From the jungle-clad mountains within the north to the beach-lined islands within the south, Thailand is simply crammed with great locations. It’s fairly an enormous nation although, so if you wish to pattern all it has to supply inside a couple of weeks, you’ll need to observe an excellent route.
On this instance itinerary, I’ll run you thru a number of the common locations in Thailand. It’s a traditional Thailand itinerary combining cultural, nature, and seashore highlights.
This itinerary is right for backpackers or anybody touring independently and in search of a mixture of journey and rest.
I encourage utilizing it as a place to begin and making your individual changes based mostly in your pursuits and time accessible.
Half I: Bangkok to northern Thailand
1. Bangkok (half or 1 day)
The capital Bangkok is an apparent place to begin as most guests fly in to right here.
Only one word of warning: in case you haven’t been to a metropolis fairly like Bangkok earlier than, it may be a little bit of a shock to the senses!
It’s a really busy metropolis with numerous visitors. There are numerous smells and sounds. I’ve heard fairly a couple of travellers say they didn’t very like it, particularly simply after getting off an extended flight.
I really suppose Bangkok is wonderful, however some discover it simpler to understand on a second go to. That’s why I like to recommend making a short preliminary cease, then exploring it extra deeply on the finish of your Thailand journey.
Use your first (half) day to get via your jet lag, acclimatize to the climate, and take your first dive into the unimaginable Thai delicacies. You’ll be able to try some sights just like the temples of Wat Phra Kaew and Wat Pho, or perhaps go to the vacationer district round Khao San Street (cheesy however enjoyable).
The primary time I visited Bangkok I went on a bicycle and boat tour. This was a extremely chilled-out option to see a neighborhood facet of Bangkok with out an excessive amount of stress. I explored the extra chaotic areas, like Chinatown, on my second keep, and I assumed this was a pleasant order by which to get to know Bangkok.
2. Bangkok > Sukhothai (1 day)
It’s time to see some historic temples!
There are two huge complexes of temple ruins in Thailand: Ayutthaya and Sukhothai. Ayutthaya is simply 2 hours from Bangkok however tends to be stuffed with day-trippers and it’s additionally inside a metropolis. I like Sukhothai because it’s in a extra open house.
From Bangkok, take a bus or prepare to Sukhothai (about 8 hours). I just like the prepare myself because it’s good to observe the landscapes via the window. You’ll get a pleasant preview of rural Thailand.
Spend a day exploring the temple ruins of Sukhothai, then keep the night time there or head on straight on to Chiang Mai.
Alternatively, take a day journey from Bangkok to Ayutthaya after which take the 12+ hour in a single day prepare to Chiang Mai. You’ll save a while by touring principally at night time, and the sleeper prepare counts as a enjoyable journey expertise as effectively. It’s a bit extra time-efficient than breaking apart this journey with a cease at Sukhothai.
3. Sukhothai > Chiang Mai (3+ days)
Chiang Mai could also be Thailand’s second-biggest metropolis, but it surely’s manner extra relaxed than Bangkok. It’s additionally very low-cost, with a number of the best-value lodging round.
You’ll be able to see methods to get to Chiang Mai right here.
You most likely gained’t battle to fill your time, as there are many issues to do in Chiang Mai. Be sure you stroll the night time markets, go on day journeys within the space, go to the Elephant Nature Park, go on a Thai cooking course, or go on a hill tribe trek (these are often 1 or 2 days however will be longer).
Chiang Mai may be very easygoing and there may be a lot to do right here, which is why I feel it’s good to dedicate no less than a couple of days right here.
Most travellers I communicate to like Chiang Mai and use it as a springboard for exploring the north of Thailand.
4. Chiang Mai > Pai or Chiang Dao (3+ days)
The place to go subsequent from Chiang Mai?
Properly, there are a number of choices.
If you’re a backpacker seeking to have some enjoyable, contemplate a cease within the small mountain city of Pai. It’s a cool little city among the many rice fields and forest hills, and it’s crammed with cozy hipster cafés and eating places. The hostels in Pai are good enjoyable, although different vacationers might take a liking to its many riverside bungalows and boutique guesthouses. It’s a touristy place, perhaps not ‘authentically Thai’, but it surely’s enjoyable. Pai has scorching springs, waterfalls, and a small canyon close by.
If the vibe of Pai is just not your factor, then the city of Chiang Dao makes for an excellent various. It has a quieter ambiance and varied small-scale sights. It’s a stunning place to expertise some jungle and mountain surroundings.
One other enjoyable journey is to lease motorbikes and trip a loop via the thinly populated Mae Hong Son space. Alongside the way in which, you may go to the epic Tham Lod Cave, or keep the night time within the Cave Lodge the place native spelunkers will present you a lot secret caves.
5. (Optionally available) Chiang Rai (2 days)
Chiang Rai is a smaller metropolis than Chiang Mai and makes for one more good base for temple visits, trekking, and bicycle rides across the space. It’s a pleasant add-on when you have a while accessible! There are some good issues to do in Chiang Rai province, corresponding to making a day-trip to the hilltop city of Mae Salong.
Half II: Bangkok & Andaman Coast
6. Northern Thailand > again to Bangkok (2 days)
From the north, dip again down into central Thailand. You possibly can take the prepare again down once more, or if you wish to pace issues up a bit, take a home flight with a funds service corresponding to AirAsia.
After so many stress-free days in Chiang Mai and Pai, you’re in a greater state to dive deeper into chaotic Bangkok. You possibly can go to the floating markets, see a Muay Thai combat, discover Chatuchak Weekend Market, or take a meals tour.
And now that you just’re not jet-lagged and nonetheless recent off the aircraft, you may need to examine the Bangkok nightlife extra intently as effectively.
This time contemplate staying in an space that isn’t close to the cheesy Khao San Street or the opposite ordinary hotspots; as an illustration, attempt the native Ari neighborhood or try these different Bangkok neighborhoods.
7. Bangkok > Krabi (2 days)
It’s time to go to the seashore! Take a prepare to Surat Thani, and from there journey onwards to Krabi.
Alternatively, you may fly to Surat Thani with AirAsia, which additionally affords all-in-one tickets with floor switch companies to Krabi or the islands.
You’ll be able to keep in Krabi city, however higher but, keep in Ao Nang as it will put you proper alongside (or very close to) the seashore. Whereas more and more busy and expensive, you could need to go to close by Railay Seashore as effectively. It’s the well-known Thai seashore that has tall karst cliffs on both facet. Talking of cliffs: Krabi is famed for mountaineering, so in case you’ve all the time wished to take a mountaineering course, now’s your likelihood.
By the way in which, the native authorities have begun utilizing a ticketing system to manage customer numbers to Railay, and longtail boats are additionally now solely allowed to dock in a single space (this can be a good factor). Once more, Krabi can get very crowded, particularly in excessive season, however lots of people do love the surroundings lots. In the event you really feel it’s too busy round these components, contemplate escaping to the islands like Koh Lanta, Koh Ngai, Koh Jum, and so on.
8. Krabi > Khao Sok Nationwide Park (3 days)
Wean your self off the seashore (there’ll be extra of that quickly!) for an exhilarating jungle tour.
You’ll be able to go to Khao Sok Nationwide Park independently, but it surely’s simpler (and arguably higher) to take an organized tour.
In the event you’re on a funds then you may e book such excursions last-minute in Krabi, with varied 2 and 3-day adventures inside the nationwide park on supply. In the event you choose to pre-book on-line and see the critiques for the completely different tour variations that exist, then view Khao Sok excursions at GetYourGuide or see Khao Sok tour choices on Viator.
In case you have the time, it’s price going for the 3-day possibility. This often contains wildlife recognizing, kayaking on Cheow Larn Lake, and sleeping an evening within the jungle.
9. Krabi > Koh Lanta (3 days)
Whereas the island of Koh Phi Phi is probably the most well-known on the Andaman coast, it’s additionally simply the busiest and most costly. It additionally has a popularity for over-the-top-parties which, whereas not inescapable, do give the island a distinct vibe than others.
You possibly can nonetheless make a fast cease there, however I like to recommend going to Koh Lanta as an alternative for a extra relaxed ambiance. Koh Phi Phi has perhaps gotten a bit too common, whereas Koh Lanta has extra space and extra issues to see across the island.
For the reason that development of a bridge, you may simply attain Koh Lanta by minivan from Krabi. You can too take a ferry from Krabi, which is just a little slower, but additionally just a little extra scenic.
Alternatively, you may go to one of many less-visited smaller islands like Koh Kradan, Koh Jum or Koh Lipe, although a few of these are a bit additional away.
Half III: The Gulf Coast
10. Krabi > Koh Phangan (2 days)
Famed for the Full Moon Get together, Koh Phangan is the largest occasion island in Thailand. To not be pigeonholed, it additionally has an exquisite quiet facet that’s a lot much less identified. It’s one other nice island to spend a couple of days.
11. Koh Phangan > Koh Tao (2 days)
Koh Tao is just not solely a fantastic island in its personal proper, but it surely additionally occurs to be the scuba diving capital of Thailand.
In the event you’ve ever wished to provide it a attempt (or do the 4-day Open Water certification course), you couldn’t ask for a greater place to do it. It’s a comparatively small island, and whereas very developed, it has maintained a comfy ambiance.
12. Koh Tao > Bangkok (remaining days)
Take the ferry from Koh Tao to Koh Samui, from the place you may get a fast flight again to Bangkok. In case you have time left (and didn’t prolong your keep at any of the stops, which chances are high you probably did), you may then proceed to discover Bangkok or take day journeys within the space. Contemplate going to Kanchanaburi or Khao Yai Nationwide Park to cap off your Thailand itinerary.
Alternatively, you may skip the Gulf Coast and head east as an alternative. From Bangkok pop right down to the small city of Trat, then take a ferry to Koh Chang or Koh Kood. These islands are (nonetheless) considerably much less densely developed and make for an attention-grabbing various possibility.
Itinerary planning suggestions
shorten the route
The above itinerary is meant for 4 weeks if you wish to do all of it. I feel a month is definitely the right period of time for exploring all the foremost sights in Thailand.
In case you have 3 weeks, then observe the sections on Bangkok and northern Thailand, however then decide both the Andaman or the Gulf Coast to your final week on the seashores and islands.
In case you have 2 weeks, then do Bangkok, Sukhothai and Chiang Mai in week one. From there, fly right down to one of many southern coasts for per week of nature and seashores.
How will you plan your individual itinerary?
Thailand has a lot to supply you can simply make your individual plans and even improvise throughout your journey. Since transportation in Thailand is really easy and lodging so accessible, it’s simple to determine to remain longer, take facet excursions, and even completely alter your plans.
Nonetheless, it’s good to have no less than a tough plan, particularly if it’s your first time in Thailand otherwise you’re new to touring on this a part of the world.
I like to recommend testing a number of Thailand itineraries corresponding to those offered right here and utilizing them as a template. Analysis completely different locations, see how varied locations join on the map, and create a route based mostly on what locations appear to curiosity you most.
After I first travelled in Thailand, I adopted a regular itinerary just about 70% of the way in which, however made varied tweaks based mostly alone journey objectives.
How will you plan a one-week journey in Thailand?
Is one week sufficient to see Thailand? To be trustworthy, I don’t know!
I get numerous emails from folks trying to craft an ideal 6-day whirlwind Thailand itinerary, however I haven’t traveled on this manner myself.
I’ve spent no less than a few weeks on every of my journeys to Thailand, so I used to be not within the mindset that I needed to see as a lot as doable inside just some days. The logistics of a one-week journey additionally get much more treasured with much less room for errors or delays, making it tougher to suggest a ‘excellent’ route.
In the event you really feel there may be numerous stress in your one-week Thailand journey to see or do as a lot as you may, then it could make sense to e book an organized tour.
What’s the greatest time to journey in Thailand?
If you’re in Thailand for a short while and want the climate to be ‘excellent,’ you could want to go within the vacationer excessive season of November to February. However exterior of those months, you’ll produce other benefits corresponding to decrease prices, extra accessible lodging, and fewer crowds.
Have in mind there’s a wet season in Thailand. Broadly talking, the rainiest months are from September to October. The monsoon has a distinct size on every coast although: roughly Could to October on the west coast and September till December on the east coast.
How will you get round in Thailand?
Don’t fear an excessive amount of about journey logistics as there are all the time loads of choices. Basically all locations you’d ever need to go to as a vacationer are linked by public bus, prepare, or handy native excursions.
To know methods to get from A to B in Thailand (and to e book bus or prepare tickets on-line), I like to recommend utilizing the native reserving platform 12Go Asia.
What are the most effective locations for first-timers?
Truthfully, there are such a lot of locations in Thailand which are nice whether or not it’s your first go to or your tenth. However Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Kanchanaburi, Ayutthaya islands like Koh Phangan, and the resorts on Phuket are extremely common locations. You’ll be able to learn extra about Thailand journey locations right here.
Planning to journey the broader Southeast Asia area?
In the event you observe the primary components of this route, you may join this seamlessly to Laos through Chiang Rai and the border at Huay Xai. You’ll be able to enter Laos both by bus or the so-called sluggish boat.
Some vacationers skip Ayutthaya and Sukhothai and as an alternative journey from Bangkok to Siem Reap in Cambodia to see the temples of Angkor Wat.
In the event you’re planning a visit via Southeast Asia, make sure you see my Southeast Asia itinerary recommendation.
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Posted SEP 16, 2022 (Up to date Sep 16, 2022)