Thailand offers visitors such a range of activities and places to go. It has the Big Capital City of Bangkok, Party Islands, Chill Islands, Holiday Towns, National Parks, Smaller Cities and Mountain Villages.
You cannot see all of Thailand in 2 weeks, I’ve been 7 times now and still haven’t seen it all, however there’s no reason why you can’t visit Thailand for 2 weeks and still get a really good feel for the Country!
In order to see the best of Thailand I think you need to spend some time in Northern Thailand and some in Southern Thailand, it will mean you see less of one place but a trip to Thailand is all about jumping from place to place as it’s the best way to see just how varied the Country is and then you can decide which area you want to see more of on your second visit, because Thailand will leave you wanting to go back!
Based on my past trips to Thailand and the places I love most here is my recommended 2 week in Thailand itinerary to see the North and South whether you are travelling Thailand on 2 weeks Annual Leave or visiting as part of a Backpacking trip!
Be sure to read this post to help prepare you for your trip:
If you have more time to spend in Thailand or you just want to go to Thailand and party, check out this post:
Day 1 – Fly into Bangkok
Bangkok is the best place to start your Thailand trip. Bangkok has 2 airports, Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) & Don Mueang International Airport (DMK). Both are not too far away from the city but be sure to double check which airport you fly into and if you book a transfer from Bangkok Airport to your hotel in advance, be sure to get it from the right airport!
Search for the best flights to and from Thailand on Kiwi here!
Where to Stay in Bangkok: I would recommend staying near Khao San Road. It’s the typical Backpacker area of Bangkok and known as the ‘gateway to South East Asia’ however these days it’s not as crazy as it was and is now home to some nice hotels and restaurants so it’s perfect for holiday makers and travellers.
Hotel wise I recently stayed at the Nouvo City Hotel which is a few streets away from Khao San Road meaning it’s possible to visit that area easily but not be in an area that is too busy. It’s a nice and modern hotel with reasonable rates plus a nice pool and very popular with foreign visitors because of this.
Search for more hostels and hotels in Bangkok on Booking.com here.
What to do in Bangkok: Bangkok and Thailand is known for its street food, it’s bars and general craziness and staying in this area visiting Khao San Road and nearby Rambuttri Road will give you a chance to eat some good food, get some cheap massages, enjoy the nightlife and do some shopping on your first day in Thailand.
Day 2 – Bangkok & Overnight Train to Chiang Mai
What to do in Bangkok: Spend your second day in Bangkok seeing the City! The Grand Palace is one of the most popular places to visit in Bangkok receiving thousands of visitors each day however because of this it is very very busy!
From the Khao San Road area you can jump on a local boat at a nearby pier and get off where the Grand Palace is so there’s no need to get scammed by a tuk tuk driver. However if you do want a City Tour with a tuk tuk driver to see more be sure to agree on a price in advance and remember if it seems to good to be true it will be as they’ll take you to lots of places they want you to buy things from. The best thing to do is to book this through your accommodation or be very stern with the driver that you only want to visit X places.
Alternatively you can go to see the Bangkok Floating Markets or go to one of Bangkok’s many famous shopping malls like BKK or Terminal 21.
Later that day head to Bangkok Train Station (Hua Lamphung Station) to catch your train to Chiang Mai.
Bangkok to Chiang Mai Overnight Train: I would recommend taking an overnight train to Chiang Mai because it’s much better than a bus and it saves much more time than flying as you literally leave early evening and arrive in Chiang Mai in the morning with no time wasted!
You’ll need to book the train in advance, this post is really helpful and gives lots of information on the train, the times and how to book! It says you need to book on ThaiRailwayTicket.com and can only book 60 days in advance.
The sleeper train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai is featured in the above article and shown below. I could not believe how nice this train was! It was so clean and comfy and I slept so well. The only thing to note is that they often keep the lights on all night, there are curtains to separate you from the aisle but be sure to pack ear plugs and an eye mask!
If you’d rather fly, check out flights from Bangkok to Chiang Mai here. Internal flights in Thailand are quick and reasonable in price when booked in advance.
Day 3 – Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai is in Northern Thailand and I think it’s best to visit the North first whilst you’re still in fresh holiday exploring mode before heading South to the Islands to chill.
Chiang Mai is a must visit place in Thailand because it’s so pretty and so cultured!
What to do in Chiang Mai: The tourist part of the city is mainly within the 4 walls of the Old City which is very manageable to walk around and you can spend days wandering the streets finding new cafes, restaurants and new temples so this is what I suggest you do in one day in Chiang Mai.
The Best Buddhist Temples to visit in Chiang Mai are Wat Chedi Luang, Wat Sri Suphan, Wat Inthakin and Wat Phra Singh so be sure to try to find one of these although you’ll pass so many anyway.
Alternatively if you want local Thai food be sure to get some Khao Soi as it’s so good and only sold in Northern Thailand!
If you love your coffee you’re in luck in Chiang Mai! There are coffee shops and cafes everywhere and the coffee they use generally is from Northern Thailand so you are being cultured when drinking coffee in Chiang Mai!
In the evening head to Chiang Mai Night Markets along Changklan Road and then head to see a show at Chiang Mai Cabaret. It’s a lady boy show but it is in no way seedy at all, its pure fun and entertainment and a must do to see how Thailand really embraces their Lady Boy Culture. They have a show on at 9:30pm and it cost 350baht when I visited, be sure to get there early to get good seats but note that being close to the front may get you some attention!
Related Post: 12 Things You Must Do in Chiang Mai!
Where to stay in Chiang Mai: The best place to stay in Chiang Mai is definitely within the walls of the Old City so you’re really central to everything.
If you’d rather stay outside the Old City I stayed at both The Small Hotel and The Empress Hotel which were both good, had pools and are not too far from the Old City at all. The Empress’ Breakfast Buffet is also pretty epic!
For hostels Oxotel Hostel is rated as one of the best hostels in Chiang Mai.
Search for more hostels and hotels in Chiang Mai on Booking.com here!
Day 4 – Chiang Mai
Not only is the City of Chiang Mai great but there’s so much to do near Chiang Mai too!
What to do near Chiang Mai: Some options I would recommend to help you have the best time in Northern Thailand are:
Doi Suthep Temple is just an hours drive from Chiang Mai (although it looks closer on a map) if you want to see another nice Buddhist Temple.
Elephant Nature Park. This is the original elephant park that started off the amazing no riding of elephants message and this is the best elephant park to go to in Chiang Mai and in Thailand if you want to see elephants as it’s 100% legit. I went in 2014 and had an amazing day, you can read about this here, it’s a day you won’t forget!
Zip Lining. Chiang Mai is full of nearby jungles and also home to a zip line in one of them! Flight of the Gibbon has been around for a while, I went whilst on my STA Travel and Contiki Northern Thai Highlights Tour and had such a good time! It has incredibly high safety standards and really fun staff so if you want some adrenaline this is a great thing to do!
Cooking Class. If you want to try cooking some Thai food that you can then cook at home a cooking class is a great idea and Chiang Mai is a great place to do this in. There are schools in the city but the best thing to do is going to one that is out in the rice paddies. I did a class with The Best Thai Cookery School, who were the best! We met the owner in the market in Chiang Mai where he explained lots of foods to us then we drove to the cooking school in the most beautiful setting and spent the next few hours having so much fun cooking 4 dishes! I’d really recommend this activity in Chiang Mai!
If you want to book a tour and activity in advance, have a look at one of these options:
To SEE what you can do in Chiang Mai, have a watch of my YouTube video:
Day 5 – Fly to Koh Samui from Chiang Mai
Book yourself a flight to Koh Samui from Chiang Mai. It’s the fastest way to get to Southern Thailand.
Enjoy the morning in Chiang Mai by going out for a yummy breakfast and coffee and then catch your flight.
Internal flights in Thailand can be fairly inexpensive and cheaper if you book them in advance, have a look on Kiwi here to see what prices you can find!
What to do in Koh Samui: Although the flight time isn’t long from Chiang Mai to Koh Samui this day will probably end up being a full travel day so I wouldn’t push to do too much. Koh Samui is full of restaurants, bars and great nightlife so get some dinner and head to the beach to see one of Thailand’s famous Fire Shows, especially if you stay in Chaweng Beach.
Where to stay in Koh Samui: This island is huge! I’ve always stayed in Chaweng Beach which is very touristy and built up but it does have a nice beach and good nightlife if thats what you want, although a bit seedy too! Mae Nam is a nice area to stay in Koh Samui.
If you’re looking for budget hotels and resorts offering good value, these are rated very highly: Floral Hotel Chaweng, Rattana Guesthouse and Bungalows, Wazzah Resort Bungalow, Kanlaya Park, Kiddee Condo.
I stayed at Floral Hotel Chaweng and was really impressed with the standard of the Hotel.
Related Post: How to Visit Koh Samui on a Budget!
Day 6 & 7 – Koh Samui
What to do in Koh Samui: With 2 full days in Koh Samui you can have a day of relaxing on its many beaches and spend another day exploring the island on a day trip or doing a fun activity.
I did a full day tour around the island visiting 7 different places which was a lot of fun and although I saw Koh Samui as a very commercial and touristy place when I first arrived, seeing more of the island showed me just how beautiful it is and really gives an insight into what Thailand is away from the bars and restaurants.
If you want drinks on the beach in the evening, go to Ark Bar and watch their fire show from 9:30pm!
For some tour ideas have a look at these:
Day 8 – Boat from Koh Samui to Koh Tao
Koh Tao is just an hour or so away from Koh Samui by boat and the process is very simple. You can either book a ticket with a travel agent in Koh Samui or buy a ticket online to Koh Tao. I’d recommend getting a morning boat so you have the rest of the day to enjoy Koh Tao.
What to do in Koh Tao: Koh Tao’s main tourist beach is Sairee Beach which is a really nice beach with a walkway down it with plenty of restaurants, cafes and massage parlous so I recommend on your first afternoon in Koh Tao you enjoy the beach and get a massage!
If you want some evening entertainment there’s a lot going on in Koh Tao. There will be fire dancers out on the beach, they always do a show outside Lotus Resort. There’s a lady boy cabaret. Fishbowl is a good place a long the beach to head to later to party and Koh Tao Pub Crawl is pretty famous and has been going on for years if you want a big party night!
If you don’t want to party that’s ok as you can avoid it easily.
Where to stay in Koh Tao: Sairee Beach is the best place to stay in Koh Tao I think as you’re in the centre of the action. I have stayed at Lotus Resort Hotel which I recommend and Good Dream Hostel is a high rated hostel in Sairee Beach too.
Alternatively if you are travelling as a couple and want somewhere quieter and a resort with its own beach I’d recommend Charm Churee Resort which is where I stayed recently, it’s too remote to visit solo I’d say and its a good place if you just want to relax as it has lots of bungalows, is set right on the water and like I said, it has its own private beach!
Search more accommodation in hostels, hotels and bungalows in Koh Tao on Booking.com here.
Day 9 & 10 – Koh Tao
You have 2 days to fully relax into island life here on this small and beautiful island.
What to do in Koh Tao: I’d recommend spending one day chilling on the beach in holiday mode again perhaps with a half day boat trip involved depending on how much sunbathing you want to do, and the second day going out on a full day boat trip!
There are lots of snorkelling trips on offer and they are bookable in all of the travel agents, I’d say that half a day is enough for a nearby snorkelling trip as that will give you the opportunity to go snorkelling twice and head up to the viewpoint on the nearby island of Koh Nang Yuan which is stunning!
If you like Scuba Diving or you want to try, Koh Tao is the best place to dive in Thailand, if you’ve never dived you can do a fun dive and they’ll teach you the basics. If you have your PADI you can, even better!
For a full day tour I recommend going to Anthong National Marine Park. It’s accessible from all 3 Eastern Thai Islands and is beautiful! It takes a few hours to sail to the National Park but once there you’ll snorkel, kayak, go up to viewpoints and see some incredibly beautiful hidden spots which make Thailand, Thailand!
Day 11 – Koh Tao to Ao Nang in Krabi
You have a few options of how to get from Koh Tao further South to Ao Nang in Krabi.
You can book a flight from Koh Samui to Krabi and get a boat back to Koh Samui from Koh Tao a few hours before heading straight for the airport. This option will be a bit quicker but even though you’re flying it will still involve a fair few buses and taxis.
Or you can get a boat from Koh Tao to the mainland and then get a bus to Krabi. This journey will be longer but it is pretty direct. This boat and bus can be booked at a travel agent on Koh Tao or you can book it in advance online in order to get a fast boat and bus transfer.
Today is when you’ll need to be in a travellers mindset. Although Thailand is a popular holiday destination and 2 weeks in Thailand is enough time, Thailand is not like Spain and it does take some time to get around the Country so just enjoy the journey, especially if you have never travelled this way before!
What to do in Ao Nang: I doubt you’ll have much time in Ao Nang today as it will be a full travel day so enjoy some dinner in one of the many restaurants and if you want a drink there are plenty of bars to go to.
Where to stay in Ao Nang: Ao Nang is a pretty touristy place again but it benefits from having lots of accommodation on its main street which is really close to the beach.
I stayed at Pop In Hostel which I really recommend if you want a good but budget friendly hostel in Ao Nang.
Centara Grand Beach Resort will be perfect for you if you fancy somewhere really nice for your last few days in Thailand!
Search for more hostels, hotels and resorts in Ao Nang on Booking.com here!
Day 12 & Day 13 – Ao Nang Krabi
The reason I recommend coming down to Ao Nang in Krabi is firstly it finishes off your 2 week Thailand itinerary really well because you will have seen Bangkok, the North, the Eastern Thailand and now the South West of Thailand.
What to do in Ao Nang and near Ao Nang: Ao Nang isn’t the nicest place in Thailand however it’s a great place for day trips.
If you’re still in the mood for more boat trips you can go on the popular 4 Island Day Trip, you can go over to Phi Phi island which is on most people’s Thailand bucket list however this way you can visit for the day and head back without moving all of your bags again to stay on Phi Phi. A Day Trip to the Hong Islands is also very popular.
If you want to just relax on the beach, although you can do this on Ao Nang’s beach I would recommend getting a long tail boat from Ao Nang to Railay beach. It takes just 10 minutes, is inexpensive and the boats run constantly during the day.
Railay Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Thailand because it is so so nice! There’s also 4 beaches you can visit once you get there – Railay West, Railay East, Tonsai and Phra Nang. Not only are the beaches in Railay Beautiful but there are hikes to viewpoints you can do and plenty of places to eat and drink.
The sunset from Ao Nang, Tonsai and Railay West Beach is perfect too so make sure you hang around to see it!
Day 14 – Fly Home
The most ideal situation is to get a flight from Krabi Airport which is not far from Ao Nang which transfers you in Bangkok or another Asian Airport before your flight home!
If there are no suitable flights from Krabi, Phuket has a good sized airport too although Phuket is 3-4 hours away from Krabi and Ao Nang.
And there you have it, a 2 week itinerary for Thailand which will show you the best of Thailand and just how diverse this Country is!
For more of my Thailand Posts see:
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