Here's a wrap-up of where to go and what to see in the major tourist destinations. This is just a bare-bones itinerary, mostly aimed at first time visitors to get you started. You should feel free to adjust it to meet your own special interests.
Looking for something completely different? Visit our Alternative Travel page for links to agencies offering home stays, volunteer opportunities, etc.
Bangkok - Three Days
- Day 1
- National Museum
- Day 2
- Wat Po
- Day 3
- Vimanmek Mansion
Jim Thompson House
Options for extra days / trips outside Bangkok:
Chiang Mai Basics - Three Days
This is an "easy" schedule. If you start on these tours early in the day, you'll have time in the late afternoon to cool off, or even take a siesta before heading out for an evening at the night bazaar or where-ever. Don't forget to squeeze a khan toke dinner in on one evening.
- Day 1
- Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep
Maeo Village at Doi Pui
Wat Phra Sing (time permitting)
- Day 2
- Mae Sa Valley
Orchid & Butterfly Farm
Mae Sa Waterfall
Siamese Cat Farm
- Day 3
- San Kamphaeng Road Factories
Umbrellas at Borsang
If time permits, proceed on to the hot springs at San Kamphaeng
Optional Trips Most of these are full day outings you can make from Chiang Mai.
- Mae Sai - Chiang Saen
- Mae Sai is right on the Burmese border, at the northern-most tip of Thailand. Here, the two countries are separated by just a small stream. Being on the border, Mae Sai is naturally a trading town with a busy market. For tourists, there is jade and handicrafts from both Burma and China. A road roughly follows the stream down to where it joins the Mekong river, site of the infamous "Golden Triangle." Further on is the ancient city of Chiang Saen, with more than 70 temples dating from as early as the tenth century.
- Doi Intanon
- The trip up to Thailand's highest mountain is a full day exercise, especially if you stop at the many spectacular waterfalls you'll find up the side of the mountain.
Thailand Beach Break - Three Days
Perhaps one of the hardest decisions to make when planning a trip to Thailand is where to spend some time on the beach. Of course, if you're one of those people that doesn't like the beach, then this is not problem, but for the rest of you the options are quite daunting.
The most likely options for the beach portion of your holiday are Phuket and Samui, but some may want to think about Pattaya, Hua Hin or Krabi. When trying to decide between Samui and Phuket, you could let the time of year decide for you. If your trip will be between April and September, then Samui is the better option since it is drier than Phuket during this time. Both islands get a lot of rain in October, then from November to March, Phuket receives less rain than Samui. See our Phuket vs Samui page for a graphic comparison of the rainy seasons, as well as a discussion of the alternatives.
Bangkok Wrap-Up - Two Days
Since your Thai vacation will most likely involve you arriving and departing through Bangkok, we suggest that you schedule some time in Bangkok at the end of your trip to do a final bit of shopping or catching up on any sights you may have missed.