Itinerary through Thailand: The most beautiful highlights from north to south

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Holiday paradise Thailand! Dense jungle, glittering gold temples, tropical beaches and a metropolis that will take your breath away – all this and much more awaits you in Thailand.

We make no secret of it: Thailand is one of our favourite travel destinations! We have been there countless times – always on different routes and with different travel destinations in focus. The itinerary that we have put together for you is a combination of all the highlights that Thailand has to offer.

The practical thing about it: We have listed route options for you so that you can easily extend the itinerary from 2 to 3 or even 4 weeks . From north to south, from the jungle to the most beautiful beaches – here are our highlights for your Thailand tour.

1. Our itinerary through Thailand for 2 to 4 weeks Your flight from Europe will probably be in Bangkok land. We personally like to put a stay in Bangkok at the end of the trip – for several reasons, which we will explain later. Therefore, we usually fly (or drive) straight on to Chiang Mai and also start our itinerary there.

Another note in advance: We have explained the travel options at the individual stops on our itinerary. Information and tips for booking the individual transport options can be found at the end of this blog article.

Chiang Mai Our route starts in beautiful north of Thailand, more precisely in the city of Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai is the second largest city in Thailand after Bangkok, but it is comparatively comfortable and quiet here.

Chiang Mai is the city of temples! It feels like every corner sparkles and glitters. Right at the beginning of your tour you can really immerse yourself in the culture of Thailand . One of the most famous temples in Thailand, the Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, is enthroned in front of the city gates.

Speaking of just outside the city gates. Another highlight is waiting for you there: Magnificent nature! Chiang Mai is surrounded by a beautiful landscape. Within a very short time you can leave the hustle and bustle behind and you are in the mountains, surrounded by rice fields or at impressive waterfalls – simply wonderful!

In this blog article you will find our detailed Travel Tips: Chiang Mai

Our hotel tip for Chiang Mai: The Tippanet

Recommended stay: 3-5 nights

Arrival from Bangkok to Chiang Mai The quickest and most comfortable way to travel this route is by plane. There are countless daily flight connections between Bangkok and Chiang Mai, most of which are quite cheap. The flight takes about an hour. Important to know: There are two airports in Bangkok: Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang. So if you are coming from Europe and landing in Bangkok (almost always Suvarnabhumi), then you have to make sure that the onward flight is from the same airport.

If you have enough time, we recommend that you travel by train. There is both a night train (approx. 11 hours) as well as a train during the day (approx .11 Hours). It is also possible to travel to Chiang Mai by bus (approx. 07 Hours).

Optional: Pai or Mae Taeng Many visit Chiang Mai (plus surrounding areas) and then quickly move south again to the islands and beaches further. But if you are already in the far north of Thailand, then it is of course worth visiting one (or more) travel destinations. Up here you can expect not only cooler temperatures, but above all a lot of untouched nature and a (mostly) authentic insight into the daily life of the Thais.

Not too authentic, but very popular is the small “hippie village” of Pai. The town is beautifully situated and offers great excursion destinations, but has developed into a fairly touristy spot in Thailand in recent years.

If the journey to Pai is too far for you, then we highly recommend staying at Mae Taeng which is only about an hour north of Chiang Mai is located. Here you will find an original region off the beaten track.

You can find more information in this blog article: Mae Taeng

Our accommodation tip for Mae Taeng: Lisu Lodge

Recommended stay: 2-3 nights

Arrival from Chiang Mai to Pai or Mae Taeng The route between Chiang Mai and Pai is primarily served by minibus companies. The journey takes around 4 hours. Important: The route is very winding – if you have a sensitive stomach, you should take appropriate precautions. (We always have Travelgum with us. You can find more information here: Southeast Asia packing list.)

To Mae Taeng you only need one car by car Hour. Since the route is less frequented, you will probably use private transport. You can find information about booking later in this blog article.

Krabi (Railay Peninsula) Head south! Krabi is the first beach destination on our itinerary through Thailand. Krabi is a fairly sprawling province on the west coast. When people talk about “Krabi”, travelers usually mean the area around the tourist town of Ao Nang or the very famous Railay Peninsula.

We’re honest: Thailand’s landscape is almost nowhere as beautiful as here. Turquoise blue sea, finest sandy beach, rugged rock formations – simply breathtaking. But Krabi (or rather Ao Nang and the Railay Peninsula) is also one of the most touristic regions of Thailand.

We have been here several times and can reassure you: It is very possible, Krabi away from the crowds to discover. We will tell you exactly how in our detailed blog article.

In this blog article you will find our travel tips: Krabi insider tipsOur hotel tip for Krabi: The Pavilions Anana Krabi

Recommended Stay: 3-4 nights

Arrival from Chiang Mai to Krabi This leg is the longest on our itinerary through Thailand – you practically have to travel across the country from north to south. In this respect, we often use the plane here. There are several direct flights here every day. The flight time is two hours.

If you don’t want to fly (and have enough time), you can also complete the route by land. However, that takes time! You usually cover the distance in two stages with an overnight stay in Bangkok.

Optional: Koh Yao As touristy as Krabi is, only 45 minutes boat ride away you get to a island away from mass tourism – or rather two islands: Koh Yao Noi and Koh Yao Yai.

The northern island (Koh Yao Noi) is better developed for tourism, but both islands have retained their originality. Important note: If you are looking for picture book beaches, these two islands are not the right choice. There are other destinations in Thailand that are more suitable.

You can find more information in our detailed article: Koh Yai Noi & Yai

Our hotel tip for Koh Yao: Cape Kudu

Recommended stay: 2-4 nights

Getting there from Krabi to Koh Yao Koh Yao is only a stone’s throw – or rather a short boat ride – away from Krabi. There are two piers in Krabi from which boats depart to Koh Yao. Once the Thalane Pier (approx. 15 minutes outside of Ao Nang and once the Nopparat Thara Pier directly in Ao Nang. The crossing takes about 30 until 200 minutes.

Koh Lanta
Koh Lanta is one of our favorite islands in Thailand!Why?It offers our opinion After a bit of everything: Pretty (though not breathtaking) beaches, relaxed island flair, a nice old town, beautiful nature, not too big, not too small In short: A great destination on your itinerary through Thailand.

Koh Lanta is cosy. Here you will find mainly (young) couples and families. Luckily, one looks in vain for party tourism. Thanks to the national park on Koh Lanta, the explorer’s heart will also get its money’s worth.

Detailed travel report with all tips: Koh Lanta Island Guide

Our hotel tip for Krabi: Alanta Villa

Recommended stay: 3-4 nights

Getting from Krabi to Koh Lanta From Ao Nang in Krabi you can conveniently reach Koh Lanta directly by boat. Both slower ferries and faster speedboats operate here. The crossing takes 2 to 3 hours depending on the boat.

Koh Phangan
From the west to the east coast of Thailand. The next stop on our itinerary is the dream island of Koh Phangan. If we had to spontaneously name a favorite island in Thailand, our choice would fall on Koh Phangan. Here you will undoubtedly find some of the most beautiful beaches in Thailand.

But even more: You just have to love the flair on Koh Phangan. Comfortable, relaxed – just as you imagine Thailand. In the meantime, a fairly large yoga scene has established itself on Koh Phangan and with it a lot of vegan, hip bars.

Detailed island guide: Koh Phangan

Our hotel tip for Koh Phangan: Mangata Boutique Bungalows

Recommended stay: 3-4 nights

Getting there from Koh Lanta to Koh Phangan This This section of the itinerary is one of the longer, as it requires you to travel from the west to the east coast. Koh Lanta is very close to the mainland, so you usually travel the route by minibus (incl. car ferry). Afterwards we go to the pier at Surat Thani. (Attention, depending on which boat company the crossing takes place with, there are two different piers.)

The crossing to Koh Phangan with the Speed ​​Catamaran takes about 2.5 hours. All in all, you have to calculate a whole day as travel time for the route. The easiest way is to simply book a combination ticket for the entire route in one of the small travel agencies on Koh Lanta. A pickup directly from the hotel is always included here.

Optional: Koh Samui or Koh Tao If you are already on Koh Phangan and have more time, then of course you could also go to the neighboring island Pay a visit to Koh Samui . Unlike Koh Phangan, mass or package tourism is much more noticeable on Koh Samui. Nonetheless, Koh Samui is well worth a visit and there are some really great beaches and places to explore.

Here you can find our detailed travel report: Koh Samui

The third island in the group is the tiny little Koh Tao. Do you like diving? Then there is actually no way around Koh Tao. The island is the diving paradise par excellence.

Arrival from Koh Phangan to Koh Samui or Koh Tao Several boats (both fast and slow) ply between the three islands every day. It is only a short hop to Koh Samui (approx. 45 minutes with the Speed ​​Catamaran). Koh Tao is a bit out of the way, so the crossing from Koh Phangan takes a bit longer (about 1 hour by speed catamaran).

Bangkok Last but not least: The city of cities in Thailand. Bangkok! Bangkok is a metropolis, that you either love or hate. (Spoiler: We love Bangkok – but only for a few days, then the big city chaos just gets too much for us.)

Bangkok is purely overwhelmed: Deafening tuktuks, glittering temples, bustling markets, food stalls everywhere. And then there is the other side of Bangkok: rooftop bars, chic shopping malls, luxury hotels. Bangkok is a city of contrasts.

We always deliberately put Bangkok at the end of the itinerary for a number of reasons. Bangkok is simply very overwhelming. The city literally rolls over you. Especially if you come from Europe, we find smaller cities like Chiang Mai much more pleasant to acclimatize.

In addition, we always like to use our days in Bangkok to get one or the other souvenir. The many markets in Bangkok (especially the legendary Chatuchak market) are made for it. Last but not least: There is simply nothing nicer than toasting your trip in one of the numerous rooftop bars above the roofs of Bangkok.

You can find more information here: All Bangkok articles at a glanceLooking for the perfect accommodation? This way: Our hotel tips for Bangkok

Recommended stay: 3-4 nights

Arrival from Koh Phangan to Bangkok Did you make the optional stop in Koh Samui? Then the fastest way back to Bangkok is clearly the plane. There are several direct connections every day. The flight time is about one hour.

You cannot fly directly from Koh Phangan as there is no airport. But you can travel to Koh Samui (12 minutes travel time with the Speed ​​Catamaran) and from there to Fly to Bangkok. All in all, you can cover the distance in around 3 to 4 hours.

You have enough time and would you rather cover the distance by land? Then your way first leads you over the water to the mainland (either north to Chumphon or south to Surat Thani). From there you can then take a bus or train to Bangkok. You often spend the night here. In total you need about 07 until 15 Calculate hours of travel time.

2. Map: Thailand route at a glance So that you can better imagine how the route runs, we have marked the individual stops for you on this map.

3. FAQs and further information about the round trip through Thailand What is the best time to travel to Thailand? Very important first note: You are traveling to the tropics. On the one hand, this means: A high humidity or high temperatures (often also at night). And on the other hand, that the weather doesn’t always stick to forecasts. Monsoon rains and thunderstorms can always appear out of nowhere.

In general, there are no four seasons in Thailand like we do, but a distinction is made between rainy season, dry season and a hot dry season. Now comes the complicated part: The rainy and dry seasons are a little different depending on the region.

Dry season = best travel time: From Nov/Dec to Feb/March As the name suggests, the climate is drier in the dry season. But as I said: rain can also fall here. However, monsoon-like showers are a rarity. In general, the humidity is lower, which many find pleasant.

Generally speaking, the dry season runs from November/December to February/March. In most regions (we’ll get to the exceptions in a moment) the weather is what you would expect from Thailand: Lots of sunshine, calm sea, not too humid. In the north of Thailand it cools down quite a bit in the evenings (pullover recommended!), but you will hardly ever freeze.

The east coast is a small exception. Between October and December it can be quite rainy on Koh Samui or Koh Phangan. So if your trip falls in these months, we would rather choose the west coast for a beach holiday.

Hot/humid dry season: March and April/June The classic dry season is followed by the hot dry season. Now it’s slowly starting to get muggy and unbearably hot . Those who do not tolerate hot temperatures well should avoid this time of year.

Rainy season = low season: From June to October From June onwards, the rainy season begins in most parts of Thailand. But what does that mean? Don’t worry: continuous rain for days is the exception. But of course it is possible.

In general, you have to reckon with monsoon-like rainfall more frequently during this time of the year. The humidity is also significantly higher. The sea is usually rougher. It is not uncommon for ferry connections to be canceled due to rough seas.

Here, too, the east coast (with Koh Samui and Koh Phangan) is a bit out of line: the weather here in the European summer is usually fairly stable. So if you are planning a beach holiday, you are in good hands here.

If you travel to Thailand in the rainy season, you have to expect that a trip or a day at the beach will literally fall through the roof than in the dry season. The advantage of the rainy season: accommodation is usually much cheaper and there is less going on.

Conclusion: Best months for Thailand round trip You can travel to Thailand all year round. For a round trip, we particularly recommend the months January and February, when the weather is usually quite stable across the country.

Important: Around Christmas/New Year and shortly after it is very crowded – especially at the tourist hotspots such as Koh Samui or Phuket. If at all possible, we would definitely save this time.

Should I book accommodation in advance or spontaneously? It depends – both have advantages and disadvantages. Are you the type of person who likes to fix things in advance and would like to know where you will stay the night after tomorrow? Do you already have specific hotels in mind that you would like to stay in? Then it might be more convenient for you to book all accommodations in advance at home.

If you book very spontaneously (i.e. one or two days before arrival or even on arrival), you risk that really good accommodations are already fully booked or that the prices may have risen. The advantage, however, is obvious: you are much more flexible and can adapt your itinerary depending on the weather, your mood.

Personally, we always choose a middle way. We almost always book accommodation for the first one or two stops of our itinerary (and often the last as well) from home. In between, however, we like to leave room for spontaneous decisions.

With a few exceptions, we would definitely advise you to book as early as possible. On the one hand, this applies to special travel periods such as Christmas and New Year’s Eve, but also Songkran or other important holidays in Thailand. But even during the Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan you should book your accommodation earlier rather than later.

How do I get from A to B in Thailand? Thailand is a long country and the distances between the individual stops of the route should not be underestimated.

Flying in Thailand Let’s start with the fastest and most comfortable means of transport, the plane. Of course it’s a thing: Yes, of course domestic flights are not good for the climate balance. There is no question that there are more climate-friendly options.

Nevertheless: Anyone who has ever traveled overland from the north of Thailand to the south knows how much time is wasted here. In this respect, the plane is often the means of transport of our choice for longer distances.

Personally, we always feel very safe on domestic flights in Thailand, but to be honest we are also a bit choosy in choice of airline. We prefer to fly with Bangkok Airways, Thai Airways (the national airline of Thailand) or their subsidiary Thai Smile (a low-cost airline). We have always had good experiences with Air Asia as well.

Flying in Thailand can be very, very cheap (often you don’t pay any 12 euros for one flight). But it is also possible that you 15 euros for a route. Such high prices are not the rule, but can, for example, at peak travel times for certain destinations (all especially Koh Samui). The earlier you book your flight, the cheaper it is usually to get off.

We like to look for cheap flights here: Skyscanner

Train travel in Thailand In Thailand there is a quite well developed Railway network. Many (but of course not all) places can be easily reached by train. Popular train routes from Bangkok include Chiang Mai or Surat Thai (the place from which boats depart for the islands). Traveling by train in Thailand tends to be a bit more expensive than traveling by bus, but we personally find it more comfortable, more exciting and we also feel a little safer on trains.

Train tickets can be bought in different ways:

First of all, the is right at the train station possible (ideally a few days in advance). This is where you can usually get your ticket for the cheapest price. The second quite simple option is to buy through one of the countless tiny travel agencies, that you will find in practically every place in Thailand. Sometimes there is quite a surcharge, so it is best to check the prices in advance. Last but not least, you can also book your ticket online. There are different mediation platforms, we can use the website 11 go .asia recommend. Important to know: You will find many, but not all, connections there. And the prices there are usually a bit higher than if you buy your ticket at the train station, for example. However, if you want to fix your train ticket in advance (which we would particularly recommend during Thai public holidays), then this is a good option. Overland: Bus driving & private driver in Thailand Undoubtedly the cheapest means of transport (and also one of the most popular) to get from A to B in Thailand is the bus. You can reach practically every corner in Thailand by bus and almost every place has its own bus station.

Often there are large coaches, they too the locals use. But there are also smaller minibuses. They often take every traveler directly to their desired destination (e.g. to the hotel). Personally, we sometimes find the journey in such minibuses to be quite fast, but you usually travel faster with them.

The most expensive and definitely the most comfortable way to travel by land is by private taxi. But if you are in a group of 4 people travels, then it can sometimes be reasonable in terms of price to cover a longer distance with private transport.

To buy your bus ticket you have several options:

Very popular is the purchase in one of the many small travel agencies, which you can find on every corner in Thailand. Alternatively, you can also ask at your accommodation. Many hotels also sell bus tickets or are happy to organize a private driver. If you want to buy your ticket in advance online, you can do so via the website do. There you can conveniently search for possible connections – private transports are also displayed in the search result. Ferries & Boats If you want to see some of the beautiful islands in Thailand, you have to get on the water sooner or later. Most of the islands (apart from Koh Samui and Phuket) do not have airports.

There are countless types of boats and ships operating on the water – from small, fast speedboats to huge, slow car ferries everything is there.

You can purchase your ticket in the following ways:

The classic: In one of the small travel agencies, that you find on every corner. You will usually be sold combined tickets that also include pick-up from the hotel or the onward journey to the hotel on the destination island. Some boat companies offer an online shop on their website where you can buy your ticket in advance. Of course, you first have to know which company serves which route. For this we like to use as you can search there for possible connections – and if you wish, you can also book your ticket directly. If you are not traveling in the absolute high season, you can also book your ticket directly at the port shortly before departure. Transparency: Affiliate Links28385 This blog article contains our personal recommendations in the form of so-called affiliate links. If you book or buy something through the links, we will receive a small commission. For you, this does not change the price at all. A thousand thanks from both of us!

Have you ever been to Thailand? How was your itinerary? Or are you planning a trip to Thailand and still have questions about the route? We look forward to your comment!