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TRAVEL ITINERARY / A four week itinerary for Thailand

27 March 2017

Thailand. The country where my first backpack adventure started. The country I would come back to twice during that same journey. And the country I couldn’t forget about anymore, because there are so many things to see and to do. I share with you my itinerary for Thailand, through the north part of the country. The part of Thailand where you can spend days wandering around the jungle, while taking a step back in time and enjoying the relaxing atmosphere at the same moment. An itinerary for Thailand in four weeks

My itinerary for Thailand

Exploring Thailand in just a couple of weeks? Don’t you dare trying. If there is one country around the world that simply has it all, it’s Thailand. The culture? Fascinating. The food. Simply delicious. The nature? Fantastic! From bounty islands to historical villages around the jungle, Thailand got it. And that’s why you need time to explore everything. Writing down an itinerary for Thailand is therefore not a simple task. A lot of people decide to divide the country in two parts and travel one part each time: the north and the south. I did the same thing and went only to the north the first time. In about four weeks I traveled from Bangkok to Chiang Rai, but my bucket list for Thailand is still way too long. This was my itinerary for Thailand:


Bangkok – Kanchanaburi – Ayutthaya – Sukhothai – Mae Sot/Umphang – Chiang Mai – Chiang Rai

Day 1 till 4: Bangkok

For many backpackers Bangkok will be the start of their adventure around Southeast Asia. So it was for me. Somewhere in the afternoon I arrived in the chaotic, busy and lively city of Bangkok. I had no idea where to look. When you have never been outside Europe before, Bangkok is quite an experience (nowadays I really love the city!). Therefore I just rushed to my guesthouse and I spent the rest of my days relaxing around there.

The next days I visited tempels like Wat Pho, Wat Arun and Wat Phra Kaew, walked around a floating market, was amazed by all the things going on around Khao San Road and found out that the Thai kitchen contains the best food you can possibly get around the world. Are you planning a trip to Bangkok and still looking for an affordable, nice accommodation were you can relax a bit? I really enjoyed my stay at NapPark Hostel. It’s really luxurious and clean for a hostel, besides that I slept quietly and well and you can already meet a bunch of people to travel with. Not a bad place for the first days! Be sure you also read my five tips for Bangkok before you go.

Itinerary for Thailand | Bangkok | Floating MarketItinerary for Thailand | Bangkok | Khao San Road

Day 5 and 6: Ayutthaya

After spending four days in Bangkok I decided to catch the train to Ayutthaya with some other backpackers. Ayutthaya was once the main capital of the old Thailand (Siam) and you can find lots of historical temples and ruins around here. We rented a a bike and drove around Ayutthaya to visit some of them. That was really a good way to explore the village. In between we had some amazing Thai food at one of the many food stalls you can find around and we relaxed a bit at the swimming pool next to our guesthouse as well. The next day we decided to continue our journey to Kanchanaburi.

That was the moment we made our first mistake, because it wasn’t easy at all to travel from Ayutthaya to Kanchanaburi and we needed to go back to Bangkok first. Luckily they changed it nowadays and it is possible now, but it will not hurt to check some details first before you go somewhere. It took us quite some travel time so make sure you base your itinerary for Thailand on logical transportation.
Itinerary for Thailand | Wat Phra Mahathat | Ayutthaya

Day 7 till 9: Kanchanaburi

For the first time in my life I took a bus in Asia. It doesn’t matter how many time you take a bus in Asia, it’s always a little adventure. We ended up in some school bus and the driver drove insanely fast on the roads while the bus didn’t had any doors. But whatever, it’s Thailand, so things like that happen all the time. Late in the evening we arrived in Kanchanburi and we found a lovely guesthouse next to the river. Beautiful! The next morning we explored the area and one of the things we visited was the bridge over the River Kwai and the museum next to it. I am pretty sure you know the story.

In the evening we had some amazing Thai food again in the main street of Kanchanaburi and the next morning we took a songthaew to the Erawan Falls. Wow, such an amazing place! For the first time in my life I saw wild monkeys in the trees, bright turquoise water and lots of waterfalls in one place. It had something magical. Everywhere you could find small pools to swim in, some with little fish in it that softly nibble on your toe. This place was really lovely so make sure you don’t miss it!
Itinerary for Thailand | River KwaiItinerary for Thailand | Erawan | KanchanaburiItinerary for Thailand | Kanchanaburi

Day 10 till 12: Traveling and Sukhothai

After spending two days in Kanchanaburi, we went with a group of people to Sukhothai. It was the first time we had to travel a long way and partially we did that by night bus. So one day we did nothing but traveling. You can compare Sukhothai easily with Ayutthaya, because the most common places you can go to here as a traveler are the ruins and temples as well. Again we decided to rent a bike to see everything. If you really like to visit temples and ruins, both places are definitely worth a visit. Otherwise you can easily decide to visit one of them. Personally I liked Sukhothai better than Ayutthaya.

Sukhothai also has a fantastic night market. The food here is simply amazing and we had a really cultural night. We spoke with Thai people, joined some dance event and had a blast. Sukhothai is for sure a great place to have a stop over if you don’t want to travel from Bangkok to Chiang Mai straight away.
Itinerary for Thailand | SukhothaiItinerary for Thailand | Sukhothai | Night market

Day 13 till 16: Jungle trekking Mae Sot

A lot of people go directly from Sukhothai to Chiang Mai, but we decided to go to the west of Thailand first. That was mostly because we wanted to do a jungle trekking around Mae Sot. Most people do a jungle trekking around Chiang Mai, but we wanted to go to a place with less tourists. Good decision, because we were the only ones.

So from Sukhothai we traveled to Mae Sot, where we were picked up the next morning for a four-hour long journey through the hills. We arrived in a small village were we had some lunch and after that we went to the jungle. The coming four days we would go hiking and canoeing through the jungle. Some nights we slept in the middle of the jungle while everything turned pitch-dark and you literally couldn’t see anything anymore and other nights we slept on wooden floors of small huts from tribes. An eagle flew above us with a giant snake in his beak. Everywhere we saw kingfishers, who disappeared incredibly fast at the moment we approached them. And we saw amazing waterfalls. It was an exhausting but incredible journey!
Itinerary for Thailand | Jungle trekkingItinerary for Thailand | Umphang | Waterfall

Day 17 till 19: Chiang Mai

After spending four days in the jungle, we found ourselved back in Mae Sot, where we took the bus to Chiang Mai in the north of Thailand. We arrived in the evening, but luckily we were still able to find a good place for the night.

If there is one place in Thailand I can easily stay for weeks, it will be Chiang Mai. Again we visited some temples, but we also went to a Muay Thai match and a cooking class. I really liked the cooking workshop and I still love to make Thai food when I am at home. It’s so good! Even just walking around in Chiang Mai is already a fun thing to do. There are so many lovely streets with fantastic restaurants and markets and there is so much to do in the area around Chiang Mai. And I did not even speak yet about the relaxed atmosphere. Definitely worth a visit!
Itinerary for Thailand | Chiang MaiItinerary for Thailand | Chiang Mai

Pai

Don’t make the same mistake as I did and go to Pai after Chiang Mai! I decided to skip it (but now I still have something on my bucket list), but I’ve heard so many good stories about it. It’s has a bit of a hippie vibe and it’s just a couple of hours away from Chiang Mai. The road you have to take is terrible with a lot of curves, but the nature is stunning and the village itself has a good vibe. Put it on your list I would say.

Day 20 till 21: Elephant Nature Park

There was just one thing I already putted in my itinerary for Thailand for sure before I left the Netherlands and that was a spot to visit the Elephant Nature Park close to Chiang Mai. If you want to go there and stay the night as well, you should definitely make a reservation weeks before you go. In the Elephant Nature Park they take care of abused and wounded elephants and keep them there so they can have a better life. During your visit you will take care of the elephants, feed them, clean them and learn a lot about them.

I stayed there for one night and for about one and a half day I walked between the mighty elephants. What an incredible experience and it’s so amazing to wake up in the morning, walk out of your hut and to see elephants walking around. You can also decide to go for one day or to stay even longer. But like I said, make sure you make a reservation on time!
Itinerary for Thailand | Northern Thailand | Elephant Nature Park Chiang MaiItinerary for Thailand | Northern Thailand | Elephant Nature Park Chiang Mai

Day 22 till 23: Chiang Rai

The last stop for me in Northern Thailand. From the Elephant Nature Park I went back to Chiang Mai to sleep there for the night. The next morning I met my old travel mates again, who went to Pai in the meantime. Together we decided to take the bus to Chiang Rai. Honestly there is not that much to do in Chiang Rai, but the Wat Rond Khun temple is definitely worth a visit. At this point you might have seen enough temples around already, but this one is really unique.

Chiang Rai is also the perfect getaway to go to Laos. Here you can take the bus to the border and from there a bus or boat to Luang Prabang. A lot of backpackers take the slow boat. It takes two days, but it’s definitely worth it.
Itinerary for Thailand | Chiang Rai

Tips for your itinerary for Thailand

→ Don’t make too many plans. Traffic in Thailand is really unpredictable and a journey can take so much more time than expected, so don’t make a schedule from day to day. Just write down a couple of places you want to see and decide while you’re there how long you want to stay there.

→ Ask other travelers for tips. The best spots I found simply by asking my fellow backpackers on the road.

→ Don’t make any reservation (except of the Elephant Nature Park) on forehand. There is always a place to sleep and it makes your journey more exciting.

Planning on backpacking through Southeast Asia? Next to this itinerary for Thailand I also wrote an itinerary for Vietnam. You can find it here!

Itinerary for Thailand | Four weeks | Northern Thailand

This article contains an affiliate link. You can read more about my use of affiliate links in my disclaimer.

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27 Comments

  • Reply Wendy 27 March 2017 at 17:13

    This is one of the most usefull reviews I read on Thailand. I will pin this for later. I was in Thailand for only 1 day with I cruise and I really want to go back for a longer stay to explore the country. And you are right, Thai Food (and Asian food in general) is great.

  • Reply Gabriela 27 March 2017 at 17:31

    I also had so much fun backpacking in Thailand. Hoping to go back there someday!

  • Reply Lena from fouronaworldtrip 27 March 2017 at 22:13

    Thats a great itinerary! We only made it up to Ayutthaya and Kanchanaburi (and the Erewan Waterfalls) but we are planning to spent more time next year, when starting our RTW trip. I pinned it to my Thailand Pinterest board for when the real preparation starts. The kids would love the elefants

  • Reply Vishu Saumya 29 March 2017 at 00:43

    This is what I call a detailed itinerary. Being in a full time job, we can not plan for a month but surely after reading this blog we have an idea what are the things of our interest. Thanks for sharing this post.

  • Reply Stella the Travelerette 30 March 2017 at 04:07

    These sound like an amazing four weeks in Thailand. I would definitely want to visit the elephant park, Bangkok, and Chiang Mai. I wonder why you always enjoy Chiang Mai so much! It does look very pretty in the photos!

    • Reply Danique 4 April 2017 at 15:32

      Chiang Mai is really pretty! Unfortunately I don’t have that many photographs, but I go back this year.

  • Reply Chloe 30 March 2017 at 04:08

    This itinerary is incredible!!!! I lived in Thailand for a year and did a lot of exploring in Southern Thailand, but definitely want to go back and do more of the north. We only hit the major cities up north.
    http://beyondblessedblog.com/

    • Reply Danique 4 April 2017 at 15:33

      Thanks Chloe! A lot of people just go to the major cities but there is so much more to explore!

  • Reply Kat | finding Malokoko 30 March 2017 at 04:27

    This sounds like a great itinerary! I´ve been to Thailand twice (the islands and 3 times in BKK) but still, it somehow did not convince me completely. I said if i go again it will definitely be to the north, because it´s hard to judge a country only by your personal experience in the most touristy areas ;). I learned about some new places thanks to this post ;) Looks wonderful!

    • Reply Danique 4 April 2017 at 15:34

      I have only been to Koh Tao and Koh Samui in the south but those places are so different than the north. I like the north better!

  • Reply Sam 30 March 2017 at 04:59

    This is a fantastic itinerary, an i have no shame in saying that i have bookmarked it under “pilfered itinerary ideas’ for if i ever get to Thailand. Lovely piccies too!

    • Reply Danique 4 April 2017 at 15:35

      Thanks for that Sam!

  • Reply Anna 30 March 2017 at 05:51

    You have such amazing pictures! And I love reading about detailed itineraries – it gives me ideas of things I want to do plus time frames and how to fit all the different places together!

  • Reply Sheila 30 March 2017 at 07:17

    So jealous about your stay at the Elephant Nature Park. It seems every area of Thailand has it’s own identity. It has been on my places to go for awhile now, but I know I need more than just a few days.

  • Reply Daniela || Ipanema travels to 30 March 2017 at 07:32

    A very good read about Thailand! I myself have never been there, so always nice to read about the unknown.

  • Reply Nuraini 30 March 2017 at 14:47

    Yeah Thai food is amazing :) my Thai colleague is perplexed over the high availability of his cuisine in Malaysia haha

  • Reply Liza 31 March 2017 at 02:02

    Wow, this sounds like an amazing trip! I wish a had a month of holidays to travel around :) I’ve never been to the North of Thailand, so this post has been super useful!

  • Reply Samantha 31 March 2017 at 04:49

    For sure! Thailand has WAY too much to explore! Your pictures are all so amazing, those waterfalls and blue water is beautiful! And don’t get me started on the elephants, thank you for supporting an ethical animal experience!

    • Reply Danique 4 April 2017 at 15:37

      Yes, it got way too much haha. I go back this year and I know already I won’t have time enough again ;).

  • Reply Lauren 31 March 2017 at 06:57

    What a fantastic itinerary! I’d love to have a month or longer in Thailand. I’d love to volunteer helping the elephants.

  • Reply Punita Malhotra 1 April 2017 at 00:18

    To be frank, I have never come across such an extensive itinerary in Thailand. Some people only cover beaches while in this country, but like you have detailed in your post, there is always so much to discover. That picture of the Buddha-face statue hidden in the trunk of the tree is so amazing!

    • Reply Danique 4 April 2017 at 15:38

      Yeah, it is a really cool statue!

  • Reply Ariane 2 April 2017 at 18:51

    This seemed to be a super cool trip… looking at you pics I might even be a bit jealous ;-) You really saw a bit of everything from thailand, that’s just perfect!

  • Reply Chiera 2 April 2017 at 19:21

    I really love these kinds of posts because I feel sometimes going to a place that is completely new is a bit overwhelming! Definitely helps when it comes to planning! Thank you for sharing your tips!

    • Reply Danique 4 April 2017 at 15:38

      You’re welcome Chiera :-).

  • Reply Only By Land 2 April 2017 at 22:02

    This is a wonderful itinerary for Northern Thailand, especially if I head to Laos or come from Laos. I always wondered where the tree with the head in was, now I know it’s in Ayutaya. I love your photos they are so detailed.

  • Reply David 10 April 2017 at 23:57

    Love Thailand! We first honeymooned there 6 years a go for 6 weeks, that is what made us quit everything and just travel! We have been back many of times and no matter how many times we visit its special. Great post travel on!

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