My Perfect 2 Week Thailand Itinerary: Best of North & South! (2024)

Longtail boats on a beach in Thailand 2 week itinerary

Thailand is one of my all time favourite destinations. From glittering golden temples to ancient ruins, buzzing cities to tropical jungle, and some of the most gorgeous beaches and islands in the world – there’s so much to see in the Land of Smiles!

In fact, there’s so many amazing places to visit in Thailand that you may be wondering how to plan your trip and create the best Thailand itinerary so that you can fit it all in if you’ve only got 2 weeks vacation.

Luckily, with 14 days or 2 weeks in Thailand, you’ve got enough time to explore the best of both north and south. From the exciting metropolis of Bangkok, to the jungles and temples around Chiang Mai and island hopping in the south – it’s all possible if you plan your Thailand itinerary carefully and that’s why I wrote this blog.

Figuring out the best way to spend 2 weeks in Thailand can feel overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time visiting Thailand. So I’ve put together my perfect 2 week Thailand itinerary created from my personal experience following many, many visits and some time living in this amazing country to help you out.

My Thailand Travel Guide

 

I’ve been lucky enough to explore this amazing country from top to bottom several times. I’ve even lived on the island of Koh Phangan and the northern city of Chiang Mai, so I know Thailand better than most!

I want you to have an amazing holiday in Thailand and love it as much as I do, so this post is a mini travel guide to Thailand to help you plan your trip. I last visited Thailand in Nov 2023 and have updated this post for 2024.

As well as the best 2 weeks Thailand itinerary, I’ll also give suggestions for other timeframes if you have 7 days or 10 days in Thailand. You might also want to check out my comprehensive Thailand Travel Guide for all the practical Thailand travel tips you need to know when visiting Thailand.

anna in thailand

Tips for Planning your Thailand Itinerary

Two weeks is the ideal amount of time to see all the highlights in both northern and southern Thailand. But if you want to tick lots of things off your Thailand bucket list in just a few weeks then you’re going to need to plan your 2 weeks in Thailand itinerary carefully.

You don’t want to ruin your Thailand vacation by planning a trip that’s too ambitious and end up exhausted and stressed out from trying to see too many places, but you also don’t want to miss somewhere amazing and regret it.

Many people only see Thailand’s islands and miss out on northern Thailand’s incredible sights and culture. It’s such a shame because they’ve only seen half of what this amazing country has to offer, so allow time for both in your Thailand itinerary.

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Why you need to see both North and South Thailand

The north and south of Thailand are quite different. In fact, the north of Thailand used to be the Lanna Kingdom and has it’s own distinct culture.

Highlights of northern Thailand include Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, where you can experience temples like Wat Rong Khun, traditional Thai culture, night markets, jungle adventures, trekking and elephant sanctuaries.

The south of Thailand is home to some of the most beautiful tropical islands in the world and famous for towering limestone cliffs and turquoise waters. There’s excellent snorkelling and scuba diving, pampering beach holidays, yoga retreats and easy island-hopping day trips through national marine parks – so you can’t miss the south either!

buddhas in Ayutthaya thailand

How to Spend 2 Weeks in Thailand

With 14 days or 2 weeks in Thailand you can explore the capital, Bangkok, and see the best of both north and south if you plan your itinerary well.

To enable you to see the most of Thailand in only 2 weeks there is a great network of low cost domestic flights which will save a lot of travel time. A more eco friendly way would be to take the night trains which will also save you a night of accommodation.

Another way to make the most of your time, and save yourself stress and energy, is to base yourself in places like Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket or Koh Samui and take day trips from there instead of moving around too much.

I’d recommend booking your transport, accommodation and tours in advance so when you get to Thailand you can just relax and enjoy your trip. I use Booking.com for hotels and accommodation, Get your Guide and Viator for day tours and day trips, and 12 Go Asia to book flights, trains, buses and ferries in Thailand.

Thailand Map

Here’s a map of Thailand so you can get your bearings and plan your travel route.

Map of Thailand

Start your Thailand trip with a few days exploring the exciting capital Bangkok with a day trip to the floating markets and the ancient temples at Ayutthaya.

Then head north to Chiang Mai and explore the temples, culture and natural beauty of northern Thailand. Chiang Mai makes a good base for day trips around northern Thailand.

The incredible temples like Wat Rong Khun in Chiang Rai, the nature around Pai and the Golden Triangle are all well worth a visit. If you only have 2 weeks in Thailand I’d recommend taking day trips from Chiang Mai to save time and hassle.

Fly down to the south for some island hopping. On the west coast popular islands include Phuket, Koh Phi Phi and Krabi, while on the east coast you’ll find Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao.

It can be tempting to want to visit them all, but for a 2 week Thailand itinerary, you’ll probably find it more enjoyable to pick one side and relax instead of trying to fit all the islands in.

Whatever you decide, don’t forget to allow time in your itinerary to get back to Bangkok in time to catch your flight home!

Don't miss some temples from your thailand itinerary

My Perfect 2 Week Thailand Itinerary – Best of North & South

Here’s a quick summary of what I think is the ideal Thailand itinerary for 2 weeks:

Bangkok – (3 days)
Chiang Mai – (3 days including day trip to Chiang Rai)
Then
East Coast Islands – Koh Samui (3 days) Koh Phangan (2 days) Koh Tao ( 2 days)
Or
West Coast Islands Phuket (3 days) Koh Phi Phi (2 days) Krabi (2 days)
Bangkok ( 1 day)

Carry on reading and I’ll take you through day by day and give you plenty of tips on where to stay and how to get there to help you plan your Thailand itinerary and get the most out of your trip.

By the way, I’ve used affiliate links in this article which allow me to make a small commission if you book which helps me to keep this site going, an unbiased, at no extra cost to you.

bangkok skuline at sunset

Bangkok – 3 Days

The capital of Thailand is one of the most exciting cities in the world and has plenty of flight connections making it the ideal place to start your 2 week Thailand itinerary.

The streets of Bangkok are a truly fascinating mix of old and new, packed with temples, culture, food and a buzzing atmosphere. There’s plenty of things to see and do in Bangkok, from exploring golden temples and ancient waterways to indulging in the amazing street food and soaking up the views from a rooftop bar.

Allow at least 3 days to see Bangkok’s highlights and take a day trip out to ancient Ayutthaya. You’ll probably need to stay one more night in Bangkok at the end of your 2 week Thailand itinerary before you fly home so you could do the things you missed out then.

How to Spend 3 Days in Bangkok:

Day 1 – Temples and Tuk Tuks

Bangkok's grand palace can't be missed from your thailand itinerary

Start your Bangkok itinerary with ticking off some of the city’s most famous and spectacular sights and diving into the cities’ vibrant nightlife.

Start with the stunning Grand Palace, a gorgeous glittering masterpiece that is the former royal residence and home to Wat Phra Kaew, (The Temple of the Emerald Buddha.)

Then visit Wat Pho and marvel at the huge, golden, reclining Buddha, and then cross the Chao Phraya River and try to time your visit to climb Wat Arun (the Temple of Dawn) for amazing views over the river and city beyond.

reclining buddha

As these temples are religious sites so both men and women need to dress respectively and remove footwear. Shorts and sleeveless tops are not allowed so wear light weight trousers and cover your shoulders. If you forget you can hire a sarong.

There’s a few scams around the Grand Palace especially, and there’s so much detail to take in that I recommend doing this guided tour for the best experience. You’ll learn so much more  about Thai culture and spirituality this way and avoid the scams.

A good way to learn about Thai culture and history, and escape the heat, is with a visit to one of Bangkok’s air-conditioned museums. The National Museum and the Museum of Siam are the best and are not far away from the Grand Palace and Wat Pho.

longtail boat on the river in bangkok thailand

One of my favourite things to do in Bangkok is riding down the Chao Phraya River and the smaller canals (klongs.) It’s a relaxing way to get around and take in the sights whilst enjoying the refreshing breeze.

There’s many ways you can experience the river – you can pile in a ferry with the locals, take the hop on hop off tourist boat or join an evening dinner river cruise with a buffet and entertainment.

If you want to get off the beaten track and see another side of Bangkok then take a colourful longtail boat tour and see local life in Thonburi (the oldest district) and down the smaller canals.

Tuk Tuk ride in Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok really comes alive at night once the heat dies down. The temples and skyscrapers are illuminated., and the evening is the best time to explore the night markets and try the cheap and delicious street food stands that serve up fresh and tasty thai cuisine like pad thai.

One of the most fun ways to explore Bangkok at night is will a tuk tuk tour! Hold on because it can be quite a thrilling ride!

This night tuk tuk tour will zip you around Old Bangkok stopping at vibrant places like Chinatown, a colourful 24 hour flower market, and local street food markets. The guide will take you to the best street food stalls where they know the food is safe so it’s a great way to try the local cuisine and get to know Bangkok after dark.

Day 2: Unique Shopping Experiences and Nightlife

allow time to visit the floating markets in your thailand itinerary

After temples, another thing that Bangkok is famous for is shopping and nightlife, and there are some unique shopping experiences to be had!

For a unique shopping experience is the Damnoen Saduak floating market where vendors ply the canals with their wares and you cruise around on a longtail boat. Another interesting sight is the Maeklong railway market where you’ll experience the vendors jumping out of the way as the train comes through the market.

These markets are a bit out of the city so the easiest way to get there is with a tour. This floating market and railway market tour combines both into an easy half day trip.

mbk mall bangkok

If you’re into shopping, Bangkok has some amazing modern malls. Some of the best, like Central World, Siam Discovery and MBK mall, are located close together at Siam Square.

Also nearby is Jim Thompson’s House where you can see some interesting old architecture, art and silks (and shop the collection.)

If it’s a weekend take the BTS to the massive Chatuchak weekend market if you want to shop for bargains and souvenirs to just enjoy the bustling vibe.

Once you’re shopped out, see the sunset at Wat Arun or The Golden Mount and then dive into Bangkok’s legendary, vibrant and fun nightlife.

khao san road nightlife, bangkok

Head down Sukhumvit Road for restaurants, bars, nightclubs and errm adult entertainment! Then check out the infamous Khao San Road to drink buckets and party. Even if you’re not a backpacker, it’s a unique experience.

Or for a more refined experience you can sip cocktails at one of the trendy rooftop bars of the luxury hotels that line the river and soak up the views of the Bangkok skyline and city below.

The sky bar observation deck at Baiyoke Sky Hotel is one of the best. If you’re not scared of heights, another cool thing to do is the glass bottomed 78th floor observation deck and skywalk at the MahaNakon Tower.

Day 3 – Ancient Ayutthaya

ayutthaya-buddha-OP

On your last day in Bangkok take a day trip to the ancient city of Ayutthaya. This UNESCO world heritage site was the former Thai capital and you can explore the ruins of the old city, palaces and temples including the famous buddha head in a tree.

Ayutthaya is about 1 1/2 hours north of Bangkok and a guide will help bring the ruined city to life so you understand it’s importance. This Ayutthaya day trip includes transport, a knowledgeable guide and also visits the nearby former summer home of the Thai kings – Bang Pa-In Royal Palace.

A day trip to Kanchanaburi to see the Bridge over the River Kwai and ride on the famous Death Railway is also possible, but it’s a long day.

Where to Stay in Bangkok

skyview hotel bangkok sukhumvit pool
The rooftop pool at the Skyview Hotel.

Bangkok is a huge city so it’s worth doing some research into the best place to stay depending on your interests and budget as it takes time to get around.

My favorite area to stay in Bangkok is the Riverside where you’ll find some stunning luxury and boutique hotels with refreshing river views. The Mandarin Oriental has long been the best place to stay in Bangkok, but if your budget doesn’t stretch to that check out The Avani Plus Riverside

Sukhumvit and Siam are centrally located modern neighborhoods with plenty of shopping, eating, nightlife and mid-range hotel options. The Skyview Hotel is a great pick – I love the rooftop infinity pool and views. If you’re on a budget consider Lud D Siam which offers private rooms and dorms.

For backpackers, budget travellers or anyone looking for a taste of Old Bangkok, the Banglamphu area near the Grand Palace and Khao San Road is a good choice.

I wouldn’t recommend staying on noisy Khao San road itself, but there’s plenty of good budget hotels, like Rambuttri Village Plaza, and backpacker hostels, like Bedstation Hostel nearby. If you’d prefer something more upmarket in this area check out Villa De Khaosan and Riva Surya.

How to get to Bangkok and get around

bangkok at night tuk tuks

Bangkok has some of the best flight connections in Southeast Asia and receives many international flights from around the world.

The city has two airports, Suvarnabhumi international airport (BKK) – which handles mostly long haul international flights, and Don Mueang (DMK), for low cost flights with carriers like Air Asia with domestic flights around the rest of Thailand.

You’ll probably fly into Suvarnabhumi airport and start your Thailand itinerary there. The airport rail link that connects the airport to the BTS Sky train is the quickest and cheapest way to get into the city. It takes about 30 minutes to reach the Phaya Thai BTS station.

Taxis are available but will probably take longer if there is heavy traffic. Uber or Grab are easier if you don’t speak Thai. You can also ask your hotel if they offer an airport transfer or shuttle service or book an airport transfer.

Once in Bangkok the super modern BTS Skytrain and MRT Metro are the quickest way to get around. Tuk tuks can also be a fun way to explore the city but agree on the price before setting off.

There’s plenty of bus, train and flights from Bangkok offering easy onward travel around the rest of Thailand. If you only have 2 weeks in Thailand definitely consider taking a few budget flights as it will save you alot of time. You can book your transport all around Thailand with 12 Go Asia.

Doi Suthep is one of the best things to do in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Chiang Mai – 3 Days

Chiang Mai is a beautiful, historic and cultured city surrounded by the mountains of northern Thailand. It’s the country’s 2nd city but offers a much more peaceful experience than Bangkok with it’s walled Old City packed with ancient temples.

There’s so much to see and do in Chiang Mai that you should spend at least 3 days here. It also makes a great base for exploring the surrounding nature and the rest of northern Thailand, so should not be missed from any Thailand itinerary.

How to Spend 3 Days in Chiang Mai:

monks in old city chiang mai

Day 1 – Temple Hopping in Chiang Mai Old City

Start by exploring the walled Old City which dates back to 1296. Over 300 temples, plus the ancient walls and moat still stand today, making it a fascinating place to wander and learn about traditional Thai culture. There’s also plenty of cute cafes if you need to escape the heat.

Wake up early to witness the morning alms giving to the monks and then wander around the Old City. You’re not going to be able to see all the temples with 3 days in Chiang Mai, but you shouldn’t miss the elaborate Wat Phra Singh, the ruined stupa of Wat Chedi Luang, and the oldest temple – Wat Chiang Man.

Wat Chedi Luang, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Chiang Mai’s most revered temple, the impossibly golden Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, is perched up on a mountain overlooking the town. You can take a taxi or red truck (songthaew) to get there.

If you want to understand more about the history and meaning behind these stunning temples, consider this guided tuk tuk tour which will also take you another temple hidden in the jungle. I also loved the unique experience of this sunrise temple tour with a former monk. You can also chat with the monks at Wat Chedi Luang.

Chiiang Mai moat

If you want to escape the mid-day heat, pop into one of the cute cafes like Stories, near Tha Pha Gate, or My Secret Cafe in Town, or dip into the air-conditioned museums.

The Chiang Mai Historical Centre, Chiang Mai City Arts and Cultural Centre, and the Lanna Folklife Museum are conveniently located near the Three Kings Monument in the Old City.

And if you’re feeling tired from all the exploring relax with a Thai massage at one of the many spas for cheaper prices than you’ll find on the islands of southern Thailand.

For a luxury experience try Fah Lanna Spa or Makkha Spa. If you’re on a budget, consider supporting the Chiang Mai Women’s Correctional Institution Vocational Training Centre for an affordable massage.

Chiang Mai Sunday Walking Market

If it’s a Sunday, don’t miss the massive sunday night walking street market which, starting at the Tha Pae Gate, takes over the Old Town. Here you can try local street food like Khao Soi and browse for souvenirs and handicrafts.

You can also visit the Chiang Mai night bazaar, near the riverside, which is open every night with food, stalls and live music.

Afterwards, check out Zoe in Yellow or North Gate Jazz Co-op in the Old Town, or head to the bars and clubs in Nimmanhiem that are popular with Thai students and digital nomads.

Khao Soi

Day 2 – Thai Cooking Class and Ethical Elephant Encounters

If after trying all the yummy street food last night you’re feeling inspired to learn how to cook Thai food yourself book yourself on to a Thai cooking class.

After visiting the morning market you can learn to cook 11 delicious Thai dishes, (and eat them!) and get an insight into hill tribe life in northern Thailand from your guide from the Akha tribe.

If cooking’s not your thing there are plenty of other activities to try in Chiang Mai from Muay Thai boxing lessons to Buddhist meditation and yoga classes.

Scootering in Chaing Mai

Chiang Mai makes a great base from which to explore the surrounding mountains with many trekking, mountain biking, rock climbing, white water rafting and kayaking trips on offer. So make sure you get out into nature, either by renting a scooter or joining an organised day trip.

While elephant sanctuaries and hill tribe treks are popular, not all of these activities are ethical, so check first and look for sanctuaries that do not allow riding for an ethical elephant experience.

The most reputable and ethical elephant sanctuaries in Chiang Mai are the Elephant Nature Park and the Rescue Elephant Center where you can have a magical encounter with these gentle giants without harming them.

plan your thailand itinerary to include a visit to the elephant nature park

Other unique nature experiences near Chiang Mai include visiting waterfalls and hot springs or taking a day trip to Doi Inthanon National Park – Thailand’s highest peak.

Day 3 – Chiang Rai, White Temple and Golden Triangle Day Trip

Chiang Mai is a great base to do day trips to explore the rest of northern Thailand. If you had more time I would recommend spending a few nights in these places, but if you only have 2 weeks in Thailand the best way is to take an organised day trip like this one.

Chiang Rai is home to some of the most amazing temples in the world, including Wat Rong Khun (the White Temple) which shouldn’t be missed from any Thailand itinerary.

Thailand White Temple

Wat Rong Khun is one of the most amazing temples and sights I’ve ever seen (and I’ve seen lots of temples!). It’s more like an art exhibit than a temple, with intricate and interesting designs that you might not expect to see in a Thai temple.

Also in Chiang Rai is Baan Dum (the Black House), Rong Suea Ten (the Blue Temple), Thailand’s biggest Guan Yin statue, and the Hilltribe Museum and Education Centre.

It takes about 3 hours to get from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai. You can take a local bus but, if you also want to see the Golden Traingle, consider this Chiang Rai and Golden Triangle day trip.

As well as visiting the White Temple, you also visit hot springs, the opium museum and it includes lunch and a boat ride on the river where Thailand, Laos and Myamar (Burma) meet – the Golden Triangle. It’s a bit of a long day – but I think its worth it and without joining a tour it would be very difficult to see it all in one day.

Even if you only have two weeks in Thailand you really must see the White Temple, Wat Rong Khun, it’s my favourite temple in the world!

Pai canyon

Another popular place to visit is Pai, a small, laid back town nestled on the banks of the river in one of the most beautiful valleys in Thailand from where you can explore the surrounding forests, hot springs, waterfalls, mountains and Pai canyon.

Pai’s chill vibes and stunning nature have made it a popular hangout with relaxed, hippie vibes and plenty of cosy and colourful vegan and vegetarian cafes. There’s also bars with live music, a night market and walking street with all the Thai street food delights.

If you have 2 weeks in Thailand you could visit with this Pai day trip from Chiang Mai, but if you have more time then it’s better to stay at least 1 or 2 nights to soak up the relaxed, hippie vibes and gorgeous scenery of Thailand’s most beautiful valley.

Read my 3 – 5 Day Chiang Mai itinerary for more and my post about all the best attractions, activities and things to do in Chiang Mai for a complete guide or check out all the activities and excursions from Chiang Mai available on Get Your Guide

Where to Stay in Chiang Mai

tamarind village hotel chiang mai

The best area to stay in Chiang Mai is the Old City where you’ll be surrounded by temples, history and culture. My personal favorties are the beautiful heritage boutique hotels, like the 5 star Rachamankha Hotel, or the more affordable but equally atmospheric, Tamarind Village.

There’s also some wonderful mid-range boutique hotels, like the Pingviman Hotel, and budget options too. Vieng Mantra Hotel is amazing value for money, and there’s plenty of backpacker hostels like The Common Hostel.

Aside from the Old City, Chiang Mai has a diverse range of neighborhoods, from the nightlife in the trendy, modern Nimman area to tranquil stays on the riverside.

Check out my full guide to where to stay in Chiang Mai to find the perfect area for you and for more hotel recommendations.

How to get to Chiang Mai From Bangkok

The quickest way to get from Bangkok to Chiang Mai is by flight which takes about 1.15 hours. Chiang Mai’s airport (CNX) has both international and domestic flights with regular connections to Bangkok.

Budget airlines like Air Asia, Nok Air and Thai Lion fly from Bangkok’s Don Muang airport (DMK). Flights only take about 1 hour 15 minutes and will save you precious time if you only have two weeks in Thailand.

There are train services every day from Bangkok’s Hualamphong train station to Chiang Mai but I would recommend taking the sleeper train as it will save you time and can be a fun and comfortable experience if you get a sleeper berth with air con.

The overnight train journey takes about 11 hours and there’s a bar and restaurant car which sometimes turns into a bit of a party with the locals. The train gets booked quite far in advance but you can book it online at 12 Go Asia. 

There are also modern buses which take about 10 hours from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, but if you’re planning a 2 week Thailand itinerary then I’d recommend taking either the night train or a flight to save time.

Thailand Island Hopping

Maya bay, Phi Phi island hopping tours and day trips from Phuket

The beaches and islands in Thailand are some of the very best in the world and it would almost be a crime to not include any beach time or island hopping in your Thailand itinerary!

There are hundreds of beautiful beaches and paradasical islands in Thailand but if you’re planning a 2 week Thailand itinerary you won’t be able to see them all – but you can see some of the best!

If you’ve got 2 weeks in Thailand then I’d recommend picking 2 or 3 neighbouring islands.

For diving, partying and relaxation head east to Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao in the Gulf of Thailand.

For beaches, long tail boats, and iconic limestone cliffs head west to Phuket, Koh Phi Phi and Krabi in the Andaman Sea.

A great way to see more islands in a short period of time is to join fun island-hopping day trips. You can find them operating from many of Thailand’s most popular islands, like Phuket.

If you try to squeeze all the islands that I’ve mentioned into 2 weeks you’ll probably end up more stressed out than blissed out – so just pick one side!

anna beach cafe thailand

How to get to the Thai Islands from Chiang Mai

The quickest way to get from Chiang Mai to the Thai islands is to take a flight from Chiang Mai to Phuket or Koh Samui. 

Bangkok Airways runs direct flights from Chiang Mai to both Koh Samui and Phuket which will take about 2 hours. There’s also airports at Krabi and Surat Thani. There are also many connecting flights through Bangkok, but that route will probably take nearer 5 hours.`

Koh Phi Phi is a must see in any Thailand itinerary

You could get the bus or an overnight train back down to Bangkok and then catch a connecting train or bus going south. Travel agents often sell a combined mini bus, bus and ferry package that will get you smoothly from door to door which is the best option if you want to avoid flying. An easy place to buy tickets online is 12Go Asia.

However, this will probably take you about 24 hours. So if you are planning a 2 week Thailand itinerary I’d recommend taking the flight here as it will save you time and, if you book in advance with a budget airline, it’s often not much more expensive to fly.

Remember to leave enough time in your Thailand itinerary to fly back to Bangkok and maybe spend another day or night there before catching your flight home.

If you only have 2 weeks in Thailand then choose to go island hopping on either the Andaman Coast (Phuket 0 Koh Phi Phi – Krabi) or the Gulf Coast (Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao.)

For the best (driest) weather in July and August choose the Gulf Coast, in November and December choose the Andaman Coast to avoid the rain.

Railay Beach, Phuket, Thailand

The Andaman Coast

Start off your island hopping adventure by flying to Phuket, the largest island in Thailand and pearl of the Andaman Sea.

Thailand’s Andaman Coast is where you’ll find the picture postcard beaches you’ve been dreaming of. Hundreds of emerald, jungle covered islands with soft white sands, sparking turquoise seas, towering limestone cliffs and colourful long tail boats.

The Andaman Coast is home to some of the most famous spots in Thailand like Phuket and Koh Phi Phi and is where movies like ‘The Beach‘ and ‘James Bond – The Man With The Golden Gun’ were filmed. Unsurprisingly it’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in Thailand, but the beauty still exceeds the hype.

If you only have 2 weeks in Thailand, or less, then basing yourself in Phuket and taking island hopping day trips and tours will allow you to see the most in the time you have. This 7 day Phuket, Koh Phi Phi and Krabi itinerary shows you how to fit all the of the Andaman Coast into a 1 week.

The ultimate 7 day Phuket itinerary

Phuket: 2 – 7 days

Phuket is Thailand’s largest island and known as the Pearl of the Andaman Sea. Sometimes it doesn’t feel so much like an island but it’s the best destination for those who want to experience a bit of everything in one easy package because there’s so many things to do in Phuket.

Phuket offers a huge range of beaches, hotels, attractions, restaurants, bars, spas and tour packages. From island hopping boat trips, water sports, diving, snorkelling, zip lining, and white water rafting, to temples, elephant sanctuaries and night markets, there’s something for everyone in Phuket. It’s also the best family holiday destination in Thailand with plenty of family friendly activities.

Just make sure you allow time to relax on the stunning beaches – they are some of the best in the world!

Phuket town houses

Once you’ve had you’re fill of the beach there is plenty of culture and history to explore in Phuket.

The legacy of Phuket’s history as a rubber and tin trade post is seen in the colourful and pretty old Phuket Town which blends many cultural influences with arty coffee shops, boutiques and galleries. It’s a delight to explore and very photogenic.

Other highlights include Wat Chalong and the Big Buddha statue which offers wonderful vistas from Phuket’s finest viewpoint. Taxis can be expensive in Phuket but this Phuket day tour visits all of them, plus a stunning viewpoint, for an affordable price and the guide will provide an interesting insight into Thai culture and Phuket’s history.

Phuket big buddha

Nature lovers will enjoy exploring Sirinat National Park and Khao Phra Thaew Royal Wildlife and Forest Reserve, home to the Phuket Gibbon Rehabilitation project. 

Phuket makes a great base for exploring the hundreds of other beautiful Andaman sea islands. Tha Rassada, 3km south of Phuket Town, is the main pier for boats, ferries and day trips to the Phi Phi islands, Krabi and beyond. So if you want to minimise moving hotels you can also see a lot by taking island hopping day trips from Phuket.

One of the best excursions from Phuket is to the insanely pretty (and popular) Koh Phi Phi islands and Maya Bay. For a more relaxing two weeks in Thailand itinerary I’d recommend just taking a day trip to Koh Phi Phi and Maya Bay, unless you want to party as Koh Phi Phi Don has become quite the party island.

Thailand limestone cliffs James Bond island

Another great day trip is the James Bond Island Trip which goes to Ao Phang Na National Park, Phang Nga Bay and James Bond Island where you’ll see some of Thailand’s most spectacular sights, have lunch at a fishing village and have fun swimming and canoeing.

Where to Stay in Phuket

The Shore At Katathani, Phuket
The Shore At Katathani, Phuket

As the largest island in Thailand, there’s a huge range of accommodation options from fabulous luxury resorts to unique boutique hotels, budget guesthouses and backpacker hostels.

The best beaches in Phuket are located on the West Coast so I recommend you stay there. My personal favorite hotel is The Nai Harn, located on an unspoilt beach at the southern tip of the island near trendy Rawai.

Kata Beach, Karon Beach and Kamala Beach are a good choice for couples and families. There’s plenty of luxury resorts like The Shore at Katathani, and family friendly resorts like Sunwing in Kamala Beach. You can also find more budget friendly hotels, like Kata Hill Sea View, a bit further away from the beachfront.

If you want crazy nightlife and budget hostels then head to famous Patong Beach. Lub D Phuket is an amazing hostel with a pool, private rooms and dorms and a friendly vibe.

There’s also plenty of places in Phuket where you can escape the crowds and relax on perfect beaches. Read this guide to the best places to stay in Phuket which goes into much more detail.

The Nai Harn Hotel, Haiharn beach, Phuket
The Nai Harn Hotel, Haiharn beach, Phuket

How to get to Phuket

Phuket has some of the best transport connections to the rest of Thailand and abroad. Phuket’s international airport (HKT), and many bus and boat connections, make it quick and easy to visit even if you’re short on time.

If you’re coming from Chiang Mai or Bangkok you can fly directly to Phuket airport. The bus journey would take a long time, and possible require another night’s stay in Bangkok, so I recommend flying.

Koh Phi Phi island

Koh Phi Phi Don: 1 or 2 Days

The small islands of Koh Phi Phi Don and Koh Phi Phi Leh are possibly the most beautiful islands in Thailand – and the most popular.

These idyllic slices of tropical paradise framed by dramatic limestone cliffs shot to fame after the movie ‘The Beach’ was filmed in Maya Bay on Koh Phi Phi Leh.

The island still doesn’t have any roads but boat rides and treks through the jungle will lead you to discover quiet bays and the steep hike up to the Koh Phi Phi viewpoint is well worth it for the panoramic vistas.

There’s no accommodation on tiny Phi Phi Leh, and due to the island’s popularity you can no longer camp or swim in Maya Bay. The best way to explore is with a long tail boat trip around the islands where you will get  to see Monkey Beach, Viking Cave, Maya Bay, Pi Leh Lagoon and Bamboo Island with plenty of snorkelling and swimming spots.

Where to Stay in Koh Phi Phi

The Beach Resort Koh Phi Phi

The main area, Ton Sai Village and Ao Lo Dalam, has a pier, lively nightlife and plenty of backpacker hostels, like Voyagers Hostel, and budget friendly beach bungalows, like Phi Phi Sand Sea View Resort.

For something more upscale Phi Phi Villa Resort is a good choice, within walking distance to the action but far enough away to get a good nights sleep!

If you are looking for a peaceful island escape try Hat Yao (Long Beach) home to the fabulous Phi Phi The Beach Resort and Viking Nature Resort.

How to Get to Koh Phi Phi

Ferries regularly run to Koh Phi Phi from Phuket and Krabi. Either visit on a day trip from Phuket or stay on the island for a few days.

The speedboat from Phuket is the quickest way and only takes 1 hour.

Krabi beach and boats

Krabi:  2 – 3 Days

Krabi is home to spectacular limestone karst formations that tower over the ocean, dense forests, a 150-kilometer coastline, and tons of tiny islands just outside of its shores. It’s just as beautiful as Phuket, but offers a more laid back experience.

Make a beeline to Railay Beach. As Railay is cut off from the mainland by thick jungle and rugged cliffs getting there is an adventure in itself – it’s only accessible by boat.

Railay’s picturesque towering cliffs are a great spot for rock climbers. Other things to do here include swimming and relaxing on the beach and trekking up to the viewpoints. You can also visit the penis cave – a shrine to fertility.

If you’re still up for a bit more island hopping, the 4 Islands Tour is one of the best in Thailand where you’ll visit Koh Poda, Chicken Island, Koh Tub, and Koh Mor.

For something different, take this Jungle Adventure Excursion out to Wat Tham Seua – the tiger cave temple, soak in the hot springs and then get refreshed in the emerald pool.

After a day on the beach or island hopping, head to Krabi Town night market or enjoy the nightlife in Ao Nang.

Koh Lanta is also a good option if you want to escape the crowds, but might be tricky to fit in to a 2 weeks in Thailand itinerary.

Where to Stay in Krabi

railay bay resort

For beachside stays in Krabi head to either Ao Nang beach or catch a long tail boat to Railay Beach.

The best place to stay in Railay Beach is the Railay Bay Resort & Spa, a stunning beachfront property. If you’re on a budget head up the hill and you’ll find cheap bungalows and mid range rooms at Rapala Rock Wood Resort. 

Ao Nang and Krabi Town also have plenty of accommodation options, bars, restaurants and shops to suit all budgets. Anda Sea Tales Resort stands out with it’s stunning rooftop swimming pool and views. You can even get a room with a private pool on the balcony.

How to get to Krabi

Boats take about 2.5 – 3 hours from Phuket and about 2 hours from Koh Phi Phi.

You can also take a minivan or taxi from Phuket to Krabi overland which takes about 3 hours.

Krabi also has an airport, so you can fly from Krabi back to Bangkok, or to Koh Samui if you wanted to explore both coasts.

Tropical pineapple cocktail

The Gulf of Thailand

The Gulf of Thailand, on the East Coast, is home to three of Thailand’s best islands – Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao.

All offer beautiful beaches with powder soft sands, azure waters and boat trips to the stunning Ang Thong Marine National Park, but each have a different vibe and are all worth exploring. Their proximity to each other make for a fantastic and easy island hopping adventure.

If you’re visiting Thailand in July and August, these islands should have better weather than Phuket and the Andaman islands.

make time in your Thailand itinerary to relax in a resort on Koh Samui

Koh Samui: 2 or 3 days

Koh Samui, located in the Gulf of Thailand, is Thailand’s second largest island and has everything you’d want from a tropical island – soft white sand beaches, clear turquoise oceans, swaying palm trees and plenty of resorts, eateries, spas, bars and wellness retreats.

Highlights of Koh Samui are it’s natural beauty spots, relaxing beaches and warm tropical waters. One of the best things to do here is taking a kayaking and snorkeling tour to the sensational Ang Thong Marine National Park.

Koh Samui statue

If you want a dose of culture, there’s also plenty of temples to visit including Wat Phra Yai with its Big Buddha statue and the Secret Buddha Garden.

You can also trek to waterfalls, see the infamous phallic rock of Hat Lamai, visit an elephant sanctuary, take an off road jungle safari tour, ride an ATV through the jungle or splash about in the waterparks.

Where to Stay on Koh Samui

melati resort koh samui
The Melati Beach Resort. Koh Samui

There’s plenty of accommodation options to suit all budgets, from luxury resorts to family friendly hotels and backpacker hostels.

Most of the nightlife happens on buzzing Chaweng Beach. Chaweng Cove Beach Resort is a good pick for an affordable beachfront resort in this popular area.

If you just want to chill out, coconut in hand, better to head to the other beaches. Resorts like The Lamai Samui on Lamai Beach are quieter, nicer and more family friendly.

Choeng Mon is the most beautiful beach on the island. If you’re looking for a luxurious stay on a secluded bay head to the Melati Beach Resort & Spa.

For a budget stay check out The Summer House, an affordable and easy base from which to explore the island.

How to get to Koh Samui

Koh Samui’s airport (USM) makes getting to the island quick and easy.

Bangkok Airlines has a daily direct flight from Chiang Mai to Koh Samui which takes under 2 hours. There are also many flights via Bangkok that will take you about 4 hours in total.

You can also buy combined travel tickets with an overnight train from Bangkok, then bus and ferry rides to Koh Samui.

koh phangan full moon party

Koh Phangan: 2 – 3 days

If you are a party person then you’ll want to plan your Thailand itinerary so that the dates you will be on Koh Phangan, also known as Koh Pha-Ngan, coincide with the date for the famous monthly Full Moon Party.

This massive party takes over the whole of Haad Rin beach and attracts tens of thousands of people every single month for a bucket list experience.

Deck yourself out in UV glow paint, sip on buckets of booze and party on the beach until sunrise with loud dance music blasting from the many bars along the beach.

Thailand sunsets

Many hotels in Haad Rin have a minimum stay of 3 nights around full moon. Make sure you book your accommodation well in advance if you’ll be in Koh Phangan for the Full Moon Party.

If it’s not full moon time when you visit don’t worry as there are still lots of amazing parties like the Half Moon Party and the Jungle Experience, which are in many ways better than the Full Moon party anyway.

samma karuna yoga koh phangan

Koh Phangan also has a hippie, spiritual side with many yoga retreats and numerous meditation and tantra classes available on the other side of the island.

Nature lovers should head to Than Sadet Ko Phagnan National Park which has numerous waterfalls, secluded beaches, and gorgeous hiking opportunities. Phaeng Waterfall is a beautiful waterfall with a nice lookout point in the jungle. Also check out the pretty Chinese style Guanyin Temple.

Where to Stay on Koh Phangan

the cabin beach resort koh phangan
The Cabin Beach Resort, Koh Phangan

Koh Phangan has many different beaches and areas that will appeal to different people – whether you are looking to be close to the nightlife, yoga studios or just relax on a beautiful beach.

If your visiting for the Full Moon Party stay on Haad Rin Beach. Tommy Resort is the best pick. Or consider somewhere like The Cabin Beach Resort on nearby Leela Beach which is just stumbling distance away.

If you’re not here for the party, stay at one of Koh Phangan’s excellent yoga retreats or head to the north to Thong Nai Pan Bay. This is where you’ll find the island’s best beaches, luxury spa resorts like Santhiya Koh Phangan Resort and more affordable Longtail Beach Resort.

Check out my guide to where to stay in Koh Phangan for more details.

How to get to Koh Phangan

Ferries from Koh Samui go regularly to Koh Phangan taking between 30 minutes and 1 hour, and then continue onwards to Koh Tao.

koh-tao koh nang yuan viewpoint

Koh Tao: 2 – 3 Days

The tiny turtle shaped island of Koh Tao is one of the best places not just in Thailand but in the whole world for scuba diving due to its colourful and vibrant coral reefs and warm tropical waters.

Koh Tao is one of the best, and cheapest, places in the world to do your PADI open water course and learn how to scuba dive.

Under the water you have the chance to see turtles, rays, whale sharks, and numerous other species of fish and wildlife.

Scuba diving Thailand

PADI scuba diving courses normally take 4 days, so if you only have 2 weeks to spend in Thailand you could adjust this itinerary and spend less time on the other islands and still fit it all in to a 2 week Thailand itinerary.

Or if you just want to give diving a try you can also do a 1 day discover dive, or join one of the snorkelling boat trips.

The island is also home to many beautiful bays, groves, and secluded beaches. Don’t miss the trek up to the Koh Nang Yuan viewpoint to take in the gorgeous panorama.

Where to Stay on Koh Tao

sensi paradise resort koh tao

Koh Tao has a party scene too, Sairee Beach is where most of the amenities and nightlife are but can be a noisy place to stay.

Sensi Paradise Beach Resort is a nice tropical resort within walking distance but far enough away to get some sleep. A good budget pick complete with sea views is Koh Tao Heritage.

How to get to Koh Tao

The ferry from Koh Phangan to Koh Tao takes about 1 hour. From Koh Samui it’s closer to 2 hours.

After Koh Tao, head back to Koh Samui for better onward travel options. Take a ferry and bus or train combination or catch a flight from Koh Samui back to Bangkok to catch your flight home.

Back to Bangkok

Wat Arun Bangkok

Depending on where you end your island hopping trip fly from either Phuket, Krabi or Koh Samui back to Bangkok to catch your international flight home.

I’d recommend allowing time in your 2 week Thailand itinerary to get back to Bangkok with plenty of time to make your next flight in case of ferry or flight delays from the islands.

So spend one more night in Bangkok, eat some last pad thai, visit one more temple, get one more massage and do some last minute shopping and bring a bit of Thailand back home with you.

Ideas for a 7 – 10 Days Thailand Itinerary

If you don’t have so much vacation time don’t worry, you can still follow some of this itinerary just modify it depending on how many days you have.

Here’s some suggestions for a 10 day Thailand itinerary and a 7 day Thailand itinerary too:

10 Days in Thailand Itinerary

Bangkok (2 days)
Chiang Mai (3 days)
Koh Samui (2 days)
Koh Phangan (2 days)
Bangkok (1 day)

7 Days in Thailand Itinerary

Bangkok (2 days)
Chiang Mai (2 days)
Phuket (2 days)
Bangkok (1 day)

If you’ve got more time to play with then check out this 1 month Thailand backpacking route.

Essential Thailand Travel Tips

Now you’ve got a better idea of how to plan your perfect 2 weeks in Thailand itinerary, here’s all the other essential travel tips you’ll need to plan your trip and start your adventure of a lifetime!

When to Visit Thailand

One thing that’s really important to know before you plan a trip to Thailand is the best time to visit Thailand. Tropical Thailand is warm all year round but there are three different seasons in Thailand: hot, cool, and wet.

The best time to visit Thailand is in the cool season from November/December – February/March where sunny, clear skies and warm (not unbearably hot) temperatures are the most pleasant for traveling and sightseeing and beach days.

A highlight is the Loi Krathong festival. Celebrated in Northern Thailand in November where you’ll witness hundreds of lanterns being released into the air.

This is also the peak tourist season so it will be busier and prices will be higher. So it’s best to book ahead, especially in December and January and around Christmas and New Year.

plan your thailand itinerary to coincide with the loi krathong lantern festival

April and May are still dry and sunny but can be uncomfortably hot for sightseeing in the North but a good time for relaxing on the beaches. Celebrating Songkran, the Thai New Year on 13th April can be fun but book accommodation and transport well in advance.

June, July and August see the start of the rainy season, which increases in intensity as it progresses. At first it’s usually just a short afternoon downpour that brings a welcome relief to the heat and humidity. See more about the advantages and disadvantages of traveling in the rainy season.

Phuket and the Andaman Coast experience the most rain in September – October, but the Gulf is still pretty dry at this time.

Koh Samui and the Gulf of Thailand witnesses downpours from November to December, but the Andaman coast has mostly dried up by now.

If you’re visiting Thailand in July and August (which is in the middle of the rainy season) the Koh Samui side is your best bet for good weather.

Getting to Thailand

Bangkok has two airports and is well connected to the rest of the world which makes getting to Thailand easy.

Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi international airport (BKK) handles long haul international flights and Don Mueang (DMK) handles flights within Thailand and Southeast Asia.

Thailand’s network of low cost domestic flights make getting around quick and easy with airports in popular destinations including Chiang Mai, Phuket, Koh Samui, Krabi and more.

Visas for Thailand

Getting in to Thailand is easy as the country offers 30 day visa free entry to most nationalities including U.K., U.S.A., Australia, Canada, New Zealand and most European countries.

You can only get the 30 days visa free if you arrive to Thailand via air with an onward ticket. If you arrive by land you only get 15 days visa free.

If you fall in love and want to stay longer you can extend your visa by another 30 days at an immigration office and paying about 2,000 baht. Or, apply for a longer visa at any Thai Embassy before you enter Thailand.  More visa info here.

Covid-19 Update: Thailand is now fully open! From 1st October 2022, Thailand no longer requires travellers to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result. The length of stay allowed with the visa exemption has also increased from 30 days to 45 days.

Be aware that this can change depending on the covid situation. Check the latest entry requirements and keep up to date with the latest news from the Thailand Tourism Authority.

bangkok grand palace and tuk tuk

Getting Around Thailand

Thailand’s transportation system is modern and efficient which makes getting around Thailand safe and easy. Trains, buses, flights, boats, taxis and tuk-tuks operate all over the country.

Trains are comfortable and can be a fun way to get to know some of the locals. Taking an overnight train can also save on a night’s accommodation.

Thai Buses are mostly modern, convenient and comfortable, especially if you book one of the luxury air conditioned buses that run frequently between major towns and tourist destinations. Minivans are also an affordable way to travel but can be cramped for long distances.

When planning your 2 week Thailand itinerary in advance you can book your transport online easily using 12 Go Asia

Accommodation Options in Thailand

Thailand has all types of accommodation, whether you’re looking for luxury 5 star hotels with spas and rooftop pools, yoga retreats, affordable guesthouses and backpacker hostels plus everything in between.

You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to accommodation in Thailand and prices are often considerably cheaper than you’ll find in Europe or the US.

In this post I’ve recommended mid range hotels and resorts for each destination that I feel represents both a great experience and great value for money without breaking the bank, but both ultra luxury and ultra cheap options are also available.

You can also find plenty of hotels including budget options on Booking.com and Agoda also offers great deals on hotels in Asia.

Thailand waterfall

Tours of Thailand

Multi Day Tours

Thailand is quite safe and easy to travel independently, but if you want to take the hassle out of planning and arranging your Thailand itinerary for yourself then it’s a great idea as all your transport and accommodation and must do activities are taken care of.

Taking an organised tour will allow you to see all the highlights in a much shorter period of time so it’s the best option if you want to fit as much as possible into a short trip and all you have to do is relax and enjoy it!

Joining a multi day group tour of Thailand is also perfect if you’re a solo traveller and don’t want to travel alone. If you pick the right tour you’ll also be traveling with a group of like minded people and make plenty of new friends.

Another advantage is that tours sometimes include some more off the beaten track and less touristy experiences that you might not have known about or that might be harder to reach on your own.

If you’ve liked my itinerary but would rather have someone else sort everything out for you then this 12 day Amazing Thailand Discovery Tour will take you to see the highlights of Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phuket and Phang Nga Bay.

If you’re a backpacker or young solo traveller this fun 15 day Backpacking Thailand group tour by Feel Free Travel is perfect. If you prefer a private tour then check out Realistic Asia’s Perfect Thailand 13 days private tour package.

You can also search through and read reviews of all the Thailand tours available from hundreds of companies on Tour Radar.

Day Tours

Even if you are traveling Thailand independently taking day tours are an easy way to get off the beaten track, enjoy special activities. Guided tours are also a great way to get to know more about the history and culture of country and can really bring a destination to life.

Day trips and island hopping tours are also a good way to see the highlights of other areas without the hassle and time spent switching hotels or organising it all on your own.

For guided tours and day trips I recommend Get your Guide and Viator where you can see all the activities and trips available, check out reviews and book them online in advance to save the time and hassle of organising it after you arrive, and the risk of missing out if the trip you want to take is fully booked.

The Lonely Planet Thailand Guidebook is packed with useful information for pretty much every tourist destination in Thailand. It’s invaluable for both planning your Thailand itinerary and for taking on the road with you.

Travel Insurance

Thailand is generally a very safe and welcoming country to travel in but whenever you travel abroad you shouldn’t leave home without travel insurance in case you fall ill, have an accident or have to cancel your trip.

It’s even more important nowadays to get travel insurance that covers Covid-19 related illnesses, cancellations or delays.

I recommend World Nomads for shorter trips or, if you’re a digital nomad or already traveling, you can get covered with Safety Wing. Both cover Covid 19.

I hope you found this post useful and that it helps you to plan your own perfect 2 week Thailand itinerary. For more tips read my Thailand travel guide and more of my posts about Thailand here.

Have an amazing trip to Thailand!

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