THAILAND: THE PERFECT ITINERARY
Published on 03/10/2019.
To help you make the most of your trip to Thailand we’ve created the ‘perfect’ itinerary which allows you to take in the main sites, sample renowned Thai food, marvel at idyllic beaches and have the adventure of a lifetime.
Follow our domestic flight network to travel around the country and complete your Thai bucket-list in one go.
BANGKOK (3 DAYS)
The start of most journeys in Thailand, Bangkok is the perfect destination to begin your trip. Chaotic but charming, it’s a treat for all the senses and has so much to offer, there’s really something for everyone.
We recommend spending at least three days enjoying the unmissable foodie scene, ancient wonders and of course, the modern metropolis. Take a tuk-tuk ride to one of the city’s unforgettable floating markets, feast on some of the world’s best street food or visit the majestic Grand Palace, a former private residence of the royal family.
The captivating capital is just the right mix of tradition and modernity, with dominating skyscrapers offering panoramic views over ancient temples such as Wat Pho. It’s here you can visit one of the largest Buddha statues in Thailand, boasting a massive 46 metres of radiant gold-plating.
Night-time entertainment options are plenty in Bangkok, whether you want to enjoy live music, Muay Thai boxing or a traditional Thai performance, the city is brimming with possibilities to keep you amused. Whatever you do there, Bangkok is sure to surprise and delight.
Day trips from Bangkok
If you fancy escaping the bustle of the city, there are some great options for short trips to experience something a bit different.
Only 80 kms north of Bangkok, this UNESCO World Heritage Centre has plenty to offer visitors. Founded in 1350 and once filled with 400 temples and palaces, this important archaeological city was formerly a capital of the Siam kingdom before being destroyed by the Burmese in 1767.
The best way to explore is by hiring bikes and cycling around the sites. Or if you’re looking for a more Thai experience, enjoy a tuk-tuk ride around. To reach the Historic City of Ayutthaya it’s possible to get a 2-hour train from Bangkok Hua Lamphong Station to Ayutthaya (runs hourly).
Best known as the home of the Death Railway Bridge which was built in World War 2 by POWs and local civilians, Kanchanaburi can be reached by train from Bangkok Thonburi Station in around three hours.
The Death Railway Bridge is the inspiration for the harrowing book and Hollywood film The Bridge On the River Kwai, directed by Pierre Boulle. A strong connection to World War 2 can also be found in the JEATH (Japanese-English-American-Australian-Thai-Holland) War Museum and the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery.
While visiting Kanchanaburi, make the most of the beautiful surroundings and get into nature by hiking through the jungle of Erawan National Park and cool down by taking a dip in the serene Erawan Waterfalls.
Chiang Mai (3 days)
Just over an hour’s flight from Bangkok, Chiang Mai in northern Thailand is surrounded by misty mountains and is the main base for most travellers arriving in the north. It’s a city full of culture, tranquil Buddhist temples, friendly locals and beautiful landscapes, so we recommended aiming for at least three days to spend here, longer if you plan on taking part in a jungle trek. Cruise down the Mae Ping river which takes you past gorgeous scenery right in the heart of Chiang Mai to take in the sights of the city.
Chiang Mai is great if you’re seeking adventure. There are many different jungle treks you can choose from depending on your duration of stay - the longer you have, the more secluded and interesting the places you’ll get to visit. It’s also possible to go whitewater rafting, ziplining or go climbing up the Bua Thong Sticky Waterfalls, that will leave you feeling like Spiderman.
Chiang Mai is a popular destination for those who want to learn how to cook amazing Thai food. You can take cooking classes where you learn about fresh, authentic Thai produce by visiting a local market, then heading back to the kitchen to cook a few dishes before eating your homemade delights.
For a unique experience, monk chats are a way for Buddhist monks in Chiang Mai to practice their English, while visitors get to learn about the country’s religion and culture. Head to Wat Dok Suthep in the city every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 1pm-3pm to get involved.
With such an array of activities to choose from, you may find that three days here just isn’t enough!
Phuket (3 days)
Undeniably, beautiful Phuket boasts some of Thailand’s best, unspoilt beaches as well as a coral reef, making for perfect snorkelling. Although no visit to Phuket should go without some chill-out time to appreciate the stunning beaches, there’s more to do than you imagine, so we suggest setting aside at least three days in your trip to spend here. The daily, direct flight from Chiang Mai to Phuket, operated by our regional and domestic wing, THAI Smile, departs at 9.40am, allowing you to make the most of your time.
Tour Phuket City’s night markets to find a one-off, homemade souvenir or enjoy some laid-back, street food. For an amazing, panoramic view of the Phuket Island, climb to the Big Buddha. At 150ft high, it sits on top of Nakkerd Hill and is the perfect place to sit and enjoy sunset on the island. Or if diving is your thing, Phuket’s coral reefs offer a diver’s paradise, with some of the best diving spots in Asia.
Easily accessible from Phuket by ferry, longtail boat or speedboat, visit the Phi Phi islands, which include the location of the cult movie, The Beach. Although the main filming location, Maya Bay beach on Koh Phi Phi Leh is currently closed to the public, there are plenty of quieter beaches on the islands to explore.
The main and only inhabited island, Koh Phi Phi Don, has several beautiful beaches to enjoy, including Laem Tong Bay, Long Beach and Monkey Beach, which as the name suggests, has some cheeky residents. Koh Phi Phi Don offers a range of accommodation to suit every style and budget so it’s even possible to spend a night or two on this idyllic island.
Krabi (3 days)
Travel in style by speedboat to nearby Krabi and marvel at the 150 islands within the province. Island hopping is a must here as it’s easy and fast to travel by boat from Krabi Town and Ao Nang to the most popular destinations.
Offering breathtaking scenery with jungle-covered islands and turquoise waters, your Instagram feed will be the envy of all your friends. The limestone juts and white sand beaches are more than likely what springs to mind when you think of Thailand and for good reason. Each island has its own unique quirks and by island hopping you’ll be able to sample the differences between each of this unique archipelago.
One of the most popular islands, Koh Lanta, is a great place to learn to dive with many scuba diving schools offering PADI courses for good prices. The coral-fringed beaches make for interesting underwater exploration. Alternatively, hire a scooter and zip around the 27km island one day, stopping at the island’s best beaches, such as Long Beach, along the way.
Nature lovers should head to Koh Ngai for dense forests and coral filled waters. There are no roads or shops on the island, making it the perfect escape from everyday life to just relax, rewind and enjoy the tranquility.
Back to Bangkok (1 day)
Once you’ve had enough of paradise it’s time to fly back to bustling capital of Bangkok for one last day to end your Thai adventure, although we’re sure it won’t be long until you’re planning your next one.
Relax and rewind on the last day of your trip by getting a Thai massage and enjoy your last Thai sunset from one of the many rooftop bars offering panoramic views of your new favourite city.
Flying with THAI
Getting to Bangkok from London is easy with Thai Airways, which operates two direct flights a day from the capital. Scheduled at lunchtime and in the evenings, the 11.5 hour long flight will get you to the Thai capital at a sensible time, allowing you to leisurely reach your accommodation or connect to an ongoing flight.
From Bangkok to Chiang Mai, THAI operates five daily flights and our regional and domestic wing, THAI Smile operates a further six. THAI Smile also operates one daily flight between Chiang Mai and Phuket and one daily flight from Krabi to Bangkok, a route also served twice daily by THAI. This means that you can plan your whole trip with Thai Airways.
Choosing economy class will give you great value, and you can be sure of a great onboard experience too - THAI was recently named as one of the World’s Top 10 Airlines at the 2019 Skytrax World Airline Awards. Or choose to fly in Royal Silk or Royal First Class, and you can also try the World’s Best Airline Lounge Spa, as awarded in our fourth consecutive Skytrax win.