You want to go to Thailand!? How exciting! We would HIGHLY recommend this diverse, varied, exotic, welcoming country as a first step into South East Asia. Thailand is the backpackers mecca, the creme-de-la-creme of foreign travel. Everyone should go at least once (although you’ll probably go back again!).
10 days is not enough time to get to see all that you should see while in Thailand. That said, sometimes you gotta’ work with what you’ve got. Here is a Thailand itinerary: 10 days that we’ve worked out based on our experiences, and other travellers’ advice to hopefully bring you some suggestions for your next trip.
If you are unsure about what you want to see check out our list of questions to ask yourself before going away to help you focus your trip.
A couple of notes about Thailand:
- Thailand is super safe and very friendly
- Thailand is one of the most visited tourist destinations IN THE WORLD so if you want to escape all western society and go into the unknown, this is probably not the place for you (and 10 days wouldn’t give you enough time for that!).
- You can spend a ton of money here; it’s super easy to do. Or, you can get frugal and go on a shoestring. Whatever kind of budget you have, Thailand can provide.
- There are mountains, beaches, temples, nightlife, culture and food to see and try.
- It’s super hot here so pack light, and pack quick-drying clothes. We’ve seen so many huge bags being toted around and you just won’t need all of that.
- The Thai royal family is considered very important so if you go don’t ever make jokes or talk badly about the royal family in public. Thais are really sensitive about that.
- You can come here and spend 8 days on a beach. A lot of people do, however, have you really been to Thailand if all you are doing is spending the time on the beach? If it’s sun and surf you want: go to the Caribbean.
Here’s a sample Thailand itinerary: 10 days for those who want to dive in.
Arrive in Bangkok and then catch a plane leaving for Chang Mai
You’ll likely fly into Bangkok from wherever you are coming from. There are two airports: Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang.
- Suvarnabhumi is the super flashy, modern international airport serving all major airlines. Lucky you.
- Don Mueang is the not-so-flashy, “wait-where-am-I?” airport. It will likely serve as the domestic flights/ cheaper budget airlines airport so if you are flying back and forth across the country you’ll probably come in here.
Taking overnight trains is not very comfortable and takes a long time (Thailand’s land mass is bigger than the state of California!). Flights to the North and South are reasonably priced and will save you a lot of time. If you had longer, I might suggest an overnight train just for the experience, but otherwise you are not missing much…
Day 1: Bangkok (BKK)–> Chang Mai
Chang Mai is a popular destination for tourists and it is easy to see why. There are tons of temples and sights to see in the inner city. At night there is a massive food market where you can sample all sorts of yummy Thai specialties like grilled fish or crispy fried pork.
*** This is a popular destination and because of that be prepared for a lot of tourists!
Day 2 & 3: Chang Mai Area
There are a bunch of excursions you can go on around Chang Mai. I did a three-day hike into the mountains around Chang Mai and saw little villages, met some elephants, went tubing down a river, and slept under the stars. It was beautiful. Consider what you’d like to do and visit a local tourist agency (they are everywhere) to price out what you’d like to see and do.
Day 4: Chang Mai –> Krabi (or Phuket! Also a good jump off point for beaches)
Heading down to the legendary beaches of the South is a must! These beaches are world class and you can really get a chance to relax and work on that suntan. Krabi is a good jumping off point for many of the islands:
- Koh Phi Phi
- Koh Lanta
- Koh Pu
- Koh Jung
…to name a few.
Day 5-7: Island life
Koh Lanta is a really great island to visit as it is not full of too much nightlife and has massive sun-drenched beaches to bask on.
Koh Phi Phi is more of the party-goer island if that’s what you are into!
Koh Pu and Koh Jung are quieter and smaller islands if you want to find more places to be alone.
Phuket is the end-all-be-all for tourists. It’s vastly popular and has a teeming nightlife (but prices there are also inflated).
Day 8: Krabi (or Phuket) –> BKK
As you’ll probably fly out of the metropolis at the end of your visit, why not save this for last? Bangkok is chock-full of great things to see and do.
Day 9-10: Bangkok
- Consider visiting as many temples as you can while here! There are so many and each one is fascinating.
- The Royal Palace is a really popular destination and it is fabulous, but be aware that the nearly 30 million tourists that come through Thailand each year likely stop to see this place so it is OVERRUN with people.
- Eat lots of street food!
- Visit Chinatown! Lots of great bars and restaurants that are super hip and trendy as well as a chance to see this crazy and exciting part of town.