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You can take a few different routes for your southern trip to Thailand, but these are the most popular island-hopping itineraries:
Basing yourself in Phuket you can then take day trips or stay a few days in some of the following isles: Phi Phi islands, Koh Yao Noi, Koh Yao Yai, Phang Nga Bay, Surin and Similan National Park islands, and James Bond Island.
Or break up a beach holiday with a day trip to the incredible Khao Sok National Park for some jungle trekking. Only 1.5 hours drive overland from Phuket, the 160 million-year-old rainforest covers a staggering 739 square kilometres, features rich wildlife and flora, limestone structures, and the scenic Cheow Lan Lake in the heart of the park.
Krabi is the perfect holiday destination. With over 150 islands off its lengthy coastline, magnificent white sand beaches, lush tropical hinterland, iconic limestone cliffs, caves, waterfalls and abundant native flora and fauna. From the Krabi mainland, in just 10 short minutes on a boat, you can explore the Railay peninsula. Railay Beach is also regarded as one of the top places for rock climbing in Thailand, with a variety of routes for beginners through to advanced climbers. From Krabi, you can take a day trip to the Phi Phi islands and Koh Lanta.
For a week in Thailand itinerary, you can visit a number of islands in the Gulf of Thailand. Nearby the Malaysian border, discover Koh Lipe. Or nearby the Cambodian border, visit Koh Chang and Koh Mak.
Koh Phangan has a global reputation for being the go-to destination for Thailand’s first Full Moon Party which has been running for the past 20 years. Beyond that, the island offers some good snorkelling and diving spots, hiking opportunities such as trekking to the Khao Ra mountain viewpoint or to one of the islands’ seven waterfalls, exploring via sea kayaks, and plenty of gorgeous beaches.
From Koh Phangan its only a 40-minute ferry ride to Koh Samui if you want to take a day trip or stay overnight. Further afield, Ang Thong Marine Park is a magnificent archipelago of 42 protected tropical islands, less than an hour speed boat ride from Koh Phangan, making it the perfect distance for a full-day tour.
As Koh Samui is situated in the Gulf of Thailand, day trips to other picturesque paradises are so easy. Koh Phangan is closer at about 12 kilometres away and is world-renowned for its monthly Full Moon Party. Besides that, it has pristine white sandy beaches, untouched wilderness, and crystal clear waters with over 20 dive sites.
Ang Thong National Park is 28 kilometres away, made up of an archipelago of 42 islands, including the famous Koh Phi Phi islands. This area is truly a diving and snorkelling mecca.
Koh Taen is just a few hundred metres from the Southwest coast of Koh Samui. This unspoilt small island is visited for its rich marine life in its protected reefs. Or travel further afield for a trip to the natural beauty of Koh Tao.
You can reach the island from nearby Koh Samui or Koh Phangan with boats operating daily. Most of the Koh Tao coastline features steep, rocky shorelines and there are 11 bays and 10 capes throughout. Koh Tao is famous for its soft and hard coral reefs, rich marine life, clear warm waters, overall with a relaxed atmosphere and lifestyle, making it a must-do destination for thousands of visitors a year. Koh Tao is one of the best islands in Thailand for scuba diving with many sites around the island and other areas beyond that can be reached through a day trip. The best visibility for diving is July through to September.
For your one week in Thailand itinerary, why not consider a few days in Bangkok then a few days on a nearby island? Koh Samet is an island in the east of the Gulf of Thailand off the coast of Rayong province, approximately 220 kilometres of Bangkok and takes around 3 hours to drive. Then a 45-minute ferry trip will get you to this beach paradise. Expect calm blue seas, crescent-shaped bays, powder-soft sand, which makes this place a fantastic destination for all types of water activities, relaxation and beachfront dining.
Explore the capital city Bangkok in 3 days by foot or by the Chao Phraya River and see the major temples, the Grand Palace, shopping malls, eat street food until you burst, night markets, and floating traditional markets. Take in the nightlife at Khao San Road and even catch a Muay Thai fight. Then travel to some nearby world-heritage listed ancient cities and spend a day in each place: Ayutthaya (13th century) and Lopburi (11th century).
You could also add a day trip to Khao Yai National Park 3 hours from Bangkok, and it is certainly worth the trip with all kinds of trekking trials available. This is Thailand’s first official national park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Another option in just 2.5 hours by bus or car from Bangkok, you can be in Kanchanaburi province. Here you can visit historical WWII relics, the notable River Kwai Bridge and WWII museums and cemeteries like the Death railway museum or Hellfire Pass museum which you can cover in a day or two. You can also add in a visit the unique Wat Tham Sua or “Tiger’s Cave Temple”, with tigers everywhere and an impressive golden Buddha right in the heart of the temple complex, situated upon a mountain with beautiful views of the River Kwai.
There are several national parks you can consider adding to your trip, with cascading waterfalls such as Sai Yok and Erawan Fall in the Erawan National Park along with Khao Laem Lake.
For a northern Thailand itinerary, start in Chiang Mai which is home to a large number of temples-over 300 of them in fact. Doi Suthep Mountain, visible from much of the city, houses Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, perhaps the most famed temple in Chiang Mai located within Doi Suthep National Park. This most revered temple is crowned by a majestic glistening gold plated 24-metre towering monument. The drive to this site is scattered with mighty waterfalls and tropical rainforest making it a brilliant day out.
Chiang Mai, spend time exploring the temples of the old city, shopping in the night bazaars, visiting an elephant sanctuary, and taking day trips to Doi Inthanon National Park to hike to the summit and Chiang Rai to explore its unusual temples and art galleries.
You can then travel directly to Chiang Rai or go back to Chiang Mai. Bus or drive to Chiang Rai (3.5 hrs from Chiang Mai ) to discover the bizarre and incredible, White Temple and other impressive Lanna-style temples, art galleries and cuisine. Then onwards to the Golden Triangle where two rivers intersect creating a three-way border between Thailand, Laos and Myanmar and learn about the region’s notorious history. Less than 10 km from the Golden Triangle is Thailand’s oldest town -Chiang Saen which was a former Lanna kingdom city.
Longer is better but you can still fit in a few destinations in one week in Thailand.
Thailand in a week: If you are looking for countryside or jungles, think about northern Thailand, Kanchanaburi province or Khao Sok National Park via Surat Thani province. If beaches are calling you, consider Pattaya, Krabi or Khao Lak on the mainland or head for islands such as Phuket, Koh Phi Phi, Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, Koh Tao. For history and culture enthusiasts, the ancient cities of 13th century Ayutthaya and 11th century Lopburi are must-see destinations along with the northern temple city of Chiang Mai and more recently the WWII relics in Kanchanaburi.
Rather than trying to cram in too many destinations from north to the south of Thailand in a short amount of time, it might be worth considering focusing on one part of the country and exploring that more fully. For example, check out our guide to these specific regions: southern Thailand or central or northern Thailand for itinerary ideas for a week in Thailand.
Australian Passport holders may obtain a free tourist visa on arrival for up to 30 days if entering by aircraft or for 15 days if entering overland. This visa exemption only applies to persons with a confirmed onward ticket and at least 6 months passport validity. Check the Thai embassy website in your home country to find out if your nation is on the free visa list.
A 1 week in Thailand budget depends on where you are going and what you are doing, modes of transportation, the standard of accommodation and how you like to eat. Read travel forums and do your research to try to get a better idea.
It depends on what you wish to see and do. To visit Thailand you need at least one week.
So when is the best time to go to Thailand? Thai seasons are divided into three: dry, hot and wet. The best time to travel to Thailand is any month between November and February. This time of year is warm, dry and sunny. Thailand weather in December and the New Year into January is at its tropical best, with sunny skies, warm breezes and cooler evenings.
The best time to travel to the Thai islands is any month between November and February. This time of year is warm, dry and sunny with cooler evenings.
Three days in Bangkok is enough time to see some of the main attractions and get a good feel of what this bustling city has to offer.
Anywhere from a few days to a week is a good amount of time to spend in Phuket. There are 30 plus beaches to explore on the island. You can use Phuket as a base to discover other islands in the Andaman Sea which is a must-do in Thailand.
The most popular Bangkok attractions are Wat Arun, Wat Phra Kaew, the Grand Palace, Chatuchak Weekend Market, Chinatown, the floating markets and the Jim Thompson House. Khao San Road Bangkok is also popular amongst travellers for bar hopping and after dark entertainment. All of these can be easily seen in a few days and then you can a day trip to places such as the UNESCO world heritage site Ayutthaya and Lopburi (11th century) or to Kanchanaburi province, where you can visit WWII relics and the infamous Bridge over River Kwai.
The general consensus ranges from 3-5 days, depending on what you want to see and do. Staying up to five days will give you enough time to do all the major things in Chiang Mai without feeling rushed and you can add in various day trips for a solid 7 days in Thailand.
How long you stay depends on what you what to do in Krabi. Few days can suffice for some but a few weeks is also possible without being bored as there are so many attractions to be discovered. Being so close to an archipelago of islands, it’s easy to venture back and forth using Krabi as a base for your exploration. Krabi tours are varied and you will find action-packed one-day itineraries to longer tours that allow you to see many things at a relaxed pace.
Railay Beach, Krabi is something special with her natural beauty, splendid seas and limestone cliffs and mountains. Be it sunrise, sunset or anytime in between, the four pristine beaches that make up the Railay peninsula are a little piece of paradise and your place for climbing adventures, lazing on the beach or dancing the night away with fire twirlers. Being only 10 minutes by boat from the Krabi mainland, it’s possible to go back and forth easily for sightseeing and make one week feel full.
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