Want to visit Thailand but only have 10 days to see the entire country?! I’ve picked some of the most popular spots in Thailand and wrapped them into a 10 day itinerary!
Let’s talk about Thailand! Thailand is a great place. Sure, there are the 18-year-old gap-year-ers running full force towards the full moon parties, and on the other hand, there are those who call themselves “true backpackers” who think Thailand has become too touristy… but no matter what end of the spectrum you fall in, Thailand is a beautiful country worth exploring.
If you’re doing a massive Southeast Asia trip, I’d recommending going to Thailand. While there are loads of wonderful places in the region, it isn’t a Southeast Asia trip without visiting this country! 10 days to two weeks is a great amount of time to spend in Thailand- you’ll get to see the North and South (my two favourite parts), and explore the cities within them. Here is my Thailand itinerary – 10 days!
I’d start in the North and work your way down. The South of Thailand tends to be a little more relaxing, aka a great way to end your trip.
Days 1-4: Chiang Mai
This 10 day Thailand itinerary starts out in the North. I made this itinerary so there’s a significant amount of time spent in Chiang Mai… and for good reason! This place is BEAUTIFUL. You’ll find amazing people, cool coffee shops, and endless alleys inside the inner walls of the city. I love taking cooking classes wherever I go, and I have to say Chiang Mai has some of my favourite places to learn the basics of Thai cooking.
There’s also a massive Sunday market if you’re looking to shop! I used to go there every week as a kid and I fell in love with strolling through the colourful stalls and getting lost in chaos. As big as I thought it was as a child, it’s even more massive now!
The outside of the city walls has the Elephant Nature Park (book ahead!), majestic waterfalls, and Doi Suthep, a beautiful hilltop temple. There’s also the incredible Chiang Mai lantern festival if you’re lucky enough to visit during the right time of year.
A note on seeing elephants: There are PLENTY of elephant ‘rehabilitation centres’ now, but the sad reality is that most of them still harm the elephants. Make sure that you’re going with a reliable place – read ALL the reviews you can find and seriously, be as suspicious as possible! If the park allows you to ride an elephant, it’s NOT a good one. If you want to be sure you’re visiting a place that actually does good, the Elephant Nature Park is the original and is worth the more expensive prices. Book ahead of time, as they often fill up quickly!
If you’re comfortable on a scooter, I really liked riding up to the hillsides, visiting some less-visited temples, climbing Sticky Waterfall (named because you can walk up the waterfall), and eating at some real hole-in-the-wall restaurants.
Optional Side Trips: Pai & Chiang Rai
After a busy few days of exploring Chiang Mai, you might want to recharge (especially before hitting Bangkok!). Pai is a three-hour drive from Chiang Mai (bring Dramamine- the road is infamous for its 762 turns), but it’s worth the trip. Pai is possibly the most chill place on earth. It’s not exactly known for Thai culture, but there’s a beautiful canyon, well worth a trip. I also like exploring the town (you can find great healthy food here!), getting a massage (so cheap), and hanging out at Fluid (a pool just on the outskirts of town). There’s no place like Pai.
Chiang Rai is famous for its stunning white temple. It’s a three-hour drive from Chiang Mai and is most easily accessed by bus.
When you’re done with Pai or Chiang Rai, take the bus back to Chiang Mai, and catch the night train to Bangkok.
Days 5-6: Bangkok
Bangkok was a place that’s really grown on me over the years. Bangkok is an excellent place to wander by foot (though they do have inner-city trains, trams, boats, and buses – very convenient).
In terms of places to stay, I personally like backpacker central, Khao San Road. It’s a party at night, and a place to hang out/walk around during the day. There isn’t necessarily a lot to DO along Khao San Road, and it is quite touristy, but I’ve always had a fun time there and I’ve met great people. This is definitely a great place to stay if you’re travelling solo.
I also have a great love for Wat Pho and Wat Arun, two temples by the river. Wat Pho has a beautiful giant Buddha, and Wat Arun has one of my favourite views in Bangkok!
Chatachuk Market is also worth a visit if you’re in Bangkok on a weekend. It’s the largest outdoor market in Asia. I really like all of the stalls selling old dress shirts (they’re really funky), and of course, the Thai iced tea stalls!
When you’re done with Bangkok, catch a bus, night train, or plane to the South.
Days 7-10: Krabi or Phuket
Krabi is a really fun place. The easiest place to get to is Ao Nang (check out monkey path and a semi-private beach!), but I absolutely love Tonsai and Railay, which used to be big hippy rock climber spots. They’re now quite high-end places with many resorts and a more exclusive feel. Tonsai and Railay have the most gorgeous beaches and their peninsula is easily accessible from Krabi. At this point, you can either spend your last couple days in this beautiful area, or head to Phuket.
Phuket is a great place. There are two “real” parts of Phuket: the old town and Patong Beach. Patong is the crazy, party side of Phuket, where you can find all the raunchy bars, bucket drinks, and laughing gas (much like Khao San Road). The Old Town is a great place to have as a home base if you plan on going around the island. There’s a big Buddha at the top of a hill (beautiful, but arrange a way to get there and back!), and some amazing temples to check out. There are some good cafes and boat trips to famous spots like Maya Bay from here.
That’s it! A 10 Day Thailand Itinerary gone in the blink of an eye! This is a very introductory tour of Thailand, as there’s so much to see and so little time! These are the most popular places to go, and for good reason- they’re really special.
A note on sex tourism:
I’ve been really blessed with this blog. Not only do I get to share my love for travel, but I also get to use this platform as a way to reach thousands of people. I feel the need to mention sex tourism when I’m talking about Thailand, as many Southeast Asian countries are huge destinations for those interested in it. PLEASE make the decision to avoid going to ping pong shows, happy ending “massage” parlours, and brothels. The sex tourism industry is a huge problem for society in Thailand, and unfortunately, every ticket purchased/woman and/or ladyboy abused feeds into allowing the sex tourism industry to progress. By feeding the sex tourism industry, you’re also helping the human trafficking industry grow. You’d be surprised how many children, women, and men are trafficked to Thailand for the pure purpose of sex tourism. Along with those trafficked, many prostitutes/ping pong showgirls are there because of poverty. There is nothing positive that comes out of illegal sex tourism.