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Days 1-4: Bangkok
Unless you live in a country bordering Thailand, you’re going to need a day for travel. Day 1 is getting from A to B, checking into your accommodation, and then perhaps exploring the area you’re staying in.
On Day 2, head straight to the Old City (also known as Rattanakosin). Here you’ll run into several temples, though make sure you pack tons of liquids because the heat is not for the faint of heart. If it’s a particularly hot day, it might be wise to wait until just before dusk to go sightseeing as it’ll not only be a lot cooler but also less crowded. For dinner, make your way to Chinatown! This is truly the heart of street food in Bangkok and it’s such a sight to see. Check out my guide to street food in Bangkok here.
For Day 3, it’s time to head to one of the famous floating markets. There are several, and admittedly overdone in some respects, but a really good one that attracts both locals and tourists is Khlong Lat Mayom Floating Market.
Day 4, for a change of pace, explore modern Bangkok. There are tons of modern mall complexes with amazing stores and cafes.
Days 5-7: Chiang Mai
Once you’ve spent a couple days in Bangkok you probably want a chance of scenery so head up north. For Day 5, you’ll probably need to wake up quite early to make the most of your first day in Chiang Mai. As it’s quite a compact city it’s really easy to go on your own tour of the temples. Highlights include Wat Chedi Luang and Wat Phra Singh. If you want a more in-depth guide to your first day in Chiang Mai, click here.
On Day 6, why not go to a cooking school? There are several options, but I’m sure each experience is worth it. It’s so fun to learn about Thai ingredients and then make some iconic dishes yourself. We chose the Thai Farm Cooking School and had a blast.
My favourite part of my trip to Thailand was my day spent with Elephant Nature Park. I urge anyone visiting Chiang Mai to take advantage of this incredible experience. There are so many different programs available, so I’m sure everyone can find something that works for their needs (including fitness level, time available, presence of children, etc).
Days 8-10: Chiang Dao
For something a bit more off the beaten path, why not head even further north into the mountains? On Day 8, travel to Chiang Dao. It’s a hidden gem, with plenty of things to do.
On Day 9, head to Wat Tham Chiang Dao. This cave system extends for 12km and has about 100 caves! Only 5 are open to the public, however it still is a great adventure. I won’t give too much away, but be prepared for a unique experience.
Day 10 is finishing exploring the area and then heading back at some point to Chiang Mai. You can take advantage of some more of the evening markets for dinner!
Days 11-15: Koh Lanta
You’ve now spent some time in the city, some time in the northern parts of Thailand, but now it’s time for another completely different area: the islands! There are several islands to choose form, but we opted for Koh Lanta. To get there, take a taxi from Chiang Mai to the airport and then take a flight from Chiang Mai to Phuket. From Phuket, there are several taxis available to get to the Rassada pier. And then from there, you take a ferry from the pier to Koh Lanta. The ferry ride is about an hour and a half — I advise being early in order to get a good seat!
From here on out it’s really up to you! Enjoy the sunshine, the beach… the whole island. I highlight recommend checking out a different stretch of beaches each day.
On Day 13 we did embark on one exciting tour — the infamous 4 island tour. There are a plethora of tours available form various agencies. I think the main questions to ask are: How many people are on the tour? What kind of boat are you traveling on? And are there a ton of recommendations? You can choose to go swimming, snorkeling or diving!
And finally… Day 15 has arrived. It’s time pack up and head on home or onto your next destination. Enjoy the memories!