A TWO WEEK THAILAND TRAVEL ITINERARY
Last year I fell in love with Thailand. After two weeks exploring as much of the country and the Andaman coast as possible, I’d fallen in love with the tranquility, the beaches, the national parks and the people. Before my trip it’s fair to say I had some preconceptions, i’d heard lots about the party scene in Phi Phi and Phuket, and had imagined not much more than full moon parties and tourists galore.
But our carefully curated Thailand adventure got us off the beaten track, opened our eyes to the less tourist islands and areas and gave us a real taste of paradise, Thai culture and the relaxed way of living you fall so naturally into when you’re there.
Hopefully you’ve already seen a few of my Asian travel posts already, from our time in Bangkok, to exploring Koh Lanta and Khao Sok National Park, to discovering paradise in Koh Yao Noi and Racha island. But today I wanted to pull all our travels together, to give you a one stop shop for exploring Thailand and share with you the ‘must do’s for any two week trip to the beautiful country.
There’s still so much I personally want to see and explore which I haven’t featured here today, largely the North and East of Thailand (think Chang Mai & Koh Tao) but for a two week trip this itinerary is packed with a bit of everything and so hopefully inspires and helps informs your future travels.
EXPLORE THE CITY OF BANGKOK
Whilst you might be visiting Thailand for the beaches and some time out, a trip to Thailand isn’t complete without exploring a little bit of Bangkok too. Bangkok is the capital of Thailand and a city full of hustle, culture and Buddha’s, lots of Buddhas. Bangkok summarises the juxtaposing sides of Thailand as a whole, from their rich culture and precious temples, to the slums and shacks where many locals still reside, to the beautifully developed more modern and luxurious sides of the country. It’s an incredible place and one that reminds me of Hong Kong a little.
My recommendation would be to fly in (and even out) of Bangkok allowing a couple of days to explore the city before jetting towards the south islands. Getting to the islands like Koh Plangan, and Koh Samui you’ll need a good ferry service like Lomprayah ferry to get you where you need to be.
48 hours makes for a tight but totally doable agenda in Bangkok. I recommend prioritising a few key things you want to see do and experience, and not trying to do everything as the humidity and pace of the city certainly takes it out of you. And in the words of our hotel manager once you’ve seen one temple, you’ve seen them all.
By day, take to boat and head towards the centre of Bangkok where you’ll find the Grand Palace, street markets, the reclining buddha and the infamous Koh San Road. You can read my detailed travel guide to Bangkok here to find out what to see and do & where to eat on your trip. By night, escape the hustle and head slightly out of town, for a delicious dinner in one of Bangkok many up market dining houses (Assiya Siamese Club is fabulous for dinner & the Banyan Tree hotel a must for sunset drinks) and get a good nights sleep in one of their boutique hotels. I thoroughly recommend The Cabochon Hotel (just off Sukhumvit), a great location and a sanctuary from the cities heat and pace.
HAVE AN ADVENTURE AT A NATIONAL PARK
One of the biggest highlights of my trip to Thailand was spending two days in the jungle exploring one of their many beautiful National Parks and spending a day trekking within it.
It’s easy to forget to plan in a National Park, especially as they often require long drives to get to (we spent three hours driving north from Phuket on our trip) but I highly recommend ensuring you add it to your itinerary.
There are tons to choose from whether you head North towards Chang Mai or stay south (which we did as most of our travels were based around the Andaman Coast) and visit the likes of Khao Sok National Park.
Dependent on what you’re looking for, you can spend as little or as much time in the jungle as you like. We took a day trip into Khao Sok National Park, exploring the park by boat, trekking through the jungle to a local village, climbing through caves, and finally swimming in the incredible lake during a storm. But if you want to make a little more of your time there, you can book three or four day stays where you’ll trek deeper into the jungle, camp over night, walk with elephants and generally get to have a bit more of an adventure.
You’ll want two nights minimum (this would allow for a one day National Park trek and two nights either side) but you could spend up to four or five if your itinerary allows.
BE A PART TIME BACK PACKER
Thailand has an awful lot of luxury to choose from, private islands and 6 star boutique luxury hotels, and yes they are a must if your budget extends that far, but actually there are some more ‘backpacker’ type destinations that are just as beautiful and fun to visit on your trip.
So why not, for a few nights, embrace your inner backpacker and explore some of the more popular traveller parts of Thailand too.
Whether that’s partying in Phi Phi, or chilling out in the likes of Koh Lanta like we did. Now don’t get me wrong we still stayed in 5* accommodation, but we certainly took the opportunity to stroll down the beautiful clear beaches by day, hang out at the beach shacks and spend our evenings eating in the popular local restaurants which the tuk tuks would take us to.
For me, 4 days in Koh Lanta allowed me to feel like I’d taken a year out just to relax and explore, long days spent on the beach, sunset thai massages costing mere pennies and evenings spent in my beach dresses drinking cocktails & eating incredible thai cuisine. It was pure heaven. There are so many places like this you can explore, but Koh Lanta was our choice and i’d highly recommend it.
TREAT YOURSELF TO THE SUPER LUXE
And finally, if theres one place in the world to splash out on a little luxury then Thailand is that place. The amount of incredible, private and top luxury hotels is incredible, whether its the Six Senses or the likes of the Keemala, The Pimalai, The Racha with its own private island, there are some beyond luxury retreats to choose from.
The experience can put you back hundreds if not thousands of pounds, but if you’re able to splurge a little then Thailand certainly has a lot to choose from.
We were lucky enough to include super Luxe stays in our two weeks in Thailand, with Two nights at Racha Island in one of their beach front pool suites and four nights in Koh Yao Noi staying at the luxury Paradise Hotel.
And what can you expect? Pure paradise.
TRAVEL BY SEA & TUK TUK
And finally. Thailand is huge, lets not forget that and so getting around has to be factored into your travel itinerary. Whether its allocating a day for internal fights from Bangkok down to Krabi or Phuket (around £50 fish), half a day for taxi’s or boat trips from one island or area to the next (Phuket to Khao Sok took us three hours or so via taxi and most island boat trips took around 2 hours), or simply allowing yourself 10 minutes to hop in a Tuk Tuk to reach your dinner destination.
Travel in Thailand may not be westernised, but its certainly easy, cheap and simple to organise.
Most luxury hotels have their own speed boat services to pick you up and return you to mainland, if not, local fisherman will whiz you around for a few thousand baht or the daily ferries only set you back a few hundred baht (it costs a mere couple of pounds to travel from Koh Lanta, Via phi phi to Phuket).
The hotel staff and local people are wonderfully kind and helpful and will always help you organise your adventures and the best travel plans for you.
So there you have it, my top tips for how to plan two weeks in Thailand. I most definitely recommend moving around, exploring more than one area and adding a 48 hour trip to Bangkok into your itinerary.
In case you’re interested our trip consisted of two nights in Bangkok, two nights in Koh Lanta, two nights at Racha, two nights in Khao Sok National Park, four nights in Koh Yao Noi and one final night in Bangkok. Overall we maximised our days around the places we wanted to spend most time, and organised travel to have the least impact on our time to enjoy each place.
Whilst i’ve not gone into the details of organising your travel and time, generally speaking most hotels are represented by the likes of Small Luxury Hotels, Mr & Mrs Smith and you can find some good deals on Agoda & Expedia in Thailand.
We booked all our hotels and our internal flight from Bangkok to Krabi all ahead of time, but the rest of our travel we organised throughout our stay without any trouble at all. We booked our flights with BA almost a year in advance and managed to get an incredible deal, paying under £400 return to Bangkok.
Overall despite our investment in luxury hotels (we paid between £100 – £450 a night for our hotels but you can easily find fantastic deals and hotels for much nearer to £40 a night, especially if you book in advance) and the sheer amount of travel we did, we only paid around £2000 each for our two week trip. Which considering the amount we saw, the experiences we had and the luxury we got to indulge in, is an incredible price.
The food and living is exceptionally cheap in Thailand making it a relatively affordable place to be when you’re out there. The more up market hotels naturally charge more western prices, but generally speaking you’ll find yourself spending a few pounds on a delicious home cooked thai meal and £7 on an hours long sunset thai massage.
Overall it’s just an incredible place to visit, I highly recommend adding it to your bucket list if you’ve not already been, and if you’ve been once, adding it back on, because there’s simple so much to explore and see two weeks just isn’t enough.
I’m already planning my next trip so I can explore more of the North and East of the country. Not to mention, adding more of Asia on to my bucket list.