inspiration: 12-Day Thailand Family Holiday , 12-Day Thailand Wonders Tour , and Best 3 Thailand Itineraries for 12 Days .

If you are lucky enough to have more time to tour Thailand, say 3, 4, or even 8 weeks then you have a lot more options! See our page the Ultimate Thailand Travel Itinerary Guide From 5 Days to 1 Month for more inspiration.

For 2–3 weeks , you can consider visiting Thailand with one or two other countries. Vietnam and Cambodia are 2 of the most popular choices. See the sample itineraries for inspiration:

  • 11-Day Best of Thailand and Cambodia Tour
  • 19-Day Highlights of Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam
  • 21-Day Thailand and Vietnam Adventure Tour

Or you can check the sample itineraries of Thailand for  21 days >>>

You might want to contact a travel specialist to have your requirements, including the length of your holiday, designed into a fulfilling tour uniquely planned for you.

Extended reading: How Long to Spend in Southeast Asia (for First Timers)

3. Consider When to Travel to Thailand

In general, the best time to visit most of Thailand is during the dry season between November and March , when the temperatures are pleasant and there is very little rainfall.

According to our experience, if your travel dates are totally flexible, the ideal times are late October and early April , when the weather is still good and the crowds are fewer.

Christmas and New Year holidays are the busiest times . Hotels in popular cities/islands such as Bangkok and Phuket, and flights between popular destinations such as Chiang Mai - Phuket are likely to be sold out in advance. Be sure to plan ahead and make reservations at least 6 months in advance for better deals. Let us know your interests and requirements , and we'll take care of everything.

If you travel between August and September for the Phuket area or between October and December for the Koh Samui area, be prepared for showers. Fewer crowds and cheaper prices are its benefits. You can get more detailed tips on Best Times to Travel to Thailand .

Vietnam and Cambodia have similar climates to Thailand's . You may want to visit these three destinations in one trip. Check How to Plan a 3-Week Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam Tour

4. Consider Your Budget for a Thailand Trip

In general, Thailand is surprisingly affordable, and therefore it is particularly popular to visit. Airfares for your international flights are the largest upfront cost. On arrival in Thailand, your costs will vary greatly depending on the kind of traveler you want to be.

Thailand is a country that covers all budgets! From economy-class hotels to top-class resorts, street food to gourmet dinners for hundreds, and free beaches to expensive tours, Thailand has it all!

A private tour is an affordable luxury in Thailand! Private service is value for money there. Here are the prices for a private tour based on a group of 2 people during the peak season, for your reference:

  • On a medium budget, touring Thailand typically costs around US$150–200 per day per person (including 4-star hotels, airfares within Thailand, attractions, guides, and transfers).
  • For a higher budget of US$200–250 per day per person, more comfort can be enjoyed (including 5-star hotels, airfares within Thailand, attractions, guides, and transfers).
  • For a family trip (2 adults plus 2–3 children) for 2 weeks in Thailand or in Southeast Asia, it normally costs US$10,000–15,000 per family excluding international flights from/to America or Europe.

Learn more about how much money you need when visiting Thailand. Check out some private Thailand tours and private Southeast tours to get a general idea of the cost.

5. Consider Traveling Independently or Taking a Guided Tour

While Thailand is easy enough to travel to independently for backpackers, it is at the same time very time-consuming (if not troublesome) to choose the most suitable hotels and arrange all the best activities for you, while seeking value for money and great service.

A private guided tour is a great way to maximize your time , eliminating any frustrating time spent on planning and traveling and ensuring a smoother, stress-free, and more enjoyable journey.

Work with our travel consultant to create an itinerary that fits your schedule and focuses on the places and experiences that matter most to you. Our consultants can not only help you sift through thousands of hotel and restaurant options to find the right one for you, whether it's for couples or families but also quickly provide alternative solutions in case of any changes .

Contact us to enjoy a quality service.

6. Check Out Thailand's Visa Policy

Nationals of many countries are exempt from needing a tourist visa to enter the Kingdom of Thailand, including the United States, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Most travelers can stay in Thailand without a visa for 30 days. We have more information on Thailand visas and visa requirements for other Asian countries .

Getting to Thailand

Flying from North America to Thailand usually involves a connecting flight. Popular transfer cities include Seoul (South Korea), Tokyo (Japan), Hong Kong, Taipei, and Dubai (United Arab Emirates).

Direct flights operate between Bangkok and the main cities in Europe and Oceania.

We are confident that our private tours are the most convenient option for your trip to Thailand. We can make an itinerary according to your flight times and arrange trouble-free private transport.

Connecting to Other SE Asian Countries

Bangkok is the top gateway city for travel to Southeast Asian countries. From there you will find frequent flights to other major cities in Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Laos. This makes Thailand not only a popular destination stop but also a gateway to its neighboring SE Asian countries.

Booking a private tour with us, we will arrange your transportation within Southeast Asia. Our travel consultant will search the flight schedules, arrange the best connections, and book the air tickets.

You're in Good Hands with Asia Highlights

At Asia Highlights, we have created over 10,000+ big trips for insightful travelers, mostly for families and couples. We truly understand that every single big trip planned for our clients is not just for good holiday memories but also for joyful celebrations of life's milestones.

Read comments from our clients on TrustPilot , for example:

Daniel Ponce:

  • "Everything went better that we'd expected! Our guides were local people who knew about the city, the people, and how to solve problems. They were really punctual and had the best attitude!

Rosangela Campos:

  • "Traveling with Asia Highlights is a guaranteed wonderful experience in Asia! I highly recommend them!"

Get a wonderful Thailand vacation by sending us a message . Or check out our sample itineraries for inspiration:

  • 12-Day Thailand Family Holiday
  • 14-Day Classic Vietnam and Thailand Tour
  • 14-day Thailand and Vietnam Family Tour
  • 3-Week Best of Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam Tour for Couples

Further Reading

  • 2 Weeks in Thailand – 3 Perfect Thailand Itineraries
  • 2-Week Southeast Asia Itineraries for Couples, Families, and More
  • How to Plan a 3-Week Southeast Asia Itinerary

Why Asia Highlights (10,000+ reviews & 98.8% 5-star rating)

  • Save Your Time:
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  • Specially-crafted family adventures
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  • 12-Day Thailand Wonders Tour
  • 9-Day Thailand Family Tour
  • 15-Day Best of Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam Tour
  • 3 Best Thailand Itineraries for 12 Days 2024
  • How to Plan a Thailand and Vietnam Trip (2024/2025): 10 Days, 2, 3 Weeks Itineraries
  • How to Visit Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam 2024: 10, 14 and 21-Day Itinerary Ideas
  • Thailand Weather in January 2025: Which Island/Best Places to Visit
  • Thailand Weather in February 2024/2025: Which Island/Best Places to Visit
  • Thailand Weather in March 2024/2025: Temperature, Places to Visit, Travel Tips
  • Thailand Weather in April 2024: Temperatures, Places to Visit, Songkran Festival
  • Thailand Weather in May 2024: Too Hot & Rainy? Best Places to Go and Travel Tips
  • What's the Weather Like in Thailand in June?
  • Thailand Weather in July 2024: Tips for a Family Vacation
  • Thailand Weather in August 2024: Temperature and Best Places to Go
  • Thailand Weather in September 2024: Temperature, Best Places to Visit
  • Thailand Weather in October 2024: Still Rain? Where to Visit?
  • Thailand Weather in November 2024: Places to Go, Costs, and Crowds
  • Thailand Weather in December 2024: Places to Go, Costs, and Crowds

Get Inspired with Some Popular Itineraries

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The Perfect 1, 2 and 3 Week Thailand Itinerary

Picture of Gabby Boucher

  • Last Updated: January 20, 2024

How to make the most of your Thailand itinerary, whether you have 1 week, 2 weeks or 3 weeks, written by an expert!

Thailand is an incredibly diverse country in Southeast Asia that can be explored in any sort of time frame.

But of course, the longer you have to visit Thailand, the better.

From cities like Bangkok and Chiang Mai in the north to stunning islands like Koh Phi Phi in the south, any trip to Thailand could be jam-packed.

But having more time to explore means you aren’t rushing around, constantly hopping on flights and buses, and you have more time to stay in one spot and soak it all in before moving on.

Thankfully, Thailand is pretty small, very affordable, and easy to get around.

So if you have one week, two weeks, three weeks, or more, you can easily see different parts of the country without sacrificing too much time and money on travelling around.

You can explore both northern Thailand and the islands of the south easily in just one week, though of course, you can see more exciting things in two or three weeks.

Thailand Itinerary

Budget airlines make it very cheap and easy to fly around Thailand, and flights are often only an hour or two.

So even in just one week, you can explore the culture and cuisine of the mainland before jumping on a quick flight down to the islands for some swimming, snorkelling, and kayaking.

In this article, you’ll find three samples for a possible Thailand itinerary.

Of course, these can be modified depending on what you want to see and how much time you actually have.

For example, you could spend all of your time hopping around the islands if you want, or you could spend all of your time up in the mountains and cities of the mainland if you’re not much of a beach person.

You could even spend your entire Thailand trip in one place, or you might feel intrigued to visit places not mentioned in these itineraries.

This article serves more as a guide for those who are visiting Thailand for the first time and are unsure of what they want.

These itineraries will combine a bit of culture in the mainland with a bit of beach time in the islands, so travellers can get a taste of the different parts of Thailand.

Make sure you get your travel insurance before you embark on your Thailand trip. It is pretty much essential.

Table of Contents

2 Days in Chiang Mai

2 days in phuket, 1 day in koh phi phi, 2 days in bangkok, 3 days in chiang mai, the white temple (wat rong khun), the blue temple (wat rong suea ten), 2 days in koh lanta, 2 days in ao nang, octave rooftop bar, scarlett rooftop bar, red sky rooftop bar, 4 days in chiang mai, 2 days in pai, 2 days in chiang rai, 2 days in khao sok national park, 1 day spent travelling from khao sok national park to koh samui., 3 days in koh samui, 7-day thailand itinerary.

This Thailand itinerary is for those who have one week in this beautiful corner of Southeast Asia.

Though a week goes by quickly, it is definitely enough time to dabble in the culture and natural beauty of Thailand.

You’ll most likely fly in and out of Bangkok for any Thailand trip, as this is where most international flights go.

READ MORE: Here’s our guide to the best places to visit in Thailand . You’ll find all these destinations in our Thailand itinerary in there.

As the capital city of Thailand, Bangkok is crazy and crowded but absolutely packed with culture and things to do.

No Thailand itinerary would be complete without at least 2 days in Bangkok .

Some fun activities you can fill your days with include tasting street food on Khao San Road , checking out the massive government buildings in the Dusit District , taking a riverboat tour along the Chao Phraya River , and exploring the local temples.

Here are some notable temples to visit in Bangkok during your Thailand trip.

Wat Pho temple is famous for its giant reclining Buddha.

  • Location: 2 Sanam Chai Rd, Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang
  • Hours: 8 am to 6 pm
  • Cost: 200 Baht

Located in a scenic spot right on the river bank, this temple has a mix of Buddhist and Hindu influences.

  • Location: 158 Thanon Wang Doem, Bangkok Yai
  • Cost: 100 Baht

This temple has a massive golden pagoda and is located on top of a man-made hill known as the Golden Mountain

  • Location: 344 Boriphat Rd, off Ratchadamnoen Klang
  • Hours: 9 am to 7 pm
  • Cost: 50 Baht

Probably the most beautiful landmark in Bangkok is the Grand Palace, a huge property filled with glittering temples, incredible statues, towering pagodas, and overall fascinating architecture.

Located inside the Grand Palace is Wat Phra Kaew , one of the most sacred temples in Thailand and home to the Emerald Buddha.

Built in only 1782, the Grand Palace is a true work of art, so travellers should brave the crowds to check out this famous attraction.

  • Grand Palace Location: Na Phra Lan Road, Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang
  • Hours: 8:30 am to 3:30 pm
  • Cost: 500 Baht

After two days of exploring the highlights of Bangkok like Wat Pho and the Grand Palace, fly north to Chiang Mai.

READ MORE: 10 awesome things to do while travelling in Bangkok

Wat Arun Bangkok

Chiang Mai is a bit more relaxed than Bangkok, but there are still plenty of things to do.

This city in northern Thailand has over 300 Buddhist temples and is surrounded by lush jungles.

You can take a Thai cooking class, get a Thai massage, or watch a Muay Thai Boxing match to immerse yourself in the culture of Chiang Mai.

Make sure you taste a traditional Khao Soi, which is a creamy curry and egg noodle dish famous in northern Thailand.

Khao Soi Khun Yai in a cheap and authentic local restaurant in Chiang Mai where you can try a delicious Khao Soi.

If you’re looking for a nice place to stay in Chiang Mai, check out the Floral Hotel at Thapae Gate .

Located right in the Old City and close to all Chiang Mai’s attractions this gorgeous hotel has comfortable rooms, a nice swimming pool, and only costs between 50 and 70 USD per night.

For exactly what there is to see and do there, check out our list of what to do in Chiang Mai .

Once you’re finished with your time in the city, fly from Chiang Mai to Phuket.

After arriving at the Phuket airport on the north of the island, catch a taxi down to the beautiful white sands of Karon Beach.

All-Star Guesthouse is a great place to stay near Karon Beach, as it is a small, cozy, family-run place that is centrally located and very affordable.

For more accommodation options in Phuket, check out this article on all the best places to stay in Phuket for every budget.

Here’s a more detailed article we wrote on how to make the most of your Phuket itinerary .

During your two days in Phuket, you can visit the Big Buddha, go sightseeing in Phuket Old Town, go parasailing at Patong Beach, and watch the sunset from one of the island’s many viewpoints.

Head over to Rassada Pier to take the ferry to Koh Phi Phi, a gem of any Thailand trip.

READ MORE: Add these to your list of things to do in Phuket .

Phuket Sunset

For the last day in your 7 day Thailand itinerary, soak in the picturesque views at Koh Phi Phi.

Koh Phi Phi is actually a chain of three tiny islands, though only one of them, Phi Phi Don , is inhabited.

On Phi Phi Don you can find lots of cheap backpacker hostels, bars, clubs, clothing stores, and souvenir shops.

Make sure you save time for sunbathing next to the turquoise waters of Loh Dalam Bay, and for hiking up to the viewpoint that looks over the whole island.

Koh Phi Phi doesn’t have an airport, so you can either take the ferry back to Phuket and fly out of there, or take the ferry to Krabi on the mainland and fly out of there.

Koh Phi Phi Viewpoint

2 Week Thailand Itinerary

This 2 weeks in Thailand itinerary is great for those who can’t take loads of time off work but still want to get a good feel for the country.

Start your 2 weeks in Thailand in Bangkok. If you’ve seen enough during your first day in Bangkok, you can switch things up by taking a day trip out of the city.

The best day trip from Bangkok is visiting Ayutthaya , the former capital of the Siamese Empire.

This ancient city is about 85 km north of Bangkok and was founded in the 14th century.

Ayutthaya is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is full of old but well-preserved temples, monuments, and national parks.

Next on the agenda for 2 weeks in Thailand, fly from Bangkok to Chiang Mai.

READ MORE: 12 awesome things to do while travelling in Bangkok

No 2 weeks in Thailand itinerary is complete without stopping in Chiang Mai.

If you’d like to make a day trip for one of your 3 days in Chiang Mai, Doi Inthanon National Park is a great place to go nearby.

Located about 70 km away from Chiang Mai, Doi Inthanon National Park is a massive green space filled with temples, local villages, gardens, hiking trails, waterfalls, and lots of peaceful forests.

You can take a songtaew to reach the park from Chiang Mai, which is a red pick-up truck that serves as a collective taxi.

Try and find other travellers to share the ride with you so the overall price becomes cheaper!

Another option is visiting Elephant Nature Park , an elephant rescue sanctuary near Chiang Mai. If you are tempted to see elephants on your Thailand trip, just remember to visit somewhere ethical that protects the animals and forbids riding. Elephant Nature Park is a great place to visit elephants ethically!

Check out this Chiang Mai 3 Day Itinerary for more inspiration on things to do in this charming northern Thai city.

Chiang Rai is next on your 2 weeks in Thailand trip. Take a minibus from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai. We recommend booking this on the 12go.asia website .

Doi Inthanon National Park

Chiang Rai is a quiet and beautiful city in the north of Thailand. If you have time to visit it on your Thailand trip, definitely do so!

Stroll through the small town centre and chat with friendly locals, or drive up to the northernmost tip of Thailand which is connected to Myanmar by a bridge.

The breathtaking temples are definitely the highlights of Chiang Rai. Make sure you check them out during your 2 weeks in Thailand.

Probably the most visited temple in Chiang Rai, the unique decoration and detail of this whitewashed temple will blow your mind.

  • Location: 1 Phahonyothin Rd

Slathered in deep blue colours and adorned with Buddhist relics, the Blue Temple is a feast for the eyes.

  • Location: 306 Maekok Rd
  • Hours: 7 am to 8 pm

If you’re travelling on a budget, Chiang Rai has lots of really nice and affordable accommodation options.

Connect Hostel has high ratings from travellers and costs only 8-9 USD per night for a dorm room or 37 USD per night for a private room.

Fly from Chiang Rai to Phuket so you can enjoy some of the island destinations during 2 weeks in Thailand!

READ MORE: Learn all about these incredible things to do in Chiang Rai .

Because Phuket is such a mountainous island, there are lots of hilltop restaurants with open views where you can look over the beautiful scenery while you dine.

Head to Heaven Restaurant & Bar for a view over Kata Noi Beach, the Palace Restaurant and Sky Lounge for a view over Patong Beach, or Tung Ka Café for a view over Phuket Town.

Or take a day trip to the James Bond Island, located in Phanga Nga Bay.

Next on your 2 weeks in Thailand itinerary, take the ferry from Phuket’s Rassada Pier down to Koh Lanta.

Koh Lanta is an island in the Andaman Sea that is far less touristy than some of Thailand’s other islands.

Snorkelling, swimming, kayaking, diving and sunbathing are all incredible here as there are few crowds to distract from the tropical scenery.

Explore the natural phenomenon of the Emerald Cave, stroll through the tiny and rustic Old Town, or go hiking in the Mu Ko Lanta National Park.

A gorgeous place to stay in Koh Lanta during 2 weeks in Thailand is the Crown Lanta Resort and Spa (has recently been renamed to Avani Plus Koh Lanta Krabi Resort).

Read the full, NOMADasaurus detailed review of this luxury hotel here .

Take the ferry from Koh Lanta to Ao Nang to finish off 2 weeks in Thailand.

Koh Lanta Beach

Ao Nang is relaxing and quaint, but still leaves travellers awestruck with its towering limestone cliffs and postcard-worthy beaches.

Railay Beach is the most popular attraction here, and you can hop on a cheap long tail boat from Ao Nang Beach to reach this little cove of cliffs and turquoise water.

Ao Nang is ideal for rock climbing enthusiasts, as the abundance of massive, jagged rocks makes for challenging but rewarding climbing spots.

You can also hike Hang Mak Mountain or go zip lining over the jungle for a bit of excitement.

Any 2 week Thailand itinerary must include a day of snorkelling or diving.

Ao Nang is an amazing place for snorkelling or diving as the water is warm and clean and there is lots of wildlife thriving in the area.

After an action-packed 2 days in Ao Nang and 2 weeks in Thailand fly from Krabi back to Bangkok to catch your departing international flight.

READ MORE: Add these to your list of things to do in Ao Nang .

3 Week Thailand Itinerary

A 3 week Thailand itinerary is great for those who really want to explore the stunning country Thailand.

Aside from the big cities, you’ll get to visit small towns, national parks, and islands in the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand. A 3 week itinerary is ideal!

3 Days in Bangkok

Between checking out the tourist attractions and taking a day trip to Ayutthaya, you’ll have an incredible 3 days in Thailand’s capital city.

An awesome activity in Bangkok is visiting a rooftop bar in a giant skyscraper, with a panoramic view of the city.

Outside of the Old Town, Bangkok is super modern and cosmopolitan, so it can be fun to treat yourself to a nice cocktail or meal overlooking the metropolis.

Keep in mind that most rooftop bars are classy and have a dress code, so try to dress fancier than usual.

Here are some of the best rooftop bars in Bangkok, all of which sell high-quality food and beverages and have a crazy view of the city sprawled below.

  • Location: 45th floor, Bangkok Marriott Hotel Sukhumvit, 2 Ban Kluai Nuea Alley, Khlong Tan Nuea, Watthana, Bangkok 10110
  • Hours: 5 pm to 1:30 am
  • Location: 37th floor, Pullman Bangkok Hotel G, 188 Silom Rd, Khwaeng Suriya Wong, Khet Bang Rak, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10500
  • Hours: 5 pm to 12 am
  • Location: 55th floor, Centara Grand at CentralWorld, 999/99 Rama 1 Road, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330
  • Hours: 5 pm to 1 am

For additional things to do in Bangkok, consider checking out the Airplane Graveyard or celebrating Songkran , the Buddhist New Year, in the city.

Next on your 3 week itinerary, fly from Bangkok to Chiang Mai.

With an extra day in Chiang Mai, you have time to take another day trip out of the city to explore the surrounding nature.

One of the coolest places to visit near Chiang Mai is the Sticky Waterfall, or “Bua Tong Waterfall” located in the Jedsee Fountain Forest Park.

Here you can climb the vertical waterfall using just your hands and feet because the rocks are coated with rough mineral deposits so they aren’t slippery. It’s one of the most amazing day trips from Chiang Mai.

Spend a few hours here swimming, splashing, climbing, and having a picnic (there aren’t any shops in this remote area near Chiang Mai so bring your own food and drinks!).

After your 4 days in Chiang Mai, take a minibus to Pai.

Pai is a relaxing jungle paradise where backpackers love to chill out and spend quality time with nature.

There are so many natural wonders to explore near Pai, such as the Pambok Waterfall, the Tham Lod Caves full of stalactites and stalagmites, the soothing Tha Pai Hot Springs, and the massive Pai Canyon.

Rent a scooter for a couple of days and enjoy the freedom of zooming through the jungle, and stroll through the local walking street market at night for some cheap local street food.

Spend your two nights in Pai at one of the local backpacker hostels.

Tribal Pai Backpackers is a great choice for accommodation because it is social and fun, but a bit less crazy than a party hostel.

A dorm here costs as little as 4 USD per night, and private rooms are about 33 USD per night. Accommodation can be super cheap when you visit Thailand!

Catch a minibus from Pai to Chiang Rai .

READ MORE: Add these to your list of things to do in Pai .

Pai Motorbike Thailand

If you haven’t yet taken a cooking class in Thailand, Chiang Rai is a great place to do it.

You can book a full-day cooking class that starts with a tour of the local market to pick up fresh ingredients.

Then you can learn all about the rich flavours and simple techniques of Thai cuisine and eat all the delicious food you cook.

This is a great insight into the culture of Thailand, so you should definitely try and squeeze a cooking class into a 3 week Thailand itinerary.

Fly from Chiang Rai to Phuket.

After spending a decent amount of time soaking in the sun on Phuket’s pristine beaches, entertain yourself by watching a famous ladyboy cabaret show.

A ladyboy performance is a must-see when you visit Thailand.

Phuket’s Simon Cabaret was established in 1991, and now hosts some of the best cabarets in the country.

Ladyboy cabarets consist of drag queens wearing fantastic costumes and putting on a show full of dancing, acting, lip-syncing, sometimes real singing, and a whole lot of energy and pizazz.

Take the ferry from Phuket to Ao Nang .

In addition to the outdoor activities mentioned in the 2 week Thailand itinerary, you can try to explore a little more of the islands surrounding Ao Nang by doing an island hopping tour.

A 3 week Thailand itinerary still can’t cover all of the country’s stunning islands, so a guided day tour by speedboat is a great way to pack lots of cool places into a short time.

On a day tour, you’ll see gorgeous beaches, huge cliffs, snorkelling sights, and just a lot of mind-blowing natural beauty.

Then, add another epic place to your 3 week itinerary and take a shuttle from Ao Nang to Khao Sok National Park .

Khao Sok National Park is an oasis of serenity and scenery that looks like it came out of a fairy tale. It’s often a highlight for those who visit Thailand.

Dense jungle, hanging vines, limestone cliffs, caves, rivers, lakes, animals and insects are just a few of the things you’ll find here.

You can go hiking and kayaking, or take a boat tour through the park, or just relax and soak in the serenity from your lakeside wooden bungalow.

Cheow Lan Lake is the most beautiful area to stay in, but you can also stay in the Khao Son Riverside if you don’t want to be so deep in the jungle.

Khao Sok National Park Thailand

Travelling from Khao Sok National Park over to Koh Samui in the Gulf of Thailand can be done by some combination of shuttle and minibus, but you’ll have to dedicate one full day to the trip.

The transport prices are usually very cheap, but it will take quite a while since you have to cross the Malay Peninsula.

After reaching the ferry port on the eastern side of the peninsula, just hop on a ferry and make your way to Koh Samui!

Check out this website for planning your trip.

Spend the last 3 days of your 3 week Thailand itinerary relaxing on the white sands of Koh Samui .

Chaweng Beach, Lamai Beach, and Choeng Mon Beach are the three most popular beaches on Koh Samui and they all offer beautiful scenery and turquoise water for swimming.

Koh Samui is the second-largest island in Thailand, so there is plenty to do here in addition to just being a beach bum.

Head to the north of the island to check out the Big Buddha and the night markets, including Fisherman’s Village Street Market, held every Friday from 5 pm to 11 pm.

Take a fruit carving class or visit the Secret Buddha Garden, full of mysterious statues and peaceful forest.

Definitely spend one of your days in Koh Samui taking a day trip to Ang Thong National Marine Park.

This protected area consists of 42 little islands, and you can only visit by government approved tour boat.

There are lots of affordable day tours that can bring you into the park and take you hiking, snorkelling, kayaking, and exploring throughout the diverse and impressive national marine park.

Other things to do in Koh Samui include visiting Koh Tao for snorkeling or Koh Phangan for the Full Moon Party. Both Koh Tao and Koh Phangan can be visited as day trips via local boat.

If you have even more than 3 weeks in Thailand, you can continue exploring Koh Tao and Koh Phangan for even longer, as there are plenty of fun things to do here.

If your Thailand trip is coming to a close after Koh Samui, fly back to Bangkok to catch your departing international flight.

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10 BEST Things to Do in Ao Nang, Thailand [2024]

21 BEST Things to Do in Koh Phangan [2024 Travel Guide]

13 awesome things to do in chiang mai, thailand (2024 guide), related posts, 7 reasons why you need to visit kamphaeng phet (in 2024), the 35 best things to do in thailand, 4 thoughts on “the perfect 1, 2 and 3 week thailand itinerary”.

I’m absolutely hooked on your Thailand itinerary! Week 1’s cultural immersion, Week 2’s adrenaline-packed activities, and Week 3’s idyllic relaxation—what a well-rounded adventure. Your blog is a goldmine for anyone planning a trip. I’ll be sure to share this valuable resource with my fellow travel enthusiasts!

This trip blog truly captures the essence of wanderlust and adventure. The stories shared here evoke a sense of curiosity and make me yearn to explore the world. It’s the perfect escape for those moments when you can’t physically travel but still want to be transported to new horizons.

Wonderful itinerary! Thanks for the tips!

I’ve been to Thailand several times, and I loved all of these places. I have yet to visit Khao Sok — it is on my list.

Thank you for stopping by. Definitely check Koh Sok out next time you are in Thailand. 🙂

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plan my thailand trip

Planning Your Trip to Thailand – The Only Guide You’ll Ever Need

Planning a trip to Thailand can make your head spin.

Where should you visit, what should you pack, do you need a Visa?

The questions can be endless.

I've helped numerous people over the years plan their trips to Thailand; both close friends and family, and friends of work associates who have contacted me for advice.

In this post, I'll reveal the same tips I give them, and help you plan the holiday of a lifetime.

This post will also help you if you're planning a family trip to Thailand, a move to Thailand, either for a job, teaching, or just an extended stay.

  • Where to stay
  • Weather seasons
  •   Accommodation
  •   Pre-holiday to-do list

planning-trip-thailand

Where to Stay in Thailand

If you're visiting Thailand for two or three weeks, then you're probably torn over which parts of the country to visit.

There are so many islands to consider, and so many areas of the country that boast beautiful scenery and interesting culture.

The key is to strike a balance between not staying in one place too long and not visiting places too quickly – otherwise you don't get to really explore and appreciate them.

My general advice  for a holiday would be to visit three areas of the country:

Some might say you should avoid Bangkok because it's really busy, hot, and doesn't have a beach.

In my opinion, if you're going to visit Thailand, then you should experience Bangkok.

It's actually a good place to arrive and spend a few days.

Because if you've had a long haul flight, then you will most likely be landing in Bangkok, so you can catch a taxi to your hotel and get some rest, rather than waiting around for a connecting flight.

Moreover, if you're flying across a couple of time zones, then you will be jet-lagged.

I'd rather get over my jet lag in Bangkok and be fully refreshed for visiting the beaches and islands, than sleeping half the day away at a beautiful beach location.

So two or three nights in Bangkok is ideal.

wat-arun-bangkok

Wat Arun is a Buddhist temple in Bangkok Yai district of Bangkok.

If you arrive in the afternoon on the first day, then you can hang out at the hotel, maybe visit a market and grab something to eat, and then get some sleep.

You're probably going to sleep in late, or wake up early the next day and then want to sleep again in the afternoon to get over your jet lag.

You'll then have one more full day where you feel more energetic and can visit the Grand Palace , maybe a floating market, and do a bit of shopping .

Another option is to spend a couple of days in Bangkok when you arrive, and then come back to Bangkok for a day before you leave.

The reasoning behind this is that you might want to do some shopping before you go home, but you might not want to do that shopping when you arrive because you would have to carry the stuff around with you for the rest of your holiday.

This really depends on how much shopping you plan on taking home.

If you have more time on your hands in Bangkok, check out my list of things to do in the Big Mango.

grand-palace-bangkok

At the Grand Palace, Bangkok

Staying on Thailand's Islands

It goes without saying that the Southern islands have the best beaches.

There are some good beaches that you can get to in a couple of hours from Bangkok, such as on Koh Larn and Koh Samet.

However,  if you choose to go to Phuket or Koh Samui, from that base you will be able to visit a number of other islands too.

You also have a good selection of beaches on those islands.

phi-phi-island

The Phi Phi Islands are an island group in Thailand, between the large island of Phuket and the Straits of Malacca coast of Thailand.

Yes, these are the more commercial islands, and while there are more intimate and less touristy islands, pretty much all of the best beach locations have a lot of visitor traffic in high season.

Furthermore, the more remote islands aren't always that practical for families, and some lack good accommodation and things to do, particularly for kids.

If you come for a second or third holiday, then you might want to explore some of the less popular but more beautiful islands.

But if this is your first and potentially your only trip, then I recommend going to Phuket or Koh Samui, and from these islands taking boat trips to see other beautiful islands and beaches.

Koh-Samui-Samujana-Villa

Located a short drive from Choeng Mon Beach in Koh Samui, Samujana boast luxurious villas.

The North (Chiang Mai)

You might choose to simply stay down south and enjoy the beaches, and I wouldn't blame you. I'd happily sit on a deckchair for the entire holiday, to'ing and fro'ing from the massage spot, gym, and bar.

But if you want a deeper insight to the country and to see another side to Thailand, then the North is a good place to visit.

Chang Mai in particular is very popular, Westerner-friendly city – surrounded by beautiful nature.

You can base yourself in Chang Mai for a few days and go off for trips to Doi Intanon National Park, Doi Suthep Temple, the Elephant Nature Park ,  and enjoy the good food and night markets of the North.

Again, like Bangkok, a few nights here will be adequate.

doi-inthanon-national-park

Doi Inthanon, in Chiang Mai, is the highest mountain in Thailand.

Got an Extra Few Days?

If you find yourself back in Bangkok and you've got an extra few days to spare, then you might go to Koh Samet for a couple of nights,  which is three hours from Bangkok and a 30-minute ferry.

Samet is not far from the aptly named Sin City of Pattaya. Indeed, if you are a single man or with a group of friends, you might like to see the bright lights of Pattaya,  which is a beach resort too, and only a couple of hours drive from Bangkok.

Probably not the smartest idea to take your wife or girlfriend there. Unless they aren't bothered by go-go bars and hookers.

Visiting, in Summary

Those who have lived in Thailand for a while, or visited on holiday a number of times, may poo-poo my suggestions and give you recommendations of places to go that are off the beaten track.

But that's because the more time you spend in Thailand the more you want to get away from the touristy areas and find more isolated places.

But generally, for a first holiday, you want to be in the thick of it and see the main attractions of the things other people have seen.

You want easy access and plenty of options. Trust me, I've been there, done it, and worn the t-shirt.

That being said, if you are traveling for three months or more and spending a month in Thailand, then you can visit these popular hotspots and then go off and visit some more remote places like these. 

khoa-sok-national-park

Khao Sok is situated on the mainland between Phuket, Krabi, Khao Lak and Koh Samui.

When to Visit Thailand – Weather

The weather in Thailand does vary by region at different times of the year.

Generally speaking, you can follow this guide:

  • Dry Season: March-May
  • Rainy Season: May-October
  • Cool Season: November-February

For a place by place breakdown, check out my extensive weather guide. 

Accommodation for Different Budgets

Depending on whether you're a solo backpacker or a family of 4 on the holiday of a lifetime, accommodation requirements vary for different types of traveler.

Luckily, Thailand generally has something for everyone in all corners of the country.

From package holidays to hostels and mid-range hotels, check out my booking recommendations here.

Also consider that if you aren't too fussed about plush accommodation, you can rock up and book in at what's available.

During high season you won't be able to be too picky, as the nicer rooms and bungalows get booked up in advance.

But let me just say that I have never not been able to get a room somewhere in any of Asia.

And you're planning on catching a train or a bus, check out 12GO here.

Pre-Holiday To-Do List

The large majority of countries are subject to a visa exemption. This means that when their citizens enter Thailand they get a stamp that permits a stay of 30 days.

If you are coming towards the end of your trip and you think you might want to stay longer, you can visit an immigration office and extend this stay by another 30 days for 1,900 Baht.

However,  in the interest of good planning, if you think that extending your stay is a good possibility, you should consider getting a single entry tourist visa, which gives you a 60-day stay in the country.

A multiple entry tourist visa  is a six month visa, but you can only stay for 60 days at a time. You then have to leave the country and come back into activate a further 60 days.

Again, the multiple entry option can be extended for 30 days by going to immigration and paying the aforementioned fee.

Generally speaking, those coming for a two or three week holiday won't need to worry about a visa.

2. Travel Insurance

It goes without saying that you will need travel insurance.

Not only does travel insurance protects you against hospital bills if you fall ill or have an accident, but some policies will also cover you against cancellation of your flights or lost baggage and stolen goods.

Travel insurance is one of those things that many people forget to do in the midst of all the excitement of planning.

So I suggest this is something that you do early on in your trip planning process to make sure that you are covered from the moment you leave your house.

I don't want to make you fear going on holiday, but at the end of the day it gives you peace of mind.

See my travel insurance recommendations here.

3. Suitable Backpack/Holdall

Another thing that people often don't consider until the last minute, mainly because they have an old suitcase or holdall in the attic that  they always use, is suitable luggage.

Consider what type of holiday you are taking:

  • Are you going to be traveling on trains and buses?
  • Are you going to be trekking or diving?
  • Or are you going to be staying in luxury hotels and taking  private cars everywhere and having someone to hold your back?

You won't want a big clunky suitcase if you are  taking an overnight train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai .

And if you are going trekking , then you may need to consider a second bag in addition to your main backpack; one that is detachable and can be taken with your essentials on the trek.

In fact, a second, smaller backpack is advisable for everyone visiting Thailand.

You will need something practical to carry around with you during the daytime.

Although, when out shopping and in crowds you should wear backpacks on your front so that you can't be pick-pocketed, particularly in Bangkok.

I'm not trying to scare you here, the same goes for any major city you are visiting, including my hometown, London.

4. Mosquito Spray

You can find mosquito spray in Thailand at pretty much every convenience store, and is likely to be cheaper than in your home country.

However, if you have sensitive skin, you may want to look for a higher quality brand in your home country before you leave.

Your mosquito spray should contain DEET.

Note that the higher percentage of DEET does not represent how effective it is but how long it lasts:

Products containing lower concentrations of DEET are as effective as those with higher concentrations, but for shorter periods of time. On average, products containing 100% DEET will be effective for 9.5 hours, 30% DEET for 6.5 hours, 15% DEET for 5 hours, 10% DEET for 3 hours and 5% DEET for 2 hours ( source )

5. Vaccinations

There maybe some vaccinations for you to consider before you visit Thailand.

These can usually be done by your regular Doctor, and even at some pharmacies. There's a full list here.

6. Changing Money

People often change up lots of money before they go on holiday, thinking that they will run out quickly, but this is not a wise thing to do.

It isn't a good idea to travel with loads of money on you, just in case you lose it.

Moreover, I usually get a better exchange rate when I arrive in Bangkok than I do back home, anyway.  You will find a number of exhange places in central Bangkok.

If you want to do it at the airport, don't do it at the exchange booth inside the arrivals area, do it when you come out into the main foyer, as you tend to get better rate there.

You might choose to change up to $300 before you leave, depending on how many people are traveling.

That being said, it is expensive to withdraw money in Thailand- because you get charged for the local withdrawal and charged by your bank back home for the international withdrawal.

This could end up costing you $5-6 dollars per withdrawal.

That said, this isn't really a big deal if you only make three withdrawals across the whole holiday.

Note that cash machines are generally limited to a withdrawal amount of 20,000 Baht per time.

If you do want to avoid fees, then consider finding a credit or debit card provider that doesn't charge for international transactions,  and/or has low rates on withdrawals.

You might also want to consider something like the Revolut Card.

This is a multi-currency prepaid card, which allows you to pre-load money and spend abroad.

One I would  recommend is making a plan before you leave, detailing how much money you plan to take in cash, both money changed into Thai Baht and money in your native currency to change up in Thailand.

And then consider a cost-effective strategy for withdrawing money and spending money on your cards.

7. Health Insurance

If you have travel insurance then you aren't likely to need this, but for those with specific conditions, or who want specific extra cover – perhaps for an extended period, health insurance may be a requirement.

Cigna is a reputable and reliable health insurer for those living and traveling in Thailand.

You can get a quote using their 2-minute quote page by clicking here. 

Streaming & Secure Internet Browsing

If you want to watch Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Disney + on holiday, you will need to bypass GEO restrictions to watch some of the content.

You can do this with a VPN. A VPN is also a good idea when using WIFI in airports and cafes, particularly if you are going to be logging onto personal banking or accessing other sensitive information from your laptop, phone or tablet.

I have a post with more details on this. Read the VPN post here. 

Planning Your Trip, In Summary

Bookmark this guide, or print it out and make planning your trip to Thailand easy.

If you follow along section-by-section and tick things off as you go, you'll have all the important bases covered.

Here's an overview of what we've covered in this guide:

  • Decide where to stay: Bangkok, Islands, Chiang Mai (North) and places to visit
  • Check the weather before deciding on your travel dates
  • Research accommodation, based on your budget
  • Do you need a visa?
  • Get travel insurance
  • Get a suitable backpack/holdall
  • Get mosquito spray
  • Get vaccinations
  • Change money
  • Consider health insurance
  • Get a VPN to bypass GEO restrictions on Netflix, and safe browsing

Proper planning makes for a successful outcome, or at least so my mother said.

Have a great trip!

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Last Updated on May 28, 2020

Grand Palace Picture

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How to Plan a Vacation in Thailand

A First-Timer's Guide for Planning a Trip to Thailand

plan my thailand trip

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Although planning a vacation in Thailand sounds exotic, expensive, and potentially out of reach, getting there is easier than you think!

Bangkok often ranks as the most visited city in the world for a reason: Thailand is a beautiful, affordable destination — even for two-week trips. Each year, millions of travelers enjoy a vacation in Thailand without spending a fortune or backpacking for months.

How Much Will a Trip to Thailand Cost?

Forget the long-standing myth that faraway places are accessible to only the wealthy or retired. A vacation in Thailand can be as inexpensive as a trip to California, Hawaii, the Caribbean , or any of the other usual top destinations for Americans. It may even cost less, or at the least, you'll get nicer rooms and more memorable experiences for the same amount of money spent.

A large number of Thailand's annual international arrivals are backpacking budget travelers who get by on less than US $900 for a month in Southeast Asia . You may opt for a bit more luxury on a shorter trip. The good news is that tourism is well developed in Thailand; you have choices. You can find beach accommodation for $10 per night (bungalow with fan) or $200 per night (five-star hotel) — the choice is yours!

Airfare is obviously the largest upfront cost. But finagling a deal is possible with a little trickery. Use domestic carriers to get yourself to LAX or JFK, then book a separate ticket to Bangkok. Splitting a ticket between two carriers could save you hundreds of dollars!

Once on the ground in Thailand, the exchange rate and lower cost of eating and drinking can quickly compensate for the cost of the airfare.

Take a Tour or Plan an Independent Trip?

Although organized tours in Asia may seem the quick-and-easy solution, you can save money by just organizing transportation and activities once you are already on the ground. Research activities you want to do, however, there is no real need to book them online or before arriving in Thailand.

Booking day trips and activities is very easy in Thailand. Unless you go far off the beaten path, the language difference won't present any problems. Pretty well everyone who works with tourists will speak good enough English.

You'll find numerous travel agencies in tourist areas. Simply walk in, tell the person behind the counter where you want to go , and minutes later you'll be holding a bus/train/boat ticket. Commissions charged are trivial. The reception desk at your hotel or guesthouse will gladly book tickets and activities for you.

For activities, you'll usually be collected at your hotel by someone from the agency on the morning of your tour. Travelers are consolidated then taken on the day trip. At the end of the day, you'll be returned to your hotel — easy!

When Is the Best Time to Visit Thailand?

Weather differs a little between regions, but generally Thailand's driest months are between November and April . Even during the low/rainy season in Thailand , you'll enjoy days of sunshine. Discounts for activities and accommodation are easier to negotiate during the low-season months.

You may wish to time your vacation in Thailand around one of the many big festivals . At least make sure that you are aware one is coming — missing an exciting event by just a day or two is very frustrating!

The big Full Moon Party each month will affect transportation to and from the Koh Samui Archipelago (especially Koh Tao and Koh Phangan) . Planning an itinerary around moon phases may sound a bit pagan, but you'll be glad you did!

Do You Need Vaccinations for Thailand?

Although no specific vaccinations are required for Thailand, you should get the general ones recommended for all international travelers in Asia .

Hepatitis A and B, typhoid, and a Tdap (for tetanus) are the most common jabs international travelers go for — all are good investments and provide protection for years.

You will not need rabies, yellow fever, or Japanese encephalitis vaccinations for a regular vacation in Thailand. The same applies for anti-malarial drugs. There is a relatively low risk of contracting malaria in Thailand, especially if you aren't spending extended amounts of time in the jungle.

The biggest risk in Thailand is dengue fever . Until the new vaccination being tested becomes available widespread, your best defense is to do what you can to avoid mosquito bites .

Zika (another mosquito-borne illness) is not a serious threat in Thailand.

What to Pack for Thailand?

With expansive malls in Bangkok and outdoor markets in Chiang Mai, along with plenty of smaller open-air street markets between, you'll have no shortage of cheap shopping opportunities. Leave room in your luggage: you'll definitely want to take home some unique finds! Pack less clothing and plan to buy an outfit or three there.

Rather than doing a lot of shopping before your vacation in Thailand, plan to purchase items locally to help merchants who need the income more than Western CEOs. Why carry an umbrella 8,000 miles if you can buy one there for $2 if it rains?

There are a few things you'll want to bring from home for your trip to Thailand. But beware of the biggest mistake most travelers in Asia admit to making: packing too much .

Accessing Money in Thailand

ATMs are literally everywhere in Thailand; they often compete for space! That's because providing cash to travelers is business: fees have skyrocketed to US $6-7 per transaction (on top of whatever your bank charges).

When using ATMs in Thailand, request the maximum amount each time . Sometimes breaking large denominations can be a challenge. Experienced travelers know to ask for 5,900 baht rather than 6,000 baht — that way they get some smaller denominations, too.

For instance, if you request 6,000 baht from an ATM, you'll receive six stiff 1,000-baht banknotes. Breaking them in small shops and eateries may produce some groans from the staff. Paying with them at carts for street food is simply rude. Instead, ask for 5,900 baht at the machine and get five 1,000-baht notes, one 500-baht note, and four ever-useful 100-baht notes.

As usual, exchanging U.S. dollars is an option. Mastercard and Visa are widely accepted at malls and larger hotels/restaurants, however, you may be charged an additional commission when paying with plastic. Identity theft is a growing problem ; opt to pay with cash when possible to minimize risk and transaction fees.

Haggling is a part of Thai culture , and you should bargain playfully for purchases such as souvenirs and clothing. Prices are even flexible in shopping malls. Accommodation and activities can often be negotiated, but always keep in mind the rules of saving face . Never haggle for food, drinks, or items with standardized prices.

Tipping is not the norm in Thailand , although there are some rare exceptions. Even if your intentions are good, leaving a tip accelerates cultural mutation and inflates prices for locals. Doing so causes people to prefer serving tourists (because they sling money around) over locals who may be more frugal.

For large purchases made on your trip, you can request a VAT refund at the airport as you exit Thailand. You'll need to have receipts and paperwork.

Prices displayed always include tax. At the register, you'll pay the price that was displayed. Sometimes a 10 percent service charge may be added to restaurant bills.

Where to Go in Thailand?

Most travelers arrive in Bangkok, but there are plenty of beautiful destinations farther afield .

  • The Thai Islands : No Thailand vacation is complete without visiting at least one or two of the beautiful islands. All differ in personality and allure. The shape of Thailand means choosing between some great island options in the Andaman Sea (west side) and the Gulf of Thailand (east side).
  • Chiang Mai : Thailand's northern capital is a favorite for many visitors. Life within the Old City is more manageable and easier to get around than Bangkok. The vibe is inarguably different and pleasant. Good food, outdoor markets, Lanna culture, and $6 massages are all great reasons to grab a low-cost flight or train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai .
  • Pai : Located around four hours north of Chiang Mai and surrounded by green hills, Pai has transformed in recent years from a quiet, "hippie" village into a major tourist destination. Despite the extra visitors, Pai retained much of its riverside charm. Organic farms and food, surprisingly good nightlife , and yoga/holistic/healthy workshops are all great reasons to visit. Northern Thailand provides many other draws in the area as well.
  • Ayutthaya : Just a two-hour train ride north of Bangkok, Thailand's former capital is the place to enjoy culture and cycle through ancient temple ruins. You'll often be the only person in a centuries-old temple!
  • Railay : Thailand's rock climbing epicenter in Krabi isn't just for climbers anymore. The impressive limestone scenery is unlike any other. But even if you prefer feet on the ground, the powdery sand and isolation (Railay is only accessible via boat) will make you feel as though you're on an island.

What to Expect on a Thailand Vacation

The tourism infrastructure in Thailand is well established. They've had a lot of practice accommodating visitors of all budgets and trip durations. But as with many top destinations, things are creeping decidedly upscale as older, mom-and-pop businesses are demolished and replaced by foreign-owned chains.

Thai food is celebrated around the world for its savory flavors and spicy potential. But forget the myth that all Thai food is spicy — most restaurants (especially the ones catering to tourists) will ask how much pain you can handle or allow you to add your own spice. Chili powder is usually available on every table.

Fun nightlife is widespread in Thailand. The cost of a large domestic beer averages $2 – 3. From epic beach parties to drinking sessions with locals , only a few specific areas are as seedy as is often depicted on television.

Thailand is a Buddhist country . You will inevitably end up encountering monks and visiting impressive temples. Don't expect Hollywood's depiction of a Buddhist monk: the Theravada monks in Thailand often have smartphones!

Thailand is a very safe destination. Crime, aside from the usual petty theft, is rarely ever a problem for foreign visitors. Tourism is big business, and Thais will often go out of their way to help you enjoy their beautiful country.

Enhance your trip by learning how to say hello in Thai before you go. Locals are patiently tolerant, however, you should know a few dos and don'ts in Thailand to avoid being "that" tourist who accidentally ruins a good thing!

If planning a vacation in Thailand is so easy, there must be some downsides, right? Sure. With every international destination, there are some potential concessions to make. Here are a few common complaints most often cited by travelers:

  • Assuming you departed from North America, circling the globe to Asia will consume a full day (each direction) of your vacation time. Also, jetlag bites harder; the time difference between Eastern Standard Time and Bangkok is +12 hours.
  • Major attractions get very busy during the dry season months (November to April). Traffic in Bangkok is worse than ever.
  • Although crime isn't bad, there are a number of individuals who make livings by scamming tourists.

Vital Information for the First-Time Visitor to Thailand

Getting Around Thailand: Transportation Options

Is It Safe in Thailand?

Saving Money on Your Summer Vacation

How Much Money Is Needed for a Trip to Thailand

10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Plan Your UK Trip

What $100 Can Get You in Southeast Asia

Summer in Thailand: Weather, What to Pack, and What to See

Winter in Thailand: Weather, What to Pack, and What to See

How to Travel From Chiang Mai to Bangkok by Train, Bus, and Plane

Your Trip to Chiang Mai: The Complete Guide

The Loi Krathong Festival in Thailand

10 Great Places to Visit in Thailand

Top 10 Tourist Destinations in Asia

How to Plan a Caribbean Vacation

The Best Time to Visit Thailand

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Trip Planner

Taylor's Tracks

How to Plan the Perfect Thailand Itinerary

By: Author Taylor Lorenz

Posted on Last updated: 10/25/2023

How to Plan the Perfect Thailand Itinerary

Let me tell you that Thailand is worth all of the type. I may be biased because Thailand is one of my favorite countries in the world.

Most people who visit will agree with me that it is an incredible country and planning a trip to Thailand is almost as fun as going on your Thailand trip (okay, maybe that’s just people who like to plan!).

The food is more than delicious, the people are as friendly as people say they are and the pictures you’ve seen online, well, they’re even better in person.

From the mountains in the north to the islands in the south and the mega-city of Bangkok in the middle, Thailand is a country full of diverse landscapes, every flavor of food and surprises around every corner. Plus there are  so many  things to do in Thailand .

Your dollar with stretch far, you will be continually entertained and you will gaze in amazement pretty much around every corner.

But enough of me talking about how great Thailand is, let me tell you how to plan a trip to Thailand and exactly what to do in Thailand.

Table of Contents

Thailand Fast Facts

Currency:  Thai baht (฿) Languages:  Thai Population:  69 million Religion:  Buddhism (90% majority)

Thailand Itinerary

You really need to read through this whole article to pick your itinerary, I can’t make it for you because where you go in Thailand really depends on what you’re looking for. The islands are obviously more laid-back, some are quieter, some are known for their parties.

The north is totally different compared to central Thailand and then different spots in the north appeal to different travellers.

If there’s one place I think everyone should go to it’s Bangkok!

Recommended Thailand Tours

Skip planning your trip yourself with these top-rated tours around the country.

  • Thailand Island Hopper  in 14 days
  • Backpacking Thailand  in 15 days
  • Northern Thailand Adventure  in 14 days

Thailand Trip Itineraries by Length

These sample Thailand itineraries will give you a general idea of what you can cover in each time period that you have for travel to help you create the best Thailand vacation itinerary possible.

Bangkok is listed in all of them but if you’re solely doing islands it’s possible to fly direct to Phuket to jump off to the Andaman coast islands.

7 Day Itinerary

  • 1-2 islands in the same region (ex. Phuket and Krabi)

10 Day Itinerary

  • Chiang Mai or a second island

2 Week Itinerary

  • Option 1: 3 islands (in the same region)
  • Option 2: Chiang Mai, Pai, Chiang Rai
  • Option 3: Chiang Mai and 2 islands (in the same region)

3 Week Itinerary

  • 2-3 islands (in the same region)

Daily Breakdown of My Thailand Trip Itinerary

Bangkok: 2-3 days.

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Without a doubt, you will fly into Bangkok and it’s a wonderful place to get yourself settled in Thailand. You’ll be thrown in head first, but not to worry, Bangkok is a world-class city and though many things will be different it is the perfect starting point.

DAY ONE:  Many international flights land late at night so chances are you’ll get to your accommodation and pass out. Get a good rest and on your first day, you can tackle some of Bangkok’s best attractions.

Head over to the Grand Palace , the earlier the better as lines get long. From here you can tackle Wat Po which houses a giant reclining Buddha and Wat Arun. Spend the evening around Khao San Road, the famous party street where you can grab a bite to eat, get a message if you’re tired, shop or party the night away.

Pro Tip : Wat means temple in Thai, expect to see it a lot!

DAY TWO: Get ready to shop…if you’re in Bangkok on a weekend you can not miss   Chatuchak Market where you can find just about everything from clothes, to souvenirs and food. If you’re in Bangkok on a weekday there are plenty of other markets to see and even more malls.

In the afternoon get yourself to a Muay Thai fight at one of the two stadiums in the city, Ratchadamnoen or Lumpini. 

For the evening head up to one of many rooftop bars. The most famous are Sky Bar and Octave Rooftop Lounge & Bar.

DAY THREE: A trip to Thailand is not complete without seeing one of the floating markets. It’s a unique experience and lets you just chill out for the morning or afternoon!

All of the floating markets are outside the city so prepare for a day trip. My personal recommendation is the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market . It is the largest and one of the oldest in Bangkok. You’ll find food, animals and lots of other goodies!

  • What to do in Bangkok
  • 10 Best Hostels in Bangkok
  • 10 Best Tours in Bangkok

Chiang Mai: 3-4 Days

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Chiang Mai is going to steal your heart. There’s a reason why so many expats live in this city. The Old City is filled with historic temples and trendy cafes. The markets are some of the best in Thailand, you’ll find some of the top Thai dishes here and nature is so close to the city.

DAY ONE: Get yourself aquainted with Chiang Mai. Rent a scooter and explore the Old City temple hopping . Head up to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep and get ready to climb the 300 stairs up. I promise it’s worth it.

Recover from your travels with a Thai massage or hangout at one of the local cafes. If you’re up for it make your way to Zoe in Yellow, one of the top clubs in Chiang Mai where you can find an abundance of other clubs and bars in the open air court yard.

DAY TWO:  Recover from your hangover by cooking some of the tastiest Thai food you’ll ever try. One of the best things to do in Thailand is a  cooking class in Chiang Mai .

Full and half day classes and market visits are available (I did the half day and didn’t think I’d be able to walk the rest of the day because there’s so much food!).

Spend your evening at Chiang Mai’s best market, the Night Bazaar where you can shop your heart out and eat local favourites from the abundance of street food stalls with live music.

DAY THREE:  Get up close to elephants at Elephant Nature Park . Spend the day feeding, bathing and playing with these friendly giants.

For evening entertainment make sure you don’t miss one of Thailand’s best lady boy shows at the Chiang Mai Cabaret Show. It’s the exact show that was aired on Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown episode from Chiang Mai!

Pro tip:  Do not ride elephants! If a place supports riding elephants I would avoid going there. Elephant Nature Park is an ethical choice.

DAY FOUR:  Time for a day trip! One option is to hire a scooter for the day and check out the Chiang Mai Grand Canyon where you can relax on floating bamboo rafts and jump from the cliff (don’t do it with your GoPro, I saw 5 people lose theirs!).

Another option is go zipling through the lush tropical forest. Or a third option is to Doi Inthanon National Park for some hiking.

READ MORE:  8 Bucket List Things to do in Chiang Mai and  10 Best Hostels in Chiang Mai

Pai: 2-3 Days

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Pai is a little town in northern Thailand nestled in the mountains known for its hippie vibes. Think tie die clothing, handmade jewelry and small carts selling treats at the market. If you love nature and just want to hangout for a few days, Pai is the perfect place for you. But don’t worry there is still plenty to do.

DAY ONE: You’ll spend half of your day on a bus but don’t worry because you’ll be rewarded with plenty of awesome and hip little cafes where you can spend your afternoon relaxing.

Better yet, find a hammock! Or you can swing by the Pai Circus School. It’s a hostel so you can stay there . It has a pool and stunning views over the rolling green hills and yes you can actually learn some circus tricks!

DAY TWO: Get ready for a day packed with adventure! Rent yourself a scooter and head out to some of Pai’s best spots. Check out the top waterfalls, Pombok Waterfall and Mo Paeng Waterfalls.

Take a quick stop at the Land Crack where you can see the land literally split. Spend the afternoon hanging out at the Tha Pai Hot Springs and to cap off your perfect day watch sunset at Pai Canyon.

DAY THREE:  Rent a scooter and take a day trip to Lod Cave. It’s 35km outside of Pai but it makes for a beautiful drive through up and down a mountain.

The cave itself has a river running through it and it’s incredible to see in person. Spend the night along Walking Street or in one of the laid-back bars that have cushions to relax on while you drink.

READ MORE: The Best Things to do in Pai

Chiang Rai: 1 Day

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DAY ONE:  This can be done as a day trip from Pai or Chiang Mai. Either way, it is a must-do. The famous  White Temple is reason enough to go. It’s a bucket list item in Thailand and you won’t regret it even if it is one of the top tourist places in Thailand.

If you end up staying overnight head to the Chiang Rai night market for yummy food and a ton of shopping. This is also a great jumping off spot to get into Laos if you’re heading to more than just Thailand in Southeast Asia!

I recommend getting back to Bangkok and researching travel options to the islands from Bangkok as it will be cheapest.

Koh Tao: 3-4 Days

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Welcome to paradise on Earth, Koh Tao is an incredibly stunning little island (and my personal favourite). Here is where you can find the cheapest diving in the world . It really has an island vibe where everyone is friendly, restaurants line the main beach and you can easily find a cove to yourself for the day.

DAY ONE: This will be a travel day. You will need to travel from Chiang Mai to the south, most likely with a layover in Bangkok. I recommend the splurge and taking a flight to Chumphon or Surat Thani where you will then need to get a bus and a ferry.

DAY TWO: You’re going to be tired from travel so get ready to kick back and relax on one of Koh Tao’s amazing beaches. Sairee Beach is the main beach where you can catch sunset, eat at one of the many restaurants and find all of the dive shops between souvenier shops.

For the afternoon jump on a boat taxi and head to Koh Nang Yuan, the only 3 islands in the world to be connected by sand. Only do this if it’s not included in a snorkelling tour!

DAY THREE: Spend a day diving or if you’re getting cerifited you’ll be diving for a few days! Or take a snorkelling day trip where you’ll get to see some of the beautiful coves around the island.

Some tours will even include visiting Koh Nang Yuan. This night you’ll need to get ready to party on one of Thailand’s best nights out. The Koh Tao Pub Crawl is famous and is a bucket list thing to do in Thailand!

DAY FOUR: Get exploring! Rent a scooter and head to my favourite spot in all of Thailand for an epic viewpoint. Freedom Beach viewpoint won’t disappoint and you’ll probably have the place to yourself as it isn’t yet one of those Thailand tourist places.

After taking in the views find your way to a little cove for an afternoon of chilling in the sun. Ask the locals for their favourite before you go, they know what’s best.

READ MORE: The Best Things to do in Koh Tao and 10 Best Koh Tao Hostels 

Koh Phangan: 2-3 Days

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Koh Phangan is famous for its full moon party’s, it’s basically a right of passage in Thailand. But if you’re not there for the full moon don’t fret, there are still plenty of other parties going on and lots to do on the island!

DAY ONE:  Go see some waterfalls! Rent a scooter and make your way around the island to some of the best waterfalls including Sramanora waterfalls, Phaeng, Thaan Prapaad, Thaan Sadet, Wangsai, Paradise and Thaan Prawes waterfalls.

Be forwarned that a lot of the waterfals dry up in the dry season. If that’s the case then head to the Infinity Beach Club Hostel and enjoy the luxurious side of island life without spending too much. Lastly, spend the evening partying at whatever party is on or at the Thong Sala night market.

DAY TWO:  Spend the day beach hopping and see what Koh Phangan has to offer. Some of the best beaches are Bottle Beach, Haad Salad and Haad Yao (long beach). It is not recommended to try and find Bottle Beach by scooter and instead to go by boat. In the evening head to a party or check out the amazing sunset view from Amsterdam Bar.

DAY THREE: Your last day is up to you! Try some hiking, head to the Phangan Challenge , a waterpark obstacle course or go diving. Or just spend the day at the beach again if you’re hungover! This is a pretty chill day so if you’d rather get a head start on Koh Samui take the afternoon ferry over.

READ MORE: 11 Common Southeast Asia Travel Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them)

Koh Samui: 2-3 Days

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Koh Samui is the second largest island in Thailand and it can easily take 3-4 hours to get to some spots on the Thailand. It is popular for families and also has some interesting spots to see.

If yoga is your thing I highly recommend booking yourself into a yoga retreat. You can thank me later because I know it will be the  best  ending to your trip. My personal recommendation is Vikasa , it is like heaven.

READ MORE: The Ultimate Thailand Yoga Retreat (That’s Affordable)

DAY ONE: Get out and explore ! Koh Samui has so much to see. Some temples are Big Budda temple, Buddha footprints and Hin Lad Waterfall temple. I’d ask the staff at your accommodation for recommendations as to what is closest since the island is so large.

If you’re interested, stop by  Hin Ta and Hin Yai Rocks. They’re special because they’re shaped like male and female genitalia. Don’t forget to try and fit in some beaches and waterfalls!

DAY TWO:  Do a day tour to  Ang Thong Marine Park where you’ll get to see a viewpoint over an emerald coloured lake and other islands. You’ll spend the day snorkelling and kayaking through caves.

Spend your last night at a Thai market where you can pick up some souveniers and binge on all the Thai foods. Some to checkout are Fisherman’s Village Walking Street, Chaweng Night Market and Lamai Night Plaza.

DAY THREE:  Spend your morning lounging on the beach and the afternoon making your way to your next destination.

Thailand itinerary | Things to do in Thailand | Places to visit in Thailand | Where to go in Thailand | Trip to Thailand | Visit Thailand | Travel to Thailand | Thailand trip planner | Thailand trip itinerary | Thailand travel guide | Thailand travel | Thailand places to visit

Koh Chang: 3-4 days

Koh Chang is an island that is more off the beaten path so a stay here is all about relaxation and nature, maybe a party or two and some hiking through the jungle.

DAY ONE: First things first you need to check out White Sand Beach (Haad Sai Khao) where all of the action is. In the afternoon make your way up Salak Phet, the highest mountain on the island for the best views and to spend some time in the jungle.

It is possible to get up by tuk-tuk if you’re not up for the difficult hike or you can hire a guide for the day to help you through the locals paths.

An easier hike that is free is to  Kai Bae Waterfall that doesn’t require a guide.

DAY TWO: On day two it’s time to see the incredible marine life, colourful fish and coral reefs. Book yourself on a day tour. Most depart from Bang Bao. In the evening make your way to Lonely Beach for a night of partying on the beach, the main party area on the island.

DAY THREE: You deserve a relaxed day so spend the morning exploring the Bang Bao floating village and the afternoon relaxing in the area. You could also opt to head to the even more secluded Hat Sat Noi beach. Grab dinner at the White Sands Beach night market.

DAY FOUR: Day four you can make a combination of relaxing at one of the beaches mentioned above or doing another hike to a different waterfall. Or both!

Thailand itinerary | Things to do in Thailand | Places to visit in Thailand | Where to go in Thailand | Trip to Thailand | Visit Thailand | Travel to Thailand | Thailand trip planner | Thailand trip itinerary | Thailand travel guide | Thailand travel | Thailand places to visit

Phuket: 3-4 days

Phuket is ideal for any type of traveller as everything is offered here from epic parties to quiet beaches, shopping and lots of entertainment.

DAY ONE: Get around the island to see some of the top sites and culture. Visit the Big Buddha, see What Chalong, go inland to Phuket Town and see the night market.

DAY TWO: Time for a day trip! You have a few options: the Similan Islands which are known for their beauty, crystal clear waters and snorkelling, Phang Nha Bay (you’ll see James Bond Island here) which has limestone cliffs and tours usually have kayaking or take a tour of some of the Phi Phi Islands .

DAY THREE: Do a second of the day tours mentioned above or take time to relax on the beaches or at beach clubs. For the evening go to a show such as Phuket FantaSea or Simon Cabaret .

DAY FOUR: Take the morning to hike to a viewpoint before the heat becomes too much. Take the afternoon for more beach time or shopping.

READ MORE: The 10 Best Phuket Tours You Can’t Miss  

Thailand itinerary | Things to do in Thailand | Places to visit in Thailand | Where to go in Thailand | Trip to Thailand | Visit Thailand | Travel to Thailand | Thailand trip planner | Thailand trip itinerary | Thailand travel guide | Thailand travel | Thailand places to visit

Krabi: 3-7 days

The more relaxed and less busy option to Phuket, Krabi has a ton of islands waiting for you to explore. You could easily spend a week in Krabi.

Since you can spend so long in Krabi I will just recommend a few places to visit such as Railay , Tonsai, Ao Thalane , Krabi Town/Ao Nang and many, many islands for island hopping!

READ MORE: 10 Gorgeous Things to do in Krabi

Thailand itinerary | Things to do in Thailand | Places to visit in Thailand | Where to go in Thailand | Trip to Thailand | Visit Thailand | Travel to Thailand | Thailand trip planner | Thailand trip itinerary | Thailand travel guide | Thailand travel | Thailand places to visit

Koh Phi Phi: 1-3 days

Koh Phi Phi is very popular as a day trip from Krabi or Phuket but if you choose to spend longer on one of these quieter islands then here is what you can get up to.

DAY ONE: Visit Koh Phi Phi as a day trip from Krabi ( or Phuket ), an itinerary will be made for you by a tour company bringing you to lovely islands.

DAY TWO: Hike up to the Phi Phi viewpoint, take a cooking class and spend some time at Moo Dee Bay.

DAY THREE: Check out what’s underwater for a day of diving, go rock climbing, hop on shark spotting tour or visit Viking Cave.

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Koh Lanta: 3-5 days

Get ready to rent a scooter to explore this island and take trips to other islands to spot emerald green waters. Koh Lanta is more chilled but still packed with plenty to do.

DAY ONE: Go snorkelling at Koh Rok , often referred to as one of the best places to snorkel in Thailand.

DAY TWO: Spend the day exploring Lanta Old Town, take the time to walk some dogs (who wouldn’t want to do this?) and spend the evening at a chilled out bar.

DAY THREE: Explore the national park by motorbike. You’ll spend the day stopping by epic viewpoints. There are hiking trails and even a lighthouse to explore.

DAY FOUR: Time for another day tour, hop on the 4 islands tour to see even more beauty and amazing waters that you can jump into.

DAY FIVE: Check out the beaches, do some yoga, explore an area that you loved more or go diving.

Best Time to Visit Thailand

The good news is that Thailand can be visited year-round with favourable weather most of the year. The thing to keep in mind is that the weather varies depending on the region with three seasons: hot, cool and wet.

Generally, the best time of year to visit for weather is November-February but this is also when the country sees the most tourists so prices spike and accommodation needs to be booked further in advance.

Hot season in central Thailand (Bangkok) is February-June while Northern Thailand (Chiang Mai, Pai, Chiang Rai) experiences a shorter hot season from February-April. Central Thailand’s rainy season is June-October and Northern Thailand’s is May-September.

The islands have different weather at different times of the year depending on the coast with only two seasons: wet or dry. You will want to visit the islands in the Gulf of Thailand (Koh Tao, Koh Phangan, Koh Samui) in the dry season, January-August, and the islands on the Andaman Coast (Phuket, Krabi, Phi Phi) in their dry season, November to March.

So really the best time to visit is in November and February, the shoulder seasons to experience the best weather anywhere in Thailand and not have as many crowds.

Thailand itinerary | Things to do in Thailand | Places to visit in Thailand | Where to go in Thailand | Trip to Thailand | Visit Thailand | Travel to Thailand | Thailand trip planner | Thailand trip itinerary | Thailand travel guide | Thailand travel | Thailand places to visit

Thailand Trip Budget

Thailand is an excellent destination to visit for any budget. From budget to luxury accommodation, cheap day trips and tuk-tuk rides to high-end shuttles and resorts, you can easily adjust your budget to your lifestyle in Thailand.

Backpackers can get away with spending as low as $25USD (820 baht) including food, accommodation, alcohol and activities. Of course, this budget comes with some limitations.

On $25USD a day you can stay in hostels, eat street food, have nights out a couple of times a week and splurge on full-day tours every so often and take buses or budget trains as transport.

I recommend adding $10-15USD (330-500 baht) per day to your budget for each day you are spending on an island as the islands are the most pricey.

For a mid-range budget of $50USD (1,660 baht) a day will get you dorm rooms with A/C (sometimes even a private room!), will be able to eat out at restaurants, book more expensive activities and have the option to fly between Thailand destinations.

If you have a budget of $100USD (3,300 baht) a day or more than you’re living a life of luxury in Thailand. You can even find resorts for $1000USD a night in Thailand so it’s really up to you and how much you want to spoil yourself!

READ MORE: How to Create a Backpacking Southeast Asia Budget (Costs + Country Breakdowns)

How to Get to Thailand

Thailand is one of the easiest countries to get to in Southeast Asia and that’s mainly because Bangkok is a major hub for the region.

No matter if travelling from far or close you can find cheap flights to one of Thailand’s six international airports in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket, Koh Samui, Krabi and Hat Yai. I personally use Skyscanner to find the cheapest flight

If coming into Thailand by land you can look at bus options from Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar. If travelling into Thailand from Laos I recommend taking the 2 day boat journey down the Mekong from Luang Prabang.

READ MORE: Everything You Need to Know For the Laos Slow Boat

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Getting Around Thailand

Thailand travel can not be explained in one easy answer because depending on where you’re travelling to and from will determine how you can get around Thailand.

Flights between major cities such as Bangkok, Chiang Mai and larger islands such as Phuket and Koh Samui are possible.

Otherwise most land travel in Thailand is via bus or trains. To get around the islands there is a good ferry schedule and even if you’re travelling to islands far apart you can book bus/train and ferries together to make it simple and easy for you to book.

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READ MORE: 33 Tips for Backpacking Thailand That You Need to Know

Where to Go in Thailand

This is an overview of the places to visit in Thailand that you can add to your Thailand trip itinerary.

More detailed descriptions and the general vibe of each place is below which will help you pick out places for your Thailand travel plan.

Keep in mind that the best places to go to in Thailand are really determined on what you like as a traveller.

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Central Thailand

Bangkok: Bangkok is the major hub of Thailand, the beating core of the country and it’s here that you will find the most hectic mix of markets, temples, busy streets and shopping malls. Bangkok is a very westernized city but not to the point that it doesn’t feel exotic. 

Ayutthaya: Ayutthaya is just north of Bangkok but you could spend time here if history is your calling. Ayutthaya was once the capital of the Kingdom of Siam but today it is filled with ruins of the past after it was attacked by the Burmese.

Northern Thailand

Chiang Mai: Chiang Mai is another big city but nothing like Bangkok. While things are still hectic (it is Southeast Asia!), Chiang Mai is more relaxed. There is a large expat and digital nomad community here as its cheap, there are many night markets and delicious food.

Stop in Chiang Mai is you like being in the city but having nature right on your doorstep.

Pai: Pai is a bit of a hippie village in northern Thailand that was first visited by backpackers. Today, it’s still popular with backpackers but it’s definitely getting busier.

The hippie and relaxed vibes are still present though with bars playing chill music with cushions to sit on the ground, one main street with a market and quiet nature surrounding the town in the mountains.

Chiang Rai: Chiang Rai is most known for the famous white temple. There isn’t too much here other than a few museums but it’s great if you want a city that is quieter. It’s also a great jumping off point to Laos and Myanmar as it’s close to both borders.

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Gulf of Thailand Islands

Koh Tao: Koh Tao is a small island that is very relaxed. Here you’ll be able to party the night away and be close to all of the action or be in your own private cove in a bungalow. The joy of this island is that it appeals to many kinds of travellers.

It’s the perfect place to chill out and is famous for some of the cheapest diving courses in the world.

Koh Phangan: Koh Phangan is the island next to Koh Tao and is larger, known for Thailand’s famous full moon parties. Even if you’re not here for the full moon you will have another party to attend.

That being said, it is possible to get away from the party scene. Yoga retreats are available on the island.

Koh Samui: Koh Samui is next to Koh Phangan and is known as a family-friendly island. It’s Thailand second largest island so you will need transportation to get around. Large luxurious resorts, yoga retreats and beaches with palm trees dot around the island. A big draw to Koh Samui is that it has an airport so it’s easy to get to.

Koh Chang: Koh Chang is for those who want to get off the beaten path. It requires a 5-hour drive from Bangkok which many choose to make but not nearly as many visit Koh Chang as the other islands.

What people love about Koh Chang is the nature with lots of dense jungle, a national park and secluded Thailand beaches.

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Andaman Coast  Islands

Phuket: Phuket is Thailand’s largest and most commonly visited island. The biggest bonus on this island is that is has an airport and it has something for everyone. Backpackers, families and luxury travellers can find accommodation here. There’s plenty of space to find quiet beaches but you will have to travel further as it is a popular island to visit. Shopping, entertainment, culture and markets are here.

Krabi: Though not an island, many travellers opt to travel to Krabi instead of Phuket for fewer crowds in this province. The area is stunning with towering limestone cliffs, many islands off the coast, rainforests and the famous places such as Railay and Tonsai.

Phi Phi Islands: The Phi Phi Islands are among the most well-known islands in all of Thailand. They are part of Krabi Province, just south of Phuket and popular for day trips. Phi Phi Don is the most popular and it has no roads and a totally laid-back vibe.

Koh Lanta: Koh Lanta is too apart of the Krabi Province and is home to a group of 52 islands, Koh Lanta Lai being the most popular. It attracts visitors because it is less visited with pristine resorts and stunning natural scenery with jungle, coral reefs and crystal clear waters.

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How Long to Spend in Thailand?

Generally, most people spend two weeks in Thailand which gives you the chance to see the central and northern Thailand along with one or two islands.

Travelling Thailand can be done in a week but I would recommend visiting only one or two islands, two cities or one city and one island.

Three weeks in Thailand would be ideal and you could for sure spend longer if you so desired (seriously I would stay that long for the food alone).

I hope you visit Thailand and enjoy it as much as I have and that this Thailand trip planner was helpful!

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2 Weeks In Thailand: A Detailed Thailand Itinerary and Trip Planner

Last updated: July 15, 2022 . Written by Laurence Norah - 27 Comments

I’ve travelled extensively in Thailand, and it’s easily one of my favourite countries in Asia – the friendly people, the excellent food, the relaxed vibe all make for a fantastic country to travel in.

I’ve written a great deal on Thailand already , but haven’t put together a suggested Thailand itinerary post, as I’ve done for other many other countries like Sri Lanka , the UK and New Zealand .

Time to change that! Here’s everything you need to know for the perfect 2 weeks in Thailand, including information on getting around, the food, cultural considerations, budget, where to stay in Thailand –  and lots more! Enjoy, and pop any questions in the comments at the end. Let’s get started.

2 Weeks in Thailand: A Detailed Thailand Itinerary

Days 1 – 3: bangkok.

Bangkok is one of those cities that seem to divide opinion. Personally, I love it . It’s vibrant, chaotic, and a feast for the senses. It’s a heck of an introduction to the country though, so prepare yourself. And, if you’re coming from somewhere a bit cooler, give yourself time to adjust to the humidity and heat, and be aware of the signs of dehydration .

monk thailand wat arun scaled

So, what to do in Bangkok? Well, lots! At the top of your list should be Wat Phra Kaeo and the Grand Palace . This is the number one sight in Bangkok, and for good reason. The walled compound contains both these sights, with the 19th century Grand Palace a fascinating mix of Western and Thai styles. Wat Phra Kaeo, which houses the Emerald Buddha, is generally regarded as the most important Buddhist temple in the country.

My favourite sight in Bangkok though is Wat Arun . Particularly beautiful at sunset, this temple consists of a huge prang, or tower, which soars to nearly 300ft in height – a part of which you can climb (although the stairs are fairly steep and terrifying!). It’s covered in porcelain and seashells, and is quite beautiful to behold.

There are many more temples in Bangkok, so you won’t be short of temples and Buddha statues. Some notable highlights include Wat Pho (the temple of the reclining Buddha) and Wat Saket (wonderfully situated on a mountain above the old city).

And, of course, there’s more to Bangkok than temples. Bangkok has fantastic nightlife and shopping, with some of the best rooftop bars in Thailand. I’m also a huge fan of the street food, which is plentiful, cheap, and generally safe to eat. If you’re want some tips on staying healthy when eating street food, check out this excellent guide to eating street food without getting sick from my friend Jodi.

Bangkok traffic night scene

Another attraction in Bangkok is the floating market – which is basically a street market without the streets, held in the canals and rivers of the city, with vendors plying their wares from their boats. Many of these markets have become tourist traps now rather than a place that locals go to do their shopping, but there are still some worth visiting. There’s an excellent list here to some of the floating markets worth visiting in Bangkok .

Other than that, my advice for Bangkok is to spend some time getting acclimatized, meeting people, wandering the streets, checking out the street vendors, and immersing yourself in the vibrant chaos that is this city.

You might also want to check out the Go City Bangkok Pass . This includes a number of attractions in Bangkok, as well as a tour to Ayutthaya. Worth checking out to see if it might save you money.

One last tip for Bangkok – taxis are generally reliable and widely available, as well as cost effective. You need to insist on the meter being put on before you get in though, and don’t be upset if they drive off – just wait for another taxi to turn up. Finally, be aware of the classic cheap tuk-tuk scam – it IS too good to be true, I assure you. You can read more about avoiding the common Thailand scams at the end of the post.

Where to stay in Bangkok

Bangkok is a large city, and there are a huge range of accommodation options to choose from. These range from budget friendly backpacker hotels through to five star luxury hotels, and everything in between.

Here are some suggestions to get you started across a range of price points, which are approximately ordered from budget to high end.

  • Baan U-Sabai Hostel  – Less than a mile from the popular Khao San road, this highly rated hostel offers great value rooms with shared bathrooms.
  • Siam Eco Hostel  – Found in Bangkok’s Phaya Thai district, this is a very highly rated hostel with air conditioned rooms, a shared kitchen and a shared lounge. Free breakfast is included.
  • Old Capital Bike Inn  -a good value well rated 3* hotel with individually styled air conditioned en-suite rooms. Breakfast is included, and it’s close to the Khao San road area
  • Inn a Day  – this well rated 4* hotel offers river side views and is just 650 yards from the Grand Palace. Air-conditioned rooms feature balconies and en-suite facilities, and breakfast is included
  • Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok  – a luxurious and well located 5* hotel with pools, a range of restaurants and spacious en-suite rooms
  • Mandarin Oriental Bangkok  – a spectacular high end 5* hotel with beautiful river views, on-site spa, high end restaurants, and wonderful rooms.

Of course, there are a great many more options in Bangkok to choose from! You can see listings for Bangkok on  Booking.com here ,  Hostelworld here , and Agoda here

Getting to Kanchanaburi from Bangkok

Your next stop on this 2 week tour of Thailand is the town of Kanchanaburi. This is around 100 miles west of Bangkok, and you have a few options for getting here.

First, you can take public transport. A train runs from Bangkok’s Thonburi station, and takes around 3 hours to Kanchanaburi. This was my preferred option as the scenery is lovely. Alternatively, you can take a public bus, with both minibuses and larger public buses making the route. These take around 2 hours, although it will vary depending on traffic.

You can also  hire a private transfer  that will take you from your accommodation in Bangkok to Kanchanaburi. This is obviously less hassle than navigating the public transport system and will save you time, with the downside that it will be slightly more expensive.

Another option is to take a tour from Bangkok. For example,  this 2 day tour  includes your transportation, overnight accommodation and visits all the major attractions in the area. A good option if you’d like everything to be arranged for you.

Finally, you might prefer to drive. It is possible to rent a car in Thailand, usually all you need is a valid driver’s license and an international driving permit. The traffic in and around the cities can be quite hectic, but outside of the cities the roads are usually pretty good, with road signs in both Thai and English.

For this itinerary though, I’d suggest that driving wouldn’t be my first choice, as the public transport system is easy to use and works well.

Days 4 – 6: Kanchanaburi

From Bangkok, my next recommended destination is Kanchanaburi . Whilst the name of the town might not instantly ring any bells, the river it sits on probably will, it’s the River Kwai, famous for its bridge, the story of which was turned into a film .

Bridge over river kwai

It was here during the second world war that thousands of allied prisoners of war were held by the Japanese and forced to construct a railway that was to link Thailand with Burma. This included the construction of the bridge and 415km of railway. The construction of the railway was very costly in terms of civilian life, both of Asian civilian labourers and Allied civil wars, with estimates of over 90,000 civilians and nearly 13,000 POW’s losing their lives.

Today there are a number of museums dedicated to the story of the railway, with the best in my opinion being the JEATH war museum, located in downtown Kanchanaburi, a few kilometres from the bridge itself. There are also the war cemeteries, home to the many who lost their lives here. Finally, you can also walk across the bridge itself, and take a ride on the death railway itself.

You might be wondering why I’ve scheduled three days in Kanchanaburi. Well, this was actually one of my favourite parts of Thailand, and one that is often overlooked – folks pop here for the Death Railway, but then don’t explore the other attractions. I’ve written a whole post to visiting Kanchanaburi , but in brief, make sure you take a day trip to the spectacular Erawan Falls, hit up the night market, visit the giant tree and visit a temple inside a cave.

Erawan Falls Kanchanburi

I’d also recommend staying at a guest house on the river. The sunsets are gorgeous, and as long as you’re not visiting over a weekend or other festival, it can be a very peaceful and relaxing experience.

Where to stay in Kanchanaburi

We stayed at the River Guesthouse ( here on Google Maps ) which was quiet, a short walk from the train station, and a bargain. We can’t find a website or a way to book this property online (we just turned up), although a phone number is listed on the Google Maps entry that you can try. It is quite “rustic” and definitely a budget option, but we enjoyed it.

Kanchanaburi is not a huge town in terms of population, but it is geographically spread out. There are three main locations – the northern area around the famous railway bridge, the area near the main train station which is around 1.5 miles along the bridge, and then the main part of the town which is 3 miles along the river from the bridge.

My recommendation is to stay in the area near the train station on the river. This puts you within an easy 30 minute walk (or short bike ride) of the main attractions, and you’ll also be near the night market that happens in the vicinity of the train station.

Here are some suggested accommodation options in this area, again ranging from budget to more expensive.

  • T & T Hostel  – this is a well reviewed and great value budget hostel location. It’s around a mile from the bridge and 750 yards from the train station, with a lovely riverside location. Both private and shared rooms are available.
  • Sam’s House Kanchanaburi  – this is a popular and well located great value three star property that features both raft house style accommodation and bungalows. There’s an on-site restaurant and a great value breakfast option is available.
  • Natee The Riverfront Hotel  – a very well reviewed 4* river front hotel around a mile from the famous bridge. Rooms are en-suite with tea/coffee making facilities, there are good river views and an on-site wellness centre with hot tub.
  • River Kwai View Hotel  – this 4* hotel is found 450 yards from the River Kwai bridge, making it a great option if you’d prefer to be close to this attraction. Rooms are air-conditioned, en-suite, and offer good views.
  • Dheva Mantra Resort  – if you’d prefer a resort option, this 5* property is a fantastic option. It’s a little way out of town, but features everything from a fitness centre through to on-site restaurants and a large landscaped pool.

Again, there are lots more options beyond the above. You can see listings for Kanchanaburi on  Booking.com here ,  Hostelworld here , and Agoda here .

Getting to Ayutthaya from Kanchanaburi

There’s no direct connection from Kanchanaburi to Ayutthaya. Your best option is to return to Bangkok. From here, there are a number of bus and train options, which will take around 2 hours to reach Ayutthaya.

Days 7 & 8: Ayutthaya

From Kanchanaburi I’d suggest heading to one of Thailand’s old capital cities. There are two main options to choose from, Ayutthaya and Sukhothai, and on a shorter trip like this, I think picking just one of these two will suffice.

They are slightly different in style – Ayutthaya consists of a series of temples and structures which exist inside today’s city, which is still vibrant and bustling. Sukhothai is more of a preserved city complex, with the old city remains standing around 12km from where the new city is.

Wat Phra si Sanset The Grand Palace Ayutthaya Thailand

Ayutthaya is also closer to Bangkok, being only a couple of hours or so north, so it’s a little easier to get to, with frequent buses and trains. Sukhothai is a seven hour bus ride from Bangkok, so requires a bit more effort. That’s why, for this itinerary, I’m recommending Ayutthaya.

There is a lot to see in Ayutthaya. At a time, this was the largest city in the world, with over a million inhabitants, and despite the city being burnt to the ground by the Burmese in the 18th century, a lot has survived.

Wat Ratchaburana Prang Ayutthaya Thailand doorway large 2

Again, I have a whole post on the highlights of Ayutthaya , which should give you plenty of ideas for your visit as well as tips on accommodation and getting around. As a quick summary though, be sure to visit Wat Phra Mahathat, Wat Phra Si Sanphet, Wat Chaiwatthanaram and Wat Buddhaisawan.

For your accommodation in Ayutthaya, see listings on booking.com here .

Days 9 & 10: Khao Sok

Now it’s time to head south, to one of my favourite spots in Thailand – Khao Sok National Park. This place is, for some reason, not well visited, but it is truly unlike anywhere else I visited in the country.

Set up in 1980, the park consists of a large man made lake, surrounded by Thailand’s largest virgin rainforest.

This forest is home to all sorts of creatures, from elephant to bear – although sighting them in the wild is quite the challenge! It’s also famously home to the Raffelsia Kerrii, one of the largest flowers in the world, which can have flowers up to a meter in diameter! They also smell absolutely terrible in order to attract flies, which carry the pollen.

Sighting one of these flowers is a definite highlight of a visit, although as they only flower for a week or so, you have to be fairly lucky.

Long tail boat Khao Sok lakehouse

My highlight of Khao Sok National Park though was the visit to the lakehouse. At time of writing, there are around 16 properties to choose from, all of which offer roughly the same sort of thing – a series of floating bungalows on the gorgeous Cheow Lan lake, where you’ll be surrounded by limestone karsts and beautiful jungles, with the lake being the perfect temperature for a swim.

I’d say that Cheow Lan lake should be the number one priority for any visitor to Thailand, that’s how much I enjoyed it there. To visit, you need to book in advance as you need to get a boat to the lakehouse. We stayed at Smiley’s Lakehouse which offered reasonable accommodation including en-suite facilities. There are quite a few lake house options to choose from depending on your budget, so take a look and see what works for you.

Khao sok lake reflection limestone karsts watermark scaled

We also stayed in the jungle, at Smiley’s Bungalows , who arranged the lake house and transfers. Here we went trekking in the jungle, learnt all about leeches, and relaxed. Also, when at Smiley’s Bungalows, do try the Jungle Massaman curry – it’s excellent!

Getting to Khao Sok can be a bit tricky – the train line can get very busy so you definitely need to book in advance. Many guest houses will pick you up from the nearest station (Surat Thani). There are also minibuses here from various locations around Thailand, and both a bus and plane service from Bangkok. Read more on the options from around Thailand here , and be sure to book in advance for whichever option you choose.

You can read more about my thoughts on visiting both the Cheow Lan Lake in Khao Sok National Park and Khao Sok jungle .

Where to stay in Khao Sok National Park

There are two main locations for accommodation in Khao Sok National Park. There’s Khao Sok village, which is home to a range of hotels, guesthouses and restaurants. This is also where you’ll find the Khao Sok National Park headquarters. Here are some options in Khao Sok.

  • Sunshine Khao Sok Hostel  – at the budget end of the spectrum is this highly rated and great value hostel. Rooms are air-conditioned and feature mountains views, with shared facilities. Breakfast is also available.
  • Khaosok Good View Resort  – this is a great value well rated hotel with private en-suite rooms that feature balconies and jungle views. There’s also a pool and on-site restaurant.
  • The Bliss Khao Sok Boutique Lodge  – this boutique hotel features comfortable en-suite rooms with air-conditioning and terraces. There’s also a restaurant and bar.
  • Khao Sok Jasmine Garden Resort  – this 3* resort features a pool and restaurant. Accommodation is in en-suite air-conditioned bungalows.

The other main area where you can stay is around Cheow Lan Lake, where you’ll find the lake house resorts. This would be my recommended place to stay. The scenery is beautiful, staying in a floating lake house is a unique experience, and it’s a wonderful opportunity to disconnect from the world.

There are around 15 lake hotels where you can stay the night and these need to be booked in advance. Here are some options to choose from.

They vary from very basic through to more luxurious options, and as always, we’d advise reading reviews before booking to avoid disappointment. It’s also worth being aware that many properties do not have cell coverage or WiFi reception, and might require payments in cash.

  • Keereetara  – this is one of the lakehouses which is closer to the pier. It offers good value accommodation with breakfast included.
  • Keereewarin  – comfortable cabins at a reasonable price with good reviews. Breakfast is included
  • Panvaree Resort  – this lake house resort offers a number of accommodation options, which include individual floating cabins. All rooms are air-conditioned, breakfast is included, and the reviews are good
  • 500 Rai Floating Resort – if you’re looking for the best, this is the lake house to go for. The air-conditioned floating bungalows are large and spacious and some come with hot tubs! It is the most expensive option, but reviews suggest it is worth it.

Days 11 – 14: Beaches

Ok, from Khao Sok it’s time to hit up the gorgeous beaches of Thailand for your last four days. Where you go next is really up to the sort of style of beach you’re looking for. If you’re into resorts, people, and partying, then hop on the four hour minibus down to Phuket and go nuts.

View from roof of Nern Chalet Hua Hin Beach Thailand

Or, for a quieter experience, head to Thai Mueang, about an hour north of Phuket, where the beaches are generally silent and the guesthouses quiet.

Sunset Trang

You could also head further down the coast, either to somewhere like Krabi or Ko Lanta, or head even further down to Trang, which is more popular with Thai tourists and offers gorgeous beaches, easy access to quieter islands and fantastic sunsets. Read more about my Trang experiences here.

As you can see, plenty of options, and something to suit everyone!

2 Week Thailand Itinerary Map

Here’s a map of the destinations visited for reference, which you can see on Google Maps here.

2 Week Thailand Itinerary Map

Thailand Itinerary Summary

  • 3 Days : Bangkok
  • 2 Days: Kanchanaburi
  • 2 Days: Ayutthaya
  • 2 Days: Khao Sok
  • 4 Days: Beaches in the south

Locations to consider adding to your Thailand Itinerary

There is a lot to do and see in Thailand, even if most folks do seem to gravitate towards Phuket and surrounds. Not that there’s anything wrong with this – Thailand has fantastic beaches and gorgeous weather – but there is a lot more to the country than many see.

In case the above Thailand itinerary doesn’t check all your boxes, or you were looking for a longer itinerary (or you just want to try and pack more in!), here are some more of my favourite Thailand destinations for you to think about adding to your itinerary.

Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Pai

If you’re looking for less of a beach experience and more mountains, forests and temples, then head north to Thailand’s hill country. Here you’ll find the town of Chiang Mai, where many foreigners base themselves long term thanks to the nice climate, sizeable community, fast internet and low cost of living. There’s a fantastic night market here, arguably the best smoothie cart in the world , a gorgeous temple on the hill, and if you like national parks, Doi Inthanon isn’t far away.

Temple Chiang Mai

Head even further north and you’ll find Pai. This is a gorgeous little mountain town that many a traveller has fallen deeply in love with .

Finally, right near the top of the country is Chiang Rai, inside the infamous golden triangle. Chiang Rai is particularly noteworthy – as well as for the opium trade – for two temples: the White Temple of Chiang Rai , and the Black Temple of Chiang Rai . These are two different but entirely epic temples / art installations, both of which are very much worth the journey north alone.

White temple Thailand

This one is going to take you to the East of Thailand, where far fewer visitors head. It’s worth the effort though, because this part of Thailand is quite different, with more influence from the Khmer empire, meaning the temples here have more in common with places like Angkor Wat than the rest of Thailand. In fact, Phanom Rung , my favourite of all the temples in Thailand, was built by the Khmer empire before they built Angkor Wat.

Naga Phanom Rung

There’s more to do than visit a temple on a volcano though. There’s the lotus pond enclosed Prasat Muang Tam, the silk weaving village of Amphoe Na Pho and the Lower Northeastern Cultural Centre, where you can learn all about the history of the region.

You can read more about visiting this part of Thailand in my post on Buriram , plus you should read about Khao Yai National Park , which is in a similar direction and is one of the better places in Thailand to see elephant in the wild.

As I mentioned earlier, Sukhothai is one of Thailand’s ancient capital cities, and a UNESCO world heritage site. The old city is separate from the new city, and you can wander the ruins and explore the temples, trying to imagine what it must have been like in its heyday.

Two wats one statue hdr

The complex is large, so you can easily spend at least a day here, and as it’s quite a way north of Bangkok (7 hours by train), is worth adding to your itinerary only if you’re already heading to somewhere like Chiang Mai – it makes a handy stopping point on the way.

Sukhothai is particularly popular during the Loi Krathong festival, when thousands of people come to see the city in all its splendour. We visited during Loi Krathong, so check out the post on visiting Sukhothai during Loi Krathong for more information.

Similan Islands

Thailand is famous for its islands, and rightly so, with an overwhelming collection of paradise like palm fringed options to choose from.

So, to say that the Similan Islands are arguably some of the best islands that Thailand has to offer is high praise indeed. Rated as one of the best dive sites in the world, the real draw here is the snorkelling and diving. The water has unbelievable visibility, is lovely and warm, and there’s a plethora of marine life to see.

Inflatable boat Similan islands Thailand

You can also stay on the islands, which is what we did, meaning you can experience them when they are a little quieter and the day trippers have left. Or, you can do a live aboard option on a boat, which tends to be more suited to divers. Read a fellow bloggers experience of diving the Similar Islands here , and check out my thoughts on our two day Similan Islands visit here , which includes tips on getting there, where to stay, and approximate costs.

Last but not least in my list of options to consider is the city of Songkhla. This was my favourite of all the cities we visited in Thailand, despite it not being that well known to tourists. It’s on the south east coastline of Thailand, around 1000km from Bangkok, and has strong Malay and Chinese influences.

Temple songkhla thailand

It has gorgeous beaches, a free tram tour of the town, giant statues of a mouse and a cat, an excellent night market and a really laid back vibe. If you’re looking for somewhere a bit different, away from the well trodden path, then Songkhla is definitely worth a visit. You can read in detail my experiences and advice for visiting Songkhla in this post .

How Much Does it Cost to Travel in Thailand?

Thailand really is a country where you can spend as much or as little as you like. It’s not the cheapest of the countries in the region, but it certainly isn’t expensive by any stretch of the imagination. You can get a private room in the region of $5 – $10 per day, food shouldn’t cost more than $1 – $3 a meal, and then you’ve got transportation, water, sight-seeing and beer (around $1 – $2 a beer generally).

waterfall khao yai national park thailand scaled

Of course, you can go crazy and spend a lot more, and if you’re on a tighter timetable, you might find yourself flying rather than using slower buses, but overall, Thailand can easily be achieved on a budget of $30 – $50 per day. I could go on, but my friend Matt has put together an incredibly detailed guide to budgeting for Thailand , which you should definitely read.

Why Should You Visit Thailand?

Thailand is a fantastic country to visit, particularly if this is your first trip to Asia. It’s an easy country to travel in, with friendly and welcoming people. It’s also relatively easy on the wallet – perhaps not as cheap as other parts of Asia, but certainly very much in the budget category.

Two Week Thailand Itinerary Post

In terms of sight-seeing, Thailand has attractions to suit all manner of tastes. There’s everything from jungles and lake houses , through to snorkelling opportunities , extinct volcanoes, wild elephants , mountainous national parks , war memorials , incredible temples , and of course, unbelievable beaches and islands .

And I’ve not even mentioned the food!

The other thing about Thailand is that despite it being a very popular destination, the majority of tourists tend to visit a small number of hotspots, like Krabi, Phuket, and a few of the islands. This means that you can still visit Thailand and not feel overwhelmed by visitors if you pick your locations wisely. I’ll be going through a host of options in this post to give you ideas for your trip, but first:

When Should You Visit Thailand?

Whilst Thailand can be visited year round, there are times of year where the climate is more pleasant than others.

Thailand has a tropical climate, with a wet season and a dry season. The dry season is between November and March. Temperatures will be pleasant at this time of year, and it won’t rain so much. The rainy season is April through October, with the hottest part of the year between March and May, when the rain can make rural areas more inaccessible, and the temperatures can be hot and humid.

sunset temple thailand scaled

If you’re travelling more on a budget, then be aware the prices will be higher in the November – March time as this is the most popular time to visit, and prices will be a little lower in the off-season.

How To Get Around Thailand

There are a number of options for getting around Thailand. I predominantly travelled on long distance buses , which are very reasonable priced and often end up being faster than the train. These go from major transport hubs in cities and towns around the country, and usually run to a schedule.

Long tail Boat thailand trang scaked

There are also minibuses. These can be faster than the scheduled buses, but can also be more cramped, so I’d suggest using these for shorter journeys. Do be careful when at transport hubs as the minivan companies keep an eye out for tourists looking lost and will try to “help” you by selling you a ticket on their service rather than the long distance bus you were looking for.

This happened to me on the way north from Trang to Phuket, and whilst I didn’t pay any more, and I suspect it was quicker, the journey wasn’t very comfortable. If you want to take a long distance bus, go to a ticket counter at a bus station to be sure!

Trains also run throughout the country, with the overnight trains up to Chiang Mai, and down the east coast to Hat Yai and beyond being particularly popular. Trains are generally reliable and good value, with various classes available – check out this excellent guide to train travel in Thailand for more information.

Trang train station Thailand

You can also fly around Thailand, which is particularly suitable if you’re on a tight timetable and want to see as much as possible with minimal travel downtime. It’s obviously the more expensive option, but if your time is important, is definitely going to get you places quicker. Options include AirAsia, Bangkok Airways, Nok Air, Thai Airways and Thai Smile. You can check and compare prices on flights in Thailand here .

If you’re looking to plan your travel around Thailand, I’ve found that the planning tool Rome2Rio does a great job of comparing all the options available to give you ideas of times and costs.

What to Eat in Thailand

Ok, to be honest, this would be a whole post in itself. Thai food is seriously amazing, and varies wildly across the country. In my experience, the further south I went, the spicier the food became, with the Yellow curry in the far south being eye wateringly hot.

Thai food

Some highlights of Thai cuisine include Pad Thai, Khao Soi (unique to the north), green, red and yellow curries, som thai and my absolute favourite, Mango Sticky Rice. In reality though, it’s hard to go wrong, pretty much all Thai food is fantastic.

Here’s a bit more reading to give you some more ideas (I told you the food of Thailand would be a post in itself!).

  • Nomadic Matt’s Guide to the Best Thai Food You Can Eat
  • Migrationology’s guide to 100 Thai Dishes to Eat in Bangkok
  • The BBC Good Food guide to the Top 10 Dishes in Thailand
  • Awesomewave’s 23 Weird and Wonderful Foods to Eat in Thailand

Those should give you some ideas of what lies ahead!

Where to Stay in Thailand

Thailand has accommodation options to suit everyone, from swish luxury hotels through to backpacker hostels – and everything in between. Prices vary depending on the popularity of the location, with Bangkok generally being more expensive than the rest of the country. You can start your property search here .

Chiang Mai hostel room 1

In Bangkok, we enjoyed the private rooms and atmosphere at the Lub D hostels, and tried out both their Siam Square and Silom locations. These aren’t the cheapest options in Bangkok, but they are both excellent. Across the rest of the country we stayed in everything from river houses to resorts , to homestays to more upmarket properties . Generally, prices were excellent, and the quality was high.

If you’re looking for accommodation in Thailand, you will have plenty of choice, whatever your budget. Here are our tips for getting the best prices:

  • We usually use booking.com when travelling to get the best deals – they have a wide range of listings and usually have great prices. You can see listings for Thailand here .
  • If you can’t find what you want on booking.com, or you want some new options to try out, we have a post to help you find the best alternatives to AirBnB .

Between these options, you should find the best prices and places to stay for your trip, as well as a good selection of reviews and feedback to help you make an informed decision.

Plenty of ways to save money right there. Now, let’s look at some:

Other Practicalities for Travelling in Thailand

Cultural considerations in thailand.

Thailand is not a particularly tough country to travel in, and the people are very friendly, but there are a few cultural considerations to bear in mind.

Firstly, feet are considered very dirty, and you should never put your feet up on something, move objects with your feet, or touch anyone with your feet.

On the flip side, the head is considered the most sacred part of someone’s body, so touching someone’s head is also not considered polite.

Golden buddha golden triangle

Speaking of bodies, Thai people are generally quite modest. If you visit a beach popular with Thai people, it’s not unusual to see them swimming in jeans and a t-shirt – western swimwear is considered fairly immodest, and going topless or nude is definitely frowned upon.

The Royal family is almost a taboo subject in Thailand, as insulting the King or the family of the King is a reason to be jailed. Overall I found it was best not to bring up the royal family at all. In addition, as with icons of the Buddha, imagery of the King is also to be treated with respect. Don’t forget that the Thai currency has images of the King on it, so you have to treat it with care as well.

In terms of handling situations when things go wrong, it is considered seriously impolite to cause a Thai person to lose face, and aggressiveness is not welcomed. So if you have any problems, you need to try to stay calm and polite throughout – this will likely get you a much more positive result.

I’ve only ever experienced one incident of a Thai person losing their cool, and that nearly ended quite badly. You can read all about that experience here . Overall though, we had a fantastic time in Thailand, found the people friendly and welcoming, and didn’t have any negative experiences. For more do’s and don’t in Thailand, check out this excellent article .

Internet Access in Thailand

Thailand has ubiquitous internet access, with good WiFi hotspots available throughout the country, usually at blazing fast speeds. There’s also excellent 3G and 4G coverage across the country, with pay as you go SIM cards available for very reasonable prices.

To get an idea of what’s available, take a look at this page, which lists all the pay as you go options for Thailand , with a focus on data prices. For more on information on connecting to the web when you travel, see my guide to getting online when travelling .

Power Outlets in Thailand

Thailand uses a 220v system, so if you are travelling from the US you need to be sure your devices support this standard. Most chargers these days automatically switch voltages and you don’t need to buy new chargers, just check it’s rated for 220v on the label.

Socket wise, Thailand confusingly has two types of socket, one with round holes that matches most European style plugs, and a two pin flat plug that will match a US two pin plug.

Your best bet is to pick up a universal travel adaptor and a power strip , thus ensuring you don’t have any power issues.

Vaccinations and Health in Thailand

Thailand is a generally safe country to travel in, but there are a few vaccination requirements you should be aware of. The majority of tourist illnesses in Thailand tend to be from contaminated water, so it’s generally wise to only drink bottled or sterilized water, and to avoid salad and ice cubes (either of which may have been washed or made with tap water).

Rabies is present in Thailand, although mostly only in remote areas. It exists in bats and dogs, and Thailand has no shortage of street dogs. Check out our guide to keeping safe around street dogs in Thailand , but generally, you should have no reason to be vaccinated against rabies unless you’re travelling or working in a high risk area.

Sunset street dog

Malaria and other insect borne diseases like Zika and Dengue Fever also exist in Thailand. The best way to avoid getting these diseases is to use bug spray, and to cover up at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are likely to be present. You should also consult with a doctor as to whether or not your trip will warrant taking anti-malarials.

For more health advice on Thailand, including a run down of the vaccinations you should require, take a look at the UK’s health service guidance , and the US CDC guidance . And finally, don’t trust a blog post as the definitive guide for your health advice – go to a qualified medical practitioner and get them to advise you!

Common scams in Thailand

Like every country in the world , Thailand has a few common tourist scams to watch our for. These aren’t particularly complicated, and are mostly in Bangkok or other major tourist destinations.

The two most popular scams are the tuk tuk scam and the closed temple scam.

The tuk-tuk scam will involve a tuk tuk driver offering to take you anywhere you want to go for a mind bogglingly low price, say 20 baht. After you get in, you’ll find yourself being taken on a tour of all sorts of second-rate temples, jewellery shops, tour companies, clothing shops and so on, where various sales tactics will be used to try and sell you generally overpriced and poor quality goods and services.

In a worst case scenario, you’ll find yourself left far away from where you started, with a challenging route home, and a day of your time wasted. This is an easy one to avoid – just don’t take a tuk tuk offering you some incredible deal!

The other regular trick attempted on tourists is for someone to stand outside of a perfectly open temple or other attraction, and tell tourists that it’s closed. Conveniently, the person will know another temple, a short tuk-tuk ride away, that is open! Once on the tuk tuk, you’ll find yourself taking a familiar sounding tour of various jewellery shops, clothing shops.. well, you’ve heard this all before. Yes, attractions close, but be sure it’s actually closed by going to the entrance before believing the helpful local.

Temple Thailand sunset scaled

For more on a scam like this, how it works and what to look out for read this fellow bloggers account of being scammed in Thailand , which should give you all the information you need to stay safe.

Overall though, Thailand is a very safe country to travel in, and despite my best efforts, I was never scammed . Just apply some common sense, and remember, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Further Reading and Information for your Thailand Itinerary Planning

There’s a wealth of information on visiting Thailand on our site . Here are some of our more relevant posts to check out.

  • A guide to dealing with street dogs in Thailand
  • A guide to visiting Ayutthaya
  • A guide to what to do in Kanchanaburi
  • A guide to the beautiful Khao Sok National Park

And that just about sums up my guide to visiting Thailand for two weeks, as well as everything you might need to know to make the best of your trip! If you’ve got any thoughts on feedback on this post, or ideas for where you’d recommend, do pop them in the comments below!

An Itinerary for a two week Thailand trip, including ideas on what to see, what to eat, where to go, how to get around, where to stay and more!

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There are 27 comments on this post

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17th September 2019 at 9:54 am

Hi! Great post, I was actually deciding which Asian country I should visit next and your itinerary and its description made me choose Thailand. Now I’m working out the fine details to make sure the trip goes well and I’m curious about one thing – you recommend going from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi, which seems pretty easy. And then from Kanchanaburi to Ayutthaya, that’s a bit more confusing for me. How did you travel between the two? Did you go back to Bangkok and then to Ayutthaya? Or is there some direct bus/train/whatever I’m missing? I sincerely hope you haven’t written it anywhere yet – if you did, feel free to call me a blind idiot and just direct me kindly to it.

Laurence Norah says

17th September 2019 at 11:07 am

Yep, back to Bangkok and then up was the easiest way – most connections are easiest through Bangkok. It’s also possible you might be able to find a direct bus between the two locations at the bus stop, but my experience finding accurate bus timetables for Thailand is that it’s hard to do so online, personally I just prefer to ask locally at the bus station 🙂

Have a great trip!

10th June 2019 at 6:25 pm

Hi Laurence and Jessica,

Thank you for sharing your experiences here – so informative and inspiring!

We (family x4, 2 kids aged 7 & 11) are heading to Thailand for 2 weeks in August this year. Itinerary plans at the moment are: Bangkok for 2 nights; night train to Surat Thani; 1-2 nights at Khao Sok (including 1 night in a lake house); 6-7 nights island hopping Koh Samui/Koh Phangan/Koh Tao; fly to Chiang Mai for 2 nights there, then; night train back to Bangkok before heading home. As we’re there during the wet/monsoon season, we wanted to be able to plan around the weather so I had been thinking we’d just book the first couple of nights in Bangkok from home, then book everything up once we got there (that’s the way we did it when I was last backpacking in SE Asia, 20 years ago!) But I’ve been more and more thinking that the internet and sites like booking.com may mean places get booked up, and that you don’t necessarily get a better price on foot? As we’re only there for a couple of weeks, we won’t be able to afford to wait for a few days if transport/lake houses are fully booked…

As you can see, I’m in a bit of a quandry, so any advice you have would be very gratefully received!

with thanks in advance,

10th June 2019 at 6:38 pm

So, it’s a question of balancing peace of mind against cost 😉 Thailand is certainly a popular destination, and you will find that lots of places will book up online. Costs in person might end up being slightly cheaper, but then you can lose time trying to find a place if it’s not available. Given the relatively small saving that you are likely talking about, it’s probably worth just booking in advance.

My advice for the popular destinations, or those where you don’t necessarily have the time to tramp around finding somewhere, like Khao Sok, would be to definitely book in advance. If you use something like booking.com, it will often come with free cancellation. Then you have the option to cancel closer to the time, if you discover that places are much cheaper in person when you are on the ground.

I hope this helps! As someone who used to play everything by ear, and now books in advance as a rule, I certainly know the shift in mindset this takes. But I decided I preferred to know I have somewhere to stay, and also not to have to waste time on my trip looking for accommodation – it’s a lot easier to do the research ahead of the fact these days, instead of relying on a dog-eared Lonely Planet 😉

10th June 2019 at 6:52 pm

Hi Laurence,

An amazingly speedy reply – thank you! And thank you too, for your advice. I’ve a couple more questions if that’s OK? 1. Are the buses safe these days? From memory they used to be quite dicey! 2. Can you recommend a site for booking bus/train tickets from the UK in advance?

Many thanks again,

10th June 2019 at 7:26 pm

I do my best to reply quickly depending on our travel schedule 😉

So, to your first point, well, it depends how you define safe! I would say they are generally safe, although of course individual drivers may be more or less cautious on the roads. In terms of being safe on the bus, I’d say yes, just keep your valuables with you, don’t accept drinks from strangers, etc.

I’d also say to try to book your tickets in the actual bus stations from the ticket counters for the formal buses, rather than the slightly less formal minivans. Of course, for some routes you may have no choice but to take a minivan, and whilst they can be quicker, in my experience they are a lot less comfortable, there’s limited luggage space, and the drivers are definitely something else 🙂

I’ve never used a site for booking bus tickets online in advance. I am aware of some, such as Bookaway or 12goasia, but I can’t personally recommend them having not used them. I never had a problem turning up and getting a ticket to be honest, and if you have any issues your hotel or hostel will likely be able to handle the booking for you as well.

I hope this helps!

11th June 2019 at 6:39 pm

Really helpful, thank you Laurence!

Agness says

1st January 2019 at 12:16 pm

Hi Laurence, this article is really the best. The detailed itinerary is very helpful. Thanks

1st January 2019 at 6:04 pm

Hey Agness, my pleasure 🙂 I hope you have fun in Thailand!

Paul Leiboviz says

5th November 2018 at 4:47 pm

Can you recommend any travel agents/outfitters that would build a travel package following the itinerary/route that you experienced, if the traveller does not want to spend the time to make all the ground logistics such as lodgings, tour operators, transfers etc. ??? Thanks I Advance

5th November 2018 at 8:49 pm

We don’t personally know any operators in Thailand who will build custom itineraries, although I’m sure they exist! For a group tour you could try someone like Intrepid Travel , but we’re not sure about private tours. Sorry not to be of more help!

Kate Lubinski says

30th October 2018 at 3:32 pm

your article really makes me put Thailand in my top 3 destinations for next year! I have a friend who recently went diving there, she absolutely loved Koh Tao and its Sail Rock and generally the whole country – she spent three weeks there, so jealous! can’t wait so see all these gorgeous places myself, your photos give me so much wanderlust!!!!

30th October 2018 at 3:34 pm

Thanks Kate – I hope you get out there next year!

13th November 2018 at 3:52 pm

thank you! I’m already working out a potential budget, you can never start too early with planning a trip to some gorgeous, but faraway places.

8th August 2018 at 4:29 pm

Hey Laurence and Jessica, thank you for this post! I’m planning to visit Thailand next year and will be travelling by train only. I was just wondering, did you just travel by bus all the time or bus and train?

8th August 2018 at 4:31 pm

Thanks Liz! We did a mix of the two. To be honest, bus is easier as there are more roads than train lines, but you should be able to do most of the country by train quite easily still 🙂 Have a great trip!

Lisa Campy says

4th April 2018 at 2:06 am

Laurence and Jessica, Thank you for your post. I’ve been ruminating on a Thailand itinerary for several weeks now and when I found your site, it really helped me narrow down my plans. I can’t wait to dig in a little more to your hyperlinks. I’m planning the vacation for a family of four, all adults and all very active. I think I’ve landed on an itinerary of Bangkok, Chiang May, and Khao Sok. Although we have two weeks, when I consider the time we will lose in travel, it really amounts to around 11 days. I am currently working with some tour operators to get some pricing. I’m a little hesitant because as I’ve shopped around, I’ve read on a few sites how you don’t really need to book everything in advance and will get much better pricing if I wait………however, the responsibility of the trip will really fall on my shoulders, I’m a planner, and I’d prefer not to have worry about figuring out what do when I get there. My question is that the pricing that I am getting for my itinerary is around $3500 per person including local flights but not the international. For the most part it includes most meals, guides, hotel etc. Does this seem reasonable?

4th April 2018 at 10:21 am

Hi Lisa! It’s hard to say exactly because I don’t know what your travel style is (luxury or budget), but I’d say that either way, that does seem somewhat high for Thailand. You can get accommodation from $15-30 a night for a double with en-suite, and $100 would be pretty high end. Meals are really cheap, like $5 – $10 per person. I haven’t flown internally, but again, I don’t think flights are that expensive. So given your costs are per person, I think that is somewhat high.

My advice is definitely just to do everything yourself, you can book pretty much everything in advance online yourself if you want to, but yes, for the most part you are unlikely to need to book much in advance. But if you do, the links in my post, or on the travel resources page ( https://www.findingtheuniverse.com/travel-resources/ ) should cover everything you want to know.

My tip would be to use those tools initially to get a feel for pricing, then you can see how much the tour agents are adding on!

Have a wonderful trip, and if you’ve not been to Thailand before, please read up on the more common scams so you can identify and avoid them 🙂

20th March 2018 at 9:28 am

Thanks for this well articulated post Norah.. can’t wait to go there!!

21st March 2018 at 11:26 am

My pleasure – have a great time in Thailand!

Sue Horton-Smith says

21st January 2018 at 10:35 am

When I was planning two weeks in Thailand, I came upon your blog and, now that I have returned from my travels, I am writing to thank you for the excellent recommendations you made! I found your blog both inspiring and helpful and I appreciated the information you shared about yourselves and your interests; finding that your interests were similar to mine suggested that I could trust your recommendations, which turned out to be the case. I was travelling with my daughter and her partner. We read your blog, did further research and then booked our holiday. Shortly before setting off, I re-read your blog and realised the extent to which we had taken up your suggestions – I worried that we’d placed too much trust in you! But I didn’t need to worry! We followed your advice about staying in Ayutthaya and loved it! We stayed in Khao Sok and went hiking in the rainforest (day and night time hikes), spent a night on a floating raft house on Cheow Lan Lake, and then we headed to the beach on the far south of Ko Lanta, where we stayed in bungalows practically on the beach. The whole holiday was amazing, and gave us opportunities to explore history, culture and the natural world, to be active on land and in the water and to capture some of the beauty on camera. I’m writing this to reassure other readers that your recommendations are spot on! I also want to add one or two pieces of information that I would have found helpful. The Thai people I encountered were incredibly helpful and we managed to get to and from even fairly hard-to-get-to places without too much difficulty. Mosquitoes were far less of a problem than I expected, both in the rainforest and at the lake. I was a little concerned to find that our lake house had no mosquito nets and that the windows didn’t close, until our guide explained that there were no mosquitoes at the lake. Smiley’s Raft Houses are fairly basic, but do have en suite facilities; I’d imagined having to pick my way to dry land by torchlight if I had to go to the loo in the night, but there was no need. In addition, the food provided at Smiley’s was plentiful and delicious. We did need decent trainers or walking sandals to hike up the river and through the cave, but it was possible to borrow some suitable rubber plimsolls at Smiley’s. We also needed dry bags for the hike (just for camera, phone etc., because we’d left our overnight bags at the raft house) and these needed to have a shoulder strap so both hands were free for negotiating difficult bits of the hike. However, we were able to borrow these from Morning Mist and they were also available to buy in Khao Sok. I was a bit unsure about going through the cave and decided to take a shorter hike, where we went about 100 metres into the cave rather than going through it for 800 metres. This meant we were only wading through water up to our crotch, rather than up to our neck, and we still got a good sense of the cave. The whole raft house experience was utterly amazing – swimming in the lake right from your raft house was blissful – but grab the opportunity – the itinerary is pretty packed! And be sure to take a phone and set an early alarm – I got some great photos of dawn light over the lake, and then more photos of sunrise over the lake as we set off on a morning boat ride. Final tip – the slightest hint of a breeze sends masses of spray into the boat, so quick-drying walking gear is the best bet and a cover for your rucksack. If you’re reading Laurence and Jessica’s blog and are feeling tempted to follow in their footsteps, go for it!

21st January 2018 at 11:09 am

First, thanks so much for leaving such a detailed comment, and also for letting us know that the itinerary was helpful for your trip- this kind of feedback really makes us so happy and makes it all worth it! I love that you stayed at Smiley’s in Khao Sok, that was one of our absolute favourite spots in all of Thailand, such a peaceful place. Thanks also for your additional information, it’s awesome to have input from people who have done this as well. Pleased to hear the mosquitoes weren’t too much trouble 😀

Safe travels, and thanks again for stopping by – it means a lot to us 🙂

Laurence & Jessica

Shimona @ Sidecar Photo says

10th August 2016 at 2:34 am

Can’t wait to go there and now I know where to go 🙂 Beautiful photos by the way.

Jhon jaka says

3rd August 2016 at 8:44 am

Wonderful view

Maria Han says

28th July 2016 at 6:40 am

Wonderful post. Thailand is in our list and we are going there because of those enigmatic beaches and Thai food, obviously. 🙂

Laurence says

28th July 2016 at 8:59 am

Perfect reasons if you ask me 🙂

Katie @ Tea Break Project says

17th July 2016 at 9:52 pm

Super useful – thanks! Thailand is on my ‘to visit’ list, so pinned this for reference. I always find it really difficult to start off planning a trip, because the possibilities always seem so endless – so this will definitely come in handy 🙂

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Greta's Travels

Thailand 2-Week Itinerary: How To Spend 2 Weeks In Thailand

Posted on Last updated: January 15, 2024

Need help planning your two-week Thailand trip? You’ve come to the right place!

Having visited Thailand three times now, each time for different periods of times, I’ve been able to travel the country extensively and see different parts of it every time.

It’s a country I love very much and can highly recommend to everyone. I love the cuisine, the friendly locals, the pristine beaches and stunning natural landscapes.

If it’s your first time planning a trip to Thailand, this ultimate Thailand two-week itinerary is perfect for you. It covers a little bit of everything – a good mix of cities, culture, history, nature and the beautiful Thai beaches.

If you want to spend 2 weeks in Thailand and be sure to have an all-rounded and great experience, this is the 2-week itinerary for you.

  • 1.1 Day 1: Arrive in Bangkok
  • 1.2 Day 2: Explore the temples in Bangkok
  • 1.3 Day 3: Visit the floating and railway markets
  • 1.4 Day 4: Fly to Chiang Mai
  • 1.5 Day 5: Spend a day with elephants at Elephant Nature Park
  • 1.6 Day 6: Travel to Chiang Rai & go temple hunting
  • 1.7 Day 7: More temples & return to Chiang Mai
  • 1.8 Day 8: Fly to Phuket & relax in Patong
  • 1.9 Day 9: Island hopping in Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island
  • 1.10 Day 10: Do a boat tour to Koh Yao Noi
  • 1.11 Day 11: Travel to the Surin Islands
  • 1.12 Day 12: Relax in the Surin Islands
  • 1.13 Day 13: Back to Phuket
  • 1.14 Day 14: Back to Bangkok & fly home
  • 2.1 Currency
  • 2.2 Cuisine
  • 2.3 Best times to visit Thailand
  • 2.4 How to get around Thailand
  • 2.5 Essentials to pack for 2 weeks in Thailand

Island hopping with a typical wooden long tail boat in the Phi Phi Islands, Thailand

Island hopping with a typical wooden long tail boat in the Phi Phi Islands, Thailand

How to spend 2 weeks in Thailand

Day 1: arrive in bangkok.

Even if your flight lands late, there are still tons of things you can do in Bangkok at night . You could start your 2 weeks in Thailand with a chill evening at the Chatuchak night market .

This is one of the most iconic markets in Thailand – featured in various food shows and even in Asia’s Next Top Model.

It’s a huge street market with loads of food and souvenirs stalls, and is characterised by the colourful stall tents that create a colourful patchwork when seen from above. 

It’s the perfect place to start your Thailand trip and start with tasting some amazing Thai street food. There is a mall right next to it which offers epic views over the market.

Chatuchak Night Market in Bangkok as seen from above

Chatuchak Night Market in Bangkok as seen from above

If you’re looking for something a bit fancier, you could also start the first evening of your three days in Bangkok with one of the many rooftop bars in Bangkok .

The most famous is Sky Bar, which you might recognise from the famous movie The Hangover. Drinks are expensive (I paid 30 GBP for a cocktail!) but the sunset view is stunning.

There are also loads of cute cafes in Bangkok  that you can visit at any time of day.

Enjoying the sunset view over Bangkok from Sky Bar

Enjoying the sunset view over Bangkok from Sky Bar

Where to stay in Bangkok

We spent our first few nights in Thailand at the SO Sofitel Bangkok , one of the best hotels in Bangkok with a rooftop pool .

It was the perfect hotel to stay at for the start of our trip. It’s very luxurious and with a rooftop pool, which is the perfect place to chill after a long flight, or to escape the Thai heat after a long day exploring Bangkok.

The rooms are spacious and have a beautiful interior decor.

Click here to see the latest prices and availability at the SO Sofitel Bangkok

The rooftop pool of the SO Sofitel in Bangkok, Thailand

The rooftop pool of the SO Sofitel in Bangkok, Thailand

If SO Sofitel isn’t quite your vibe, whether you’re looking for a more  family friendly hotel in Bangkok , or for a party hostel, I have listed below other options in Bangkok for other budgets.

Budget: Bangkok is the starting point of many backpacker trips and as such, it’s also home to many hostels.

If you’re looking for a fun hostel, Mad Monkey has a big party reputation, if you want something quieter Kloem or The Yard are probably better options.

Click here to book your stay in a hostel in Bangkok! 

Mid-range: I stayed in two different hotels close to Khao San Road. The New Siam Palace Ville and Buddy Lodge Hotel were both nice, with spacious rooms and pools.

Nothing fancy but definitely a step up from a hostel dorm. It’s also nice to have a pool where you can relax at the end of a long day exploring temples in Ayutthaya!

Click here to book your stay at Buddy Lodge Hotel in Bangkok!

Enjoying the rooftop pool of SO Sofitel Bangkok

Enjoying the rooftop pool of SO Sofitel Bangkok

Day 2: Explore the temples in Bangkok

Buddhism is the most practiced religion in Thailand, as you will immediately see after a quick wander around Bangkok. Just in Bangkok there are over 400 temples!

For your first full day in Bangkok, prepare yourself for a full immersion of culture and history! Although let’s be realistic, visiting all 400 isn’t feasible, which is why I’ve outlined here the best ones.

Start your day early by visiting the Royal Palace . It opens at 7AM, but you want to be there earlier in order to beat the crowds. Make sure to purchase your entrance online beforehand , so you won’t have to queue on the day.

The Royal Palace, also known as the Grand Palace, is a complex of buildings that has been the official residence of the King of Siam since the 1700s.

It offers the best of Thai architecture, with prominent colors of cream, blue and gold. It’s quite a marvel to explore.

Click here to book your Bangkok Grand Palace entrance and self-guided tour!

Exploring the Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand

Exploring the Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand

After the Royal Palace you can go on to visit Wat Pho, which is only a short walk away.

Wat Pho is famous for being one of the most beautiful temples in Thailand and home to one of the biggest reclining golden Buddha statues in the world.

This huge golden Buddha is extremely iconic, and no Thailand itinerary would be complete without it. Walking around it really has a way to make you feel small.

Wat Pho is a beautiful temple though so don’t stop at the big buddha statue, wander around the complex and discover some of the less touristy corners.

Exploring the outside grounds of Wat Pho in Bangkok, Thailand

Exploring the outside grounds of Wat Pho in Bangkok, Thailand

Exploring the outside grounds of Wat Pho in Bangkok, Thailand

Just across the river from Wat Pho is Wat Arun , another famous buddhist temple. It is actually the first temple in the list of six Buddhist temples in Thailand classified as the first class royal temples.

It is also recognized by UNESCO in its Memory of the World Programme. The temple also houses a school of Thai medicine and is the birthplace of traditional Thai massage.

Personally, I think you could visit these three temples in Bangkok independently. But if you prefer to have a local guide taking care of the transfers, and telling you about the history and culture of what you’re seeing, I have listed below some highly reviewed tours that you can join.

Bangkok Grand Palace, Wat Pho and Wat Arun Private Tour – This private tour will take you to the three temples I have listed in this itinerary, with the added bonus of a private guide just for you.

Bangkok City Highlights Temple & Market Tour – This isn’t a private tour, but besides the temples it includes an additional additional stop at a local market.

Both tours are very popular online, with very high reviews. If you don’t want to deal with the faff of transport within the busy streets of Bangkok, they’re the best way to get around.

On top of that, you’ll also have a local guide sharing with you everything about the history of the temples. What better way to immerse yourself in Thai culture than learn about it from a local?

Click here to purchase your Bangkok city temples tour,   or click below to see prices & availability!

The stunning Wat Arun temple in Bangkok, Thailand

The stunning Wat Arun temple in Bangkok, Thailand

Day 3: Visit the floating and railway markets

On day three you will spend half of the day exploring the famous floating and railway markets. These are located outside Bangkok, so you have to visit them on an organised tour , as it’s the easiest way to get there.

We did a tour that set off around 8AM, and returned just in time for a late lunch. The markets are about a 1.5 to 2 hour drive outside of Bangkok.

Which market you visit first will largely depend on what time you set off, as they will time it so that you can see the train passing through at the railway market. The railway market is cool, but odd.

One moment you’re walking along the tracks looking at the various stalls, then all of a sudden you see people cover their products with blankets or taking them inside, and a moment later the train comes!

You’ll find yourself standing quite tight on the edge of it, as the space between the train and houses that surround the tracks is really minimal.

Click here to check out prices and availability for a floating market & railway market tour from Bangkok, or see directly in the calendar below!

The train driving through the famous railway market in Bangkok

The famous railway market just outside Bangkok, Thailand

The floating market is pretty close to it and is very different. It’s much more chaotic, with proper boat traffic jams along the river at peak times.

There are a number of locals selling products from their boats or stall along the river, but there is quite a big market also surrounding it that you can explore on foot.

We found the experience of bargaining in the river quite interesting, since everyone is on the move, negotiations are much shorter and you’re more likely to get a good deal!

Our tour didn’t include a cruise on the typical wooden boats but you can arrange this for 50 THB per person once you arrive there.

If you don’t want to pay for the extra just walking along the canals and in the market inland is very interesting too.

Click here to book your Bangkok floating & railway market tour!

The floating market close to Bangkok, Thailand

The floating market close to Bangkok, Thailand

Once you return to Bangkok you have you have a variety of options for your afternoon.

I would recommend relaxing at your hotel and chilling by the poolside, and then adventuring out to Khao San Road night market when the sun falls.

Khao San Road is one of the busiest streets in Bangkok, where you can find anything you’re looking for.

The market has the same charm as any Thai market – chaotically beautiful. There are also tons of restaurants and bars where you can drink and party until the early hours of the morning.

I didn’t include it in this Thailand 2-week itinerary, but another popular day trip from Bangkok is Ayutthaya .

I visited it on my second Thailand trip, and while it’s a cultural significant historical area, I found the temples in Bangkok and Chiang Rai to be more impressive.

Since you only have two weeks in Thailand, I figured it’s best to focus on the truly stunning temples, and not waste time on long day trips.

Khao San Road night market in Bangkok

Khao San Road night market in Bangkok

Day 4: Fly to Chiang Mai

On the fourth day you’ll be travelling to Chiang Mai. There are multiple ways to get from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, including buses, trains, taxis and flying.

While it’s not the cheapest, flying is obviously the quickest and if you only have 2 weeks in Thailand, I would highly recommend it.

Make sure to get an early morning flight so that you have time in the afternoon to start exploring Chiang Mai. One of the most popular activities to do in Chiang Mai is to attend a Thai cooking class .

Most packages include pick-up and drop-off from your accommodation, and they will directly bring you to the cooking school or farm, where they will show you how to cook traditional Thai dishes like the Pad Thai, Tom Yum soup, Penang curry and mango sticky rice.

| READ MORE: THE ULTIMATE CHIANG MAI TRAVEL GUIDE |

Pad Thai; one of the most traditional, and popular amongst tourists, dishes in Thailand

Pad Thai; one of the most traditional, and popular amongst tourists, dishes in Thailand (I made this one!)

There are full-day or half-day cooking classes. The full-day experiences include also a visit to the local market where you are shown how to choose the right ingredients, or a tour of the farm where you pick them yourself.

We landed in Chiang Mai around lunch so decided to do the half-day cooking class , and it was the perfect way to spend our first afternoon and evening in Chiang Mai.

During the cooking class you will be cooking alongside a local Thai chef, who will explain every step of the way what you need to do. At the end of the class, you get to eat the delicious dishes you made! 

Thai cuisine is very delicious and unique, as it has been influenced by both Indian and Chinese flavours. Some dishes are quite spicy, but there are a lot that have been adapted for Western palates and still super yummy.

What better way to get acquainted with Thai cuisine but to cook it? We did our cooking class with Grandma’s Home Cooking School and can highly recommend it.

The staff were friendly and professional, and the food was amazing!

Click here to book your Thai cooking class at Grandma’s Home Cooking School,   or check out prices & availability in the calendar below!

Mango sticky rice, one of the most traditional Thai desserts

Mango sticky rice, one of the most traditional Thai desserts

Where to stay in Chiang Mai

In Chiang Mai we stayed at Le Meridien , a great hotel to stay if you want to be pampered during your travels.

The rooms are spacious and have beautiful views over Chiang Mai, with the mountains in the distance, and it has a great rooftop pool where you can relax and enjoy the sunset.

Click here to see the latest prices and availability at Le Meridien Chiang Mai

If you’re looking for something cheaper, I have listed other accommodation options in Chiang Mai below.

Budget: Leaf Hostel – While it might not have a party reputation, this hostel offers clean and spacious dorms. if you’re looking for a very sociable hostel I’ve heard fun things about Bodega Chiang Mai Party Hostel.

Click here to book your stay at Leaf Hostel!

Mid-range: POR Thapae Gate – If you don’t fancy a hostel dorm, a lovely mid-range option is POR Thapae Gate . Located in the heart of the Old City, this hotel has spacious rooms and a pool where you can chill after a long day exploring Chiang Mai.

Click here to book your stay at POR Thapae Gate!

Enjoying the sunset from the rooftop pool of Le Meridien in Chiang Mai

Enjoying the sunset from the rooftop pool of Le Meridien in Chiang Mai

Day 5: Spend a day with elephants at Elephant Nature Park

Chiang Mai is becoming one of the most popular spots in Thailand for ethical elephant encounters.

Most travellers visiting Thailand will spend at least half a day at Elephant Nature Park , an ethical elephant sanctuary that serves as a rescue and rehabilitation centre for elephants, and even other animals such as dogs and cats.

Thanks to ENP locals involved in the elephant tourism industry are starting to realise that it is more profitable to run an ethical sanctuary than a riding camp, meaning there has been a big shift in recent years with an increase of ethical elephant sanctuaries.

| READ MORE: HOW TO SEE ELEPHANTS IN THAILAND ETHICALLY |

Two girls feeding three elephants at Elephant Green Hill, part of the Elephant Nature Park

Feeding the elephants at Elephant Green Hill, part of the Elephant Nature Park “saddle-off” project

Walking in the forest with one of the rescued elephants at Elephant Green Hill, Chiang Mai

Walking in the forest with one of the rescued elephants

While ENP is the more famous sanctuary with more elephants, if you want a more unique experience, I would recommend choosing one of the smaller sanctuaries affiliated with Elephant Nature Park.

We chose to visit Elephant Green Hill , a sanctuary that is part of the “saddle off” project of ENP, where the animals are rescued from riding camps.

They had only three elephants, but me and my friends were the only three tourists there so we had a really incredible close encounter with the elephants. 

The experience costs 2,500 THB per person, which includes also your lunch and hotel pick up and drop off. You will spend the day taking care of the animals; you will feed them, bathe them and walk them in the forest.

Click here to book your elephant encounter in Chiang Mai, or check out prices & availability in the calendar below!

Happy elephants bathing at Elephant Green Hill in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Happy elephants bathing at Elephant Green Hill in Chiang Mai, Thailand

If you want to meet elephants in Thailand, or anywhere in Asia, I highly recommend visiting a sanctuary like Elephant Nature Park and not a riding camp.

Elephants are incredibly intelligent animals and they are not treated well in riding camps.

During an ethical encounter like this you will be able to spend longer with them, and somewhat connect with them, not just ride them and contribute to their abuse.

You should also make sure you do your research before visiting one, as not all camps are as ethical as they claim to be.

Spending time with the elephants at Elephant Nature Park, in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Spending time with the elephants at Elephant Green Hill

Feeding the elephants at Elephant Green Hill, part of the Elephant Nature Park

Day 6: Travel to Chiang Rai & go temple hunting

Day 6 is going to start with a long journey so make sure you rest well on the previous evening to be able to get up early in the morning and catch the morning bus from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai .

Or party all night and sleep on the bus, totally up to you! The bus ride takes around 4 hours depending on if you get a faster or slower one.

You will arrive in Chiang Rai in time to settle down, relax a bit and then take a Grab to the Blue Temple. The Blue Temple, also known as Wat Rong Suea Ten, is a Buddhist temple painted in a very vibrant blue.

The temple houses a large blue Buddha and various artifacts of the Buddhist religion.

While it is an active temple and place of worship, it is more popular as a temple for tourists due to its unusual blue colour, which gives traditional Thai architecture a unique spin.

The front of Wat Rong Suea Ten (the Blue Temple) in Chiang Rai, Thailand

The front of Wat Rong Suea Ten (the Blue Temple) in Chiang Rai, Thailand

The inside of the Blue Temple in Chiang Rai

The inside of the Blue Temple in Chiang Rai

From the Blue Temple you can get a Grab to the White Temple, it will take around 20 minutes and cost 100 THB. Just be aware that it closes at 5PM!

We didn’t realise that was the case and we timed it wrong, arriving there just as it was closing. This actually proved to be a blessing in disguise as we got to enjoy a beautiful sunset all by ourselves at the White Temple.

Yes we couldn’t go in, but the sun was setting behind it and there was a stunning golden light everywhere. The White Temple is another Buddhist temple, which as you can guess by the name, is fully white in colour. 

Motifs of dragons, half-dragon and half-human hybrids alluding to the gods are also largely used in the architecture of the White Temple.

The White Temple (Wat Rong Khun) in Chiang Rai, Thailand, at sunset

The White Temple (Wat Rong Khun) in Chiang Rai, Thailand, at sunset

If you want to avoid the hassle of arranging Grabs and taxis between temples, you can also join an organised tour . 

Besides not having to worry about transport, you’ll always have a local guide with you, telling you about the history and cultural importance of the temples you’re visiting.

Click here to book your Chiang Rai temples tour,   or check out prices & availability in the calendar below!

The White Temple (Wat Rong Khun) in Chiang Rai, Thailand, at sunset

While we’re talking about tours, you can also consider  visiting the temples in Chiang Rai on a day trip from Chiang Mai . It’s a very popular choice, since it saves you having to change hotels just for one night.

That said, I personally find it quite intense as it would be a 14-hour day, with loads of hours of driving and not much time in Chiang Rai. Instead, why not spend a night in Chiang Rai ?

After all, if you have 14 days in Thailand you can easily fit it in, and it gives you the opportunity to visit the the night market in Chiang Rai.

If you do choose to visiting Chiang Rai on a day trip , this tour is the most popular and highly reviewed online.

Click here to book your Chiang Rai temples day trip from Chiang Mai!

The White Temple (Wat Rong Khun) in Chiang Rai, Thailand, at sunset

Where to stay in Chiang Rai

Here are some cool places to stay in Chiang Rai for every budget.

Budget: Mercy Hostel – If you don’t mind sleeping in a hostel dorm, Mercy Hostel is a great choice. Great value for money and excellent location.

Click here to book your stay at Mercy Hostel!

Mid-range: Nak Nakara Hotel – If you’re looking for something a bit fancier, but without breaking the bank, Nak Nakara Hotel is a great option.

Located right in the heart of Chiang Rai they also have a pool where you can cool off after a long day chasing temples in Chiang Rai.

Click here to see the latest prices and availability at Nak Nakara Hotel!

Luxury: The Legend Chiang Rai Boutique River Resort & Spa – Even if you only have one night in Chiang Rai, no reason why you shouldn’t spoil yourself!

Treat yourself to a fancy stay at the Legend Chiang Rai , where you can relax after the long bus journey.

Click here to book your stay at The Legend Chiang Rai Resort & Spa!

The back of Wat Rong Suea Ten (the Blue Temple) in Chiang Rai, Thailand

The back of Wat Rong Suea Ten (the Blue Temple) in Chiang Rai, Thailand

Day 7: More temples & return to Chiang Mai

I hope you haven’t had enough of temples just yet, because there are a couple more you should check out before leaving Chiang Rai!

First stop on the agenda is Wat Huay Pla Kung , if you can get up early enough to visit at sunrise even better.

It is closed at this time, so you won’t be able to go inside the temples but the outside of these temples is absolutely stunning at sunrise.

The Wat Huay Pla Kung is a group of three buildings, two temples and a huge, white statue also known as Chiang Rai’s big Buddha.

It’s a statue offered to the Goddess of Mercy, and when paired with its huge white dragons built along the staircase it’s an absolutely magnificent sight to behold, especially at sunrise.

The big buddha of Wat Huay Pla Kung in Chiang Rai, Thailand

The big buddha of Wat Huay Pla Kung in Chiang Rai, Thailand

You should ask your Grab driver to wait for you, as you won’t find many available Grabs in the area early in the morning. We didn’t think of doing that and ended up having to hitchhike a ride back to Chiang Rai!

We then decided to go back to the White Temple as soon as it opened so that we could actually see the inside of the temple too.

As good as the sunset was on the previous day, we still wanted to see this beautiful temple up close! There is a 50 THB fee to enter the temple.

We then took the bus back to Chiang Mai in the afternoon, where we then spent the last evening in Chiang Mai wandering around the night market. 

We only spent a few days in Chiang Mai and the surrounding areas, but there is so much cool stuff to do that you could easily spend one week in Chiang Mai , and still not see it all!

Exploring the White Temple (Wat Rong Khun) in Chiang Rai

Exploring the White Temple (Wat Rong Khun) in Chiang Rai

Day 8: Fly to Phuket & relax in Patong

If you’re anything like me, by this stage you’re probably a little templed out and kind of fed up of street markets. Worry not, because for the last part of your two-week trip, it is finally time for some beach chilling! 

You can fly to Phuket directly from Chiang Mai, and from there drive one hour to Patong. Patong is the main tourist area in Phuket.

Relax by the beach after your flight and then try to visit the Big Buddha at sunset. I know I said no more temples, but this is a bit of an exception, as it’s more of a viewpoint than temple.

The Big Buddha of Phuket is high at the top of a hill and has stunning 360 views over the coastline of Phuket. 

Just make sure to set off with plenty of time to spare as the tuk-tuks can be quite slow and the traffic can be crazy. You don’t want to miss the sunset!

If you want to spend a lavish evening in Phuket, you can visit Bangla Road in Patong. It’s a pretty crazy street with tons of bars, restaurants and clubs and is the perfect spot to enjoy the nightlife in Thailand.

Enjoying the sunset from the Big Buddha of Phuket, Thailand

Enjoying the sunset from the Big Buddha of Phuket, Thailand

Where to stay in Phuket

In Phuket we stayed at The Crib Patong , a really cute boutique hotel that was close to the nightlife of Bangla Road, but just far enough that the noise wasn’t annoying when you wanted to sleep.

Check the latest prices and availability at The Crib Patong here!

I listed below some other accommodation options for other budgets.

Budget – Phuket is one of the biggest backpacker destinations in Thailand. You will find lots of hostels for all moods. I’ve heard good things about Bodega Phuket Party Hostel if you’re in a party mood, and BearPacker Patong Hostel , if you’re looking for something more relaxed.

Click here to book your stay in a hostel in Phuket!

Luxury: Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort & Spa, Karon Beach – On my first stay in Phuket I stayed at the Hilton in Karon Beach. Located right on the beach and away from the chaos of Patong, it’s the perfect place if you’re looking for a fancy stay.

Click here to book your stay at the Hilton Phuket Arcadia in Karon Beach!

Sunset over the ocean as seen from our room at the Hilton

Sunset over the ocean as seen from our room at the Hilton

Day 9: Island hopping in Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island

The beach in Patong isn’t incredible, which is why Phuket is used by a lot of travellers as base for day trips to the surrounding islands. The tours to Phang Nga Bay are amongst the most popular.

Prices for a day trips from Phuket to Phang Nga Bay vary depending on tour size, what stops you do and what type of boat you choose, but generally speaking, they all tend to include pick up, drop off and lunch.

Pick up will usually be around 7AM while the return is at 6PM approximately, depending where in Phuket you’re staying. From Patong, it takes around 1 hour to drive to the harbour from which your boat will set off.

During the tour you will go kayaking into secret lagoons, snorkelling with fishes, relaxing at beautiful beaches, and even visit the famous James Bond Island, which became a popular tourist attraction after featuring in the Hollywood movie Agent 007.

On James Bond island you will find tourist shops and stalls where you can buy souvenirs and food if you get hungry.

Click here to book your day trip to James Bond Island & Phang Nga Bay from Phuket,   or check out prices & availability in the calendar below!

The iconic limestone formation of James Bond Island, Thailand

The iconic limestone formation of James Bond Island, Thailand

Cruising in Phang Nga Bay. Thailand

Cruising in Phang Nga Bay. Thailand

Day 10: Do a boat tour to Koh Yao Noi

James Bond Island and Phang Nga Bay are very cool, but can also get quite touristy. After a day trip there, I can imagine you now want to see something a little more unique.

The islands of Koh Yao Noi and Koh Yao Yai are not as famous as Phang Nga Bay yet. They are slowly becoming a popular island hopping destination, but are still off the main tourist radar.

Tours to these islands tend to be a bit more expensive than the James Bong Island trip, but they’re well worth it. Tours always including pick up, drop off, lunch and snacks throughout the day.

Day 10 will be quite similar to day 9 in terms of schedule, with an early morning pick up, around 1 hour drive to the harbour and then a full day of island hopping.

You won’t find tours that visit only the Koh Yao Islands. For example this one has great reviews online, and it visit also Phang Nga Bay and Hong Island.

On our tour we did multiple stops throughout the day for snorkelling and beach chilling, alternating between pristine sand bars and dramatic cliffs.

The spots weren’t as famous, but the beaches were considerably less busy and we were very happy about it. Alternatively, you could also explore the Similan Islands , another very popular day trip from Phuket.

Click here to book your day trip to Koh Yao Noi and other off the beaten track islands!

Exploring the beaches of Koh Phangan in Thailand

Exploring the beaches of Koh Yao Noi in Thailand

Typical Thai longboats on the beach in Koh Phangan, one of the best snorkelling and scuba diving spots in Thailand

Typical Thai longboats on the beach in Hong Island, Thailand

Day 11: Travel to the Surin Islands

The journey to the Surin Islands is long, but it is well worth it. It is a four hour car ride to Khura Buri Port and one hour by fast boat.

The car transfer depends on how well you negotiate (we paid 700 THB per person) and speedboat ticket costs around 1,700 THB per person.

The Surin Islands are a true beach paradise! With crystal clear turquoise blue waters, soft white sand beaches, and a rich marine life with lots of corals and fishes.

They are still off the main tourist radar, and the lack of hotels or proper accommodation on the islands are proof of that. The only option to stay on the islands overnight is to either do a diving live aboard trip or to camp on the beach.

| READ MORE: ULTIMATE GUIDE TO THE SURIN ISLANDS |

Enjoying the beautiful beaches of the Surin Islands in Thailand

Enjoying the beautiful beaches of the Surin Islands in Thailand

Day 12: Relax in the Surin Islands

I recommend spending a good two nights here in the Surin Islands to really get an opportunity to disconnect, enjoy the beach and make it truly worth the long journey from Phuket.

For these two days, you can go on snorkelling (it’s one of the best snorkelling and scuba diving spots in Thailand after all!) go on boat trips, hike around the island, visit the local Moken Village, scuba dive and just chill and relax by the beach.

If you don’t feel comfortable camping on the beach for two nights, you can also stay in Khao Lake (the town from which the speed boat departs) and visit the Surin Islands on a day tour from there.

This tour has great reviews online. It includes pick up, drop off, lunch, snorkelling equipment and national park entrance fees. It’s a great option if you don’t fancy sleeping in the Surin Islands.

Click here to book your snorkelling day trip to the Surin Islands,   or check out the calendar below for prices & availability!

Snorkelling in the Surin Islands, Thailand

Snorkelling in the Surin Islands, Thailand

Fish and corals that you can see while snorkelling in the Surin Islands, Thailand

Fish and corals that you can see while snorkelling in the Surin Islands, Thailand

Enjoying the beautiful beaches of the Surin Islands in Thailand

Day 13: Back to Phuket

After 2 nights in paradise, it’s time to head back to Phuket. The exact return time from the Surin Islands to mainland Thailand will depend on the tides.

You will usually set off around 1PM with the long tail boat from the camping area to the speedboat drop off point.

The actual speedboat usually comes around 3PM but check with your local guides to be sure, so that you can get some time to relax on the beach beforehand. 

It’s going to be a long car journey back to Phuket and I recommend sleeping at Sirinat National Park. It’s closer to the airport and offers a nice beach with beautiful sunset views.

Sunset at Mai Ngam Beach in Koh Surin Neua, Thailand

Sunset at Mai Ngam Beach in Koh Surin Neua, Thailand

Day 14: Back to Bangkok & fly home

Chill at the beaches of Phuket in the morning, and then fly from Phuket to Bangkok later on in the day.

Depending on how much layover time you have before your international flight, you can go out and explore more street food markets in Bangkok, visit the famous mall Paragon (also the seventh largest in Asia) or just chill by the riverbanks in Bangkok.

And that brings your Thailand 2-week itinerary to an end!

It’s not the exact itinerary I followed on any of my Thailand trips, but after visiting Thailand three times, it’s how I would recommend spending 2 weeks in Thailand.

This 2-week Thailand itinerary includes a bit of everything, including temples, beaches, nature and cities, and is well paced so that you don’t find yourself rushing from one place to the next.

Wat Benchamabophit temple in Bangkok, Thailand

Wat Benchamabophit temple in Bangkok, Thailand

2023 Update

Hello friends! Four years after first publishing this article, I had the pleasure of travelling once again to Thailand (for my fourth trip) and visiting places I hadn’t previously been to.

While I still believe the Thailand 2-week itinerary I outlined above is pretty perfect for any first time travellers, it wouldn’t really be complete without mentioning also Krabi and the Phi Phi Islands .

On my last Thailand trip I spent one week in Railay Beach , a truly stunning beach destination with a very laid back town.

Located pretty much at the same height as Phuket, just on the other side of the Gulf of Thailand, Railay Beach can make for an excellent base for day trips.

Long-tail boats lined up at Railay Beach West in Krabi, Thailand

Long-tail boats lined up at Railay Beach West in Krabi, Thailand

Besides the Surin Islands, you can visit all the same places listed in my itinerary above, plus others too.

If you don’t want to move around as much, you could base yourself in Railay Beach, and from there go on day trips to Phi Phi , Phang Nga Bay, Koh Yao Yai and the famous Krabi four islands tour .

That way you will see iconic places like Maya Bay , but also lesser known beaches like Ko Poda. It’s a great way to alternate between famous sights and off the beaten track destinations.

Railay Beach doesn’t have the nightlife and fame of Phuket, but for some travellers I imagine that’s just a plus!

You could also visit the paradise island of Koh Lipe . Getting to Koh Lipe can be a bit of a nightmare, as it’s basically closer to Malaysia than Thailand, but it’s actually pretty perfect if you plan to then island hop over to Langkawi on a wider South East Asia trip.

Discovering the beautiful Maya Bay in Phi Phi Leh, Thailand

Discovering the beautiful Maya Bay in Phi Phi Leh, Thailand

The crystal clear water of Koh Poda in Krabi, Thailand

The crystal clear water of Koh Poda in Krabi, Thailand

Preparing for 2 weeks in Thailand

Having covered my suggested Thailand 2-week itinerary, I want to share with you some useful information before you start planning this epic trip!

Below I tried to answer some of the most common questions travellers have about visiting Thailand that I hope you will find useful.

The currency in Thailand is the Thai Baht (THB).

Last time I visited, 1 USD was equal to around 30 THB. Food is extremely cheap, and tuk-tuk rides are usually 150 THB for a short distance.

When travelling longer distances, make sure to first negotiate properly with the drivers before committing to the ride, or ask them to drive by the meter.

Enjoying the view over Koh Phi Phi Don from the famous Phi Phi Viewpoint in Thailand

Enjoying the view over Koh Phi Phi Don from the famous Phi Phi Viewpoint in Thailand

I love Thai cuisine. I find it’s the perfect cuisine to introduce Western travellers to food in South East Asia, as it’s super tasty but has quite a lot of dishes where the flavours aren’t too strong or spicy.

Thai cuisine features a lot of fruits native to the area, such as papayas and mangos. Some iconic and must try dishes are the green papaya salad, pad thai, pancit, tom yum soup and mussaman curry.

I have a soft spot for mango sticky rice, a delicious dessert made of, as you can imagine from the name, mango and sweet rice!

Penang chicken curry - a traditional Thai curry I made at the cooking class in Chiang Mai

Penang chicken curry – a traditional Thai curry I made at the cooking class in Chiang Mai

Best times to visit Thailand

Thailand is a tropical country, and is quite hot and humid all throughout the year, but especially so in the summer.

You can visit Thailand all year round but the best time to do so is during the cool and dry season, from November to April, when there are less rains but there is a colder weather (for Thai standards, meaning it’s still the perfect winter escape for Europeans)!

Also, one thing to note is that different parts of the island are affected by different monsoons, so there are some islands that are best to visit in summer and others in winter.

This itinerary is best suited for a Thailand winter trip, as the islands around Phuket are affected by the summer monsoons.

If you’re visiting Thailand in summer, you can still do the first part of this trip, but for the beach part of it you’d want to visit the islands around Koh Samui instead.

Enjoying the empty beaches of Koh Lanta, Thailand

Enjoying the empty beaches of Koh Lanta, Thailand

How to get around Thailand

Getting around Thailand is pretty easy. Thailand has a very developed tourism industry, meaning it’s usually fairly easy to get anywhere and to arrange transports on site.

Your preferred mode of transport will usually change depending on how far you have to travel.

Buses in Thailand can be very efficient. There are also ferries and minivans, depending on the place that you are travelling to. For short distances tuk-tuks are the most popular mode of transport.

An over / under shot with fish below and a long tail boat above taken in Phi Phi Lei, one of the best snorkelling and scuba diving spots in Thailand

Snorkelling in the Phi Phi Islands

Essentials to pack for 2 weeks in Thailand

For a full breakdown of what you should pack for Thailand, check out my Thailand packing list . Here I just wanted to include a couple essentials that I definitely don’t want you to forget!

Fast drying towel – whether it’s to use at the beach, in a hostel that doesn’t provide them, after bathing with the elephants, these always come in handy! Quick to dry and they don’t take up much space.

Waterproof jacket – if you visit in rainy season!

Dry bag – To keep your valuables safe and dry during the rainy season or on boat trips

Water bottle – lots of hotels and restaurants have water refills, save yourself some cash and save the environment some plastic by having your own reusable water bottle

Adapter – depending on where you come from you might need one of these to charge your electronics. I like to always carry an international one with me to be sure I can get my stuff charged

Power bank – if you’re out and about all day you don’t want your phone to die on you just as you’re about to snap a great photo!

Getting close to the elephants at Elephant Green Hill in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Getting close to the elephants at Elephant Green Hill in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Final thoughts on my 2 weeks in Thailand itinerary

There you have it, the ultimate Thailand 2-week itinerary! Have you been to Thailand before? How did you find it? Let me know in the comments below!

Thailand is a wonderful destination that is the perfect mix of beach life, city, nature, history and temples that showcase the beautiful Buddhist heritage of the country.

This is the ultimate way to make the most of your 14-day trip to Thailand. Don’t have 2 weeks to travel around Thailand? Check out my Thailand 10-day itinerary instead!

I hope you find this Thailand 2-week itinerary useful in planning your trip there!

Enjoyed reading my Thailand 2-week itinerary? Pin it!

Collage of the White Temple in Chiang Rai, the beach in Phuket and elephants in Chiang Mai with text overlay saying

Jan (Chimptrips)

Thursday 30th of January 2020

Hi Greta Thanks for this post. It's been really helpful for planning. We are going to be in Chiang Mai for about 5 days - do you think it is worth the long journey out to Chiang Rai, or would we be best to stay and make the most of what Chiang Mai has to offer? Jan (Chimptrips)

Monday 3rd of February 2020

Hi Jan, I would definitely go to Chiang Rai! The journey is quite long but the temples are really incredible! And they're very unique as well, the white and blue temples felt very different from all the others we had seen in Bangkok and Chiang Mai. Also the night street food market is great, I had the best mango sticky rice there!

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Destinations

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Plan Your Trip

Thailand starts here.

Thailand is a place that will always feel like home to me, no matter how long it’s been since I actually lived there. There is no dilemma in my life for which walking through the pearly gate at Suvarnabhumi Airport can’t provide resolution and clarity.

My having spent literal years in Thailand over the past two decades benefits you, too. Whether you’re unsure about how long to spend in Thailand, or where to go once you finally get there, I’ll offer you more insights over the next several paragraphs than any guidebook you’ll buy.

The idea is that once you’ve reached the end of this post, you’ll be able to assemble a complete Thailand itinerary. Whether you plan to spend 2 weeks in Thailand, or stay in the Kingdom for a month, your next trip to Thailand starts here.

Practical Matters

When to visit thailand.

There’s the question of how long to spend in Thailand—and the question of when to go. Almost without exception, the best time to visit Thailand is between about November and April, when the weather is relatively cool and when there’s relatively little rain. Do be mindful if you visit after January 1, however, as both Bangkok and Chiang Mai have a tendency toward smog during the earth months of the year.

Where to stay in Thailand

Thailand is one of the cheapest countries in the world for five-star hotels—but you don’t have to stay in super high-end places to feel the Kingdom’s unbelievable hospitality. In fact, no matter how much or little I spend on a hotel, almost everywhere I’ve slept in Thailand has been unforgettable. Even if you don’t end up staying at the specific places I’m about to list, or at various vacation rentals in Thailand , I hope they point you in the right direction.

  • If you’re planning to be in Bangkok , find a great place to stay no matter which part of town you prefer. In the old town on the river, I love spots like Chakrabongse Villas and Sala Rattanakosin . In the modern city, meanwhile, I’ve made my home in hotels ranging from Silom ‘s SO Bangkok , to the Hotel Muse on Langsuan Road , to Anajak Hotel near the Phaya Thai Airport Rail Link terminus.
  • Up north, meanwhile, there are just as many amazing hotels. In Chiang Mai , if you don’t splurge at the Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai , stay at a simpler (but no less charming) property in-town, such as i Lanna House or 99 the Heritage Hotel . In Chiang Rai , I love both the Four Seasons Tented Camp in the Golden Triangle outside the city center, and simple Baan Jaru within it. In Lampang , you won’t find any place better than The Riverside Guest House .
  • There are so many great hotels in southern Thailand, I almost can’t count them. These range from beach properties like the luxurious Rayavadee in Krabi ‘s picturesque Railay area, to urban hotels like the Casa Blanca Boutique Hotel in Phuket Town . You’ll likewise find great hotels both on the tourist trail ( Melia Resort in Koh Samui ) and far off the beaten path, such as The Aleenta in Phang Nga province about an hour north of Phuket.

How to get around in Thailand

No matter how long in Thailand you decide is right for you, you’ll want to get around the Kingdom as quickly as you can. In many cases, this is a matter of domestic flights from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports (or connecting via them). In other cases, you’ll need to take multi-modal transport. To reach Koh Tao or Koh Pha Ngan islands, for example, you’ll need to first fly to Koh Samui, then board a ferry or catamaran. Traveling from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai, on the other hand, tends to involve either a private car or a bus.

No matter how you think you might need to get around, search 12go.com below for all your Thailand transport needs:

Money, costs and communication

Thailand isn’t as cheap as it used to be, though it’s still relatively affordable. Speaking in terms of Thai Baht , you’ll realistically need at least 3,000 (or around 100 USD) per person, per day in order to have a good time here. When I first started traveling in Thailand in 2010, the number was less than half that. Another interesting quirk? While Thailand is increasingly cashless for locals, due to locally-issued QR codes, you’ll definitely want to have some physical THB on hand for every day purchases (even though hotels and “nice” restaurants take credit cards).

If you’re planning an extended stay or immersing yourself in local culture, consider learning Thai. Understanding the basics of the Thai language can enhance your experience, foster connections with local and open doors to a deeper appreciation of the Kingdom’s rich cultural heritage. Many language schools and resources are available for those interested in learning Thai , catering to various levels of proficiency.

The good news? eSIM technology has now made its way to Thailand. The better news? If you buy your Thailand eSIM online today , you can be connected the moment you land in Bangkok!

  No matter how many days in Thailand, you’ll also want to stay connected—if your home country phone plan won’t work in Thailand, purchase SIM cards from True , AIS or dtac upon arriving in the Kingdom. In terms of communicating literally, most people in Thailand can speak at least some English, although your life there will get easier the more phaasaa Thai you know .

Thailand visas

The good news? If you’re reading this page in English, you can probably enter Thailand without the need for a visa. Specifically, travelers with passports from the US, UK, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and most European countries can enjoy stays of at least 30 days in Thailand without anything but their passport books in tow. The bad news? If you come from other countries, rules can be inconsistent and varied; you should contact your nearest Thai embassy or consulate to verify requirements.

Did you check to see if you need a Thailand visa to enter the Kingdom? Visit natvisa.com to see if you’re allowed visa-exempt entry to Thailand.

Where to Go in Thailand

plan my thailand trip

Known in Thai as Krung Thep Maha Nakhon (literally “City of Angels”), Bangkok is a city that’s often misunderstood—but not by me: I’ve called the city home on multiple occasions, for more than three years in total. You’ll want to spend some of your time in temples and street food markets in older districts like Rattanakosin and Thonburi , and some cooling off in shopping malls and at rooftop bars in modern districts like Silom , Sathorn , Siam and Sukhumvit . No matter how your time in Thailand’s capital goes down, however, rest assured: This is a place you’ll never forget.

plan my thailand trip

No Thailand travel itinerary is complete without a trip up north. For some travelers, this will simply entail the tourist hub of Chiang Mai , as well as the waterfalls, hill tribe villages and elephant sanctuaries on its periphery. Others will venture further, be it to rural Pai in Mae Hong Son province, to underrated Lampang (which is what Chiang Mai must’ve been like 30 years ago), to Chiang Rai , the closest city to the captivating Golden Triangle sub-region near the borders with Laos and Myanmar . Speaking of Laos, I highly recommend riding the “slow boat” to or from Luang Prabang , if you can!

The Andaman Coast

plan my thailand trip

You’ve got to hit the beach, regardless of your answer to the question of how long to travel Thailand. The most popular place to go, not surprisingly, is the resort island of Phuket , followed closely by nearby Krabi , which is home to Railay Beach and the Phi Phi Islands . However, this “side” of Thailand (along the west coast in the Andaman Sea ) is also home to many other places to visit. Stay in Phang Nga just north of Phuket and day trip to the superlative Similan Islands . Or head south, be it to underrated Koh Lanta , the Trang archipelago, or to Koh Lipe island in Satun province near the Malaysian border.

The Gulf of Thailand

plan my thailand trip

If your answer for “how long to spend in Thailand” is longer than two weeks, you may also have time to see beaches on the “other” side of Thailand: The Gulf of Thailand . For most travelers, this involves flying to Koh Samui , and making trips to nearby islands such as Koh Tao and Koh Pha Ngan . Another option, however, is to fly to take the bus from Bangkok to Trat , where islands like Koh Chang , Koh Mak and Koh Kood await.

plan my thailand trip

Sometimes known as the “Texas of Thailand,” Isaan is the blanket term given to the several provinces in the northeastern part of Thailand. Like America’s most polarizing state, Isaan holds many treasures for those bold enough to venture. From the Red Lotus Sea near the city of Udon Thani , to the so-called “Grand Canyon of Thailand” near Ubon Ratchathani , to Roi Et (which is just fabulous as a city, peripheral attractions notwithstanding), Isaan is a place I hope you’re able to visit.

Other places to visit in Thailand

plan my thailand trip

No matter how long to visit Thailand you decide, there’s never a bad time to explore Thailand off the beaten path . For some travelers, this is venturing to ancient capitals like Ayutthaya and Sukhothai , or to underrated coastal provinces like Trat and Nakhon Si Thammarat . For others, it’s venturing to places not completely far from Bangkok (lush Kanchanaburi or the beach resort of Hua Hin ), but totally different from the sights and sounds you enjoy when in the capital.

Sample Itineraries for Thailand

Now that I’ve gone over all the facts you’ll need to know to plan your trip to Thailand, allow me to more specifically delineate how you might want to arrange it:

  • One week in Thailand : Bangkok (2-3 days) and either The North (3-4 days) or The Islands (either Andaman or Gulf, but not both; 3-4 days)
  • 2 weeks in Thailand : Bangkok (2-3 days); the North (4-6 days); the Islands (4-6 days—both Andaman and Gulf if 6 days)
  • Three weeks in Thailand : Bangkok (3-4 days); the North (7-10 days); the Islands (7-10 days, both the Gulf and the Andaman)
  • A month in Thailand : Bangkok (5-7 days); the North (7-10 days); the Islands (7-10 days); Isaan (4-6 days)

Other FAQ About Planning Your Thailand Itinerary

How long should you spend traveling in thailand.

For most travelers, two weeks is the minimum amount of time I’d suggest spending in Thailand, especially if you’re flying in from far abroad. On the other hand, you can enjoy a week in Thailand if you’re coming from within Southeast Asia, or plan to focus on a specific region, such as Isaan. While you don’t necessarily need a month in Thailand, a short trip like 5 days in Thailand isn’t really going to cut it either.

Is 7 days enough time in Thailand?

Listen—you can have a great time with 7 days in Thailand. But whether you’re here a week or a month, your decision of how long to stay in Thailand must relate directly to how many places you plan to visit. With a week in Thailand, you realistically need to choose two destinations, whether that’s a weekend in Bangkok followed by 4-5 days up north, a week split between islands in the Andaman Sea and Gulf of Thailand or any other combination.

Is 3 weeks in Thailand too much?

How long do you need in Thailand? As long as you can spend! There’s no universe, for example, where 3 weeks in Thailand is too much. With three weeks, you can take your time exploring Bangkok, before heading north and seeing Chiang Mai, Lampang, Chiang Rai and maybe even some other places. With at least a full week left in your trip at this point, you’ll be able to visit islands in both the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea.

The Bottom Line

If you’ve made it this far, I hope you’ve at least started putting together a Thailand itinerary. Absent that, I hope you’ve answered important practical questions about your impending trip to the Kingdom, whether they relate to how long to spend in Thailand, or which Thailand destinations you will (and won’t) visit. As someone who’s lived in Thailand multiple times (in addition to more trips than I can count over the past couple of decades), I can assure you that your first visit there almost certainly won’t be your last. At the same time, there’s something to be said about getting it right every time. As a result, I encourage you to consider hiring me to plan your trip —why take the chance of anything less than perfection?

plan my thailand trip

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Your thailand holiday planner

Discover, plan & share, your unforgettable thailand journey, book your trip, reserve hotels, book activities, why thailand, fascinating.

| Tropical paradise | | Sandy beaches | | Spectacular sunsets | | Dream holidays |

| Amazing people & culture | | Delicious food | | Great festivals & night life | | Fun & welcoming country |

EXTRAORDINARY

| Vast extensions of rainforest | | Coral & marine life | | Fauna & flora diversity | | Rich natural heritage |

| Muay Thai boxing | | Boxing training camps | | Yoga & holistic retreats | | Adventure plans |

| Singular mentality & customs | | Cult to happiness | | More than 40,000 Temples | | Thailand: The Land of Buddha |

UNFORGETTABLE

| Hidden gems to discover | | A country of extreme contrast | | Breathtaking scenery | | Unforgettable experiences |

Plan your Holiday in Thailand

Thailand is a fascinating country that offers something special for everyone! But finding the right holiday for you, means doing proper research. With so much information out there, the process can be overwhelming and stressful. We recommend reading through the information on our site about travelling, visiting and exploring the country to ensure you have the holiday of a lifetime. Planning your holiday in Thailand may seem daunting, but we at KohPlanner can help.

Create lists in KohPlanner with your favorite destinations, hotels, tours, activities, restaurants and whether you’re a first-time visitor or you’ve been here before, you will find it easy to choose the perfect accommodation, to book transportation, tours, attractions, restaurants, events. Add them to your Travel Plans, manage your bookings on the go and share them with friends. Looking to rent a car? You can do that on KohPlanner! Want to book a table at a romantic beach restaurant? You can do that on KohPlanner! Want to book ferries when island hopping? You can do that on KohPlanner! Want to find a family – friendly hotel on the island? Of course, you can find and book on KohPlanner!

Thailand is waiting for you! From its impressive biodiversity to the paradise beaches; from the madness of Bangkok to the beauty of its temples; from its vibrant festivals to its well-renowned cuisine; Discover the uniqueness of Thailand and the warmth and hospitality of its people!

Thailand is a country you will fall in love with!

THAILAND HOLIDAY DESTINATIONS

Some top Thailand holiday destinations include Bangkok, the Andaman Sea area, the Gulf of Thailand, Northern Thailand and the National Parks. It is recommended to choose 1 or 2 main destinations to visit during your typical 2-week holiday in Thailand, as you can spend too much time travelling from one area to another. 

Thailand offers so much to do and see in all seasons of the year, from beautiful beaches, jungle, mountains and national parks to cities like Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai and Pattaya. It’s easy to fall in the trap of trying to see too much in a short period of time. This would be time-consuming and exhausting without leaving you with much time to relax and enjoy. A little tip from us : travel at night, where possible, using night trains for example, and you can save time and money for a hotel night. 

There are a myriad of visits and attractions to do, see and experience in Thailand, like temples, markets, tours, sports activities, SPAs, the amazing Thai cuisine. So much to do and so little time! You can always ask for advice at your resort when you get there, but we recommend planning in advance. The secret to a successful once in a lifetime holiday is planning, planning and more planning. And relax and enjoy once you get there!

This is why we created KohPlanner, a comprehensive and easy to use tool to find all the information you need about Thailand, to be able to choose and book hotels, transportation, car rentals, restaurants and add them to your travel lists/plans. These plans can then be shared with friends and accessed offline.

WHAT TO EXPECT

Bangkok, “the city that never sleeps” or “City of Angels” was named the world’s most visited city for many years in a row. A vibrant and bustling city where tradition and modernism coexist. Bangkok is a place of contrasts where guaranteed you won’t get bored.​

NOT TO MISS

Visit Wat Arun or Temple of Dawn. Visit The Grand Palace. Go for dinner and souvenir hunting at Asiatique The Riverfront. Have a drink or two at Sky Bar. Visit a floating market. Experience Muay Thai in Bangkok at Lumpini or Rajadamnern stadiums. Go shopping to the malls MBK, Siam Paragon and Platinum.

Starting point for your Thailand holiday or visiting Southeast Asia. You can spend 2 or 3 days in Bangkok. Tip: If you travel with small children, make sure you plan and book (where possible) your visits in advance and avoid long walks in the burning sun. Great for culture, shopping, eating and partying.

GULF OF THAILAND

To the south, Thailand runs into the Malaysian Peninsula with the Gulf of Thailand on the east coast. It is popular for its paradise islands: Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao. Wettest months: October and November. Dry months: February and March

Koh Samui, the largest island in the Gulf of Thailand with amazing beaches, bustling night markets, beautiful temples, a plethora of restaurants and countless activities and attractions. Koh Phangan, for its paradise tropical beaches and popular Full Moon parties. Go diving in Koh Tao, one of the best spots in Southeast Asia. Book a day boat tour at Ang Thong Marine Park. Eat some delicious food at restaurants in Koh Samui.

Beach holidays, relaxation, food, best parties and diving. The Gulf of Thailand offers great choices for couples and families. And let’s not forget here you can find some of the most popular wellness retreats and yoga centers in Thailand.

ANDAMAN SEA

The Andaman Sea is on the west coast of the Thai-Malay Peninsula. Some popular holiday spots include Phuket and Krabi, as well as the islands of Koh Phi Phi & Koh Lanta. Wettest months: September and October. Dry months: January & February

A few days in Phuket for beaches, dining, shopping and entertainment. A sunset tour of the 7 islands from Krabi. Visit Krabi town and Railay Beach. Visit Phi Phi islands, and do not miss the famous Maya Bay. Visit Koh Lanta .

Beach holidays, parties, fine dining and relaxation. Certain areas, such as Patong in Phuket and Ao Nang in Krabi, can get very busy during the peak season; so, if this is not your cup of tea, you can look for quieter areas or even go upper north for smaller and more tranquil islands like Koh Chang and Koh Phayam. Top local dive sites: Ko Surin, Ko Similan, Richelieu Rock.

NORTHERN THAILAND

Northern Thailand’s most popular holiday spots are Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. The climate here is slightly cooler than the rest of Thailand. The best time to visit is during the cool season, from December to February. The rainy season is from June to October.

Visit the Chiang Mai Old City, for ancient history and temples. Visit the White Temple in Chiang Rai – Wat Rong Khun. Visit the Blue Temple. Visit Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. Some trekking and bird watching at Doi Inthanon National Park. Go to the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary in Chiang Mai.

Thai heritage, stunning scenery, beautiful temples, amazing food, learning about Thai culture and unique tribes. Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai are special for their authenticity and being less touristy than Southern Thailand. A real chance to experience the friendly & welcoming nature of Thai people.

NATIONAL PARKS

Thailand’s national parks are some of the most beautiful and diverse in the world. From rainforests to mountain jungles, marine parks to rich ecosystems full of flora and fauna, there is something for everyone who enjoys nature and adventure. So if you’re traveling in the area, be sure to check them out!

Khao Sok National Park, situated on the mainland, in proximity to Phuket, Krabi and Koh Samui, for  jagged limestone karsts and large areas of virgin rainforest. A must : rainforest safari and jungle tour and an overnight stay at the rafthouses on Cheow Lan Lake. Ang Thong Marine Park, if you are holidaying in Koh Samui. Khao Yai National Park, the third largest park, can easily be accessed from Bangkok. Kaeng Krachan National Park, Thailand’s largest and probably most beautiful park – a definite must-see!

National Parks are spectacular, fun and exciting for any group and age range. There is something for everyone to enjoy. Diverse wildlife, picturesque waterfalls, lush evergreen forests, caves, trails for hiking. Adventure seekers, sustainable tourism travelers and families are among the top visitors.

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Global Gallivanting

My perfect 2 week thailand itinerary: best of north & south (2024).

Longtail boats on a beach in Thailand 2 week itinerary

Thailand is one of my all time favourite destinations . From glittering golden temples to ancient ruins, buzzing cities to tropical jungle, and some of the most gorgeous beaches and islands in the world – there’s so much to see in the Land of Smiles !

In fact, there’s so many amazing places to visit in Thailand that you may be wondering how to plan your trip and create the best Thailand itinerary so that you can fit it all in if you’ve only got 2 weeks vacation.

Luckily, with 14 days or 2 weeks in Thailand, you’ve got enough time to explore the best of both north and south. From the exciting metropolis of Bangkok, to the jungles and temples around Chiang Mai and island hopping in the south – it’s all possible if you plan your Thailand itinerary carefully and that’s why I wrote this blog.

Figuring out the best way to spend 2 weeks in Thailand can feel overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time visiting Thailand. So I’ve put together my perfect 2 week Thailand itinerary created from my personal experience following many, many visits and some time living in this amazing country to help you out.

My Thailand Travel Guide

I’ve been lucky enough to explore this amazing country from top to bottom several times. I’ve even lived on the island of Koh Phangan and the northern city of Chiang Mai , so I know Thailand better than most!

I want you to have an amazing holiday in Thailand and love it as much as I do, so this post is a mini travel guide to Thailand to help you plan your trip. I last visited Thailand in Nov 2023 and have updated this post for 2024.

As well as the best 2 weeks Thailand itinerary, I’ll also give suggestions for other timeframes if you have 7 days or 10 days in Thailand. You might also want to check out my comprehensive Thailand Travel Guide for all the practical Thailand travel tips you need to know when visiting Thailand.

Tips for Planning your Thailand Itinerary

Two weeks is the ideal amount of time to see all the highlights in both northern and southern Thailand. But if you want to tick lots of things off your Thailand bucket list in just a few weeks then you’re going to need to plan your 2 weeks in Thailand itinerary carefully.

You don’t want to ruin your Thailand vacation by planning a trip that’s too ambitious and end up exhausted and stressed out from trying to see too many places, but you also don’t want to miss somewhere amazing and regret it.

Many people only see Thailand’s islands and miss out on northern Thailand’s incredible sights and culture. It’s such a shame because they’ve only seen half of what this amazing country has to offer, so allow time for both in your Thailand itinerary.

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2 week thailand itinerary pin

Why you need to see both North and South Thailand

The north and south of Thailand are quite different. In fact, the north of Thailand used to be the Lanna Kingdom and has it’s own distinct culture.

Highlights of northern Thailand include Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, where you can experience temples like Wat Rong Khun, traditional Thai culture, night markets, jungle adventures, trekking and elephant sanctuaries.

The south of Thailand is home to some of the most beautiful tropical islands in the world and famous for towering limestone cliffs and turquoise waters. There’s excellent snorkelling and scuba diving, pampering beach holidays, yoga retreats and easy island-hopping day trips through national marine parks – so you can’t miss the south either!

buddhas in Ayutthaya thailand

How to Spend 2 Weeks in Thailand

With 14 days or 2 weeks in Thailand you can explore the capital, Bangkok, and see the best of both north and south if you plan your itinerary well.

To enable you to see the most of Thailand in only 2 weeks there is a great network of low cost domestic flights which will save a lot of travel time. A more eco friendly way would be to take the night trains which will also save you a night of accommodation.

Another way to make the most of your time, and save yourself stress and energy, is to base yourself in places like Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket or Koh Samui and take day trips from there instead of moving around too much.

I’d recommend booking your transport, accommodation and tours in advance so when you get to Thailand you can just relax and enjoy your trip. I use Booking.com for hotels and accommodation, Get your Guide and Viator for day tours and day trips, and 12 Go Asia to book flights, trains, buses and ferries in Thailand.

Thailand Map

Here’s a map of Thailand so you can get your bearings and plan your travel route.

Map of Thailand

Start your Thailand trip with a few days exploring the exciting capital Bangkok with a day trip to the floating markets and the ancient temples at Ayutthaya .

Then head north to Chiang Mai and explore the temples, culture and natural beauty of northern Thailand. Chiang Mai makes a good base for day trips around northern Thailand.

The incredible temples like Wat Rong Khun in Chiang Rai, the nature around Pai and the Golden Triangle are all well worth a visit. If you only have 2 weeks in Thailand I’d recommend taking day trips from Chiang Mai to save time and hassle.

Fly down to the south for some island hopping . On the west coast popular islands include Phuket, Koh Phi Phi and Krabi, while on the east coast you’ll find Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao.

It can be tempting to want to visit them all, but for a 2 week Thailand itinerary, you’ll probably find it more enjoyable to pick one side and relax instead of trying to fit all the islands in.

Whatever you decide, don’t forget to allow time in your itinerary to get back to Bangkok in time to catch your flight home!

Don't miss some temples from your thailand itinerary

My Perfect 2 Week Thailand Itinerary – Best of North & South

Here’s a quick summary of what I think is the ideal Thailand itinerary for 2 weeks:

Bangkok – (3 days) Chiang Mai – (3 days including day trip to Chiang Rai) Then East Coast Islands – Koh Samui (3 days) Koh Phangan (2 days) Koh Tao ( 2 days) Or West Coast Islands – Phuket (3 days) Koh Phi Phi (2 days) Krabi (2 days) Bangkok ( 1 day)

Carry on reading and I’ll take you through day by day and give you plenty of tips on where to stay and how to get there to help you plan your Thailand itinerary and get the most out of your trip.

By the way, I’ve used affiliate links in this article which allow me to make a small commission if you book which helps me to keep this site going, an unbiased, at no extra cost to you.

bangkok skuline at sunset

Bangkok – 3 Days

The capital of Thailand is one of the most exciting cities in the world and has plenty of flight connections making it the ideal place to start your 2 week Thailand itinerary.

The streets of Bangkok are a truly fascinating mix of old and new, packed with temples, culture, food and a buzzing atmosphere. There’s plenty of things to see and do in Bangkok , from exploring golden temples and ancient waterways to indulging in the amazing street food and soaking up the views from a rooftop bar.

Allow at least 3 days to see Bangkok’s highlights and take a day trip out to ancient Ayutthaya. You’ll probably need to stay one more night in Bangkok at the end of your 2 week Thailand itinerary before you fly home so you could do the things you missed out then.

How to Spend 3 Days in Bangkok:

Day 1 – temples and tuk tuks.

Bangkok's grand palace can't be missed from your thailand itinerary

Start your Bangkok itinerary with ticking off some of the city’s most famous and spectacular sights and diving into the cities’ vibrant nightlife.

Start with the stunning Grand Palace , a gorgeous glittering masterpiece that is the former royal residence and home to Wat Phra Kaew, (The Temple of the Emerald Buddha.)

Then visit Wat Pho  and marvel at the huge, golden, reclining Buddha , and then cross the Chao Phraya River and try to time your visit to climb Wat Arun (the Temple of Dawn)  for amazing views over the river and city beyond.

reclining buddha

As these temples are religious sites so both men and women need to dress respectively and remove footwear. Shorts and sleeveless tops are not allowed so wear light weight trousers and cover your shoulders. If you forget you can hire a sarong.

There’s a few scams around the Grand Palace especially, and there’s so much detail to take in that I recommend doing this guided tour for the best experience. You’ll learn so much more  about Thai culture and spirituality this way and avoid the scams.

A good way to learn about Thai culture and history, and escape the heat, is with a visit to one of Bangkok’s air-conditioned museums. The National Museum and the Museum of Siam are the best and are not far away from the Grand Palace and Wat Pho.

longtail boat on the river in bangkok thailand

One of my favourite things to do in Bangkok is riding down the Chao Phraya River and the smaller canals (klongs.) It’s a relaxing way to get around and take in the sights whilst enjoying the refreshing breeze.

There’s many ways you can experience the river – you can pile in a ferry with the locals, take the hop on hop off tourist boat or join an evening dinner river cruise with a buffet and entertainment.

If you want to get off the beaten track and see another side of Bangkok then take a colourful longtail boat tour and see local life in Thonburi (the oldest district) and down the smaller canals.

Tuk Tuk ride in Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok really comes alive at night once the heat dies down. The temples and skyscrapers are illuminated., and the evening is the best time to explore the night markets and try the cheap and delicious street food stands that serve up fresh and tasty thai cuisine like pad thai.

One of the most fun ways to explore Bangkok at night is will a tuk tuk tour! Hold on because it can be quite a thrilling ride!

This night tuk tuk tour will zip you around Old Bangkok stopping at vibrant places like Chinatown, a colourful 24 hour flower market, and local street food markets. The guide will take you to the best street food stalls where they know the food is safe so it’s a great way to try the local cuisine and get to know Bangkok after dark.

Day 2: Unique Shopping Experiences and Nightlife

allow time to visit the floating markets in your thailand itinerary

After temples, another thing that Bangkok is famous for is shopping and nightlife, and there are some unique shopping experiences to be had!

For a unique shopping experience is the Damnoen Saduak floating market where vendors ply the canals with their wares and you cruise around on a longtail boat. Another interesting sight is the Maeklong railway market where you’ll experience the vendors jumping out of the way as the train comes through the market.

These markets are a bit out of the city so the easiest way to get there is with a tour. This floating market and railway market tour  combines both into an easy half day trip.

mbk mall bangkok

If you’re into shopping, Bangkok has some amazing modern malls. Some of the best, like Central World, Siam Discovery and MBK mall, are located close together at Siam Square.

Also nearby is  Jim Thompson’s House where you can see some interesting old architecture, art and silks (and shop the collection.)

If it’s a weekend take the BTS to the massive Chatuchak weekend market if you want to shop for bargains and souvenirs to just enjoy the bustling vibe.

Once you’re shopped out, see the sunset at Wat Arun or The Golden Mount and then dive into Bangkok’s legendary, vibrant and fun nightlife.

khao san road nightlife, bangkok

Head down Sukhumvit Road for restaurants, bars, nightclubs and errm adult entertainment! Then check out the infamous Khao San Road to drink buckets and party. Even if you’re not a backpacker, it’s a unique experience.

Or for a more refined experience you can sip cocktails at one of the trendy rooftop bars of the luxury hotels that line the river and soak up the views of the Bangkok skyline and city below.

The sky bar observation deck at Baiyoke Sky Hotel is one of the best. If you’re not scared of heights, another cool thing to do is the glass bottomed 78th floor observation deck and skywalk at the MahaNakon Tower.

Day 3 – Ancient Ayutthaya

ayutthaya-buddha-OP

On your last day in Bangkok take a day trip to the ancient city of Ayutthaya . This UNESCO world heritage site was the former Thai capital and you can explore the ruins of the old city, palaces and temples including the famous buddha head in a tree.

Ayutthaya is about 1 1/2 hours north of Bangkok and a guide will help bring the ruined city to life so you understand it’s importance. This Ayutthaya day trip includes transport, a knowledgeable guide and also visits the nearby former summer home of the Thai kings – Bang Pa-In Royal Palace.

A day trip to Kanchanaburi to see the Bridge over the River Kwai and ride on the famous Death Railway is also possible, but it’s a long day.

Where to Stay in Bangkok

skyview hotel bangkok sukhumvit pool

Bangkok is a huge city so it’s worth doing some research into the best place to stay depending on your interests and budget as it takes time to get around.

My favorite area to stay in Bangkok is the Riverside where you’ll find some stunning luxury and boutique hotels with refreshing river views. The Mandarin Oriental has long been the best place to stay in Bangkok, but if your budget doesn’t stretch to that check out The Avani Plus Riverside

Sukhumvit and Siam are centrally located modern neighborhoods with plenty of shopping, eating, nightlife and mid-range hotel options. The Skyview Hotel is a great pick – I love the rooftop infinity pool and views. If you’re on a budget consider Lud D Siam which offers private rooms and dorms.

For backpackers, budget travellers or anyone looking for a taste of Old Bangkok, the Banglamphu area near the Grand Palace and Khao San Road is a good choice.

I wouldn’t recommend staying on noisy Khao San road itself, but there’s plenty of good budget hotels, like Rambuttri Village Plaza , and backpacker hostels, like Bedstation Hostel nearby . If you’d prefer something more upmarket in this area check out Villa De Khaosan and Riva Surya .

How to get to Bangkok and get around

bangkok at night tuk tuks

Bangkok has some of the best flight connections in Southeast Asia and receives many international flights from around the world.

The city has two airports, Suvarnabhumi international airport (BKK)  – which handles mostly long haul international flights, and  Don Mueang (DMK) , for low cost flights with carriers like Air Asia with domestic flights around the rest of Thailand.

You’ll probably fly into Suvarnabhumi airport and start your Thailand itinerary there. The airport rail link that connects the airport to the BTS Sky train is the quickest and cheapest way to get into the city. It takes about 30 minutes to reach the Phaya Thai BTS station.

Taxis are available but will probably take longer if there is heavy traffic. Uber or Grab are easier if you don’t speak Thai. You can also ask your hotel if they offer an airport transfer or shuttle service or book an airport transfer.

Once in Bangkok the super modern BTS Skytrain and MRT Metro are the quickest way to get around. Tuk tuks can also be a fun way to explore the city but agree on the price before setting off.

There’s plenty of bus, train and flights from Bangkok offering easy onward travel around the rest of Thailand. If you only have 2 weeks in Thailand definitely consider taking a few budget flights as it will save you alot of time. You can book your transport all around Thailand with 12 Go Asia .

Doi Suthep is one of the best things to do in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Chiang Mai – 3 Days

Chiang Mai is a beautiful, historic and cultured city surrounded by the mountains of northern Thailand. It’s the country’s 2nd city but offers a much more peaceful experience than Bangkok with it’s walled Old City packed with ancient temples.

There’s so much to see and do in Chiang Mai that you should spend at least 3 days here. It also makes a great base for exploring the surrounding nature and the rest of northern Thailand, so should not be missed from any Thailand itinerary.

How to Spend 3 Days in Chiang Mai:

monks in old city chiang mai

Day 1 – Temple Hopping in Chiang Mai Old City

Start by exploring the walled Old City which dates back to 1296. Over 300 temples, plus the ancient walls and moat still stand today, making it a fascinating place to wander and learn about traditional Thai culture. There’s also plenty of cute cafes if you need to escape the heat.

Wake up early to witness the morning alms giving to the monks and then wander around the Old City. You’re not going to be able to see all the temples with 3 days in Chiang Mai, but you shouldn’t miss the elaborate Wat Phra Singh, the ruined stupa of Wat Chedi Luang , and the oldest temple – Wat Chiang Man .

Wat Chedi Luang, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Chiang Mai’s most revered temple, the impossibly golden Wat Phra That Doi Suthep , is perched up on a mountain overlooking the town. You can take a taxi or red truck (songthaew) to get there.

If you want to understand more about the history and meaning behind these stunning temples, consider this guided tuk tuk tour which will also take you another temple hidden in the jungle. I also loved the unique experience of this sunrise temple tour with a former monk . You can also chat with the monks at Wat Chedi Luang.

Chiiang Mai moat

If you want to escape the mid-day heat, pop into one of the cute cafes like Stories , near Tha Pha Gate, or My Secret Cafe in Town, or dip into the air-conditioned museums .

The Chiang Mai Historical Centre, Chiang Mai City Arts and Cultural Centre, and the Lanna Folklife Museum are conveniently located near the Three Kings Monument in the Old City.

And if you’re feeling tired from all the exploring relax with a Thai massage at one of the many spas for cheaper prices than you’ll find on the islands of southern Thailand.

For a luxury experience try Fah Lanna Spa or Makkha Spa. If you’re on a budget, consider supporting the Chiang Mai Women’s Correctional Institution Vocational Training Centre for an affordable massage.

Chiang Mai Sunday Walking Market

If it’s a Sunday, don’t miss the massive sunday night walking street market which, starting at the Tha Pae Gate, takes over the Old Town. Here you can try local street food like Khao Soi and browse for souvenirs and handicrafts.

You can also visit the Chiang Mai night bazaar , near the riverside, which is open every night with food, stalls and live music.

Afterwards, check out Zoe in Yellow or North Gate Jazz Co-op in the Old Town, or head to the bars and clubs in Nimmanhiem that are popular with Thai students and digital nomads.

Khao Soi

Day 2 – Thai Cooking Class and Ethical Elephant Encounters

If after trying all the yummy street food last night you’re feeling inspired to learn how to cook Thai food yourself book yourself on to a Thai cooking class .

After visiting the morning market you can learn to cook 11 delicious Thai dishes, (and eat them!) and get an insight into hill tribe life in northern Thailand from your guide from the Akha tribe.

If cooking’s not your thing there are plenty of other activities to try in Chiang Mai from Muay Thai boxing lessons to Buddhist meditation and yoga classes.

Scootering in Chaing Mai

Chiang Mai makes a great base from which to explore the surrounding mountains with many trekking, mountain biking, rock climbing, white water rafting and kayaking trips on offer. So make sure you get out into nature, either by renting a scooter or joining an organised day trip.

While elephant sanctuaries and hill tribe treks are popular, not all of these activities are ethical, so check first and look for sanctuaries that do not allow riding for an ethical elephant experience.

The most reputable and ethical elephant sanctuaries in Chiang Mai are the Elephant Nature Park and the Rescue Elephant Center where you can have a magical encounter with these gentle giants without harming them.

plan your thailand itinerary to include a visit to the elephant nature park

Other unique nature experiences near Chiang Mai include visiting waterfalls and hot springs or taking a day trip to Doi Inthanon National Park – Thailand’s highest peak.

Day 3 – Chiang Rai, White Temple and Golden Triangle Day Trip

Chiang Mai is a great base to do day trips to explore the rest of northern Thailand. If you had more time I would recommend spending a few nights in these places, but if you only have 2 weeks in Thailand the best way is to take an organised day trip like this one.

Chiang Rai is home to some of the most amazing temples in the world, including Wat Rong Khun ( the White Temple) which shouldn’t be missed from any Thailand itinerary.

Thailand White Temple

Wat Rong Khun is one of the most amazing temples and sights I’ve ever seen (and I’ve seen lots of temples!). It’s more like an art exhibit than a temple, with intricate and interesting designs that you might not expect to see in a Thai temple.

Also in Chiang Rai is Baan Dum (the Black House), Rong Suea Ten (the Blue Temple), Thailand’s biggest Guan Yin statue, and the Hilltribe Museum and Education Centre.

It takes about 3 hours to get from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai. You can take a local bus but, if you also want to see the Golden Traingle, consider this Chiang Rai and Golden Triangle day trip.

As well as visiting the White Temple, you also visit hot springs, the opium museum and it includes lunch and a boat ride on the river where Thailand, Laos and Myamar (Burma) meet – the Golden Triangle. It’s a bit of a long day – but I think its worth it and without joining a tour it would be very difficult to see it all in one day.

Even if you only have two weeks in Thailand you really must see the White Temple, Wat Rong Khun, it’s my favourite temple in the world!

Pai canyon

Another popular place to visit is Pai , a small, laid back town nestled on the banks of the river in one of the most beautiful valleys in Thailand from where you can explore the surrounding forests, hot springs, waterfalls, mountains and Pai canyon.

Pai’s chill vibes and stunning nature have made it a popular hangout with relaxed, hippie vibes and plenty of cosy and colourful vegan and vegetarian cafes. There’s also bars with live music, a night market and walking street with all the Thai street food delights.

If you have 2 weeks in Thailand you could visit with this Pai day trip from Chiang Mai , but if you have more time then it’s better to stay at least 1 or 2 nights to soak up the relaxed, hippie vibes and gorgeous scenery of Thailand’s most beautiful valley.

Read my 3 – 5 Day Chiang Mai itinerary for more and my post about all the best attractions, activities and things to do in Chiang Mai for a complete guide or check out all the activities and excursions from Chiang Mai available on Get Your Guide

Where to Stay in Chiang Mai

tamarind village hotel chiang mai

The best area to stay in Chiang Mai is the Old City where you’ll be surrounded by temples, history and culture. My personal favorties are the beautiful heritage boutique hotels , like the 5 star Rachamankha Hotel, or the more affordable but equally atmospheric, Tamarind Village .

There’s also some wonderful mid-range boutique hotels, like the Pingviman Hotel , and budget options too. Vieng Mantra Hotel is amazing value for money, and there’s plenty of backpacker hostels like The Common Hostel .

Aside from the Old City, Chiang Mai has a diverse range of neighborhoods, from the nightlife in the trendy, modern Nimman area to tranquil stays on the riverside.

Check out my full guide to where to stay in Chiang Mai to find the perfect area for you and for more hotel recommendations.

How to get to Chiang Mai From Bangkok

The quickest way to get from Bangkok to Chiang Mai is by flight which takes about 1.15 hours. Chiang Mai’s airport (CNX) has both international and domestic flights with regular connections to Bangkok.

Budget airlines like Air Asia, Nok Air and Thai Lion fly from Bangkok’s Don Muang airport (DMK). Flights only take about 1 hour 15 minutes and will save you precious time if you only have two weeks in Thailand.

There are train services every day from Bangkok’s Hualamphong train station to Chiang Mai but I would recommend taking the sleeper train as it will save you time and can be a fun and comfortable experience if you get a sleeper berth with air con.

The overnight train journey takes about 11 hours and there’s a bar and restaurant car which sometimes turns into a bit of a party with the locals. The train gets booked quite far in advance but you can book it online at 12 Go Asia. 

There are also modern buses which take about 10 hours from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, but if you’re planning a 2 week Thailand itinerary then I’d recommend taking either the night train or a flight to save time.

Thailand Island Hopping

Maya bay, Phi Phi island hopping tours and day trips from Phuket

The beaches and islands in Thailand are some of the very best in the world and it would almost be a crime to not include any beach time or island hopping in your Thailand itinerary!

There are hundreds of beautiful beaches and paradasical islands in Thailand but if you’re planning a 2 week Thailand itinerary you won’t be able to see them all – but you can see some of the best!

If you’ve got 2 weeks in Thailand then I’d recommend picking 2 or 3 neighbouring islands.

For diving, partying and relaxation head east to Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao in the Gulf of Thailand.

For beaches, long tail boats, and iconic limestone cliffs head west to Phuket, Koh Phi Phi and Krabi in the Andaman Sea.

A great way to see more islands in a short period of time is to join fun island-hopping day trips.  You can find them operating from many of Thailand’s most popular islands, like Phuket.

If you try to squeeze all the islands that I’ve mentioned into 2 weeks you’ll probably end up more stressed out than blissed out – so just pick one side!

anna beach cafe thailand

How to get to the Thai Islands from Chiang Mai

The quickest way to get from Chiang Mai to the Thai islands is to take a flight from Chiang Mai to Phuket or Koh Samui. 

Bangkok Airways runs direct flights from Chiang Mai to both Koh Samui and Phuket which will take about 2 hours. There’s also airports at Krabi and Surat Thani. There are also many connecting flights through Bangkok, but that route will probably take nearer 5 hours.`

Koh Phi Phi is a must see in any Thailand itinerary

You could get the bus or an overnight train back down to Bangkok and then catch a connecting train or bus going south. Travel agents often sell a combined mini bus, bus and ferry package that will get you smoothly from door to door which is the best option if you want to avoid flying. An easy place to buy tickets online is 12Go Asia.

However, this will probably take you about 24 hours. So if you are planning a 2 week Thailand itinerary I’d recommend taking the flight here as it will save you time and, if you book in advance with a budget airline, it’s often not much more expensive to fly.

Remember to leave enough time in your Thailand itinerary to fly back to Bangkok and maybe spend another day or night there before catching your flight home.

If you only have 2 weeks in Thailand then choose to go island hopping on either the Andaman Coast (Phuket 0 Koh Phi Phi – Krabi) or the Gulf Coast (Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao.)

For the best (driest) weather in July and August choose the Gulf Coast, in November and December choose the Andaman Coast to avoid the rain.

Railay Beach, Phuket, Thailand

The Andaman Coast

Start off your island hopping adventure by flying to Phuket, the largest island in Thailand and pearl of the Andaman Sea.

Thailand’s Andaman Coast is where you’ll find the picture postcard beaches you’ve been dreaming of. Hundreds of emerald, jungle covered islands with soft white sands, sparking turquoise seas, towering limestone cliffs and colourful long tail boats.

The Andaman Coast is home to some of the most famous spots in Thailand like Phuket and Koh Phi Phi and is where movies like ‘ The Beach ‘ and ‘ James Bond – The Man With The Golden Gun’ were filmed. Unsurprisingly it’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in Thailand, but the beauty still exceeds the hype.

If you only have 2 weeks in Thailand, or less, then basing yourself in Phuket and taking island hopping day trips and tours will allow you to see the most in the time you have. This 7 day Phuket, Koh Phi Phi and Krabi itinerary shows you how to fit all the of the Andaman Coast into a 1 week.

The ultimate 7 day Phuket itinerary

Phuket: 2 – 7 days

Phuket is Thailand’s largest island and known as the Pearl of the Andaman Sea. Sometimes it doesn’t feel so much like an island but it’s the best destination for those who want to experience a bit of everything in one easy package because there’s so many things to do in Phuket .

Phuket offers a huge range of beaches, hotels, attractions, restaurants, bars, spas and tour packages. From island hopping boat trips, water sports, diving, snorkelling, zip lining, and white water rafting, to temples, elephant sanctuaries and night markets, there’s something for everyone in Phuket. It’s also the best family holiday destination in Thailand with plenty of family friendly activities.

Just make sure you allow time to relax on the stunning beaches – they are some of the best in the world!

Phuket town houses

Once you’ve had you’re fill of the beach there is plenty of culture and history to explore in Phuket.

The legacy of Phuket’s history as a rubber and tin trade post is seen in the colourful and pretty old Phuket Town which blends many cultural influences with arty coffee shops, boutiques and galleries. It’s a delight to explore and very photogenic.

Other highlights include Wat Chalong and the Big Buddha statue which offers wonderful vistas from Phuket’s finest viewpoint. Taxis can be expensive in Phuket but this Phuket day tour visits all of them, plus a stunning viewpoint, for an affordable price and the guide will provide an interesting insight into Thai culture and Phuket’s history.

Phuket big buddha

Nature lovers will enjoy exploring Sirinat National Park and Khao Phra Thaew Royal Wildlife and Forest Reserve , home to the Phuket Gibbon Rehabilitation project. 

Phuket makes a great base for exploring the hundreds of other beautiful Andaman sea islands. Tha Rassada, 3km south of Phuket Town, is the main pier for boats, ferries and day trips to the Phi Phi islands, Krabi and beyond. So if you want to minimise moving hotels you can also see a lot by taking island hopping day trips from Phuket.

One of the best excursions from Phuket is to the insanely pretty (and popular) Koh Phi Phi islands and Maya Bay. For a more relaxing two weeks in Thailand itinerary I’d recommend just taking a day trip to Koh Phi Phi and Maya Bay , unless you want to party as Koh Phi Phi Don has become quite the party island.

Thailand limestone cliffs James Bond island

Another great day trip is the James Bond Island Trip which goes to Ao Phang Na National Park, Phang Nga Bay and James Bond Island where you’ll see some of Thailand’s most spectacular sights, have lunch at a fishing village and have fun swimming and canoeing.

Where to Stay in Phuket

The Shore At Katathani, Phuket

As the largest island in Thailand, there’s a huge range of accommodation options from fabulous luxury resorts to unique boutique hotels , budget guesthouses and backpacker hostels.

The best beaches in Phuket are located on the West Coast so I recommend you stay there. My personal favorite hotel is The Nai Harn , located on an unspoilt beach at the southern tip of the island near trendy Rawai.

Kata Beach, Karon Beach and Kamala Beach are a good choice for couples and families. There’s plenty of luxury resorts like The Shore at Katathani , and family friendly resorts like Sunwing in Kamala Beach. You can also find more budget friendly hotels, like Kata Hill Sea View, a bit further away from the beachfront.

If you want crazy nightlife and budget hostels then head to famous Patong Beach.  Lub D Phuket is an amazing hostel with a pool, private rooms and dorms and a friendly vibe.

There’s also plenty of places in Phuket where you can escape the crowds and relax on perfect beaches. Read this guide to the best places to stay in Phuket which goes into much more detail.

The Nai Harn Hotel, Haiharn beach, Phuket

How to get to Phuket

Phuket has some of the best transport connections to the rest of Thailand and abroad. Phuket’s international airport (HKT), and many bus and boat connections, make it quick and easy to visit even if you’re short on time.

If you’re coming from Chiang Mai or Bangkok you can fly directly to Phuket airport. The bus journey would take a long time, and possible require another night’s stay in Bangkok, so I recommend flying.

Koh Phi Phi island

Koh Phi Phi Don: 1 or 2 Days

The small islands of Koh Phi Phi Don and Koh Phi Phi Leh are possibly the most beautiful islands in Thailand – and the most popular.

These idyllic slices of tropical paradise framed by dramatic limestone cliffs shot to fame after the movie ‘ The Beach’ was filmed in Maya Bay on Koh Phi Phi Leh.

The island still doesn’t have any roads but boat rides and treks through the jungle will lead you to discover quiet bays and the steep hike up to the Koh Phi Phi viewpoint is well worth it for the panoramic vistas.

There’s no accommodation on tiny Phi Phi Leh, and due to the island’s popularity you can no longer camp or swim in Maya Bay. The best way to explore is with a long tail boat trip around the islands where you will get  to see Monkey Beach, Viking Cave, Maya Bay, Pi Leh Lagoon and Bamboo Island with plenty of snorkelling and swimming spots.

Where to Stay in Koh Phi Phi

The Beach Resort Koh Phi Phi

The main area, Ton Sai Village and Ao Lo Dalam, has a pier, lively nightlife and plenty of backpacker hostels, like Voyagers Hostel , and budget friendly beach bungalows, like Phi Phi Sand Sea View Resort.

For something more upscale Phi Phi Villa Resort is a good choice, within walking distance to the action but far enough away to get a good nights sleep!

If you are looking for a peaceful island escape try Hat Yao (Long Beach) home to the fabulous Phi Phi The Beach Resort and Viking Nature Resort.

How to Get to Koh Phi Phi

Ferries regularly run to Koh Phi Phi from Phuket and Krabi. Either visit on a day trip from Phuket or stay on the island for a few days.

The speedboat from Phuket is the quickest way and only takes 1 hour.

Krabi beach and boats

Krabi:  2 – 3 Days

Krabi is home to spectacular limestone karst formations that tower over the ocean, dense forests, a 150-kilometer coastline, and tons of tiny islands just outside of its shores. It’s just as beautiful as Phuket, but offers a more laid back experience.

Make a beeline to Railay Beach. As Railay is cut off from the mainland by thick jungle and rugged cliffs getting there is an adventure in itself – it’s only accessible by boat.

Railay’s picturesque towering cliffs are a great spot for rock climbers. Other things to do here include swimming and relaxing on the beach and trekking up to the viewpoints. You can also visit the penis cave – a shrine to fertility.

If you’re still up for a bit more island hopping, the 4 Islands Tour   is one of the best in Thailand where you’ll visit Koh Poda, Chicken Island, Koh Tub, and Koh Mor.

For something different, take this Jungle Adventure Excursion out to Wat Tham Seua – the tiger cave temple , soak in the hot springs and then get refreshed in the emerald pool.

After a day on the beach or island hopping, head to Krabi Town night market or enjoy the nightlife in Ao Nang.

Koh Lanta is also a good option if you want to escape the crowds, but might be tricky to fit in to a 2 weeks in Thailand itinerary.

Where to Stay in Krabi

railay bay resort

For beachside stays in Krabi head to either Ao Nang beach or catch a long tail boat to Railay Beach.

The best place to stay in Railay Beach is the Railay Bay Resort & Spa, a stunning beachfront property. If you’re on a budget head up the hill and you’ll find cheap bungalows and mid range rooms at Rapala Rock Wood Resort. 

Ao Nang and Krabi Town also have plenty of accommodation options, bars, restaurants and shops to suit all budgets. Anda Sea Tales Resort stands out with it’s stunning rooftop swimming pool and views. You can even get a room with a private pool on the balcony.

How to get to Krabi

Boats take about 2.5 – 3 hours from Phuket and about 2 hours from Koh Phi Phi.

You can also take a minivan or taxi from Phuket to Krabi overland which takes about 3 hours.

Krabi also has an airport, so you can fly from Krabi back to Bangkok, or to Koh Samui if you wanted to explore both coasts.

Tropical pineapple cocktail

The Gulf of Thailand

The Gulf of Thailand, on the East Coast, is home to three of Thailand’s best islands – Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao.

All offer beautiful beaches with powder soft sands, azure waters and boat trips to the stunning Ang Thong Marine National Park, but each have a different vibe and are all worth exploring. Their proximity to each other make for a fantastic and easy island hopping adventure.

If you’re visiting Thailand in July and August, these islands should have better weather than Phuket and the Andaman islands.

make time in your Thailand itinerary to relax in a resort on Koh Samui

Koh Samui: 2 or 3 days

Koh Samui, located in the Gulf of Thailand, is Thailand’s second largest island and has everything you’d want from a tropical island – soft white sand beaches, clear turquoise oceans, swaying palm trees and plenty of resorts, eateries, spas, bars and wellness retreats.

Highlights of Koh Samui are it’s natural beauty spots, relaxing beaches and warm tropical waters. One of the best things to do here is taking a kayaking and snorkeling tour to the sensational Ang Thong Marine National Park.

Koh Samui statue

If you want a dose of culture, there’s also plenty of temples to visit including Wat Phra Yai with its Big Buddha statue and the Secret Buddha Garden .

You can also trek to waterfalls, see the infamous phallic rock of Hat Lamai, visit an elephant sanctuary, take an off road jungle safari tour , ride an ATV through the jungle or splash about in the waterparks.

Where to Stay on Koh Samui

melati resort koh samui

There’s plenty of accommodation options to suit all budgets, from luxury resorts to family friendly hotels and backpacker hostels.

Most of the nightlife happens on buzzing Chaweng Beach.  Chaweng Cove Beach Resort is a good pick for an affordable beachfront resort in this popular area.

If you just want to chill out, coconut in hand, better to head to the other beaches. Resorts like The Lamai Samui on Lamai Beach are quieter, nicer and more family friendly.

Choeng Mon is the most beautiful beach on the island. If you’re looking for a luxurious stay on a secluded bay head to the Melati Beach Resort & Spa .

For a budget stay check out The Summer House , an affordable and easy base from which to explore the island.

How to get to Koh Samui

Koh Samui’s airport (USM) makes getting to the island quick and easy.

Bangkok Airlines has a daily direct flight from Chiang Mai to Koh Samui which takes under 2 hours. There are also many flights via Bangkok that will take you about 4 hours in total.

You can also buy combined travel tickets with an overnight train from Bangkok, then bus and ferry rides to Koh Samui.

koh phangan full moon party

Koh Phangan: 2 – 3 days

If you are a party person then you’ll want to plan your Thailand itinerary so that the dates you will be on Koh Phangan , also known as Koh Pha-Ngan, coincide with the date for the famous monthly Full Moon Party .

This massive party takes over the whole of Haad Rin beach and attracts tens of thousands of people every single month for a bucket list experience.

Deck yourself out in UV glow paint, sip on buckets of booze and party on the beach until sunrise with loud dance music blasting from the many bars along the beach.

Thailand sunsets

Many hotels in Haad Rin have a minimum stay of 3 nights around full moon. Make sure you book your accommodation well in advance if you’ll be in Koh Phangan for the Full Moon Party.

If it’s not full moon time when you visit don’t worry as there are still lots of amazing parties like the Half Moon Party and the Jungle Experience , which are in many ways better than the Full Moon party anyway.

samma karuna yoga koh phangan

Koh Phangan also has a hippie, spiritual side with many yoga retreats and numerous meditation and tantra classes available on the other side of the island.

Nature lovers should head to Than Sadet Ko Phagnan National Park which has numerous waterfalls, secluded beaches, and gorgeous hiking opportunities. Phaeng Waterfall is a beautiful waterfall with a nice lookout point in the jungle. Also check out the pretty Chinese style Guanyin Temple.

Where to Stay on Koh Phangan

the cabin beach resort koh phangan

Koh Phangan has many different beaches and areas that will appeal to different people – whether you are looking to be close to the nightlife, yoga studios or just relax on a beautiful beach.

If your visiting for the Full Moon Party stay on Haad Rin Beach. Tommy Resort is the best pick. Or consider somewhere like The Cabin Beach Resort on nearby Leela Beach which is just stumbling distance away.

If you’re not here for the party, stay at one of Koh Phangan’s excellent yoga retreats  or head to the north to Thong Nai Pan Bay. This is where you’ll find the island’s best beaches, luxury spa resorts like Santhiya Koh Phangan Resort and more affordable Longtail Beach Resort .

Check out my guide to where to stay in Koh Phangan for more details.

How to get to Koh Phangan

Ferries from Koh Samui go regularly to Koh Phangan taking between 30 minutes and 1 hour, and then continue onwards to Koh Tao.

koh-tao koh nang yuan viewpoint

Koh Tao: 2 – 3 Days

The tiny turtle shaped island of Koh Tao is one of the best places not just in Thailand but in the whole world for scuba diving due to its colourful and vibrant coral reefs and warm tropical waters.

Koh Tao is one of the best, and cheapest, places in the world to do your PADI open water course and learn how to scuba dive .

Under the water you have the chance to see turtles, rays, whale sharks, and numerous other species of fish and wildlife.

Scuba diving Thailand

PADI scuba diving courses normally take 4 days, so if you only have 2 weeks to spend in Thailand you could adjust this itinerary and spend less time on the other islands and still fit it all in to a 2 week Thailand itinerary.

Or if you just want to give diving a try you can also do a 1 day discover dive , or join one of the snorkelling boat trips.

The island is also home to many beautiful bays, groves, and secluded beaches. Don’t miss the trek up to the Koh Nang Yuan viewpoint to take in the gorgeous panorama.

Where to Stay on Koh Tao

sensi paradise resort koh tao

Koh Tao has a party scene too, Sairee Beach is where most of the amenities and nightlife are but can be a noisy place to stay.

Sensi Paradise Beach Resort is a nice tropical resort within walking distance but far enough away to get some sleep. A good budget pick complete with sea views is  Koh Tao Heritage.

How to get to Koh Tao

The ferry from Koh Phangan to Koh Tao takes about 1 hour. From Koh Samui it’s closer to 2 hours.

After Koh Tao, head back to Koh Samui for better onward travel options. Take a ferry and bus or train combination or catch a flight from Koh Samui back to Bangkok to catch your flight home.

Back to Bangkok

Wat Arun Bangkok

Depending on where you end your island hopping trip fly from either Phuket, Krabi or Koh Samui back to Bangkok to catch your international flight home.

I’d recommend allowing time in your 2 week Thailand itinerary to get back to Bangkok with plenty of time to make your next flight in case of ferry or flight delays from the islands.

So spend one more night in Bangkok, eat some last pad thai, visit one more temple, get one more massage and do some last minute shopping and bring a bit of Thailand back home with you.

Ideas for a 7 – 10 Days Thailand Itinerary

If you don’t have so much vacation time don’t worry, you can still follow some of this itinerary just modify it depending on how many days you have.

Here’s some suggestions for a 10 day Thailand itinerary and a 7 day Thailand itinerary too:

10 Days in Thailand Itinerary

Bangkok (2 days) Chiang Mai (3 days) Koh Samui (2 days) Koh Phangan (2 days) Bangkok (1 day)

7 Days in Thailand Itinerary

Bangkok (2 days) Chiang Mai (2 days) Phuket (2 days) Bangkok (1 day)

If you’ve got more time to play with then check out this 1 month Thailand backpacking route.

Essential Thailand Travel Tips

Now you’ve got a better idea of how to plan your perfect 2 weeks in Thailand itinerary, here’s all the other essential travel tips you’ll need to plan your trip and start your adventure of a lifetime!

When to Visit Thailand

One thing that’s really important to know before you plan a trip to Thailand is the best time to visit Thailand. Tropical Thailand is warm all year round but there are three different seasons in Thailand: hot, cool, and wet.

The best time to visit Thailand is in the cool season from November/December – February/March where sunny, clear skies and warm (not unbearably hot) temperatures are the most pleasant for traveling and sightseeing and beach days.

A highlight is the Loi Krathong festival . Celebrated in Northern Thailand in November where you’ll witness hundreds of lanterns being released into the air.

This is also the peak tourist season so it will be busier and prices will be higher. So it’s best to book ahead, especially in December and January and around Christmas and New Year.

plan your thailand itinerary to coincide with the loi krathong lantern festival

April and May are still dry and sunny but can be uncomfortably hot for sightseeing in the North but a good time for relaxing on the beaches. Celebrating Songkran , the Thai New Year on 13th April can be fun but book accommodation and transport well in advance.

June, July and August see the start of the rainy season, which increases in intensity as it progresses. At first it’s usually just a short afternoon downpour that brings a welcome relief to the heat and humidity. See more about the advantages and disadvantages of traveling in the rainy season.

Phuket and the Andaman Coast experience the most rain in September – October, but the Gulf is still pretty dry at this time.

Koh Samui and the Gulf of Thailand witnesses downpours from November to December, but the Andaman coast has mostly dried up by now.

If you’re visiting Thailand in July and August (which is in the middle of the rainy season) the Koh Samui side is your best bet for good weather.

Getting to Thailand

Bangkok has two airports and is well connected to the rest of the world which makes getting to Thailand easy.

Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi international airport (BKK) handles long haul international flights and Don Mueang (DMK) handles flights within Thailand and Southeast Asia.

Thailand’s network of low cost domestic flights make getting around quick and easy with airports in popular destinations including Chiang Mai, Phuket, Koh Samui, Krabi and more.

Visas for Thailand

Getting in to Thailand is easy as the country offers 30 day visa free entry to most nationalities including U.K., U.S.A., Australia, Canada, New Zealand and most European countries.

You can only get the 30 days visa free if you arrive to Thailand via air with an onward ticket. If you arrive by land you only get 15 days visa free.

If you fall in love and want to stay longer you can extend your visa by another 30 days at an immigration office and paying about 2,000 baht. Or, apply for a longer visa at any Thai Embassy before you enter Thailand.   More visa info here.

Covid-19 Update: Thailand is now fully open! From 1st October 2022, Thailand no longer requires travellers to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result. The length of stay allowed with the visa exemption has also increased from 30 days to 45 days.

Be aware that this can change depending on the covid situation. Check the latest entry requirements and keep up to date with the latest news from the Thailand Tourism Authority.

bangkok grand palace and tuk tuk

Getting Around Thailand

Thailand’s transportation system is modern and efficient which makes getting around Thailand safe and easy. Trains, buses, flights, boats, taxis and tuk-tuks operate all over the country.

Trains are comfortable and can be a fun way to get to know some of the locals. Taking an overnight train can also save on a night’s accommodation.

Thai Buses are mostly modern, convenient and comfortable, especially if you book one of the luxury air conditioned buses that run frequently between major towns and tourist destinations. Minivans are also an affordable way to travel but can be cramped for long distances.

When planning your 2 week Thailand itinerary in advance you can book your transport online easily using 12 Go Asia

Accommodation Options in Thailand

Thailand has all types of accommodation, whether you’re looking for luxury 5 star hotels with spas and rooftop pools, yoga retreats , affordable guesthouses and backpacker hostels plus everything in between.

You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to accommodation in Thailand and prices are often considerably cheaper than you’ll find in Europe or the US.

In this post I’ve recommended mid range hotels and resorts for each destination that I feel represents both a great experience and great value for money without breaking the bank, but both ultra luxury and ultra cheap options are also available.

You can also find plenty of hotels including budget options on Booking.com and Agoda also offers great deals on hotels in Asia.

Thailand waterfall

Tours of Thailand

Multi day tours.

Thailand is quite safe and easy to travel independently, but if you want to take the hassle out of planning and arranging your Thailand itinerary for yourself then it’s a great idea as all your transport and accommodation and must do activities are taken care of.

Taking an organised tour will allow you to see all the highlights in a much shorter period of time so it’s the best option if you want to fit as much as possible into a short trip and all you have to do is relax and enjoy it!

Joining a multi day group tour of Thailand is also perfect if you’re a solo traveller and don’t want to travel alone. If you pick the right tour you’ll also be traveling with a group of like minded people and make plenty of new friends.

Another advantage is that tours sometimes include some more off the beaten track and less touristy experiences that you might not have known about or that might be harder to reach on your own.

If you’ve liked my itinerary but would rather have someone else sort everything out for you then this 12 day Amazing Thailand Discovery Tour  will take you to see the highlights of Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phuket and Phang Nga Bay.

If you’re a backpacker or young solo traveller this fun 15 day Backpacking Thailand group tour   by Feel Free Travel is perfect. If you prefer a private tour then check out Realistic Asia’s Perfect Thailand 13 days private tour package.

You can also search through and read reviews of all the Thailand tours available from hundreds of companies on Tour Radar.

Even if you are traveling Thailand independently taking day tours are an easy way to get off the beaten track, enjoy special activities. Guided tours are also a great way to get to know more about the history and culture of country and can really bring a destination to life.

Day trips and island hopping tours are also a good way to see the highlights of other areas without the hassle and time spent switching hotels or organising it all on your own.

For guided tours and day trips I recommend Get your Guide and Viator where you can see all the activities and trips available, check out reviews and book them online in advance to save the time and hassle of organising it after you arrive, and the risk of missing out if the trip you want to take is fully booked.

The  Lonely Planet Thailand Guidebook  is packed with useful information for pretty much every tourist destination in Thailand. It’s invaluable for both planning your Thailand itinerary and for taking on the road with you.

Travel Insurance

Thailand is generally a very safe and welcoming country to travel in but whenever you travel abroad you shouldn’t leave home without travel insurance in case you fall ill, have an accident or have to cancel your trip.

It’s even more important nowadays to get travel insurance that covers Covid-19 related illnesses, cancellations or delays.

I recommend World Nomads for shorter trips or, if you’re a digital nomad or already traveling, you can get covered with Safety Wing . Both cover Covid 19.

I hope you found this post useful and that it helps you to plan your own perfect 2 week Thailand itinerary. For more tips read my Thailand travel guide and more of my posts about Thailand here.

Have an amazing trip to Thailand!

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Jones Around The World

Thailand Itinerary | 10 Days in the Land of Smiles

Are you looking for the best 10-day Thailand itinerary? Then you’ve struck gold. Spending 10 days in Thailand is guaranteed to be one of the most memorable, jaw-dropping, and epic adventures in your entire life.

Complete with white sand beaches, unbelievably delicious Thai food, and incredibly welcoming hospitality – there is definitely a reason why Thailand is nicknamed the “Land of Smiles”.

Thailand was actually the first country I visited during my travels in Southeast Asia, and it’s safe to say that it got me completely hooked on exploring this magical region of the world.

It isn’t all that long of a holiday, but I wholeheartedly believe that this 10-day Thailand itinerary is simply the best way to maximize your time in this wonderful country.

The truth is – I simply love helping people plan their travels and tour packages in Thailand.  I’ve rented apartments in Bangkok and Chiang Mai, partied at the major music festivals in Thailand , and have spent months island hopping around paradise.

I’ve also written dozens of articles about visiting Thailand, so you’re in good hands. And I’m hoping that my Thailand trip itinerary can take away some of the stress you might have about planning your own trip.

thailand itinerary 10 days

The Ultimate Thailand Itinerary 10 Days

It really is going to be an amazing experience. And in this 10 days in Thailand itinerary, I’ll go over the best things to do, places to visit, island hopping tours, and scuba diving hotspots. I’ll also cover popular national parks, transportation options, and different accommodation options on where to stay.

So without further ado, let’s get started on the ultimate 10 days in Thailand itinerary.

Thailand Itinerary Day 1: Arrive in Bangkok

Your adventure begins in one of my personal favorite cities in all of Southeast Asia, and I really hope you love it as much as I do. While at first glance it may seem a bit busy and chaotic, it truly is one of the most fascinating destinations in the world.

Filled with beautiful temples, buzzing floating markets, smiling locals, and unbelievably delicious street food – Bangkok really is the perfect introduction to Thailand.

In truth, Bangkok is a city where you could visit for weeks and still not have enough time to explore everything it has to offer. It’s such a massive city, and I swear every time I return to “The Big Mango”, I find myself needing more time and adding things to my to-do list.

10-day Thailand itinerary

Vertigo Rooftop Restaurant | Banyan Tree

Since you’ll be arriving at Bangkok’s Don Mueang International Airport (and most likely will be jet-lagged), I’ll keep the first day of this 10-day Thailand itinerary low-key.

If you’ve got some energy, I’d suggest making a reservation at the famous Banyan Tree , because it really will provide the best first-night meal in the country.

“Exquisite food from around the world. Banyan Tree Bangkok is a mecca for food enthusiasts. With a range of gourmet restaurants, offering everything from Thai street food, to international and Asian gourmet experiences, Bangkok’s iconic rooftop bar and restaurant, you will be able to satisfy all your cravings.”

Bangkok is well-known for its rooftop bars. So you can check out this 19 Best Rooftop Bars in Bangkok guide for a few options.

Vertigo Rooftop Restaurant - Bangkok - ThailandVertigo Rooftop Restaurant - Bangkok - Thailand

Credit: Vertigo Rooftop Restaurant | Banyan Tree

Bangkok Activity: River Dinner Cruise on the Chao Phraya Princess

If you’re looking for something a little different to end your first day in Thailand, I’d also recommend this Chao Phraya Princess River Cruise .

“Experience Bangkok’s finest on the Chao Phraya Princess cruise. Enjoy a dinner buffet and live band performance as you sail past iconic sites such as Grand Palace and Wat Pho aboard this luxurious cruise in Bangkok.

It’ll be a great way to begin your 10 days in Thailand itinerary. The food is delicious, they’ll play popular music from the 80s/90s, and it’s such a fun way to see the city all lit up at night and beat that jet lag.

Book the Chao Phraya Princess River Cruise Buffet Dinner now, and you won’t regret it.

Bangkok: River Dinner Cruise on the Chao Phraya Princess

Bangkok: River Dinner Cruise on the Chao Phraya Princess

Where to stay in Bangkok for 1-2 Nights?  

Because you’ll only be in the capital city for a short visit, and you might be battling a bit of jetlag – I think it’s best to stay in a comfortable place. There is no shortage of amazing accommodations to choose from, from a charming boutique hotel to luxury hotels, Airbnbs, and hostels.

It’s also an affordable destination for luxury hotels, so I’d splurge a bit and stay at the Westin (it’s truly magnificent).

The Westin Grande Sukhumvit – Eat Well. Be Well. Sleep Well. Bangkok Well. Every time I stay in a Westin property, I fall more in love with the brand, and it’s simply one of the best luxury hotels in the city. Amazing staff, excellent location, and the most heavenly beds to give you a perfect night’s sleep to ensure your Thailand trip starts off the right way.

Check rates & availability

NapPark Hostel – This is the best hostel in Bangkok and really is the best option for budget travelers and backpackers on this 10-day Thailand itinerary. It’s superbly located near Khao San Road, and you’ll be able to check out a lot of the city’s major attractions like the Grand Palace. While this hostel is designed for backpackers, I think it’s even suitable for people looking for a private room.

The Westin Grande Sukhumvit, Bangkok

Credit: The Westin Grande Sukhumvit, Bangkok

Thailand Itinerary Day 2: Explore Temples, Markets & Late-Night Ferry

I hope you’ve gotten a good first night of sleep and are feeling great because you’re really going to need your energy today. Since you’ve only got 10 days in Thailand, you’ll have very limited time in Bangkok.

Each time I visit Bangkok, I find loads of fun and interesting things to do. If you’d like to experience the best of these activities, I suggest you check out my ultimate two-days in Bangkok itinerary .

10-day Thailand itinerary

I’d recommend trying to see as much as you can but understand you will not be able to fit it all in. Here are a few of my favorite things to do in Bangkok.

  • Visit the famous Khao San Road for shopping, partying, and meeting fellow travelers
  • Head to the Chatuchak Weekend Market (only if you’re there on Saturday or Sunday)
  • Take a relaxing stroll through Lumphini Park
  • Visit a famous white temple, like Wat Arun, Wat Phra Kaew, or the Grand Palace.
  • Go to Thai Cooking School
  • Hop on a ferry down to the Asiatique
  • Dinner and drinks at the Lebua Tower (Hangover 2 Filming Location)
  • Watch the sunset and have some cocktails at epic Bangkok rooftop bars
  • Browse the mega MBK Center for some bargain shopping
  • Enjoy delicious street food at the Sukhumvit Soi 38 Night Food Market

10 Days in Thailand Travel Guide

While you obviously won’t be able to do all of this in just one day, I’d just recommend doing your research and picking out your favorite activities. I rented an apartment in Bangkok for a month, and I think what I mentioned above are pretty epic tourist attractions in the city.

Watch this Youtube clip to get you stoked for your visit to Bangkok. 

25 Amazing Things To Do in Bangkok, Thailand

Book Your Travels From Bangkok to Koh Tao (Gulf of Thailand)

After spending one or two days exploring as much as possible in the sprawling capital city of Bangkok, it’s time to head down to the stunning tropical islands in the Gulf of Thailand.

These include Koh Tao, which is the scuba diver’s paradise; Koh Phangan, the Gulf of Thailand’s party central; and lastly, Koh Samui, the tourism mecca. 

There are TWO different ways to get from Bangkok down to the Gulf of Thailand.

  • Book a Late-Night Overnight Bus + Ferry Combo ticket –- This is actually the only way I’ve ever traveled down to Koh Tao, and I don’t have any complaints. I love that it leaves late at night (around 9 pm), and it saves you a night of accommodation.

I’d personally purchase the $36 ticket with the Lomprayah Stop. I think it’s the best company, and it gets you onto Koh Tao around 8:45 am (just in time to start exploring the island).

Bangkok to Koh Tao 10 Days in Thailand Itinerary

2) The second option for getting to the Gulf of Thailand is by booking a flight from Bangkok to Koh Samui . Flights typically cost $113 – $150 U.S.D depending on how long in advance you book your flight. 

It will definitely save you a lot of time, but it really just depends on your budget. My itineraries in Southeast Asia tend to lean a bit more toward the budget style because that’s how I spent the majority of my Thailand 10-day itinerary.

If you decide to fly from Bangkok to Koh Samui, you can hop on the ferry from Koh Samui to Koh Tao (which takes about two hours). Another option would just be to stay on Koh Samui and take a day trip to Koh Tao for snorkeling and sightseeing. 

It really just depends on if you want to see Koh Tao or not. I’m personally not a big fan of Koh Samui, so I don’t typically include it in my itineraries. There’s just been too big of a tourism boom there, and I’d rather spend my Thailand travel itinerary in other places.

10 Days in Thailand Travel Guide

Thailand Itinerary Day 3: Koh Tao Island Explorations

Welcome to Koh Tao. I trust you’ve had a smooth overnight bus + ferry experience and are looking forward to your first introduction to the glorious islands in Thailand.

Koh Tao was the very first destination I visited (after Bangkok), and I’ve honestly been in love with it ever since. There really is such an amazing vibe found here, and you’re guaranteed to have a good time. 

It’s world-famous for being a top destination for scuba diving (especially getting certified), has tons of beautiful beaches, and is one of my favorite places to party in Southeast Asia . 

10 Days Thailand Itinerary

For your first day in Koh Tao, I’d recommend renting a scooter (which is super common in Thailand) and exploring as much of the island as possible.

You can also spend time hitting up as many of my favorite things to do on Koh Tao:

  • Watch every sunset on Sairee Beach with a Chang beer in hand
  • Explore the more relaxed and quiet area of Chalok Baan Kao
  • Hike from Mae Haad to Chalok if you’re feeling sporty
  • Visit Mango Bay Viewpoint
  • The Koh Tao Pub Crawl
  • Thai Cooking Class (common in most places on this Thailand itinerary, though)
  • Visit Freedom Beach and Instagram it up at John Suwan Viewpoint

Take a look at this article about the best things to do in Koh Tao for a bit more information. 

10 Days Thailand Itinerary

Where to Stay on Koh Tao (2 Nights) 

Simple Life Cliff View Resort   – This is the best-selling property on Koh Tao and would provide the most amazing stay. Super comfortable rooms and amazing views, and it’s located right on Sairee Beach. This is definitely worth looking into.

Goodtime Beach Hostel —  This is the best party hostel in Koh Tao. “Our hostel is perfect for young, thrill-seeking travelers who want to adventure all day and then dance the night away. We are situated next to one of Koh Tao’s most popular bars, which plays lively music until 2 am. We are not ideal for those looking for a peaceful, family holiday. If this is your requirement, we respectfully advise finding an alternative location”.

Triple B Bungalows — This cute little bed and breakfast is just a short walking distance from the ferry point. And is perfect for people who are looking for a more quiet and relaxing time on Koh Tao (since it’s not on the party side of Sairee Beach). It’s got amazing staff, excellent reviews, and just a beautiful property.

10 Days Thailand Itinerary

Thailand Itinerary Day 4: Beach Days & Nang Yuan Island

Hopefully, you’re not too hungover from the Koh Tao pub crawl and party island nightlife because it’s your second day in Koh Tao, and there’s still lots more to do.

Most importantly, though – you can’t come to Koh Tao without visiting the nearby idyllic paradise that is Nang Yuan Island and its stunning white-sand beaches.

It’s one of the most gorgeous places in the entire country, and you could easily spend all day there. This is actually where I went scuba diving for the very first time, and I’ll never forget it. 

10 Days in Thailand Travel Guide

“A secret waiting to be discovered and located only 15 minutes from Koh Tao. Nang Yuan has one of the most beautiful beaches where you can sit and enjoy quiet sunsets on the beach, with no cars or hustle or bustle. 

It is a place of tranquility and serenity and is a perfect place to unwind from the rigors of travel, or for the more adventurous a chance to dive into an exciting new experience.”  – Nang Yuan Island Dive Resort

I’d recommend just hiring a private boat transfer over to Nang Yuan because you really don’t want to feel rushed while you’re over there. Definitely make your way up to the different viewpoints, relax on the beach, and just soak up your time in paradise. The pristine color of the water will honestly blow you away.

Another option though would be to book an “Around Island” Koh Tao snorkeling day trip. This would be on a “Big Boat” with loads of other tourists, and daily trips leave at 9:30 am, returning at 5 pm. 

You’ll visit Koh Nang Yuan, Aow Muang (Mango Bay), Hin Wong Bay, Aow Leuk, and Shark Bay. There are a ton of different companies that offer this, and you’ll see all the different travel agencies selling this day trip.

Price : 850+ Thai Baht ($24,9)

Includes : Transfers, snorkeling equipment, basic lunch, fresh fruit, and water. 

Don’t forget to bring a towel, sunscreen, and an underwater camera.   

This day trip is probably the best way to see Koh Tao with limited time, but I know some people would be more than happy to just sit on a beach all day, read a book, and work on their tan.

Koh Nang Yuan - 10 Day Thailand Itinerary

Koh Nang Yuan

Thailand Itinerary Day 5: Koh Phangan Parties & Adventures

Book the 10 am Ferry from Koh Tao -> Koh Phangan ($14)

Are you ready to experience what I refer to as the “Ibiza of Southeast Asia”? This is the location of the famous Full Moon Party , but it’s also another beautiful island paradise in Thailand.

If you’re not much of a party traveler though, just book a boutique hotel on the north side of the island (which is known for its tranquility, meditation retreats, and pristine beaches). But I think everyone who comes to Koh Phangan should experience a bit of its hedonistic charm. 

10 Days Thailand Itinerary

Koh Phangan is truly epic, and I’ve spent many wild nights partying until sunrise. It might be difficult to align your travels with the actual date of the Full Moon Party. But don’t let that bother you because there’s always something fun happening on Koh Phangan.      

Koh Phangan is also home to the infamous “Mushroom Mountain” , and if you’re interested in a psychedelic experience, this is one of my favorite spots to try magic mushrooms in Thailand. This certain activity may not be for everyone, but it’ll definitely provide a fun and memorable experience in Koh Phangan. 

10 Days Thailand Itinerary

Some of the other best things to do in Koh Phangan:

  • Rent a Moto and Explore the Waterfalls
  • Grab a drink, and watch the sunset at Amsterdam Bar
  • Visit the Thong Sala Night Market
  • Take a cooking class (but I’d save this for a different stop)
  • Conquer the WIPEOUT Course ( Challenge Koh Phangan )
  • Yoga & Meditation for the non-party seekers

Check out this fun YouTube clip for a bit more inspiration

Top 10 Things to do on Ko Phangan

Where to Stay in Koh Phangan (2 Nights)

Phangan Bayshore Resort   – One of the most popular, budget-friendly, and incredible resorts in Haad Rin (where the majority of parties are on the island). It’s got absolutely amazing reviews, has a stunning pool, and has top-notch service. Definitely will provide an excellent stay for anyone in Koh Phangan.

Bodega Beach Party Hostel — If you’re looking for a fun party hostel in Koh Phangan, then I’d definitely recommend checking out Bodega Beach Party. They’ve got several locations all over Thailand and always show their guests a damn good time (myself included). If you’re a budget traveler or backpacker making your way to Koh Phangan, this spot will be perfect.

10 Days Thailand Itinerary

Thailand Itinerary Day 6: Scooter Adventures/ National Parks

Let’s be honest. There’s a good chance you’re still partying at some after-hours club right now. But, if you manage to keep your hangover to a minimum, there’s obviously heaps more to do on Koh Phangan.

So grab breakfast, chug some coconut water, and get ready for more fun on this Thailand adventure itinerary. 

One of the best things I’d recommend for this day is to book a tour of the stunning Angthong National Marine Park . It’s absolutely magical, and you’ll be mesmerized by the views out there.

This Koh Phangan to Angthong Marine Park Day Tour with Lunch is one of the top-rated day trips from Koh Phangan and is guaranteed to be an absolute blast. Be sure to book in advance, though, if you travel during peak season, as it does tend to sell out rather fast.

One of these tours will take up a good portion of the day, but if you decide to give it a skip, then just rent a moto and explore the island a bit. You might be surprised at everything there is to do because it’s an absolutely massive island. If you’ve still got some energy, check out other parties like the Jungle Experience, Merkaba, and Half Moon.     

10 Days in Thailand Itinerary

Thailand Itinerary Day 7: Travel to Krabi/ Ao Nang

Now that you’ve had your fun in the Gulf of Thailand — it’s time to make your way to the Andaman Sea. You’ll need to get from Koh Phangan to Krabi .

There is a direct flight from Koh Samui if you’d like to transfer over there. But I honestly think the ferry + bus combo does the job pretty well. 

The half a day trip takes about 5.5 hours, but it goes pretty quickly. There are a ton of different options and times to choose from, so check out the Koh Phangan to Krabi travel schedule and book your spot in advance (as they can sell out during peak season). 

10 Days in Thailand Itinerary

Checking Into Your Ao Nang Accommodation (4 Nights)

Since you’ve been hopping around from Bangkok, Koh Tao, and Koh Phangan quite quickly…I think at this point it’s best to book a place for the rest of your time in the country.

10 Days Thailand Itinerary

Where to Stay in Krabi / Ao Nang

Panan Krabi Resort   – This newly built luxury resort in Ao Nang is undeniably gorgeous.  There is a rooftop pool that’s truly next level, and there are always epic deals for online bookings. The rooms are beautiful, the service is impeccable, and you definitely will love spending the rest of your time in Thailand here.

Slumber Party at The Beach Hostel – I stayed here when I was backpacking in Thailand, and I absolutely loved this hostel. The beds are super comfortable, it’s really budget-friendly, and it’s the perfect place to meet fellow travelers. They’ve got another location in Ao Nang as well, but I think the one at the beach is nicer. 

Slumber Party at The Beach Hostel

10 Days in Thailand Itinerary

Thailand Itinerary Day 8: The Hong Islands Hopping Tour 

During my most recent trip to Thailand, I was recommended to check out the Hong Islands and Lagoon in south Thailand. I’m so glad I did because this was arguably the best day trip I’ve ever been on.

All of the stops on the itinerary were truly epic, and it had me fall in love with Thailand all over again. There are tons of different companies to choose from, so take a browse through the tours below, and pick one that fits your budget and is ideal for your Thailand itinerary.

Suggested Tours:

  • Krabi: Hong Islands Day Trip by Speedboat with Lunch
  • Sea Kayaking in Ao Thalane & Optional Full-Day Hong Island
  • Krabi: Hong Islands Boat Tour with Panorama Viewpoint

10 Days in Thailand Itinerary

“The Hong Islands are rife with secluded beaches, coral reefs, and sea caves to explore. There’s something for every type of outdoor enthusiast. Railay Beach is popular with rock climbers, Koh Hong’s Hong Lagoon is a calm place to kayak, and Phang Nga Bay has scenic views and great sunbathing.

A speedboat or longtail boat tour is a good way to visit the beautiful islands and typically depart from Krabi or Phuket. Some excursions include snorkeling or kayaking and often feature stops at Khao Phing Kan, Ao Nang Beach, Phi Phi Island, and Lading Island.”

No matter what day trip you end up booking, just make sure you get out there and do some island hopping. It’s such an amazing experience, and your eyes will thank you.

10 Days in Thailand Itinerary

Thailand Itinerary Day 9: Railey Beach & Ton Sai Bay Explorations

While I do think the Ao Nang area is nice, one of the main highlights of visiting this part of Thailand is taking a short boat trip over to check out Railay Beach and Ton Sai Bay.

10 Days in Thailand Itinerary

This is known for having the best rock climbing in all of Thailand, has unbelievably beautiful beaches, and is just overall a fantastic place to spend a day or afternoon.

Here’s a quick little list of things to do during the day:

  • Relax on the beautiful Railay Beach
  • Try out Rock Climbing
  • Hike to the Railay Beach Viewpoint and the Lagoon
  • Visit Phra Nang Beach & Cave
  • Get a Thai Massage
  • Go Kayaking
  • Watch the Monkeys Play
  • Thai Cooking Class (great place to do this)
  • Grab a Beer at Why Not Bar Railay
  • Take a Swim in the Sand Sea Resort’s pool
  • Watch the Sunset with a Fresh Coconut in Hand

10 Days in Thailand Itinerary

There are tons of awesome restaurants and bars in the entire area, and you’ll quickly learn how special this little slice of paradise is. Just be careful of the time – because the longtail boat rides back to Ao Nang end around 5 pm or so, depending on the time of the year. 

Once you make it back to Ao Nang, grab some dinner, and then head out on the legendary Ao Nang Pub Crawl. It’s an absolute blast, but just be ready to nurse some hangover the next day, lol.  

10 Days in Thailand Itinerary

Thailand Itinerary Day 10: Phi Phi Islands Day Trip

Alright, so it’s the final day of the best Thailand itinerary you’ve ever read. And lucky for you, I saved the best for last.

Koh Phi Phi is one of my favorite places in the world, and I’ve had some truly incredible moments in my life there. While it’s definitely a really wild party island these days, it’s also a must-visit in Thailand, and the surrounding tropical islands and landscape are mind-blowing. 

Unfortunately, the famous Maya Bay, the film location for Leonardo Dicaprio’s hit movie, “The Beach,” was temporarily closed for a few years due to over-tourism. And I fully supported this move by the government, as the bay was really being killed by over crowded tourists.

Update : Maya Bay is finally open to tourists once again. There are tons of tour operators that will offer a snorkeling day trip out to Maya Bay, and you simply can’t miss it.

Thailand Itinerary 10 Days

So You Basically Have Two Options:

  • Book round-trip speed boat transfers for the same day, and just explore Ko Phi Phi Le. This would be the more budget-friendly option if you want to spend more time on the actual island, but then you wouldn’t get to explore the nearby island-hopping attractions. Make sure you head up to the main viewpoint during sunset because it’s one of my favorite views in the entire country.
  • Book a full-day island hopping tour that goes around the Phi Phi Islands but won’t give you any time on Ko Phi Phi Le. 

Thailand Itinerary 10 Days

Also – if, for some reason you’ve got a few extra days, I’d recommend heading over to Koh Phi Phi and spending the night (that way, you can experience its famous nightlife).

Thailand Itinerary 10 Days Substitutions 

Thailand is a much larger country than people think, and there really are so many different ways you could plan this 10-day itinerary.

Some people might look at this 10-day Thailand itinerary and think I’m trying to cram in too much. Well, that’s true. My feeling is that if someone only has 10 days in Thailand, why not try and see as much as possible in that short time frame?

You can make small adjustments as you go, but I do think this itinerary is a really amazing starting point for planning your trip. With that being said, here are a few possible substitutions (or alternative Thailand itineraries) to consider.

Thailand Itinerary 10 Days

Skip the Gulf Island and Add Chiang Mai & Pai

Visiting Northern Thailand really is a whole different experience. I could understand how island hopping the entire trip might not sound ideal to some people.

So instead of taking the overnight bus + ferry or flying down to the Gulf of Thailand – just hop on an overnight train or flight to Chiang Mai. 

I actually rented an Airbnb in Chiang Mai for a month during Songkran back in 2015, and it was such a great experience. I loved my time in Chiang Mai, but I especially loved my visit to Pai.

Read my articles 10 Amazing Things to Do in Pai, Thailand , and The Best Hostels in Pai for Backpackers . They can be super helpful if you do decide to add Chiang Mai and Pai to your 10-day Thailand itinerary.

Thailand Itinerary 10 Days

Fly In and  Out of Phuket to Visit Thailand

If visiting Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and the Gulf of Thailand isn’t important to you on this trip, then a really good idea would be to book round-trip airfare to Phuket. And spend the entire Thailand itinerary (10 days) island hopping in the Andaman Sea. 

The 10-day Thailand itinerary I laid out above tries to cover a lot in both major bodies of water. You could easily focus entirely on the Andaman Sea and be able to experience a lot more.

By doing this, you can add snorkeling trips to Similan Islands, Ao Phang-nga National Park, Ko Yao Yai, Ko Yao Noi, Ko Racha Yai, Koh Lanta, and much more. There’s so much to do that it might be easier if you wanted to just spend it all in the Andaman Sea.

You can also embark on an epic day trip to Khao Sok National Park. Which is the largest national park in Thailand with ancient rainforest, limestone cliffs, waterfalls, and rare wildlife.

If you’re up for something more thrilling, take a James Bond island tour from Phuket and you won’t regret it. This boat tour takes you to Monkey Cave, Panyee Island, and Talu Cave via a speedboat. You’ll also see stunning sites around James Bond Island.

Thailand Itinerary 10 Days

Thailand Itinerary, 10 Days | Travel Tips

I’ve spent so many hours writing different articles and helpful travel guides to Thailand, so I’ll just include a few of my favorite travel tips and include links to my favorite articles.

  • Bring a Debit Card that refunds ATM Fees because Thailand banks charge 180 Thai Baht ($5.31) to withdraw money. I use Charles Schwab for my checking account.
  • Bring a Credit Card that has no international charge fees. Whenever I’m traveling, I try to use my credit card as much as possible, and this is a fantastic way to make sure you’re getting a fair exchange rate as well.
  • Don’t be afraid of trying the street food. It’s so cheap and delicious.
  • 7-11 Toasties are heavenly, and you can’t leave Thailand without trying one.
  • Book in advance if you plan to attend the Full Moon Party or travel during peak season. Hotels, tours, and transportation can fill up quite quickly.
  • Practise your bargaining skills because most things at markets (and even travel agents) can be talked down.
  • Take advantage of low-budget airlines when at all possible. You can get some pretty amazing deals.
  • Stay at hostels and ask fellow travelers for recommendations. They always are the best people to ask.

Looking for more Thailand travel tips? Check out my article 25 Tips For Backpacking Thailand as well as my Ultimate Travel Resource Guide for Southeast Asia .

Thailand Itinerary 10 Days

TRAVEL INSURANCE FOR THAILAND

Looking for an affordable and reliable travel insurance policy for your upcoming trip to Thailand? I highly recommend HeyMondo due to its extensive range of cover for all situations and trip lengths.

Their fair pricing and their handy app allow you to not only manage any claims within the app but also access free assistance online. So you don’t need to rack up an expensive phone bill while in Indonesia, where the charges are steep.

So, whether you need a single trip cover for two weeks in Thailand or an affordable annual cover for multiple trips worldwide, be sure to buy your travel insurance before you travel. And relax during your trip knowing that HeyMondo has your back.

Nowadays, I would never travel without insurance again, especially after hearing so many of those (expensive and dangerous) horror stories from other travelers I’ve met. You might have an accident on a scooter, your luggage could go missing in Bangkok airport, maybe something is stolen, or you simply eat something bad and get very sick – being covered for all possibilities when you’re far from home is kinda essential.

Still planning your trip? You can always just get a no-commitment travel insurance quote now, so you have an idea of how much extra to budget for your vacation.

thailand trip itinerary travel insurance

WHAT TO PACK FOR 10 DAYS IN THAILAND?

One of the most important things to remember about Thailand is that it’s guaranteed to be hot, humid, and tropical. While you may need one nice outfit for some places in Bangkok, the rest of your time, you can mostly wear comfortable or beach attire.

I think one of the best packing tips I can give you for Thailand though, is to simply pack as little as you need. You can pretty much get anything you really need over here, and it’ll be much better having a light suitcase.

Here are a few essential items though, that I think you should bring along with you: 

  • Eco-Friendly Sunscreen – Make sure you buy plenty of sunscreen before you get to Thailand. It’s oddly really expensive, and you don’t want to have to spend $30-$40 just to protect your skin. The sun is super harsh here, by the way.
  • GoPro Hero 8 – With all the snorkeling trips, scuba diving, and swimming you’ll be doing. You’re really going to need an underwater capable camera. I bought my GoPro Hero 8 before my recent trip to the Maldives, and it’s truly a fantastic piece of machinery. The video stabilization is outta this world, and you’ll be able to do some really amazing footage with this.
  • Thailand Lonely Planet – I’m a big fan of traveling around destinations locked and loaded with the Lonely Planet. You can be really surprised about how helpful they can be while on the road. From restaurant recommendations to tours and hidden gems.  Great idea to pick up a copy of this. 

Thailand Itinerary 10 Days

HOW MUCH DOES A TRIP TO THAILAND COST?

Whenever people ask me questions about budgets, I always respond the same way. It basically just depends on where you eat, how much you drink, and what level of accommodation you are comfortable with.

I’d say for most travelers, having a budget of around $100 per day is way more than enough.  There are plenty of luxury hotels that are super affordable, meals in restaurants aren’t expensive, and tours are relatively affordable. 

If you’re a younger backpacker staying at hostels for $10 per night and eating street food – you can easily only spend $25-$30 per day (not including transportation costs).

10 Days in Thailand Itinerary

IS IT SAFE TO VISIT THAILAND?

Just like traveling anywhere in the world, you just need to behave in a smart manner. Now with that being said, yes, absolutely, 100%. Thailand is definitely a safe country to travel through.

I personally think it’s the best country to explore in Southeast Asia, as it’s the most developed and super friendly towards tourists. I’ve spent months traveling around Thailand, and I’ve literally never felt like I was in any danger at all.

I find it so funny when people ask me that because it’s so obvious they think it’s dangerous!  Don’t worry at all. The local Thai people are super friendly, and English is widely spoken in tourist destinations.

While there are a few areas near the southern part of the country (bordering Malaysia) that have some travel warnings, no tourists go there anyway, so visiting Thailand is super safe.

Thailand Itinerary 10 Days

THE BEST TIME TO VISIT THAILAND

“Although the climate varies throughout Thailand, you can visit all year round. The best time to travel is during the cool and dry season between November and early April. In the south, the climate differs between the eastern and western coasts. The west coast is more favorable during the winter months when diving and snorkeling will be at its best.  The weather on the east coast is good for most of the year, with the lowest rainfall in January and February and the highest in November” – Audley Travel

This quote pretty much sums it up, but I would say the best time to travel to Thailand is during April. That way, you can attend the Songkran Festival . It’s one of my favorite festivals in Thailand , and this nationwide water fight is guaranteed to be an experience you’ll never forget. 

Best time to Visit Thailand

THAILAND SIM CARD

First things first, you’ll most likely want to get your Thailand Sim Card sorted for your trip. There are tons of different types and companies available, but whenever I visit Thailand, I always use the company AIS.

They’ve got fantastic rates (super cheap compared to other countries), and the coverage is by far the best in the country. While you can pick one up at most airports, I find the rates for prepaid SIM cards at airports to be a bit more expensive.

You can pick one up at one of the shops when you arrive in Bangkok, or it’s becoming increasingly common to order a Prepaid Sim Card for Thailand for tourists and get the one for $25 for 15 days of coverage.

10 DAYS IN THAILAND ITINERARY | WRAPPED UP

So there you have! An ultimate 10 days in Thailand that takes you through the best attractions and monuments the country has to offer. From the prehistoric UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ban Chiang to stunning beaches in the Gulf, you’ll have lots to explore. 

THANKS FOR READING MY 10-DAY THAILAND ITINERARY!

Check out a few of these other articles to help plan your best itinerary for Thailand and the region. As you can probably tell already, Thailand really is one of my top destinations in the world, and my travel blog is filled with helpful guides and tips to help you plan your ideal holiday package.

  • The Ultimate 2 Days in Bangkok Itinerary
  • The 13 Best Music Festivals in Thailand
  • 3 Week Thailand Itinerary
  • The Ultimate Travel Guide to Thailand | Instagram Checklist
  • Two Weeks in Malaysia
  • Singapore to Bangkok Overland Travel Itinerary
  • The 25 Best Music Festivals in Asia
  • The 24 Best Hostels in Thailand For Backpackers & Solo Travelers

10 Days in Thailand Itinerary

This is the exact Thailand Itinerary I planned for one of my best friends Rashad Naouchi for his first solo trip to Southeast Asia.  About 1/2 the photos in this article are his, so make sure you go support his work and follow him on Instagram .

Thanks so much for reading my 10-Day Thailand Itinerary!

I hope you found this guide helpful and you enjoy an incredible trip to one of my favorite countres in the world! If you enjoyed this article, be sure to share it with your Thailand travel crew!

Great article to read! Thailand tourism may exist largely in part to the draw of its incredible cluster of beautiful islands.

I am alone. Want to travel Bangkok and Pattya for 5 nights 6days from kolkata west bengal india.If any other want to travel in the month of November or December in 2019 with a valid passport then I can share room.The tavel cost will be own.

Thailand is the travel hub of Southeast Asia, attracting visitors from all over the world with its rich culture, world-class heritages, famed beaches, various landscapes, as well as its special food

Bangkok, Thailand’s capital, is a large city known for ornate shrines and vibrant street life. The boat-filled Chao Phraya River feeds its network of canals, flowing past the Rattanakosin royal district, home to opulent Grand Palace and its sacred Wat Phra Kaew Temple

Hi! I’m planning a holiday to Thailand with my 2 teens (16 and 13) and parts of your itinerary are really helpful. As we would probably travel by air from Bangkok-Koh Samui and Koh Samui-Krabi where would you recommend we stay in Koh Samui? Thanks!

Hey Justine! Thanks for the comment, and glad you’ve found my guide useful! FOr Koh Samui, I’d probably stay near Chaweng Beach! It’s super pretty, close to the port, and easy to get around the island and book stuff!

Today is November 24, 2019 and my husband and I have decided to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary in Thailand come February or March 2021 largely because of this article. We took a cursory review of your detailed itinerary and will spend more time on this soon. Your article has us pumped! Thank you

Average article because I cannot believe you recommend Koh Phangan. The full moon party is a disgusting experience for any true traveller who dosen’t want to spend their vacation getting piss drunk in the most disgusting tourist part of Thailand. There’s so many more amazing places in Thailand. You can party anywhere, but the kind of landscapes you find in Khao Sol, Koh Lanta, Mae Hong Son etc are so much better than any party experience

There’s a lot more than partying on Koh Phangan too. And I mention a lot of those places in my other Thailand itineraries. But thanks for your rude comment, troll.

This is a really nice article, and it’s got me all pumped up to plan a trip to Thailand. I’ve always wanted to visit Thailand, and now I just can’t wait.

Hey Dave, great post! I’ve been through Thailand a few times now and done this itinerary almost exactly. I spent a week diving around Koh Tao, so that changed my time a little.

One of my favorite things to do was spending the night in Mu Ko Ang Thong Park, it was a little time consuming to organize with tour companies, but well worth the effort when you have the main island all to yourself (or just about).

Thanks for the great read (and memories)!

Thank you for posting great article. i really loved the way you explained here.keep posting this type of post.thanks again.

Hi, Thanks for the advice. Any suggestions or tips for me and my boyfriend in Thailand for Christmas? Especially when eating out?

Do you have any video of that? I’d love to find out some additional information.|

Nice blog with great post, Thanks for sharing!

I have always wanted to go Thailand but never had the chance too :) But it seems now I have to after reading your article.😅

This is a really nice article. I’ve always wanted to visit Thailand, and now I just can’t wait.

Thailand is a beautiful country to explore on many occasions. Whether on a family travel, with friends, or on a honeymoon, every corner of Thailand is worth a try. I love the information I get from this post. Very useful and can be very helpful.

Your blog is so helpful! Planning for 8 days to Thailand in April’22 with my husband and this is definitely going to be very useful.

Thank Dave for posting great article with so much passion. i really loved .keep posting this type of post.thank you and God bless you

Love this Thailand itinerary! Thanks so much!

SUch an incredible guide for traveling in Thailand!

thanks dear for the article, this is really nice for traveling to Thailand

thank for sharing such a great post with us

very nice article! how many days do you think is enough in bangkok?

Thailand is a beautiful country with many different places to explore. If you’re planning to travel around Thailand, there are several options for getting around the country.

One popular option is to take a domestic flight to different parts of the country. Thailand has several airports, and flying is often the quickest and most convenient way to travel long distances. Additionally, the cost of domestic flights is relatively low, making it an affordable option for many travelers.

Another way to get around Thailand is by bus. There are many different bus companies operating in the country, and buses are often the cheapest way to travel. However, be prepared for long journeys and uncomfortable seats. Overnight buses are available for longer trips, but they can be quite cramped.

If you prefer more comfort, you can also take a train. Thailand has an extensive railway network that connects many different parts of the country. Trains are generally more comfortable than buses, but they can also be more expensive.

Finally, you can rent a car or motorbike to get around Thailand on your own. This option gives you more flexibility, but it also requires more responsibility. Thailand’s roads can be dangerous, and traffic can be chaotic, so make sure you have experience driving in similar conditions before you attempt to drive in Thailand.

Overall, there are many different options for getting around Thailand, so choose the one that best suits your needs and budget.

Nice Itenery, thailand is one of the must visit place .

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Spotlight: The Andaman Sea

A new island-hopping journey

The Superlative Similan Islands   A Second Look at Lipe   Is Koh Phi Phi Worth It?   Thailand’s “Alternative” Islands   Phuket Starts Here   The Best Islands to Visit in Thailand  

Spotlight: Andaman Sea

Island-hopping reimagined

The Similan Islands   A Second Look at Lipe   Is Phi Phi Worth It?   Thailand’s “Alternative” Islands   Phuket Starts Here   The Best Islands in Thailand  

plan my thailand trip

On the hunt for inspiration—or just information—for your next trip to Thailand? My name is Robert Schrader, and you’ve arrived in the right place. I’m a Thailand travel expert with more than a decade of experience under my belt—and I’m delighted you’re here.

This is the true “City That Never Sleeps”

Discover the charms of the ancient Lanna Kingdom

Find peace in Thailand’s iconic tropical paradise

Whether you’re seeking information on top Thailand destinations, Thailand trip ideas or travel advice about topics like Thailand SIM cards and domestic flights in Thailand, my Thailand travel blog is where you need to be. I’ve criss-crossed Thailand dozens of times—I lived in Bangkok for several years!—and my posts combine the wisdom I’ve gained with funny, informative personal anecdotes.

Spend Two Tantalizing Weeks in Thailand

The most exhilarating way to discover Thailand, this fast-paced trip balances tourist hot spots like Bangkok and Chiang Mai with spectacular secondary destinations, from the unique towns of the Golden Triangle, to the island jewels of Krabi province.

Two Tantalizing Weeks

The most exhilarating way to discover Thailand, this fast-paced trip balances tourist hot spots like Bangkok and Chiang Mai with spectacular secondary destinations.

plan my thailand trip

The magic of the Golden Triangle Starts Here

Popular Patong Beach is only the beginning

Eat spicy som tam papaya salad in its birthplace

Thailand’s never-ending contrasts, contradictions and colors never cease to amaze and delight me. As you’ll see reading through my Thailand travel blog posts, it is these disparities that make Thailand a place to which you’ll return again and again. Certainly, I’ve taken my own advice—I first visited Thailand way back in 2010, and can’t stay away!

Dig Into All Thailand’s Delights

plan my thailand trip

Thailand is a destination that manages to house incredible highs and lows while achieving a perfect balance. Where else in the world can you enjoy rooftop drinks amid a sparkly skyline one night, then watch the sun set behind a world-class beach (or trek with elephants amid some of the lushest jungles on the planet) the next? Thailand covers all your travel bases, often without you realizing it.

Do a Thailand Deep Dive

Whether you’re coming back to the Kingdom for a second time, or simply want to stay a little longer the first time around, there’s never a bad excuse to dig deeper. Push northeastward into the Isaan region, or explore the lesser-visited islands of the Andaman and the Gulf.

A Thailand Deep Dive

Thailand travel planning got you tapped out? Commission a custom Thailand itinerary—and let me sweat the details. Get a personalized video consultation, detailed day-by-day itinerary and more!

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Whether you’re planning a honeymoon, a family vacation with kids, or a get-away filled with relaxation and/or adventure, Thailand doesn’t disappo

Thailand… to get you into vacation mode, here are a few enticing descriptions of what Thailand is famous for: stunning islands, pristine white sand beaches, magnificent royal palaces, delicious street food, lush tropical forests, fascinating and exotic culture, captivating ancient monuments, ornate temples, great shopping, and reasonable prices. Add this to the mix - the warmth, friendliness, and hospitability of the Thai people - and you’ll understand why Thailand, the Land of Smiles, has become the most popular tourist destination in Southeast Asia. Whether you’re planning a honeymoon, a family vacation with kids, or a get-away filled with relaxation and/or adventure, Thailand doesn’t disappoint.

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Bangkok fuses ancient tradition and modernity with its palaces and temples, great street food and vibrant nightlife, bustling markets and amazing river tours.

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Chiang Mai is an enticing destination, attracting travelers with its distinctive fusion of cultural richness, natural beauty, and intriguing heritage.

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Ko Pha Ngan

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Kanchanaburi

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Thailand can be divided into 5 main geographical regions: Northern Thailand, where Chiang Mai and the Golden Triangle are located; Isaan, the great northeast region of backcountry; central Thailand, where Bangkok , the capital, is situated; eastern Thailand, location of stunning beaches and several national parks; and southern Thailand, home to lush rainforests, a long coastline, and an archipelago of islands including Phuket, Koh Samui, and other well-known Thai beach spots.

Most trips to Thailand start in Bangkok, the capital - a large, colorful, and boisterous city characterized by a futuristic cityscape alongside iconic, ornate temples and golden Buddhas, a network of canals stemming from the Chao Phraya River, and a vibrant street life. Bangkok’s major tourist attractions are mainly historical or religious sites - no wonder, since 95% of the Thai population practices Buddhism.

The Rattanakosin (old-Bangkok style) royal district encompasses over 100 buildings spanning over 200 years of royal history and architectural innovation. It is home to the magnificent Grand Palace, a former royal residence currently used only on ceremonial occasions, and one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions. The holy, architecturally unique Wat Phra Kaew (Emerald Buddha Temple) is located in the palace complex and is known as the spiritual core of Thai Buddhism and royalty, with the Emerald Buddha mystically uniting them. The nearby Wat Pho Temple, built by King Rama I, contains a huge, reclining Buddha, the largest collection of Buddha images in Thailand, and the country's first public university. The iconic, projectile-shaped Wat Arun Temple (Temple of the Dawn), is located on the opposite shore. Climb its steep stairs for remarkable views of the river and surroundings.

Wat Saket , the Golden Mount, is a beautiful ancient temple complex and a popular Bangkok landmark located on Bangkok’s only hill. Its 318 stairs lead to the golden pagoda and panoramic views of the city.

Lumphini Park , named for the Buddha’s birthplace in Nepal, is Bangkok’s largest park and a green haven in the middle of the bustling city. Its artificial lake with paddle boating, beautiful greenery, playgrounds, trails, and large monitor lizards make it a fun destination with kids.

If you’re looking for museums, the National Museum is home to large and diverse collections, and Wang Na Palace, the residence of King Rama I, has been well-preserved and contains religious, ceremonial, and royal artifacts as well as a notable collection of Buddha figures. Museum Siam is a discovery museum which explores Thai history and national identity.

Shopping abounds in Bangkok, from inexpensive goods to luxury items. The semi-outdoor Chatuchak Weekend Market, with over 15,000 stalls, is the world’s largest market and a top tourist destination offering everything from jewelry and religious artifacts to mouthwatering street food. The floating market in Ratchaburi, about 1.5 hours from Bangkok, provides a unique, canal-based shopping experience with local foods and products and a great variety of souvenirs. In the Terminal 21 shopping mall, each floor is themed to a different global city, offering a mix of local and international brands. Bangkok’s famous night markets offer entertainment, street food, and a wide range of goods.

Street life comes alive on the boisterous Khao San Road, Bangkok’s backpacker district, which is filled to the brim with travelers from around the globe, clothing stands, guesthouses, and food vendors. Bangkok’s Chinatown, one of the largest and best Chinatowns in the world, is another colorful neighborhood.

They say that you can’t really experience Bangkok without sampling the local cuisine- the street food in particular. You’re in for a pleasurable surprise -– the delicious grilled meats and fish, spicy noodles, curries, fresh fruit, and other authentic local specialties are far superior to what is known around the world as “Thai food”!

Sukhothai Historical Park, also located in central Thailand, is a World Heritage site housing the ruins of the 13th-century Sukhothai Kingdom. Surrounded by ancient city walls, it includes 21 historical sites, 4 big pools, 26 temples, and a royal palace.

Ayutthaya , just north of Bangkok, contains archeological ruins of this 14th century capital of the Kingdom of Siam. The Ayutthaya National Park, on an island between 3 rivers, has remains of palaces, Buddhist temples, monasteries, and statues.

For those who are feeling nostalgic about the Bridge over the River Kwai, a trip to Thailand wouldn’t be complete without visiting the Kanchanaburi Province. The historic bridge, which had been the location of conflict and bloodshed during World War II, was renovated after the war and is now a major tourist destination and a fully operational railway.

Heading north, Chiang Mai is one of Thailand’s most visited tourist destinations, offering a different side of the country – thick tropical rainforests, jungle-like mountains, hilly treks, and more active Buddhist temples than any other city in Thailand. The White Temple ( Wat Rong Khun ) is a contemporary architectural masterpiece, and the Blue Temple (Wat Rong Suea Ten) is built on a site where tigers are said to have jumped over the river. Doi Suthep offers spectacular views of the city.

On the long San Kamphaeng Road you’ll find local craftsmen selling their creations – everything from silk to pottery. Chiang Mai’s Old City, home to some of the city’s finest hotels, oldest temples, and outstanding restaurants, is surrounded by channels, with visible remains of the moat and old city walls. The famed Chiang Mai Night Bazaar, home to a wide range of shopping and food stalls, is just outside the Old City. Waterfall trekking, bamboo rafting along the Mae Want River, and visits to a jungle elephant sanctuary –including swimming with the elephants! - are top Chiang Mai experiences. From Chiang Mai you can easily visit the Golden Triangle where Myanmar, Laos, and Thailand meet.

With Thailand’s host of islands, which are the top tourist destinations?

Koh Samui in the southeast, Thailand’s second largest island, doesn’t disappoint with its picture-perfect, palm-lined beaches, soft white sand, and crystal clear water. Koh Samui is also known for its coconut groves, breathtaking sunsets, mountainous rainforest, plentiful luxurious spas, and famous temples. The nearby islands are a quick ferry ride away and are prime relaxation and scuba diving locations. Ang Thong National Marine Park, extending over 42 islands, is ideal for trekking through thick Thai jungles and viewing exotic animal species. The 12 meter tall Big Buddha statue at Wat Phra Yai Temple is a Koh Samui icon.

Phuket , another popular Thai destination for beach-lovers, is located in the southwest of the country. The Kata Noi, Nai Harn, and Surin beaches are well-known, providing tranquil settings and a variety of resort options. Temples and Buddhas are ubiquitous in Thailand, and, in Phuket, the 45-meter tall Big Buddha towers over the island from the top of Nakkerd Hill. Phuket town is another attraction with its Sino-Portuguese buildings and restored markets. Nearby Hua Hin, which was once the king’s summer retreat, is an ideal destination for families and those who are looking to get away from crowds.

The Krabi province, on southern Thailand’s west coast, is made up of over 200 islands. It is home to fabulous beaches and vast national parks, including the Thung Teao Forest Natural Park with lush rainforests, exotic wildlife, and natural warm-weather pools. As the coast in Krabi is steep and rugged, it attracts climbers from all over the globe. The outstanding Railay Beach is well-known for its caves, and the Phi Phi Islands, bordered by limestone and coral waters, offer some of the best snorkeling in Thailand as well as kayaking, sailing, and bird-watching.

Wondering when is the best time for a Thai vacation? While tourists flock to Thailand year-round, November to early April is considered ideal as the weather is dry, the temperatures are warm but comfortable, and there is up to 9 hours of sunshine a day. February to May is the hot and dry season, and June to October is monsoon season.

Ready for the boundless opportunities for relaxation, adventure, and exploration that exotic Thailand offers? Routeperfect is your address for planning, organizing, and booking your personalized dream vacation. Unlike any other company, Routeperfect offers its exclusive popular itineraries written by tourism professionals and experienced travelers to jumpstart your planning, helping you to customize your travel and book your accommodations so that you can experience the country YOUR way.

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How to visit Chiang Mai on a budget

Lucie Grace

Apr 28, 2024 • 6 min read

plan my thailand trip

Eating delicious street food in Chiang Mai is just one way to make your baht stretch further © hadynyah / Getty Images

Generations of backpackers will tell you that Thailand has long been a great destination for travelers on a shoestring. And it’s particularly easy to visit the northern city of  Chiang Mai on a budget, even with its swanky luxury scene and five-star hotels.

Perhaps it's the fact that the “Capital in the North” is surrounded by mountains and endless green forests – with no beaches for miles – that keeps accommodation costs down. But it’s not just hostels and hotels that are reasonably priced; there are loads of cheap things to do in Chiang Mai, from devouring delectable street food to indulging in muscle soothing massages. Here's how to stick to your budget in Chiang Mai.

Daily costs

  • Hostel room: 200–400B
  • Basic room for two: 400–800B
  • Self-catering apartment (including Airbnb): 1000B
  • Public transport ticket: 40B
  • Coffee: 50B
  • Khao soy noodles: 40–100B
  • 60-minute Thai massage: 250B
  • Dinner for two: 500B
  • Chang beer at the bar: 80B   

Average daily cost: 1000B (covers three meals a day, plus accommodation and a small budget for activities). 

A man and a woman wearing backpacks walk towards a train that's waiting on the platform at Chiang Mai train station.

1. Arrive by train

The Special Express train between Bangkok and Chiang Mai leaves three times a day in both directions and this scenic route costs just 840B one way, which is usually cheaper than flying. Whether you opt to take the daytime service and watch the towns and hills roll by from your window, or take the night train and sleep all the way there (saving on a night’s accommodation too), it’s a safe, spacious and relaxed way to travel.

Read more: Things to know before traveling to Chiang Mai

2. Use Chiang Mai’s public transport

The main way to get around Chiang Mai cheaply is by flagging one of the red songthaew trucks, which are like large taxis that can fit up to eight people. They will take you to your chosen destination within the city for 40B a ride per person. To avoid any lost-in-translation moments, ask to be dropped at the temple nearest to your destination – these drivers know the temple locations like the back of their hands.

Read more: How to get around in Chiang Mai

3. Get on your bike

This flat city is very easy to cycle around, so rent a bicycle to avoid taxi fares. It’s a great way to see the center and very cost effective too. Most hotels and hostels have bicycles for hire – some will even loan them to you for free – but, if not, get the Anywheel app . You can get a seven-day pass for 100B (or 50B for one day), which gives you get unlimited rides of up to 30 minutes.

Hands holding meat skewers at a market stall in Chiang Mai, Thailand

4. Eat on the street

Chiang Mai is famous for its incredible street food and two destinations will see to it that you’re well fed for just a few dollars: Chang Phuak Gate Night Market on the northside of the old city moat, and Chiang Mai Gate market on the southside, just within the moat. Both markets have countless stalls every night, and it's easy to find skewers of meat, noodle soups, curries and more. Pull up a perch – there are usually some plastic chairs around to sit on – and enjoy.

5. Local beer is your friend

If you drink alcohol and plan to have a few beverages, don’t be caught out by Thailand’s 100% import duty. Drinking foreign spirits – ie your favorites from home – will cost around double what you’d expect to pay due to the taxes. Stick to local beers if you’re drinking; Chang, Leo and Singha are all tasty and refreshing and cost 40–70B (depending on the size) from shops, and around 100B in bars, depending on how fancy your bar of choice is.

6. Avoid the fines

If you prefer to rent a motorbike or moped (both are known locally as “motorcy”) then be sure to get an international motorbike license before your arrival in Thailand. If the traffic police find you driving without the correct license – a standard car license isn’t sufficient – you’ll incur a 500B fine. Your insurance also won’t cover any road accidents if you don’t have the correct license, so it pays to be prepared.

A stall at a night market in Chiang Mai, Thailand, is laid out with brightly colored woven textiles for sale

7. Be a smart shopper

Chiang Mai is full of vast night markets where you can buy food, clothes and souvenirs – one on Wua Lai St runs every Saturday and another on Rachadamnoen Rd is open every Sunday evening. The items for sale here may seem cheap but you'll find the same stuff at the university market (officially called Kad Na Mor Market) for half the price. It's on every night and sells clothes, bags and cute home decor pieces.

8. Find your zen

Chiang Mai is known for being a spiritual hub; people from across the country make pilgrimages to the city’s Buddhist temples and there are countless meditation and yoga retreats in the surrounding area. If your budget doesn’t extend to a retreat or to classes in one of the many great studios, you can attend the free outdoor yoga classes in  Suan Buak Hat park. Run by  Yoga in the Park Chiang Mai , the sessions take place daily, depending on the weather.

9. A hand from the temples 

Chiang Mai’s ancient and ornate Buddhist temples are much more than places to visit for prayers. Many temples, like Wat Phra Singh , have jay (vegetarian) restaurants attached or very nearby. Delicious vegetarian versions of local specialities are served here extremely cheaply – Buddhists don’t eat meat on their birthday or on the Buddha’s birthday. A few temples including Wat Samphao also have massage halls, which are not fancy but they're certainly the cheapest Thai massages in the city.

A gig-goer is standing on a balcony and taking a photo of the band on stage below at North Gate Jazz Co-Op, Chiang Mai

10. Dive into the music scene

There’s excellent live music across Chiang Mai most nights of the week, with local bars hosting musicians and running free gigs that play everything from jazz to folk to indie. The best spots to head to are North Gate Jazz Co-op , the city’s long-standing, much loved jazz venue; Thapae East , which showcases indie and blues acts and more; or Paapu House , a charming guest house with a large bar that hosts a top live-music programme. 

11. Aim for the rainy season

Visiting Chiang Mai during the rainy season (May to September) is a smart way to save money as many hotels and hostels offer cheaper rates at this “off-peak” time. The seasonal showers are certainly heavy but rarely last more than a couple of hours and are easy to dodge with the Rain Alarm app . The downpours also make the dense natural surroundings really pop with greens, so it’s a great time to visit the waterfalls and forested temples in and around the city.

12. Book your accommodations outside of the old city

Nothing is too far away in compact and densely populated Chiang Mai – the neighborhoods in the center are all adjoined and close to one another. The old city is fun but you’re more likely to find bargain rates on hostels and guesthouses outside of the moat. Staying in Wat Ket (over the river) or along Wua Lai St (south of the city center) can keep costs down, and it’s easy to walk, cycle or jump in a songthaew to reach the action.

Keep planning your trip to Chiang Mai:

Explore beyond Chiang Mai with these day trips Find out which neighborhood fits your vibe The best free things to do in Chiang Mai

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Thailand with Kids | 10 Important Things to Know Before your Family Trip

Thailand is renowned for its captivating culture, breathtaking beauty, and mouthwatering cuisine. But the jewel of Southeast Asia can be an intimidating country for those planning a family trip to Thailand with kids for the first time. 

From the fast-paced capital of Bangkok to the laid-back jungles surrounding Chiang Mai, visiting Thailand with kids can be a memorable experience for families. Its countless mesmerizing temples and plethora of unique, family-friendly activities makes Thailand one of the best destinations in Asia for a family vacation .

However, if you are planning to travel to Thailand with kids, there are a few things to know and prepare for prior to your trip. 

This family travel guide to visiting Thailand with kids includes the 10 most important things to know before your trip – plus a few tips for visiting and must-see attractions in Thailand for kids.

Is Thailand safe for families? 

Known as the Land of Smiles, Thailand is generally considered a warm and welcoming country for tourists. If visiting Thailand with kids, you’ll find the country is just as safe as nearly any other tourist destinations.

Violent crime is rare. Even more so, violent crime directed at tourists is extremely rare. 

As a visitor to Thailand, the primary issues you will want to look out for are petty crimes, like pickpocketing. Scams, such as taxi drivers claiming their meter doesn’t work to charge you more, are also common. 

Overall, there is nothing particularly dangerous about Thailand.  If visiting with very young children, like babies and toddlers, we’d recommend waiting until they are fully vaccinated and taking precautions to avoid mosquito-borne viruses. More on that below.

Things to know when visiting Thailand with kids

Safety is of course top concern when planning family holidays, but there are a few other things that are important to know when visiting Thailand with kids.

By going into your trip with knowledge of what to expect, you avoid culture shock and set yourself up for an even more enjoyable vacation.

Here are 10 things to know before your family vacation to Thailand with kids.

You shouldn’t drink the tap water in Thailand

Tap water in Thailand is generally not considered drinkable, although you can brush your teeth with it and shower in the water without any concerns. 

While efforts have been made to improve water quality in urban areas, the infrastructure and water treatment processes may not meet the same standards as in some other countries like the United States. 

The tap water can contain harmful bacteria, parasites, and pollutants that can cause gastrointestinal issues which can quickly ruin your vacation.

Most hotels and even budget hostels provide plenty of complimentary bottled water or offer refillable water stations for guests to use as frequently as needed. 

Additionally, the convenience store chain, 7-11, is everywhere. 7-11 sells large jugs of bottled water that we would purchase upon arriving in a city to make sure we were staying very hydrated during our trip. 

The weather is very hot and humid

Thailand’s tropical climate means hot and humid weather throughout the year. We visited during the summer months, and it was dripping-sweat hot.

Pack lightweight and breathable clothing for yourself and for your children to keep the family comfortable during your trip. 

The heat and humidity can be intense, especially for children. We carried water bottles around with us everywhere to prevent dehydration and used sunscreen multiple times a day. 

Try to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of bottled water and carrying water bottles with you during your outings. Encourage your kids to drink water regularly, even if they don’t feel thirsty. 

We also let our daughter drink fruit smoothies and eat coconut ice cream each day to further promote hydration and help her cool off during breaks from sightseeing. 

Do not flush toilet paper in Thailand

Depending on where you stay in Thailand, there is a good chance you will not be able to flush toilet paper down the toilet. Instead, you are asked to dispose of any tissues or sanitary items in the trash receptacle in the bathroom.

While larger, luxury tourist-friendly hotels and establishments will likely have biodegradable, flushable toilet paper, many smaller hotels in older parts of cities or remote areas do not have plumbing systems that are designed to handle toilet paper. 

In such cases, you will find signs or notices instructing you to dispose of toilet paper in a separate bin provided in the bathroom.

Most toilets also have a sprayer nozzle that can be used to rinse after using the bathroom, similar to a bidet. While this is helpful, the sprayer is trickier to use than a standard bidet, especially for children. 

Pack accordingly to tour the temples

Remember to dress modestly when visiting temples or more conservative areas and dress your children in appropriate clothing, as well. 

Women and girls are expected to cover their shoulders, mid-drifts, and knees when visiting temples while men and boys should wear pants and avoid tank tops.

Flip flops or sandals are also beneficial on days when you plan to visit temples during your Thailand travel itinerary , as you are expected to remove your shoes upon entering temples. Many hotels also ask guests to remove their shoes before entering their hotel rooms. 

You will want to bring or buy mosquito repellent

Mosquito repellent is highly recommended for a trip to Thailand due to the prevalence of mosquitoes in certain regions. Thailand’s tropical climate provides a conducive environment for mosquitoes to thrive, especially during the rainy season. 

Additionally, mosquitoes can transmit diseases such as dengue fever, malaria, and Zika virus, although the risk varies depending on the specific areas visited. 

To protect yourself and your family from mosquito-borne illnesses, it is essential to apply mosquito repellent containing DEET or other recommended active ingredients daily. 

We used mosquito repellent daily and didn’t have any issues with bites and enjoyed our Thailand vacation without any health concerns.

Be aware of stray and wild animals

Thailand has a significant population of stray animals, including cats and dogs. While some areas, like rural communities, may have more visible stray animals than others, it is not uncommon to come across them in various parts of the country. 

As in many other countries where stray animals are an issue, like Morocco and Guatemala , it’s important to exercise caution around stray animals, as they may not be accustomed to human interaction or may carry diseases.

Additionally, wild animals, like monkeys, are also found throughout Thailand. If visiting Thailand with children, be sure to keep kids at arm’s length around wild animals and strays. 

Thai food is spicy

Thai cuisine is famous for its flavorful and spicy dishes. While there are milder options available, be prepared that even seemingly mild dishes may still have a spicy kick.

Some restaurants allow you to order food with no spice, but if you plan to sample the street food (which you definitely should!) that isn’t always an option. 

If your children are not comfortable with spicy food, chicken fried rice is a non-spicy alternative that can be found on most restaurant menus. 

Don’t forget to sample delicious tropical fruits that are abundant in Thailand, as well. Thailand is known as “The Kitchen to the World” since they grow so many fruits, vegetables, and herbs that are exported worldwide.

Cash is king in Thailand

Carrying cash in Thailand is essential! Credit and debit cards are widely accepted in major establishments such as hotels, upscale restaurants, and shopping malls, but there are still many places where cash is the preferred method of payment. 

Small local shops, street vendors, night markets, and public transportation often only accept cash. Additionally, some rural or remote areas have limited access to card payment facilities.

Carrying cash allows you to have flexibility and convenience when making purchases or paying for services in these instances. 

While things in Thailand are inexpensive compared to the USA, Canada, or western Europe, you’ll want to have a plan for how much cash you may need for your Thailand family trip so you can make larger ATM withdrawals.

ATM fees are more expensive in Thailand, averaging about $6 per foreign transaction, compared to about half that when visiting somewhere in Europe, for example.

Having cash on hand ensures that you can readily pay for daily expenses, transportation, and local experiences, providing you with a smooth and hassle-free journey throughout your time in Thailand. 

Respect local customs and traditions

Teach your children to be mindful of local customs, such as removing their shoes before entering temples or homes, using their right hand for greetings and accepting or giving objects, and avoiding public displays of affection.

In Thai culture, it is considered highly disrespectful to touch or pat someone’s head, whether they are adults or children. The head is considered sacred and the most spiritually significant part of the body in Thai beliefs. It is believed to house the soul and represents a person’s highest point. 

Touching someone’s head, even in a well-intentioned manner, can be seen as an invasion of personal space and an affront to their dignity. 

So, while you may not feel compelled to ever touch a stranger’s head, it’s important for you, also, to avoid touching your own child’s head when in public out of respect for Thai culture and beliefs.

If you rent a car, expect to drive on the left

Driving in Thailand can be a stressful and somewhat challenging experience, particularly for those who are used to driving on the right hand side of the road, like in the United States. 

Aside from driving on the opposite side of the road and car to which many of us may be accustomed, traffic in major cities like Bangkok can be congested and chaotic, as you’ll be sharing the road with motorcycles, scooters, tuk-tuks, and songthaews (shared trucks) that seem to follow their own traffic rules. 

Road signs are generally in Thai, so it’s advisable to familiarize yourself with local driving regulations and signage before hitting the road. 

International driving permits are required for foreigners, and car rental services are readily available in popular tourist destinations. While we did rent a car and drive from Krabi to Khao Sok National Park , we didn’t and wouldn’t want to rent a car in a city like Bangkok. 

Looking for other great Asian destinations for families? Read our post on visiting Japan with kids . 

Best activities in Thailand for families

Thailand is teeming with activities that are fantastic for families, particularly for those who enjoy adventure, culture, and trying new things. Here are a few can’t miss activities that are perfect for those traveling to Thailand with kids.  

Elephant sanctuaries 

Thailand’s wildlife encounters can be incredible, but you will want to do your research and make sure the animal encounters are ethical and the animals are well-treated. 

Elephants are perhaps the animals Thailand is most known for. For centuries, elephants have been an important part of Thailand’s way of life . For many years though, elephants were used for heavy labor, like logging. 

But in more recent years, Thailand has placed strict restrictions on logging, and many of the elephants are now living out their lives in sanctuaries. In fact, visiting an elephant sanctuary is one of the best things to do around Chiang Mai , where many of the sanctuaries are located.  

At the sanctuaries, like Into the Wild Elephant Camp , you’ll be able to feed, trek through the jungle, and in some cases, bathe in a river or mud pit with the elephants while they cool off. It is magical and will likely be one of the most unforgettable experiences in Thailand for kids.

Be sure to research elephant sanctuaries that prioritize the well-being of the animals, avoid attractions that involve animal exploitation, like riding elephants, and opt for eco-friendly wildlife experiences instead. But make sure you visit an elephant sanctuary at least one day during your Chiang Mai itinerary .

Southern Thailand is best known for its stunning beaches. From the Phi Phi Islands , to Koh Samui, Krabi, and Phuket, the region is a beach lover’s paradise. 

Kids will enjoy snorkeling, kayaking, paddle boarding or simply splashing around in the calm ocean bays. 

Any trip to Thailand with kids should include at least a few days enjoying the beach life and scenery in southern Thailand and the Thai islands.  

Also read: The Best Things to Do in Krabi, Thailand

While Thailand may have its fair share of natural attractions, there are lots of adventurous activities in the country designed for the amusement and enjoyment of visitors.

Around Chiang Mai, families visiting Thailand with kids might enjoy exploring the scenic jungles while soaring through the air on a zipline cable or ropes course.

There are several zipline attractions where you can test your limits and build your courage, all while taking in the beauty of the dense forests in Northern Thailand.

Thailand has some of the best markets in the world. Whether you visit one of the popular night markets (our favorites were in Chiang Mai) or go to the famous floating market or train market outside of Bangkok , the markets in Thailand are fun and exciting places to visit in Thailand for families. 

The markets are filled with local vendors selling handmade crafts, clothing, Thailand souvenirs , and street food.

The night markets are a great place to have dinner when traveling with kids, as each person can choose a different food stall and buy the type of food they want.

Also read: 4 Day Bangkok Itinerary

Go for a Hike

Thailand is home to some beautiful national parks. Whether you want to go on a cave hike in Koh Sok National Park or hike to beautiful waterfalls near Chiang Mai , you and your kids can have a blast exploring nature together. 

If taking a hike with a local guide, your guide might also point out different plants that are edible, which adventurous kids may be inclined to try, or give more background on the area and the types of plants and animals that live in the jungles and forests.

Frequently asked questions about visiting Thailand with kids

When planning our family trip to Thailand, we had so many questions. Here are a few frequently asked questions that might be helpful as you plan your own Thailand family vacation.

Do they speak English in Thailand?

Thai is the official language of Thailand, however, tourism is one of the country’s largest industries. For this reason, many people in Thailand, particularly in tourist areas, can speak at least a little English. 

While you may not have long conversations with locals if you do not speak Thai, you can get by in Thailand using English only. 

What time of year is best to visit Thailand with kids?

November through March are the most popular months to visit Thailand. The weather is dry and not as hot. Rainy season starts in late June and runs through October. 

We visited during late June and July and found the weather was very hot and humid. We experienced a couple days where it rained, but the rain typically came as a heavy downpour that lasted for about an hour and then stopped, so it didn’t hinder our experience or stop us from sightseeing. 

Despite the rain, heat and humidity, we had a blast in Thailand. The country is great to visit anytime of year!

Where should you visit in Thailand with kids?

Thailand has so many incredible places to visit, and where you should go really depends on your family’s interests and unique travel style.

With that said, Chiang Mai is a wonderful city with so many activities in and around the city, from hikes, to elephant sanctuaries, to ziplining.

The beaches in Thailand are also really great for families, with Railay Beach and Ao Nang Beach outside of Krabi , Koh Samui in the Gulf of Thailand, or the beautiful but busy Bang Tao Beach in the district of Phuket among the most popular.

What is the best way to travel around Thailand?

The main tourist destinations in Thailand are not close together. So, you’ll have to fly or take an overnight train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai , for example, or from Bangkok to Krabi. Trains and inexpensive domestic flights are the best ways to get between the tourist cities. 

Within major cities, tuk tuks, shared trucks, and taxis are all easy options. Some cities also have a metro system and ferries that you can use to get around efficiently. 

Furthermore, many people will rent scooters or motorcycles to explore more rural areas. However, if visiting Thailand with kids, a scooter or motorcycle is not the safest option. 

Thailand with Kids: Why You’ll Love It! 

One of the first things you will notice upon arriving in Thailand is the genuine warmth and friendliness of the Thai people. Thais have a deep appreciation for family values, and children are highly cherished in their society.

Traveling with kids in Thailand means your family will be welcomed with open arms throughout the country. 

We spent two weeks in Thailand after a long layover in Hong Kong and before moving onto Singapore for a few days. While Thailand was always on our family’s travel list, it wasn’t until we visited that we realized it is one of the best destinations for families in the world. 

From the stunning beaches to the cultural splendor, Thailand offers a diverse range of activities and attractions that cater to the interests and needs of every member of the family. It truly is a treasure trove waiting to be explored by families seeking an extraordinary and adventurous vacation experience.

Like it? Pin this guide to visiting Thailand with kids to save it for later!

Do you have a question or comment about planning a family trip to Thailand? We’d love to hear from you. Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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Thailand is renowned for its captivating culture, breathtaking beauty, and mouthwatering cuisine. But the jewel of Southeast Asia can be an intimidating country for those planning a family trip to Thailand with kids for the…

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2024 Chinese Visa Update: Thai Passport Holders Can Travel to China Visa-Free

Hi travelers! Are you dreaming of exploring the majestic wonders of China ? Well, dream no more because your journey just got a whole lot easier!🎉 As of March 1, 2024, Thailand and China have signed a groundbreaking "Agreement" on Thai-Chinese Visa Waiver, allowing Thai citizens to travel to China without the hassle of applying for a visa. Exciting, isn't it? Let Traveloka share exclusive tips and tricks to enhance your journey! If you're ready, let's explore China together. 🌍🛫

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All You Need to Know About Traveling to China

1. Eligibility:

Holders of valid Thai passports with a remaining validity of at least 6 months are eligible for visa-free travel to China.

Travel purposes include tourism or visiting relatives, with a maximum stay of 30 days per trip.

2. Duration and Frequency:

Each stay in China should not exceed 30 days, with a total cumulative stay of up to 90 days within a 180-day period.

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3. Preparation Checklist:

Ensure you have proof of accommodation booking and a return ticket from China.

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Carry essential documents such as your current Thai passport, outbound flight or train ticket, and accommodation reservation confirmation.

Take precautionary measures by photographing key passport pages and storing them digitally in case of emergencies.

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How Thailand lured the White Lotus producers away from Japan and plans to cash in on the show's popularity with tourists

A child plays in shallow water on a beach surrounded by other tourists.

As fans eagerly wait for a new lot of guests to check into the White Lotus, a behind-the-scenes drama has been unfolding to secure the filming location of the Emmy-award winning show.

The series has been so incredibly lucrative for the first two destinations it featured that some have dubbed it "The White Lotus effect".

A show ostensibly about tourists has in turn been a boon for tourism in Hawaii, where online interest in the Four Seasons Maui jumped by 425 per cent after the first season aired.

And in Sicily, where Jennifer Coolidge was famously stalked by murderous gays in season two, the production is estimated to have resulted in over 32 million euros ($52.8 million) worth of spending and a 300 per cent jump in online searches, according to travel site Expedia.

So when rumours surfaced of a "high profile" showrunner  — believed to be White Lotus creator Mike White — scouting locations in Japan, Thai authorities swept in to try to woo the team to South East Asia instead.

How Thailand lured The White Lotus away from Japan

Tourism Authority of Thailand Executive Siripakorn Cheawsamoot said they were proactive in their attempts to lure the popular show to the kingdom.

"We approached the White Lotus production team and then we talked with them about trying to bring their budget costs down with potential partners," he told the ABC.

"There are two kinds of incentives. Firstly, cash incentives with rebates and then in-kind incentives as well."

A close up of a man dressed in a dark suit standing in a library surrounded by books.

In-kind incentives are non-cash incentives, and can include things like offering services for free.

"A lot of partners in the private sector offered their services, sometimes complimentary, some on an agreement," Mr Cheawsamoot said.

He explained that hotels were provided to the actors and film crew to stay in. Transport and airfares were some of the other perks.

But the real clincher was the Thai government's recently beefed-up film incentive program, which offers a cash rebate of up to 20 per cent for foreign film productions.

In an effort to attract more film and TV productions, the government decided in 2022 to waive the personal income tax for foreign talent for five years, meaning the stars of season three — which include Parker Posey, Patrick Schwarzenegger and Aimee Lou Wood — won't pay Thai tax while working on location.

Thailand's gain was Japan's loss and at last year's Toyko Film Festival, local producer Georgina Pope lamented the lost opportunity.

She pointed to the Thai government's generous film incentive system, which she claimed added up to $US4.4 million ($6.6 million) in savings for the White Lotus project.

An island of green trees surrounded by an ocean of water.

The financial details have not been disclosed and the Tourism Authority of Thailand did not confirm that number but Mr Cheawsamoot agreed the sweeteners offered to the White Lotus team would have amounted to millions.

Tourism authorities and local businesses say it is worth the money that was spent.

They expect to see many times that figure in return in the form of visitor numbers and increased spending.

"In terms of economic returns, we've got high hopes," Mr Cheawsamoot said.

Seeing big stars at your local restaurant

While many guests on Koh Samui have no idea what's going on beyond the sign of the Four Seasons hotel, the crew have been spotted around the island.

Already, searches on Expedia for Thailand have jumped by 50 per cent since the announcement that filming would take place in Koh Samui, Phuket and Bangkok.

Local restaurant owners Olive Lamlert and Patrick Moukarzel have had several visits from White Lotus cast and crew.

A woman wearing a striped top and a man wearing a white shirt stand at a counter with cocktail.

"It's very cool and very surprising. And the nice thing is that they came back because they like it. So that means a lot," Patrick said.

The couple say some stars of the show have also popped by.

"I was excited because it was Aimee [Lou Wood] who plays the role of Amy in Sex Education and she's super famous. I'm a big fan!" said Olive.

"And then it was Walton Goggins who is in a lot of HBO series and [2015 superhero film] Ant-Man."

Olive and Patrick are also big fans of the White Lotus series itself.

As former hotel workers, they said they could relate to the battles depicted within the series, which features a dysfunctional hotel chain and the challenges of dealing with inhospitable guests.

"It reflects what we used to do and what we had to deal with the guests," Olive laughed.

"The headache ones, the difficult ones, the nice ones, the drama … although maybe not as much drama as in the show."

Patrick said everyone on the island was excited about the potential economic impact of the series.

"It will be very very good, not only for Samui," he said.

"When you come to Thailand, you come to Samui, you go to Bangkok, you will visit another city or small island. So the whole country will benefit."

The downsides of a big show coming to town

While it's hoped the show will bring in more tourism dollars, some locals are worried about the possible impact of more people arriving on Koh Samui.

Parts of the island have been gripped by a water shortage crisis, which has been blamed on drought conditions and a surge of tourist arrivals post-pandemic.

There's also been an ongoing issue with waste disposal on the island as it struggles to keep up with the 200 tonnes of trash produced per day.

Late last year, Koh Samui had reportedly accumulated about 200,000 tonnes at its main landfill site and authorities were left with no option but to export the problem to the mainland.

Local environmentalist Anon Vatayanon said the Thai government needed to have a plan in place to manage the impacts of tourism on the environment.

A close up of a smiling man wearing a striped shirt.

"Samui became popular because of its nature — the sea, sand and sun," he said.

"The most important thing is that we protect our main selling points … how we manage wastewater, the quality of the water, the environmental impact from road use and air pollution.

"The movie industry wouldn't be filming here if the environment wasn't nice. If we lose it nobody will come here."

Siripakorn Cheawsamoot from the Tourism Authority of Thailand said any boost in tourism would be managed sustainably.

"Sustainable tourism is our key focus for this coming year," he said.

"That's been the key focus for the Department of Tourism to control and communicate with the filming crew."

'Set-jetting' shaping travel itineraries around the world

Thailand is no stranger to big film and TV productions and the big waves of tourism that often follow.

People still flock to James Bond Island where The Man With The Golden Gun was filmed in the 1970s and Maya Bay is still recovering from the impacts of 2000 adventure drama The Beach.

A close up of a floating rock near an island covered in trees.

The Leonardo DiCaprio film sparked controversy due to the impact of the shoot and the influx of tourism on the once pristine sands of the bay at Koh Phi Phi Leh.

The area was eventually closed to visitors in 2018 to allow it to recover from the damage caused by millions of tourists.

But authorities say much has changed in the 24 years since the cult movie was released and many lessons were learnt.

They're now hoping to cash in on a trend known as 'set-jetting' where tourists choose locations based on films and TV shows.

The phenomenon has been attributed to a US$200 million dollar boost to Croatia's economy thanks to Game of Thrones and a 50 per cent increase in inbound tourism to New Zealand following the release of The Lord of the Rings.

According to analysis by travel website Expedia, 44 per cent of travellers last year drew inspiration from movies and TV shows, far outpacing the influence of social media at just 15 per cent.

Last month, a post on the White Lotus official Instagram page promised "unforgettable experiences are in the making at #TheWhiteLotus."

"We are eager to welcome new guests to our resort in Thailand."

Thailand is eager to welcome them too.

A shot of still ocean water and a white sandy beach lined with palm trees.

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IMAGES

  1. Complete Guide to Planning Your Dream Trip to Thailand

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  2. 10 Days in Thailand: The Perfect Thailand Itinerary for the First Time

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  3. Two Weeks in Thailand Travel Itinerary and Trip Planner

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  4. 10 Days Thailand Itinerary: A Guide For First Time Visitors [+ Map + Tips]

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  5. PLANNING A TRIP TO THAILAND

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  4. HOW TO PLAN A TRIP FOR THAILAND IN 2023 AND 2024/ NO TOUR PACKAGE REQUIRED/ TRAVEL LIKE A PRO

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COMMENTS

  1. How to Plan Your First Trip to Thailand

    2. Decide How Many Days to Stay. a classic Thailand itinerary. We suggest you take at least a week for your first trip to see a spectrum of the highlights in the top three cities. 7-10 days: Bangkok (2-3 days), Chiang Mai (2-3 days), and a southern island like Phuket or Koh Samui (3-4 days).

  2. The PERFECT Thailand Itinerary for 1, 2 or 3 Weeks [2024]

    1 Day in Koh Phi Phi. For the last day in your 7 day Thailand itinerary, soak in the picturesque views at Koh Phi Phi. Koh Phi Phi is actually a chain of three tiny islands, though only one of them, Phi Phi Don, is inhabited. On Phi Phi Don you can find lots of cheap backpacker hostels, bars, clubs, clothing stores, and souvenir shops.

  3. Thailand trip planner: make a Thailand itinerary & map

    Plan on the go with our free travel app. With Wanderlog's mobile travel planner on Android and iOS, access and edit your trips wherever you go — even while offline. Keep your places to visit, flight/hotel reservations, and day-by-day itineraries for your trip to Thailand in our web and mobile app vacation planner.

  4. Planning a Trip to Thailand: The Only Guide You'll Ever Need

    4. Mosquito Spray. You can find mosquito spray in Thailand at pretty much every convenience store, and is likely to be cheaper than in your home country. However, if you have sensitive skin, you may want to look for a higher quality brand in your home country before you leave. Your mosquito spray should contain DEET.

  5. Vacation in Thailand: How to Plan Your First Trip

    The good news is that tourism is well developed in Thailand; you have choices. You can find beach accommodation for $10 per night (bungalow with fan) or $200 per night (five-star hotel) — the choice is yours! Airfare is obviously the largest upfront cost. But finagling a deal is possible with a little trickery.

  6. Trip Planner

    The official site of Tourism Authority of Thailand. Amazing Thailand, Travel information, Travel guide, maps, hotels, accommodation, attractions, events & festivals, food, culture, shopping information to help you plan your Thailand vacations.

  7. How to Plan the Perfect Thailand Itinerary

    Koh Lanta: 3-5 days. Get ready to rent a scooter to explore this island and take trips to other islands to spot emerald green waters. Koh Lanta is more chilled but still packed with plenty to do. DAY ONE: Go snorkelling at Koh Rok, often referred to as one of the best places to snorkel in Thailand.

  8. 2 Weeks In Thailand: A Detailed Thailand Itinerary and Trip Planner

    Your next stop on this 2 week tour of Thailand is the town of Kanchanaburi. This is around 100 miles west of Bangkok, and you have a few options for getting here. First, you can take public transport. A train runs from Bangkok's Thonburi station, and takes around 3 hours to Kanchanaburi.

  9. The ULTIMATE Thailand 2 Week Itinerary That Covers It All

    1 How to spend 2 weeks in Thailand. 1.1 Day 1: Arrive in Bangkok. 1.2 Day 2: Explore the temples in Bangkok. 1.3 Day 3: Visit the floating and railway markets. 1.4 Day 4: Fly to Chiang Mai. 1.5 Day 5: Spend a day with elephants at Elephant Nature Park. 1.6 Day 6: Travel to Chiang Rai & go temple hunting.

  10. ThaiRoadTrip.com

    tip: You can add a specific destination by right-click on the map. tip: Please be advised that not all places and routes are accurate. tip: Rush itinerary could causes less enjoyable trip. ThaiRoadTrip.com helps you explore Thailand's tourist attractions, hotels and restaurants, simplify your trip planning and get the most out of your vacation.

  11. The Ultimate Thailand Itinerary for Any Traveler

    Thailand isn't as cheap as it used to be, though it's still relatively affordable. Speaking in terms of Thai Baht, you'll realistically need at least 3,000 (or around 100 USD) per person, per day in order to have a good time here. When I first started traveling in Thailand in 2010, the number was less than half that.

  12. Thailand Itinerary for 2 to 4 Weeks (North + South Highlights)

    If you have 3 weeks, then follow the sections on Bangkok and northern Thailand, but then pick either the Andaman or the Gulf Coast for your last week on the beaches and islands. If you have 2 weeks, then do Bangkok, Sukhothai and Chiang Mai in week one. From there, fly down to one of the southern coasts for a week of nature and beaches.

  13. How to Plan Your First Trip to Thailand in 9 Easy Steps

    Step 7: Book Your Tours & Travel Experiences in Thailand - From island hopping to temple tours, book in advance for popular experiences. Step 8: Organize Your Thailand Travel Insurance - Ensure coverage for unforeseen incidents on your trip to Thailand. Step 9: Pack Your Bags!

  14. How to Plan a Trip to Thailand and Build an Itinerary

    Day2505 / Shutterstock. Here are some guidelines on how to plan a trip to Thailand to make the most of your vacation: Make sure to visit Bangkok, Krabi, and Chiang Mai. Spend at least a week in each city for the whole experience. The best time to go is from March until November when it's not too hot or rainy.

  15. KohPlanner

    Starting point for your Thailand holiday or visiting Southeast Asia. You can spend 2 or 3 days in Bangkok. Tip: If you travel with small children, make sure you plan and book (where possible) your visits in advance and avoid long walks in the burning sun. Great for culture, shopping, eating and partying.

  16. My 2 Week Thailand Itinerary

    My Perfect 2 Week Thailand Itinerary - Best of North & South. Here's a quick summary of what I think is the ideal Thailand itinerary for 2 weeks: Bangkok - (3 days) Chiang Mai - (3 days including day trip to Chiang Rai) Then. East Coast Islands - Koh Samui (3 days) Koh Phangan (2 days) Koh Tao ( 2 days) Or.

  17. Complete Guide to Planning Your Dream Trip to Thailand

    Thai Visas are relatively easy to obtain. Most of it is available upon arrival, or if coming from an ASEAN country, you get a free 30-day visa. For those that are planning to stay longer, consider applying for a 6 month visa in the Thai embassy in your home country before leaving. This will save you from having to leave the country every 30 days.

  18. Your Dream Trip to Thailand Starts Here

    5-8 weeks. $2,400. 9+ weeks. On request. Email Me Today! All prices are in U.S. dollars. Thailand sample itinerary available upon request. Payment is made via PayPal in advance of Zoom/email/phone chat to secure itinerary. *I am not a travel agent and I don't book hotels or make dinner reservations.

  19. Thailand Itinerary

    Thailand Itinerary Day 7: Travel to Krabi/ Ao Nang. Now that you've had your fun in the Gulf of Thailand — it's time to make your way to the Andaman Sea. You'll need to get from Koh Phangan to Krabi. There is a direct flight from Koh Samui if you'd like to transfer over there.

  20. Thailand Trip Planner

    Create your perfect journey with specialized tours customized to your interests. Whether you're captivated by the bustling streets of Bangkok, the cultural treasures of Chiang Mai, the tropical beaches of Phuket, or the serene landscapes of Chiang Rai, plan your ideal Thai adventure with a tailored itinerary. Explore Thailand your way and make ...

  21. A Step By Step Guide To Planning A Trip To Thailand

    Here's a step-by-step guide to help you plan an amazing trip to the Land of Smiles.

  22. Thailand Starts Here is Where Your Trip to Thailand Begins

    The most exhilarating way to discover Thailand, this fast-paced trip balances tourist hot spots like Bangkok and Chiang Mai with spectacular secondary destinations, from the unique towns of the Golden Triangle, to the island jewels of Krabi province. Plan Your Two Weeks in Thailand. Two Tantalizing Weeks. The most exhilarating way to discover ...

  23. Plan your Trip to Thailand

    Trip Planner - Thailand. Create your perfect trip to Bangkok, Thailand. Easily plan your trip based on your preferences, budget, and style. Plan your trip with RoutePerfect's AI and optimize it by using RoutePerfect's crowdsourced database, based on proven and enjoyable, well-crafted itineraries of thousands of travelers. Plan your trip.

  24. Chiang Mai on a budget

    Generations of backpackers will tell you that Thailand has long been a great destination for travelers on a shoestring. And it's particularly easy to visit the northern city of Chiang Mai on a budget, even with its swanky luxury scene and five-star hotels. Perhaps it's the fact that the "Capital in the North" is surrounded by mountains and endless green forests - with no beaches for ...

  25. 10 Important Things to Know Before your Family Trip

    Thailand is renowned for its captivating culture, breathtaking beauty, and mouthwatering cuisine. But the jewel of Southeast Asia can be an intimidating country for those planning a family trip to ...

  26. International Plans

    Qualifying plan required. Speeds and coverage vary based on device and location. Check www.T‑Mobile.com for details. After allotment, data slows to plan speed (up to 128Kbps for plans without international data service). Activating a new pass ends remaining benefits of prior pass. Usage rounded up to the nearest MB each session.

  27. 2024 Chinese Visa Update: Thai Passport Holders Can Travel to China

    Unlock the wonders of China visa-free with exclusive tips from Traveloka. From eligibility to documentation, plan your trip hassle-free. Book flights, hotels, and activities in one app. ... Thailand and China have signed a groundbreaking "Agreement" on Thai-Chinese Visa Waiver, allowing Thai citizens to travel to China without the hassle of ...

  28. How Thailand lured The White Lotus away from Japan

    "When you come to Thailand, you come to Samui, you go to Bangkok, you will visit another city or small island. So the whole country will benefit." The downsides of a big show coming to town