My very first trip to Asia went to Thailand (and Cambodia). I was so curious to find out whether this country could measure up to my high expectations. I mean, the Thai couldn’t be so nice as often described? And the food could not be so delicious, right? Well, I can safely say that everything that you’ve heard of Thailand is true. Yes, the locals are that nice, and yes, the food is heaven. And even though my boyfriend and I only spent two weeks in the country during this trip, it gave us enough time to explore the major sights of Thailand. This trip was a perfect combination of cultural things to do and beaches. In this blog post, I am sharing my ideal Thailand 2-week itinerary.
Thailand 2-week itinerary: from Bangkok to Koh Samui
Bangkok, the city of chaos (3 days)
Bangkok was the true test for our enthusiasm for Thailand. This city is chaotic, loud, smelly, and crowded with people. You either hate it or you love it. And luckily we loved it. During our days in Bangkok, we visited the well-known highlights such as Grand Palace, the Wat Phra Kaew, the almighty Wat Arun, and the golden reclining Buddha in the Wat Pho. Furthermore, we also took a bicycle tour with the amazing guides of Co van Kessel. We zigzagged through Chinatown and discovered the green suburbs of Bangkok. Our guide took us to places we would never visit ourselves.
Extra tip: Soi Ram Buttri
One of our favorite places in Bangkok is Soi Ram Buttri. This street is a kind of mini version of the nearby backpacker’s area Khao San Road. On Soi Ram Buttri you will also come across the same shops with t-shirts and shorts with little elephants and the same (delicious) food stands, but the whole vibe is just better. It wasn’t as crowded with tourists as Khao San Road. Soi Ram Buttri was the perfect stop for some drinks or a quick late-night snack.
The ruins of Ayutthaya (1 day)
We took a day trip from Bangkok to the ancient ruin city Ayutthaya. A train ticket to this place will only cost a couple of Baht and within two hours you’ll be standing in an open-air museum of temples. Because our time was limited we rented a tuk-tuk with a female driver to tour us around for the day. In the end, this was a good choice, because within three hours we managed to see four temples. Keep in mind that tourists have to pay an entrance fee (as supposed to locals who just walk in and out). I just saw this as my contribution to Ayutthaya to maintain its temples. Besides, the fee is just a couple of Baht.
The relaxed city of Chiang Mai (2 days)
By night train we made our way up north to Chiang Mai. On our first day there we immediately noticed that the atmosphere in Chiang Mai is completely different than in Bangkok. It’s more relaxed, greener, friendlier, and less chaotic when it comes to traffic. You could almost say it’s a relief to visit Chiang Mai after Bangkok. We only had two days in this city, and in retrospect, I can surely say that this wasn’t enough. Chiang Mai offers many things to do. For example, inside the old city walls, there are already thirty temples to explore. A local advised us to visit at least four spectacular ones such as the mountain temple Wat Doi Suthep and the silver temple Wat Sri Suphan.
Golden Triangle (1 day)
For our second day, we decided to visit the Golden Triangle near Chiang Rai. This is the border that overlaps three countries: Myanmar, Laos, and Thailand. It used to be the place where opium cultivation thrived. Now it’s mainly the place for Thai to visit the casinos on the other side (gambling is prohibited in Thailand).
The perfect beaches of Koh Tao (2 days)
From Chiang Mai, we took a domestic flight to the Samui Archipelago. Our first stop was the smallest island of the archipelago: Koh Tao. This island is known for its many diving schools and resorts. It’s the cheapest place to get your PADI. Something we didn’t do, because we just wanted to relax on the beaches. White powdery sand, ocean breeze, and palm leaves waving around. One of our favorite beaches on Koh Tao was Aow Leuk. It has perfect white sand and clear blue water. And if we wanted to be more active, we headed over to the pretty little island Koh Nang Yuan on the coast of Koh Tao. The perfect place to do some snorkeling.
Koh Phangan, more than a party island (2 days)
To continue our island-hopping trip we took the ferry to Koh Phangan. This island is mainly known for its nightlife on the Full Moon Party. We let this side of Koh Phangan pass for now because we came for the awe-inspiring beaches. We rented a scooter for a day and spent hours looking for the best beaches and bays. The best bay we found was on Mae Haad beach on the north side of the island. This beach is connected by a small sand strip with the tiny peninsula Koh Mae. This tiny island doesn’t offer much, but if you look at it from a distance it is a beautiful sight.
Koh Samui, a mini version of Bangkok (3 days)
We ended our island-hopping adventure on Koh Samui, the largest island of the similar Samui Archipelago. This island was our least favorite. Here is a summary of things that come to mind when I think of Koh Samui: kitschy temples, stray dogs, loud tourists, and crowded beaches. Koh Samui just wasn’t my kind of island. However, there was one activity we did like. We took a trip to the Ang Thong National Marine Park. A true paradise that you cannot miss out on when visiting Koh Samui.
And that was the end of our Thailand 2-week itinerary. After Koh Samui, it was time to go back to Bangkok for our flight to Amsterdam. In two weeks we got to discover so much of this great country. I hope future travelers to Thailand might find this route helpful.
Have you been to Thailand? I’m curious to find out what your Thailand 2-week itinerary would look like. Let me know in the comments.