Thailand Itinerary : 10 days in the land of smile
In May I had my best friend and his girlfriend coming for the first time in Thailand. With only about 10 days in Thailand I had to make sure I pack as much as possible so they could have a good idea of what Thailand is about
So here's a 10 days itinerary I made for them that include as many different things as possible in that short period of time.
Because yes, 10 days is short for a trip to Thailand and in a country with so much to offer, it's challenging to pick what to do.
There's so many different things to see and experience in the Kingdom that a 10 days itinerary is the minimum I would recommend for anyone.
More is better of course, but less would really be too short get a real taste of Thailand.
Anyway. The plan was to get them to see as much as possible in 10 days while having some off time to relax.
And of course I had to take them to a few parties to give them show them what I love Thai Nightlife so much.
So here is what the itinerary looked like for their 10 days in Thailand.
- 1 Day 1 : Bangkok
- 2 Day 2 : Erawan Falls
- 3 Day 3 : Ayutthaya
- 4 Day 4 : Shopping Mall in Bangkok and Flight to Krabi
- 5 Day 5 : Koh Phi Phi
- 6 Day 6 : Koh Phi Phi View Point
- 7 Day 7 : Island Tour
- 8 Day 8 : Chill day in Phi Phi or Krabi
- 9 Day 9 : Night Market in Bangkok
- 10 Day 10 : Temples and Party in Bangkok
- 11 10 day Thailand Itinerary : Summary
- 12 Planning your Thailand Itinerary
- 13 Conclusion :
Day 1 : Bangkok
On the first day I went to pick them up at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi airport around 4pm.
First thing was to get them a SIM Card at the Airport. A 5go Internet package cost around 350฿ with True (one of the main network provider) and they set it up in 2 minutes.
There's other brands that have kiosks at the airport, but just choose between True, AIS or Dtac. All of them are good enough for short holidays. But do it as soon as land, having internet right away will help you save a lot of time and money.
Then we took the Airport Link (at the ground floor of Suvarnabhumi Airport) and the MRT (Bangkok Metro system) to get close to my place in Sukhumvit Soi 16 (around Asoke).
It's one of the easiest and cheapest way to get to Bangkok from Suvarnabhumi airport.
In total, it cost around 70฿ per person and it's faster than the taxi to get inside Bangkok, especially during rush hour.
What took us 45 minutes with the Airport Link and the MRT would have take over 1 hour and cost probably around 500฿ with a taxi (including airport fee and the highway).
Then right after they checked in their hotel we went to exchange money at the nearest Superrich branch. If you need to exchange money in Bangkok, look for their nearest branch. They usually have the best exchange rates in Bangkok.
🐵 Mojo Tip : Do not exchange money at the airport, or just the minimum to pay for a sim card and a ride to your hotel. The exchange rate is a total rip off there.
If it's your first time in Bangkok or in Thailand, check my first time guide in the menu, that's one of the many tip I give there.
As for the rest of day 1, it was pretty chill.
When you land at that time, between customs and the time to get in the city and to go exchange money, there's no much time left in the day.
So we went to get some Thai food at the end Soi 22 and 24. If you ever go in the area, there's a really good spot that is street food cheap as they mostly target tourists but they have some of the best Thai food in the area. (google maps)
So nothing fancy for that first night, just some good street food and a few cold beers.
No night out as we had to wake up early the next morning for our first day trip from Bangkok.
Like really early.
Day 2 : Erawan Falls
6.30am, rise and shine to get in a van for a 3 hours drive to see Erawan Falls.
Going to Kanchanaburi and Erawan Falls is one of the best day trip you can do from Bangkok.
As the pollution was bad at that time in the north of Thailand around Chiang Mai, we decided for the first days to do day trips around Bangkok instead of flying up north.
First stop was Erawan Falls in the Kanchanaburi region.
There's a ton of tours online with all kind of prices but there's one company that give you a basic package starting from only 1,200฿ per person.
For this price you have a round trip in a van, a stop at the river Kwai to see the famous bridge and museum, the entrance at Erawan National Park and Thai food for lunch.
Don't expect much from the "guide". What you pay here is for the transportation, the national park entrance, and someone to point you in the right direction.
Honestly, for that price, it's fine.
And it worked well for us. Erawan Falls were super busy because it was a public holiday but mostly with Thais. The trick was too go up as fast as possible to avoid the crowd.
Erawan Falls have 7 steps with 7 different waterfalls. And the higher you go, the less people you meet (and the clearer the water is).
You probably don't want to dip your toes in the first waterfall there.
That was a great idea for the first day.
Erawan Falls are really beautiful and worth the 1.5 hour walk to get up to the 7th waterfall.
Pack some water and bug repellent for the trip and forget about the food or the insects will take over your bag.
Just eat some snacks before you go up and enjoy the free lunch included in the trip when you come down.
Oh, and as for the famous River Kwai on the way there, well, it's a good bonus.
In my opinion it's not worth the trip to Kanchanaburi if you aren't going to the falls. Unless you're a fan of history of course.
Keep in mind that what we did was one of the many tours that go in that area.
If you want to get more high end tours and different options, you have plenty websites like Klook that offer ton of choice.
One Night in Khaosan Road
Good thing with the company we used is they either drop you off at your hotel or in Khaosan Road.
For us, it was the perfect excuse to see Khaosan Road and drink a few buckets.
Khaosan is the backapacker and budget traveler area of Bangkok. It's close to all main attractions of the city (the Royal Temple, Wat Pho, Wat Arun...) but is mostly known for its bars with blasting music, night market, pad thais and cheap drinks.
Don't go there to eat a good pad thai though. What I use to remember as the best pad thai in Bangkok is now just terrible.
Most of the food in the main street have become pretty mediocre over the last years and it's some of the worst I've tasted in Bangkok.
Just get out of Khaosan road itself and look for some street food or restaurants outside the main street.
But for drinks and party, nothing beats Khaosan Road (especially if you're on a budget).
Expect a big hangover the next day, but at 150฿ or 200฿ per bucket and towers of beer at 600฿ you've got what you pay for...
Day 3 : Ayutthaya
Day 3 we woke up again at 6am to get in a van and go visit the ancien city of Ayutthaya.
We used the same company as it was again the cheapest option for a day trip to Ayutthaya.
This time it was even a bit cheaper, 1,000฿ per person. And we had a real guide that explained us the history of each location we visited.
Of course, I don't recommend to do it with a massive hangover. Being squeezed in a van, spending the day going from the aircon to the heat... well, you can imagine, it's not the best idea you can have.
You can also ask yourself, should I go to Ayutthaya ?
In my opinion, if you've never been to Asia, seen old temples and you want to learn more about the history of the Kingdom of Siam, it's worth the trip.
But if you've already been to places like Angkor Wat and you don't really care about history, I guess you can skip it. You won't miss much.
Or if you're feeling more adventurous and not as hangover as us, there's plenty of companies that offer different types of visits, with anything from food tours to bike tours.
Probably something I'd rather do if I go again.
To be honest, getting in and off the van to walk through what is mostly ruines isn't too exciting by itself.
Stop at the Summer Palace in Bang Pa In
One thing that was really interesting about the day trip to Ayutthaya was to stop at the Summer Palace on the way back to Bangkok.
The company we used for the tour offer the normal tour in Ayutthaya at 900฿ and for 100฿ extra, a stop at the Summer Palace on the way back to Bangkok.
I can't speak for my friend, but for me, that was the highlight of the day.
It's the summer residency for the king of Thailand that is still in use these days and it's absolutely beautiful.
Everything is clean and well maintained. You've got different types of architecture and it's very peaceful overall.
On top of that, it's not as touristic as Ayutthaya.
If you have the time, it's definitely worth the 100฿ extra your pay for it.
And if you're living in Thailand or have been a bunch of times to Bangkok and want to see something else, it's worth the trip.
Day 4 : Shopping Mall in Bangkok and Flight to Krabi
After 2 day trips from Bangkok, and two really early mornings, it was time to get some rest.
We woke up late and went to Terminal 21 for lunch.
Terminal is one of the biggest and fanciest mall in Bangkok and one of the best place to do some shopping and grab a quick lunch at their huge food court.
Then time to pack the bags and head to Don Muang Airport to take our flight to Krabi.
If like us you're going there during the day, plan around one hour to go from the center of Bangkok to Don Muang airport, and about 300฿ (including tolls).
For domestic flights with AirAsia and if you don't have any bags to check in, do the online check-in in advance. Then when you arrive at the airport you can print your boarding pass at the machine, go through security and get to the gate in less than 30 minutes.
Then the flight from Bangkok to Krabi was just over 1 hour. So not much to say about it. It was just enough time to learn more about Thai Street food on Netflix.
If you have more time, you can also take the train or the bus to go to Krabi or in the south of Thailand. Check 12goasia below to see the different options.
In Krabi we booked a hotel in Ao Nang Beach.
Why Ao Nang Beach ? Because one of my friend who lived there recommended it to me. And he was right on the money.
Our hotel was just 5 minutes walk from the beach, with a large room, a pool, and close to lots of bars and restaurants, for only 765฿ for the night. Quite a good deal.
Ao Nang Beach was fun, with plenty of bars and it's a good base if you want to explore around Krabi.
The only problem there is the quality of the food. It's nothing but tourist traps, Burger King and Mc Donald's.
Most restaurants suck in that area. And still, we went for it.
But don't make the same mistake as us and avoid all the locations that offer Pizza, Thai Food, Burgers, Seafood, Pasta... at the same time. It's usually a sign of low quality.
In our defense, those shitty restaurants and fast foods take pretty much all of Ao Nang beach so if you're in for a good meal, get away from the beachfront restaurants. And keep your money to eat seafood on the islands.
Now for bars, Ao Nang Beach is pretty cool. There's a lot of options, more than I would have imagined.
We went for a drink at Reggae Town, a cool bar with live music, then two more rum and coke in a sort of street bar with stools on the sidewalk, and another two in the "red light district" where all the ladies bars are.
In short, if you're going to Krabi, Ao Nang is a good area to stay.
I was surprised to see the value for money was really good for accommodation and drinks were cheap for such a touristic area. Except the bar with live music we tried, most bars have 100฿ drinks and the "red light" part isn't as seedy as some in Bangkok.
Ao Nang was way more fun than was I was expecting it to be.
Day 5 : Koh Phi Phi
8am in Krabi, time to see what Ao Nang look like during the day.
Quick walk on the beach with a fruit shake and breakfast at the hotel before the van came to take us to the pier where we took a ferry to Koh Phi Phi.
You've got plenty of small travel agencies everywhere in Krabi that will sell you tickets for the ferry and other activities.
But to avoid loosing time with that while we were in Krabi, I booked our ferry online with 12GoAsia. It was like 450฿ per person for the transfer to the pier and a high speed ferry that took about 2 hours to get to Phi Phi.
The other good thing with 12GoAsia is that you don't need to print anything or keep paper version of the tickets with you.
All you have to do is show the confirmation email. That's one less thing to carry and worry about.
Now we when arrived in Koh Phi Phi we realized we booked a hotel on the west side of the island... by mistake.
It was my second time in Phi Phi but the first time for my best friend. Both coming with girlfriends we were looking at something "romantic", quiet and right on the beach.
But the plan was to take a room on the beach, on the side of the island that is connected to the rest of the "city".
Instead of that, we ended up in a hotel on the other side of Koh Phi Phi that you can only access by boat.
So the view was amazing, the room quite nice, but I would recommend it only to people who want to disconnect and relax.
It's definitely not good if you're going on the island for the first time or if like us you want to do activities and party during your stay.
Good thing is you can take taxi boats any time of the day (the night is more tricky) to go around the island and back to the main part. But if you don't take the boat from the hotel that only travel twice a day, you will have to pay every-time.
So on the first night there we decided to have dinner at the hotel and to chill in our rooms with some rum.
This way we were fresh to wake up early the next morning and catch the free shuttle boat from the hotel to the main area in Phi Phi. (that was at 8am 😏)
Day 6 : Koh Phi Phi View Point
After a quick breakfast by the beach and a 25 minutes boat ride from our hotel, we arrived in the main part of Koh Phi Phi.
We decided to buy tickets to go for an island tour on the next day with a speedboat.
The ticket is 1,400฿ per person and you visit 9 different locations during the day.
Not the cheapest tour but we were seduced by the idea of spending less time on the boat and more on the beach.
I've done the same island hopping two years ago with long tail boats and it's nice but it takes forever to go from A to B.
I guess there's no right or wrong choice here, it just depend on your budget and what you like the most.
With our tickets booked for the next day it was time to go check the famous viewpoint of Koh Phi Phi.
The walk is quite stiff and with the heat and humidity you're guaranteed to be covered with sweat when you get to the top. But good news is, it doesn't take more than 30 minutes to reach the top.
And the view is quite rewarding.
If it's your first time, try to make it at sunrise at sunset for a more epic view. But even during the day, as you can see above, the view is far from bad.
Then the rest of the day was chill, my friends went back to the hotel to relax and we went for a few drinks at Ibiza Bar Pool Party.
If you like to party, Koh Phi Phi is a good place for a few fun nights. There's not that many bars but enough to get drunk with backpackers from around the world , watch fire shows, get some free shots and play a few beer pong tournaments.
Day 7 : Island Tour
Day 7 and time for the islands tour. If you're going to Koh Phi Phi and there's one thing you should do, on top of the view point, it's the islands tour.
Every days, dozens of boats take tourist to visit different locations in and around Koh Phi Phi.
Monkey Island, Koh Phi Phi, Bamboo Island, the famous Maya Bay, some snorkeling in between... all tours will visit the main islands around and a few will even stop in deserted beaches on Koh Phi Phi.
If it's your first time there, do it, it's worth the money.
Don't overthink it, just choose between longtail boat and speedboat and go for it.
That's a must do in Koh Phi Phi.
Party in Phi Phi
To be honest we were quite tired after the cruise so we only had dinner on the beach and went back to the hotel.
But Koh Phi Phi is a good place to party.
It often come up as the second best island to party in Thailand, right after Koh Phangan and its world famous Full Moon party.
The mandatory stop is Slinky bar on the north beach to see the fire shows.
Then when you get enough of it you have a good dozen of bars, all within a few hundred meters where you can drink cheap buckets and play beer pong til late .
Day 8 : Chill day in Phi Phi or Krabi
On day 8 my girlfriend and I went back to Bangkok as we had to get back to work, but my friends stayed in Phi Phi.
They booked a 3 stars hotel on the island and spent a magical night apparently. I wasn't there so I can't judge. But they said Zeavola Resort was the best hotel they've been to.
Anyway, at this point if you're as well on a 10 day Thailand itinerary staying one more night in Phi Phi is an option but not what I would recommend.
That's great if you want to take some time to chill and get some rest after a few intense days.
But if you have enough of the island vibe and want to see more, you can take the ferry and spend one more night in Krabi to explore around the city.
Big Buddhas, more island tours, night markets... there's a ton of things do in Krabi and around before you head back to Bangkok.
Day 9 : Night Market in Bangkok
Now back to Bangkok, it was time to go check Bangkok Night Markets.
They are perfect for outdoor shopping and some of the best food and drinks you can find in Bangkok.
One of the closest night market to my place and one of the most famous in Bangkok is Ratchada Night Market.
Keep in mind that the traffic is pretty bad in Ratchada, especially close to the market. Take the MRT (Bangkok Metro) instead of the taxi and get off at Thailand Cultural Centre station.
Nowadays the market is really crowded early in the night, so try to come a bit later.
I reckon around 9pm is the perfect time to avoid most of the big crowd of Chinese and have enough time to go around the night market before it close at midnight.
That's really a cool spot if it's your first time visiting Bangkok and it suits everyone.
Whether you want to do some shopping, take pictures, eat Thai food (or crocodile) and get a few cold beers before going out in Bangkok.
Day 10 : Temples and Party in Bangkok
We kept the best things to do in Bangkok for the end.
At this point there's one last thing you must do while in Bangkok and that's to visit the royal palace and the biggest temples.
The Royal Palace with the Emerald Buddha is a must, a magnificent place that show yow how rich is Thai culture and the Kingdom.
Go there as early as you can to avoid the waves of tourists that take over the palace but don't skip it. It's with no doubt one of the most beautiful palace in the world.
And if you don't have a guide with you, make sure to rent an audio guide. It is available in almost every languages and a must to understand the rich history of the palace.
Then walk to Wat Pho to see the famous reclining Buddha. Wat Pho is just a 5 minutes walk from the Royal Palace so don't try to negotiate with tuk tuks and taxis in the area as most of them are just trying to make a quick buck off tourists.
Last step when you're done with Wat Pho, get out through the main entrance and walk straight to the pier in front of the temple to cross the river and visit Wat Arun.
The temple of dawn was recently renovated and is absolutely beautiful.
To finish the day and if you still have energy for more, take a short walk or a quick taxi to visit Chinatown on the way back.
The Chinese area is a unique place in Bangkok with ton of street food and shops for everything and anything.
Rooftop Bar, Food Court, Cocktails, Clubs...
Now that we were done with all the tourist stuff, it was finally time to explore Bangkok nightlife for real.
For our last night in Bangkok I tried to show them as many different spots as I could.
First, we started with cocktails at Octave for sunset, one my favorite rooftop bar in Bangkok.
Then we headed to W District in Prakanong (see on google maps). It's an outdoor food court with a great expat vibe and all types of food from sushi to Jamaican, and of course drinks.
With our stomach full and a few beers, we headed to Atomic Bar in Thonglor to play a quick Beer Pong on their electronic beer pong tables.
After that we walked 5 minutes t have a cocktail at The Iron Fairies. This cocktail bar is one of the most interesting in Bangkok and one you should definitely check out.
It was designed by one of the best designer in Bangkok (the same that designed Sing Sing Theater) and it has a special vibe and look that look like nothing else I've ever seen.
The also have great cocktails and live music. A must see.
Then we headed to the new Hip Hop club in Ekamai, Penta (google maps). It's heaven for hip hop fans and even though it was empty that day, the music was so good we stayed until 2am.
Finally, when 2 am arrived and most bars and clubs were closing in Thonglor and Ekamai, we headed to Sukhumvit Soi 11 to find some late night venues.
Time for a few drinks at Insanity Club, until late. Then I can't say much about what happened but just remember that if you're in Bangkok, there's always somewhere open where you can drink. You just need to know the right address.
10 day Thailand Itinerary : Summary
That's it for their 10 day trip to Thailand. If you dont want to go through all the text (which I understand), here's what the 10 days looked lite :
- Day 1 : Bangkok
- Day 2 : Erawan Falls and Kanchanaburi
- Day trip from Bangkok
- Day 3 : Ayutthaya
- Day trip from Bangkok (again)
- Day 4 : Bangkok and Krabi
- Exploring Bangkok and flight to Krabi
- Day 5 : Breakfast in Krabi and dinner in Koh Phi Phi
- Day 6 : Koh Phi Phi viewpoint and chill
- Day 7 : Island Hopping around Koh Phi Phi
- Day 8 : Chill day in Phi Phi or explore around Krabi
- Day 9 : Fly back to Bangkok then night market and night out
- Day 10 : Grand Palace, temples and explore Bangkok nightlife
Planning your Thailand Itinerary
Here are more details on the planning for the trip and the websites we used :
I used to book everything at the last minute but now that I've been organizing trips for a while and that I travel with groups, a bit of planning and bookings in advance always help.
For a 10 day itinerary in Thailand I would recommend to book at least accommodation and transport in advance so you don't worry about that.
Not like you always have to plan everything in advance, but for hotels and airplane tickets in particular you often have best deals when you plan a few weeks before your trip.
And when you travel with a group, it's better to have accommodation and transportation secured before the trip so you can focus on activities and food as you go.
In general, I always try to book everything with the same app or company to get a maximum of rewards.
By booking everything with Booking.com we had 10% discount on most hotels with their Genius loyalty program.
Same with Airasia, as a Big Member, you earn points and have discounts on flights.
And for easy booking of local transportation in Thailand and the rest of Asia, we used 12goAsia. It's easy and reliable and most importantly you have a clear idea of price.
I'm not a big fan of spending my time negotiating with local vendors and lose time figuring out who want to rip me off and who's genuine.
On top of that, those small savings and discounts here and there add up quite fast when you travel.
So by committing to one service for all your bookings you can save quite a lot.
I'll update that part soon as I'm going through my expenses but all included I think we've spent around 30,000฿ each during this 10 days. All included (accommodation, transportation, food, drinks).
It's definitely not cheap and you can do the same on a budget for half of that, but it's not that crazy either and definitely a great value for everything we've done.
Keep in mind that Thailand is for all budgets.
We could have easily spend twice more by staying in high end hotels or cut the cost in half by traveling in bus and staying in hotels.
The options are there.
It's just a matter of what you want to do and how much you're willing to spend.
Thailand Itinerary FAQ
A : As long as you can !
There's no right answer but I would say 10 days in Thailand is the minimum to have a real taste of it.
If you can, 3 weeks tend to be best for most. This way you can spend time in Bangkok, in the north, on the islands... this way you can see the different faces of Thailand.
A : This one !
More seriously, at least 10 days with Bangkok, Chiang Mai in the north and either Phuket and Koh Phi Phi or Koh Samui and Koh Phangan (depending on the weather)
This way you have a bit of everything (beach, temples, party, relaxation, boat...)
A : Flight for long distance, vans or minibus for short trips.
With so many tourists coming to Thailand, there's a lot of options to get around.
But with cheap domestic flights, it doesn't make sense to get stuck in a bus or a train to cover long distance. Unless you want to live an experience of course.
And to travel from cities to cities that are only a few hours from each other, minivans are the most confortable and usually stay really cheap.
That's only one example of what you could do with 10 days in Thailand and my take on a 10 days itinerary in Thailand.
Honestly, there's so much to see and do, it's hard to make a selection so you try to pack as much as you can in only 10 days.
But if you've never been to Thailand before, this itinerary will give you a good idea of what Thailand is about.
You've got all the must see, as little travel as possible, and a ton of things to do with plenty of time to rest too.
Now let me know what you think about it, and if you've been to Thailand before, let me know where you've been and what was your favorite part about it. 🇹🇭😉