Classic Thailand Itinerary (7 Days, 12 Days)

Phi Phi Islands

This is a suggested travel itinerary for Thailand that includes Bangkok, Chiang Mai & Phuket.


Why Travel To Thailand

  • Magnificent Buddhist temples
  • Stunning beaches
  • Diverse landscape and wildlife
  • Unique culture
  • Tropical climate
  • Friendly locals
  • Delicious Thai cuisine
  • Good travel infrastructure
  • Value for money

Thailand Travel Map


Thailand Travel Map
(Above map image via Google Earth)

Thailand Travel Itinerary

  • Day 1: Arrive in Bangkok
  • Day 2: Explore Bangkok
  • Day 3: Explore Bangkok
  • Day 4: Day Trip to Ayutthaya
  • Day 5: Travel to Chiang Mai
  • Day 6: Explore Chiang Mai
  • Day 7: Explore Chiang Mai
  • Day 8: Day trip to Chiang Rai
  • Day 9: Fly to Phuket 
  • Day 10: Explore Phuket
  • Day 11: Day trip to Phi Phi Islands
  • Day 12: Depart

If you've only 7-8 days, then along with Bangkok pick Chiang Mai or Phuket from the above itinerary.


Best Time To Visit Thailand

The best time to visit Thailand in general is during the dry and cool months between November and March. This is also the the peak tourist season in Thailand.


Thailand Top Experiences

  • Vibrant and bustling Bangkok city
  • Magnificent Buddhist temples in Ayutthaya & Chiang Mai
  • Chatting with Buddhist monks in Chiang Mai
  • Stunning Phuket beaches & landscape
  • Delicious Thai cuisine
  • Relaxing & cheap Thai massage

Day 1: Arrive In Bangkok

After your long journey to arrive Bangkok, take it easy and relax on your first day in Thailand. Bangkok is the capital and most populous city of Thailand. Bangkok is a very cosmopolitan city and is among the world's top tourist destinations.

In my view Sukhumvit is the overall best area to stay in Bangkok for first-timers. It is centrally located, well connected to transportation, with wide range of accommodation and restaurants, great nightlife and shopping. Other great areas to stay are Siam, Silom, Old Town and Khao San Road. Siam is the best area for shopping. Khao San Road is the best place for backpackers. Old Town is the best location for sightseeing.

Day 2: Explore Bangkok

Start your day visiting The Grand Palace which was constructed in 1782. The Grand Palace is a complex of buildings and was the official residence of the Kings of Siam. The king, his court, and his royal government were based on the grounds of the palace until 1925. Within the palace complex visit Wat Phra Kaew (also know as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha) which is regarded as the most sacred Buddhist temple in Thailand. It houses the statue of the Emerald Buddha, which is venerated as the country's palladium.

Then visit Buddhist temple complex Wat Pho which is close by the palace. The temple complex houses the largest collection of Buddha images in Thailand, including a 46 m long reclining Buddha. After Wat Pho if you're not too tired, then you can also visit Buddhist temple Wat Arun close to the river, which is among the best known of Thailand's landmarks.

Spend your evening at Khao San Road which is known as the backpacker area. Khao San Road has something for everyone from t-shirts, to street food, to beer and performers. Khao San Road is full of restaurants, bars, hotels, shops and entertainment. In evening Khao San Road is very atmospheric and comes alive. Also don't miss the bustling street Soi Rambuttri which runs parallel to Khao San Road.

The Grand Palace (Bangkok)
The Grand Palace (Bangkok)

Wat Phra Kaew (Bangkok)
Wat Phra Kaew (Bangkok)

Wat Pho (Bangkok)
Wat Pho (Bangkok)

Wat Pho (Bangkok)
Wat Pho (Bangkok)

Khao San Road (Bangkok)
Khao San Road (Bangkok)

Day 3: Explore Bangkok

Start your day visiting Jim Thompson House which is a museum housing the art collection of American businessman and architect Jim Thompson. The museum complex consists of traditional Thai-style houses, primarily constructed of wood.

Alternatively you can visit Damnoen Saduak Floating Market in morning. The floating market is full of vendors on boats selling produce, dry goods, souvenirs and street food. It is fun place to spend few hours for some great photos. Please note that these days the market is catered to mostly tourists. You can visit the place on your own or join a tour from Bangkok.

Spend your afternoon at Siam Paragan or Central World shopping mall. If you happen to be in Bangkok over the weekend then you could visit Chatuchak Weekend Market. It is the largest market in Bangkok with over 15,000 stalls.

End your day with nice dinner at the open-air mall Asiatique The Riverfront or at the Chinatown.

Jim Thompson House (Bangkok)
Jim Thompson House (Bangkok)

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

Day 4: Day trip to Ayutthaya

Ayutthaya is an ancient capital of Thailand, founded around 1350. Throughout the centuries due to it's ideal location Ayutthaya was the trading capital of Asia. By 1700 Ayutthaya had become the largest city in the world with a total of one million inhabitants. Burmese invaded Ayutthaya in 1767 and almost completely burnt the city down to the ground. Most of the remains today are the temples and palaces, as those were the only buildings made of stone at that time.

Ayutthaya is 85 km north of Bangkok. You can visit Ayutthaya on your own or join an organized tour from Bangkok. If you're exploring Ayutthaya on your own then you could walk, use bicycle or rent a tuk-tuk to explore the temples.

You can also visit Bang Pa-In Royal Palace which was used by the Thai kings as a summer palace.

Here are some of the best temples in Ayutthaya that you can visit: Wat MahathatWat LokayasutharamWat Yai Chai Mang KhonWat Chai WatthanaramWat Phra Si Sanphet and Wat Ratchaburana

Wat Mahathat (Ayutthaya)
Wat Mahathat (Ayutthaya)

Wat Mahathat (Ayutthaya)
Wat Mahathat (Ayutthaya)

Wat Lokayasutharam (Ayutthaya)
Wat Lokayasutharam (Ayutthaya)

Bang Pa-In Royal Palace
Bang Pa-In Royal Palace

Day 5: Travel to Chiang Mai

Travel to Chiang Mai from Bangkok, which is the second largest city in Thailand. It is about 700 km north of Bangkok in a mountainous region called the Thai highlands.

Old City is the best area to stay in Chiang Mai for sightseeing as a first time visitor to Chiang Mai.


Day 6: Explore Chiang Mai

Start your morning with a nice breakfast at one of lovely cafés in Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai has many lovely cafés and great coffee which you should surely experience. 

After breakfast visit the magnificent Wat Chedi Luang which is a Buddhist temple in the historic center. The construction of the temple started during the 14th century. The temple hosts monk chats every day where tourists are welcome to speak with monks (usually novices) and ask them anything about Buddhist monk life in Thailand. I would highly recommend to get involved in this monk chat which can be a very interesting experience.  

Then visit Chiang Mai's most revered temple Wat Phra SinghWihan Lai Kham is the main attraction in the temple complex. It was built in 1345 and houses the Phra Buddha Singh statue.

Also visit Buddhist temple Wat Chiang Man inside the old city which was built in 1297 CE.

End your evening exploring Chiang Mai Night Bazaar where you'll find handicrafts, paintings, jewelry, clothing, etc. Have dinner at the Night Bazaar trying different street foods.

Wat Chedi Luang (Chiang Mai)
Wat Chedi Luang (Chiang Mai)

Wat Phra Singh (Chiang Mai)
Wat Phra Singh (Chiang Mai)

Wat Chiang Man (Chiang Mai)
Wat Chiang Man (Chiang Mai)

Day 7: Explore Chiang Mai

After having breakfast at one of the lovely cafés in Chiang Mai, visit Wat Phra That Doi Suthep Buddhist temple. The temple is about 15 km from Chiang Mai and situated at an elevation of 1,073 meters. Enjoy stunning views of downtown Chiang Mai from the top. The first temple stupa is believed to have been build 1383. Over the years many more holy shrines have been added.

You can also visit Bhuping Palace which is close by. The palace was built in 1961 and was a favorite location for King Rama IX to visit during the winter months. The property is full of stunning gardens and a great place to take photos.

In afternoon take Thai cooking class where you'll learn all about the Thai cuisine ingredients, recipes and methods.

End your day with a nice Thai massage at one of the many spas.

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep (Chiang Mai)
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep (Chiang Mai)

(Above image by JJ Harrison (https://www.jjharrison.com.au/) - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=26044825)

Bhuping Palace (Chiang Mai)
Bhuping Palace (Chiang Mai)

Day 8: Day Trip to Chiang Rai

Chiang Rai is Thailand's northernmost province. Joining an organized day tour from Chiang Mai would be the best way to visit Chiang Rai, if you've got only one day. Start your day visiting the stunning Buddhist temple Wat Rong Khun, better known as The White Temple. After the temple some tour companies will stop at Mae Khachan Hot Springs or/and one of the Long Neck villages. 

Finally visit The Golden Triangle, which is the area where the borders of Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar meet at the confluence of the Ruak and Mekong rivers. The Golden Triangle has been one of the most extensive opium-producing areas of Asia, and of the world, since the 1950s. There is a House of Opium museum that you can visit. You can also enjoy a boat ride down the Mekong River or visit some Buddhists temples in the area. 

Wat Rong Khun (Chiang Rai)
The White Temple (Chiang Rai)

The Golden Triangle
The Golden Triangle

Day 9: Fly to Phuket

Fly to Phuket from Chiang Mai for the last segment of your Thailand itinerary. Phuket is one of the southern provinces of Thailand and is one of the world's finest beach destinations.

Phuket has more than 30 amazing beaches to choose from. Patong Beach, Kata, Karon and Kamala are the most popular beach locations to book your stay. Stay in Patong Beach area if you like lively area bustling with bars, restaurants, entertainment and nightlife. Patong Beach also offers easy access to services. Karon Beach is considered one of the best areas for families with children. You could also consider staying in Old Phuket Town if you like history, architecture, and culture.

Spend your evening around the lively Bangla Road at Patong Beach which comes to life after sunset.

Bangla Road (Patong Beach)
Bangla Road (Patong Beach)

Day 10: Explore Phuket

Have a relaxing morning in Phuket with a nice breakfast. In afternoon take taxi to the iconic Phuket Big BuddhaThe statue is 45 meters tall and is the third-tallest statue in Thailand.

Then travel to Wat Chalong which is the most important Buddhist temple in Phuket and is dedicated to two highly venerable monks.

Then visit Phuket Old Town which is a colorful historic area with Chinese-Portuguese architecture. The Old Town is full of cafés, shops, restaurants, hotels, museums, markets, etc.

Phuket Big Buddha
Phuket Big Buddha

Pagoda at Wat Chalong
Pagoda at Wat Chalong

Phuket Old Town
Phuket Old Town

Day 11: Day Trip to Phi Phi Islands

The Phi Phi Islands are an island group between the large island of Phuket and the Straits of Malacca coast of Thailand. Join an organized day tour of The Phi Phi Islands. You can visit the islands on your own as well, but would require some planning and more time. At Phi Phi Islands enjoy the bright blue waters, dramatic limestone cliffs and stunning beaches. You can also enjoy variety of activities like snorkeling, swimming, etc. 

Phi Phi Islands
Phi Phi Islands

Day 12: Depart

Depart to your destination from Phuket or if you've more time then spend more relaxing time at the other beach destinations in southern Thailand.

What to Shop In Thailand

Thailand is known for handicraft items, clothing, jewelry, Thai inhalers & balms, chips, Thai curry paste and coconut items.

Please do let me know in the comments section below if you like this itinerary or if you've any questions/suggestions about the itinerary.


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