Last updated on May 19th, 2021 at 10:01 pm
Thailand is the epitome of culture, delicious food, greenery, welcoming people, etc. To say it’s enchanting is an understatement, which is why crafting the perfect Thailand itinerary can be tricky.
So much to see and so much to do.
Most people hear “Thailand” and only think of Phuket and Bangkok. Those are both places that may or may not be worth visiting—it just really depends on what you’re looking for a trip.
I’m just here to say Thailand is much more than those places, so try to be open.
Overview breaks things down by region and city, so you’ll know which locations are ideal for you. I recommend visiting one city from the south, central, and the north.
Plenty of people will fly into Bangkok, which typically is the cheapest airport hub in Thailand. But it’s also worth looking into flying into Chiang Mai, Phuket, or Krabi—they’re all International Airport.
What’s an itinerary for Thailand without experiencing the north.
It’s seriously my favorite part of the country. In the North you’ll experience Lanna culture, which is a bit more conservative.
You’ll notice a slight difference in the foods, but some of the best Thai Dishes are in the north.
So if you are a nature lover, enjoy yummy food, interacting with locals, and temple hopping, then Northern Thailand should be on your radar.
The city that stole my heart, and the whole reason I lived in Thailand for a year and a half. This should be a testament of how amazingly dope Chiang Mai is.
If you’re visiting Thailand, make it a point to come here. It’s only an hour flight from Bangkok and round trip flights are under $50.
It’s a major city with a small-town feel.
You can still do touristy activities such as cooking classes, getting massages, seeing the elephants. The cool thing is Northern Thailand—or the more North you go—the cheaper. So if you’re wanting it to visit a budget-friendly place, then I would suggest Chiang Mai.
Also, it’s a place where locals and foreigners interact more often than in other cities in Thailand.
From Chiang Mai, you can visit other surrounding cities I listed below for a day trip or a couple days.
If you have a day or so to spare while in Chiang Mai, then visiting Chiang Dao is worth a trip. You can easily hire a taxi to take you for the day. It’s about an hour and twenty minutes north of Chiang Mai, or you can rent a motorbike and drive yourself.
During a day’s visit you can do activities such as visiting the hot springs, climbing waterfalls, exploring the cave, and enjoying the local food.
This gem isn’t frequented by tourists, but by locals and other expats that live here. If you enjoy less touristy places, then it’s definitely worth the visit.
Many people would refer to this town as hippie, and in many ways it is. The people are free-spirited, nice, and seem to be a lot happier.
Pai is where you come to for peace + tranquility, to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life, and to be one with nature.
In this magical town you get to explore the bamboo Bridge, Waterfalls, see the Big Buddha statue, and enjoy one of the best night markets.
The city center is fairly small and is walkable. If you’re wanting to explore outside of that, you can rent a motorbike. Or you can hire Songatew (Red truck) to drive you around, which will run you a couple hundred baht for the day.
Pai about 3 hours north of Chiang Mai and you can take a shuttle to get there, or hire a taxi to take you.
Just be mindful you will drive through the mountains so there are plenty of turns which can create motion sickness.
If you’ve seen pictures of the white temple in Thailand—it’s located here. You can also see the blue Temple or the black house when you come to Chiang Rai. And you can visit it in one day. I took a day trip there and had plenty of time to see all three places.
It’s about a 4 hour bus ride, so I took the earliest bus and arrived by 11 am to explore the different sites. If you are someone who enjoys slower travel, then staying the night is something to consider.
More than likely, if you’re visiting Thailand, your first stop will be in Central Thailand. And by looking at the map, you may have not realized Bangkok is part of that.
You’ll experience the biggest metropolitan area in Thailand and have access to traveling to other cities in easily.
Filled with temples, street food, hustle and bustle, nightlife, and the city life. For some tourists Bangkok can be overwhelming because of its humidity, crowdedness, and random stench.
Bangkok is truly a wild city, but it can be loads of fun.
As a first-time tourist, I recommend staying two to three days to get acclimated to time difference and the culture. You’ll want to hit up staples like the reclining buddha, Chinatown, and Chatuchak Weekend Market (largest market in Thailand)
About 2 hours west of Bangkok, people visit this city for the gorgeous waterfall at Erawan National Park. That is worth adding to your bucket list, but there’s also so much more to explore and see while there.
If you’re into history, this town is full of it, specifically as it pertains to WWII. For a list of things to do while you’re there, read this.
You can also make this a day trip from Bangkok or stay the night in Kanchanaburi.
Only an hour north of Bangkok, you add stopping here to your itinerary.
Ayutthaya is a historical city filled with ancient ruins, so it feels like you’re taking a blast in the past. Also, it’s home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
You’ll find plenty of Buddhist statues, rivers, and temples. You can explore this city in a day and catch the bus, shuttle, or train all for less than a few dollars.
Some of the most beautiful beaches in the world are in Thailand—that’s not an exaggeration either.
Whether you’re in Krabi, Phuket, or some of the smaller Islands they all have crystal clear water, pristine beaches, and blissful vibes. Not to mention there’s 1430 islands in Thailand.
Krabi is a province that is in the southwestern part of Thailand, near the Andaman sea. Many people visit to explore the mainland city Ao Nang, the islands Koh Phi Phi and Koh Lanta, or Railey beach.
Compared to other places in the South, Krabi as a whole is the most affordable. You can spend 4-7 Days in Krabi exploring different islands and the mainland. There are lots of islands hopping excursions.
So if you want to stay somewhere cheaper, then it’s best to stay on the mainland and visit the other Islands like Koh Phi Phi for a day.
I’ve preached this many times, but I didn’t enjoy visiting Phuket as a tourist. It sort of reminds me of a mixture of Las Vegas and Miami in places like Patong Beach.
For some reason everyone adds this to their Thailand itinerary.
If that’s something that interests you or you’re wanting to explore other areas (the island is huge)—I recommend staying for a couple days. If you’re short on time, Krabi would be the better option.
In the gulf of Thailand, you can get here by flight—which is pricey—or you can fly into Surat Thani and take the ferry.
I enjoyed my time in Koh Samui, which is a more touristy Island in Thailand. That means that it will be more expensive, but there are quite a few things to do.
If you like watersports such as jet skiing, stand up paddling, kitesurfing and more—Koh Samui is the place to do so.
From Koh Samui you can visit the other gulf islands like Koh Phangan and Koh Tao, which are only a couple hours away by boat.
A vegan’s haven and a hippie Island. You’ll see people dancing on the beach, walking around barefooted, and getting in touch with their higher selves. Many westerners live here, but most tourists frequent for the full or half moon parties.
It’s basically an oasis where you can relax, eat some delicious food, take part in some spiritual workshops. You can also enjoy some water sport and explore some waterfalls.
It’s the fifth biggest island in Thailand, so you know there will be plenty to do. You can either take the ferry from Surat Thani or from Koh Samui to visit this beautiful island.
If you’re wanting to become a certified diver, then Koh Tao is where you need to go. They have some of the best rates in the world AND people travel here specifically for diving.
Of course there’s more to do, eat, and see in Koh Tao—but seriously, come here if you want to learn how to dive.
This beauty is located in the east near Cambodia and is the second largest island in Thailand.
Koh Chang is surrounded by greenery and lovely beaches. Not only that, it’s also easier to get to then the other islands.
You can take the Ekkamai bus from Bangkok for 260 baht, and it’ll take you directly to the pier. From then you can hop on a 45 minute ferry that only costs 80 baht.
For it to be an island, it’s very affordable and you could spend $46/day or less there. In Koh Chang you can snorkel, relax, and do some trekking.
For a quiet getaway and to relax on the beach, visit Koh Mak. It’s about an hour away from Koh Chang and you can visit in a day. But I think it’s worth staying longer to be away from the touristy crowd, to walk around more, and experience a different island.
Also known as Ko Kut which is known for the beaches, jungles, and waterfalls. It isn’t the most developed island, but I think that’s what makes it captivating. Being able to get lost, surround by clear blue water, and beach bumming it up.
Just to give you insight on the size, Koh Kood’s population is around 2500. So it’s definitely a smaller and less touristy place.
If you want to go on vacation for relaxation, then add Koh Kood to your bucket list.
Wowwwww, there’s so many wonderful places in Thailand to choose from. You’re probably wondering how to choose the best spots. You should factor in how much time you have, what places can be seen in a day, and what your budget is.
If you only have about 10 days, my recommendation is 2 days in Bangkok, 3-4 days in Chiang Mai, and 3-4 days in Krabi.
I can also help you crafted the perfect Thailand itinerary that caters to your interest, for a fee. Just contact me here.
Is Thailand on your bucket list? What are some places you’d like to explore? Comment below.