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10 Days In Thailand: A Detailed Thailand Travel Itinerary

Thailand is a popular tourist destination in Southeast Asia and rightfully so. The people are very friendly, the food is delicious, and it's very affordable.

Nature in Thailand is beautiful and varied, with mountains in the North and tropical islands in the South. There are many historical sites, such as Ayutthaya, Sukhothai, and Kanchanaburi, and backpacking in Thailand is very easy.

This itinerary will help you make the most of your 10 days in Thailand!

10 days in Thailand

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Things to know when planning a trip to Thailand

What is the best time to visit Thailand?

While there isn’t necessarily a bad time for a Thailand holiday, the best time to visit Thailand is between November and April.

These months offer warm but comfortable temperatures and a low chance of precipitation. Note that Christmas can be very busy, so if you plan to travel to Thailand during this holiday period, book your accommodation on time!

The rainy season in Thailand is between July and October. That being said, the severity of the monsoon season really depends on which area in Thailand you're planning to visit.

We spent two months on Koh Samui (July and August) and while we had several cloudy days, it never rained for a prolonged time. Usually, there was a heavy shower in the afternoon or evening and it cleared up afterward.

Traveling in shoulder season is a great way to save money on your Thailand trip, plus the crowds are fewer.


Which currency is used in Thailand?

The official currency in Thailand is the Thai bahtHere you can find the current exchange rates.

At the time of writing €1 is approximately 35THB and $1 approximately 32THB.

Do I need a visa for Thailand?

That depends. There are 64 countries falling under the so-called Visa Exemption and Bilateral Agreement, including the U.S.A., most countries of the European Union, and several countries in South America.

Under these regulations, you can stay in Thailand for up to 30 days as long as you can provide proof of an outbound ticket.

You can find more detailed information on the Thai embassy website.

What about plane tickets to Thailand?

Thailand has several international airports but tickets to Suvarnabhumi Airport (Bangkok) are pretty much always the cheapest option.

That being said, keep an eye open for tickets to Chiang Mai and Phuket as you may be able to get a good deal flying into these cities instead.

When searching for cheap flights to Thailand, it’s best to book 2-8 months in advance (as with all international flights).

You may be able to find cheaper flights if you're willing to be flexible with your departure and arrival times. Sure, it’s not ideal to arrive in the middle of the night, but if it saves you hundreds of dollars it’s worth losing one night of good sleep.

There are lots of cheap domestic flights in Thailand if you need to cover a larger distance as fast as possible. Reputable low-cost airlines in Thailand are Air Asia, Lion Air, Nok Air, and Thai Smile.

It's often cheaper to fly to Don Mueang International Airport for domestic flights than to Suvarnabhumi Airport.

How to get around Bangkok?

The easiest way to get around Bangkok is with the BTK, the sky train of Bangkok. However, you can't get to all the places to visit in Bangkok with the BTK.

There is also an extensive bus network in Bangkok. When trying to make sense of the slightly complex bus system, this website is very helpful.

There are tuk-tuks and taxis as well, but I personally prefer to travel by bus. It's how the locals travel (we were often the only foreigners on the bus) and it’s much cheaper too!

Last but certainly not least is to travel by boat. The most scenic way to get from A to B in Bangkok is by cruising the Chao Phraya River while admiring the ever-changing skyline.

Read more about Bangkok boat transport here. There are also several Chao Phraya boat tours, such as this popular dinner cruise.

How do I plan a 10-day trip to Thailand?

Thailand has so much to offer that you can't possibly see everything in just 10 days. Choices have to be made and I've created three detailed Thailand travel itineraries.

These Thailand itineraries are perfect for people who don't want to rush around the country, but rather spend a couple of days at each location.

Plan your Southeast Asia trip like a pro with these tools:
✈️ Find the best flight deals on
? Book your transport tickets (train, bus, ferry, minivan, and more) via 12Go.Asia
?️ Find your dream accommodation on or Agoda.
? Book the best tours with Klook and Get Your Guide.
? Plan your journey with the Lonely Planet.
?️ Travel safely and get reliable travel insurance from Safety Wing.

10 days in Thailand itinerary option 1: Bangkok and around

10 Days In Thailand: How To Get Around

This itinerary includes Bangkok, Kanchanaburi, Ayutthaya, and Koh Samet.

The distances covered in this itinerary are relatively small, all the places included in this Thailand trip itinerary are located within half a day's travel distance from Bangkok.

Click here to jump to this itinerary

Thailand 10 days itinerary option 2: Bangkok and North Thailand

When following this itinerary to Thailand you will spend several days in buzzing Bangkok, explore the beautiful Buddhist temples in Chiang Mai, enjoy the relaxed town of Pai, and cycle around the ancient ruins of Sukhothai.

This option does require a bit more travel and covers larger distances, however, you will get to explore very different Thailand highlights that will make for a very memorable trip.

Click here to jump to this itinerary

10-day itinerary Thailand option 3: Bangkok and the Gulf Islands

This itinerary is for those who love to spend a couple of days in busy Bangkok but also want plenty of time to relax on some of Thailand's most beautiful tropical islands.

Explore Koh Samui and learn scuba diving on Koh Tao. If you're not into scuba diving, spend a bit more time on Koh Samui instead and explore nearby Angthong National Park on a day trip.

For the ultimate holiday vibe: check into the Kimpton Kitalay Samui and enjoy your happy little holiday bubble at this fabulous 5-star resort (read more here).

Click here to jump to this itinerary

Thailand itinerary 10 days: map option 1

Click here for the interactive map

10 day Thailand itinerary

  • Day 1-3: Bangkok
  • Day 4-5: Kanchanaburi
  • Day 6-7: Ayutthaya
  • Day 8-10: Koh Samet

Where to stay in Thailand

BangkokAu Bon Hostel (budget)€16/$18Click here
BangkokRamada Plaza Menam Riverside (3-star)€66/$72Click hereClick here
BangkokKokotel Dheva Thonglor (family)€87/$94Click hereClick here
KanchanaburiOwl Poshtel€42/$46 Click hereClick here
AyutthayaClassic Kameo€65/$71Click hereClick here
Koh SametAo Prao Resort€135/$148Click hereClick here

Note: Prices for these hotels depend on the time of year and how far in advance you book. Therefore, the prices mentioned above are a rough indication of the price per night to help you compare the different options. Use ‘click here' to see the latest prices on Agoda and Booking and book ahead to get the best deal.

Day 1-3: Bangkok

There is just something about Bangkok that makes it special and unlike any other city. Maybe it’s the sizzling sound of street food being prepared, the organized chaos, or the unmistakable smell of incense.

Whatever the reason, Bangkok is a great city to visit!

There is no better place to start your Thailand route than Bangkok. After all, no trip to Thailand would be complete without spending at least a few days in the busy and bustling capital of Thailand.

Bangkok is an intriguing mix between old and new, between modern and traditional, and between ‘West’ and ‘East’.

It's also a foodies paradise, offering something for everyone (from vegan restaurants to quirky places like the Unicorn Cafe and smoky BBQ street food).

Bangkok itinerary: day 1

Admire Wat Pho and the Reclining Buddha

A must-visit on any Bangkok itinerary is Wat Pho, a large Buddhist temple complex that is most well-known for the famous Reclining Buddha statue, which is over 15 meters high and 46 meters long!

There is much more to see at Wat Pho, besides the Big Buddha, the entire complex is filled with beautiful statues and buildings.

Allow at least two hours but preferably half a day to explore the complex.


The entrance fee for Wat Pho is 200 THB per person, this includes an information leaflet and a small bottle of water.

Speaking of water, make sure to bring enough water with you when exploring Bangkok, particularly in the hottest months of the year (March – June).

Also bring a scarf or sarong, as you will need to cover your shoulders when entering the building that houses the Reclining Buddha.

?If you want to fully immerse yourself in the cultural and historical heritage of Bangkok, check out this excellent City Highlights tour led by an experienced, local tour guide.

Visit an (air-conditioned!) mall in Bangkok

In the afternoon, visit one of the many malls in Bangkok to do some shopping and cool down. Be sure to carry a jacket as the air-conditioning is sometimes set to uncomfortably low temperatures.

Popular malls are the MBK Center, Siam Center, Siam Paragon, and my personal favorite Terminal 21.

Terminal 21 is a shopping mall where each floor is built in the theme of a famous city in the world. We visited Tokyo, Paris, London, Istanbul, and San Francisco in just two hours;-).

There are cinemas in several of these malls as well, so if you feel like catching a movie, you can. Movies are often shown in English with Thai subtitles but it's best to check with the cinema staff before purchasing a ticket.

Have a drink at the Red Sky Rooftop Bar


There are plenty of rooftop bars in Bangkok, in my opinion, one of the best is the Red Sky Rooftop Bar.

With comfortable chairs, a wide selection of drinks, relaxing music, and a beautiful view over Bangkok this is an excellent place to watch the sunset.

Insider advice: arrive an hour before sunset to scoop up one of the good seats and stay until the last light has faded away and the city has been lit up by thousands of twinkling lights.

Bangkok itinerary: day 2

A lovely place to have breakfast is Saneh, a tiny riverside restaurant that I never would have found on my own. This place was recommended by a friend of mine, who lived in Bangkok for 4 months.

There are lots of great breakfast spots in Bangkok, you just have to know where to look.

The Grand Palace

Grand Palace Bangkok Thailand

Another popular Bangkok attraction you can't miss is the Grand Palace, the official residence of the Kings of Siam (the historic name of Thailand) since 1782.

Part of the complex is still used by the Royal Family and there are several royal offices situated inside.

The complex consists of several buildings, the most famous one is Wat Phra Kaew, also known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha.

Important: this temple is considered the most sacred one in Thailand, so please dress and behave accordingly.

Note that the dress code at the Grand Palace is quite strict. As a woman, make sure to avoid tight-fitting stretch pants, short skirts (above the knee), or anything revealing.

Your shoulders must be covered, so bring a scarf if you are wearing a top. Men should wear long pants and a t-shirt (tank tops aren't allowed).

I recommend visiting early in the day (opening times are 8.30 am until 3.30 pm, every day of the week). Bring enough water as it can get scorching hot within the walls of the Grand Palace.

Click here to buy a skip-the-line ticket online

Lumpini Park

Lumpini Park Bangkok

Bangkok is busy and can be overwhelming, especially if this is your first time visiting. But if you know where to look, there are some lovely peaceful, and quiet places to be found as well.

One of these places is Lumpini Park, a great place for an afternoon stroll. You can also rent one of the paddleboats and slowly drift around the pond.

Lumpini Park is also a great stop for families visiting Bangkok with kids, as there is a large playground and lots of grass to play soccer or other games.

Grab a bite to eat at Khaosan road

For dinner, head to Khaosan road where you can find lots of street food, such as a delicious plate of Pad Thai prepared on a tiny street cart for a mere 35 TBH.

Pad Thai Bangkok - street food what to eat in Thailand

Bangkok itinerary: day 3

Visit the Jim Thompson House

A very interesting place to visit in Bangkok is the Jim Thompson House.

Jim Thomson was an American businessman who fell in love with Thailand and played a crucial role in reviving the Thai silk industry.

Jim Thompson house

In the Jim Thompson House, you can learn more about his story and the impact he had on the silk industry.

Even if you are not into silk the house is still a very worthwhile visit, it’s beautifully constructed and decorated with amazing art.

Opening hours are from 9 am to 6 pm (daily).

Wat Arun

Wat Arun Bangkok

If you aren't templed out yet, visit Wat Arun. Wat Arun is a very impressive and recognizable temple, due to its 70-meter-high spire.

It was built in the typical Khmer style, similar to the style of Angkor Wat in Cambodia. The spire is called ‘prang‘ and is decorated with thousands of pieces of mosaic, made from colorful porcelain.

Insider advice: the best views of Wat Arun are to be had from across the river. If you can, visit at sunset or at night when the temple is beautifully illuminated.

The dress code is similar to the Grand Palace.

?Got more time to spend in Bangkok and love markets? Check out this very popular Bangkok day trip to the famous Damnoen Saduak floating market and the iconic Maeklong Railway Market.

Explore both markets at your own pace and try authentic pad thai, rice noodle soup, or mango sticky rice. Check availability.

Where to stay in Bangkok

We've made several trips to Bangkok and stayed at very different accommodations because we had very different budgets for these trips.

I've included one budget option and one luxury option so you can choose whatever suits your travel style (and budget) best.

Best budget hostel in Bangkok: Au Bon hostel

If you are backpacking around Thailand and want a cheap but comfortable place to sleep, I recommend Au Bon hostel.

The hotel is only a 5-10 minute walk from Khaosan Road, the main backpacker area. The area around the hotel is nice and quiet and while our room was tiny, it was clean and had a comfortable bed and ensuite bathroom.

In the lobby, there is free coffee and tea available as well as the most delicious homemade banana crisps, so yummy! I may have eaten an entire jar by myself…

Click here to book

Best 3-star hotel in Bangkok: Ramada Plaza Menam Riverside

An excellent option when you have a bigger budget is the Ramada Plaza Menam Riverside. The hotel offers large rooms, a swimming pool, and a very extensive breakfast buffet.

There is a free shuttle boat (every 30 minutes) to Sathorn Pier where you can transfer to the Skytrain (BTS at Saphan Taksin). I very much enjoyed my stay here!

Book via Agoda | Book via Booking

Best family hotel in Bangkok: Kokotel Bangkok Dheva Thonglor

During our most recent trip to Bangkok, we were traveling with our kids. I spent a lot of time trying to find a nice family hotel that wouldn't break the bank.

Kokotel Bangkok Dheva Thonglor is exactly that, a very comfortable place in Bangkok to stay with kids for an affordable price with excellent reviews.

Your little ones will love the small indoor play area with a spiral slide, lots of books, and several toys. Plus, there's a swimming pool, always a hit with the kids.

For families I recommend the Deluxe 4-person room, these are spacious and come with a large living plus kitchen, 2 bedrooms (one double bed and a bunk bed), and two bathrooms.

Book via Agoda | Book via Booking

Day 4-5: Kanchanaburi

The bridge over the River Kwai

The bridge over the River Kwai - places to visit in Thailand

One of the most impressive places to visit in Thailand is Kanchanaburi (which can also be visited as a day trip from Bangkok).

During WWII the Japanese occupied the area and forced thousands of people to work on the railway between Thailand and Burma (now Myanmar).

The railway is also called the Death Railway, more than 100.000 people lost their lives while working on this railroad in horrifying conditions…

Be sure to visit the Jeath War Museum, Death Railway Museum, and the Don Rak War Cemetery to learn more about the tragic history of this area.

While places like these are difficult to visit, I think it's crucial to do so. Hopefully, one day we will learn from the mistakes we made in the past…

Erawan National Park

Erawan National Park Kanchanaburi Thailand

Kanchanaburi is a very green region and after exploring busy Bangkok, it's the perfect place to relax and enjoy the beautiful nature.

At just an hour's drive from Kanchanaburi, you can find the glorious mountains of Erawan National Park.

Erawan National Park Kanchanaburi Thailand

Besides the beautiful mountain views, there are also several pretty waterfalls in Erawan.

You can climb all the way to the top level if you like (there are seven levels in total). My favorite levels were #4 and #5.

If you only have a day to visit Kanchanaburi, this popular Kanchanaburi day trip from Bangkok is an excellent option.

The tour includes transport in a comfortable, air-conditioned vehicle and a visit to Erawan National Park, the JEATH Museum, and Bridge Over the River Kwai. Check availabiliy here.

Where to stay in Kanchanaburi: Owl Poshtel

Owl Poshtel Kanchanaburi is a newly built 3-star hotel, located in the center of Kanchanaburi and within easy walking distance from the main sights in Kanchanaburi.

Rooms are decorated in an industrial style with concrete blocks, exposed pipes, and wooden furniture. The spacious rooms have air conditioning, and a small fridge and are cleaned daily.

Book via Agoda | Book via Booking

Day 6-7: Ayutthaya

After you've taken a break from temple hopping in Bangkok during your time in Kanchanaburi, there are more beautiful temples to be found in Ayutthaya.

Ayutthaya was the second kingdom of Thailand, from 1350 to 1767. The numerous temples are in various states of decay, from barely more than a pile of rocks to still fully functional Wats with a golden Buddha inside.

Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon

Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon Ayutthaya Thailand

During the time of our visit to Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon, many statues were wearing brightly colored robes that looked very new.

I was told this was because Buddhist Lent had just begun and the robes are donated to the temples.

Wat Mahathat

Wat Mahathat Ayutthaya Thailand

When you are in Ayutthaya you must visit the famous Buddha head in the tree!

Even though you probably have seen this picture many times, it will still be impressive to see this strange phenomenon in person. It's a perfect blend of culture and nature!

Wat Phra Si Sanphet

Wat Phra Si Sanphet Ayutthaya Thailand

This is the most famous complex in Ayutthaya and it's easy to see why: the three tall stupas are a must-see!

Allow yourself plenty of time to walk around and try to imagine what life must have been like back in the day…

When visiting places like Ayutthaya, I always find it astonishing how people were able to build these impressive structures without any modern equipment.

Wat Phra Mongkhon Bophit

Wat Phra Mongkhon Bophit Ayutthaya Thailand

This is beautiful Wat Phra Mongkhon Bophit, a pretty sight against the green trees and white blue sky.

This temple is still in use, be sure to be respectful when entering the temple (cover your shoulders, take off your shoes and keep your voice down).

Alternatively, join this great 1-day tour from Bangkok to Ayutthaya. Click here for more information.

Where to stay in Ayutthaya: Classic Kameo

Despite the name, Classic Kameo is a very modern and beautiful hotel. It's not very centrally located but I found it to be excellent value for money.

There is a fitness area, a large swimming pool, and lovely rooms with a modern bathroom and a super comfortable bed. The breakfast buffet was extensive and the staff was very welcoming.

Book via Agoda | Book via Booking

Day 8-10: Koh Samet

Koh Samet was a pleasant surprise and I really enjoyed the laid-back vibe. It's a lovely small island with beautiful beaches and amazing sunsets.

Because it's close to Bangkok it makes for an easy island escape and a perfect way to end this 10-day trip to Thailand.

Relax on Koh Samet

Must see places in Thailand - Koh Samet | Hat Sai Kaew

You can explore the island on foot (be sure to bring plenty of water and wear lots of sunscreen), there isn't much traffic and only a couple of roads.

Walking around the entire island is quite far though, you can also rent a scooter or songthaew to get around.

In the main town Hat Sai Kaew, there is some nice art and architecture like the Mermaid sculpture and the main pier. Another fun activity is to join a snorkeling tour.

Ao Prao Beach

Koh Samet Thailand Ao Prao Beach

Ao Prao Beach is located on the West side of Koh Samet and is the place to be for the most beautiful sunsets.

We were treated to spectacular skies every evening, it's the perfect way to relax after your action-packed itinerary in Thailand.

Where to stay on Koh Samet: Ao Prao Resort

Where to stay on Koh Samet - Ao Prao Resort

Ao Prao Resort is a great place to end your Thailand 10-day trip with splendid views from the infinity pool. The rooms are nicely decorated and offer ocean views from the balcony.

The beds are comfortable and the ensuite bathrooms are clean and modern. The extensive breakfast is served in a beautiful dining area overlooking the ocean.

Book via Agoda | Book via Booking

Bangkok and Northern Thailand 10 day itinerary (option 2)

Click here for the interactive map.

10 days in Thailand itinerary

  • Day 1-3: Bangkok
  • Day 4-6: Chiang Mai
  • Day 7-8: Pai
  • Day 9-10: Sukhothai

Where to stay in Thailand

BangkokAu Bon Hostel (budget)€16/$18Click here
BangkokRamada Plaza Menam Riverside (3-star)€66/$72Click hereClick here
BangkokKokotel Dheva Thonglor (family)€87/$94Click hereClick here
Chiang MaiThe Park Hotel €42/$46Click here
PaiPai Village Boutique Resort€60/$65Click hereClick here
SukhothaiLe Charme€40/$44Click hereClick here

Note: Prices for these hotels depend on the time of year and how far in advance you book. Therefore, the prices mentioned above are a rough indication of the price per night to help you compare the different options. Use ‘click here' to see the latest prices on Agoda and Booking and book ahead to get the best deal.

Day 1-3: Bangkok

Wat Pho in Bangkok

For days 1-3, follow the Bangkok itinerary detailed above. From Bangkok, take a 1h15min flight to Chiang Mai and start your exploration of Thailand's beautiful and mountainous North.

Click here to find cheap tickets from Bangkok to Chiang Mai.

Day 4-6: Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is the largest city in northern Thailand and is known for its many temples. Located in a green and mountainous area, there are many things to see and do in and around Chiang Mai.

From temple-hopping to grabbing a drink at one of the trendy cafes to the exhilarating Flight of the Gibbon zipline experience, Chiang Mai is a great place to spend a couple of days.

Wat Phra Singh

Wat Phra Singh Chiang Mai Thailand

One of the most beautiful temples in Thailand and a must-visit highlight on any Chiang Mai itinerary is the Wat Phra Singh complex.

Wat Phra Singh is the most important temple in Chiang Mai and many locals visit the temple daily. Singh means Lions and it's the guardian lions at the entrance that earned the complex its name.

Throughout the year, pilgrims visit Wat Phra Singh to honor the image of Phra Singh, which translates into Lion Buddha.

Wat Phra Singh Chiang Mai Thailand

Another type of statue found in many temples in Asia is the fearsome-looking Naga, also known as Water Dragons, like the ones pictured above.

Doi Suthep

Located on the flank of one of the tallest mountains in Thailand is the majestic Wat Phra That Doi Suthep complex. The temple can be reached by climbing up 306 steps on a staircase flanked by naga.

The entrance fee is 30 baht ($1) and the temple can be visited from 6.30 am until 6.30 pm.

The best time to visit Wat Doi Suthep is in the morning when there are fewer crowds and the temperature is more comfortable.

Doi Suthep temple is a sacred site for the Thai, so please behave and dress respectfully.

From the temple, you can enjoy amazing views over Chiang Mai and the surrounding area.

It's easy to visit this temple on your own, you can take a songthaew from Chiang Mai or rent a motorbike. Alternatively, you can join a half or full-day tour including transport and a guide.

If you are into mountain biking, book this epic tour and cycle through the stunning mountainous region of Chiang Mai.

The tours are led by experienced guides so you'll be in excellent hands during this awesome outdoor adventure.

The Flight of the Gibbon

Flight of the Gibbon Chiang Mai Thailand

Another great activity in Chiang Mai is the Flight of the Gibbon. The Flight of the Gibbon takes you on a ziplining circuit of 30 platforms and 18 zip lines, the longest zip line is over 800 meters!

Don't worry if you have never ziplined before, the English-speaking guides will carefully explain everything, make sure all safety protocols are being followed, and help you the entire time.

They will make sure you are safely connected to the ziplines and also tell you about the forest, the trees, and the different species living in this area of Thailand.

Flying through the green canopy and dense jungle is absolutely exhilarating and while it's not a cheap activity, I personally found it worth every bath.

Click here to book the Flight of the Gibbon.

Take a cooking class

Thai cooking class

Thai cuisine is rich and varied and includes many delicious dishes. During your trip around Thailand, you can sample lots of them, but how about learning to cook Thai food yourself?

In Chiang Mai, there are several excellent cooking schools offering classes where you'll gain insight into the secrets behind the unique Thai flavors and tastes.

It's all about creating the perfect balance between spicy and sweet, something you will learn a lot about during a Thai cooking class.

Your class will start with a visit to the local market or farm, where you will gather the necessary ingredients.

Back at the cooking school, you will learn to cook three dishes during a half-day class. When you opt for a full-day course you will learn how to make five different Thai dishes.

Whether Pad Thai, Tom Kha Kai, Tom Yum soup, or a Thai curry is your favorite dish, you can choose which recipe(s) you want to learn.

There is no better way to relive your Thailand trip than by cooking an authentic curry once you're back home and enjoying those wonderful smells and flavors that make Thai cuisine so delicious and unique.

Click here to book a cooking class in Chiang Mai.

Where to stay in Chiang Mai: The Park Hotel

There are many nice hotels in Chiang Mai, I personally had a very comfortable stay at the Park Hotel, a classy hotel with large and light rooms (albeit a bit outdated).

There is a rooftop swimming pool and they offer a free shuttle service to the night market (every hour). The staff is friendly and there is an excellent breakfast buffet included.

The Park Hotel is suitable for families as well as two kids under 10 years can stay without any additional charges.

Click here to book

Day 7-8: Pai

Pai Canyon Thailand

Jon from Jon Is Travelling: Pai is one of the most popular tourist towns in northern Thailand.

Most people traveling around the north will make it there eventually and it’s the perfect spot to stop for a few days and relax.

A big reason for its popularity is that Pai is a great place to eat, drink, shop, get massages, and generally take some time away from ‘the road'.

Pai is around three hours north of Chiang Mai, and the best way to travel between the two is by minivan. You can easily book a transfer in Chiang Mai, at one of the many tour operators in town.

Pai itself is fairly small, however, there are many restaurants serving food from all around the world. Pai is also a popular spot to do yoga and other wellness activities.

The countryside surrounding Pai is begging to be explored, and lots of people choose to do this on a motorcycle.

Be careful though, many tourists have gotten (seriously) injured and some have even died on the roads around Pai.

The roads are steep and winding, to say the least, and I’d be avoiding it unless you’re experienced on a motorcycle and have a proper motorcycle license and insurance.

Alternatively, you can join a tour (there are many on offer in town) that will take you to the main viewpoints, caves, waterfalls, and temples around Pai if you want to avoid navigating the roads yourself.

There are many things to do in Pai, both in the town and in the surrounding area. Below you can find my personal top 3:

  1. The Night Market: at night, several of Pai's streets are converted into a large night market selling all sorts of food, souvenirs, and clothes.
  2. Pai Canyon: Pai Canyon is a popular place to watch the sunrise and a beautiful piece of nature. Take care though, the cliffs are steep and it's not worth risking your life to get a pretty picture!
  3. Tham Lod Cave: this easily accessible cave is definitely worth visiting. You’ll be taken through the cave by a local guide and get to admire impressive stalactite formations (some are over 20 meters tall!) as well as make a short boat ride around the cave.

Where to stay in Pai: Pai Village Boutique Resort

This lovely boutique hotel in Pai features cute and comfortable wooden cabins with modern ensuite bathrooms located in a lovely garden.

Enjoy a cup of tea on your private balcony while listening to the tropical birds or enjoy a Thai massage at The Mamalon Massage.

Located in Pai center, the location is excellent and the staff is friendly. Altogether a nice place to stay during your trip to Pai.

Book via Agoda | Book via Booking

Day 9-10: Sukhothai

Sukhothai Historic Park

Sukhothai Thailand temple ruins

The ruins of Sukhothai are the only remains of the ancient Kingdom of Sukhothai which was founded in the 13th century.

Sukhothai means ‘Dawn of Happiness‘ and for several decades this place was indeed a happy place, the first kingdom of Siam (Thailand).

Sukhothai is a UNESCO Heritage site and there are hundreds of old Buddha statues, crumbling buildings, and dilapidated stupas.

Highlights are Wat Phra Pai Luang, Wat Mahathat, and Wat Sri Sawai, though there are many more worthwhile ruins to explore.

You can easily spend at least half a day in Sukhothai Historical Park, though a full day would be better as it will give you more time to explore the sights without rushing around the park.

The Historic Park is divided into five zones (the inner city, north, west, south, and east) for which you have to buy a separate ticket. Admission costs 100THB per section or you can pay 350THB for a ticket that covers all (only valid on the date of issue).

I highly recommend renting a bicycle to explore Sukhothai because the sites are quite spread out.

Bike rental shops can be found across the entrance, renting a bike usually costs around 30-40THB. Note that you'll have to pay a 10THB entrance fee for the bike as well.  

How to travel from Chiang Mai to Sukhothai

The distance between Chiang Mai and Sukhothai is 310 kilometers and traveling between the two cities takes about 7-8 hours. My recommendation is to take the 8.50 am train from Chiang Mai to Phitsanulok.

This special express train makes for a comfortable journey with beautiful views along the way. A second-class ticket costs 470TBH, when departing with the 8.50 am train from Chiang Mai, you will arrive in Pitsanulok at 2.34 pm.

From Phitsanulok train station, you can either take a minivan directly to Sukhothai or a tuk-tuk/songthaew to Phitsanulok bus station where you can hop on a bus to Sukhothai (about one hour, tickets are around 45TBH).

The destination of both the minivans, as well as the bus, is the ‘new' city, not the Historical Park.

The distance between Sukhothai's new city and the Sukhothai Historical Park is around 13 kilometers, you can take a tuk-tuk or songthaew to travel between the two.

Where to stay in Sukhothai: Le Charme Hotel

Le Charme Hotel is a nicely set up accommodation with small bungalows arranged around lovely ponds. There is a swimming pool and a nice outdoor breakfast area.

The hotel is very close to the entrance of Sukhothai Park, making it a convenient place to stay for those looking to start their sightseeing tour of Sukhothai early in the morning.

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Bangkok and the Thai Gulf Islands (option 3)

Click here for the interactive map

Thailand itinerary 10 days

  • Day 1-3: Bangkok
  • Day 4-6: Koh Samui
  • Day 7-10: Koh Tao (PADI scuba dive course)

Where to stay during your Thailand trip

BangkokAu Bon Hostel (budget)€16/$18Click here
BangkokRamada Plaza Menam Riverside (3-star)€66/$72Click hereClick here
BangkokKokotel Dheva Thonglor (family)€87/$94Click hereClick here
Koh SamuiKimpton Kitalay Samui€335/$350Click hereClick here
Koh TaoTarna Align€115/$125Click hereClick here

Note: Prices for these hotels depend on the time of year and how far in advance you book. Therefore, the prices mentioned above are a rough indication of the price per night to help you compare the different options. Use ‘click here' to see the latest prices on Agoda and Booking and book ahead to get the best deal.

Day 1-3: Bangkok

For days 1-3, follow the Bangkok itinerary detailed above. From Bangkok, take a 1-hour flight to the pretty little airport of Koh Samui (click here to find cheap tickets) and you'll immediately slip into a slower pace.

No more rushing in and out of the MRT in busy Bangkok, you're on Koh Samui now.

Image: courtesy of Kimpton Kitalay Samui

Pick up your rental car, check into your hotel (I highly recommend the Kimpton Kitalay Samui), and start exploring this little piece of paradise.

Disclosure: Some links in this post are affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, we may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you!). We're very grateful when you use our links to make a purchase:-).

Day 4-6: Koh Samui


Follow my in-depth Koh Samui itinerary including Koh Samui highlights such as:

  • Hin Ta (Grandfather) and Hin Yai (Grandmother) Rocks 
  • Tan Rua Waterfall
  • Wat Khao Hua Jook
  • The Big Buddha
  • And much more…

Where to stay on Koh Samui: Kimpton Kitalay


We spent 3 nights at the newly opened Kimpton Kitalay Samui (December 2021), a wonderful 5-star hotel on Choeng Mon Beach.

No matter if you’re traveling as a family or if you’re a couple looking for the perfect romantic holiday hotel on Koh Samui, the Kimpton Kitalay Samui and its wonderful staff will make your stay unforgettable.

Dive into one of the many swimming pools, indulge in a spa treatment or wine, and dine at one of the four onsite restaurants.

Chances are you’re so comfy at the Kimpton Kitalay, you’re going to skip the entire Koh Samui travel itinerary and just enjoy your happy little holiday bubble…

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Day 7-10: Koh Tao

Clownfish Nemo Great Barrier Reef scuba diving experience

One of the best places in the world to get your PADI is Koh Tao. The coral here is amazing and if you're very lucky you may even spot a whale shark (though it's pretty rare and I haven't managed to see one during any of my dives so far).

Koh Tao is a pretty small island and while there are some sights and things to do on Koh Tao, scuba diving is what draws the crowds here.

Click here to book your PADI course or take a one-day scuba diving experience.

Two divers swimming away

If you don't want to go diving you'd better skip Koh Tao. Instead, spend 1 more day in Bangkok (or take a day trip to Ayutthaya) before flying to Koh Samui.

We spent almost 2 months on this island and really fell in love with it.

Take a trip to Angthong National Park, sign up for a cooking class or join a 4WD jungle safari, there's plenty to do on Koh Samui that will keep you occupied for 6 days.

Where to stay on Koh Tao: Tarna Align

We stayed at the Tarna Align for 2 nights at the end of our 5 month trip in 20215 (wow, that's a long time ago;-) and loved it.

The rooms are gorgeous and the view from the semi-private pool is stunning. It's a great place to relax after your diving adventures during the day. The staff is lovely, breakfast is delicious and there's a convenient shuttle service to the pier.

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More great places to visit in Thailand

If you've got more time to spend in Thailand (lucky you!), here are more popular places to add to your itinerary:

  • Chiang Rai: visit the famous Wat Rong Khun (the White Temple), go trekking in the mountains and enjoy some of the best street food in Thailand.
  • Koh Phi Phi: the Phi Phi Islands are some of the most beautiful islands in Thailand, with stunning beaches, breathtaking views, and crystal clear waters. Go kayaking, rock climbing, or snorkeling, and eat plenty of fresh seafood during your time here.
  • Khao Sok National Park: go on a guided jungle trek to spot gibbons, macaques, and even elephants. Even if you don't spot any wildlife, you'll still be blown away by the stunning views in beautiful Khao Sok NP.

10 days Thailand itinerary: in conclusion

Thailand is a wonderful country with plenty to offer for all types of travelers, from single (female) travelers to couples or families planning a trip to Thailand.

I hope this post will help you build your itinerary for Thailand! Feel free to ask any questions you may have by leaving a comment or sending me an email!

Want to read more about Thailand? Check out these posts as well:

This post was updated in August 2022.


Thursday 21st of December 2023

This itinerary perfectly captures the essence of Thailand!

I followed a similar route last year and reliving those memories through your detailed post brought a huge smile to my face.

I particularly liked your suggestions for exploring off-the-beaten-path spots.

Radika Iyer

Wednesday 13th of July 2022

Lovely pics. Thanks for the itinerary, it looks great!


Wednesday 13th of July 2022

Thank you Radika, and have a wonderful trip! Lotte

Trisha Velarmino

Thursday 17th of March 2016

Thailand is a completely otherworldly experience. There's so much scents and sights, a varied array of colour and sounds - I loved every bit of all my experiences there. Chiang Mai and the beaches and rock formations around Phuket are worth paying a visit too! THE FOOD IS MORE THAN GREAT especially if you're an avid fan of spicy food!


Wednesday 23rd of March 2016

Yes, there is definitely more to see in Thailand! And I love spicy food...

Mar Pages

Monday 14th of March 2016

Living in Singapore, I don't know anyone who hasn't been to Bangkok for a short getaway. Your post proves that Thailand is great for a long stay too! Although I haven't heard of Koh Tao yet, your photo definitely makes me want to check it out. (I clicked on the resort, it looks unreal!)


Monday 14th of March 2016

Living in Singapore, that's really cool! The Tarna Align Resort on Koh Tao was a great stay, and if you are into diving Koh Tao is an excellent place to be.


Sunday 13th of March 2016

This is really great information. Most travelers to Thailand don't just stay put in one city and it takes a lot of research to find all the appropriate ways to get around. We mostly used the skytrain in Bangkok, walked, or took taxis, then we flew between cities to save time.


Monday 14th of March 2016

Thank you Laura! I loved how efficient the skytrain in Bangkok was! It was cold though, with the freezing air-conditioning;-P