Thailand offers visitors some of the widest variety of things to see and do than any other country in the world. This makes deciding where to go and what to see while in the Land of Smiles a difficult endeavour. Seek out the most noteworthy of finds in the Kingdom with our two-week travel itinerary.
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Try to soak in the chaos of the capital long enough to utilize your first day in Bangkok. Visitors will either fly into Suvarnabhumi Airport or Don Mueang International Airport. If you have flown into Suvarnabhumi Airport, take the train to get into the city if you arrive before midnight. If you arrive at Don Mueang International Airport, there are cheap buses that run out front that go directly to the BTS skytrain station Mochit. You can also get a taxi from either, but it is a bit more expensive.
Depending on the day and time your plane touches down, there will surely be a few ways in which to fill day one of your itinerary. We suggest heading straight for the BTS skytrain station Siam. There are plenty of malls within walking distance of the station, including Siam Paragon, Siam Discovery and Siam Center. Meander the skywalk to come across the epic MBK, and walk over to the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre if you have time. If visitors are in the capital over the weekend, be sure to frequent one of the city’s best markets for shopping, as well.
Wat Arun, Wat Pho and Wat Phra Kaew are three of the most stunning temples in Thailand – and they are all found within a ferry ride away from one another. Visitors can take to the Chao Phraya River to get to Wat Arun, otherwise known as the Temple of the Dawn. Cross the river and Wat Pho sits along the river’s banks, home to the giant, reclining Buddha. Visitors will then make the short walk to Wat Phra Kaew, or the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, which sits on the grounds of the Grand Palace.
After a day of exploring religious and stunning relics, visitors should head to an area a bit grimier: Chinatown. It is a top destination for traveling foodies, is equipped with a huge market teeming with souvenirs, is home to one of the largest golden Buddha relics in the world, and much more. The best time to frequent this neighborhood is for dinner, when Yaowarat Road comes alive with delicious street eats.
While visitors could take weeks to explore the capital in its entirety, it is time to bid farewell to the capital and head to the Pearl of the Andaman: Phuket. The mountainous island is found on the western coast, and while it is certainly known for its luxurious resorts and high-end restaurants, the island can be frequented and appreciated by even the most broke of backpackers, as well.
After arriving on the island, visitors should drop their baggage off at their accommodation option and head for Freedom Beach, one of the most beautiful stretches of sand in the entire country. Spend the day here soaking in the sun and enjoying the crystal-clear and seemingly wave-less water, before heading back to grab a bite to eat. Visitors who are here on a Sunday should try to make a visit to the Phuket Weekend Market, otherwise known as the Naka Market, where they can pick up a delicious bite to-go before taking on Bangla Road in Patong, one of the craziest strips of road in the entire world.
Try not to indulge in too many liquor-ridden buckets as we plan on rising early to get the ferry to Koh Phi Phi from Phuket. These islands were put on the international map after Leonardo DiCaprio starred in The Beach, which was partly filmed at Maya Bay. While the islands were once overrun with tourists and looked less than pristine not too long ago, a clean up after the tsunami and the islands becoming part of Ko Phi Phi-Hat Noppharat Thara Marine National Park has certainly given back its stunning reputation.
In addition to the scenery, Phi Phi Don, which is where most visitors will stay, is equipped with some of the best nightlife in all of Thailand. The beach is lined with sunbathers during the day and partiers at night, as fire shows stun even the soberest of party attendee.
There are plenty of boats in which visitors can hire for a day on the Andaman Sea with snorkeling gear in tow. Hard and soft coral can be seen from the water’s crystal-clear surface with marine life swimming throughout. Depending on the tour, visitors will frequent places like Viking Cave, the renowned Maya Bay, Shark Point, Hin Pae and more. Each one is seemingly more stunning than the last, and this will certainly be one of the most memorable days of visitors’ two weeks in Thailand.
A day of snorkeling will normally end right after sunset. Visitors will head back to their accommodation to get a good night’s sleep before making their way to the island of Koh Lanta in the morning.
Consisting of some 52 islands, the Koh Lanta archipelago is one of the most remote stops on our 14-day travel itinerary. Visitors can only stay on two of the Koh Lanta islands: Koh Lanta Noi and Koh Lanta Yai. Visitors will likely want to stay on Koh Lanta Yai, as it is the largest of all of the islands. The beaches here have fewer visitors and are both pristine and quiet, with mountainous terrain making for an incredible backdrop. The island is equipped with many of the best snorkeling and dive sites in the world, for example, Hin Daeng.
There are plenty of things to see and do on Koh Lanta Yai. Some of the best beaches that visitors should frequent include Long Beach, the beach at Kantiang Bay and Khlong Dao Beach. Be sure to end the day on Koh Lanta with a visit to Walking Street, a quaint road lined with Thai food stalls and vendors selling everything from grilled corn to mango with sticky rice. The street food is extremely cheap here, too, so visitors won’t be shelling out one too many baht for their favorite Thai meals.
Koh Lanta is found just off the coast of Krabi, so getting to the next destination on the itinerary is easy. Krabi is renowned for its shorelines as they are decorated with huge limestone cliffs. One beach visitors must frequent before leaving Krabi is Phra Nang Beach found on Railay Bay. It is accessible by boat from Ao Nang’s shoreline, and it is here visitors will find rock climbing, amazing snorkeling and even a phallus shrine.
There is no shortage of things to see and do in Chiang Mai. Cooking classes, elephant sanctuaries, whitewater rafting tours – there is an excursion for every type of traveler in Thailand’s northern capital. Day trips can easily be purchased through tour companies found around the city. Ambitious travelers may book a minibus to the ancient city of Chiang Rai to see the dazzling white temple, while animal lovers may instead opt for a day meandering the grounds of Elephant Nature Park. Whatever it is travelers enjoy doing, there is surely a day trip seemingly catered to their liking in the city of Chiang Mai.
The bus ride from Chiang Mai to Pai takes about three hours, and the road is a winding one. Though we’re not a fan of the journey, the end destination is well worth the uncomfortable ride once visitors arrive in Pai. This city in the north of Thailand has become a top destination for backpackers in Southeast Asia. Its promised hippie vibe and cheap accommodation options have seen budget travelers flocking here in recent years. But the quaint city is still a great place to frequent even for the most luxurious of travelers as well. The city is filled with delicious eats and tourists can spend their day eating in-between visiting some of the top sites. Be sure to end a day of exploration at one of the best bars in Pai.
Visitors should rent a motorbike and tool around to some of the top sites in the city. Those comfortable driving one of these scooters can make their way up to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, one of the country’s most famous and stunning Buddhist temples. The city is also spotted with temples around its center, including Wat Chedi Luang. The Grand Canyon is located about 40 minutes outside of the city center as well, and visitors can spend an entire day here swimming and lounging. There is no entrance fee into the Grand Canyon. Check out the best bars in the city to have one last drink before departing the Land of Smiles.
Chiang Mai is equipped with an airport and a major bus terminal, allowing visitors to easily head wherever it is they are going next.