Thailand is one of the countries I get asked the most questions about – it’s a great destinations for travellers and backpackers looking to experience South East Asia for the first time and somewhere I’d highly recommend checking out no matter what time frame you have to play with.
A lot of backpackers though spend around 4 weeks in Thailand – making the most of the 30 day allowance a visa on arrival offers people from most countries*
Given the fact I’ve travelled Thailand heaps over the last few years I’m often asked where to visit and what to do (check out my Thailand travel section for lots of useful blog posts!) but I’ve also been asked about more specific sample itineraries that people can use as a guide to plan there own trip there.
So how would I spend a month in Thailand?
Well here’s what 4 weeks in Thailand would look like If I headed back there again…
My 4 Week Thailand Itinerary
Bangkok – 3 Days
Most people will start off in Bangkok as it’s the best place to land for international arrivals. Spend a few days here exploring the floating markets, Kings Palace, Wat Pho (the reclining Buddha) and of course some partying on Khao San Road before bouncing down south.
Transport – overnight bus from Bangkok to Phuket or internal flight
Phuket – 1 Day
Phuket isn’t really my cup of tea at all, it’s super busy and pretty sleazy, but if you want to break up the journey to the Thai Islands just do an overnight stay here and book your ferry for the following morning.
There are plenty of Phuket hostels you can check out and it’s also a good spot to grab an onward flight to other parts of Asia too.
Transport – bus & ferry combo from Phuket to Phi Phi
Koh Phi Phi – 4 Days
Koh Phi Phi is where “The Beach” was filmed and although the set at Maya Bay is a massive tourist trap there are some incredible beaches and coves to explore here. The full day island hopping tour is well worth it!
Make sure you catch sunset at the famous lookout point and then enjoy watching the fire acts on the beach.
Transport – ferry to Railay
Railay – 2 Days
If rock climbing is your thing you’ll love Railay. If not it’s a nice chilled place to spend a few days. If you want to break up the journey or spend less time on Koh Phangan a day or two staying in Krabi is worth it too!
Transport – ferry, bus and overnight ferry combo to Koh Phangan
Koh Phangan – 4 Days
Although it’s not my favourite place in Thailand I know a lot of people will want to head to Phangan for the infamous Full Moon Party, so if you’re heading that way it’s pretty easy to bounce from Railay across if you time it right.
Transport – ferry to Koh Tao
Koh Tao – 5 Days
On the other hand Koh Tao is one of my favourite spots in Thailand so pencil in plenty of time here to chill on the beach, snorkel, check out the twin islands and generally kick back on island time!
It’s also one of the cheapest places on the planet to learn to scuba dive so if you’re diving on a budget do your PADI open water course here.
Transport – ferry and overnight bus combo to Bangkok or ferry and internal flight to Chang Mai from Koh Samui
Bangkok – 2 Days
If you’re making your way north I’d advise stopping over in Bangkok for at least another night to break up the journey and fit in what you missed out on after one too many buckets!
Transport – overnight sleeper train or internal flight to Chang Mai
Chang Mai – 3 Days
After the overnight train to Chang Mai enjoy the north a bit, with sunset at the Golden Temple, heaps of night markets and some great night life. The Jazz Co-Op is well off the backpacker radar but an amazing live music venue if you can find it!
Transport – mini bus to Pai
Pai – 3 Days
The sleepy little hippie town of Pai is an amazing addition to any Thailand travel itinerary. Hire a moped and explore the rice paddies and waterfalls, chow down on some epic local cuisine and enjoy the laid back hippie vibe.
Transport – mini bus to Chang Mai
Chang Mai – 1 Day
From Chang Mai you can make your way back to Bangkok (via train or internal flight) for your connecting international flight or overland into Cambodia. Alternatively if you’re heading into Laos you can go direct from Chang Mai on the 2 day slow boat.
Make It Your Own
Obviously everyone has their own style of travel and priorities so chop and change the time scales and destinations to suit your needs, but for most travellers heading to Thailand that should be a pretty good rough itinerary to start planning from.
Make sure you leave some leeway to embrace spontaneous opportunities and if you like somewhere stay a little longer!
If you only have two weeks you can easily adapt it too – stick to one coast for the island, reduce your time on Phi Phi and Tao or simply cut the north out of it.
How would you spend a month in Thailand?
Heading to Thailand soon?
Check out these posts for more information to help you plan;
*DISCLAIMER – visa regulations vary from country to country and this is advice only, I hold no responsibility for any outdated information or implications on you not holding the correct visa. Please check with the Thai Embassy for the most up to date official visa advice.