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Two Week Thailand Itinerary – From North to South

Thailand is a traveler favorite, and for good reason. With fantastic islands and beaches, and fascinating history and culture, it offers everything a traveler could desire. And that’s without even mentioning the food! Determining your two week Thailand itinerary can be tricky.

With two weeks in Thailand, you can get a taste of the north and the south and experience the best Thailand has to offer. Follow my two week Thailand itinerary to discover more!

Two Week Thailand Itinerary Overview

  • Days 1-3: Bangkok
  • Days 4-6: Chiang Mai
  • Days 7-10: Khao Sok National Park
  • Days 11-14: Krabi area
  • Day 15: Depart

If you have more time:

  • Spend a week volunteering at the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai
  • Hop down to Koh Tao, Koh Samui or Koh Phangnan. Koh Tao is great for learning how to scuba dive. Koh Phangnan is home to the famous full-moon party.

Two Week Thailand Itinerary Day-by-Day

Days 1-3: Bangkok

If you are arriving from an international flight into Thailand, you will very likely be flying into Bangkok. It’s a hectic, cosmopolitan city which also offers a lot of fascinating cultural and historical sites.

Spend one day visiting the sites easily accessed by the Chao Phraya Express Boat. Traveling via the Chao Phraya River is the fastest, cheapest and easiest way to explore Bangkok. The city can be overwhelming for some, and the boat ride is a bit of reprieve from the chaos. Make sure you do not miss Wat Arun, or the Temple of Dawn. The temple is covered in a beautiful Chinese porcelain mosaic and features a step stupa you can climb up. It is my favorite temple in Bangkok.

Wat Arun in Bangkok Thailand

Wat Arun in Bangkok

Wat Arun in Bangkok Thailand

Another view of Wat Arun

Another major Bangkok highlight, also accessed from the river, is the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Keaw, or the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. The Grand Palace complex is beautiful but overwhelming, with many buildings (most of which you cannot go in). The temple area, though, was the highlight for me. It was exceptionally beautiful, with a large golden stupa, and the green colored Buddha figure inside is considered an important relic in Buddhism. It is not actually emerald, but jade, but when it was first discovered it was mistaken for emerald and the name stuck.

The Grand Palace in Bangkok Thailand

The Grand Palace in Bangkok

The next morning, take a longtail boat cruise through the canals of Bangkok. Homes in this area are on stilts in the water and transportation is entirely by boat. You will have the opportunity to visit the floating markets and immerse yourself in the unique Thai culture just outside of the heart of the city.

Afterwards, visit one of the most famous temples in Bangkok, Wat Pho, or Temple of the Reclining Buddha. The golden Buddha figure in this temple is massive (the largest in Thailand) and reclining on his side, which is a bit unique to see since the Buddha figures sit cross-legged in most of the other temples.

Wat Pho in Bangkok Thailand

Wat Pho in Bangkok

On your third day, if you have the time and desire, consider visiting Dusit Palace (including with your ticket from the Grand Palace). The largest teak mansion in the world is there, and we took a tour of it but admittedly found it a bit boring. My recommendation if you are ever in Bangkok, check it out if you have absolutely nothing else to do since it is included in the Grand Palace ticket, but don’t go out of your way.
Bangkok is also a popular destination for nightlife. I highly recommend a backpacker style bar called the Happy Beer Garden. It lives up to its name!

Days 4-6: Chiang Mai

Just a one hour flight away from Bangkok (starting from around $50 USD one way) or an overnight train ride (from $30 one way in a first-class sleeper berth), Chiang Mai feels a world away from the hectic pace of Bangkok.

Chiang Mai is a great city for getting a sense of northern Thai culture, which is quite different from the south. Take advantage of the opportunity to try northern Thai food and compare it to the fare you tried in Bangkok.

Chiang Mai is famous for its 300+ Buddhist temples. It can be hard to choose which to visit, but many can be easily linked together on a single walk through the city. Check out this self-guided route from Big Boy Travel.

Outside of the city center. Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, dating from the 1300s, is easily the most famous temple in Chiang Mai. Sitting up on a hill overlooking the city, it’s a long but manageable climb up 309 steps to reach the temple. I recommend taking a tuk-tuk or taxi to the temple shortly before sunset to catch the light reflecting off the golden stupa.

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai Thailand

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai

Elephants are another big draw to this region of Thailand. There are many places that tout the opportunity to interact with the Asian elephant, including bathing and feeding.

Sadly, many of these places practice abusive techniques to “train” the elephants, particularly those that offer elephant rides or elephant treks. For this reason, I highly discourage anyone traveling to Thailand to visit places that offer elephant rides.

Instead, for a highly personal and up-close experience that benefits a great organization, visit the Elephant Nature Park. This sanctuary adopts abused or injured elephants from the tourism and illegal logging industries and provides a natural habitat and veterinary care for them. You can visit for a day, a night, or even spend a week volunteering there like we did in 2014!

Lek elephant nature park Chiang Mai Thailand

Lek, the founder of Elephant Nature Park

Days 7-10: Khao Sok National Park

From Chiang Mai, I recommend flying to either Phuket or Krabi. From there, travel to Khao Sok National Park. This is a stunning region full of mountainous limestone karsts surrounding manmade Cheow Lan Lake.

This is a wonderful place to relax on a river tubing trip, go on a hike, or take a boat tour of the lake. Most accommodations can arrange any of these activities for you.

We stayed at the beautiful Our Jungle House where you can stay in a luxurious treehouse beneath a limestone cliff. They offer treehouses that can accommodate small groups of 2 or entire families.

Cheow Lan Lake Khao Sok National Park Thailand

Cheow Lan Lake

Days 11-14: Krabi Area

For your time in Krabi, I recommend staying near Ao Nang Beach. Though touristy, it’s centrally located for nightlife, island hopping, and restaurants.

There are a number of nice midrange options. We stayed at Peace Laguna Resort, which we thought was a good value for the money, with several beautiful pools and a scenic natural environment, despite being right in the middle of the city.

With your time in Krabi, you are spoiled for choice with regards to island hopping. The two most common trips are to the Phi Phi Islands or the so-called Four Islands. For the most comprehensive experience, you can book a trip that covers both itineraries in one big day. We did an early bird tour that covered both, and because it started early in the morning, we avoided crowds at most places we visited.

For more information on what to expect on these kinds of island hopping excursions, check out my guide on island hopping around Krabi.

Phi phi island tour Thailand

Having fun in the Phi Phi Islands

If you want something away from the beaches, consider renting a car or, if you are experienced, a motorbike, to explore some of the interesting spots further inland. For a great day trip, I recommend a route covering these points of interest:

  • Emerald Pool – a natural swimming pool with a perfect green color
  • Waterfall Hot Springs – as the name suggests, this is a stepped waterfall of hot thermal water. You can soak in one of the several pools while water cascades around you
  • Tiger Cave Temple – Tiger Cave Temple in Krabi is the only ethical tiger temple you can visit in Thailand because, guess what, there are no tigers there! Thailand has a handful of “tiger temples” or “tiger kingdoms” that hold tigers in captivity, so tourists can cuddle on them. These places are notorious for mistreating and drugging the animals. It’s our responsibility as travelers to not support animal abuse! The Tiger Cave Temple, on the other hand, is a Buddhist temple set within a cave. It’s called Tiger Cave because monks witnessed a large tiger allegedly living there in the 1970s. This Buddhist temple has a cave sanctuary you can visit at the base of the mountain, but the best experience is to climb the 1200 steps to the top of the karst.
Tiger Cave Temple Krabi Thailand

Tiger Cave Temple Krabi

Day 15: Depart

Once your time in Krabi has come to end, you’ll fly out of the Krabi airport, which has a number of international connections.

With two weeks in Thailand, you can barely scratch the surface. This Thailand itinerary gives you a great taste of both the north and south, highland and island cultures.

Have you been to Thailand? Are there any recommendations you have or favorite spots you would add to this two week Thailand itinerary? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

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