Want to travel to a country with amazing food, fantastic beaches, warm and friendly people, and a range of accommodation options to suit all tastes? Well, you’ve described Thailand very well.
In this guide, I’m going to share with you a detailed 10-day itinerary for Thailand. I have spent months traveling around Thailand and have been fortunate enough to visit many parts of this wonderful country. Based on my experiences, I wanted to share my highlights. These are the places I would recommend to first time visitors to Thailand who plan to spend about 10 days in the country.
I wanted this itinerary to cover a range of what Thailand has to offer, including ancient temples, beautiful beaches, spectacular jungle scenery and cultural attractions. I also wanted to make sure you spent more time sightseeing and less time traveling from point A to point B. With this in mind, the itinerary doesn’t make you go too fast. After all, you want to spend your trip to Thailand seeing attractions and not the inside of a train, bus or plane.
This guide starts with a detailed idea of how to spend 10 days in Thailand. Next, I’ll cover a number of practical aspects of your visit so you can plan the perfect Thailand adventure. Let’s get started.
10 Day Thailand Itinerary
Bangkok – 3 Days
I recommend that you spend 3 days exploring it. This will give you time to adjust to the climate and time difference. It will also give you time for sightseeing in the city itself, as well as a day trip to a nearby UNESCO World Heritage Site. We’ll talk about that shortly. First, let’s look at what you should do in Bangkok.
There is a lot to see in the city, which has an excellent nightlife, a wide range of restaurants and street food vendors and, of course, a large number of temples.
The first stop I suggest for your stay in Bangkok is the city’s most popular attraction: the Grand Palace. Since the 18th century it was the official residence of the kings of Siam, later renamed Thailand. Today, the palace does not house the monarch, but it is still used for numerous official ceremonies and events.
It’s a good starting point to learn a bit about the history and culture of Thailand. There is a lot to see in the Grand Palace, however, one place you should not miss is Wat Phra Kaew. Also known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, it is the most sacred Buddhist temple in the country. It houses an image of the meditating Buddha made of jasper.
I recommend spending half a day visiting the Grand Palace. It is open every day and you can buy tickets at the door or in advance on the official website.
Another thing I would recommend in Bangkok would be to visit a floating market. Here you will find local vendors selling various products as well as delicious street food.
There are quite a few floating markets to choose from in the Bangkok region, and some of them are quite far from the city center. Khlong Lat Mayom is a good option that is relatively easy to visit on your own. There are also tours like this one and this one that will take you to some of the most popular floating markets and provide transportation.
One of my favorite places in Bangkok is Wat Arun. It is a temple, of which, of course, there are many to choose from in Bangkok. However, I think Wat Arun (full name Wat Arun Ratchawararam Ratchaworamahawihan), which means Temple of Dawn, should be on your short list.
There has been a temple at this site since at least 1656. The temple is known for its large central “prang”, a large tower that has its origins in Khmer architecture. It is covered with white porcelain tiles and, especially at sunrise and sunset, the light falling on it is very beautiful.
The temple has a small fee to visit. You can find more information about opening hours and prices on the official website here.
For your last day in Bangkok, my recommendation is to take a day trip to nearby Ayutthaya, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Located about 90 minutes drive north of Bangkok (2 hours by train), Ayutthaya was once the largest city in the world. At its peak, it had over a million inhabitants, and the city was the capital of the Kingdom of Ayutthaya, the forerunner of modern Thailand, which existed from 1350 to 1767. This kingdom fell in 1767, when the Burmese invaded and burned most of Ayutthaya.
The good news is that some parts of the old city survived, particularly the large temple complexes, built mainly of stone. The new city of Ayutthaya sprang up around the ruins of the old one, and visiting it today offers an interesting insight into two periods of Thai history.
There are many places to see in Ayutthaya, and I have a guide to the highlights of Ayutthaya here. In short, be sure to visit Wat Phra Mahathat, Wat Phra Si Sanphet, Wat Chaiwatthanaram and Wat Buddhaisawan.
Getting to Ayutthaya from Bangkok is easy. You can do it on your own by public bus or train, you can hire a private driver like this one, or you can take a tour. A tour is definitely the easiest way. Most tours include pick up from your accommodation, entrance fees to various temples and some also include refreshments and meals.
The tour we recommend is this one, which also includes a return cruise from Ayutthaya to Bangkok. However, there are many options to choose from, you can see more here.
A quick note on scams in Bangkok, which you need to be wary of on your first visit. The two most common ones you’ll come across are the “closed temple” trick and the “tuktuk scam”. Read more about these scams in the section on “Safety in Thailand” which I cover later in the post.
That’s it for our three days in Bangkok. Now we will give you some tips on where to stay and how to get to your next destination.
Where to stay in Bangkok
Bangkok is a big city, and there are a variety of accommodation options to choose from. There are everything from budget backpacker hotels to five star luxury hotels, and everything in between.
Here are some suggestions to get you started in choosing from a wide range of prices, roughly ordered from the cheapest to the most expensive.
Baan U-Sabai Hostel – Less than a mile from the popular Khao San Road, this highly rated hostel offers good value rooms with shared bathrooms.
Siam Eco Hostel – Located in Bangkok’s Phaya Thai district, this highly rated hostel offers air-conditioned rooms, a shared kitchen and a shared lounge. Breakfast is free of charge.
Old Capital Bike Inn – A well rated 3* hotel with air-conditioned rooms and individually styled bathrooms. Breakfast is included and it is close to the Khao San Road area.
Inn a Day – This well rated 4* hotel offers river views and is just 650 metres from the Grand Palace. The air-conditioned rooms have balconies and en-suite bathrooms, and breakfast is included.
Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok – a luxurious and well-located 5* hotel with swimming pools, several restaurants and spacious en-suite rooms.
Mandarin Oriental Bangkok – a spectacular 5* high-end hotel with beautiful river views, on-site spa, high-end restaurants and wonderful rooms.
Of course, there are many more options in Bangkok to choose from. You can see listings for Bangkok on Booking.com here, Hostelworld here, Agoda here and AirBnB here.
How to get to Kanchanaburi from Bangkok.
First, you can take public transportation. There is a train that leaves from Bangkok’s Thonburi station and it takes about 3 hours to get to Kanchanaburi. This was my preferred option as the scenery is beautiful. You can also take a public bus, with minibuses and larger public buses making the route. The journey takes about 2 hours, although it varies depending on traffic.
You can also hire a private transfer to take you from your accommodation in Bangkok to Kanchanaburi. This is obviously less hassle than navigating the public transport system and will save you time, with the downside being slightly more expensive.
Another option is to take a tour from Bangkok. For example, this 2-day tour includes transport, accommodation and a visit to the main attractions in the area. A good option if you want everything organized for you.
Finally, you may prefer to drive. It is possible to rent a car in Thailand, usually all you need is a valid driving license and an international driving permit. Traffic in and around the cities can be quite hectic, but outside the cities the roads are usually quite good, with road signs in Thai and English.
For this itinerary, however, I would suggest that driving would not be my first choice, as the public transport system is easy to use and works well.
Kanchanaburi – 2 Days
Your next overnight stop is the city of Kanchanaburi. This town was made famous by the 1957 film The Bridge on the River Kwai, which chronicles the hardships faced by civilian workers and prisoners of war who were forced to build the Burma Railway by the Japanese military.
Although the characters in the film were fictional, the story behind it was very real. An estimated 100,000 civilians and 13,000 prisoners of war lost their lives building what is known as the Death Railway.
As a result of the film, the bridge over the River Kwai (Kwae River in Thailand) became a popular place for visitors, and there is plenty to see and do here. I have more details in my guide to things to do in Kanchanaburi, but below I summarize some highlights.
First, of course, is the bridge over the River Kwai itself. The titular bridge built during the war was destroyed by Allied forces before the end of the war, and was actually in a different location. However, there is a bridge that carries rail traffic and can be crossed on foot, so visitors are directed to it.
There are also a few museums that tell the story of the war and the construction of the railway. These include the JEATH War Museum and the Thailand-Burma Railway Centre. There is another museum, the World War II Museum and Art Gallery, which is near the bridge, but this museum has fairly poor reviews, so you’ll probably have to skip it.
If you stay at our recommended location near Kanchanaburi train station, you’ll be less than a mile from most of the area’s attractions. There are also plenty of local buses to get around, and bike rentals are another popular transportation option. We rented bikes and explored the area thoroughly, which was great fun.
There are other attractions in and around Kanchanaburi. One that we highly recommend is the Erawan Falls. This is a series of stunning waterfalls, possibly the most beautiful in Thailand, cascading through the jungle and creating a series of wonderful pools.
Erawan Falls are located in Erawan National Park, which is about 90 minutes by public bus from Kanchanaburi. From the park entrance (for a fee) it’s about a two-hour round-trip hike to see the entirety of the falls, which span seven levels. Bring water, sunscreen and a bathing suit. You should spend at least half a day on the hike.
You can do this tour on your own using public transport, or you can take a tour like this one which includes Erawan Falls as well as other attractions in the area.
Finally, there are also several temples in and around Kanchanaburi, and the night market is also great for sampling delicious food.
As you can see, there is a lot to do in Kanchanaburi and the area, and we have only scratched the surface. That’s why we think two full days is well justified. Now, let’s look at where to stay and how to get to the next stop on this itinerary.
Where to stay in Kanchanaburi
Kanchanaburi is not a huge city in terms of population, but it is geographically spread out. There are three main locations: the northern area around the famous railway bridge, the area near the main train station, which is about 2 km along the bridge, and then the main part of town, which is 5 km along the river from the bridge.
My recommendation is to stay in the area near the train station on the river. This puts you within a 30 minute walk (or a short bike ride) of the main attractions, and you’ll also be close to the night market that takes place around the train station.
Below are some suggested accommodation options in this area, ranging from budget to expensive.
T & T Hostel – this is a well-reviewed budget hostel and great location value. It is about a mile from the bridge and 750m from the train station, with a beautiful riverside location. Private and shared rooms available.
Sam’s House Kanchanaburi: This is a popular three star establishment in a great location with raft house style accommodation and bungalows. There is a restaurant and a good value breakfast.
Natee The Riverfront Hotel: a highly rated 4* riverfront hotel about a mile from the famous bridge. Rooms are en-suite with tea and coffee making facilities, and have good river views and a wellness center with hot tub.
River Kwai View Hotel: This 4* hotel is 450 meters from the River Kwai Bridge, making it a great choice if you prefer to be close to the attraction. Rooms are air-conditioned, en-suite and have good views.
Dheva Mantra Resort: If you prefer a resort, this 5* property is a fantastic option. It’s a bit out of town, but has everything from a fitness center to restaurants and a large landscaped pool.
Again, there are many more options besides those mentioned. You can see listings for Kanchanaburi on Booking.com here, Hostelworld here, Agoda here and AirBnB here.
How to get to Khao Sok from Kanchanaburi.
Next stop is Khao Sok National Park, located in Surat Thani province. It is about 500km south of Bangkok and will be one of the longest drives of this trip.
First of all, you will have to go back to Bangkok, as there is no direct route from Kanchanaburi to Khao Sok. So you can follow the above instructions in reverse.
So, to get from Bangkok to Khao Sok you have several options. The nearest transport hub is the city of Surat Thani, from where you can take a local bus, a tour like this one, or arrange private transport to Khao Sok.
Another option, which was what we did, is to take the overnight train from Bangkok to Surat Thani. These trains leave at different times and arrive in Surat Thani in the morning. This is a fairly popular route, so it pays to book well in advance, especially if you want a first class ticket (which includes a berth).
Finally, you can also take a bus from Bangkok to Surat Thani. It takes about 10 hours and there are several routes available. However, we advise you not to take a day bus as it will take up too much of your sightseeing time; instead, we recommend a night bus. In general, we prefer the night train as it is usually more comfortable.
Khao Sok – 2 Days
When people ask me for advice on where to visit in Thailand, I always tell them that they should visit Khao Sok National Park, and specifically Cheow Larn Lake within the park. You can read my visiting experiences here if you need convincing.
The National Park was established in 1980 and covers 739 square kilometers, much of which is made up of pre-Amazon virgin rainforest.
Naturally, there is much to see and do in the park, with popular activities such as hiking and caving. There are also a large number of species of flora and fauna in the park, with the endangered Rafflesia kerrii plant being the best known.
To get around the park you can use public transport, or you can take a tour that includes such transport. Most hotels and lodges in the park can also arrange private transport.
My favorite area of the park is Cheow Lan Lake. This is an artificial lake created after the construction of the Ratchaprapha Dam in 1982. The dam created this 165 square kilometer lake, which is located among the impressive karst limestone formations.
Scattered around the lake are a number of lake house hotels. These floating hotels offer beautiful views of the surrounding landscape and the opportunity to disconnect from the world. A stay in one of these hotels is, in my opinion, a must for any visitor to this region.
As the lake house hotels are floating on the lake and therefore only accessible by boat, you will need to book your stay in advance of your visit. There are a number of lake house hotels to choose from, of varying styles and budgets. Many of them offer shuttle options to and from nearby locations, such as Surat Thani.
Of course, if you prefer to visit other parts of Khao Sok National Park instead of the lake, that is also an option. There are several hotels within the park, most of which are clustered around the town of Khao Sok, near the National Park headquarters. From here you can take advantage of the many hiking opportunities.
I have stayed both at the lake and at a hotel in Khao Sok village. If I was short on time, I would definitely choose the lake option, but of course the choice is yours.
Where to stay in Khao Sok National Park.
There are two main places to stay in Khao Sok National Park. There is the village of Khao Sok, which is home to a number of hotels, guesthouses and restaurants. This is also where the headquarters of Khao Sok National Park is located. Here are some options in Khao Sok.
Sunshine Hostel Khao Sok: On the budget end of the spectrum is this highly rated, value-for-money hostel. Rooms are air-conditioned and have mountain views, with shared facilities. Breakfast is also available.
Khaosok Good View Resort: This is a well rated hotel with private rooms with balconies and jungle views. There is also a swimming pool and a restaurant.
The Bliss Khao Sok Boutique Lodge: This boutique hotel has comfortable air-conditioned rooms with terraces. There is also a restaurant and bar.
Khao Sok Jasmine Garden Resort: this 3* resort has a swimming pool and restaurant. Accommodation is in en-suite, air-conditioned bungalows.
The other main area where you can stay is around Cheow Lan Lake, where the lake house complexes are located. This is the place I recommend to stay. The scenery is beautiful, staying on a houseboat on the lake is a unique experience, and it is a wonderful opportunity to disconnect from the world..
There are about 15 hotels on the lake where you can stay overnight and you have to book them in advance. Here are some options to choose from.
There are very basic to more luxurious options and, as always, we advise reading reviews before booking to avoid disappointment. Also be aware that many properties do not have mobile coverage or WiFi reception, and may require cash payments.
Keereetara – This is one of the lake houses closest to the jetty. It offers good value accommodation with breakfast included.
Keereewarin – reasonably priced comfortable cottages with good reviews. Breakfast is included.
Panvaree Resort – this lake house resort offers several accommodation options, including individual floating cabins. All rooms are air-conditioned, breakfast is included and reviews are good.
500 Rai Floating Resort – if you are looking for the best, this is the lake house to choose. The air-conditioned floating bungalows are large and spacious, and some have Jacuzzis. It’s the most expensive option, but reviews suggest it’s worth it. Note that it is included in this tour.
Getting to Phuket from Khao Sok
The next stop on this Thailand itinerary is the city of Phuket. It is located about 110 miles / 150 km south of Khao Sok. Phuket has no train connection, so public transport will be by bus or minibus. The journey from Khao Sok to Phuket by bus takes about 4 hours.
You can also arrange a private transfer, which most hotels will be happy to arrange for you. This will cost you more, but will save you a couple of hours of driving.
Phuket – 3 Days
It’s time to spend some time on the beach and in the sea. For this, I recommend you to head to the island of Phuket. It is the largest island in Thailand and one of the most popular destinations in the country for beach lovers.
If you’d rather not be among the crowds, you might prefer to head further south, perhaps to the Trang region, which you can reach by train from Surat Thani. The coastal region near Trang City is beautiful, as are the nearby islands of Ko Muk, Ko Libong and Ko Ngai.
Anyway, back to our recommended destination of Phuket, which is popular for a reason. It has many beautiful beaches, a plethora of tourist amenities and some local attractions of its own.
Phuket is also an excellent starting point to explore two wonderful places in Thailand. These are the Similan Islands and Ao Phang Nga National Park, both of which can be easily reached on a day trip from Phuket.
So my suggestions for Phuket would be to spend your three days as follows, in whatever order you prefer.
A day in Phuket to discover its beautiful beaches (mostly on the west coast), as well as local attractions such as the Thai Hua Museum, Chinpracha Mansion and the Big Buddha Statue.
Two days should then be spent on day trips to nearby places, such as the Similan Islands and Ao Phang Nga National Park.
Of course, if you just want to hang out on the beach and not spend money on excursions, a few days at the beach is also a good plan!
If you want to do day trips from Phuket, I would plan and book in advance the day trips you want to do. If you want to do two day trips, I would recommend taking trips to visit the Similan Islands on one day and Ao Phang Nga National Park on a second day.
The Similan Islands are a group of islands about 60 km off the west coast of Thailand, slightly north of Phuket. They are a world famous place for snorkeling and scuba diving, and also have absolutely spectacular white sandy beaches surrounded by turquoise waters.
Obviously, being islands you need some sort of boat to get to them. Basically, you have to book an excursion. The best option is to take a tour that includes a speedboat transfer, otherwise you will lose most of the day in the transfer.
My suggestions are this tour or this tour. Both include hotel pick up in Phuket, national park fee, snorkeling gear, meals and refreshments. I actually took an overnight tour to the Similan Islands, and it was one of the highlights of our stay in Thailand. You can read about it here.
The other day trip I recommend is to Ao Phang Nga National Park. This is a huge national park that stretches along the Strait of Malacca and is full of beautiful limestone karst islands.
The most famous is the so-called James Bond Island (Khao Phing Kan), which was featured in the James Bond film “The Man with the Golden Gun”. The island is especially recognizable by the tall but narrow karst tower (Khao Ta Pu) just offshore.
Again, as this is an excursion that requires a boat, it is advisable to hire a tour. There are several tours from Phuket to Ao Phang Nga National Park, most of which are presented as James Bond Island tours.
My recommendation is that you choose an excursion that includes time canoeing around some of the rock formations in the park, as well as meals, refreshments and the national park fee.
This is an early morning tour to avoid the crowds. The park and James Bond Island can get very crowded, so this is a good option. This is another option that uses a long tail boat. Finally, if you want a private experience, this is a private tour option.
Of course, it is up to you how to spend your three days in the area. You can choose to relax on the beaches, go on different excursions, visit the attractions, or shop for souvenirs. It’s all up to you.
Where to stay in Phuket
Phuket is a very popular destination, and as such there is no shortage of places to stay. For ease of transportation, I recommend staying in Phuket Town itself. If you prefer to be close to the beach and have access to more nightlife entertainment, you can opt for Patong, the island’s main tourist town.
Below are some suggested places to stay in Phuket, ordered from cheapest to most expensive.
Aekkeko Hostel – This is a centrally located and well rated hostel in Phuket Town offering shared and private accommodation. There is a shared kitchen, lounge and garden.
Book a Bed Poshtel – Another highly rated hostel in the centre of Phuket Town with private and shared rooms. It also has a swimming pool, shared kitchen and nightly entertainment.
Casa Blanca Boutique Hotel: This centrally located 3* hotel in Phuket Town offers private rooms with air-conditioning and tea and coffee making facilities. There is also a swimming pool and garden for guest use.
The Memory at On On Hotel – a highly rated 3* hotel located in the centre of Phuket Town. All rooms are en-suite and air-conditioned.
WOO Gallery & Boutique Hotel – is a highly rated boutique hotel with air-conditioned rooms in Phuket Town. It has room and breakfast service as well as a restaurant.
Rak Elegant Hotel Patong – near Patong Beach, this 4* hotel has a gym, swimming pool, room service and private air-conditioned rooms.
Lady Naya Villas: if you are looking for a 5* experience in Phuket, this is a great option. There are private villas with pools as well as standard rooms. Naturally, all rooms are en-suite and air-conditioned, and there is a restaurant and spa. It is located in the south of Phuket Island.
Again, there are many more options besides the above. You can see listings for Phuket on Booking.com here, Hostelworld here, Agoda here and AirBnB here.
How to get from Phuket to Bangkok
Now you just have to get back to Bangkok from Phuket. I’m going to suggest you fly, as there is no direct train. There are several direct flights a day from Phuket airport, which take about 90 minutes. From Bangkok, you can fly home.
Of course, you can also take a bus back to Bangkok, but it’s a 10-12 hour trip, and I don’t recommend it unless you really like long bus rides. If you want to take the bus, you can book tickets in advance here.
Summary of the 10 day itinerary in Thailand
Here is a quick summary of this itinerary for easy reference.
Days 1 – 3: Bangkok
Days 4 and 5: Kanchanaburi
Days 6 and 7: Khao Sok
Days 8 – 10: Phuket
Map of the 10 day itinerary in Thailand
To help you visualize this trip, here’s a map of Thailand with key places marked. You can also view it on Google Maps here.
Thailand Travel Tips
Now that you have an idea of where to go for your Thailand adventure, I wanted to share some tips for traveling around this wonderful country.
How to get to Thailand
Most visitors to Thailand arrive by plane at Suvarnabhumi Airport (code BKK), which is also often referred to as Bangkok Airport. Bangkok has another airport, Don Mueang International Airport, which, despite its name, is mainly used for domestic flights.
From Suvarnabhumi Airport there are several options for getting to the city, the easiest and quickest being the Airport Rail Link. This special train connects the airport with downtown Bangkok.
Getting around Thailand
I’ve provided some recommended options for getting around between the stops on this itinerary. I also wanted to generally share the options you have for getting around Thailand. I will cover both travel within the destinations and travel between the stops.
Transportation in Thailand’s cities and towns.
As in most countries, Thailand’s cities have a variety of transportation options. In smaller towns, you can easily get around on foot or by bicycle. Renting a bicycle is fairly easy, and many guesthouses and accommodations will be able to arrange this for you.
However, in larger cities, such as Bangkok, you will probably want to use some form of transport, as distances may be too long to walk.
There are different options. Bangkok is the city with the most options, from the excellent subway system to taxis, tuk-tuks and public transport companies like Uber and Grab. If you order a taxi, make sure they put the meter on. Some drivers may be reluctant to do so; if so, flag them down and get another taxi.
Transportation between cities in Thailand
First, there are the bus services. There are two types of buses in Thailand. The first are the large and comfortable long distance buses. They are usually air-conditioned and run on a schedule, and connect many of the country’s major cities. You can buy tickets at major bus stations (be sure to go to a ticket window), or online in advance here.
The second type of buses are the small minibuses. They usually run on an ad hoc basis on shorter routes. In my experience, they are faster than the larger buses, although the journey can be a bit hair-raising and sometimes uncomfortable, depending on the number of passengers the driver tries to squeeze in.
After the bus is the train. Thailand has a fairly extensive train network covering much of the country. Trains tend to be slower than buses, but are a good option for an overnight stay if you can get a berth. You can book tickets online in advance from the official Thai Railways website here (you have to click on the option to put it in English).
For longer distances, we usually recommend flying. Thailand has several domestic flight routes between various cities, and they are cheap and fast. You can view flight times and prices and book online here.
Private transfer services can also be arranged to take you from one place to another, such as from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi. These can be more comfortable ways to get around, but will also be more expensive.
Another option is to rent a car and drive yourself. It is possible to rent a car in Thailand, usually all you need is a valid driver’s license and an international driving permit. Traffic in and around the cities can be quite hectic, but outside the cities the roads are usually quite good, with road signs in Thai and English.
For this itinerary, however, driving would not be my first choice, as the public transport system is easy to use and works well.
Finally, if you’d rather not plan and book a trip like this on your own, you can also take an excursion. In the following section there are some recommended excursions that you might like.
Travel to Thailand
If you prefer to take a tour rather than plan your own trip, we’ve put together some suggestions. Excursions have the advantage that you can relax and know that someone else is taking care of all the logistics, so you can focus on having fun.
You’ll also get to meet and hang out with other travelers, and the tour leader will be on hand to share information about Thailand’s culture and history as you travel.
These are just some of the travel options that will give you a taste of what Thailand has to offer.
This 8 day Thailand tour with G Adventures includes Bangkok, Ko Tao, Ko Phangan and Khao Sok.
This 8-day National Geographic Journeys small group tour of Thailand with G Adventures includes Bangkok, Ko Samui, Khao Sok and Krabi.
This 9 day small group tour of Southern Thailand with Intrepid Travel includes Bangkok, Koh Samui, Khao Sok National Park and Ao Nang.
This 9 day small group tour of southern Thailand with Intrepid Travel focuses more on the beaches, with stops in Bangkok, Surat Thani, Ao Yang and Ko Yao Yai.
This 12-day Thailand trip with G Adventures includes Bangkok, Kanchanaburi, Ayutthaya, Chiang Mai and Phuket, and is designed for families.
If you decide to book a trip and are comparing different options, don’t forget to check all the inclusions and exclusions. Some trips may seem more expensive, but may include more comfortable accommodation options or additional meals and activities that make it worthwhile.
When to visit Thailand
Thailand can be visited all year round, although there are times when the weather is more pleasant than others.
Thailand has a tropical climate, with a wet and dry season. The dry season is between November and March. Temperatures will be pleasant at this time of year and it will not rain as much.
The rainy season is from April to October, with the hottest part of the year between March and May, when rain can make rural areas more inaccessible, and temperatures can be hot and humid.
If travelling on a tighter budget, be aware that prices will be higher between November and March, as this is the most popular time to visit the country, and prices will be a little lower in the low season.
Safety in Thailand
In general, Thailand is considered a safe and welcoming place, with friendly people. The most common problems tourists may encounter are similar to those in any other part of the world. There are some common scams to be aware of and, of course, in the most frequented places you need to keep a close eye on your belongings from pickpockets and opportunistic thieves.
The most popular scams in Thailand are the “closed temple” and the “cheap tuktuk” scam.
The closed temple scam usually involves a helpful person outside a temple informing you that the temple you are trying to visit is closed. This usually happens at the back door of the temple or at the emergency exit, which will obviously appear to be closed. Luckily, the helpful person will know of a much better nearby temple, to which they can take you.
On the way to this temple, if it exists, you will detour through a number of shops and tour operators. If you buy anything at these places, which will often be at inflated prices, the person guiding you will take a commission. Ultimately, you will generally just waste time on this scam. If a temple looks closed, make sure you are at the correct entrance, and if it really is closed, I recommend you find another temple yourself.
The cheap tuk-tuk trick involves a tuk-tuk driver who promises to take you anywhere you want for a ridiculously cheap price that seems too good to be true.
In the end, you might make it to your destination. However, along the way you’ll stop at a number of, you guessed it, shops and tour operators. Again, you’ll usually just waste time, but it’s best to avoid it altogether.
In general, just practice the same sensible behavior you would when you’re at home, such as not exploring unfamiliar places late at night, letting someone know your location and travel plans, etc. Overall, I’ve never had any problems in Thailand, and I expect most travelers to have a similarly safe experience.
There is a low risk of malaria in some parts of Thailand, especially in the forested and mountainous areas of the country. It is generally not recommended that most tourists take antimalarial drugs, as the risk is very low in most tourist locations, but those who plan to travel to areas more prone to malaria or who may be particularly exposed to malaria should consult a medical professional before traveling.
Internet access in Thailand
Thailand is a very well connected country, with free WiFi in most parts of the country.
There is also excellent 3G and 4G coverage in much of the country, and if you have an unlocked device you can buy paid SIM cards for very reasonable prices.
To get an idea of what’s available, take a look at this page, which lists all the pay-as-you-go options in Thailand, focusing on data prices. For more information on how to get online when travelling, see my guide to getting online when travelling.
Of course, internet access and WiFi are not totally universal. Some National Parks and islands may not always have a connection, so keep that in mind.
Food in Thailand
Thai food is truly amazing (in my opinion), with different regions offering different cuisines and culinary styles. The food features a wide variety of flavours and fresh ingredients, with spicy curries and tasty stir-fries being popular choices. You’re sure to recognise many of your favourite dishes, such as Pad Thai, Red & Green Curry and spicy soups.
In my experience, southern cuisine was spicier than northern cuisine, and the yellow curry in the far south was tremendously spicy.
Some of my favorite Thai dishes are Pad Thai, Khao Soi (exclusive to the north), green, red and yellow curries, Som Thai and my absolute favorite, mango sticky rice. But really, it’s hard to go wrong, almost all Thai food is fantastic!
Budget in Thailand
Thailand is very popular with budget travelers, and it is very easy to travel around the country on $10 to $50 a day. However, Thailand is not just for budget travelers, as there are also many high-end hotels, restaurants and private tours.
When planning your budget, you need to consider accommodation, transportation, food, and the costs of tours and entrance fees.
Power sockets in Thailand
Thailand uses a 220v system, so if you are traveling from the United States or other countries that use a 110v system, you should make sure your devices are compatible with this standard.
In my experience, most low power electronics such as smartphones and cameras automatically switch voltage and you don’t need to buy new chargers, just check the label to make sure they are 220v compatible.
Higher wattage appliances, such as hair dryers, don’t usually support two voltages unless it’s a travel specific model. You can read more about this in my guide to travel adapters.
As for plugs, Thailand has two types of plugs, one with round holes that matches most European plugs, and a flat two-pin plug that matches a US two-pin plug. Therefore, sometimes you can have the right plug and sometimes you can’t, so it’s best to bring some plug adapters, regardless of where your electronic devices come from.
A good option, and what we do, is to travel with a universal travel adapter and a power strip, so you make sure you don’t have any power issues.
Further reading and information for planning your Thailand itinerary.
We have a lot of content about Thailand on our site. Here are some of our most relevant posts you can check out.
And this sums up my guide to visiting Thailand for 10 weeks, as well as everything you need to know to make the most of your trip.
If you have any thoughts on this article, or ideas on places you’d recommend, post them in the comments below!
This post was written by me in collaboration with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), as part of a paid campaign to help promote travel to Thailand. You can read more about travel to Thailand here. All opinions are my own, and you can see how we work with companies and what that means for our content in our code of ethics.
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