ITINERARY

Extensive 4-Week Travel Itinerary for Thailand

Finally, you’ve convinced your boss that you really need those four weeks off to travel through Thailand. The next question is: what are you going to do there? Well, we’ve got some suggestions! On this page, we’ll share an awesome itinerary that will take you past all of Thailand’s landmarks, complete with a daily schedule. Join the adventure and get inspired – let’s go!

Day 1 – Arriving in Bangkok

After a long flight, you arrive in chaotic Bangkok. Get in one of the public taxis to take you to your hotel. Today is all about rest and recovery, so make sure you’re staying somewhere comfortable!

Budget hotel tip: Green House
Mid-range hotel tip: iSanook
High-end Hotel tip: Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort

Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort

Staying at Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort is one of the best decisions you can make.

Day 2 – First full day in Bangkok

After a “good” night’s sleep, you get up at 7:00 AM. Have a nice breakfast on the street (or at the hotel) before going on the first excursion of your trip: a 3-hour bike tour with Co van Kessel’s bike tours, during which you’ll be exploring Bangkok’s narrow streets.

Accompanied by two professional tour guides, who speak English, you’ll be discovering the local life. Marvel at the aromas of Chinatown’s colorful markets. After the tour, enjoy a lovely lunch on the River View Guesthouse’s roof terrace with a view of the Chao Phraya River, only a five minute walk away from Co van Kessel’s offices.

In the afternoon you’ll be visiting the magnificent Wat Pho temple, known for its huge reclining Buddha, which is 46 meters wide and 15 meters high. The evening will be spent in the backpackers’ area of Banglamphu, on Thailand’s most famous street: Khao San Road. But don’t forget to check out bustling Soi Rambuttri (the street next to it) either. You can eat on the sidewalk or in one of the dozens of little restaurants.

To do: Book your tickets for the Bangkok-Chiang Mai sleeper train (day 6) in advance. You can do this at Hua Lamphong Station in Chinatown or online, via 12Go Asia.
Crossing the street in Chinatown remains a challenge - Cycling in Bangkok

Crossing the street in Chinatown remains a challenge. Photo credit: Reisjunk.nl

Day 3 – From Bangkok to Kanchanaburi

If you feel up for it, start your day early again. The Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew open their doors at 8:30 AM; make sure you arrive early to avoid the tourist masses. This is where Bangkok’s most beautiful temples are situated; most notably the Wat Phra Kaew, or the Temple of the Emerald Buddha.

After checking out of your hotel, take a taxi to Thonburi train station and then get on the 1:35 PM train to Kanchanaburi (no reservation required). The train ride is about two hours. Don’t expect any luxury: you’ll be traveling third class and among the locals. A unique experience!

After arriving in Kanchanaburi, take a taxi to your hotel. There’s just about enough time for a sunset visit to the Bridge over the River Kwai.

Budget hotel tip: Thai Guesthouse & Backpacker
Mid-range hotel tip: Good Times Resort
High-end Hotel tip: The Float House River Kwai

The Bridge on the River Kwai in Kanchanaburi

The impressive Bridge on the River Kwai in Kanchanaburi.

Day 4 – The magical Waterfalls of Erawan

The next morning you get up early again, as you’ll be taking the local bus to Erawan National Park (open from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM) with its hundreds of waterfalls with crystal clear water, it’s also possible to slide down the waterfalls and even swim underneath them. Super fun!

There’s an adventurous jungle trail of about two kilometers, which will take you past its many tiers. There are seven in total and the higher you reach, the more adventurous the trail becomes. For safety reasons, children shouldn’t go further than the fourth tier.

Make it a day trip and enjoy the spectacular surroundings!

Erawan Falls in Erawan National Park, Kanchanaburi

Be sure to bring your bathing suit to the Erawan Falls!

Day 5 – A relaxing day in and around Kanchanaburi

Of course, it’s great to be on the move all the time, but everyone needs their rest as well. So today, stay at the hotel (with swimming pool), read a book and take it easy!

For those of you who have a harder time sitting still, there are enough things to do. You can visit the Death Railway, a museum, the war cemetery located in the middle of the city, or rent a motorbike and explore the area – which is surprisingly green and hilly with hidden waterfalls and various caves.

Tip: Interested in discovering an authentic part of Thailand without tourists? Then travel on to Sangkhlaburi, three hours west of Kanchanaburi. Accessible by bus.
Large parts of the original Burma Railway, or the Death Railway, are still in use

Large parts of the original Burma Railway, or the Death Railway, are still in use.

Day 6 – The cultural capital of the north: Chiang Mai

Today you’ll be traveling to the north of Thailand, via Ayutthaya.

First, catch the local bus from Kanchanaburi to Suphan Buri (±50 baht). Then hop in the connecting minivan to Ayutthaya (±80 baht). You’ll be traveling for a total of 3 or 4 hours.

You can safely leave your luggage in the lockers available at Ayutthaya train station. Then, before taking the sleeper train to Chiang Mai, visit some of the marvelous, centuries-old ruins by tuk-tuk.

Budget hotel tip: S.K. House 2
Mid-range hotel tip: Swiss Lana Lodge
High-end Hotel tip: Rimping Village

The sleeper train going from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

The sleeper train traveling from Bangkok to Chiang Mai.

Day 7 to Day 10 – The colorful and diverse city of Chiang Mai

You finally made the crossing from busy Bangkok to serene Chiang Mai. The difference can hardly be overstated.

Doing nothing isn’t an option in Chiang Mai or the areas that surround it. There’s just so much to see and do! Obviously, it’s up to you how you wish to spend your day, but you might want to consider doing some of the following activities:

Mariska Elephant Nature Park

At Elephant Nature Park you can really come close to the elephants.

Day 11 – 762 curves to Pai

After Chiang Mai comes Pai!

The three-hour bus ride from Chiang Mai to Pai is something you’ll just have to endure. Make sure you’re seated at the front of the bus for a clear view of the road. Motion sickness is a lurking danger, so bring a plastic bag. Seriously. You can also rent a car or a motorbike and travel by yourself.

Still, this trip is more than worth it. Pai happens to be Thailand’s greenest valley and there are plenty of options when it comes to outdoor activities. The village itself is known for its healthy food and hippie vibe. Close out the day in Pai Canyon, only 5 kilometers from the Pai center, and witness a magical and unforgettable sunset.

Budget hotel tip: Spicypai Backpackers
Mid-range hotel tip: Medio de Pai
High-end Hotel tip: Resort Reverie Siam

Driving the motorbike from Pai to Mae Hong Son

The road to Pai is quite bendy.

Day 12 – Exploring Pai

If there’s one place where you should rent a motorbike, it’s Pai. The roads are well paved, quiet and will lead you past all of the landmarks. Go west along road 1095, in the direction Mae Hong Son.

Along the way, you’ll go past Sai Ngam Hot Springs, where you can take a warm dip in a jungle jacuzzi. And because it’s still early, you’ll have the place all to yourself.

The ride along road 1095 will also take you past some stunning viewpoints and hairpin curves. Follow the signs that read “Tham Lod Cave”, which is about 50 kilometers from Pai, where you can go on a truly unforgettable guided cave tour on a bamboo raft.

On your way back, visit the Chinese village just outside of Pai, and have a nice cup of tea with a view of the entire Pai valley. In the evening, go for a stroll on the Walking Street, have some dinner and a drink, or buy some unusual artists’ souvenirs.

Tham Lod Cave

Beautiful view from the inside of Tham Lod Cave

Day 13 – Water fun

Put on your swimming gear, because today you’ll be checking out Pai’s most beautiful waterfalls. Start at Mor Paeng waterfall; a huge slide that many locals visit as well.

Then go toward Pai Canyon and take a turn at the signs that read: “Pam Sam Bok Waterfall”. This is a unique waterfall from which, in some parts, it’s possible to cliff jump. And of course you can swim in the natural pool.

On the way back, have lunch at Pai Land Split where you’ll be served by Pai’s nicest host. He’ll offer you a free tasting made with all kinds of local produce. Don’t forget to tip the man for his genuine Thai kindness.

For people who consider themselves really adventurous, there’s another waterfall in Pai: the Hua Chang. It’s about an hour’s trek to get there and there won’t be any other tourists around. Another, more relaxing option, is to go sunbathing and swimming at the Fluid Swimming Pool, just outside of Pai city center.

Sliding down from Mo Paeng Waterfall in Pai

Sliding down from Mor Paeng Waterfall in Pai.

Day 14 – From north to south

Today you’ll be on the road for most the day. First, you take the minivan back to Chiang Mai, which will drop you off at Chiang Mai airport. That same afternoon, you’ll be flying to Surat Thani, in the south of Thailand.

After landing arrange for transportation from Surat Thani airport to Khao Sok National Park. Just go to one of the airport’s ticket offices. The last buses to the park leave at about 5:30 PM and will take about two hours.

Once you get off the bus there will be taxi drivers waiting to take you to your hotel at Khao Sok.

Budget hotel tip: Riverside Cottages
Mid-range hotel tip: Las Orquidas
High-end Hotel tip: The Hotel Khao Sok and Spa

The Hotel Khaosok and Spa

Chillin’ at The Hotel Khaosok and Spa after a long jungle hike ain’t all that bad.

Day 15-16 – Two-day Jungle Tour in Khao Sok

The natural splendor of Khao Sok National Park is astonishing and awe-inspiring. This will become immediately clear on the first boat ride, which goes past enormous limestone cliffs, hundreds of meters high, jetting out of the lake’s crystal clear water.

Days spent here are all about boat and kayak excursions, exploring caves, jungle treks, spotting wildlife and, last but not least, spending the night in a floating cabin on the lake. How cool would it be to wake up in the morning and be able to take a fresh dip in the water?

The tour finishes in the afternoon of the next day and you’ll have to arrange private transport to the bathing resort of Ao Nang in Krabi through your hotel, a trip that will take about 2-3 hours. Tired but satisfied, you’ll arrive in Ao Nang in the early evening.

Budget hotel tip: Glur Hostel
Mid-range hotel tip: Ban Sainai Resort
High-end Hotel tip: Beyond Resort Krabi

A group tour is heaps of fun - Khao Sok National Park

A group tour in Khao Sok National Park is heaps of fun. Photo credit: Stefan Magdalinski

Day 17 – Railay Beach

Finally, it’s time to explore some tropical islands and beach paradises! And what better place to start than on Railay Beach?! Take the long tail boat (100 baht per person) from Ao Nang to Railay Beach West, which can only be reached by boat. The first arrival is truly unforgettable. It’s so beautiful here!

All three of the most beautiful beaches can be reached by foot:

    • Railay Beach West: child-friendly, wide beaches;
    • Tonsai Beach: backpackers’ beach, rock climbing courses;
    • Phra Nang Beach: powdery sand, amazing rock formations, and sunsets.

The last (cheap) long tail boats that go back to Ao Nang Beach leave at around sunset. In the evening you’ll need to find other travelers to share the cost of hiring a boat back to Ao Nang; otherwise, you’ll be paying a lot more than you bargained for.

Railay Pra Nang Beach

Soaking up the sun at Phra Nang Beach. Photo credit: Sergio Tittarini

Day 18 – Hong Islands

You probably noticed that Ao Nang attracts a lot of tourists. This is especially true during the high season, which lasts from November until February. How to avoid these large numbers of tourists? Well, rent a long tail boat, driver included, and organize your own trip!

Visit the “Hong Islands”; a group of uninhabited islands (Hong Island, Lading Island, Pakbai Island and Rai Island) about 45 minutes from Ao Nang Beach. Gorgeous beaches, rock formations and natural beauty you normally only see on the front of postcards. And because you decide your own pace, you can avoid the tourist masses and enjoy all the beauty you’ll come across even more.

Tip: Click here for a price list for renting private longtail boats to various islands in the area.[/text-with-icon]

Hong Islands Viewpoint - Khao Ngon Nak Trail in Krabi

Hong Islands as seen from the Khao Ngon Nak Viewpoint in Krabi.

Day 19 – From Ao Nang to Koh Lanta

It’s time to go island hopping! The ferry to Koh Lanta from Nopparat Thara Pier in Ao Nang leaves at 10:30 AM and will take about two hours. Koh Lanta is a pleasant island and popular among those traveling with families. But that doesn’t mean it’s boring!

Try and arrange a stay in a bungalow on the beach. Then rent a motorbike, ride south and watch the landscape change and the area become calmer as you go along. Eventually, you’ll arrive at the Mu Koh Lanta National Park, where there’s an abandoned lighthouse with a fantastic view.

At night you’ll be dining on the beach. Khlong Khong Beach is particularly fun; the atmosphere is very laid-back and there’s live reggae music, burning torches, and comfy lounge cushions.

Tip: Book your bus, train and boat tickets online with 12Go Asia.
Ao Nuy Beach in Koh Lanta

Amazing little beach bar at Koh Lanta’s Ao Nuy Beach.

Day 20-21 – Snorkeling trip to Koh Rok

Besides relaxing on Koh Lanta’s beautiful beaches, you can also go on a unique snorkeling trip to the uninhabited island of Koh Rok. The waters are crystal clear and the underwater world is the most beautiful of the entire Krabi area. If you want to be really adventurous, spend the night there in a tent. There’s a very small restaurant where you can have dinner at night. Electricity is scarce and there’s no wifi connection. Back to basics!

Tip: Booking snorkeling trips from Koh Lanta can be done at your hotel. As you’ll be traveling by speedboat, it will cost around 1,500 baht per person.
Rent a Kayak and explore the beaches of Koh Rok

If you stay on Koh Rok you can rent a kayak and explore the beaches.

Day 22-25 – Heavenly Koh Lipe

What better way to spend your last days in Thailand than on its most tropical island: Koh Lipe! To get there take the 10:00 AM boat from Saladan Pier (Koh Lanta). It will take about five hours, but it’s well worth it. The scenery is absolutely breathtaking!

During your last days, you’ll be enjoying the island life and the many powdery white beaches, which are great snorkeling spots to boot. Try the Walking Street for food and a different beach bar every night to dance the night away under the starry sky.

Budget hotel tip: Gipsy Resort
Mid-range hotel tip: Wapi Resort
High-end Hotel tip: Castaway Beach Resort

Secret Beach on Koh Lipe

See if you can find this secret beach on Koh Lipe!

Day 26-28 – Back to Bangkok!

Fully rested (?!) you’ll say your goodbyes to Koh Lipe and return to Bangkok. The boat from Sunrise Beach to the Trang mainland leaves at 10:00 AM and arrives at noon. That afternoon, you’ll hop on the plane to Bangkok, where you’ll spend your final days, in true backpacker style.

On your last night there, grab a drink at a rooftop bar with a view of Bangkok and look back at an amazing trip through Thailand.

Sky Bar rooftop, Lebua State Tower

Fancy a drink? Try the Sky Bar rooftop at Lebua State Tower. Photo credit: Ninara

How much does traveling through Thailand cost?

Traveling through Thailand is as expensive as you want it to be. You can go out for dinner in a fancy restaurant and pay western prices, or you can eat on any sidewalk for next to nothing. You can either spend the night in a luxury five-star resort or stay in a basic bungalow on the beach. That’s why we divided the overview into three sections: low budget, mid-range budget, and high-end budget. This overview represents the anticipated expenses per person, per day in baht:

Expense Low budget Mid-range budget High-end budget
Accommodation 150-350 250-450 750-2500
Food and drink 100-200 150-250 500-1000
Transport 100 150 300
Entrance fees 75 150 200
Excursions 200 350 500
Nightlife 100 200 750
Other 25 150 500
Total ฿ 900 ฿ 1,500 ฿ 5,000

 

So, what will your trip to Thailand look like?