With some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, temples, lush jungles, delicious food, and vibrant nightlife, Thailand could be explored for months and you would still feel like you’ve barely scratched the surface.
This guide is a more compact itinerary of what you could sample of this wonderful country in just two weeks.
Spend a night or two in Bangkok
Bangkok is a huge city with plenty to explore, and I would suggest starting your adventure here. While I wasn’t a fan of the city myself (some say it’s like Marmite – you either love it or hate it), it is definitely worth checking out a few tourist spots here.
First, jump in a tuk tuk and visit the Grand Palace. The tuk tuk ride itself is a fun experience on its own! The palace’s golden roofs can be spotted miles away and although it is really busy with both locals and tourists, it is a truly remarkable sight; what astounded me was how this beautifully pristine palace had survived in the middle of such a busy city!
Next, head to the river where you can explore the canals and experience a whole different side to Bangkok by long boat – an activity I never would have associated with my vision of Bangkok.
If you’re on a budget, head to Khaosan Road for street food, exotic dancers, night markets, and cheap booze. The party goes on until the early hours so stay out as long as you can and watch the world go by!
For those wanting a more luxury experience, head in the opposite direction towards the Sky Bar and treat yourself to western food and fancy cocktails with a stunning view over the city.
There are so many other things to see and do in Bangkok. I spent four days there (which for me was far too long) and these were the best activities that I would go back and do if I visit again!
Head north to Chiang Mai for 5 days
Five days sounds like a long time to spend in one place when you only have 2 weeks in total, but this is because I highly recommend booking onto a 2 or 3 day jungle trek while you’re there.
Chiang Mai is home to over 300 temples and has a much more chilled out vibe than Bangkok, so a day or two spent wandering around and soaking up the culture is a must.
Try a cooking class, too – our hotel arranged this for us and took us to the local wet market to shop for the ingredients before learning how to cook traditional (and delicious) Thai dishes.
The smaller towns of Chiang Rai and Pai are also close enough for a day trip; Chiang Rai is close to the border of Myanmar and is known for its temples and art, while Pai is famous for its gorges, hot springs and waterfalls.
The jungle trek we went on was arranged the day before in a local tourism office and cost around £60 for 3 days, including all meals and accommodation. If you want to book one ahead of your visit, have a look on Trip Advisor or Tour Radar for something to suit you.
Explore the south islands
This is where you can either head to Surat Thani on the east coast, or Phuket and Krabi on the west. It is certainly possible to do both, as when I went we spent 4 days on Koh Phangan for the Full Moon Party, which is accessible by ferry from Surat Thani, and afterwards we headed to Phuket and Krabi for a couple of days each.
If beach parties and vibrant night life are your scene, then Koh Phangan (and its neighbours Koh Tao and Koh Samui) are probably better suited to you, so you could easily spend a week island hopping between them!
However, if you prefer a more relaxed style of travel, like me, then I would 100% recommend Krabi and the islands nearby. I spent a day on a boat trip around the Phi Phi Islands and I have friends who learned to scuba dive on Koh Lipe and Koh Lanta (both of which are far less touristy), so I know I would go back there in a heartbeat.
Try to be flexible
Two weeks is not very long to do this, but my number one piece of advice (for any trip really) is to be as flexible as possible with your plans.
Ella and I were originally going to stay on Koh Phangan for two nights, but ended up extending our stay because we made friends who rented bikes and wanted to explore the island.
You might stumble upon a hidden gem and decide you want to go back at the end of your trip or stay there a few more days, so try not to pack too much into your schedule.
Generally speaking, for a fortnight in Thailand I would recommend one week in Bangkok and the north, and one more week on the south islands.
Remember to allow for travel days too and if you are pressed for time, consider night buses (can’t recommend these enough – you don’t have to pay for a night’s accommodation either!) or whether the extra £50 for an hour flight is better than spending an entire day on a train.
Like I’ve said there is so much more to see in Thailand, but I hope this helps if you can only get two weeks’ holiday off work and want to sample as much as possible, without spreading yourself too thinly.