10 Day Thailand Itinerary to Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket
Thailand is one of the most popular countries in the world to travel to and for very good reason! It has fascinating culture rooted in Buddhism, gorgeous beaches, delicious food grown locally and a more relaxed pace of life (excluding the motor bikes zooming around!). We ventured to Thailand for our honeymoon and count it as one of the best trips we’ve taken !
What should I know?
- In Asia there are two seasons: Rainy Season (aka Monsoon season) from May-October and the Dry Season (November-April). If you’re flexible and willing to deal with some rain, you can find great deals in the Monsoon season. We went during the Dry Season.
- There are many regions to Thailand. Flights within Thailand are relatively inexpensive so you can easily and inexpensively explore a few regions. We had good experiences with Thai Airlines and Bangkok Airlines.
- Make sure you wear or bring clothes that cover your shoulders and knees to be respectful at the temples.
- This itinerary is for Bangkok, Phuket and Chiang Mai. Krabi is another population destination to consider for Thailand.
Day One: Arrive in Bangkok
After touching down in Thailand and clearing customs, take out some cash from the ATM and make your way to the taxi stand from which you’ll be directed to a driver. Before you leave, make sure the meter is on. A common way tourists get ripped off is by not using the meter. It should cost you around 400 baht and you’ll pay in cash.
There are many good accommodation options in Bangkok. We stayed at the DoubleTree Sukhumvit Bangkok and found great hospitality and really enjoyed the breakfast buffet that was included with our stay.
Day Two: Bangkok
If your hotel doesn’t have breakfast, try one of the local cafes or markets for breakfast (there are plenty!).
From here, meet up with your local tour guide from BKK tours for a full day around Bangkok. Getting a personalized tour with BKK tours when you have limited time in Bangkok is a great way to make the most of your time.
We created a customized tour of Bangkok including: a canal boat trip to a Floating Market (Taling Chan), a visit to the Temple of the Reclining Buddha (Wat Pho), The Grand Palace, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew) and a local Flower and Vegetable Market. Also add Wat Arun (it was covered in scaffolding when we were there).
We took all modes of transport during this tour: the sky rail, a tuk tuk, the canal boat and a taxi. This was a great way to see the city from various perspectives. Our guide also took us to a local restaurant for lunch and ordered dishes she thought we should try.
Make sure you wear or bring clothes that cover your shoulders and knees to be respectful at the temples.
If you’re hungry for dinner, consider Nalin Kitchen or Ban Khun Mae Restaurant for lower key Thai Restaurants. Many people enjoy a rooftop view with drinks post dinner. We were so exhausted that we just went to bed!
If you have more days in Bangkok, BKK can arrange other tours.
Day Three: Bangkok to Phuket
After breakfast at the hotel, head to the airport to fly to Phuket. We wanted to arrive at midday so we could enjoy the resort we chose in Phuket.
Arrive to Phuket. Our resort picked us up at the airport but taxis are available.
We stayed at Paresa and highly recommend it if you’re up for a splurge. We picked the lowest price room but were upgraded for our honeymoon to the biggest suite. It even had its own private pool overlooking the Andaman Sea!
We spent the afternoon enjoying the hotel. We ate dinner at the hotel’s Thai restaurant which was delicious and reasonably priced.
Day Four: Phi Phi Islands Day Trip
Spend the day on the water with Simba Tours! We were picked up very early for our full day Phi Phi Islands Sunrise tour. They provided breakfast and a delicious picnic lunch in between exploring around the islands. Definitely go early in the day if you want to beat the other tourists!
We loved the opportunities to snorkel in the turquoise water amidst the gorgeous limestone columns. Simba did a great job planning the day and it looks like they’ve adapted their tours to be more sustainable for future generations.
We arrived back to our hotel late afternoon. We just relaxed around the pool overlooking the Andaman Sea and once again enjoyed dinner on site.
Day Five: Phuket
Today consider starting the morning with a yoga session (our hotel offered one overlooking the Andaman Sea). Then, enjoy breakfast at the hotel.
Another fun option would be to start your day with a Muay Thai class – AKA Thailand gets great reviews!
Afterwards, pack your beach bag and venture down to the beach. Paresa provided a shuttle to Kamala Beach but you can take a taxi too. We didn’t get there but Paradise Beach is also popular.
Enjoy lunch on the beach. If you opt for Kamala Beach, check out Lillo Island Restaurant & Bar. The pineapple fried rice (served in a pineapple!) and sticky mango rice dessert were highlights for me.
Many people take cooking classes in Thailand; this afternoon could be a good time to do that if interested.
Many people enjoy the local nightlife; we opted to just enjoy the relaxing setting at our hotel and watch the sun set over the sea.
Day Six: Phuket to Chiang Mai
Enjoy one more breakfast before flying north to Chiang Mai.
After landing, many hotels offer pick up services with your stay. Our hotel, Shewe Wana Boutique Resort and Spa, was waiting for us upon landing. I recommend Shewe Wana – it’s in a beautiful setting and has nicely decorated rooms. They included spa treatments in our relatively inexpensive room rate which was a fun bonus. After getting settled, we hopped in a tuk tuk to head to town.
We spent most of our evening wandering town. Before dinner, we stopped in at Green Bamboo for our first Thai massage experience. This is not a high-end spa but rather a local massage house.
Don’t expect much privacy – we were in a room with another person – but you’re not here for the high-end spa experience, you’re here for a great massage. I chose the Aloe Vera massage at $11 to treat my sunburn.
We just walked in but you can book in advance. After the massage, we walked to the night market for dinner. It’s really fun to walk around to see the local products for sale, enjoy musical performances and smell all the amazing ingredients cooking. The ingredients used are fresh and grown locally which helps keep the price down (no need to import!).
We enjoyed smoothies from Mrs. Pa’s and khao soi noodles from a vendor behind Mrs. Pa’s stand. Please do try a smoothie – Mrs. Pa is the best!
Day Seven: Chiang Mai
If you choose to spend a day with elephants, this would be a good day for it! You’ll want to book this activity far in advance as it’s quite popular.
Elephants have long been part of Thailand’s history and not always treated in the best way. They have worked hard days in the logging industry and been used for human entertainment.
Luckily, there are some elephant farms that take mistreated elephants and allow them to live their remaining days wandering around the farm. They do not have to do tricks, carry humans for rides, or eat on command. I recommend finding one of these types of farms (such as Elephant Nature Park) if you do decide to spend a day with elephants.
We went to one of the top ranked farms in Chiang Mai that claimed to treat the elephants well and ethically. Unfortunately, they allowed people to ride on them which is a huge red flag in my opinion.
8th Day: Day Trip to Chiang Rai
After breakfast at the hotel, consider a day tour to Chiang Rai. There is a beautiful modern temple (Wat Rong Khun) that makes for a fun trip outside of the city. While modern, it’s fun to learn about a contemporary twist on the typical Buddhist temple. There’s a little shopping area outside of the template where we had a few smoothies – all delicious. En route, you can stop at Doi Suthep.
There are many day trips outside of Chiang Mai to consider as well: Doi Tnthanon National Park and Boating on the Mae Ping River. Your hotel can help you arrange a trip with a local guide (this is what we did).
After arriving back to Chaing Mai, we enjoyed the included treatments at the hotel’s spa. Then, we went back into town to explore the ruins of Wat Chedi Luang. It’s a beautiful temple and we saw monks around as it’s still in use!
Enjoy dinner at Dada Café and a walk around the city
9th Day: Chiang Mai – cooking class
After breakfast at your hotel or a café in town, spend the day with Thai Farm Cooking School. They’ll pick you up at your hotel and you’ll begin with a stop at a local market. The guide will explain to you what people typically shop for in Thailand and you’ll see the fresh ingredients you’ll need for what you’re cooking. We also enjoyed a Thai iced tea and fresh coconut water.
After the market, you’ll head to the gorgeous farm setting with open air kitchens where you’ll make a variety of Thai dishes. This day was a highlight for us!
With full bellies and new recipes in tow, you’ll be dropped off at your hotel. Relax a bit before heading into town for dinner.
We chose Cooking Love for our dinner spot tonight. It was amazing and I’d highly recommend it.
10th Day: Last Day
This was a transit day for us as we departed Thailand.
For more Asia destinations, read my articles here.