How do you see the whole country of Thailand in two short weeks?
You’ll be taking planes, trains, and buses, jetting from one city to the next!
With only two weeks and the desire to see as much as possible, I packed a lot in our Thailand trip. After experiencing (and sometimes enduring) it all, these are the top things that I recommend you see and do if you have a limited time in Thailand.
Beach – Jump off from Phuket
It’s likely you chose to come to Thailand because the beautiful beaches caught your eye. As you’re researching which beaches and islands you want to go to, note how touristy (read: busy and crowded) it is and the time it will take get there. Island-hopping will cut your time short quickly if you’re visiting multiple places in Thailand. Koh Phi Phi is the most popular island and I also hear amazing things about Krabi and Koh Sumai. For our trip we stayed on Phuket, and you can read all about those beaches here.
Wat Rong Khun (White Temple) – Chiang Rai
This modern temple was incredible! It may seem a little controversial and strange, but the thoughts behind the temple’s creation are interesting. I booked a day trip to see the White Temple in Chiang Rai because we didn’t have enough time to stay overnight. It worked out well. I would recommend hiring a private car to take you there and back on your own time. Check out this post for all the details about visiting.
Temples – Chiang Mai and Bangkok
Wherever you go, you’ll likely run into a temple in town. Buddhism is the predominant religion in Thailand and beautiful, ornate temples are plentiful. You’ll find many in Chiang Mai and Bangkok. In Bangkok, the most popular temples are Wat Pho and Wat Arun.
Elephant Nature Park – Chiang Mai
It was a treat to get up close and personal with these magnificent creatures! Elephant Nature Park is an elephant sanctuary that takes care of elephants that have been abused. You’ll be able to walk with them, feed them, and learn all about elephant history and life in Thailand. No riding here! See the post and video about our experience at Elephant Nature Park here.
Scuba Dive – Similan Islands
The Similan Islands are a group of 11 islands in the Andaman Sea off of South Thailand. They’re known for scuba diving. Taking a liveaboard is a great way to dive multiple sites since you’ll be living on a boat and hopping from island to island. Check out our liveaboard experience here.
Yee Peng Lantern Festival – Chiang Mai
We timed our trip to see this cultural celebration! They have changed the official events because of its popularity, but there are unofficial spots where people gather to release lanterns for the holiday. It is a spiritual event, focusing on letting go of the bad. It was so cool to see and experience this event in person. It happens in November for a few days around the full moon. See the post and video about our experience here.
Food – Chiang Mai and everywhere
One of the best things about visiting Thailand is the abundance of incredible food! We got our fill of pad Thai, tom yum soup, curry soup, papaya salad, and more! In most of the big cities, you’ll be able to find food tours to experience the city’s best restaurants and cooking classes to learn how to cook the cuisine. Be sure to look at my travel guides for Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Phuket to get a restaurant list! Check out my best things to eat and drink in Thailand post to see the different dishes you can enjoy.
Not sure how to split your time in Thailand? Here’s what we did for 12 nights in Thailand. It’s hard to squeeze every experience into a short time. If I could go back and change what we did, I would have scheduled time to visit beaches on islands but that would have required adding more days to the trip!
Day 1: Travel
Day 2: Arrive in Bangkok at 11 pm
Day 3: Chiang Mai
Day 4: Chiang Mai
Day 5: Chiang Rai (day trip)
Day 6: Chiang Mai
Day 7: Phuket
Day 8: Liveaboard
Day 9: Liveaboard
Day 10: Liveaboard
Day 11: Phuket
Day 12: Bangkok
Day 13: Bangkok
Day 14: Travel and arrive home
Have you been to Thailand? What activities do you think are must-dos?
P.S. The Thailand fun doesn’t stop here! Check out all my Thailand posts here.