Asia Budget Travel

Get A Taste Of Thailand In 10 Days – A Sample Itinerary

By
on
March 27, 2019

Over the past few years, Thailand has become one of the most developed and popular countries to travel in Southeast Asia. And there are many reasons why Thailand is such a favorite among travelers from all over the world: You can have the dream beach vacation, explore rain forests and mountain regions, go scuba diving in world-class coral reefs and enjoy some of the most delicious food in Southeast Asia at the same time.

You could probably travel around Thailand for several months, and you’d still not be able to discover everything there is. Since most people only have limited vacation time, I created this 10-day Thailand itinerary to give you the chance to get a taste of this diverse destination and make most of your short time in the country.

Thailand Itinerary

The Route In A Nutshell

Day 1: Bangkok
Day 2: Bangkog – Surat Thani
Day 3: Krabi (Ao Nang)
Day 4: Krabi (Ao Nang)
Day 5: Koh Lanta
Day 6: Koh Lanta
Day 7: Koh Lanta
Day 8: Khao Sok National Park
Day 9: Khao Sok National Park
Day 10: Khao Sok National Park – Bangkok

Highlights Of The Trip

– Visit Bangkok’s main tourist attractions, incl. Wat Arun, the Grand Palace and Wat Pho
– Go kayaking around Railay Beach, Krabi
– Soak up the sun at pristine beaches in Koh Lanta
– Enjoy magnificent views at Mu Koh Lanta National Park
– Go scuba diving in some of Thailand’s finest reefs
– Trek through the jungle and see wildlife in Khao Sok National Park
– Get up and close with elephants at Khao Sok Elephant Sanctuary

10-Day Thailand Itinerary

This itinerary is for budget-minded travelers. If you have a few more dollars to spend, I recommend booking a few domestic flights between several islands, which makes traveling around a lot faster and certainly more convenient.

Since this itinerary has a pretty tight schedule, be sure to add a few extra days here and there if you prefer traveling slowly. You will spend two nights on a night train instead of a hotel due to the vast distances you’ll have to cover to get from Bangkok to Surat Thani and back.

Day 1: Bangkok

Accommodation: Bangkok

Since you’re probably still exhausted from your journey to Thailand, maybe even jetlagged, catch up on some sleep and have a relaxed day.

I recommend purchasing your night train ticket to Surat Thani today (definitely one day in advance). You can do that online or at the central station.

If you’re up to it, head out for dinner in the evening. Take a walk around the neighborhood you’re staying in and get the first taste of Thailand’s delicious cuisine at a street food place or local restaurant.

TIP: I usually don’t give recommendations for accommodations in my itinerary posts, but I’d like to let you in on a really awesome Bangkok hostel I discovered on my last trip to Thailand. In my opinion, this is a total hidden gem, immaculate, very cool vibes, decent neighborhood: Kama Bangkok – check it out!

Day 2: Bangkok

Accommodation: Night Train

After breakfast, make your way towards the river. Not only are the river and canals the heart of Bangkok where you’ll find most of the attractions, but they’re also the best and cheapest way to get around.

You can jump on and off the ferries to get from one place to the next. Depending on your energy and cultural affinity, you can visit Wat Arun, which is a very unique construction and likely one of the most stunning temples in Bangkok.

Another building worth exploring is the Grand Palace, which used to be Thai Kings’ home for 150 years. It has magnificent and very detailed architecture and a must-see attraction when in the city.

Bangkok Grand Palace

Bangkok’s Grand Palace is one of many must-see attractions in the city.

Situated only 10 minutes from the Grand Palace is Wat Pho, the 46 m long reclining Buddha covered in gold leaf. This impressive statue is definitely worth a photo or two as is the landscaped garden and stone sculptures outside.

In the afternoon, head to Chinatown and have some authentic Chinese inspired street food dishes, some of which you can’t find anywhere else in the country. Bangkok’s Chinatown is one of the oldest parts of the city and a maze of narrow lanes and outdoor market stalls. Especially at night, it is a real hustle and bustle, though one of the most authentic experiences you can have in Thailand.

In the evening, board a night train to Surat Thani.

Day 3: Krabi

Accommodation: Ao Nang

You’ll reach Surat Thani in the morning of Day 3. From the train station, take a local bus or taxi to Surat Thani bus terminal, from where you can catch a minivan to Krabi/Ao Nang. You’ll likely be staying in the area of Ao Nang, which is pretty much a tourist village full of hotels, hostels, restaurants, bars, and cafés.

In the afternoon, head to Ao Nang beach (again, a pretty touristy beach), though it will be better the next day, I promise! 🙂

Thai Food

Food is a huge part of Thailand’s culture, so be sure to try different dishes, including chicken curry and chicken basil leaves.

Have a relaxed afternoon at the beach, have some dinner and an early night – you might still want to catch up on some sleep from your overnight train ride.

Day 4: Krabi

Accommodation: Ao Nang

Most people come to Ao Nang to go on an island-hopping day trip. Personally, I don’t recommend taking these trips because they’re pretty expensive and there are tons of other people on the boat with you.

That’s why I suggest going to Ao Nang Beach, from where you can take a long-tail boat to Railay Beach, which is pretty much the next bay, though only accessible by boat.

Krabi Penis Shrine

The “Penis Shrine” near Railay Beach has become a popular spot over the past few years

Railay Beach is one of the most popular destinations in the Krabi region. You can spend the day swimming, sunbathing, rock climbing (It is a heaven for climbers indeed), snorkeling or taking pictures of the stunning landscape. If you want to explore the area around Railay Beach, including the limestone cliffs, hidden beaches as well as Phra Nang Cave aka. The Penis Shrine, I recommend renting a kayak for a few hours.

Sea kayaking around Railay Beach is not only affordable but also adventurous. And it turned out to be one of my favorite experiences while traveling around Thailand.

Krabi Sea Kayaking

Sea kayaking is a great way to explore the area around Railay Beach.

In the evening, book your minivan ticket to Koh Lanta at one of the travel agencies on the main street. This might be slightly more expensive than taking local buses, though it will save you quite a lot of time and you can be confident that you’ll actually make it to Koh Lanta on the next day.

Day 5: Koh Lanta

Accommodation: Koh Lanta

If you’ve booked your ticket in advance, you’ll be picked up from your accommodation in Krabi. The ride to Hua Hin Pier will take around 2 hours. From the pier, you’ll need to hop on a short ferry ride to Koh Lanta.

Your minivan driver will probably drop you at your accommodation.

Spend a relaxed afternoon at the beach, have some Thai food and have an early night.

Day 6: Koh Lanta

Accommodation: Koh Lanta

In order to make most of your short time on the island of Koh Lanta, I recommend renting a motorcycle or scooter for a day or two. You’ll probably be able to rent them at your accommodation for approx. 200 Baht – if not, ask about the closest place where you can rent them.

Take a ride towards the south of the island, where you’ll find gorgeous views, stunning beaches, such as Bamboo Beach, with crystal clear water, white sand surrounded by a lush landscape.

Koh Lanta Views

The south of Koh Lanta offers stunning views, beautiful bays and empty beaches.

All the way in the south, you can explore Mu Koh Lanta National Park, which offers hiking trails, cute picnic spots, and incredible views, especially up the hill next to the old lighthouse. Apart from that, there’s another beautiful beach in the National Park. Oh – and hundreds of monkeys, who might steal your food, so watch out! 🙂

Koh Lanta Monkeys

Mu Koh Lanta National Park is home to hundreds of sneaky monkeys.

In the afternoon, you can also check out some of the northern parts of the main island, such as the town of Ban Saladan with its shops, restaurants, bars and a small harbor, from where you can take long-tail boat tours to other islands nearby.

Day 7: Koh Lanta

Accommodation: Koh Lanta

It’s Day 7, and that means, one week has already passed. I recommend taking it slow today.

Have a lazy day at the beach, ride your motorcycle around the island a little bit more or go on a mission to find the best Thai curry on the island.

Thailand Scuba Diving

Thailand has some of the best reefs in the world, some of which are located around the island of Koh Lanta.

If you’re looking for some more adventurous activities, consider kayaking in the mangroves on the island’s east coast or going on a half-day trip scuba diving in some of Thailand’s most beautiful coral reefs. You can book your scuba diving trip at one of the dive shops in Ban Saladan.

Day 8: Khao Sok National Park

Accommodation: Khao Sok National Park

Similar to Krabi, you will be able to book transport from Koh Lanta to Khao Sok National Park on the island, perhaps even through your resort or online. The ride will cost around 650 Baht and takes 7-8 hours.

You’ll be picked up from your accommodation in Koh Lanta and taken back to Krabi, where you’ll need to change to another minivan.

You’ll have traveled all day, so take the evening to relax and get used to your new surroundings, the humming of bees, the chirping of birds and the fresh air.

Day 9: Khao Sok National Park

Accommodation: Khao Sok  National Park

Thanks to its convenient location in southern Thailand, Khao Sok has become one of the most popular national parks in the country. There are no roads inside Khao Sok National Park, which means you’ll need to trek into the jungle to reach the protected areas, see wild animals and experience Cheow Larn Lake. This large man-made lake in the heart of the National Park is a very peaceful spot, great for fishing and kayaking and landscape photography.

Khao Sok

With beautiful flora and fauna as well as the man-made Cheow Lan Lake, Khao Sok is a favorite among tourists in Thailand.

The informtion center at the entrance of Khao Sok offers maps, hiking guides and tour recommendations. You may also book a guided tour, though it is possible to explore the National Park on your own as well.

In the evening, you can have dinner at one of the cozy restaurants on the main street leading to the National Park.

Also, be sure to book your minivan ticket back to Surat Thani for the next day.

Day 10: Khao Sok National Park

Accommodation: Night Train

In the morning, take a trip to the Khao Sok Elephant Sanctuary & Retirement Park, where you can ethically encounter elephants. You can learn about their behavior, their history in Thailand and of course get up and close with them, touch their skin, feed them and, if you want, take a bath with them in the river. These tours can be booked through your accommodation or tour operator on the main road in front of the National Park.

Around midday, you will be picked up and taken back to Surat Thani, where you can take the night train back to Bangkok in the evening.

Day 11: Bangkok

You’ll be back in Bangkok on the morning of Day 11 and have enough time to make it to the airport and fly out of Bangkok in the afternoon/evening.

How To Extend Your Trip?

If you still have a few days left in Thailand, you may board another train towards Chiang in the north of Thailand.

Alternatively, stay in southern Thailand and do some more island-hopping from Surat Thani.

If you have the chance to extend your trip for more than a week, here are the best options:

Check out several other islands in Thailand.

Take a ferry to Langkawi, which is the northernmost island of Malaysia. From Langkawi, travel to Penang and further south to Kuala Lumpur, from where you can catch a flight back home. This trip is basically following this itinerary backward.

Take a flight to Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh and get a taste of Vietnam while traveling around for a week or two.

If you have at least 2 more weeks and you don’t want to spend them in Thailand, consider a trip to the Philippines. You can discover the best of the Central Philippines in only two weeks.

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LOTM

Hi there, I'm Lena! I love being on the move around the world - travelling, diving or taking pictures. I've recently started dealing with and writing about ways to make diving more affordable. I enjoy sharing my experiences and tips with y'all, fellow budget backpackers and budget divers! Read more

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