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The Perfect 10 Days in Thailand Itinerary (4 route...

The Perfect 10 Days in Thailand Itinerary (4 routes)

Thailand is home to gorgeous tropical beaches with glistening white sand, world-class diving destinations, amazing street food, majestic temples, and a strong cultural heritage. It’s no wonder why this country is a sought after destination – there is literally something for everyone!

You’ll find wholesome, family-friendly destinations and a few others known for their vibrant nightlife and wild parties. Whether you plan on traveling to Thailand for a short time (a few days or weeks) or for longer (months of backpacking across Thailand), you’ll be surprised at how many new things you’ll discover along the way. And that’s what makes it such an exciting place to visit for travelers, especially those who are into backpacking!

On average, most people spend about 10 days to two weeks in Thailand and if you want to experience the best of what the country can offer, this should give you enough time to visit the must-see sites and to even discover a few hidden gems. And there is much more to Thailand than just Bangkok. It’s recommended that you venture beyond the capital, too!

I put together this suggested itinerary for you to make the most of your 10 days in Thailand.

Bangkok & the Islands (Phuket, Phi Phi, Krabi)

Day 1-2: Bangkok

Two days in Bangkok should give you enough time to explore the best sights to see and experience the beauty of this city. Therefore, it’s a good place to start your 10-day itinerary in Thailand. To really immerse into the heritage of this vibrant metropolis, it’s important to plan your trip wisely so you make sure you can see as much as possible in 48 hours.

For your first day, skip your hotel breakfast and hit the streets to find the most delicious and authentic Thai food options to start your day.

➤ You can also hit up some of the most famous temples such as the Grand Palace and Wat Pho. Don’t miss out on a chance to see the Emerald Buddha at Wat Phra Kaew! And if you’re not templed out yet, there are many other temples in Bangkok worth visiting, too.

➤ Shopping is another must-do activity in Bangkok as there are plenty of great deals. IconSIAM is one of the best shopping malls in the heart of Bangkok.

➤ Apart from shopping, you can consider visiting the abundant nightlife scene of Bangkok, particularly in Khao San Road. And if you’re visiting on a weekend, don’t miss out on the Chatuchak Weekend Market. It’s got everything you need from local handicrafts, souvenirs, and all kinds of food!

READ ALSO: The Perfect Bangkok Itinerary for First Timers

Day 3: Day Trip from Bangkok

On your third day in Thailand, you can go on a day trip from Bangkok. There are many notable destinations located just outside of Bangkok that are worth traveling to, especially if you want to experience culture and history.

➤ One of the top day trip destinations from Bangkok is Ayutthaya, an ancient city which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can visit Ayutthaya on a day trip from Bangkok where you’ll witness the ancient ruins of temples, palaces, and monasteries. You’ll also find the biggest reclining Buddha in Ayutthaya.

➤ Another recommended day trip destination from Bangkok is to the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market and the Maeklong Train Market. From Bangkok, you’ll travel to Maeklong Railway Market, which is centered on the Maeklong Railway track, yes, on the tracks. The sellers clear the sunshade and shop fronts as soon as the hear the train approaches! It’s an exhilarating experience.

From there, you’ll be able to explore one of Thailand’s most popular floating markets, Damnoen Saduak. I found the floating market to be pretty touristy, but it’s still quite a unique experience. BOOK IT HERE

Day 4-5: Phuket

Phuket is one of the most popular islands in Thailand, particularly for those who want to escape to a tropical paradise.

HOW TO GET FROM BANGKOK TO PHUKET

➤ There are daily flights from Bangkok to Phuket from either one of the two international airports in Bangkok to Phuket International Airport. These flights are offered by airlines such as Bangkok Airways, Thai AirAsia, Thai Lion Air, Thai Smile, and others, and it can take around one hour and 20 minutes. Going from Bangkok to Phuket by plane is the most convenient option, but also the most expensive.

➤ For a more budget-friendly option, you can take the train from Bangkok to Surat Thani and then transfer from a bus to get you to Phuket. Unfortunately, there’s no direct train service from Bangkok to Phuket.

THINGS TO DO IN PHUKET

As mentioned above, Phuket is a top tourist destination in Thailand. It’s best known for its white sand beaches, luxury resorts, and vibrant nightlife. Best-known as Thailand’s biggest island, it’s big enough to to offer an impressive variety of things to do according to your preferences. You can go on a cruise at Phang Nga Bay, hop one of its 30 pristine beaches, or explore the night markets, among the other things to do in Phuket.

➤ And speaking of the nightlife scene, if you’re into that, you should head to Bangla Road if you want to experience the best of nightlife in Phuket.

➤ On the other hand, for something cultural, you can also head to South of Phuket to see the giant Buddha image that looks down on Chalong. And no visit to any Thailand destination is complete without checking out the temples, particularly Wat Chalong.

➤ And if you are looking for a relaxing experience by the beach during the day, there are many beach clubs to check out for world-class food, delightful cocktails, and spectacular beaches to lounge in.  

Day 6-7: Phi Phi Island

HOW TO GET FROM PHUKET TO PHI PHI ISLAND

To get from Phuket to Phi Phi, you have two main options available: ferries and speedboats.

➤ The ferry is the primary method of travel between these two islands, and the ride takes approximately 2 hours. This offers a pretty decent and comfortable ride, but it can get a little crowded, especially during peak season so I’d recommend that you book your ferry tickets in advance to ensure that you can get a seat.

➤ If you want a faster way to travel from Phuket to Phi Phi, you can opt for a speedboat transfer which is the next most popular transfer option because it’s far more expensive than taking the ferry. With a speedboat, you can basically get a private charter and you’ll be dropped off in front of your resort or hotel. This might be an expensive option but can be a good value for your money if you are traveling as a large group, or you’re just looking for more exclusive experience.

WHAT TO DO IN PHI PHI ISLAND

The Phi Phi Islands might be small when compared to Phuket or Koh Lanta but they’re still widely regarded among tourists as some of the most beautiful islands in Thailand. As you approach the islands, you can hear an audible gasp among other tourists – that is simply how breathtaking it is! The islands are known for their partying and fire shows, but there is far more to this island group than that.

➤ One of the things that they’re known for worldwide is their scuba diving and snorkeling sites. This becomes obvious when you see the amount of dive shops on the islands.

➤ You can also climb up the steep viewpoints from one of the most spectacular views of the islands and the surrounding ocean.

➤ And it’s not just your eyes that will be feasting on the islands as Phi Phi is also filled with many culinary delights. You can try Papaya and Restaurant Knock Out which are two of the most notable dining destinations on the island.

READ MORE: 12 Things to Do in Phi Phi Island Beyond Maya Bay

Day 8-9: Krabi

long boat and rocks on railay beach in Krabi, Thailand

HOW TO GET FROM PHI PHI TO KRABI

To get from Koh Phi Phi to Krabi, you can take the ferry. This is the best way possible to get from one island to another with ease and within a reasonable budget.

The Koh Phi Phi to Krabi ferry route connects these two islands and you’ll find there are currently two ferry companies that service this route: the Andaman Wave Master and Chaokoh Ferry. Both of these ferry services offer this route 14 times a week, with the average travel time via ferry being from 1 hour and 30 minutes to up to 2 hours.

WHAT TO DO IN KRABI

Once you reach Krabi, you’ll find an endless array of opportunities when it comes to things to see and do. This island is fast becoming a popular tourist destination, especially since it has its own airport, which makes it even more accessible to tourists. You’ll marvel at the spectacular coastlines, lush hinterland, and many tourist attractions waiting to be discovered.

➤ Railay Beach and Cave is one of the most popular places to visit in Krabi, and is definitely a must-add to your itinerary. This small peninsula has gorgeous white sand beaches, caves, viewpoints, and a lagoon with a limestone cliff on the backdrop.

➤ Swimming in the Emerald Pool is another activity you need to add to your bucket list, especially if you are seeking to visit a place known for its outstanding natural beauty. The Emerald Pool belongs to the Thung Teao Forest Natural Park, which is a lowland forest known for its rich biodiversity.

➤ Other Krabi attractions you can’t miss if you spend two days in Krabi are the Klong Thom Hot Springs, Wat Tham Sua (Tiger Cave), and Krabi Town.

Day 10: Fly to Bangkok and home

On the tenth and final day of your itinerary, you can make your way back from Krabi to Bangkok where you can take a flight back home.

➤ You can fly from Krabi to Bangkok via Krabi Airport to Suvarnabhumi and the total flight time is 3 hours and 30 minutes with an average ticket price of 1,265 to 4,899 Baht (which varies depending on the season).

➤ It’s worth mentioning that you can also take a bus from Krabi to Bangkok but it will take up to 13 hours of travel time, which is quite a pain if you only have 10 days in Thailand to start with.

OTHER THAILAND ITINERARIES

As already mentioned, Thailand is a country known for its diverse attractions and cultural heritage. Each destination is unique, which is ideal for all kinds of travelers because you can pick out destinations to suit your own preference and budget. If the itinerary I put together above doesn’t really suit you, there is no need to worry! There are plenty other destinations or things to do in Thailand to make other alternative itineraries for your 10-day trip.

Below are a few other itinerary ideas that you can choose from, depending on the kind of adventure or experience you’re craving for.

A bit of everything: Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket

If you want to experience the highlights of Thailand, then this travel plan is for you. Three of the most popular tourist destinations in Thailand are Bangkok – the capital city, Chiang Mai, and Phuket. Each of these destinations are unparalleled, which provides you three different glimpses into what Thailand has to offer. Whether you are into culinary adventure, cultural heritage, or natural beauty, you’re covered in this 10-day sample itinerary in Thailand.

Day 1-3: Bangkok

If you consider yourself an urban junkie, then you’ll feel right at home in Bangkok. This is as urban as you can get when visiting Thailand. The city can be a little gritty but that is part of its appeal. When staying in Bangkok for 3 days, make sure to ride the tuk-tuk! It’s a fun experience and an inexpensive way to get around the city in very Thai way.

When you are in Bangkok, The Grand Palace isn’t the only attraction to see. In fact, there are so many things to do in Bangkok!

➤ One of the must-do’s in this city is to go on a Khlong Tour which is ideal for those looking for great photo opportunities, as well as to learn some history about the city. This will provide you with a glimpse into how the people of Bangkok used to live – in stilted shacks and old wooden townhouses – when you explore the Bangkok canals (khlongs).

➤ Another must-see temple during your 3 days in Bangkok is Wat Arun (The Temple of Dawn). If you have the chance of being here, you’ll see how the towering spires of this temple create an impressive silhouette. This temple was constructed during the early part of the 19th century and features a Khmer-style ancient stupa that showcases an ornate floral pattern.

➤ You can’t complete your time in Bangkok without trying out its many street food delights which are renowned around the world. The Chinatown Market is another place to go for delicious Chinese food in Bangkok; it’s a great place to go for those budget-conscious travelers who want to sample the best-tasting dishes. In Chinatown specifically, you’ll find delicacies including birds nest soup, Peking duck, and more to satisfy your taste buds.

➤ Finally, hitting up one of Bangkok’s rooftop bars is something you won’t want to miss if you spend three days here. This is the best place to hang out in once the sun has set, to enjoy one or two of your favorite cocktails with an overlooking view of the bustle of downtown in a distant hum.

READ MORE: The Perfect 3 Days in Bangkok Itinerary

Day 4-5: Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is another famous city that offers a great escape from Bangkok. This tourist destination is visited by 2 million tourists per year! You’ll notice that Chiang Mai has a more relaxed vibe than that of Bangkok, maybe partially because of its mountain setting. Many of those who have visited Chiang Mai consider it a cultural hub where you’ll find more temples to explore.

HOW TO GET FROM BANGKOK TO CHIANG MAI

To get from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, you can book a flight via any of the following airlines: Bangkok Airways, Thai Lion Air, Thai Vietjet Air, and Thai AirAsia. The average flight time for a non-stop flight of this route is 1 hour and 15 minutes.

You can also take the bus from Bangkok Bus Terminal in Chatuchak to Chiang Mai. However, it will take up to 17 hours and you’ll have to transfer to another bus when you reach Loei Bus Terminal, so it’s not ideal if you’re short with time.

READ ALSO: How to Get from Bangkok to Chiang Mai (Info + Prices)

WHAT TO DO IN CHIANG MAI

As you can imagine, there is so much culture, arts, and history that can be explored in Chiang Mai that its large population of artists and creative types is no surprise. The majority of the attractions in Chiang Mai are centered within the old city which forms a perfect square with a moat surrounding it.

Within the small streets and shortcut alleys in the old city, you will stumble upon many quaint cafes and coffee shops to stop by and take a break from walking.

➤ Just like Bangkok, food will be an integral part of your trip to Chiang Mai. The most affordable way to sample that is through street food, which is abundant in the night markets. You can go to Chiang Mai Gate and you’ll find plenty of food carts and stalls with a huge selection of local and international delicacies. Some of the must-visit night markets in Chiang Mai are the Night Bazaar, Warorot Market, and the Saturday and Sunday Night Markets.

➤ For a deeply cultural experience, you can hike up the hill tribe villages of Chiang Mai for half a day or one full day.

➤ Another option is to go on a DIY temple tour of Chiang Mai, where you can visit Doi Suthep, Wat Phra Singh, Wat Chedi Luang and other really beautiful temples. These should 100% be in your Chiang Mai itinerary.

➤ You can also take some time to relax with a massage – there are so many great spas for all budgets. Here you can find my recommendations for the best massage. in Chiang Mai.

Day 6-7: Phuket

From Chiang Mai, you can head somewhere more tropical – to the island of Phuket. As one of the main tourist destinations in Thailand, you’ll be spoiled for options on activities to entertain yourself. But first, you need to know how to get from Chiang Mai to Phuket. You have two options: by bus or plane.

HOW TO GET FROM CHIANG MAI TO PHUKET

➤ A few years ago, traveling from Chiang Mai to Phuket via bus would have been an arduous journey due to the lack of direct bus services but that has changed because a new bus company has opened a direct bus route between these two destinations which simplifies it a lot. The travel time is nearly 24 hours, so choose this option only if you have extra time (or if you are on an extremely tight budget).

➤ On the other hand, you can book a flight from Chiang Mai to Phuket which of course is much faster. Once you arrive at Phuket International Airport, you can transfer to a shuttle or metered taxi to get to Phuket Town or your hotel.

WHAT TO DO IN PHUKET

To give you and idea of Phuket’s popularity as a tourist destination, the island gets an average of 35,000 tourist visits daily. Good thing is that the island is large enough to accommodate that many holidaymakers and to offer a wide range of tourist opportunities.

➤ You can start off by visiting Kata Noi Beach which is a small beach but with a breathtaking scenery. This is a great spot to go to for a leisurely swim or a nice walk on its fine white sand.

➤ Another spectacular beach to consider visiting is Nai Harn Beach which you’ll find to the south of Phuket Island and discover that its beauty is relatively untouched.

➤ For those seeking more great views, you can head to the Karon View Point. This viewpoint site looks out over the Andaman Sea and you can also spot three west coast beaches from there.

Day 8: Day Trip to Phi Phi Island

From Phuket, you can visit Phi Phi Islands on a day trip. As one of the most popular destinations in Thailand, you simply can’t skip on the chance to visit these islands.

➤ This Phi Phi Island day trip from Phuket is ideal if you’re into the idea of getting to hop on a luxury speedboat to visit Phi Phi Island, Bamboo Island, and Maiton Island. You’ll have one full day to enjoy swimming, snorkeling, and sightseeing at these wonderful natural formations.

Day 9: Day Trip to James Bond Island and Phang Nga

The James Bond Island is another world-class destination in Thailand that is coveted by tourists from all over the world. It’s a famous island in Phang Nga Bay that got its name because it was used as a film location for the James Bond movie, “The Man with the Golden Gun”. The towering limestone cliffs that stand out from the emerald green waters are the highlight of this island. You’ll see the many activities you can enjoy on the island including kayaking, sailing, and island hopping.

➤ From Phuket, you can go on an excursion of James Bond Island via longtail boat for a day where you’ll see a few other highlights of the island including a visit to Monkey Cave, the mangrove forest of Ao Phang Nga National Park, and a trip to the fishing village of Pan Yee Island. You will also explore the smaller islands via kayak or canoe where there will be expert guides available to assist you for your own safety. BOOK IT HERE

Day 10: Fly Out to Bangkok and Home

On your tenth and final day, you can head back from Phuket to Bangkok where you can take your flight back home. You can book a flight from Phuket to Bangkok to save time as it will only take 1 hour and 15 minutes for a non-stop flight. Traveling via plane is, as least time-wise, the most convenient option.

Bangkok + The other islands (Koh Tao, Koh Samui, Koh Phangan)

A visit to Thailand wouldn’t be complete without checking out the many tropical islands that provide most tourists with a picture of what the country is about. From world-class diving destinations, pristine white sand beaches, and tropical and luxury resorts, you’ll find everything you need in this 10-day itinerary in Thailand.

Day 1-3: Bangkok

As with most itineraries in Thailand, this one starts off in Bangkok. This vibrant metropolis is one of the most bustling cities in Southeast Asia and it’s a good place to start your 10 days in Thailand because it gives you a sense of something familiar, especially if you live in the city. But there are plenty of things to see and do in Bangkok to give you an authentic Thai experience that you’re craving for.

I’ve already mentioned Bangkok’s most famous temples in other itineraries on his page, but here are a few more of the most famous attractions in Bangkok.

➤ First and foremost, you should head out to Soi Rambuttri, also known as Khao San Road. This area is filled with hostels, nightclubs, and bars these days but there are some parts of Khao San Road that are beautifully preserved to give you a glimpse of what Bangkok was like before the skyscrapers were built. In fact, there is a high number of travelers who choose to stay in this area to have quick access to the infamous street and its many attractions.

➤ For a different kind of nightlife, you can spend your time exploring the attractions at Asiatique: The Riverfront. This attraction combines two of the most famous experiences in Bangkok: the night market and a shopping mall. You’ll learn that this area historically served as a bustling center for international trade and is home to more than 40 restaurants and 1,500 shopping boutiques. You’ll notice how it’s also designed to look like the replica of a large warehouse complex. You can visit this night market from 4PM until midnight.

➤ If you’re looking for a more cultural experience in Bangkok, you’ll want to visit Bangkok National Museum. You’ll find how this museum showcases the largest collection of Thai arts and artifacts in the forms of Chinese weapons, textiles, puppets, clothing, and precious stones. Or, perhaps, you’ll want to enjoy an authentic Thai massage – a bucket list item for many.

READ ALSO: How to Spend 3 Days in Bangkok

Day 4-10: Head to the Islands

For the rest of your time on Thailand, you can explore one of the many gorgeous tropical islands that are famous worldwide. Among these islands are Koh Samui, Koh Tao, and Koh Phangan. You can choose to visit any two of these islands so you’ll have the opportunity to truly enjoy what each island can offer.

Koh Samui

Koh Samui is an island that needs no introduction. While some might be turned off by the huge influx of tourism, there is so much natural beauty and a good mix of what Thailand can offer that makes it worth braving the huge amount of tourists. In fact, it has earned the reputation for being home to some of the best beaches within the Gulf of Thailand.

➤ When in Koh Samui, Angthong National Marine Park should be on the top of your list of places to visit. We’re talking about a pristine archipelago made up of 42 islands which are famous for their white sand beaches, thick rainforest jungles, fertile mangroves, fresh waterfalls, hidden coves, and towering limestone cliffs.

READ ALSO: These are the Best Day Trips from Koh Samui

➤ You’ll find also a famous Big Buddha statue in Koh Samui, which measures at 12 meters high and is at the northern coast of Koh Samui.

➤ For a cultural experience in Koh Samui, head to Bophut’s Fisherman’s Village or the Secret Buddha Garden.

READ ALSO: 4 Days in Koh Samui: The Ideal Itinerary

If you decide to visit this amazing place, the best time to visit Koh Samui is from February to March, which are the two driest months of the year. The low season is from October to November, which must be avoided because these are the months that experience the highest amount of rainfall.

Koh Tao

Koh Tao is an island in the Gulf of Thailand, which is known for its tropical coral reefs, unique marine species, dive shops, beaches, and nightspots. Like Koh Samui, this island has a good mix of things to see and do for all kinds of travelers, and all age groups.

➤ One of the highlights to your visit to the island of Koh Tao is Koh Nang Yuan. This island is about 100 meters off the shore and is connected to the main island via a beautiful strip of sand. This creates a unique scenery, especially when viewed from a hill so take this chance to take a photo of the gorgeous island from above, something for which many tourists come to the island. The island offers an easy day hike experience where you’ll be rewarded with stunning and memorable views.

➤ You can’t go to Koh Tao without going on a scuba dive trip (or going snorkeling) because the island is rich in coral reef and marine species. You won’t have trouble finding a dive shop that will get you on a diving boat and see the beauty of the island underwater. You can also hire a private boat charter to explore the best dive sites that Koh Tao has to offer.

➤ Other fun things to try in Koh Tao include rock climbing at a few of the hilly islands or try stand up paddling in Sairee Beach.

READ ALSO: 13 Best Things to Do in Koh Tao

The island of Koh Tao enjoys a tropical climate all throughout the year but can be hot and humid on certain parts of the year. The peak tourist season is from December to March and July to August. If you come to the island for diving, you can expect great water visibility from July to September. It is during the rainy season that is not ideal to travel to the island, which is from October to November.

Koh Phangan

Koh Phangan’s claim to fame might have been the Full Moon Parties but there’s more to the island than that! On southeastern Thailand, 12 km north of Koh Samui, Koh Phangan is a true tropical paradise filled with palm-fringed white sand beaches, coconut tree groves, and a hilly hinterland with thick forests.

➤ While the moon parties might have gotten the island kind of a bad rap, it remains as one of the major tourist attractions on the island. There are different parties held throughout various times of the year such as Full Moon Party, Half Moon Party, and Black Moon Party.

➤ For a totally different way to enjoy the island, you can go for a snorkel or dive at the island since there’s really no shortage of snorkeling and scuba diving sites in this island and it’s a unique opportunity to see the beauty of the underwater marine life.

➤ If you prefer a leisurely swim at the island’s gorgeous beaches, beach hopping is another fun activity to try. From Haad Nam Tok to Haad Rin, you’ll find all kinds of beaches and all sizes to suit your taste.

➤ Apart from its beaches, the island is also abundant in waterfalls and they are worth trekking for so you can go fresh water swimming – perfect to cool off from the Thailand heat.

If you’re planning to visit this beautiful paradise, the best time to travel to Koh Phangan is from January to March to enjoy the ideal weather. On the other hand, you should avoid traveling to this island from September to November because that’s when the rain starts to become more prevalent.

Bangkok & The North of Thailand (Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Pai)

A lot of tourists who visit Thailand head straight to Bangkok or the south where you’ll find an abundance of its beaches and tropical destinations but in the past few years, the northern Thailand provinces are getting more tourist attention which is no surprise as Northern Thailand is filled with a staggering array of amazing destinations that offer mountainous landscapes, cool regions, small villages, and natural habitats for animals.

If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, or the crazed parties and the beach life of the tropical islands, you might want to check out this 10-day itinerary to Northern Thailand.

Day 1-3: Bangkok

Bangkok is a city that is vibrant and buzzing throughout all the day, or year. It’s no wonder that every Thailand itinerary starts off here. The city offers a wide range of things to see and do to fill your 3-day itinerary in the city.

READ ALSO: 41 Top Things to Do in Bangkok, Thailand

I already mentioned the most famous attractions in Bangkok in the other itineraries on this page, but here are a few other ideas that are more off-the-beaten path.

➤ If you happen to visit Bangkok during the time of the Songkran Festival, don’t miss out on the festivities that are held throughout the city at this time of the year. This festival (also known as the Thai New Year) is observed every 13th to 15th of April. This festival is marked by the tradition of sprinkling water to all the participants, which is based on a Buddhist belief that it will help to wash away the sins and bad luck. During this time of the year, Bangkok’s streets are crowded and there are lots of events and free concerts that you can attend.

➤ The Erawan Shrine is another must-see attraction in Bangkok, so make time for it while you are in the city. This shrine was constructed in the 1950s after construction workers at a nearby site felt that the spirits were unhappy and that they needed protection. 

➤ Other notable tourist destinations in Bangkok city to explore on your 3-day itinerary are the Vimanmek Mansion, Jim Thompson House, and the Bangkok Puppet Show. If you can, I’d recommend that you use this opportunity to watch a live Muay Thai fight, as well.

Day 4-5: Chiang Mai

HOW TO GET FROM BANGKOK TO CHIANG MAI

You have a few option when it comes to getting from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. You can fly (you can often find flights for as little as 20 or 30 USD), you can take the train (overnight trains exist too), or you can take the bus if you’re on a budget.

I wrote a full post about this topic, so check out detailed info there.

READ MORE: How to Get from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

WHAT TO DO IN CHIANG MAI

No discussion of the best places to visit in Northern Thailand would be complete without Chiang Mai. This is the capital of Northern Thailand and has plenty of interesting destinations for all kinds of travelers. Although it isn’t one of the biggest cities in Thailand, it’s recognized as the cultural heart of the country. The best part is that it offers three things that tourists love: good food, great prices, and friendly locals!

➤ The Old City is one of the best places to explore in Chiang Mai as it’s surrounded by a defensive wall with brick ramparts, as well as giant gates. If you don’t mind the crowd, the weekend and night markets are definitely a must-do while in Chiang Mai, as well as getting a massage in Chiang Mai.

➤ There is much more to Chiang Mai than just the Old City! It’s actually a haven for natural attractions including the Doi Suthep-Pui National Park which is a forested park home to Chiang Mai’s most famous temple – Doi Suthep – and many waterfalls.

➤ For more natural and outdoor adventures, head to the Elephant Nature Park, Queen Sirikit Botanic Gardens, and the Chiang Mai Zoo.

READ ALSO: A Chiang Mai Itinerary for First Timers

Day 6: Day Trip to Chiang Rai

When you are in Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai is one of the advisable day trip destinations. Before naming Chiang Mai as the new capital, Chiang Rai served as the capital of the Lanna Kingdom in Northern Thailand and although it might not be as popular as the former as a touristic destination, it’s getting its fair share of visitors, too. It is its association with Tai ethnic culture is what makes it a distinctive destination, especially among tourists who want to experience something new.

➤ When talking about Chiang Rai, the image of the White Temple often comes to mind. The White Temple, also known as Wat Rong Khun, is a privately owned art exhibit that is designed to look like a Buddhist temple. It’s the brainchild of visual artist and painter Chalermchai Kositpipat, who used an unconventional approach to temple architecture while also using Buddhist symbolism in its creation.

➤ If you want to visit the White Temple on a day trip from Chiang Mai, you can book this tour (along with a visit to the Golden Triangle).

➤ If you plan on spending more time in Chiang Rai, there are a few things to see and do. You can find more impressive architecture at the Chiang Rai Clock Tower, or learn about the hill tribe villages at the Hill Tribes Museum and Education Centre.

➤ You can even get a more overarching introduction to the past and history of Chiang Rai at the Mae Fah Luang Art & Cultural Park or check out another temple in the form of Wat Klang Wieng.

Day 7-8: Pai

HOW TO GET FROM CHIANG MAI TO PAI

To get from Chiang Mai to Pai, you can do so via bus. There are hourly bus routes that will get you to Pai starting at sunrise with the last trip departing at 4PM. You can also ride an air-conditioned minivan that will get you to Pai within 3 hours. The ticket cost of an air-conditioned van is at around 160 Baht. Tickets sell out fast so make sure you buy in advance.

You can also rent a car to drive yourself to Pai, which will take around 2 hours and 45 minutes via Route 1095.

WHAT TO DO IN PAI

Pai is one of the lesser known destinations in Northern Thailand, which is often overshadowed by more popular destinations like Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. This town is part of the Mae Hong Soon Province and it sits on a valley along the banks of the Pai River so it’s often chosen by tourists who are seeking out its hot springs, gorges, waterfalls, and paddy fields.

➤ The Pai Canyon is known as Thailand’s version of the Grand Canyon. This canyon covers a massive area with fun hiking opportunities and breathtaking views! If you have lots of time, you can easily spend hours climbing through this canyon and exploring its vast landscape. You can reward yourself with a gorgeous view of the sunset later on in the day which is really magical in this place.

➤ Other beautiful natural destinations in Pai include the Mo Paeng Falls and Pambok Waterfall.

➤ If you prefer a different kind of walking experience, you can explore Pai’s walking street at night where there are plenty of market stalls and food vendors to stop by and get the chance of sampling local treats or delights.

Day 9: Drive Back to Chiang Mai

If you decided to spend a night in Pai, which is actually a great idea, you can spend the next day driving back to Chiang Mai.

Once back in Chiang Mai, you can use this time as an opportunity to squeeze in a few more things you want to tick off your bucket list before heading home.

Day 10: Fly Back to Bangkok and Home

For your final day in Thailand, you must take a flight back from Chiang Mai to Bangkok and there are many airlines that service flight with this route with an average flight time of 1 hour and 15 minutes. If you book ahead of time, you can get flights for a cheap price! It’s also the most convenient and fastest option available. There are also several trains that travel from Chiang Mai to Bangkok but it can take up to 15 hours.

From Bangkok, you can take a flight at either Suvarnabhumi Airport or Don Mueang Airport to any onward destination.


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