Days 1-4 Bangkok
The massive international airport in Bangkok means this is the starting point for most travellers in Thailand. However, when travelling the country please do not dismiss this city as just a place to transit either north or south – there’s plenty to do and you can find yourself some very affordable accommodation here. Bangkok was actually one of my favourite places in Thailand as it has such a wide array of people, food and things to do. My favourite temple in the city is the reclining Buddha; but there are many more temples dotted all around the city. There’s a huge array of shopping centres; and if you’re a foodie you’re in for a real treat. The street food in Bangkok is incredible and so cheap. I would also urge everyone to check out Khao San Road, even if you’re not a big partier. Once the sun sets the street is buzzing with tourists and locals alike; all drinking vodka from buckets and eating barbequed cockroaches – what could be more fun?
If you’re wondering how much Bangkok costs, check out this full budget for a day in Bangkok.
Days 4-7 Kanchanaburi
Kanchanaburi is easy to get to from Bangkok. I believe there is a local train you can take which does work out a little bit cheaper, however we opted for a minibus. The minibus picked us up from Bangkok and dropped us in Kanchanburi town and the drive only took a couple of hours. I personally found the town centre a little lacking and there wasn’t much in the way of a foodie scene however the history of Kanchanaburi is fascinating. The Death Railway Museum and War Cemetery are a must, and there are some fantastic waterfalls to check out.
Days 7-11 Chiang Mai
You simply cannot come to Thailand without seeing Chiang Mai. It has excellent transport links meaning you can get here by bus, train or plane, from pretty much anywhere in the country. Chiang Mai is the digital nomad capital of Asia and if you enjoy a latte in a hipster café from time to time, then this city has got you covered. I would recommend getting a motorbike and heading out to the temple on the hill and checking out the Huay waterfall on the way back. Chiang Mai is filled with police stops, so ensure you have your international drivers permit on you if you plan on renting a motorbike. The city also has fantastic markets and if you’re there on a Sunday the entire city is pretty much transformed into a giant market selling any type of trinket or street food delight you could wish for. One evening we also went to the Muay Thai boxing. I was apprehensive initially about going to the boxing but it actually turned out to be one of my favourite nights in the whole of our 3 weeks. The city is also such a fantastic place to wander around and you could spend a whole day just walking around the city walls, window shopping in the boutiques and obviously enjoying the local cuisine.
Days 11-14 Krabi
Getting to Krabi from Chiang Mai is so expensive? I’m on a backpacker’s budget? Fear not. This route has you covered. So for the Chiang Mai – Krabi flight we were looking around £140 each which was just not doable on our tight budget. Flights out from Bangkok are super cheap in comparison to the other airports so we took a night bus from Chiang Mai – Bangkok and the first flight out from Bangkok to Krabi the following morning, which worked out a fraction of the price and saved us a night’s accommodation. Krabi is a picturesque area, but did feel a little like a ghost town as we were travelling in off season. We stayed in Ao Nang beach so if you like something a little livelier then I would maybe recommend staying in Krabi town itself. Ao Nang beach however is absolutely beautiful. The sand is soft and the water is cool and clear. You can also take day trips to Railay Beach and various other tourist attractions nearby. We chose to spend our 3 days lounging on the beach and enjoying a few Chang’s. The restaurants on the front weren’t anything special and were pretty overpriced however if you wander a few streets back you will be able to find some authentic food at a fraction of the price.
Days 14-18 Koh Samui
Koh Samui is a large holiday destination so I did find food and drink a little more expensive here. However, the beach is fantastic. The sea is shallow and there’s ample space on the long stretch of beach to accommodate the many thousands of tourists. From the beach you could do a wide array of waters sports and there was tonnes of clubs and bars stretching the length of the sand. We stayed at the Cheeky Monkey hostel which was the perfect for the budget traveller as all rooms were private, the location was perfect for the beach and there was a rooftop pool & bar. What more could you want?
Days 18 – 21 Koh Tao
In my opinion Koh Tao was a much nicer island than Koh Samui. Although I don’t scuba dive, the diving here is meant to be incredible and it’s the cheapest place in the world to get your diving license. We did do a fantastic snorkelling trip which cost around $8 and included a full day 9am- 6pm, pick up & drop off from our hostel, and lunch. The snorkelling spots were truly incredible, although the boats were very large. I was initially worried there was too many people, which would ruin the chance of seeing any decent marine life. But this wasn’t the case at all; and we even got to see a turtle in the wild.
Our 3 weeks in Thailand we’re truly incredible but there is so much more of the country I would love to visit, especially in the north. Have you ever been to Thailand? Which areas did you love?