Creating a 10 day Thailand itinerary is not an easy task. Not an easy task at all! Why is that? Well, you know how most countries excel in only one specific tourist area. For example – you go to the Maldives to get a nice island vacation, you explore Rome to taste (literally) the unique culture and history (and pizza),
Good news is, since you’re already set on for adventure in the land of smiles, you probably have an idea what you want to do there. That’s why I tailor-made a few entirely different 10 day Thailand itineraries that won’t only cover different travel styles and needs, but are also guaranteed to make you want to come back and experience more of this South-East Asian jewel of a country.
Before we get into the detailed itinerary, we’ll get to know to most popular places in the country. And boy oh boy, aren’t they all spectacular!
Just a little preview – the most visited city in the world, not one but two ancient capitals, the best diving island in the world, one of the top foodie cities in Asia, some of the very best nightlife hubs and of course the iconic white-sand movie
Yeah, all of that is in Thailand! No more teasing. Here are the places covered in the 10 day Thailand itinerary:
The capital of Thailand, the most visited city in the world, The City of Angels or Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit (that is it’s real name!), no matter how you call it, Bangkok is one of those places you simply must see to comprehend. Extremely colorful, buzzing nightlife and distinctive culture, with it’s two international airports, the chances are high the capital of Thailand will be the first city on your 10 day Thailand itinerary.
The Grand Palace is the biggest highlight of the Thai capital and skipping it is inexcusable. While the king no longer lives there, The palace area is a complex of 30-ish colorful and exotic buildings, most famous of which is Wat Phra Kaew – the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. One of the most important temples in the country, Wat Phra Kaew houses the statue of The Emerald Buddha that only the king is allowed to touch. The legend has it that the image was carved in India and it was prophesied it would bring “prosperity and pre-eminence to each country in which it resides”.
CastawayTip: Mind your clothing when you visit the Grand Palace. Men must wear long pants and shirts with sleeves. As for the women – no skirts, no shorts, no see-through clothes, bare shoulders, etc. If you show up at the front gate improperly dressed, there is a booth near the entrance that can provide clothes and cover you up properly (not for free though).
Wat Pho or The Temple of the Reclining Buddha is another popular attraction in Bangkok. With 394 Buddha images, this temple is one of the most picturesque ones I’ve ever set my foot into. The cherry on the top is the giant 15 meters tall, 46 meters long reclining Buddha and the 108 wish-granting bronze bowls.
CastawayTip: Wat Pho is well-known as a center for traditional massage and medicine and one of the best places in town to get a Thai massage.
And before you start thinking Bangkok is just temples, here is one of the most legendary party streets in the world – Khao San Road. A perfect place to get a delicious Pad Thai (from a stall), get a foot massage (on the street), eat a scorpion on a stick( or look how other crazy people eat a scorpion on a stick) and get wasted with (literally) a bucket of (questionable) alcohol. Khao San has earned its reputation a long time ago, and it still is one of the top spots in Bangkok.
CastawayTip: If you want to take a photo of the stalls that sell scorpions, spiders and bugs, prepare to pay a small tip.
Where to stay in Bangkok?
Riva Arun Bangkok
Situated on the Chao Phraya River, Riva Arun offers you incredible views to the Temple of Dawn or the Grand Palace. Speaking of the Grand Palace, the biggest attraction in Bangkok and one of the other must-see temples – Wat Pho, are just a few hundred meters away from your doorstep. Khao San road is only 30minutes by foot making Riva Arun the best-placed hotel in Bangkok.
If you get one of their premium sweets, you can also enjoy a river overlooking balcony with a jacuzzi. Can’t get better than that!
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Chiang Mai is my favorite town in Asia, and there is no way I’m leaving it out of this10 day Thailand itinerary.
A long time ago Chiang Mai was the capital of the Lan Na Kingdom for more than 500 years before becoming part of the Siam empire. Today it’s the most culturally significant city in the northern part of the country, a famous foodie destination and a favorite digital nomad base. Chiang Mai is located in the mountains, and it’s surrounded by dense jungle thus being the prime place for wildlife and adventure activities.
Having fun with elephants doesn’t mean riding them or watching them do some circus shows. Not sure if you know it, but those activities are incredibly unethical and cruel to one of the most intelligent animal species in the world. The best way to interact with the gentle giants is through one of the programs in Elephant Nature Park – a park that rescues abused elephants and takes care of them. Trust me, the mud bath you take with those guys would become one of your most cherished memories!
CastawayTip: There are plenty of options for ethical elephant experience in Chiang Mai, but not all of them are as ethical as they claim. Do proper research before you pick a program and avoid supporting animal mistreat.
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep or simply Doi Suthep is the local must-see temple. Built in 1386, the legend says the temple was assembled to hold a piece of bone from the Buddha’s shoulder. Sadly, today there aren’t any divine bones inside. Instead, the temple can offer you a colorful dragon staircase, plenty of eye-watering photo ops and excellent panoramic view of the area.
CastawayTip: Doi Suthep is too far away to go on foot. Instead of taking a taxi though, get one of the songthaew (red trucks for share ride) from Huay Kaew Road near the Zoo. It should cost you only 40 Bahts.
If you’re lucky enough this 10 day Thailand itinerary would lead you to Chiang Mai in November. What so special about November? One of the most spectacular festivals in the world is celebrated then and believe me when I tell you, this is one top-notch bucket list adventure! Yi Peng or the Lantern Festival is an event more magical than anything you’ve ever seen and once in a lifetime experience.
Where to stay in Chiang Mai?
18 In Town Homestay
Incredibly furnished homestay, 18 in Town managed to capture Chiang Mai’s artistic soul and turn it into an incredible hotel experience. Located in the old city, this lovely homestay is just 3km away from the airport, a few hundred meters away from the best temples and has multiple massage parlors and minimarkets right next to it.
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When people think of Thailand, the first picture that comes to their mind is a longtail boat floating over crystal clear waters with limestone rock in the background (just like the one above). If you want to see this picture in real life, you need to go to the Krabi province in South-West Thailand. An area blessed with numerous picturesque islands and white-sand beaches, Krabi is also a favorite movie set for plenty of Holywood blockbusters.
Devastated by the infamous Boxing Day Tsunami in 2004, everything on the Phi Phi was rebuilt to become one of the most popular island vacation hubs in the world. The highlight place on the island is the legendary Maya Bay, made famous by the Leonardo DiCaprio movie – The Beach.
CastawayTip: Maya Bay is closed indefinitely due to tourist overpopulation, and it’ll only be reopened when the natural resources and the coastline are restored to their original state. Don’t be discouraged though. Even though you can’t get on the beach, the place is still a five-star site.
If you get sick of tropical islands (like this is a thing), Krabi has more natural wonders to offer. The Blue Lagoon is not really a lagoon but a jungle pond with unimaginable azure waters. Seriously, the color of the lake makes it look like a drawing. It’s something I haven’t seen anywhere else in the world, and it’s totally worth a visit.
Where to stay in Krabi?
Situated on the magical Phi Phi islands, the Sunset Bay Resort
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Situated in the Gulf of Thailand, Samui is the most significant island in the Chumphon Archipelago. Measuring some 25 km at its widest point the island offers attractive budget travel options as well as high-end luxury resorts. It’s also one of the best places in Thailand to merely go on a beach vacation and forget about anything else.
Popular day trip from the island, the Angthong Marine Park is a pristine archipelago of 42 limestone islands perfect for hiking and snorkeling.
CastawayTip: Sometimes the park gets closed during the low season (November-December) so make sure you research it promptly before booking any tours.
It won’t be in Thailand if there isn’t at least one impressive temple. Wat Phra Yai is famous for it’s giant gilded Buddha and it’s a pretty cool place to visit if you got tired of the beaches (I’ve never seen anyone tired of tropical beaches but still).
Where to stay in Koh Samui?
Erawan Villa Hotel
Right on the beach, and 2km away from the Fishermans Village and the Big Buddha. If the beach is not enough for you Erawan Villa Hotel also has a lovely private pool and Jacuzzi in its premium sweets.
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There is one thing Koh Pha Ngan is famous for, and that is
CastawayTip: The night before the Full Moon Party is also a party night. The Jungle Party some say is even better than the Full Moon one.
Where to stay in Koh Pha Ngan?
Since you’re coming to Koh Phangan for the full moon party, what better place to stay than the very same beach the party is on. Tommy Resort is located at the end of it, so you won’t have any troubles getting home at any part of the night. The spacious hardwood furnished bungalows and the outdoor swimming pool are guaranteed to make your party recovery as pleasant as possible.
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Koh Tao (meaning the Turtle Island) is a small island in the Gulf of Thailand known for one thing only – diving! The second cheapest place in the world to get your diving certificate (the first one is Honduras, but somehow I doubt you’re going to Honduras is on your travel plans) Koh Tao houses over 70 different diving shops. And since there is barely anything other than divers and bars on the island, there is this laidback subculture atmosphere in the air you’d simply fall in love too!
CastawayTip: I got my certificate from Roctopus Dive, and I can’t recommend them enough. You won’t only get top professionals to teach you, but also very cool guys to hang around with!
Where to stay in Koh Tao?
A hostel right on the beach with a great outdoor pool. Yup, dreamy hostels like that do exist, and the Savage Hostel is one great example. Location can’t get any better, the pool is excellent and the common spaces and well designed and clean. If you are not that much into sharing a room with strangers, private rooms are also on the menu.
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Founded in 1350 Ayutthaya was the second capital of the Siam Kingdom till the Burmese destroyed it in 1767. The ruins are now a national park and one of the most famous archeological spots in Thailand. Due to it’s proximity to Bangkok, it’s a popular day trip option.
The first capital of the Siam Kingdom is located between Bangkok and Chiang may, and it’s criminally underrated. While people flocks to Ayutthaya, there is barely anyone in Sukhothai which of course is perfect for you.
Where to stay in Sukhothai?
Sukhothai is not the most visited place in Thailand thus the accommodation in the area is limited. What makes Vitoon Guesthouse so much better than every other option is the location. It’s situated right on the entrance of the Sukhothai Historical Park. Literally a few steps away! Since there’s hardly anything else to do in Sukhothai and you’ll spend no more than a day or two there, Vitoon Guesthouse is the perfect accommodation.
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Now that we have all the places sorted out, it’s time to get to the 10 day Thailand itinerary itself.
Wait, did I say itinerary?
I meant itineraries!
To fit all the different travel needs, I’ll give you four (and a half) options, all you have to do is find the one that suits your style and expectations. If you have more than 10 days in Thailand, it’s pretty easy to combine two or more of the itineraries into one.
Been a successor of the Siam Kingdom, Thailand has a vastly rich history and unique, distinctive culture that makes it pop out in front of the other South-East Asian countries. In the cultural itinerary, we’ll focus on the places that compose Thailand’s identity today.
Your flight most likely will be to Bangkok, and since there is plenty to see there, the cosmopolitan Thai capital would be the first place on your itinerary.
Days 1-3: Bangkok
In three days you should be able to visit the top temples – Wat Pho (has a 15 meters tall, 46 meters long reclining Buddha in it ), Wat Phra Kaew (the most important temple located inside the Grand Palace complex ), Wat Arun (Temple of the Dawn – Instagram perfection ), Wat Traimit (Has a 5.5 tonnes Buddha statue made out of pure gold ) and Wat Saket (aka the Golden Mount, has lovely panoramic view ).
Museums are not Bangkok’s strong side, but you may consider visiting Bangkok’s National Museum or the Jim Thompson House. It’s a good idea to explore the nearby floating and train markets (first one is in the water, and instead of stalls there are boats, the other is in the middle of a railway, so it has to be moved every time a train comes ), but have in mind those would require a full day.
Day 4: Ayutthaya day trip
The ancient capital of Siam needs more than a few hours to be explored in detail, but since you have only 10 days in Thailand, you need to do it with a day trip. The good thing is, the place is pretty close to Bangkok, and you’d still be able to see a ton of ancient wonders.
Day 5: Sukhothai
The first capital of Siam and the best ancient site in the country. Unlike Ayutthaya though, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is not that close to Bangkok. It’s, however, in the middle between Bangkok and Chiang Mai, so its location won’t throw you completely out of the way. To save some time, I recommend taking one of the night buses from Bangkok and arrive at Sukhothai early in the morning. Explore the glorious ancient site for a day and catch the bus to Chiang Mai the next morning.
Days 6-9: Chiang Mai + Chiang Rai
You should arrive in Chiang Mai around noon, so there is plenty of time to check out the old town area. For the next three days, I suggest meeting some elephants (book this one early cause it’s extremely popular ), visiting the most famous temple in the area – Doi Suthep, exploring the night markets (they are everywhere on the weekend ), taking a Thai cooking class and a must-have day trip to Chiang Rai. If you have more time in Thailand, Chiang Rai deserves a few days on its own but in this 10 day Thailand itinerary we only have time for a day trip. The most famous attraction of Chiang Rai is the White Temple – Wat Rong Khun, and every tour is centered around it. The other noticeable places in the area are the Mae Khachan Hot Spring ( well…it’s a hot spring ),
10: Go home
It’s best to take your flight back home from Chiang Mai otherwise you’d lose a whole day to go back to Bangkok.
Start: Chiang Mai
Bangkok is a fantastic city, but there aren’t many adventures waiting for you there so you either book a flight directly to Chiang Mai or get an internal flight without wasting any time. You have only ten days, so your time is your most valuable resource.
Day 1-5: Chiang Mai
You probably won’t have time for anything significant on your first day so take the time to relax and enjoy the famous Chiang Mai cuisine ( Khao Soi is a must). The next four days you have plenty of options. I suggest going for an ethical elephant experience (won’t pump your adrenaline but still one of the coolest things you can do in Chiang Mai), go to the longest zip line in Asia – Flight of the Gibbon ( if you’re lucky you may get some real gibbons in the trees around you), climbing up the Sticky Waterfall ( It really is sticky! ), do some 20 meters high cliff jumping into the Chiang Mai’s old quarry (also known as the Chiang Mai Grand Canyon) or go white-water rafting in the Maetaeng river. There are also numerous options for Biking tours, horse riding, ATV exploring and even bamboo river rafting.
Day 6-9: Koh Tao
There is one main reason to visit Koh Tao, and that is to get your diving license! Don’t be afraid, learning to dive is not hard and it’s one of the most fulfilling and rewarding experiences out there. Just make sure you reserve three full days in your itinerary for Koh Tao. If you already got your license or don’t feel like getting one, you can do for fun dives (little depth, just to get the feeling ), snorkeling, mountain biking and rock climbing around the island.
Day 10: Go Home
It’s best to get a late flight as possible otherwise you’d have to spend the previous day to travel from Koh Tao to Bangkok / Chiang Mai
If you travel to Thailand with only one goal on your mind – to
Once upon a time, Bangkok was famous only for its red-light districts. Been the most visited city in the world changed that, and the nightlife area evolved massively during the years. Today the Thai capital literally offers thousands of funky rooftop bars, frisky clubs, and upbeat cocktail bars.
Days 1-5: Bangkok
Khao San road is a must-see place for every self-respected party animal, and so is the iconic Route 66 bar. Some of the best rooftop bars in town are Vertigo, Octave Rooftop Bar and Above Eleven. As far as regular bars go, Maggie Choo’s ( trendy designers bar), The Iron Fairies ( Iron themed pub with awesome cheap beer) and Havana Social ( very cool Cuban theme ) won’t disappoint. Even if you’re not into that stuff, I suggest to check out the Red Light Districts – Soi Cowboy, Nana Plaza, and Patpong. Even without “consummation”, those places are a ton of fun and totally worth a visit.
If you like to move around, you may decide to leave Bangkok and spend a day or two in the nearby Pattaya. Worldwide famous nightlife awaits for you in the relatively small coastline city (if adult entertainment is your prime reason to visit Thailand, Pattaya should definitely be on your list ).
Days 6-9: Koh Phangan
On the 6th day of your 10 days Thailand itinerary, make your way to the island of Koh Phangan. The next day is your first party day. No, not the full moon one. The day before the Full Moon Party, there is the so-called Jungle Party. Once an underground feast, today the Jungle Experience is almost as famous as the Full Moon Party.
On your 8th day, join thousands of others to celebrate the biggest beach party in the world – the Full Moon Party of Koh Phangan.
Day number 9 could be used for recovery or travel back to Bangkok (depending on your flight back home )
Day 10: Go home
Your idea of perfect Thailand vacation is laying on a white-sand beach and swimming among colorful fishes in crystal clear tropical waters. This 10 days Thailand itinerary is the one for you then. There are two distinctive beach vacation areas in the country – The Gulf of Thailand on the east side and the Andaman Sea on the west side. Here is how to get the best out of them.
Start: Koh Samui
Samui is the largest island in the Gulf of Thailand. It’s big enough to even have its own airport! Make the best you can to arrive on the island on your first day in Thailand.
Days 1-4: Koh Samui
I won’t suggest many activities here, just book a kick-ass beachside resort and enjoy the tropical Thai sun. If you get bored, you may go and explore the nearby Ang Thong National Park.
Days 5-9: Krabi
On your 5th day, make your way to the Krabi area. One of the best places to stay there is Ao Nang. Not only you’d have two beaches right in front of your door, but also numerous restaurant option and easy transportation to the nearby islands. If you prefer a premium beach vacation, book your stay on the Phi Phi islands.
With four full days in Krabi, you can check out the most popular islands in the Andaman Sea. Must-Sees are the Phi Phi islands, James Bond Island, Hong Island, and Chicken Island. If you want a bit of change of scenery, you can go and check Krabi’s favorite temple – the Tiger Cave (have in mind there is 1260 steps climb to the top though ) or the incredible Blue Lagoon jungle pond.
Day 10: Go home
Krabi has an international airport so try to catch your flight back home from there.
Days 1-10 Phucket
If you read everything till now (you’re amazing! ) you probably wonder why I never mentioned Phuket. Up there in popularity with Bangkok and Chiang Mai, for many people Phucket is the go-to vacation spot in Asia. The reason I didn’t include it in any of my itineraries though is that I think Phuket has
What do I mean?
Bear with me.
There are some temples in Phuket, but none of them are as spectacular as the ones in Bangkok/Chiang Mai. There is a buzzing nightlife there, but it’s not on the Bangkok, Pattaya or even close to Koh Phangan’s level. You can go on a beach vacation in Phuket, but you’re gonna visit the same islands near Krabi, you’d to spend more time on the boat (since Phuket is farther away than Krabi ) and you’ll pay a double price. Oh yeah, that’s something else about Phuket. Since it’s a high-end luxury area, everything there would be way more expensive.
Having said that, Phuket is not a bad place, and indeed there are some advantages of choosing the lazy itinerary. You won’t have to change hotels and waste time on the road, and you’ll be able to see all sides of Thailand.
Notable places of interest in Phuket are the night markets, the big Buddha on the top of the Nakkerd Hills, Banga Road (Phuket’s equivalent of Khao San Road ) and all of the Krabi islands.
The climate in Thailand is defined as tropical and humid. Best time is a tricky conception since there are a few different weather areas in the country. The area north of Bangkok has three seasons while the one South of it has only two.
In the North, the weather is dry between November and May. This is, however, broken into two periods – November to February when it’s considered winter with temperature in the low 20C, and March-May, when it’s the dry summer with average temperature reaching nearly 30C. From May to October is the rainy season.
South Thailand has only two seasons – wet and dry. Unfortunately, those seasons don’t run spontaneously on both costs of the peninsula thus making your beach vacation tricky to navigate. The west coast (Krabi, Phuket ) is rainy from April through to October, while on the east coast the storms are gathering between September and December.
Bangkok has three main seasons: hot from March to June, rainy from July to October and
I won’t annoy you with a long list of Amazon listings here. I mean, if you’re going for the island vacation you know you need to bring bathing suits, right? If you like to read you probably already have Kindle and if you’re a photo enthusiast you have your camera ready.
The products I recommend are specific items you never even know you should have in Thailand.
Detachable pants – Thailand is full of beautiful temples to explore, but a lot of them have a strict dress code that won’t let you enter with shorts. Combine that with the hot weather and suddenly figuring out what to wear becomes a significant headache. What I do is using a pair of pants like these. Put the sleeves in your bag, and you got comfy shorts to survive the relentless Thai heat that turns into proper long pants when needed to enter a temple.
Coral-friendly sunscreen – This is something that probably hasn’t even occurred to you, but yes, sunscreens do harm the corals. In order to avoid situations like the one in Maya Bay, we all need to give a second thought about how much our actions reflect on the places we visit. Otherwise, we won’t be able to enjoy them for long.
Water Bottle – if you travel often, you know this is a must-have. Water bottle saves you a fortune on the airports, and it decreases the use of plastic! You can even go a step further and get a bottle that purifies water so you may never have to buy a bottled one again.
Thailand has an excellent transportation network, so it’s pretty easy to get from one place to another. Whether it’s a bus, a train, a ferry or an internal flight, there will be plenty of options and the price will be reasonable (yes, flights are cheap too). The best place to find the transportation you need, not only for Thailand but for entire Asia, is 12GO.asia. I use them every time and never had a single problem.
Thailand is one of the safest destinations in South-East Asia. Been visited by hundreds of millions of tourist in recent years, the country has put a lot of focus into tourists and their safety. This doesn’t mean you should forget your travel smarts or skip your travel insurance (especially if you go for the adventure itinerary ). Don’t go alone in the dark, don’t flash expensive jewelry or electronics, never give your passport to anybody and always keep your cash in 3 different places.
If you’re approached by a stranger who speaks English very well and wants to help you, don’t go for it. This type of scam is not a dangerous one but will eventually take you to a specific shop that will try very hard to sell you something and could waste a ton of time.
Thai Baht (check the latest rates)
Most of the Western countries passport holders can enter Thailand visaless (for up to 30 days), even more, countries are eligible for Visa on arrival. Check out the requirements for your nationality here.
There is wi-fi in almost every hotel or restaurant. It’s not the fastest one in the world though. Get yourself a prepaid travel SIM from the airport or any 7-11 and forget all Internet troubles. AIS is one of the best and there offer (as of February 2019 ) is seven days unlimited SIM (max 1Mbps speed ) for 220THB/ 7USD and 15 days unlimited (4Mbps speed) for 500THB/16USD
Thai people love when you try to use their language. Don’t worry if you misspoken something, they will still enjoy it, and you may get VIP treatment.
Thank you – if you are a Female – kob-khun ka; If you are a Male – kob-khun krab
Hello – Sa-wat dee
How much – Gee baht?
I don’t want – Mai ow
Sorry – Khor tort
Delicious – A-roi
Wow, this one came out pretty big! If you managed to read it all (
That’s all from me, I hope you enjoy the Ultimate 10 Day Thailand Itinerary
If you haven’t planned your trip there yet, find out how I plan my trips!
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