Thailand Route MapMap of Thailand
2 to 4 week itinerary (North + South Highlights)
Thailand is full of beautiful places of interest, but they can be a bit different. When you want to try everything it has to show within a few short months, you should choose a good route. This example leads you through some of the most visited travel locations in Thailand.
This is a quite common Thailand route that combines culture, natural beauty and beacheshights. You can design it according to your wishes. The route is perfect for backpack tourists or those who are travelling on their own and are looking for a mixture of adventures and recreation. Proposed 4 weeks Thailand budget: $1100 per head (£833 / 943) (backpacker budget) to $1500 ('flashpacker' budge for more comforts, some beautiful seaside bungalow, etc.) More travelling expenses here.
Think of such a route only as a general model. When you are in Thailand for several short stays, you can (usually) listen to it! They can choose to remain longer, take side trips or even completely change their itineraries. In Thailand, most schedules are quite variable and you will find plenty of accommodation.
It is very well linked to the airplane and the mainland, making it an ideal base not only for Thailand but also for travel to the Southeast Asian area. Contrary to most other routes I suggest only a short stopover in Bangkok, as you will return there anyway. It can be a shocking experience if you have never been to a town like Bangkok.
A lot of travellers appreciate Bangkok much more on a second trip. Afterwards you will enjoy a full days sightseeing: maybe visiting the renowned Wat Phra Kaew and Wat Pho monasteries, strolling through Chinatown and visiting the Khao San Roads at dusk for a foretaste of Thailand. You can also jump over the bustling temple and cycle through less frequented Bangkok.
More information about the attractions in Bangkok can be found in our Bangkok Best Areas travel guides. Accommodation in Bangkok: Two large ruined temples are located in Thailand: The Ayutthaya and Sukhothai. yutthaya is just 2 hrs from Bangkok, but full of outings. It' also inside a town, so it's not as quiet as Sukhothai.
Sukhothai, I suggest. Take a coach or rail to Sukhothai (about 8 hours). You will get a beautiful sneak peek at the countryside of Thailand. After spending a full days discovering the ruined temples of Sukhothai, you can either sleep there or continue directly to Chiang Mai. You can also take a full outing from Bangkok to Ayutthaya and then take the 12-hour long evening trains to Chiang Mai.
You' ll be saving your own travelling hours, especially at nights, and the sleeping car can also be considered a funny travelling adventure. The visit to Sukhothai will be somewhat less effective over the course of the day, as this divides the trip to Chiang Mai into two parts. Although Chiang Mai is Thailand's second largest town, it is much more relaxing than Bangkok.
It will probably not be difficult for you to spend your free stay here, as there is a lot to do in Chiang Mai. Walk through the overnight market, take excursions in the surroundings, go to the elephant nature park, attend a Thai cookery course or go on a mountain tour (these are usually 1 or 2 nights, but can be longer).
It is a great place to settle down and it makes good business to spend at least a few nights here. The Pai is a popular stop on the Thailand backpackers trails. Motorbike rental in Pai and exploration of the sparsely inhabited area of Mae Hong Son is a great experience and gives you a good foretaste of it all.
It is a smaller than Chiang Mai and is another good starting point for visiting temples, hiking and cycling in the area. In Chiang Rai there are some good things to do, such as a full-time excursion to the mountain village of Mae Salong. Dive back into the centre of Thailand from the south.
With so many restful holidays in Chiang Mai and Pai you are in a better condition to immerse yourself in the chaos of Bangkok. Now that you no longer suffer from Jetlag and are still out of the airplane, you should also take a closer look at the night life in Bangkok. From Surat Thani take the railway to Krabi.
While you can remain in the city of Krabi, better yet, remain in Ao Nang, as this will take you right along the shore (or very close by). The Khao Sok Nationalpark can be visited separately, but it is much simpler (and probably better) to make an organised itinerary. In Krabi you can comfortably reserve such trips, with various 2 and 3 day experiences in the nature reserve.
Famous for the Full Moon Partys, Koh Phangan is Thailand's largest city. Not only is Koh Tao a wonderful isle, but also the dive capitol of Thailand. From Koh Tao take the boat to Koh Samui, from where you can quickly fly back to Bangkok.
When you still have free travel times (and have not extended your stopover, what are your chances), you can go on exploring Bangkok or take daily excursions in the surrounding area. Think about going to Kanchanaburi or Khao Yai National Park to complete your Thailand trip. Coming from Bangkok we go down to Trat, then by boat to Koh Chang or Koh Kood.
This route takes 4 sabbaticals, which is an excellent way to explore Thailand's main attractions. When you have 3 weekly periods, then choose either the Andaman or the Gulf Coast for your last weekend on the shores and isles.
When you have 2 sabbaticals, do Bangkok, Sukhothai and Chiang Mai in the first sabbatical. And from there you can take a flight to one of the south coast for a whole weekend. This is of course a fairly common route in Thailand. How about Thailand in a fortnight? I' m getting a bunch of emails from guys trying to create a 6 day trip in Thailand, but I haven't travelled this way myself.
It' simpler for me to describe a general best-of-Thailand route than just selecting several places. Whilst I am all about sponsoring independant travel, if you only have a weeks to pass and are discontinued on packaging it full of high points, I would maybe just get an organised trip so you don't have to stress so much.
Following the first part of this route, you can link it to Laos via Chiang Rai and the Huay Xai frontier. Are you going to land in southern Thailand? Several travellers jump over Ayutthaya and Sukhothai and instead journey from Bangkok to Siem Reap in Cambodia to see the temple of Angkor Wat.
Well, then take a look at my travel guide to Southeast Asia.