Planning a trip to Thailand—the Land of Smiles

Ah, the Land of Smiles. There are countless reasons to plan a trip to Thailand: the fantastic food, the beautiful beaches, the stunning scenery, and to find out firsthand why it’s called the Land of Smiles. 

It’s one of those countries that seems to appeal to every type of traveler. There is so much to see and do that you could easily spend months exploring and still feel like you need more time.

Golden sitting Big Buddha in Phuket

Now that the Thai government is loosening Thailand’s travel restrictions for tourists, it may be the perfect time to start planning your trip. 

We’ve got tips if you are brand new to traveling to Asia and some pretty cool lesser-known destinations as well. So, let’s dive into what to do in Thailand on your next dream holiday.

Thailand for beginners

If you’ve never been to Thailand before, it may feel a bit overwhelming to start planning a trip. 

It’s so firmly planted on the backpacker and tourist trails that there is a ton of literature already posted about this gorgeous place. But don’t stress, this blog is here to sort it all out for you.

There are so many amazing places to see, and the seasons vary from north to south and coast to coast. So, there is really no bad time to go.

You’ll want to start your trip in Bangkok, as this is the country’s tourist hub and capital. In addition, it is where you will find the best deals on flights, and there is so much to see and do to immerse yourself into Thai culture.  

There is no shortage of suggestions for what to do in Bangkok. Visit Wat Pho to see the reclining Buddha or explore the Chatuchuck market. Roam the grounds of the Grand Palace or wander Khao San Road to experience the chaos.

colorful guard at the Grand Palace, Bangkok

Another one of the best places to visit in Thailand for first-timers has to be Ayutthaya. The historic city of Ayutthaya was the old capital of Siam and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s a fantastic place to get your fix of gorgeous Buddhist temples. 

Getting from Bangkok to Ayutthaya is super easy on the train as it’s only 80 kilometers away. 

Pro Tip: Since you’ll be entering temples, make sure you are dressed appropriately. They will not let you enter in short shorts or bare shoulders. It is a good idea to carry a scarf/shawl in your bag. You’ll also have to take off your shoes, so wear sandals or something easy to slip on and off. These rules go for all of Thailand’s temples.

You’ll also want to visit a beach. No trip to Thailand is complete without a few days in the sun. Some of the best beaches in Thailand for first-timers are Koh Lanta, Koh Samui, and Krabi as they are easy to get to, have lots to do, and are picture-perfect. 

If all of this still feels overwhelming, you can also look into booking a Thailand vacation package that caters to your needs and interests. There are countless to choose from, and many are starting to operate again! 

Two weeks in Thailand

busy street for the best nightlife in Bangkok

If you are a seasoned traveler or have been to Thailand before, you may feel a bit more comfortable navigating your way around the country. However, even if you aren’t an old pro, you’ll be heading from Bangkok to Koh Phangan or from the capital all the way up north to Chiang Rai with ease in no time. Thailand is easy to travel through.

Here is a sample Thailand itinerary of what you could do in two weeks:

  • 3-4 days in Bangkok
  • 2 days exploring Ayutthaya
  • 4-5 days in Chiang Mai
  • A week or so island hopping in some of the most beautiful places in Thailand. Consider Krabi, Phuket, or Koh Samui, as they are relatively easy to get to and absolutely gorgeous beaches. 
  • A final few nights to get yourself back to Bangkok and get organized to return home or head to your next destination.
sunset in the Thai Islands

Three weeks in Thailand

Some people are lucky enough to travel for longer stretches of time. Lucky you! If that’s the case, you can easily add on more beautiful destinations in the north and/or some more complicated-to-reach beaches.

Check out a Thailand itinerary for three weeks:

  • 3-4 days in Bangkok
  • A few days exploring Ayutthaya
  • 4-5 days in Chiang Mai. Spend time exploring the Sunday Night Market and the Elephant Sanctuary. There are so many things to do in Chiang Mai that you will easily stay busy!
  • Add on a few days in Chiang Rai and consider hiking in the Chiang Mai province. It is absolutely stunning here!
  • Time to island hop! With more time, you can get to harder-to-reach destinations like Koh Tao, Koh Lanta, or Koh Lipe, but the journeys are still very straightforward. They often take longer or require a transfer, but they are absolutely worth the trip!
  • A final few nights in Bangkok. 

Check out our Thailand itinerary for more details on each place.

Scenic view of jungle and ocean in Thailand

Planning your trip to Thailand: Best time to visit 

Now that your list of amazing places to visit is getting longer and longer, you may be wondering when is the best time to plan your trip. 

The good news is that you’ll find nice weather somewhere in the country throughout the entire year. However, if you have your heart dead set on a particular location, you may want to do a little research ahead of time. 

Hilltop view in Thailand

There are three main seasons in Thailand: cool, hot, and rainy. The cool season is November-February, the best time to visit places like Krabi and Koh Phi Phi. It also happens to be the peak tourist season. The hot season is March-May. Songkran, Thailand’s New Year and water festival, is in April, so you could head to Bangkok or Chiang Mai during this time for the incredible celebrations. The rainy season is June-October, but this is actually a great time to visit some of the islands in the Gulf of Thailand like Koh Tao and Koh Samui. 

Current travel restrictions

At the time of writing, Thailand’s travel restrictions have loosened. Most tourists are allowed to enter the country if they are fully vaccinated. But there are restrictions, which are constantly changing, so it’s always good to check with the Thai Government’s website for current requirements.

With that in mind, start planning your unforgettable trip to Thailand! 

FAQ

What’s the worst month to visit Thailand?

The good news is there is no bad month. It depends on what you are looking for and if your budget allows you to go in the high-season. But no matter what month you travel, it’s never cold. And even the rainiest of months will have loads of blue sky days.

I’m not a big city lover, can I see Bangkok in 2 days?

You can do anything. This is your trip, but Bangkok has a lot to see, it’s much more than just partying. Plus, it all depends on how much time you have to travel.

Aren’t all the Thai islands the same? Can’t I just pick one?

Believe it or not, each island has its own personality. Some are hippie havens, others are beach bum paradises, yet others are party hubs. If you have time, choose a couple, you won’t regret it.

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