Asiahighlights logo

  • 2 Weeks for Couple
  • 2 Weeks for Family
  • Thailand Lantern Festival
  • Indonesia(Bali)
  • South Korea
  • China (HK, Taiwan)
  • Itinerary Ideas
  • Asia Highlights Travel Reviews
  • Thailand Travel Reviews
  • Vietnam Travel Reviews
  • Cambodia Travel Reviews
  • Japan Travel Reviews
  • Myanmar Travel Reviews
  • China Travel Reviews

Asia Highlights TrustPilot rating

  • Perfect 3 Weeks in Thailand: 3 Itineraries with Costs 2024

Three weeks are enough to have a well–rounded exploration of Thailand, from the top highlights to the hidden gems.

Planning a 3–week trip to this Southeast Asian gem could be an exciting endeavor. To make the most of your time, we have thoughtfully crafted three diverse itineraries. Additionally, we'll give the costs associated with a 3–week adventure in Thailand.

  • Where to Go in 3 Weeks
  • Itinerary #1: 3–Week In–Depth Exploration of Thailand
  • Itinerary #2: 21–Day Thailand and Vietnam Adventure Tour
  • Itinerary #3: 3–Week Best of Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam Tour
  • Costs for a 3–Week Trip to Thailand

Discover real reviews of Highlights Travel Family 's best-rated service across trusted platforms.

Where to Go in Thailand in 3 Weeks

For first–time Thailand travelers, Bangkok, Chiang Mai and an island are must–visits.

  • Bangkok is the bustling Thai metropolis with historical landmarks like the Grand Palace and the traditional floating market.
  • Chiang Mai , a cultural hub, offers interactions with elephants, the enchanting Sky Lantern Festival, Thai massages, and cooking classes.
  • Thailand boasts picturesque tropical islands/beaches with a wide range of water sports. Phuket, Koh Samui, and Krabi are popular choices.

Beyond these well–known spots, you could also consider Kanchanaburi for wartime sites & a unique floating house to stay in, Chiang Rai for the mysterious Golden Triangle, Sukhothai for a deep dive into history, and Khao Sok National Park for a jungle adventure.

More often than not, those with 3 weeks to spend in Thailand consider multi–country travel to other Southeast Asian countries, like Vietnam and Cambodia. You could take a slow–paced Thailand–Vietnam combo or a diverse exploration of Thailand–Cambodia–Vietnam.

Check more details about how to plan a trip to Thailand.

Itinerary 1: 3–Week In–Depth Exploration of Thailand

A 3–week Thailand itinerary promises you both bucket–list activities and off–the–beaten–path adventures.

If you are visiting Thailand for the first time, you would have plenty of time for a thorough experience of all of the highlights plus vibrant local life, colorful temples, mouthwatering Thai food, interesting interactions with elephants, thrilling jungle adventures, and breathtaking beaches...

The suggested schedule is listed below:

  • Days 1 to Day 5 in central Thailand: Bangkok (3 days) and Kanchanaburi(2 days)
  • Days 6 to Day 11 in northern Thailand: Chiang Rai(2 days) and Chiang Mai (4 days)
  • Days 12 to Day 21 in southern Thailand: Phuket (3 days), Koh Samui(4 days) and Khao Sok National Park (3 days)

Discover more details below.

Days 1–3: Bangkok

After touching down in Bangkok, Day 2 unfolds with iconic tours to the Grand Palace and Wat Pho, spiced up by a thrilling tuk–tuk ride and a breezy longtail boat journey —immersing you in the local buzz.

On Day 3, dive into the vibrant Maeklong Railway Market and the lively Damnoen Saduak Floating Market . Capture the vivid chaos with your camera and savor street food delights. At night, you could have a sunset drink/dinner at a rooftop restaurant and enjoy a uniquely–Thai ladyboy show .

Days 4–5: Kanchanaburi

Kanchanaburi, famed for wartime history and serene landscapes, awaits you. On the Day 4 morning, you would take a 4–hour private transfer to Kanchanaburi. Then you could take a 1–hour train ride along the Death Railway . In the late afternoon, relish a peaceful sunset from your floating house .

On the following day, you would have a scenic walk in the Erawan National Park and the chance to admire its waterfalls.

Day 6: Return to Bangkok and Fly to Chiang Rai

Savor a leisurely morning at your own pace before heading to Bangkok airport for your afternoon flight. Chiang Rai has a laid–back atmosphere and is ideal for those who want off–the–beaten–path experiences. You could have a foodie adventure at its bustling night markets.

Days 7–8: Chiang Rai

Day 7 brings the unveiling of the mysterious Golden Triangle and the enchanting Mekong River through a captivating boat ride . You'll be also amazed by the rural scenery and local markets of the hill tribes .

On the next day, you would see its character–filled temples: the White Temple (Wat Rong Khun), the Blue Temple (Wat Rong Suea Ten), and the Black House (Baan Dam).

In the late afternoon, drive for about 3 hours to Chiang Mai.

Days 9–11: Chiang Mai

Your first day in Chiang Mai promises a panoramic view from Doi Suthep Mountain , followed by a rickshaw ride through bustling streets and ancient temples. More impressively, visit a local family, pick some vegetables, create Thai dishes with your host, and then taste them together.

The adventure continues with an exciting visit to an elephant sanctuary . During the program, you would walk elephants, feed them, and bathe them in their natural environment. If you like, pay some extra for a photographer to capture the memorable moments

On Day 11, enjoy a free day after an energetic week's travel. You could pamper yourself with a private spa, explore the old town, and engage in friendly chats with locals. If you're traveling in November, be sure to build in a day to join in the Sky Lantern Festival, releasing your sky lanterns to symbolize your best wishes.

Day 12–14: Phuket

In the morning, you would fly to Phuket and start your relaxing beach time. You could choose an adult–only beach resort or a special tree house nested in the jungle.

On Day 13, get ready for an exhilarating adventure to the Phi Phi Islands . Hop on a private speed boat, immerse yourself in snorkeling/kayaking/ swimming in the Maya Bay, and explore the wonders of Monkey Beach, Bamboo Island and Viking Cave.

On Day 14, you would have a free leisure day . Or if you want more adventures, consider the jungle zip–lining experience and Muay Thai training classes.

Day 15–17: Khao Sok National Park

On Day 15 morning, Elephant Hills would pick you up and transfer you to Khao Sok National Park. Three hours later, you would take a jungle couldoe trip down the Sok River and encounter the elephants. Conclude your day with an overnight stay in a luxury tented camp at one of the Elephant Hills camps .

On Day 16, your adventures would mainly comprise a longtail boat ride across Cheow Larn Lake and a jungle hike in the world's oldest rainforest . At night, you would change into the rainforest floating house at an Elephant Hills camp.

On Day 17, start the day with wildlife spotting on a guided couldoe safari in the little channels and side arms of Cheow Larn Lake. After lunch, transfer to Koh Samui.

Days 18–21: Koh Samui

Koh Samui is all about pristine beaches, wellness, and luxury. Before you leave, treat your loved one(s) to yoga retreats, private spas, or simply chill in a beach villa for some quality time together.

Itinerary 2: 21–Day Thailand and Vietnam Adventure Tour

In this 3–week tour, you would travel to the 2 most popular destinations in Southeast Asia: Thailand and Vietnam. Tailored for adventurous couples , the itinerary strikes a perfect balance between history, cultural immersion, and natural wonders.

Over three weeks, you would explore the rich history of the dynasties of northern Thailand and the local culture of Vietnam via a less–crowded route . Besides that, indulge in outdoor fun with activities like hiking in Doi Inthanon National Park and exploring the breathtaking landscapes of Halong Bay .

Brief itinerary:

  • Days 1–11 in Thailand: Bangkok – Ayutthaya – Sukhothai – Lampang – Chiang Rai – Chiang Mai
  • Days 12–21 in Vietnam: Hanoi – Halong Bay – Hue – Hoi An – Mekong Delta – Ho Chi Minh City

Check out more details below.

Days 1–2 in Bangkok

  • Days 1–2 in Bangkok (arrival and a classic city tour with iconic temples and the Palace)

Upon arrival in Bangkok, you would discover landmarks like the Grand Palace, Wat Pho and Wat Arun alongside your local expert on Day 2.

Days 3 to 7: Private Road Trip from Ayutthaya to Chiang Mai

  • Day 3: Transfer to Ayutthaya , exploring majestic Ayutthaya Historical Park and Bang Pa-In Summer Palace.
  • Day 4: Ayutthaya to Sukhothai — Stop at Lopburi to discover Phra Prang Sam Yot and Kamphaeng Phet Historical Park.
  • Day 5: Sukhothai to Lampang — a morning cycling tour in Sukhothai Historical Park and an afternoon Lampang city tour by horse-drawn carriage
  • Day 6: Lampang to Chiang Rai — a morning visit to Wat Phutthabat Sutthawat in Lampang and a night market tour in Chiang Rai
  • Day 7: Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai — a guided city tour of must-see temples in Chiang Rai and a transfer to Chiang Mai

Embark on a 5–day road trip from Ayutthaya to Chiang Mai on Day 3, immersing yourself in rural scenery.

The first stop is Ayutthaya, the Ancient Siam capital. Wander in the royal summer retreat, Bang Pa–In Summer Palace and unveil the story behind the ancient temples and Buddhas in the Ayutthaya Historical Park.

Then bike through the medieval ruins of a UNESCO World Heritage site in Sukhothai. Soak up the sights and sounds of Lampang's historic streets on a horse-drawn carriage . Continue the journey to Chiang Rai, where vibrant night markets and colorful temples await.

Days 8–11 in Chiang Mai

  • Days 8–10: Chiang Mai tour (a day exploration of the city, a day tour to Kanta Elephant Sanctuary, a day hiking tour to Doi Inthanon National Park)
  • Day 11: Depart from Chiang Mai and fly to Hanoi

The last 4 days in Thailand are dedicated to exploring Chiang Mai, Thailand's mountainous cultural capital. In addition to the city tour and elephant sanctuary, you would take a scenic hike to the Doi Inthanon National Park . You are flexible to choose a half–hour light hike or a 3–hour trekking.

Days 12–14 in Northern Vietnam(Hanoi & Halong Bay)

  • Day 12: Hanoi city tour, including a walking and cyclo tour of the Old Quarter, Temple of Literature, and a private water puppet show at a local family's home
  • Days 13–14: Halong Bay cruise

In Hanoi , you could immerse yourself in the local life of the Old Quarter. Take a leisurely cyclo ride and wander through its bustling streets, savoring local delicacies along the way. For a deeper cultural experience, visit the Temple of Literature and enjoy a private water puppet show in a local house. If you like, create your own show with your loved one(s).

Follow this with a mesmerizing two–day cruise through the stunning Halong Bay . Capture the stunning karst seascape, which is particularly vibrant during sunrises and sunsets, and swim and kayak in the crystal-clear water.

Days 15–17 in Central Vietnam(Hue & Hoi An)

  • Day 15: Hue city highlights — including the Imperial Citadel, Emperor Tu Duc's tomb, and a boat ride for a performance of traditional Hue music
  • Day 16: Drive from Hue to Hoi An via the Hai Van Pass and enjoy an evening food walking tour.
  • Day 17: Hoi An — a fishing life experience and a cooking class

Next, fly to the central region. In Hue , take a guided tour of the Imperial Citadel and Emperor Tu Duc's Tomb , and conclude your day with a night cruise with a folk song performance. Then drive towards Hoi An, via Han Van Pass.

In Hoi An, take an evening foodie tour in the ancient town, experience fishing life via a basket boat ride and casting nets , and cook Vietnamese dishes in the serene countryside.

Days 18–21 in Northern Vietnam(the Mekong Delta & Ho Chi Minh City)

  • Day 18: Hoi An – The Mekong Delta — Transfer from Hoi An to Da Nang and fly to Can Tho for the Mekong Delta.
  • Day 19: The Mekong Delta — Ho Chi Minh — Cai Rang Floating Market, a leisurely sampan ride in Cai Be, and a transfer to Ho Chi Minh City
  • Days 20–21: Ho Chi Minh City tour with the Cu Chi Tunnels and city landmarks

The last leg of your trip takes you to the Mekong Delta and Ho Chi Minh City. Fly to could Tho to see the disappearing Cai Rang Floating Market and take a leisurely sampan ride through picturesque couldals.

Then drive to Ho Chi Minh City for the war sites like the Cu Chi Tunnels and French–colonial sights, including the Saigon Central Post Office and Notre Dame Cathedral . A coffee break with a brief language lesson is also a great way to see the daily life of a Saigonese person.

This itinerary didn't include any beach time, but if you would like some tailored in, don't hesitate to contact us with your ideas for a dream tour of Southeast Asia.

Itinerary 3: 3–Week Best of Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam Tour

This itinerary promises the multiple facets of Southeast Asia in one trip at a comfortable pace.

Here is the brief itinerary for your inspiration.

  • Days 1–9 in Vietnam: Hanoi (2 days), Halong Bay cruise (2 days), Hoi An (2 days), Ho Chi Minh City (1 day), Mekong Cruise (2 days),
  • Days 10–12 in Cambodia: Siem Reap (3 days)
  • Days 13–21 in Thailand: Bangkok (2 days), Chiang Mai (2 days), Khao Sok National Park (3 days), Phuket (2 days)

Apart from the iconic highlights in Thailand and Vietnam, you would travel deep into the Mekong Delta aboard a private charter sampan in Vietnam and extend to Cambodia for the splendid wonder of Angkor Wat .

To unveil the beauty of Angkor Wat, you could take a walking tour with a Khmer scholar , bike to the less-known temples, and take a sunset balloon ride for a panoramic view of the temple complex. Besides, you could drive an ATV bike for idyllic sunsets in the rural area.

If you're interested in this itinerary, see our 3–Week Best of Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam Couples Tour .

The Cost of a 3–Week Thailand Tour

If you're looking for a premium journey without breaking the bank, Thailand is an ideal destination.

You would likely pay US$200–250 per person per day for private transfers, private guides, local experiences, 4/5–star hotels and internal flights. The peak price usually comes with the best time (the dry season, from November to April), while you could enjoy low–season benefits (fewer crowds and lower costs) from May to October.

Elevate your travel experience with us — where premium meets personalized perfection . Skip the planning hassle and let your 1:1 expert tailor-make your dream journey. Explore Thailand authentically with private guides, private drivers, meaningful local interactions, and our exclusive activities.

Why Asia Highlights (10,000+ reviews & 98.8% 5-star rating)

  • Save Your Time:
  • Less research, more enjoyment!
  • Real-time 1V1 expert planning
  • Maximize Your Flexibility:
  • Personal local guide and ride
  • Explore at your own pace
  • Celebrate Your Journeys:
  • Specially-crafted family adventures
  • Celebrate milestones with style!
  • 9-Day Thailand Family Tour
  • 10-Day Best of Thailand Tour
  • 10-Day Thailand Lantern Festival Tour 2024
  • 12-Day Thailand Family Holiday
  • 12-Day Thailand Wonders Tour
  • 12-Day Best of Thailand and Cambodia Tour
  • 12-Day Essential Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam Tour
  • 14-Day Classic Vietnam and Thailand Tour
  • 14-day Thailand and Vietnam Family Tour
  • 15-Day Best of Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam Tour
  • 19-Day Highlights Tour of Southeast Asia: Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam
  • 3-Week Best of Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam Tour for Couples
  • Awesome 10 Days in Thailand: 5 Itineraries (with Map)
  • 3 Best Thailand Itineraries for 12 Days 2024
  • 2 Weeks Thailand Itinerary 2024: Top 4 Itineraries with Maps
  • How to Plan Your First Trip to Thailand — 7 Easy Steps
  • A Guide to Thailand Lantern Festivals: Yi Peng & Loy Krathong
  • 8 Best Destinations to Combine with a Visit to Thailand
  • How to Plan a Thailand and Vietnam Trip (2024/2025): 10 Days, 2, 3 Weeks Itineraries
  • How to Plan a Trip to Thailand and Cambodia (2024/2025)
  • How to Plan a Trip to Singapore and Thailand 2024/2025
  • How to Visit Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam 2024: 10, 14 and 21-Day Itinerary Ideas
  • How to Plan a Trip to Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore 2024
  • Thailand Weather in January 2025: Which Island/Best Places to Visit
  • Thailand Weather in February 2024/2025: Which Island/Best Places to Visit
  • Thailand Weather in March 2024/2025: Temperature, Places to Visit, Travel Tips
  • Thailand Weather in April 2024: Temperatures, Places to Visit, Songkran Festival
  • Thailand Weather in May 2024: Too Hot & Rainy? Best Places to Go and Travel Tips
  • What's the Weather Like in Thailand in June?
  • Thailand Weather in July 2024: Tips for a Family Vacation
  • Thailand Weather in August 2024: Temperature and Best Places to Go
  • Thailand Weather in September 2024: Temperature, Best Places to Visit
  • Thailand Weather in October 2024: Still Rain? Where to Visit?
  • Thailand Weather in November 2024: Places to Go, Costs, and Crowds
  • Thailand Weather in December 2024: Places to Go, Costs, and Crowds

3 week thailand tour

Our guide lele is a wealth of information, Lele is very professional and very attentive to our needs. Lele is amazing. Lele got everything spot on. It probably helps that Guilin is a brilliant place to visit so Lele has great material to work with but that doesn't take anything away from how much Lele helped make it a great trip.

Our guide for Beijing was super knowledgeable and experienced and able to help us to achieve as much as we wanted within the time given. We had a fun time guided by him as he is also super humorous and you can see how he interacts with the vendors and people whom he comes by. Thank you for a very enjoyable time in Beijing and accommodating to all our needs!

Our China Highlight guide. Michael, was attentive, thoughtful and knowledgeable. He narrated many interesting historical events about Chengdu while touring around the city and having afternoon tea with us. He was thoughtful to provide us with snacks during long hikes at Leshan or walks around the city.

She was very flexible and added extra time when we needed it and we felt extremely well taken care of. She also chose the best restaurants for us,

Our tour guide Helen, was excellent, she was very kind, professional and passionate for her work and she also loves Pandas! She will take you to take the best panda photos and to know more about Chengdu city. Our tour was great, she took us to all our destinations always with the best spots: Temples, pagodas, famous streets, theaters, name it! Everything was great.

He picked up our pre-booked boat/other excursions tickets so we were able to avoid all the long lines and chaos. He is knowledgeable of the places we visited, courteous, fun to travel with and well-versed in Chinese classics.

Tom is the guide that will take you to where no other guide will. We pushed for the experience and Tom and the team delivered more than what we could have ever asked for. His English speaking ability and his Chinese history knowledge is second to none.

3 week thailand tour

Our day trip to Hangzhou was phenomenal. Derek, our guide, was impeccable. By far the best guide we have had so far. He is extremely knowledgeable about the country’s history and geography and was always excited to share his insights.

Xian es encantadora, el hotel Eastern house boutique muy buena elección por parte de la agencia, los desayunos muy completos para complacer todo tipo de gusto, lo recomiendo 100%, el itinerario fue muy acertado fueron 2 días en la ciudad xian, compartimos con la guía Susana, la atención, la amabilidad y sobre todo su profesionalismo fue lo que marcó la diferencia, sus detalles, estaba siempre en el lugar y momento correcto para hacer de xian un lugar inolvidable.

More reviews

Get Inspired with Some Popular Itineraries

At Asia Highlights, we create your kind of journey — your dates, your destinations, at your pace. You can have any trip tailor made for your travel.

More Travel Ideas and Inspiration

TrustPilot rating

Sign up to Our Newsletter

Be the first to receive exciting updates, exclusive promotions, and valuable travel tips from our team of experts.

Why Asia Highlights

Where can we take you today.

  • Middle East
  • African Safari

3 week thailand tour

  • Travel Agents
  • Our Differences
  • Privacy Policy

China Highlights was featured on these medias.

Address: Building 6, Chuangyi Business Park, 70 Qilidian Road, Guilin, Guangxi, 541004, China

Dream Big, Travel Far logo

What are you looking for?

Our ultimate 3 week thailand itinerary {updated 2024}.

Cazzy Magennis

Over the years I’ve travelled to Thailand 3 times and explored it from top to bottom.

Along the way, stopping off at the most popular towns, cities and islands and having an unforgettable time!

Based on my experiences, I wanted to put together what I believe to be the ultimate way to spend 3 weeks in Thailand .

It includes a mixture of everything, along the way you’ll experience:

  • The crazy nightlife in Bangkok
  • Stunning beaches in the southern islands
  • Day trips to waterfalls
  • Endless golden temples
  • And much, MUCH more!

Excited to get planning your own adventure ? 

You should be!

Strap yourself in and prepare for the ultimate 3 week Thailand itinerary!

Interactive map of our 3 week Thailand itinerary


Getting Into The Country: Getting A Visa

First up: Do you even need a visa for Thailand?

Well, it all depends on where you are from.

If, like us, you are a British or Irish citizen then you get 30 days in without a visa, as part of the visa exempt programme.

This can be reset once you stamp out of the country and back in again. 

For example, our 3 week itinerary was actually broken into two parts:

  • We visited the southern end of Thailand before heading off into Cambodia, Vietnam and then Laos
  • We then re-entered the north of Thailand to visit our final 3 stops

As such, we never actually needed to get a visa as you can travel in twice from land borders in one year, but air travel borders are different and I don’t believe there is a limit.

You can extend to 60 days in the country by going to an immigration office; learn more about the process here .

Of course, things are regularly changing in Asia, so be sure to check whether or not these are the most up-to-date visa regulations for Thailand.

Rough 3 Week Overview: North & South

Now down to the good part … the ultimate route for 3 weeks in Thailand!

As a rough idea, this itinerary is going to first take you down south, where you can hit the beaches and islands of Thailand first .

Then from the bottom, you can either bus your way back to Bangkok and head North via bus, or you can make life easier and get a cheap internal flight from Phuket to Chiang Mai …

But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves!

Here’s a summary of what to expect ...

Part 1: South Thailand Itinerary

Bangkok > Hua Hin> Koh Samui > Koh Phangan > Koh Tao > Krabi > Koh Phi Phi islands > Phuket

Part 2: North Thailand Itinerary

Chiang Rai > Chiang Mai > Pai > Chiang Mai

To join parts 1 & 2 between Phuket and Chiang Rai, you can either bus up to Chiang Rai, which will probably require a bus change in Bangkok. Or you can fly with Air Asia or Thai Airways for cheap up to Bangkok (which is what I did) and then get a bus to Chiang Rai from there.

The Ultimate 3 Week Thailand Itinerary

Okay, let’s break this Thailand Itinerary 3 weeks route down. 

We have 21 nights and a lot of ground to cover!

Stop 1: Bangkok (2 Nights)

As it’s such a central hub for the rest of Thailand, there is the chance to make 3 individual stops in Bangkok as a part of this itinerary.

But don’t worry, there is so much to do in Bangkok , so I will break it down into what to do there.

Start with 2 nights in Bangkok; use your first night to recover from your flight and go visit Koh San Road (maybe see a ping pong show if you’re not shattered).

Then the next day in Bangkok, go see some of the top temples such as the Grand Palace, Wat Arun, and the Leaning Buddha.

It will be a day of temple hopping then in the evening hit one of the amazing markets and eat street food and drink Thai beer!

Alternatively, if you don’t want to organise your schedule, then check out this awesome Bangkok Instagram tour that takes you to the best photo spots in the city! 

  • ‍ Where We Stayed: Zee Thai <-- This was an amazing place: cheap, great location and great backpacker vibe!

temples in bangkok

Stop 2: Hua Hin (1 Night)

From Bangkok you get a cheap bus to Hua Hin (taxi was 2000 baht in 2015), bus is a lot cheaper and the journey is around 4 hours.

Head early so you get the full day in Hua Hin: you can go visit the amazing elephant sanctuary that allows you to walk, feed and wash the elephants (no riding here!).

Then in the evening hit the fantastic Hua Hin night market. 

Here you will find amazing food galore!

There is also a nice beach in Hua Hin (if you get the time!)

  • ‍ Where We Stayed: Jenny Hostel <-- well situated and affordable - not much of a backpacker vibe though. ‍
  • Getting There: Book your bus from Bangkok to Hua Hin here .

Hutsadin Elephant Foundation in Hua Hin

Stop 3: Koh Samui (2 Nights)

Koh Samui is a beautiful island and you get there via bus and boat from Hua Hin. 

Buy your tickets online with Lomprayah and get ready to see some beautiful beaches.

In Koh Samui you can check out Big Buddha, beautiful beaches and party your heart out if you want to!

  • ‍ Where We Stayed: Sirinsamui Boutique Hostel <-- Highly recommend this place! It’s modern, clean and full of other backpackers. The perfect spot to party! Also, the pool is amazing.
  • Getting There: Book your boat from Hua Hin to Koh Samui here .

Big Buddha in Koh Samui

Stop 4: Koh Phangan (2 Nights)

Koh Phangan is well worth a spot on any Thailand itinerary for one reason … the Full Moon Party ! 

It’s the main reason many people head down south in the first place.

Head there by boat a day before the Full Moon Party for the “pre moon” party, and if you really want to you can stay an extra night for the jungle party.

But in the interests of this being a strict 3 week thailand itinerary, I’m suggesting 2 nights!

  • ‍ Where We Stayed: Phangan Beach Resort & First Villa Beach Resort <-- I've actually been to two Full Moon Parties over the years and can recommend both of these spots. Both are in amazing spots right on the beach and are great for pre-drinking prior to the Full Moon.
  • Getting There: ‍ Book your boat from Koh Samui to Koh Phangan here .

Our beach hotel in Koh Pangan Thailand

Stop 5: Koh Tao (1 Night)

Koh Tao, best  known for its snorkelling and beautiful beaches, is the smallest of the islands in this region and is well worth a night's stay.

It’s actually the only island I haven’t been too, mainly because I kept running out of time. 

BUT, I have friends who have been and loved the snorkelling, and it’s definitely somewhere I will make a stop next time I am at the Full Moon Party.

  • Getting There: You can book tickets to Koh Tao here .

Stop 6: Krabi (2 Nights)

I am suggesting two nights because by the time you get to Krabi, you’ll have wasted a day travelling. 

Despite the journey, Krabi is definitely worth visiting and has the brilliant Railay beach which is beautiful and iconic.

It’s also got an awesome strip of bars and restaurants.

  • ‍ Where We Stayed: Haleeva Sunshine ← Pretty basic hotel accommodation
  • Getting There: Book your boat to Krabi here .

Railay Beach Thailand

Stop 7: Phi Phi (2 Nights)

Phi Phi is a small island, now best known for partying. 

You can also visit other islands off Phi Phi, so 2 nights is good if you want a day for recovering then an actual day of sightseeing.

Be sure to book accommodation far in advance as it sells up!

  • ‍ Where We Stayed: Phi Phi Sky Resort ← Would definitely recommend ‍
  • Getting There: Book boat tickets to Phi Phi here .

Stop 8: Phuket (1 Night)

Other than Patong Beach, Phuket is actually quite a dire place to visit.

Because of a strip called Bangla Road, which is like the party capital/weird sex capital/ ping pong/sex show capital of the area.

If you want cheap shots, then there we go! However, O just found the whole strip to be so seedy, with fat old guys grinding on young Thai girls selling themselves; each to their own I suppose.

The main reason to visit is because Phuket has got an airport, and you need to get back to Bangkok.

  • ‍ Where We Stayed: Oscar Boutique Hotel ← Nice and modern, though based on new reviews it looks like it may have let its standards slip since we visited. ‍
  • Getting There: Book boat tickets to Phuket here .

view over bangkok

Stop 9: Bangkok (1 Night)

The quickest way to get back north is to fly back up to Bangkok.

Whilst in Bangkok for a night, go and organise your bus to Chiang Rai then head and see a Thai boxing match in the evening! 

Always fun!

Tomorrow, it’s time to head north …

Alternatively, it’s now possible to fly directly from Phuket to Chaing Rai ( check prices here ).

Stop 10: Chiang Rai (2 Nights)

Chiang Rai is home to some of the best temples anywhere in Thailand, and probably Asia (in my opinion). 

The White Temple is iconic architecture, and absolutely beautiful, and the blue temple is peaceful, stunning and, best of all, free.

I think more and more people are beginning to visit the Blue Temple so it might be more crowded nowadays, and they may have even started charging. 

Afterwards you’ve got the black temple, amazing waterfalls and mountains to chase; read more in my guide on what to do in Chiang Rai .

Tour option: If you want to see the awesome White and Blue Temple, as well as the Black House, but don't feel confident on a moped, then this is a great value and highly rated tour for less than $20 .

  • ‍ Where We Stayed: Ann Guest House <-- Ran by a friendly couple and nicely located, no complaints! ‍
  • Getting There: Book your transfers to Chiang Rai here .

front of the blue temple

Stop 11: Chiang Mai (2 Nights)

Chiang Mai is quickly becoming the digital nomad capital of the world (due to cheap rent and low cost of living), but it’s also got some fabulous temples, waterfalls, waterparks, swimming areas, markets and much more!

My favourite memory is from visiting the Grand Canyon, just outside the city, where you can dive from heights of up to 7 metres into a vast, rain-filled canyon!

I also loved the Old City walls, and the food at the night market which runs every day.

I love Chiang Mai, and you probably will too.

For more ideas of what to get up to, read my guide on how to spend 3 days in Chiang Mai .

  • Getting There: Book the bus from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai here .

brad jumping in chiang mai

Stop 12: Pai (2 Nights)

Pai is in the far north of Thailand, and you can get there by only one road.

So you’ll need to either rent a moped and drive these winding roads yourself, or you get a little mini bus from the Arcade Chiang Mai bus station for 150 baht.

You can buy them in person, or instead get them in advance online here .

There is a good chance you will throw up on the journey, or if you don’t throw up, you’re going to be close to it; so take motion sickness tablets.

But trust me when I say it’s totally worth it!!

Pai is beautiful and just filled with natural beauty and unforgettable things to do !

It has a fantastic night food market (my favourite in the world), amazing natural hot springs dotted everywhere, stunning Buddha's to climb and see, strawberry fields, the Pai Canyon and much more. 

Simply put, Pai is amazing and the perfect spot to end your 3 weeks in Thailand.

To get the most out of your time there, you’ll ideally need to hire a moped when you get to Pai. 

It’s how everyone gets around, and there aren’t a lot of taxis; plus they are very cheap.

Don’t forget that international driving licence before you fly to Thailand (which in the UK you get at the Post Office for £5.50).

  • ‍ Where We Stayed: Pai Fuh Pha Resort ← We stayed in this wonderful little Bungalow, just outside of town and surrounded by rice paddies! Highly recommend this place. ‍
  • Getting There: Book bus transfers to Pai here .

pai canyon

Stop 13: Bangkok (1 Night)

After Pai, you’ll probably need to make your way back south to Bangkok, which is the central point for flying to your next destination (or back home).

From Pai, you’ll need to catch a bus back to Chiang back and then fly or bus back to Bangkok ( find all your transfer options here ).

I recommend you to spend your last night in Bangkok with dinner and drinks at a rooftop bar with the stunning skyline of Bangkok beneath you. 

Stay in a hotel with a rooftop swimming pool for an extra special send off.

  • ‍ Where We Stayed: I Residence Hotel Silom ← pretty cheap, but with a lively rooftop pool right next to the “Tetris Building” (at least that’s what we named this funky building).

21 Nights = 3 Weeks in Thailand!

You could do this 3 week route from back to front and when you end in Bangkok after the islands, you fly home then from there.

If you want to do a Full Moon, then I would do it first and then work my way north.

It’s personally a nicer way to do it.

Both south and north Thailand offer great things, but they are very different. 

South is much more about partying and beaches, and generic backpacking, but the North is filled with natural beauty in the form of waterfalls, hot springs and mountains and I love it!

So now you’ve got the ultimate 3 week Thailand trip, you’re almost ready to go, but check out the rest of my information below to help you make the most of your trip .

our 3 week Thailand route

Getting Around Thailand

Getting around Thailand is pretty easy, as all routes are well trodden by thousands of backpackers each year. 

To visit everywhere on this itinerary, you’ll need to make use of ...

  • ‍Buses: There is a vast tourist bus network In Thailand and I always use 12goAsia to book my bus tickets in advance . Just ease of mind and I hate negotiating in person. ‍
  • Aeroplanes: Thanks to AirAsia it’s super cheap to fly between different places in Thailand. You can get flights from Chiang Mai to Bangkok for less than 800 baht. Use Skyscanner to find the best prices. ‍
  • Boats: These connect all of the Thai islands and are crucial for island hopping . You can book most boat transfers cheaply on 12goAsia .
  • Trains (optional): I personally never used the train network in Thailand, but I do know you can get trains between places like Bangkok and Chiang Mai. It’s a cheap and comfortable way to travel and you can find out more about routes and prices here .

Within cities you can get tuk tuks (which are a great experience in themselves!)

I also recommend using Uber or Grab . 

It saves you the hassle of getting ripped off and you know what you’re in for. 

Also, in every place apart from Bangkok, it’s worth renting a moped to get around and explore. It’s safe and hassle free. You can find out more about renting a moped in Southeast Asia here .

canyon jumping thailand

What Are The Best Things To Do In Thailand?

For most destinations listed, I’ve linked through to a guide on that part of the country and within that I’ve listed some top things to do. For the islands, they don’t have their individual guides, but my complete guide on island hopping covers them all individually.

BUT, to get you excited, here are some things you should not miss on a Thailand itinerary.

  • Visiting the Grand Palace in Bangkok
  • Experience a Floating Market
  • Relax in the natural hot springs in Pai
  • Try Strawberry Vodka and wine at a strawberry farm
  • Party till you drop at the Full Moon Party Thailand
  • Snorkel in Koh Tao
  • Relax and explore Railay Beach
  • Explore the Khao Yai National Park
  • Take a Thai cooking class
  • Visit a elephant sanctuary (but do not ride)

If you complete at least all of these 10 things, then you’ll have done some of the best things Thailand has to offer.

Floating markets Bangkok

A Suggested Budget For Thailand

So, how much does 3 weeks in Thailand cost?

Well, Thailand isn’t that expensive anywhere, even Bangkok. 

The most expensive site there is the Grand Palace and it’s only around 500 baht.

You could survive in Thailand on a budget of $USD20-30 a day and this would include accommodation, food and transport.

Bradley and I spent around that, then a little extra for nights like the Full Moon Party.

Food is dirt cheap, especially if you are eating street food: which is typically safe as long as you use common sense and don’t eat anywhere too unhygienic.

If a stall is empty and everywhere else is busy, then avoid it. 

Thai red curry is amazing and Pad Thai is the go-to cheap common dish; I’m craving it now as I write.

Our 3 weeks itinerary takes you through all of the country, not just a focus on the south or the north and you will see a slight variation in price. 

The north is cheaper than the south, but alcohol is cheap across Thailand; you just need to exercise caution and check you are drinking genuine branded alcohol

So watch your drinks being poured, and if buying buckets at the Full Moon Party, make sure you make the bucket yourself with a sealed bottle of spirit at purchase.

Read Also: How To Save Money For Travel

Why visit both north and south Thailand?

The reason I’ve included both north and south Thailand is that those who only go to the south can sometimes feel disappointed in their experience.

This is because the south of Thailand is very well known. 

We’ve all seen the pictures on Instagram many times, and most of them are overly edited and don’t look like that in person; so people are disappointed when they go.

Actually, in the north, with the Blue Temple, I see high travel profiles share photos of the blue temple and they edit the colour so much it turns the temple into sort of a light blue, which looks pretty, but the temple doesn’t have that colour; it doesn’t need a new blue, it’s already beautiful. So, yes, use Instagram to inspire you to go to a destination, but do not expect it to look like the picture with the Lightroom preset on it!

blue temple

How about a 2 Week Thailand Itinerary?

If you find yourself with only 2 weeks in Thailand, then I’d maybe suggest sticking to the south. You’ll get to explore Bangkok and a lot of beautiful temples, islands and beaches.

Here’s a decent route

Bangkok > Hua Hin > Koh Samui > Koh Phangan > Krabi > Phi Phi > Phuket

  • Bangkok: 2 nights
  • Hua Hin: 1 night
  • Koh Samui: 2 nights
  • Koh Phangan: 3 nights
  • Krabi: 2 nights
  • Phi Phi: 2 nights
  • Phuket: 2 nights
  • Back to Bangkok and ready to go!

Or if you want a 2 week northern Thailand itinerary, try this one:

Bangkok > Thung Salaeng Luang National Park > Chaing Rai > Chiang Mai > Pai > Bangkok > Hua Hin >Bangkok

  • National park: 2 nights
  • Chiang Rai: 2 nights
  • Chiang Mai: 3 nights
  • Pai: 3 nights

white temple chaing rai

Only have 1 week in Thailand?

A 1 week Thailand itinerary will need to follow the highlights, which you can do, but you’ll need to fly!

Bangkok > Koh Samui > Koh Phangan > Koh Tao > fly back to Bangkok

  • Koh Phangan: 2 nights
  • Koh Tao: 1 night
  • Fly back to Bangkok from Samui and fly out!

Or the north option is ...

Bangkok > Chiang Mai > Pai > Chaing Rai > Bangkok

  • Chiang Mai: 2 nights
  • Pai: 2 nights
  • Bangkok: fly home!

buddah in blue temple

A Few Final Travel Tips

I thought I’d include a few final tips/things to know in order to help your Thailand trip go smoothly!

  • Get yourself a Revolut Card: In 2016, it was announced that every Thai ATM/bank would charge foreign cards (including travel cards) a stupid fee of around 200 baht per withdrawal. If you get a Revolut card and choose the option “continue WITHOUT conversion” (you’d be surprised at how often people get this wrong) you’ll get the best exchange rate, so lose less money. Basically it’s a good idea to bring as much Thai Baht in with you as you can and your Revolut card is free for ATM transactions so use that.
  • Many Thai people are only interested in your money: Thai people really are a mixed bag. Some you get are super chirpy and happy, whereas others act like they’ll only talk to or interact with you if you’ve got money. Which is annoying. But I met many great-hearted Thai people in Thailand and I therefore can’t let the minor few ruin the reputation of everyone.
  • Use 7-Eleven! These stores are everywhere and are the best shop for snacks/drinks/AND ICE LATTE. It’s less than a dollar and tastes unbelievably good. I miss them SO much. There are some “Cafe Amazons” in Thailand, which are also just out of this world with coffee.
  • Visit the Hard Rock in Bangkok: The Hard Rock Cafe in Bangkok has the best live band (still the same one for the last 5 years), and the best staff. So if you want fun and exciting nightlife away from Koh San Road, then go there.
  • Tipping of 10% is customary
  • Bring a Shawl: You’ll need to cover up for temples or else you will have to pay to borrow clothes!

So, there you have it! My ultimate 3 week Thailand itinerary! 

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and if you’ve got any other suggestions, then pop them below.

For help planning your journey in Thailand, check out these other guides we put together:

  • Packing - What To Pack For Thailand
  • Bangkok - The Ideal 5 Day Bangkok Itinerary
  • Chiang Mai - 3 Day Chiang Mai Itinerary
  • Chiang Rai - The Best Things To Do In Chiang Rai
  • Pai - The Best Things To Do In Pai
  • Island Hopping - Complete Guide To Island Hopping In Thailand
  • Transport - How To Get Around Thailand

Tinggly badge

Leave a comment

Let us know what you think.

Footer banner image

5 million people can't be wrong

The Ultimate 3 Week Thailand Itinerary (For 2024)

For many tourists and travelers, Thailand is the gateway to Southeast Asia. It's known for its incredibly beautiful beaches, island hopping, stunning temples, delicious food, and even its sometimes a little crazy (but fun!) capital, Bangkok. 

I've been visiting Thailand for many years, and my love for this country keeps bringing me back. There's definitely something special about Thailand that will easily capture your heart.

There are so many different islands in Southern Thailand and numerous interesting places in Northern Thailand that three weeks might not seem like enough time. But don't worry, I've got you covered!

I've put together a three-week Thailand itinerary with all my favorite spots, so you'll be sure to hit all the highlights and have an incredible time. And honestly, I think you'll be back for more after this trip!

Thailand 3 week itinerary

In this 3-week Thailand itinerary, I've gathered my absolute favorite places, from Thailand's vibrant capital, Bangkok, to the breathtaking islands in southern Thailand such as Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, Koh Tao, Krabi, and Koh Lanta.

And of course, there are also the culturally rich northern regions of Thailand, where you'll be exploring places like Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. As far as cities go in Thailand, Chiang Mai is my favorite by far, it's also the city where my wanderlust was sparked when I started traveling full-time in 204.

Day 1-3: Bangkok

3 week Thailand itinerary - Bangkok

Bangkok is definitely a city you shouldn't overlook, especially if you've never been to Southeast Asia before. Bangkok is exactly what you'd imagine from movies like Hangover 2. This city never sleeps, with neon signs everywhere, restaurants and shops open 24/7, and yes, you can find all the crazy parties on the infamous Khao San Road.

On your first day of your Thailand itinerary, even if you arrive a bit later in the day, there's still plenty to do – because, this city doesn't sleep! But before diving into some evening sightseeing, I suggest indulging in Bangkok's amazing food and nightlife scene for a little while.

For dinner, let me recommend one of my favorite restaurants for traditional Thai food:  Rongros . It's right by the Chao Phraya River, has a super cool rooftop, and serves amazing traditional Thai cuisine. Not only is it affordable, but it's also recommended by Michelin.

If you're looking for a cheaper and easier option, just head over to Khao San Road. You'll be able to grab a delicious Pad Thai from a street food vendor for just 50 Baht (less than US$1.50).

When it comes to drinks, the Sky Bar in Bangkok is definitely one of the most iconic spots. However, it can be a bit expensive, with cocktails costing around 1000 Baht (approximately USD30).

On your second day, you should definitely check out some of Bangkok's amazing sights like The Royal Grand Palace, the majestic temple of Wat Arun, the legendary Temple of the Emerald Buddha, Lumpini Park, and Thailand's National Museum, just to name a few. You can easily explore these sights by walking or hopping on a tuk-tuk from landmark to landmark. Or book yourself one of the awesome guided tours:

Bangkok: City Highlights Temple and Market Walking Tour

Bangkok: Grand Palace, Wat Pho, and Wat Arun Private Tour

Bangkok: Backstreets and Hidden Gems Bike Tours

Bangkok: Damnoen Saduak Market and Maeklong Railway Market

If you're wondering about the best places to stay in Bangkok for your few days here, I've got you covered with my guide featuring my favorite areas and hotels in Bangkok .

Now, on your last day in Bangkok, you'll be taking a  day trip to Ayutthaya , which is one of the most interesting and diverse areas in the region. Ayutthaya is an absolute paradise for history buffs, with its countless impressive temples.

If you've had the pleasure of visiting places like Angkor Wat in Cambodia and enjoyed it, then you'll definitely love Ayutthaya too.

For more information on what to do and  where to stay in Ayutthaya , take a look at my guide. 

Day 4-7: Koh Samui or Koh Pangan

3 week Thailand itinerary - Koh Samui

On day 4 of your Thailand itinerary, you'll finally get to experience what most of you have been looking forward to – the beautiful islands in south Thailand! It's going to be an amazing island-hopping adventure down south, with countless destinations to choose from.

For your next stop, you can decide if you want to fly from Bangkok straight into Koh Samui or Koh Phangan. These two, along with Koh Lanta, are the Gulf Islands.

Choosing between Koh Samui and Koh Pangan is usually quite easy because both islands offer unique but also very different experiences.

Koh Samui: For luxury & family vacations

Koh Samui is the largest and most developed island in the Gulf Islands, perfect for a more luxurious experience. You'll find everything from beautiful beach resorts to hip restaurants and bars, as well as some great yoga retreats. 

The beaches here are some of the most gorgeous ones I've seen in Thailand – white sand and crystal clear waters. The best part is that if you get away from the main areas like Chaweng and Lamai, you can find many beaches that are quite empty.

I'd say Koh Samui is an amazing destination for a truly relaxing and secluded holiday experience. It's perfect whether you're traveling solo, with your family, or even with your kids. 

And if you're into  beach-side yoga retreats , Koh Samui is definitely a top choice too!

Koh Phangan: For Full Moon party, backpackers & exploring off the beaten path

If you're looking to party and don't mind a bit of chaos, then your destination should definitely be Koh Phangan. Apart from the famous Full Moon Party which happens once a month, Koh Phangan also has another quiet side to it with some amazing beaches, relaxing sunset bars, and night markets.

Koh Phangan is also a great place for backpackers since there are plenty of cheap accommodation options and restaurants that don't break the bank. 

So if partying and exploring on a budget sound like your cup of tea, head over to Koh Phangan! 

To discover more about the  Gulf Islands  and find the one that suits you best, I've spent quite a lot of time exploring each of them. So, I put together a little guide to help you choose the right one for you!

Day 8-10: Koh Tao: For snorkeling and scuba diving

3 week Thailand itinerary - Koh Tao

Whether you choose to visit Koh Samui or Koh Pangan, Koh Tao, the third Gulf Island, is a must on your 3 week Thailand itinerary. It's actually the smallest of the three islands and doesn't even have an airport, so you'll have to take a  high-speed catamaran or ferry  from Koh Samui or Koh Phangan.

The best part about Koh Tao being so tiny and without an airport is that it's a perfect spot to escape the crowds. The real highlight of Koh Tao is its underwater world. It's an absolute haven for snorkeling and scuba diving, and you'll get to witness some of the most beautiful colorful fish and marine animals in Southeast Asia.

And if you're a scuba diving enthusiast, you absolutely can't miss the world-famous Chumphon Pinnacles and Sail Rock, which are known as one of the best dive spots in Thailand.

Lastly, let me share some of my favorite restaurant recommendations for all you foodies. One place I can't get enough of is Cafe Culture. It's right on the beach and perfect for a delicious breakfast or lunch. Trust me, their coffee is amazing, and they make a mean full English breakfast.

Another spot I love is Zest. They're fantastic for lunch, serving up tasty sandwiches and refreshing juices. Everything there is fairly affordable, which is always a bonus.

However, my absolute favorite restaurant and go-to dinner spot on the island is Whitening on Sairee Beach. It's a seafood joint with a touch of Italian influence, and its food is simply out of this world. You absolutely must try their BBQ seafood platter with octopus and prawns – it's an absolute must-try!

Day 11-13: Krabi

3 week Thailand itinerary - Krabi

On day 11, you'll make your way from the Gulf Islands to the beautiful province of Krabi. Getting there is super easy – you can either hop on a plane straight from Koh Samui to Krabi or go for the more affordable option of taking a ferry to the mainland and then a bus to Krabi. I recommend booking through 12Go , this way you'll have the entire trip connected and don't have to book two separate things.

Once you arrive at Krabi Airport or the bus stop, it's a breeze to hop on a shuttle to your hotel. I recommend you base yourself in Ao Nang Beach. From here, you can easily find boats for a day trip, that will take you to some of the most breathtaking places in Thailand.

Railay Beach, Tonsai Beach, Tub Kaek Beach are definitely the most popular ones and can easily be accessed by boat. However, my personal favorite is Railay Beach – it's an absolute paradise with its stunning landscape, white sand beaches, and limestone rock formations.

Have you seen that famous picture with the limestone in the water and the wooden longtail boats on the beach? Yep, that's Railay Beach!

Krabi is also the ideal spot to explore some other islands in the south of Thailand. Phi Phi Islands, the stunning Maya Bay, and James Bond Island are among the best spots to book a boat tour .

For more information on what to do and  where to stay in Krabi , make sure to check out my guide. It's packed with helpful tips and recommendations!

Day 13-15: Koh Lant a

3 week Thailand itinerary - Koh Lanta

On day 13 of your 3 week Thailand itinerary, you'll be hopping on a bus  that will take you from either Krabi Town to your next destination, the beautiful islands of Koh Lanta.

Koh Lanta is an incredible island filled with mangroves and limestone rainforests. Its coral-fringed coast and Mu Ko Lanta National Park, which includes a few smaller islands, are simply breathtaking. Here you can also explore the Khao Mai Kaew cave network and Khlong Chak Waterfalls.

Koh Lanta is also a fantastic spot for some  island hopping . Nearby, you'll find the tiny islands of Koh Rok and Koh Haa, both home to white sand beaches, palm trees, and incredible opportunities for snorkeling and sunbathing. 

After a long day of island hopping, you'll probably be quite hungry, and I absolutely don't want to miss the chance to give a little shoutout to my favorite restaurant on the island. Yawee Restaurant is hands down the best place to eat on the island!

They offer a wide variety of traditional Thai options, including delicious vegan curries and a mouthwatering vegan Pad Thai. Plus, it's super affordable too. You can enjoy a satisfying main course here for just somewhere between 100 and 150 Baht (around US$2.50-5.00).

To find out more about  where to stay in Koh Lanta , make sure to check out my guide! Whether you're on a honeymoon, family vacation, or yoga retreat, Koh Lanta has something for you.

Alternative: Phuket

3 week Thailand itinerary - Phuket

Koh Lanta is a great choice for families and anyone who likes things a bit quieter. It's also a wonderful island to explore yourself on a scooter. If you prefer more infrastructure, kids' parks, and bigger resorts , Phuket, Thailand's crown jewel, might be a better choice.

Nestled in the Andaman Sea, Phuket is a haven for beach lovers and adventure seekers alike. With its pristine beaches like Patong and Kata, it caters to sun worshippers, while those craving adventure can explore the lush jungles, embark on exhilarating snorkeling or scuba diving excursions, and even try their hand at surfing.

For culture enthusiasts, the old town of Phuket showcases Sino-Portuguese architecture and a rich history waiting to be uncovered. Families, honeymooners, and solo travelers will all find something to love on this island, whether it's the bustling nightlife of Patong Beach or the tranquility of Phang Nga Bay's limestone karsts.

Phuket, with its diverse range of experiences, truly has something for everyone.

Day 16-19: Chiang Mai

3 week Thailand itinerary - Chiang Mai

On day 16, you'll be leaving the beautiful southern islands of Thailand and heading towards the culturally rich mountains of northern Thailand. We're starting off with my absolute favorite city in the north – Chiang Mai!

From Koh Lanta, you can catch a bus back to Krabi , and from there, you can easily fly directly all the way from southern Thailand to Chiang Mai. 

When you arrive in Chiang Mai , I bet you'll want to relax a little after a long day of traveling. And you know what's the best way to do that? Hit up a spa, such as Fah Lanna or Giving Tree Massage – make sure you book ahead as they are popular places and book out.

Alternatively, chill in some of the best cafes in town. My personal favorites are Fern Forest Cafe and My Secret Cafe In Town.

When it comes to dinner, I recommend Baan Landai Fine Thai Cuisine in Chiang Mai Old Town, for amazing authentic Thai food. Its Good Kitchen is another inexpensive alternative for authentic but clean Thai food, I liked eating here a lot even though it was quite simple. I also like Ging Grai or Health Junk in the trendy Nimman neighborhood.

In your upcoming days, you'll definitely have a great time exploring the magnificent temples of Chiang Mai. One of them is Wat Chedi Luang, a 14th-century temple that stands tall at over 70 meters.

Another beautiful temple in the city center is Wat Phra Singh, which was built back in 1345. I recommend you visit in the early morning as there won't be any crowds and you could have the temple all to yourself before 8 am.

You'll also have to check out the vibrant night markets in Chiang Mai, which happen to be some of my personal favorites in the country – and I did plan my last visit around their schedule, so this must mean something! Sunday Walking Street Market, also called Tha Phae Walking Street, is in my eyes the best one and offers a wide variety of delicious food options and, of course, plenty of shopping opportunities.

Now, the highlight of your visit to Chiang Mai is undoubtedly the chance to visit one of the Elephant sanctuaries in the region. And let me tell you, my absolute top recommendation is to visit Elephant Nature Park.

The Elephant Nature Park is not just an ordinary sanctuary; it's an incredible elephant rescue and rehabilitation center in Northern Thailand. It was founded by the renowned elephant rights advocate, Saengduean Chailert. It's an unforgettable experience where you'll get to interact with and learn about these majestic creatures while lending a helping hand in their daily routine.

Check out their website  here  for more information.

If that's not exciting enough, then you should totally check out a Muay Thai boxing match at the Chiang Mai Stadium!  The Loi Kroh Muay Thai Stadium  is located just outside the old town, and they have fights every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday starting around 9 p.m. They showcase 6-7 thrilling fights each night, and ticket prices range from 600 to 1000 Baht (US$16-30).

Chiang Mai has a lot going for it. If you're visiting for a few days only, staying in Chiang Mai Old Town is what I recommend. Otherwise, I love Nimman, it's young, hip, and trendy and still close to all the Old Town attractions.

You can read my entire guide on the best Chiang Mai accommodation options right here .

Day 20: Chiang Rai

3 week Thailand itinerary - Chiang Rai

On day 21, you'll be heading to the beautiful Chiang Rai province in North Thailand. Getting from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai is super easy – just hop on a bus to the Arcade Bus Station in northern Chiang Mai, and from there, it's just a 3-hour bus ride that leaves every hour. Book ahead .

Chiang Rai is a city situated on the banks of the Kok River, and let me tell you, it offers some of the most spectacular views I've ever seen! This city is famous for its stunning temples, including the immense White Temple (Wat Rong Khun) and the blue Wat Rong Suea Ten Temple.

These are must-see attractions in Chiang Rai, as they're probably some of the most beautiful temples in Thailand.

Another favorite is the Night Bazaar in Chiang Rai! It's held every day from 6 pm to midnight, and it's a food lover's paradise. You'll get a chance to sample some of the best street food in Thailand. Personally, I highly recommend trying the khao soi, a delicious noodle soup made with coconut milk – it's one of my favorite night market meals.

Last but not least, make sure to visit Chivit Thamma Da Coffee House, one of my favorite restaurants in north Thailand.

This beautiful manor houses a lovely cafe and restaurant, and they make the best all-around dishes in the country. It's simply amazing to come here for breakfast and enjoy their barista-made coffee, but it's equally incredible to visit for lunch or dinner and indulge in their international or traditional dishes.

A day trip is a great option to see the best of Chiang Rai in a short time, if you decide to stay here for a night or two, I mapped out all the best areas and hotels in this article .

Day 21: Bangkok

3 week Thailand itinerary - Bangkok

On your last day, you can hop back on the bus to Chiang Mai and then catch a flight to Bangkok. Here, you have two options: either stay at the airport and fly out from there, or spend another night in Bangkok. 

There's still so much more to explore and enjoy in this city that even after spending multiple weeks in the Thai capital, I haven't seen everything yet. You might have missed out on some amazing experiences during your first visit, like the Chatuchak Weekend Market and plenty of fantastic rooftop bars and restaurants.

If you have another full day, consider taking a trip to the beautiful town of Kanchanaburi, which has a fascinating history. Check out my guide to Kanchanaburi if you want to learn more about this charming little town.

Book Your Trip To Thailand

Book Your Flight I recommend using Skyscanner as the easiest way to find and compare the best airfares to and within Thailand. Book Your Hotel My top pick for finding the perfect accommodation is , as they guarantee the best room rate available, plus you get free cancellation on most bookings. Book Your Tours & Activities  I like finding and pre-booking tours with  Get Your Guide and Viator . You will book with instant confirmation, great customer support, and free cancellation for many activities. Access Money Overseas Without Hidden Fees  I highly recommend  getting a Wise account  to withdraw money in Thailand, pay for meals on the Visa card, or shop in Thai Baht. With Wise, you always pay the real exchange, so you never pay more than you need to. Stay Connected Anywhere Getting an eSIM card from Airalo eliminates the need for physical SIM cards, so you can easily switch between mobile networks in over 190 countries worldwide without expensive roaming fees. Don't Go Without Travel Insurance Travel with confidence, knowing that Hey Mondo , my preferred travel insurance provider, has your back. Don't let illness, accidents, theft, or cancellations ruin your trip. As a Breathing Travel reader, you also get 5% off any policy purchased !

Thailand Pre-Travel Facts – Frequently Asked Questions

Before you start your Thailand adventure, there are a few things you should know and sort out to make your travel journey a little easier.

To help you out, I've put together a little FAQ to answer the most common questions people ask me all the time.

⭐ How to get to Thailand

You'll find plenty of direct flights from major cities in the US and Europe – coming from Australia you can fly direct from Sydney or Melbourne. Keep flexible with dates and watch the fares to score a good deal!

If you're coming from another country in Southeast Asia, there are also many bus routes that pass through Thailand, especially to Bangkok and Chiang Mai. I once entered Thailand from Cambodia via bus and the border crossing and journey from Battambang to Bangkok was smooth sailing.

❓ The best time to visit Thailand

The best time to visit Thailand is between November and April. During this period, the weather is generally dry and sunny with temperatures hovering around 25-35 degrees Celsius. However, if you're looking for a more laidback atmosphere, then I highly recommend visiting during the low season (May-October) when the prices are lower and there are fewer people around. 

I know it's technically the rainy season, but it usually only rains for a short downpour during the day, or even just at night. So, if you're on a tighter budget, coming during the off-season or the shoulder season is definitely an option.

🏨 Is Thailand safe to visit

Yes, Thailand is generally a safe place to visit and I haven't had any troubles as a solo female traveler.

To make sure you stay safe during your travels, always be aware of your surroundings and don't leave any valuables or possessions unattended. Additionally, it's also a good idea to learn some basic Thai phrases so that you can communicate with locals when needed.

🚗 How to get around in Thailand

Traveling around in Thailand is a breeze. You've got so many options depending on what you want to do and where you want to go. Within cities, the most common way is probably just hailing down a tuk-tuk or a Songthaw, a shared public tuk-tuk or even booking an Uber.

On most of the islands and in the north of Thailand, you can also easily hire your own scooter. Bangkok is the only exception where I wouldn't recommend renting a scooter because the traffic is insane. However, Bangkok has a great public transport network with the MRT, trams, trains, and boats on the river.

When it comes to traveling between cities, flying is the easiest option with many domestic airports throughout the country (Air Asia offers many affordable flights throughout the whole country). But if you're on a budget, there are also more affordable options like sleeper buses and sleeper trains .

Especially when traveling from Bangkok to Chiang Mai or from Bangkok to the southern part of Thailand, you can save a significant amount of money. Additionally, opting for a sleeper bus or train will also save you the cost of a night's accommodation, win-win!

❓ Getting a visa for Thailand

If you're planning a trip to Thailand from certain countries (including most EU countries, the US, and Australia), you'll be happy to know that you can enter the country with a visa on arrival.

It's usually valid for 30 days, so no need to stress about getting it beforehand. Just make sure your passport is valid for at least another 6 months and present it at the airport upon arrival.

📍Thailand Costs

Thailand is an incredible country that truly has it all! You'll find a wide range of options, from luxurious 5-star resorts to budget-friendly choices loved by backpackers. The cost of your trip to Thailand will depend on your travel style and budget but don't worry, there are options for everyone!

For budget travelers, you can get by with around US$25-40 per day. This would cover approximately US$8-15 for food, US$8-15 for accommodation, US$5-10 for transportation, and US$10-20 for attractions and activities. It's all about finding the best deals and making the most of your money!

If you're looking for a mid-range or more luxurious trip, you'll be looking at slightly higher expenses. Plan to spend around US$15-25+ on food, anywhere from US$20-$150+ on accommodation depending on your needs, US$10-25 on transportation, and US$20-50+ on attractions and activities. Remember, these prices are a rough estimate and can always vary and also depend on the season.

⭐ Wi-Fi and Internet

The good news is that finding free Wi-Fi in Thailand isn't hard at all. Most restaurants, cafes, and accommodations offer free Wi-Fi. The internet is pretty good here, I've never had any trouble. Even on the islands in the south, I've always had a good internet connection. So, even digital nomads or people working remotely shouldn't have an issue with the internet here.

If you want to buy a SIM card, then I recommend True Move or Dtac. They have a great 5G/4G network throughout the whole country, and it's also super affordable.

I actually used the eSIM from Airalo on my most recent visit to Thailand and it worked without any issues, plus it was super affordable and cost me only US$19.95 for unlimited data and uses the Dtac network!

3 week Thailand itinerary – Final Words

Thailand was one of the first countries in Southeast Asia I've ever been to, and let me tell you, it's got so much to offer! From the tropical paradise to the culturally rich north of Thailand, you'll be blown away by its beauty.

It's the perfect country for your first adventure in Asia. Most people here speak English, the hostels and hotels are some of the best in Southeast Asia, and infrastructure and transportation is a breeze.

I really hope that my 3 week Thailand itinerary makes it a little easier for you and takes away some of the stress when it comes to planning your own trip. And hey, whatever you do, don't forget to take some time to simply enjoy the journey. It's all part of your Thailand trip.

Please note, this post may contain affiliate links, which means that – at absolutely no cost to you – we earn a small commission on sales generated through this website. We only recommend sites we actually use and thank you for your support!

About the Author: Breathing Travel

3 week thailand tour

Related Posts

where to stay in tulum

Where to Stay In Tulum: BEST Beachfront Hotels + Town Centre

travel guide to Port Macquarie

Ultimate Travel Guide to Port Macquarie: Eat, See, Sleep (2024)

5 days singapore itinerary

5 Days Singapore Itinerary: ALL Highlights for First-Time Visitors

thailand vs philippines

Thailand vs Philippines: A Close Look At Cost, Quality & Beauty

3 week thailand tour


3 weeks in Thailand: The Ultimate 20-21 Days Itinerary + My Best Tips

3-week thailand itinerary : the best things to do + where to stay.

You’re planning to spend 3 weeks in Thailand and you’re looking for the best itinerary?

You’re at the right place!

In order to help you plan your stay , I have prepared for you this 3 weeks itinerary in Thailand.

During your 20-21 days trip starting from Bangkok , you will discover some of the country’s best places to visit such as Ayutthaya , Sukhothai , Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai .

Then, you will head to Southern Thailand to visit Phuket , Koh Lanta , Krabi or Koh Yao Noi (and their beautiful beaches!)

In this guide, in addition to the must-see attractions, I will also give you all my best tips as well as a list of the best accommodations depending on your budget.

So, how to spend three weeks in Thailand? Where to stay?

Let’s find out!

Accommodation in Bangkok

Accommodation in ayutthaya, accommodation in sukhothai, accommodation in chiang mai, accommodation in chiang rai, accommodation in phuket, accommodation in koh lanta, accommodation in krabi / ao nang, accommodation in koh yao noi, you’re traveling to thailand these articles will help you, 1) bangkok (2 days).

To visit Thailand in 20 or 21 days , you will probably arrive at Bangkok’s main Airport (Suvarnabhumi).

After a long flight, you will want to go to your hotel , drop your luggage and probably take a rest. To do so, you will have 3 options:

  • Take the airport Rail Link: the cheapest and fastest way! Departure from the airport’s underground level. With a departure every 15 minutes between 6am and midnight, it’s the easiest way to reach the city center. It costs only 45 Bahts to reach Phaya Thai station, the terminus . If your hotel isn’t nearby, you can then take the SkyTrain (BTS ), the metro (MRT) or a taxi.
  • Take a taxi (level 1 of the airport) for a costs between 250 and 450 Bahts depending on your destination and traffic jams. In Thailand, never accept a fixed fare and always ask the driver to turn on the taxi meter. It can also be helpful to have the address of your hotel written in Thai.
  • Book your private transport by clicking here – The most convenient if you don’t want to bother with anything upon arrival.

Once at your hotel, take a good rest, so you can be at 100% to start your 3-week itinerary in Thailand the next day.

After a good night’s sleep, let’s visit the city of Bangkok!

For your 1st day in Bangkok, you should visit (in order):

  • The Grand Palace (500 Bahts), to admire the numerous pavilions, sculptures and statues of the Thai royal family’s former residence.
  • Wat Pho (200 Bahts), featuring the largest sleeping Buddha statue in the city: 45 metes long and 15 meters tall!
  • Wat Arun (100 Bahts), famous for his 5 Prangs (towers) entirely covered with colorful mosaics.
  • The Siam Museum (300 Bahts) or Bangkok National Museum (200 Bahts), both dedicated to Thai history and culture. If you’re traveling with children, the Siam is a better choice (more fun!)
  • Khao San Road, to check the jewellery or souvenir shops and have a drink in one of the many bars. It’s especially popular among backpackers.

Bangkok Grand Palace

To end your first day in style, why not opt for a dinner cruise?

It’s really the perfect way to discover Bangkok from another angle and gaze upon the illuminated monuments.

You need to book your dinner cruise by clicking on the button below:

For a more romantic and intimate version, you should go on a small group dinner cruise on an old rice barge:

Spend the night in Bangkok.

Dinner Cruise Bangkok

On your 2nd day in Bangkok, you should take a walk in the city to discover other monuments and districts.

Here are the best things to do on the second day (in chronological order):

  • Wat Saket (Golden Mount Temple), famous of its terrace offering a 360° view of the city. 50 Bahts.
  • Chinatown , home to Wat Traimit and its golden Buddha statue weighing no less than 5.5 tons!
  • Lumpini park, the ideal place to enjoy a stroll away from the noise and crowds.
  • The Siam district, for shopping in one of the huge, ultra-modern shopping centers
  • At the end of the day, climb to the top of the Bayoke tower . You will for sure love the view over the whole city! Tickets need to be booked in advance here.
  • Alternatively, you can go to the King Power Mahanakhon, which is currently the highest observation deck in Thailand. You need to buy your tickets there .
  • And if you’re looking for a bit more action, you can also end the day by attending a Muay Thai boxing match, the national sport. Tickets needs to be bought here.

Spend another night in Bangkok.

To learn more about the best places to visit in Bangkok, you should read my dedicated article: The 30 best things to do in Bangkok .

During your 3-week road trip in Thailand , you will need to cover your legs and shoulders when visiting the temples . It applies to ladies in all temples, but also sometimes to men.

You should thus bring one or two shawls to cover yourself. If you forget, you can rent one at the entrance of the temples or buy one for 100 Bahts everywhere in the area.

To make the most of your visit to the 3 main tourist attractions of Bangkok (Grand Palace + Wat Pho + Wat Arun), you should opt for a guided tour, as there is no explanatory panels on site. You need to book your guided tour by clicking here.

The best hotels near the Grand Palace and Wat Pho:

  • D Hostel Bangkok: Youth hostel located near the temples and 5 minutes on foot from Khao San Road. Dormitory beds start at €20. Strong points: The location within walking distance to the temples, the cleanliness, the modern decor. Perfect for small budgets!
  • Rambuttri Village Plaza: Located 1.5 kilometer from the Grand Palace and 500 meters from Khao San Road. Bright and pleasant double rooms starting at €30 a night, breakfast included. Strong points: Location, the rooftop swimming pools.
  • Baan Wanglang Riverside, Bangkok: A hotel located on the riverbank opposite the Grand Palace, only 5 minutes away by shuttle boat. Spacious double rooms with a river view starting at €50. Strong points: The amazing river view, the rooftop, the proximity to the 3 main temples of Bangkok.
  • Siri Heritage Bangkok Hotel: A brand new hotel, 10 minutes on foot from the Grand Palace and 1km from the National Museum. Warm and comfortable rooms with a balcony starting at €70, breakfast included. Strong points: The surroundings, the comfortable beds, the friendly staff, the pool. It’s my favorite for its amazing value for money around the Grand Palace!
  • Inn a day: located 600 meters away from the Grand Palace. Rooms with unusual and atypical industrial style decoration starting at €100, breakfast included. Strong points: Amazing view of the river and Wat Arun, excellent breakfast, the design.
  • Chakrabongse Villas: On the riverbank, only a 15 minute walk to Wat Pho. Rooms and suites with Oriental yet modern decor start at €170, breakfast included. Strong points: The incomparable view of Wat Arun, the excellent location, the pool. It’s my recommendation for a romantic stay in Bangkok!

Wat Arun

The best quiet hotels near the metro (to get around easily)

  • Bangkok Patio: Located 10 minutes away on foot from the BTS Skytrain. Super spacious and modern studios and apartments with equipped kitchens and balconies starting at €40 per night. Strong points: The pool, the quiet, the location. It’s my favorite for its excellent value for money! Also perfect for family holidays.
  • Noursabah Boutique Bed Bangkok: Situated 500 meters from the BTS and Airport Rail Link (a direct line to the airport). Well decorated rooms with super comfortable bed begin at €50 a night with breakfast included. Strong points: The quiet, the comfort, food is available (noodles, yogurt, cereal), water, fruit juice 24 hours a day, super convenient to go to the airport.
  • Anajak Bangkok Hotel: Located 5 minutes from the metro and the Airport Rail Link. Very comfortable and cozy rooms starting at €75 a night with breakfast. Strong points: The calm location, the pool, the style of the rooms. An excellent choice for visiting Bangkok or to easily get to the airport at the end of your trip.
  • Eastin Grand Hotel Sathorn: Situated just a few steps from the metro. Spacious rooms with large bay windows, staring at €115 including breakfast. Strong points: The great value for money, the infinity pool, the delicious breakfast, the direct access to the metro. It’s my recommendation for a high-end stay in Bangkok.
  • Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok: Luxury hotel with direct access to Siam Paragon shopping center and the BTS. Elegant and contemporary rooms starting at €230, breakfast included. Strong points: The large pools and garden, the jacuzzi, the spa, the excellent breakfast. The best hotel in Bangkok for a luxurious stay!

Grand Palace Bangkok

2) Ayutthaya (1 day)

Let’s continue your 3-week itinerary in Thailand and head to the famous historical park of Ayutthaya.

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s home to several ancient temples built when Ayutthaya was the capital of the kingdom of Siam.

To go to Ayutthaya from Bangkok, you will have the choice between several means of transport to cover the 75 km distance:

  • Car: the fastest way, taking only 45 minutes . You should rent a car from Bangkok’s Don Muang airport (not the one you arrived at!). It’s by far the most convenient, as it’s on the way to Ayutthaya.

You should keep your rental car until the end of your road trip in Northern Thailand. You should thus choose “Chiang Rai” as drop off location, it’s the 5th leg of this itinerary. This is what I did during my trip to Thailand and it was just perfect!

The roads are in excellent condition , all in a straight line and there are many gas stations.

I booked on , the website that I always use for my car rentals in every country I visit: Canada , Sicily , Greece … and of course Thailand!

You can easily check the rental cars prices by clicking on the button below:

  • Train: a train ticket costs only 15 Bahts and the journey takes 2 hours, this is the cheapest option.
  • Bus: It takes 90 minutes and costs 50 Bahts
  • Minivan: one hour journey for 70 Bahts

Wat Yai Chaya Mongkon Ayutthaya

To plan your visit to Ayutthaya and easily organize your day, you should read my article dedicated to the historical park : How to visit Ayutthaya?

There, you will find all the info you need: prices , opening times, the most beautiful temples to see , a map and of course all my best tips!

Spend a night in Ayutthaya.

If you rent a car, don’t be surprised if you run into police checkpoints outside the cities several times during your journey.

Keep your passport, international driving license and car documents nearby in case you get stopped by the police.

  • Early Bird Hostel Ayutthaya: Hostel located 700 metres from Wat Mahathat. Dormitory bed from €13, breakfast included. Strong points: friendly staff, cleanliness, privacy thanks the curtain. Perfect for backpackers!
  • Baan Baimai Boutique Room: Located 1.7 km from Wat Mahathat or 5 minutes by car. Spacious and well decorated double room from € 27. Strong points: quiet, decor, private parking. An excellent choice for cheap accommodation in Ayutthaya!
  • P.U. Inn Resort: Located 5 minutes from the bus station and 10 minutes from Mahathat temple. Comfortable and colourful double room from €45. Strong points: swimming pool, central location, warm welcome.
  • Baan Thai House: Located 1.4 km from Wat Yai Chai Mongkon. Spacious villa with balcony and garden or lake view from €65, breakfast included. Strong points: swimming pool, outdoors, good meals, setting, calm.
  • Classic Kameo Hotel & Serviced Apartments, Ayutthaya: 5 minute drive from Yai Chai Mongkon Temple. Double room with kitchenette and sitting area, modern and spacious, from €75, breakfast included. Strong points: facilities, comfort, swimming pool, spa.
  • Sala Ayutthaya: Located 1.6 km from the historical park and the Wat Chai Watthanaram.  Modern double room with exposed red bricks from €140, breakfast included. Strong points: swimming pool, view of the river and the temples, food quality, hotel design. This is my recommendation for a luxury stay in Ayutthaya!

Wat Phra Ram Ayutthaya

3) Sukhothai (2 days)

Your 3-week trip to Thailand will now take you to Sukhothai, 350 km away from Ayutthaya.

Given the distance, you should plan one full day for the journey , no matter which mean of transport you choose:

  • By car, the driving time is about 5 hours on 2-lane or wider highways in very good condition.
  • By bus: from Ayutthaya bus station, it takes 6 hours and costs 300 Bahts per person. There are several departures during the day.
  • By train: As there is no railway station in Sukhothai, the journey is split into two parts: Train to Phitsalunok (4 hours / 700 Bahts) + Bus from Phitsalunok to Sukhothai (1 hour / 50 Bahts).

Spend the night in Sukhothai.

Wat Mahathat Sukhothai

The next day, it’s time to explore the historical park of Sukhothai!

The first capital of the kingdom of Siam (before Ayutthaya) is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, home to several beautiful temples.

Just like for Ayutthaya, I have written a dedicated article with all the information needed to make the most of your visit to Sukhothai: Sukhothai: The Definitive Guide.

Spend a second night in Sukhothai.

  • Vieng Tawan Sukhothai Guesthouse by Thai Thai: Located 1.5 km from the historical park. Warm and comfortable double room from €20, breakfast at €4. Strong points: swimming pool, peace and quiet, welcoming atmosphere. An excellent choice for cheap accommodation in Sukhothai!
  • Thai Thai Sukhothai Guesthouse: Located 1.5 km from the park. Double room with traditional decor, wooden furniture and garden view from 30€, breakfast included. Strong points: swimming pool, very warm welcome, charming.
  • Sawasdee Sukhothai Resort: Located 1.5 km from the historical site of Sukhothai. Spacious bungalow with Thai decor and wooden furniture, from €40, including breakfast. Strong points: swimming pool and excellent outdoor setting, peace and quiet, bike rental and the location close to the park. It’s my favorite for its excellent value for money!
  • Sriwilai Sukhothai: Located 1.8 km from the park. Spacious and bright double room with balcony overlooking the rice fields from €80, breakfast included. Strong points: superb setting, large infinity pool, spa, peace and quiet, attentive staff. This is my recommendation for a luxury stay in Sukhothai!

sukhothai Thaïlande

4) Chiang Mai (3 days)

For the 4th leg of your 3-week itinerary in Thailand, you should visit Chiang Mai , the capital of Northern Thailand.

To cover the 300 km between the two places, you can take:

  • Your rental car: The drive takes 4 hours and 30 mins on well maintained roads.
  • The Bus from Sukhothai bus station: 6 hours / 300 Bahts
  • The Train: first you will need to go to Phitsalunok by bus (1 hour / 50 Bahts) and from there take the train to Chiang Mai (6 to 8 hours / 100 to 600 Bahts depending on the seat type).

Here too, you should count one day to travel between Sukhothai and Chiang Mai . Of course, there is nothing preventing you from taking a stroll around Chiang Mai old town if you don’t arrive too late!

Spend your first night in Chiang Mai.

On the second day, you should visit Chiang Mai’s Old Town, famous for its many temples:

  • Wat Phra Singh . Free entrance.
  • Wat Chedi Luang , 40 bahts entrance fee
  • Wat Inthakhin Sadue Muang. Free of charge.
  • The Three Kings Monument
  • One of the 3 history museums of the city : the Cultural Centre, the Historical Centre and the Lanna Folklife Museum.
  • Wat Chiang Man
  • Warorot market
  • Wat Saen Fang, Wat Buppharam and Wat Mahawan.  Only the Buppharam temple has an entrance fee: 20 Bahts.

To end the day, you should go to the Night Bazaar (during the week) or the Saturday or Sunday evening market during the weekend.

This is the perfect opportunity to start buying some souvenirs to bring back home from your 20-day stay in Thailand. And don’t forget to taste the excellent Thai street food!

If you want to enjoy your evening walking around Chiang Mai Market with a guide and enjoying the best Thai dishes , you should book the best food tour in Chiang Mai by clicking here.

Spend another night in Chiang Mai.

Wat Chedi Luang Chiang Mai

For your third day in Chiang Mai , you have the choice between several activities depending on your interests:

1) Visit Doi Suthep National Park and discover:

  • The Doi Suthep temple (40 Bahts), offering a panoramic view over the whole province.
  • The Bhubing Palace gardens (50 Bahts), the winter residence of the royal family.
  • A Hmong village, an ethnic group of Northern Thailand. There are several stalls selling souvenirs and a landscaped garden (10 Bahts).
  • Mon Tha Than Waterfall
  • Huay Kaew waterfall

To travel the single road in the park, it’s better to have a car or hire a scooter. If you take a songthaew (shared taxi) from Chiang Mai’s Old Town , you have to wait for them to fill up every time to leave.

Of course, you can also opt for a guided tour with transportation included , it’s a great way to discover Doi Suthep!

Simply click on the button below to book it:

Chiang Mai Doi Suthep

2) See elephants in an elephant sanctuary

When visiting an elephant sanctuary, you will be able to help the caretakers feed or wash the elephants. Of course, as it’s about animal preservation, no elephant-back rides are allowed!

In order not to disturb the animals too much, only a small number of visitors are allowed each day. So you really need to book your visit to the elephant sanctuary in advance:

3) T ake a cooking class in Chiang Mai

Along with Bangkok, Chiang Mai region is renowned for offering some of the best food in Thailand. It’s thus the perfect place to take a Thai cooking class!

You will first go to the market with the chef to shop for the ingredients before learning to cook delicious dishes. Pad Thai or curries will no longer have any secrets for you 😄.

And if you find the ingredients at home, you can even reproduce the recipes using the booklet provided at the end of the class.

Spend one last night in Chiang Mai.

Don’t hesitate to read my article about the city to learn more about the best places to visit: The 20 best things to do in Chiang Mai.

  • HOSTEL by BED : Youth hostel located 500 meters from Wat Phra Sing and the Sunday market. The beds are in a modern and clean dormitory and start at 10€ per night, breakfast included. Strong points: clean rooms and common areas, a good and healthy breakfast, bottled water. This is the best budget accommodation in Chiang Mai. Perfect for backpackers!
  • Wing Bed : Located in the old town, 800 meters from Wat Chedi Luang. Comfortable and cosy double rooms starting at 35€ per night, breakfast included. Strong points: brand new building, ideal location, excellent service. It’s my recommendation in Chiang Mai for its outstanding value for money!
  • Pingviman Hotel : Located 10 minutes away from the weekend market and 700 meters from Wat Phra Sing. Thai style double rooms with carved wooden furniture, spa bath and balcony, starting at 80€, breakfast included. Strong points: swimming pool, traditional decoration, perfect location, comfort.
  • 99 The Heritage Hotel : Located in the pedestrian street of the Sunday night market. Double room with tasteful decoration and very comfortable bedding starting at 135€, breakfast included. Strong points: swimming pool, friendly staff, good location, free mini bar, fruits and cakes available all day long. A great choice for a romantic stay in Chiang Mai!
  • Chala Number6 : 5* hotel located in the historic center, 200 meters away from Wat Chedi Luang. This luxury hotel offers spacious and very comfortable rooms, starting at 190€, breakfast included. Strong points: swimming pool and garden, lovely staff, charming hotel, snacks offered every day. It’s my recommendation for a luxury stay!

Elephants Thailand

5) Chiang Rai (3 days)

Let’s continue your 20-21-day road trip in Thailand .

After spending 3 days in Chiang Mai, you should go to Chiang Rai , the other famous city of Northern Thailand.

How to get from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai?

  • Car: to cover the 200 km between the two cities, it takes 3 hours and 30 minutes.
  • Bus: takes about the same time.
  • Train: it’s not possible to go to Chiang Rai by train, as there is no train station.

You will arrive in Chiang Rai in the early afternoon and have time to take a walk in the city to discover some of the must-see sights:

  • Wat Phra Kaew , the temple where the Emerald Buddha statue (now on display in Bangkok’s Grand Palace) was discovered. The statue you will see in Chiang Rai is a copy, made when the original one was transferred to the Grand Palace.
  • The golden clock tower
  • Wat Ming Meuang
  • Wat Phra Sing
  • Wat Klang Wiang
  • Wat Jet Yot
  • The HillTribe Museum, about the history of the ethnic groups of Northern Thailand.
  • The Oub Kham Museum and its superb collection of objects from the kingdom of Lanna. Guided tour mandatory.

In the evening, you should really go to the Night Bazaar, where you can stroll in the alleys and look for souvenirs. With its many food stalls, it’s also the perfect place to eat some delicious Thai street food!

Spend your first night in Chiang Rai.

Night Bazaar Chiang Rai

Let’s start your second day in Chiang Rai with one of the best places to visit during your 3 week holiday in Thailand.

Yes, today, you will head to the city’s most popular tourist site: the famous white temple (Wat Rong Khun).

The White temple construction started in 1997 and it quickly became one of the best known temples in the country.

And that’s for good reason: with its walls covered with white lime and mirror shards , and its beautiful sparkling sculptures , it’s really unique and impressive!

You should really go there early in the morning as it quickly gets crowded, with most tourist buses arriving between 9h and 10h. The entrance fee is 50 Bahts.

For the rest of the day , you should do the following (in order):

  • A short walk to see Khun Korn waterfall . Free of charge.
  • Pass by Singha Park to photograph the tea plantations and take a selfie with the park’s symbol: a large statue of a golden lion. Free of charge.
  • Discover Wat Huay Pla Klang, a truly impressive set of 3 temples including a white temple, a large pagoda and, the most impressive, a huge statue of the goddess of mercy nicknamed “the Big Buddha”. Free, but it costs 40 Bahts if you want to go up the statue.
  • A visit to the blue temple, the other iconic temple of the city. Free of charge.

Spend a second night in Chiang Rai.

Chiang Rai White Temple

For your 3rd day in Chiang Rai, you can:

  • Visit Baan Dam Museum (80 Bahts) or Black House museum, a collection of houses decorated in a very original and maybe a bit gloomy way, with fur, bones, crocodile skins…
  • Explore Doi Tung , where you will find the Mae Fah Luang Garden (a very large and beautiful garden) as welll as Doi Tung Royal Villa , residence of the Princess Mother of Thailand. The pass to visit everything costs 220 Bahts and there is an additional fee if you want to go down on a zip line.
  • Go on a road trip from Doi Tung to Mae Salong to admire the splendid landscape
  • Take the opportunity to walk around Mae Salong market

Then return to Chiang Rai for one last night.

You can find all the details about the best things to do in Chiang Rai in my dedicated article: Visiting Chiang Rai: The Definitive Guide.

For your 3 days in Chiang Rai, you should really rent a car (if you haven’t already). All the places to see are are quite far away and for the most part, it’s impossible to reach them by public transport.

  • Connect Hostel: Youth hostel located 10 minutes from the night market and the bus station. Modern dormitory bed with curtain from 10€. Strong points: cleanliness, modern and really nice common areas, comfortable beds, very friendly staff. This is the best hostel in Chiang Rai. Ideal for backpackers, if you are looking for a cheap hotel.
  • Na-Rak-O Resort: Located 600 meters from the Clock Tower and the temples to see in Chiang Rai. Double room with a colorful decoration and a very comfortable bed starting from 21€. Strong points: the availability of the staff, a kitchen for breakfast, the calm. An excellent choice if you’re traveling to Chiang Rai on a budget!
  • Nak Nakara Hotel: Located at 2 minutes walk from the HillTribe Museum and the park. Tastefully decorated double room in traditional lanna style starting from €60, breakfast included. Strong points: large swimming pool, free shuttle to the Night Bazaar, comfortable rooms, convenient location. A great choice for its exceptional value for money!
  • The Riverie by Katathani: 5 stars hotel located 800 meters from Wat Phra Sing and 1 km from the night market, on the riverside. Modern, luxurious and spacious double room from 100€, breakfast included. Strong points: the huge swimming pool, children’s playground, the view on the river, the jacuzzi, the tennis court. A great choice for a romantic stay in Chiang Rai!
  • The Meridien Chiang Rai Resort, Thailand: 5 stars hotel complex located 3 km from the night market. Elegant, design and spacious double room from 105€, breakfast at 14€. Strong points: really beautiful outdoor spaces, swimming pool, Spa, riverside location, quietness, free shuttle to the city centre. Simply the best hotel for a luxury stay in Chiang Rai!

Big Buddha Chiang Rai

6) Phuket (3 days)

For the 2nd part of your 3-week itinerary in Thailand , you will leave the North and head to Southern Thailand. It’s time to enjoy some of the most beautiful islands and beaches of the country!

From Chiang Rai airport, you can take a flight to Phuket .

After a 2-hour flight and a short taxi or bus ride to your hotel, drop your luggage and take half a day to relax.

You can go to the famous Patong Beach for example, have a swim, try water sports such as jet skiing or parasailing or simply sunbath for a few hours.

At the end of the day, you can take a stroll along Bangla Road, the liveliest street on the island.

In the evening, you can for example opt for one of the 2 activities nearby:

  • A ladyboy show (men dressed like women). The most renowned is without a doubt the Simon Cabaret. Seats must be booked in advance by clicking here.
  • Muay Thai Boxing Fight: If you didn’t had the time to attend a Muay Thai boxing match in Bangkok, you can do it in Phuket. You need to book your tickets here!

Spend the night in Phuket.


For your 2nd day in Phuket , you should rent a scooter to explore the island. You can choose to focus on the East or on the South of the island.

In the East of Phuket, you can see:

  • Phuket Town: don’t miss Thalang Street, the colorful houses, Phang Nga Road, Thai Hua Museum and/or Phuket Museum
  • Monkey Hill , home to numerous monkeys and offering a panoramic view of the island
  • Khao Rang Hill, a famous viewpoint in Phuket

End the afternoon at one of the beaches.

In the South:

  • Wat Chalong (free)
  • Big Buddha (free)
  • Karon View Point
  • Nai Harn Beach
  • Windmill Viewpoint and Yanui Beach
  • Promthep Cape , the best place of the island to enjoy a beautiful sunset

If you feel like going out at night, you should really attend Siam Niramit show, where a group of actors and dancers are displaying Thailand’s rich history and culture.

You need to buy your tickets here:

If you don’t feel like renting a scooter, you can visit Phuket with a guided tour!

During this tour, you will discover all the best places to visit on the island, including the old town, Chalong temple, Big Buddha and the Karon viewpoint.

Simply click here to book your guided visit of Phuket.

Wat Chalong Phuket

For your last day in Phuket, you should go on a boat trip.

Here are the 2 best boat tours from Phuket , choose the one that suits you best!

  • A boat trip to Koh Phi Phi, to discover one of Thailand’s most famous islands as well as other equally beautiful places such as Bamboo Island and Khai Island.

Simply click on the button below to book your boat trip:

If you prefer, you can also do this boat tour to Koh Phi Phi from Phuket on a beautiful catamaran .  Click here to book it!

  • A trip to the Similan Islands, considered as one of the most beautiful diving spots in the world.

To book your trip to the Similan Islands from Phuket , just click on the button below:

Spend one last night in Phuket.

For more information about the best places to visit in Phuket, you should read my dedicated article: The 23 best things to do in Phuket

If you want to be on the lively side of Phuket, you should stay around Patong. Here is my selection of accommodation in the area:

  • Lub D Phuket Patong: Youth Hostel 5 minutes from Patong Beach and 10 minutes from Bangla Road. Modern and very clean dormitory bed from €12. Strong points: huge swimming pool, common areas with even a boxing ring, design, cleanliness. This is the best hostel in Phuket!
  • Mazi Design Hotel by Kalima: Located 5 minutes from the night market and 10 minutes from Bangla Road. Spacious designer double room from €35 per night, breakfast at €7. Strong points: swimming pool, location, comfort of the rooms. It’s my favorite for its excellent value for money in Patong.
  • Holiday Inn Express Phuket Patong Beach Central: Located opposite the beach. Modern and warm double room with balcony from €72, breakfast included. Strong points: outdoor facilities, swimming pool, welcoming atmosphere and the friendliness of the staff.
  • Phuket Marriott Resort Spa, Merlin Beach: 5-star hotel complex located 2 miles from Patong, right on Tri-Trang beach. Warm and comfortable double room with private balcony or terrace from €110, breakfast at €19. Strong points: sea-side location, private beach, quiet, playground for children, setting. This is my recommendation for a luxury stay in Phuket!

Phuket Marriot Resort & Spa - Hôtel de luxe à Phuket

If you prefer to stay in Phuket Town, here is my selection of hotels:

  • Baan Baan hostel: Hostel located in Phuket Old Town. Dormitory bed from €8, breakfast included. Strong points: helpful staff, cleanliness, location, calm atmosphere. The best youth hostel to stay in Phuket Town!
  • Ritsurin Boutique Hotel: Located 600 metres from Thalang Street. Clean and well-equipped double room from €28. Strong points: location, cleanliness, friendly staff.
  • The Malika Hotel: Located 1.8 km from the old town. Double room with very comfortable bedding and balcony from €38, breakfast at €6. Strong points: swimming pool, quiet atmosphere, friendly staff, ideal location to take the boat to Koh Phi Phi. It’s my favorite for its excellent value for money in Phuket Town!
  • Casa Blanca Boutique Hotel: Located in the old town. Double room decorated with great taste from €50 per night, breakfast at €7. Strong points: excellent location, friendly staff, right next to the night market.
  • Novotel Phuket Phokeethra: Located 1 mile away from the old town. Super spacious double room, modern design from €85, breakfast at €15. Strong points: setting, comfort, ideal to visit the old town, close to the boat to the islands of Koh Phi Phi and Koh Lanta. This is my recommendation for an upscale stay in Phuket Town!

Koh Phi Phi

7) Koh Lanta (3 days)

For the next leg of your three-week trip to Thailand, head to another southern island: Koh Lanta.

To get there from Phuket, you need to take the boat from Rassada harbor , towards Phuket Town. Ask your hotel to book tickets for the crossing, it’s usually cheaper than booking on the Internet (instead of 1000 Bahts, we paid 700 with transfer to the port included).

The boat ride is split into two parts: you will first take a boat to Koh Phi Phi (2h30) and then  another one from Koh Phi Phi to Koh Lanta (1h15).

If you prefer to take only 1 boat, you can take a speedboat that will take you directly to Koh Lanta. However, there are not many seats, so you really need  to book it in advance by clicking here.

During the journey, you’ll be offered several options to get to your hotel . It’s very convenient, as it means you won’t have to wait or organize the transport upon arrival.

The prices are the same as those you will get if you book the transfer to your hotel when you arrive in Koh Lanta.

In the afternoon , relax on one of the island’s beaches or near your hotel.

Spend the night in Koh Lanta.

The next day, you should do the 4 islands boat trip . As its name suggests, it allows you to discover 4 small paradise islands near Kohl Lanta. It’s really worth it!

And the best thing is that there are swimming and snorkeling stops at each island and everything is included:

  • Transfer from your hotel to the harbor
  • Full day boat trip
  • Snorkeling equipment
  • Water and fruits

The price is approximately 1350 Bahts per person (about 40USD).

4 iles Koh Lanta

For your last day in Koh Lanta , you should go on another really nice boat trip , to Koh Rok.

Just like on the previous trip, everything is included, and it costs about 1800 Bahts per person (55USD)

You need to book your boat trip to Koh Rok by clicking here:

If you prefer to stay in Koh Lanta, no problem, you can choose one of these activities:

  • Kayaking tours in the mangrove swamp
  • First diving experience at one of the many certified diving centers of the island
  • Take a traditional Thai cooking class at Cooking with Mon
  • Explore Khao Kaew Caves and/or Tiger Cave
  • Mu Koh Lanta National Park: you can hike on a nature trail or just enjoy the beach
  • A walk through the old town

For more info about the best things to do in Koh Lanta, you should read my other article: How to visit Koh Lanta?

Spend one last night on the island.

There is a small roadside restaurant that you should absolutely try in Koh Lanta: the Sai Nat. It’s located near Klong Toab Beach and offers several delicious and homemade Thai or Indian dishes.

In Koh Lanta, hotels are located on the west coast of the island, close to the numerous beaches.

As always, the best rooms are fully booked months in advance , so make sure to book as soon as you have your travel dates!

  • Hub of Joys Hostel: Hostel located 350 metres from Long Beach. Clean and pleasant dormitory bed from €6 per night, breakfast included. Strong points: friendly staff, 5 minutes from the beach, good breakfast. This is the cheapest accommodation option in Koh Lanta! Perfect for backpackers.
  • Long Beach Chalet: Located right on Long Beach. Bright and comfortable bungalow from 25€ per night, breakfast included. Strong points: swimming pool, direct access to the beach.
  • SriLanta Resort: Located on Klong Nin Beach. Thai style villa with a terrace overlooking the garden from 35€, breakfast at 10€. Strong points: 3 swimming pools, the setting, ideal location to go to the beach, comfort. It’s my favorite for its excellent value for money!
  • Kaw Kwang Beach Resort: Located on Klong Dao Beach. Nice and spacious double room from 50€, breakfast included. Strong points: sea-view, very quiet and accessible beach, swimming pool, landscaped garden, free pick-up and drop-off at the port.
  • Rawi Warin Resort And Spa: 5 star hotel located 400 metres from Klong Nin Beach. Modern Thai style double room with wooden furniture and balcony from 85€, breakfast included. Strong points: swimming pools, playground for children, view, competent staff, ample and varied breakfast. Ideal for an upscale romantic stay!
  • Pimalai Resort & Spa: 5 star hotel located 650 ft from Kantiang Beach. Very spacious and tastefully decorated double room from 210€, breakfast included. Strong points: the splendid infinity pool, dedicated staff, location, view, excellent breakfast. This is my recommendation for a luxury stay in Koh Lanta!

Pimalai Resort & Spa Koh Lanta

8) Krabi or Koh Yao Noi (3 days)

For the last leg of your 3 week tour in Thailand , you will have 2 choices: Krabi or Koh Yao Noi.

Koh Yao Noi is the best option if you are looking for peace and quiet while Krabi is more touristy.

Option 1: Krabi (3 days)

From Koh Lanta to Krabi , it takes 2h30 by boat and costs approximately 350 Bahts per person (transport from your hotel to the port included).

Once in Krabi, you will go to Ao Nang , the main seaside resort of the province, where you will stay for the next 3 nights. You can spend a quiet afternoon at Ao Nang beach or at Nopparat Thara beach , which is a bit wilder.

On the next day, you should spend the day on Railay peninsula , accessible by boat from Ao Nang in just 10 minutes (200 Bahts per person).

Railay is famous for its 2 beautiful sandy beaches and turquoise waters: Railay West beach (where you arrive by boat) and Phra Nang Beach, a 15-minute walk from the first beach.

And if you want to take a break from swimming, you can also rent kayaks or paddle boats, or even take a rock climbing course. With nearly 700 climbing routes, Railay is one of the best places in Thailand to enjoy this sport.

To be sure to do this activity safely , you need to book your rock climbing course by clicking here.

The bravest among you can also tackle the climb to Railay ‘s viewpoint. 15-20 minutes of climbing with ropes, and then you enjoy a panoramic view over the whole peninsula.

Railay beach

On the last day of your trip , you should really go on a last boat trip with snorkeling and swimming stops. 

The most famous one in Krabi is also called  “4 islands boat trip” ( it’s the same name as the one in Koh Lanta, but the islands you will discover are different).

You need to book it by clicking on the button below:

To learn more about the best places to visit and activities in Krabi; you should read my aricle: The 17 Best Things to do in Krabi .

And that’s it, that’s the end of your three-week stay in Thailand . The next day, head to Krabi airport to catch your return flight.

If you prefer to visit Koh Yao Noi (option 2) instead of Krabi, you will find all the info about Koh Yao Noi a bit below in the article.

  • K-Bunk Hostel: Hostel located 15 minutes walk from Ao Nang beach. Dormitory bed from €13. Strong points: the staff, the ambiance, comfortable beds.
  • Cocco House: Located 1.5 km away from Nopparat Beach. Very clean and quiet bungalow from €30 per night, breakfast included. Strong points: excellent breakfast, free bike rental, good bedding. It’s my favorite for its excellent value for money in Ao Nang.
  • Wake Up Aonang Hotel: Located right next to the beach. Double room with large bay windows and sea view from €50. Strong points: the beach adjacent location and all the restaurants, swimming pool, comfort.
  • Phu Pha Aonang Resort Spa: Located 800 m away from Ao Nang Beach. Wooden and parquet floor room with patio from €75, breakfast included. Strong points: lush garden, view of the cliff, swimming pool, free shuttle to the town. This is my recommendation for an upscale stay in Ao Nang.
  • The Nine Thipthara Klongson Resort: Located 5 km from the sea. Very spacious and tastefully decorated villa with a spa bath, from €220, breakfast included. Strong points: environment, swimming pool, beautiful rooms. My recommendation for a luxury stay in Ao Nang. The best place to spend a romantic holiday!

Bhu Nga Thani Resort & Spa - Hôtel de luxe à Railay

Option 2: Koh Yao Noi (3 days)

From Koh Lanta , you can also choose to end this recommended 3-week itinerary in Thailand by visiting the island of Koh Yao Noi (instead of Krabi).

To get there you will first have to take a boat to Krabi ( 2h30 / 350 Bahts ) then another boat to Koh Yao Noi ( 30 min / 300 Bahts per person). A taxi will then take you to your hotel for 100 Bahts.

You can spend the afternoon on one of the beaches or at the swimming pool.

Spend a night in Koh Yao Noi.

For the next 2 days on the island , you will have the choice between several activities:

  • The “4 islands” boat trip (yes, it’s the same name – but different islands – again!) – 2500 Bahts per boat, to be divided between the number of persons
  • Boat trip to Phang Nga Bay, James Bond Island and Koh Panyee – 4500 Bahts per boat, also divided between the passengers
  • Rent a kayak
  • A walk at low tide
  • Explore the neighbouring island of Koh Yao Yai , which is even less touristy!

Koh Yao Noi

You can find all the information about the boat trips and the best things to do in Koh Yao Noi in my article:  Koh Yao Noi: The Definitive Guide.

On the last day of your trip, after 3 days in Ko Yao, you will have to go to the airport to catch your return flight. From Koh Yao Noi, you can fly to Krabi or Phuket. It’s up to you to decide what suits you the best.

For a 20-day trip to Thailand , remove one day in Chiang Rai for example.

  • Tha Khao Bay View: Located to the east of the island. Simple bungalow with fan from €25 per night. Strong points: the incredible view of the sea, the location in the middle of nature, the friendliness of the owners. An excellent choice for a cheap stay in Koh Yao Noi!
  • Koh Yao Seaview Bungalow: Located on the seafront, 15 minutes away in a songthaew from the port. Very spacious bungalow with a large bed and private terrace overlooking the swimming pool or the sea, from €45 per night. Strong points: the beach is nearby, the calmness, the swimming pool, the really cheap restaurant which provides delicious food in ample quantities. It’s my favorite for its excellent value for money!
  • Paradise KohYao: Located to the north of the island. Tastefully decorated room with an outdoor bathroom and private terrace from €95, breakfast included. Strong points: idyllic setting, infinity pool, private beach, location in the bay.
  • Cape Kudu Hotel, Koh Yao Noi: Located to the south-east of the island. Spacious and bright double room with very fancy decoration, from €150 per night, breakfast included. Strong points: design, calm, dreamy setting, friendly staff. A beautiful hotel in Koh Yao Noi, perfect for a romantic stay!
  • Laguna Villas Yao Noi: Located to the south-east of the island, right on the beach. Beautiful fully equipped villas, a perfect mix of modern and traditional Thai style from €200 per night, including breakfast. Strong points: sea-facing location, large swimming pool, close to excellent restaurants.
  • Six Senses Yao Noi: This is the most luxurious hotel on the whole island. It offers splendid villas with private swimming pools and even a butler that will be assigned to you for the duration of your stay. From €570, breakfast included. Strong points: Spa, gym, private beach, comfort, excellent meals, exceptional service. This is clearly the most beautiful luxury hotel in Koh Yao Noi. A dream place to spend your honeymoon or a romantic stay!

If you have any questions for organising your 3 week itinerary in Thailand, please feel free to ask me in the comments section below.

Thailand travel Guides

  • Buy the Lonely Planet Thailand guide on or on
  • Buy the DK Eyewitness Thailand guide on or on

Discover all my articles about Thailand : All my articles to help you plan your trip to Thailand are listed there.

The 25 Best Things to Do in Thailand

  • Itinerary: One week in Thailand – Perfect to visit Bangkok, Ayutthaya and Chiang Mai!
  • Itinerary: 6,7 or 8 days in Thailand – 2 itineraries to the southern islands, starting from Phuket or Krabi
  • Itinerary: 10 days in Thailand – The perfect itinerary to discover the best of Thailand!
  • Itinerary: 2 weeks in Thailand – Discover Bangkok, Ayutthaya, Sukhothai, + Best Southern islands!
  • Itinerary: 15 days in Thailand – The best itinerary to visit the most beautiful Southern islands
  • Itinerary: 3 weeks in Thailand – Discover the best of Thailand in 20-21 days
  • Itinerary: 1 month in Thailand – The most complete itinerary to visit Thailand!
  • Road trip in Thailand: The best itineraries for 7, 10, 15, 21 and 30 days
  • Ayutthaya: The definitive guide to visit the archaeological park
  • Bangkok: The 30 best places to visit
  • Chiang Mai: The 20 best things to do
  • Chiang Rai: The 17 must-see attractions
  • Koh Lanta: The 15 most beautiful places to see on the island
  • Koh Yao Noi: All the things to do on this paradise island!
  • Krabi: Top 17 best places to visit
  • Phuket: The 23 best things to do
  • Sukhothai: How to visit the historical park?
  • 3 days in Bangkok – The best itinerary to visit the Thai capital in 72h!
  • 3 Days in Chiang Mai – The perfect itinerary to visit the Chiang Mai in 72h!

You’re using Pinterest? Here is the picture to pin!

3 weeks in Thailand

Creator of the Voyage Tips blog, travel and photography lover. I give you all my best tips to plan your next trip.

Related Stories

3 days in Chiang Mai

3 Days in Chiang Mai: The Perfect Itinerary (First Time Visit)

3 days in Bangkok

3 Days in Bangkok: The Perfect Itinerary (First Time Visit)

1 month in Thailand

1 month in Thailand: The Ultimate 30 Days Itinerary + My Best Tips

Discussion 4 comments.


Hello! I’m planning 3 weeks next march to Thailand with family ( kids 9 and 11). I will fly from Quebec to Bangkok but I don’t know which is the best place to flight back from? First part of the vacations we will do the north and last part the islands… it better to flight back from Phuket or krabi or going back to Bangkok and flight back from there? Thank you for the info!


The easiest way to check is to look on a flight comparator. You can check whether there are direct flights from Phuket or Krabi to Quebec or whether you’ll have to make a stopover in Bangkok (which seems more likely to me).

Enjoy your (future) stay in Thailand!


Hey! Thank you for the great itinerary… I have a question though- wouldn’t it be better to go from Phuket to Krabi? We have 10 days to spend in the south, so I was thinking about- 4 days in Phuket, 3 days in Krabi, and then 3 days in Koh Lipe. We mostly like beautiful hikes and we will be taking excursions from Phuket as well (to James Bond’s island, Phi Phi etc). What do you think about this idea?

Yes, you can do Phuket – Krabi – Koh Lipe. If you’ve looked at the transport options and it’s feasible, there’s no problem.

I don’t know Koh Lipe at all though, so I couldn’t tell you if it’s better than another island in the south of Thailand.

Enjoy your trip to Thailand!

Leave A Reply Cancel Reply

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Your Website (optional)

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

  • Middle East
  • North America
  • Cheap car rentals: my best advice
  • Back to Homepage

Jones Around The World

3 Week Thailand Itinerary

Thailand Travel Itinerary

Looking for a 3 week Thailand itinerary?  Look no further, because I’m here to help!  Planning a trip to Thailand, AKA, “The Land of Smiles” is an experience you’ll never forget.  From the vibrant culture, amazing scenery, and affordable prices; you’re guaranteed to fall in love with this spectacular destination!  I’ve spent several months traveling and backpacking around Thailand, and it’s honestly one of my favorite places in the world!  

While three weeks is not too long to spend in the country , it still gives plenty of time to see the best places in Thailand.   I think everyone is different, and could easily design a trip that directly reflects their exact idea of perfection, but I think this itinerary can give you a starting point for the highlights and schedule.

3 Week Thailand Itinerary

First trip to Thailand….?  I’d highly recommend buying the Thailand Lonely Planet (Travel Guide) .  I typically always travel with a LP guide, and it’s proved super helpful to have while on the road!

Week 1)   The Hustle & Bustle of Chiang Mai & Bangkok 

You’ll begin your adventure in Thailand’s second biggest city; Chiang Mai .  It’s a perfect introduction into the country, and you’ll immediately fall in love with the people, the food, the culture, and the affordability. Spend a few days around the city, exploring the many temples, bustling night markets, and eating more pad thai you ever had.

12 Amazing Things to Do in Chiang Mai, Thailand.   I personally think 2-3 days is more than enough in the city, some people really love Chiang Mai! 

During your time in the North of Country, it might be a good idea to make a quick trip over  to Chiang Rai to visit the beautiful White Palace, or head over to Pai for some hippie relaxation and backpacker fun.  While you’ll want to to spend a few days there as well, it’s definitely worth it!  I personally love PAI, and would highly recommend it.  It really just depends on how much you want to squeeze into your Thailand trip.  You can read my  Backpackers’s Guide To Pai, Thailand  if you’re interested in adding that to your trip.

Where to Stay in Chiang Mai…?

AirBNB  – I’m honestly obsessed with AirBNB,  and there’s arguably no better destination in the world for it than Thailand! There are so many amazing options to choose from in Chiang Mai especially (I lived in an AirBNB there for a month).  If you sign up for a new account,   use this link for $40 off your first booking (which is basically a free night in Thailand)!  If you’re traveling with friends, you can sign up for multiple accounts and keep saving money ;-).  It’s a travel hack I’ve used multiple times!

Counting Sheeps at CNX – Perfect location right in the heart of the city, excellent reviews, and extremely friendly local staff to help plan your visit.   Check Rates & Availability .

Thai Thai Hostel  – “We are hostel with 3 air-conditioned dorm rooms, there are areas where you can relax or make new friends. 24-hour drinks service, a shared lounge and sufficient tables to hang, have a fun chat or just to relax.”   Check Rates & Availbility!

3 week thailand tour

After spending a few days up in Chiang Mai / Pai, I’d recommend taking the sleeper bus/train down to Bangkok   and spend two-three days exploring the nation’s Capital.   The best things to see in Bangkok are the various temples, shopping plazas, Khao San Road, and trying the delicious street food!

A few of my personal favorite things to do in Bangkok include  Khao San Road, Chatuchak Weekend Market,  MBK Center,  Lumphini Park,  Wat Arun,  Wat Phra Kaew, Asiatique,  Banyan Tree Restaurant, and  Lebua Tower.

If you decide to have an extended period of time in Bangkok (which I wouldn’t personally recommend)…you can read this post for the Best Things To Do in Bangkok .

Thailand Travel Itinerary

Less time in Bangkok = more time on the islands

Where to stay in Bangkok…?  

Nappark Hostel  –  The #1 Recommend Hostel in Bangkok , and perfect for solo-travelers.  Perfectly located right on Khao San Road , this is the ideal spot for young backpackers to stay while visiting Bangkok. Check for rates & availability

Travel Itinerary

BED STATION Hostel  — “A new modern hostel that provides everything that a backpacker could want and need. BED STATION’s location is prime for the city of Bangkok as it’s right next to the BTS skytrain that can take to most of the great attractions Bangkok has to offer such as MBK, Chatuchak weekend market, Sukhumvit road and more”.   Check for rates & availability

What to do in Thailand for 3 weeks

Week 2)  The Gulf Of Thailand Islands (Koh Tao & Koh Phangan)


After experiencing the two major cities in Thailand , it’s time for you to get down to the famous Thai Islands!!   You’ll have to book a ticket online from Bangkok – Koh Tao , or you can always shop around at the different travel agencies on Koh San Road. 

I always book the BUS + FERRY Combo with Lomprayah .  They’re a great company, and I always trust them.  The journey does take awhile, but all you gotta do is sleep as much as possible on the bus, and you’ll wake up at the ferry terminal and ready for the ferry to Koh Tao.  :-)     

Keep in mind,  that these tickets do sell-out during high season , so it’s best to check availability and book in advance .

Spend 3-4 Days relaxing on gorgeous  Koh Tao, Thailand.  It’s a chilled out island, with a wild party side as well.  This is one of the most popular destinations in South-East Asia to get your scuba diving PADI certificaiton through one of the many schools on the island.   Keep in mind, this does take 3-4 days.    

Read about these    7 Awesome Things to do on Koh Tao , and I guantee you’ll have an amazing time!  Just make sure you rent a moto and explore Koh Tao on two wheels!  It’s tons of fun, and a beautiful way to see the entire island.

3 Weeks in Thailand Itinerary

Riding around Koh Tao

Where to stay on Koh Tao

If you decide to get your PADI certificaitons, you’ll most likely be staying at your dive school because they offer really great packages for the students (which sometimes include free dorms & meals).  But if you’re not diving, then I’d recommend these spots:

Important: Make sure you stay near SAIREE BEACH.  That’s the best area of Koh Tao, and where all the action is at!  The sunsets are also AMAZING on the beach every night.

GOODTIME BEACH Hostel  — * Party Hostel *  “Our hostel is perfect for young, thrill-seeking travellers who want to adventure all day and then dance the night away. We are situated next to one of Koh Tao’s most popular bars, which plays lively music until 2am. We are not ideal for those looking for a peaceful, family holiday. If this is your requirement, we respectfully advise finding an alternative location”.  Check rates & availability .

3 week thailand tour

Triple B Bungalows  — * Bed & Breakfast * Located walking distance from the ferry point, this can provide a quiter and relaxing visit during your time on Koh Tao.  It’s super easy to rent a Moto, and explore all the different beaches / viewpoints on the island.  Fantastic reviews, helpful staff, and great location.   Check rates & availability .

3 Weeks in Thailand

If you’re not diving, then 2-3 Days on Koh Tao should enough, and then it’s time to book the short ferry ride over to  Koh Phangan, Thailand , the location of the infamous Full Moon Party.   

If your travels don’t align up for the actual date of the FMP, don’t worry at all!  Koh Phangan offers a ton of amazing beaches, cool hikes, a WipeOut course, and outrageous parties.  I like to call it the “Ibiza of South-East-Asia”.  Big DJ’s rarely play, but the music is always top-notch!

Read through my article on  The Best 5 Party Islands in South-East Asia  or my article on The Best 15 Places to Party in Southeast Asia  for more information on the party scene on Koh Phangan.

Koh Phangan is also home to Mushroom Mountain , and is one of the best places to take magic mushrooms in Thailand  if you’re interested in THAT TYPE OF TRIP!  ;-)

Koh Phangan Travel

Where to Stay on Koh Phangan…?

It’s important to know that if you come during the Full Moon Party, most places require a minimum of 4-7 nights!

Echo Beach Backpackers  —  I’ve stayed here  every-time  I’ve visited Koh Phangan, and it’s one of my favorite hostels.  The facilities are nothing special, but THE VIBE IS AMAZING!   There’s always epic pre-parties for the events, ticket sales, and transportation to / from the parties. The staff are super friendly, and they’ve got DJ’s that play non-stop quality electronic music.  They sell booze, have a large common area, beach access, it’s just one of the most fun hostels I’ve stayed at.   Check for rates & availability .

3 week thailand tour

Slumber Party Hostel  — While I haven’t stayed at the KP location, I have stayed at other Slumber Party Hostels in the past, and they are always a great time.  They’ve got a 92% rating (very high!) on Hostelworld, and I can almost guarantee you’ll have a great stay here on Koh Phangan.   Check for rates & availability .

3 week thailand tour

You have 7 days between Koh Tao and Koh Phangan !!  

Note :  You might have noticed I’ve left out Koh Samui .  Well, I honestly think it can and should be skipped.  It’s very heavily touristic and overly priced.  But if it’s a destination you really want to see, you’ll need to hop from island to island quicker.  

Week 3)   Andaman Islands (Krabi, Ao Nang, Koh Phi Phi, Phuket)

3 Weeks in Thailand

Book a ferry + van ticket from Koh Phangan – Krabi , because you’ve got one last week of island hopping adventures.  

For the first 3 days explore Krabi Town,  Ton Sai Bay, Railey Beach, and Ao Nang beach area.   All of these areas are located extremely close to each other, and are a great way to meet other backpackers.   I’d also highly recommend  rock-climbing in Railey!

Epic Day Trips/ Tours to book: 

Krabi Jungle Tour: Tiger Temple, Hot Springs & Crystal Pool

4 Islands Day Trip by Speedboat Including Lunch Box

Phi Phi Islands Full-Day Speedboat Trip from Krabi (if you’re limited on time)

3 Weeks in Thailand

Then all you need to do is make the journey to the little island paradise known as Koh Phi Phi .  You can book a ferry from Krabi Town to Koh Phi Phi , or most places in town can sort you out.

Fair warning – this is a PARTY island !  It’s one of the most beautiful spots in the country, but it is notoriously known for having some of the wildest and craziest vibes.  There are no cars on the island, countless bars & beach clubs, and epic fire-shows every night.

When you’re on Koh Phi Phi – make sure you book one of the island hopping / snorkeling tours.  They’re pretty cheap, and super fun!  Also – watch a movie and get happy hour drinks at BANANA BAR , and watch the sunset at Phi Phi Viewpoint !

I also strongly recommend checking out the MAYA BAY SLEEPABOARD !  It was one of my absolute favorite nights in Thailand.  You get an amazing day snorkeling and exploring around Koh Phi Phi, and then get to  spend the night on “THE BEACH”! 

Maya Bay Island Hopping

Where to next…?

After spending a few days exploring and partying on Koh Phi Phi…it really just depends on how much time you’ve left yourself / before your return flight back home.

You can make your way to Phuket for a couple days,  but it’s another very touristy part of Thailand.   I personally don’t enjoy it…but some people really love Phuket.

Or you could return to KRABI TOWN for a flight back up to Chiang Mai / Bangkok.

Thailand Itinerary

Between the busy cities and beautiful islands, this is guaranteed to be an amazing 3-week trip in Thailand!  I promise this is an incredible itinerary, and you will get to see a lot of the best places in the country!

I hope you enjoyed the article, and have a super fun trip in Thailand!  Feel free to browse through all of my  Thailand posts, and definitely check out a few of the articles below for further reading!

  • The Best Hostels in Thailand
  • 25 Tips for Backpacking Thailand
  • The Ultimate Travel Guide to Thailand [Instagram Checklist]

THANKS FOR READING!  Feel free to shoot me any questions you have!

3 Weeks in Thailand Itinerary

Pin me for later…

Follow my adventures Around The World on Facebook  &  Instagram

I would like to extend my heartfelt appreciation for this fantastic article presenting a comprehensive 3-week itinerary for exploring Thailand. Your well-thought-out plan covers a diverse range of destinations, allowing travelers to experience the country’s rich cultural heritage, natural wonders, and vibrant city life. From the bustling streets of Bangkok to the serene temples of Chiang Mai and the idyllic beaches of Krabi, your itinerary offers a perfect balance of adventure, relaxation, and cultural immersion. The inclusion of off-the-beaten-path destinations like Ayutthaya and Pai showcases a deeper exploration of Thailand beyond the popular tourist spots. Your detailed suggestions for accommodations, transportation, and local experiences are incredibly valuable for planning a seamless trip. Thank you for compiling such a comprehensive and inspiring itinerary that will undoubtedly be a go-to resource for anyone planning a memorable three-week journey through Thailand.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

[…] What’s great about Koh Samui is that it is easy to combine in bigger Thailand itinerary […]

[…] I’ve seriously never played more pool in my life than my time spent backpacking in Thailand. […]

Leave a Reply

Leave a reply cancel reply.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

Photography Gear

Work With Me

Privacy Policy


Music Festivals

Travel Itineraries


Travel Gifts

Southeast Asia

' title=

  • Work With Me

Backpackers Wanderlust

  • United States
  • Cook Islands
  • New Caledonia
  • New Zealand
  • Accommodation Goals
  • Budget And Cost Of Travel
  • Foodie Goals
  • Packing & Planning
  • Travel Inspiration
  • Volunteering Abroad
  • Working & Studying Abroad
  • Other Travel Tips

3 Week Thailand Itinerary: BEST Backpacking Route [2024]

Find out the perfect 3 week Thailand itinerary to ensure you have the ultimate adventure from North to South. Let’s talk about the best route, things to do, transportation, accommodation, and more during your time in Thailand!

Thailand is a huge country with so much to offer. Think lush jungles, swaying palm tree-covered beaches, and bustling markets.

I fell in love with Thailand as soon as I stepped foot off the plane. So much so that I have actually traveled through the country four times so far exploring some of the most popular towns, cities, and islands.

This has allowed me to create the best 3 weeks in Thailand itinerary.

If you are looking at getting off the beaten track and away from other travelers, then I will say it now; this is not the itinerary for you. This is assuming you are visiting Thailand for the first time and want to see some of the best places it has to offer.

We will keep you on the well-trodden backpacking Thailand route. Though with a few extra tips and tricks are thrown in to take your adventure to the next level.

Before we get into this 3 week Thailand backpacking itinerary, let me say this is a combination of all my trips. Also even though it is North to South you don’t need to do it this way.

You can change it up by flying into Phuket and working your way up, or even do what I have done before; crossing into Laos from the north, then going to Vietnam and Cambodia before heading back to Bangkok and continuing your travels South.

Now, let’s get into this Thailand 3 week itinerary with all the information you need to know to have the ultimate adventure.

The Best 3 Week Thailand Itinerary: EPIC Route From North To South

looking out to sea in koh lanta

🚗 How I Book Cheap Transport In Thailand: 12Go Asia

Map Of My 3 Week Thailand Itinerary

Whether you are looking for a 3 week Thailand itinerary for couples, and families, or perhaps you are a backpacker. This is a great first-time option for visitors to Thailand.

Quick View Of Our Thailand Itinerary 3 Weeks

Perhaps if you don’t have time to read this whole post on the Thailand itinerary 3 weeks, but just want a quick glimpse of a decent Thailand backpacking route this is a great option:

Chiang Mai > Ayutthaya > Bangkok > Koh Tao > Koh Phangan > Ao Nang > Koh Lanta > Koh Phi Phi > Phuket

Day 1, 2 & 3: Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is the perfect introduction to your three weeks in Thailand itinerary.

Even though it is a city it is a much more relaxed vibe than somewhere like Bangkok. This will allow you to start your trip relaxed and ready to explore. Plus get over that jetlag!

I have actually written a 3 days in Chiang Mai itinerary which is worth the read if you want to go into quite a bit of detail about Chiang Mai. For now, let’s chat about some of the highlights this city has to offer and what you need to check out while here.

First up, let’s mention one of the most popular things to do in Chiang Mai, visiting an elephant park. Sure there are plenty of elephant sanctuaries in Chiang Mai.

However, what you want to make sure to do is visit an ethical one. This means no riding, no chains, no tricks, and ideally no bathing with the elephants.

I always tell everyone visiting Chiang Mai to make sure you are there for a Sunday. This is so you can visit the incredible Chiang Mai Sunday Night Market .

Over a kilometer long you can find here absolutely everything you could ever want. Think delicious food, local artists, clothing, and souvenirs galore!

Some of the other best things to do in Chiang Mai include:

  • Exploring the old town temples
  • Taking a cooking class
  • Visiting Doi Suthep
  • Trying out the incredible restaurants and cafes
  • Day trip to Wat Rong Khun, also known as the White Temple

elephants lined up at elephant nature park

Where To Stay In Chiang Mai

You have plenty of choices when it comes to where to stay in Chiang Mai.

I mainly choose to stay within the confines of the Old City. It is within walking distance of many beautiful temples, excellent shopping, and delicious restaurants.

There are also plenty of hostels available in Chiang Mai. I generally budget around $5.00 per night for a basic hostel dorm bed. You can see the latest prices on or check out my list of the best hostels in Chiang Mai .

On my most recent visit, I stayed at De Lanna Hotel . The location was fantastic and having a pool to enjoy during the afternoon heat was fantastic.

How To Get To Chiang Mai

The simplest and easiest way to begin your 3 week Thailand itinerary is Chiang Mai.

If you are traveling from your home country straight to Thailand one of your best options will likely be to catch a flight from Hong Kong, Vietnam , Laos, Singapore, and Malaysia.

These airports offer direct flights to Chiang Mai. It is also super easy to get from Chiang Mai Airport to the city .

You could also be coming from Laos if you have been backpacking Southeast Asia already.

One of my favorite things is the slow boat from Luang Prabang to the Thai-Laos border town. From there is it pretty easy to get a minivan or a bus down to Chiang Mai on 12Go Asia .

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Tasha Amy | NZ Travel Blogger (@backpackerswanderlust)

the chiang mai sunday market is a must visit on your thailand backpacking itinerary

Day 4 & 5: Ayutthaya

Ayutthaya is the perfect place for history buffs to get a glimpse of Thailand’s past on our 3 week Thailand tour.

This UNESCO World Heritage Site once was the second capital of the Siamese Kingdom having been founded in 1350. From the 14th to the 18th centuries it actually grew to one of the largest in the world.

Unfortunately, in 1767 Ayutthaya was attacked and destroyed by the Burmese. The city was burned to the ground and the locals who called it home had to flee.

Nowadays it is a sleepy town with temples seemingly around every corner. Visiting these temples is actually why the majority of travelers go to the city.

Some have been restored and others are untouched with the beauty of nature slowly taking over. This is one of the best landmarks in Thailand and draws in tourists daily.

3 weeks in thailand itinerary 13

Where To Stay In Ayutthaya On The 3 Weeks Thailand Itinerary

You will actually only need to stay one night in Ayutthaya. The main touristy area isn’t too large in itself being the main island which the rivers are situated around.

For an affordable private room have a look at Baan Are Gong Riverside Guesthouse where rooms start at just $14.00 and it’s in a great location.

Another option is Chommuang Guesthouse with rooms starting from $16.00 per night. These options are great if you have a friend or partner to share with.

For those traveling solo in Thailand or a more of a budget, a hostel is a great option. Also, they generally will run their own tours of the nearby temples, often at a much cheaper price than the travel agencies, and its a great way to make friends.

How To Get To Ayutthaya From Chiang Mai

The journey from Chiang Mai to Ayutthaya is a bit of a long one. This is where I recommend you take the sleeper train , though get off in Ayutthaya before it gets into Bangkok.

This is where you will be spending one of your nights in Ayutthaya, sleeping on the train!

It is a comfortable journey, much better than taking a bus and having to stop multiple times in the night for a “toilet break”. The journey is super popular with travelers and is a proper initiation to the backpacking Thailand route.

The journey in reserve from Bangkok to Chiang Mai is a lot more popular . Though tickets on the sleeper can sell out quite far in advance.

I recommend pre-booking online at 12.Go Asia . The journey itself takes AT LEAST 12 hours so bring some snacks and some sort of entertainment (phone reception can be quite spotty).

Day 6 & 7: Bangkok

Welcome to Bangkok , the capital of Thailand, and our next stop on the 3 week itinerary for Thailand.

This city is unlike anywhere you have visited so far and it’s likely you will love it or hate it. Either way, it is the main hub for travelers in Thailand , and most seem to spend a few days here exploring this crazy city.

One of the best things to do during your 2 days in Bangkok is to visit The Grand Palace, and yes it is worth the eye-watering $16.70 / 500 THB entry fee.

This also grants you access to both the Royal Palace and the famous Wat Phra Kaeo Temple housing the 14th Century Emerald Buddha. Don’t forget to cover up your legs and shoulders as with the rest of the temples in Thailand.

Nearby to Khao San Road, you can take a boat trip on the Chao Phraya River or visit Wat Arun. These are budget-friendly activities perfect for those backpacking Thailand on a budget.

Some of the other best things to do in Bangkok include:

  • Shop It Up at the Chatuchak Weekend Market
  • Experience the nightlife on Khao San Road
  • Appreciate the views at a Bangkok Skybar
  • Take a day trip to the train market and floating market

walking down a busy khao san road during sunset in bangkok

Where To Stay In Bangkok On The 3 Week Itinerary Thailand

Many different areas of Bangkok are popular with travelers. Though the main ones here are definitely Khao San Road, Silom, Siam, and Sukhumvit.

For a more local experience of Bangkok, I recommend you stay in Silom, Siam, or Sukhumvit. They are more modern parts of the city, I stayed in Hotel Indigo Wireless Road and loved it.

Khao San Road is perfect for first-time travelers coming to Bangkok or those just looking to party. However, I do not recommend that ANYONE stay on the actual Khao San Road.

Instead, stay a street or two back, there are plenty of hostels around Khao San Road .

How To Get To Bangkok From Ayutthaya

The best option to travel from Ayutthaya to Bangkok is by minivan or bus. The drive is easy and it is pretty short in distance ( expect it to take between an hour or two depending on traffic).

Alternatively, you can also continue on the train. It leaves every hour, though the journey takes about the same amount of time it would do in a minivan.

Unfortunately, the train station in Ayutthaya is not very conveniently located. You will need to take a tuk-tuk there which will cost you around 100 baht depending on your negotiating skills.

You can book your tickets for the train or a bus over on 12.Go Asia .

the midday rush at the bustling floating markets in bangkok, a must on the thailand backpacking route

Day 8 & 9: Koh Tao

Time to hit up one of the best Thai Islands ! Koh Tao is the perfect quiet island to relax on surrounded by incredible marine life.

There are plenty of things to do here which will really allow you to experience the beauty of this place. This includes amazing snorkeling, incredible diving, mind-blowing viewpoints, and palm tree-covered beaches.

I recently went back to Koh Tao to do my Advanced PADI certificate and it was awesome to do it somewhere with a real backpacker vibe. It can cost as little as $300.00 to become certified here, and the most popular diving schools are Big Blue Diving & Ban’s Diving School .

Make sure to book yourself a Koh Tao Snorkeling Tour while on the island. On it, you will visit the famous Koh Nang Yuan, Mango Bay, Hin Wong Bay, Aow Leuk, and Sharks Bay.

Some of the other best things to do in Koh Tao include:

  • Explore the incredible viewpoints
  • Watch a fireshow
  • Relax on the beaches
  • Get Padi or SSI Certified

getting a photo after hiking up to the viewpoint on koh nang yuan

Where To Stay In Koh Tao On Our Thailand 3 Week Itinerary

There are a few main areas of Koh Tao where you will find various accommodation options which are Sairee Beach, Chalok Baan Kao, and Mae Haad.

Personally, I recommend Sairee Beach as it’s the perfect hangout for travelers. There are some quaint bungalows here as well as a handful of hostels for backpackers on a budget.

On my more recent trip, I ended up staying at Wind Beach Resort in Sairee Beach which was fantastic. It was relatively affordable for a private room and you will have multiple pools, beach access, and a couple of onsite restaurants and cafes.

You can also find some excellent food places located in Sairee Beach in Koh Tao!

How To Get To Koh Tao From Bangkok

Unfortunately getting to Koh Tao from Bangkok isn’t the easiest. This is because, no matter which type you choose, you will need to take multiple types of transport to get to the island.

It could be either a train and boat, plane and boat, or a bus and boat combination.

Personally, I booked my journey with Lomprayah on 12 Go Asia . It was a long overnight trip, though there was minimal planning needing to be done on our half and it is a reputable company so I knew we would be safe.

You can read about my full experience traveling to Koh Tao overland .

Alternatively, you can also fly to Koh Samui and take a ferry to Koh Tao. This is a much quicker, but more pricey option. Be aware you will need your flight to arrive around midday to catch the last ferry.

Day 10, 11 & 12: Koh Phangan

Koh Phangan is equal parts a quiet and chilled back island, as well as a place where swarms of tourists gather to get absolutely wasted and forget realities. However, just be aware that the latter part is only for certain periods of the month.

For the most part, Koh Phangan is an awesome island offering a piece of paradise with some of the b est beaches in Thailand.

If you can definitely hire a motorbike and explore the island at your own pace. From waterfalls, viewpoints, and white sandy beaches, it is easy to spend weeks here!

Some of the other best things to do in Koh Phangan include:

  • Hire a motorbike and explore the island
  • Forget your worries at the Full Moon Party
  • Go diving at Sail Rock
  • Enjoy some fresh water by visiting the numerous waterfalls

palm tree beaches in koh phangan while 3 weeks in thailand itinerary

Where To Stay In Koh Phangan On The Thailand 3 Week Itinerary

When deciding where to stay in Koh Phangan you really need to figure out what kind of traveler you are.

This means whether you wish to stay on a quiet secluded beach or among the action of the Full Moon Party.

If you’re keen on a party Haad Rin is the place to be. Home to a few different hostels this beachside spot is a top hit with backpackers. Even when the full moon party is not on you can find fire shows and other parties going on.

The main town of Koh Phangan is Thong Sala where the ferry boats all arrive. You will have plenty of guesthouse options located here as well as some of the best restaurants on the island.

Baan Tai is where I have previously stayed in Koh Phangan. Most properties in Baan Tai are beachfront (including hostels). For the most part, it caters more to backpackers. There are also some awesome local restaurants nearby within walking distance.

Haad Salad is definitely where I will be staying on my next trip. The accommodation options here are more beach shack vibes so is a good low-cost option for a private room, plus the beach is gorgeous.

How To Get To Koh Phangan From Koh Tao

It is super easy to travel between Koh Phangan and Koh Tao with regular ferries departing daily.

I use the Lomprayah ferry to travel between and they offer 3 different departure times per day. These are 7.00 am, 9.30 am and 3.00 pm.

The speed boat from Koh Phangan to Koh Tao will take about an hour. The cost of the ride is $16.00 / 600 THB and can be booked over at 12Go Asia .

This is a pretty good price and overall isn’t too much more expensive than taking a regular ferry.

Day 13 & 14: Ao Nang

I read in so many travel blogs to go to Krabi, but don’t, instead head to Ao Nang. Ao Nang is a beautiful beachside town located in Southern Thailand looking out over the Andaman Sea.

Here you will find a couple of gorgeous beaches, some chilled-out restaurants, and an assortment of accommodation options. It’s a lot more relaxed here than nearby in Krabi town which seems quite city-like.

There are plenty of things to do here and it’s a great spot to spend a couple of days.

This includes the nearby Khao Phanom National Park which has incredible waterfalls and nature sprawled across 50 square kilometers of untouched land.

You can also easily take a day trip to Railay Beach to check out one of the most perfect places in all of Thailand (definitely spend a night there if you can afford it).

Some of the other best things to do in Ao Nang include:

  • Hike the short Monkey Trail
  • Do a day trip to Railay Beach from Ao Nang
  • Go on an epic snorkeling tour with sunset and dinner for $38.00 per person!
  • Book yourself into a nice resort and enjoy the views
  • Eat your heart out at some of the incredible restaurants in Krabi

local thai longtail boats while arriving at railay beach

Where To Stay In Ao Nang On The Thailand In 3 Weeks Itinerary

Being such a popular tourist area Ao Nang has plenty of accommodation options for all budgets.

A lot of the hostels here seem to start around $10.00 for a shared dorm room. However, I will say they are higher quality rooms with privacy curtains and personal reading lights.

If you are looking to splash out you certainly can in Ao Nang, though there are some good mid-priced rooms as well.

My favorite accommodation in Krabi and Ao Nang is Aonang Silver Orchid Hotel which is affordable, has a pool, and modern rooms. They offer rooms starting at $20.00 per night which is at the higher end of the scale, but if you are looking for comfort and hospitality this is the place.

I also recently stayed at Aonang Cliff View Resort which is a great affordable stay in beautiful bungalows. The location is absolutely incredible underneath the limestone cliffs and in the jungle with monkeys roaming around.

The only downside as they don’t have an onsite restaurant. However, it is about a 12-minute walk up to the main road with plenty of food options. Prices start from $27.00 per night, oh and it also has the most gorgeous pool!

How To Travel To Ao Nang From Koh Phangan

Once again I used Lomprayah to travel to Ao Nang from Koh Phangan. This is mainly because I wanted a stress-free travel day where I would need to take various types of transport to get to my guesthouse.

It isn’t an overly long journey, taking just over 6 hours, but traveling from the East Coast to the West does take some time.

The boat took us across to Koh Samui to collect some more travelers before heading back to the mainland. Once at the wharf, there were numerous buses waiting there going to various destinations around the country.

Tickets are able to be purchased through 12.Go Asia , and this journey does book out, so I recommend purchasing your tickets in advance.

Day 15, 16 & 17: Koh Lanta

The perfect idyllic spot in Southern Thailand is no doubt the chilled-out Koh Lanta . It is nowhere near as touristy as the neighboring Koh Phi Phi or Phuket which we will check out later.

However, it is also not completely off the beaten track that first-time travelers would find things a bit daunting.

Even though it is a laid-back place, Koh Lanta has so many things to do here. Sure it won’t have the massive waterparks that you’ll find in Koh Phangan and the huge parties of Koh Phi Phi.

If you appreciate nature and want to check out some of the best Thailand has to offer, I highly recommend adding Koh Lanta to your Thailand itinerary.

This is the perfect place for nature lovers. Check out the incredible Mu Ko Lanta National Park and watch the sunset from on top of the viewpoint which sticks out from the ocean.

Venture into the darkness at Khao Mai Kaew Cave. The tour of the cave takes 2 and a half hours. Throughout this time you will find yourself squeezing between rocks and exploring caverns. The entry fee to the cave is $8.50 / 300 THB.

Some of the other best things to do in Koh Lanta include:

  • Hangout with the dogs at Lanta Animal Welfare
  • Hire a motorbike and explore the epic viewpoints
  • Visit The Sea Gypsy Village
  • Go on an epic snorkeling tour to the Emerald Cave

motorbiking on my 3 weeks in thailand itinerary

Where To Stay In Koh Lanta On The 3 Week Itinerary Thailand

Koh Lanta is quite a large spread-out island. The majority of accommodations are located along the west coast where you can relax and watch the sunset from the beach.

Koh Lanta also has an incredible amount of nice fancy beachside resorts. Unfortunately, this wasn’t in my budget, and if you’re reading this backpacking guide it’s unlikely to be in yours.

Nevertheless, you can find 3 star resorts for just $20.00 per night. For such a small step up in price you get a lot more including a pool to relax in.

I stayed at Pitt Bungalows while in Koh Lanta , though they also take bookings about 6 weeks out. If you are a budget backpacker this place is perfect with bamboo bungalows starting from $11.00 per night including free motorbike hire.

The motorbike was a game changer allowing us to get around with ease!

How To Travel To Koh Lanta From Ao Nang

You will need to get back to Krabi where the boats depart to get to Koh Lanta. We actually booked our ferry through our accommodation which included the transfer.

It was an easy and affordable option that was relatively stress-free. Though we were forgotten about which meant a quick race across town and sprint to jump on the boat.

You can buy tickets from travel agencies, guesthouses, and even restaurants in Ao Nang or Krabi. If you would like to book in advance you can check out 12.Go Asia is a great choice.

Day 18, 19 & 20: Koh Phi Phi

Koh Phi Phi is a must for any 3 week Thailand itinerary. The island has become an institution with young travelers and is a highlight.

During the day check out some of the incredible beaches around the island and by night find yourself partying underneath the stars. Buckets are flowing and the music is pumping, this is the type of traveler Koh Phi caters to.

Make sure you visit the famous Koh Phi Phi Viewpoint . It is less of a secret slice of paradise and more like an influencer photo op, but this is the best way to take in the beauty of Koh Phi Phi.

Maya Bay has to be the second most popular thing to do here while on Koh Phi Phi. This place was made famous by the film The Beach, starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

Some of the other best things to do in Koh Phi Phi include:

  • Hike the Phi Phi Viewpoints
  • Check out Maya Bay on a snorkeling tour
  • Party the night away

checking out one of the amazing viewpoint in koh phi phi while 3 weeks thailand itinerary

Where To Stay In Koh Phi Phi While Spending Three Weeks In Thailand

Everything in Koh Phi Phi is relatively close together. There is the main town, where you arrive off the ferry, and then all the accommodation is spread throughout here as well as up the hills.

I stayed in literally the cheapest “resort” I could find. Knowing I wouldn’t be partaking in the drunken parties I decided I would book a place with an infinity pool with an amazing view.

It ended up costing us around $25.00 per night, which was split between the two of us it was a pretty good price at $12.50 per night.

In terms of accommodation in Koh Phi Phi, you can literally find everything here.

From 5-star resorts to those squished dorm room hostels and locally run guesthouses. However, what they all the in common is they will all be ridiculously overpriced.

How To Travel To Koh Phi Phi From Koh Lanta

It is super easy to travel from Koh Lanta to Koh Phi Phi. Plenty of ferries operate this route daily and it should only take you a couple of hours to make the journey.

Since Thailand is basically built around tourism it is super easy to travel around and make your way from A to B, essentially anywhere you are in the country.

You can purchase your tickets once you arrive, or online in advance. If you would like to book in advance you can check out 12.Go Asia .

I do recommend booking before arriving at your destinations because tickets can sell out if you leave them too late, especially in the high season of December, January, and February.

Day 21: Phuket

Now the reason I have chosen to finish this trip in Phuket is that it is the main travel hub to other destinations around Southeast Asia. You can easily catch a flight from the International Airport to Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam , and further afield.

Whether you are heading back home or continuing with your travels you will have plenty of options when departing from Phuket.

The only thing to really be aware of is that the airport is a considerable distance from the main town. Make sure you leave enough Thai Baht for a taxi to the airport!

Some of the other best things to do in Phuket include:

  • Visit an elephant sanctuary
  • Relaxing at a beachfront resort
  • Exploring the best beaches in Phuket

Where To Stay In Phuket For The Final Of Our 3 Weeks Thailand Itinerary

Phuket is a super spread out city and honestly, you will want to stay depending on what your plan to do there is.

If you are just following this itinerary and just staying 1 night then your best bet will be near the airport. This means you will be nice and close to your flight.

However, if you are planning to do a bit of exploration then you may instead prefer to stay in Phuket Town.

There are also some luxurious resorts here. They won’t be as cheap as you may find on the islands. Though they will have plenty of amenities and top-notch service.

How To Travel To Phuket From Koh Phi Phi

It is super easy to travel from Koh Phi Phi to Phuket. Numerous ferries operate between the two and it should only take you a couple of hours to make the journey.

As this is a super popular route I recommend booking tickets in advance over on 12.Go Asia . This way you can make sure you travel with a reliable and comfortable ferry service that puts safety first.

Extend Your 3 Weeks In Thailand Itinerary

Maybe you want to make the most out of your tourist Visa in Thailand and spend the entire 30 days here! Thailand is a great country and there is so much more you can do to turn this 3 weeks in Thailand Itinerary into a longer journey.

However, be aware you only really have an extra week available as you don’t want to overstay!

Slow Boat From Northern Thailand

The slow boat journey is one which I have done a few times now and I can say it is not as bad as many people online say it is!

If you are in Northern Thailand around Chiang Mai it is easy enough to get a minivan to Chiang Khong or Huay Xai at the border and do the journey yourself. You can also visit the White Temple in Chiang Rai which is a sight in itself.

It is a 2-day journey with an overnight stop in the small town of Pakbeng. The days are never as long as you are told and the car seats make for very comfortable seats.

Seriously the journey from Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang on the slow boat is a true adventure and an excellent way to begin your adventures in Laos.

This would also allow you more time as you return to Thailand as your 30 days visa would restart, ultimately giving you more time to explore this incredible country!

the slow boat to luang prabang in laos

A few hours on a twisty van journey from Chiang Mai you will find the backpacker hang out of Pai. This is a super relaxed place set among nature.

I haven’t had the luck of visiting Pai yet, but I definitely will on my next visit to the North!

More Islands

There are so many islands other than those listed in this itinerary that you could add to your 3 weeks in Thailand if you have the time.

What I have recommended are the more popular spots. Though there are plenty of other lesser-known beautiful islands which you could check out.

Some top choices also include:

  • Koh Yao Yai

Koh Sok National Park

Lastly, you could check out Koh Sok National Park as an option to extend your 3 weeks in Thailand itinerary.

Located in nature this spot can often be a highlight for many travelers. The only reason I haven’t visited so far is that it is a far distance from other popular destinations making it quite the journey to access.

Entry Requirement For Thailand: Getting A Visa

Figuring out what your visa situation is when it comes to Thailand is decided by your passport country of origin.

There is a list of countries that can enter visa-free for 30 days. Some of these countries include Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and The United States. If this doesn’t include you, or perhaps you want to stay longer you can also get a Thailand Visa online .

You will be required to show proof of departure when arriving at the airport. This is because many people travel to Thailand for work and end up overstaying.

If you do not have proof of onward travel many travelers use such services as Onward Ticket . The company books a legitimate ticket in your name and cancels it after a certain period.

This provides you with an actual ticket for proof of onward travel. I have used them so many times and it’s just so easy! Remember you still need to leave the country within 30 days of arriving.

Getting Around Thailand: Types Of Transport

Thailand is super easy to travel around on a budget and is a country set up for tourism. Here are some of the most common transport to get around:

Planes: If you are on a budget then you probably won’t be taking any flights within Thailand. However, if you can afford domestic flights connect Bangkok with the major hotspots in the country. This is also a great option to travel long distances if you are short on time.

Mini Van: Minivans are a popular way to travel in Thailand. The prices are only a little bit more expensive when compared to a bus. Though the journey will be a lot faster. The downside is they are always full which does not make for a comfortable journey. I book minivans through 12 Go Asia when in Thailand.

Bus: A slightly cheaper option than a minivan, the bus is a good choice for those who aren’t in a rush and are traveling Thailand on a budget. Most have comfortable seats and working air conditioning. I book buses through 12 Go Asia when in Thailand.

Train : Taking a train is a great way to travel around Thailand. Having a bed to sleep in overnight makes for a super comfortable journey. I had a great experience on the overnight train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai . The train can take you as far north as Chiang Mai and as far south as Hat Yai. First class tickets can be hard to secure, but 12 Go Asia is still the best bet.

Boat: If you want to head to the islands in Thailand, which you likely are then you will need to take some sort of boat. Generally, you will have the choice of a cheaper but slower ferry or a faster but more expensive speedboat. Again you can book these through 12 Go Asia .

Overnight Train From Bangkok To Chiang Mai... 13 Hour Journey!

How Much Does It Cost: What Is A Suitable Budget

The cost of traveling Thailand can vary depending on your travel style and preferences.

The average daily budget for backpackers is between $20.00 to 40.00 per day. Basically, you will be staying in hostels or fan-cooled bungalows.

Mid-range accommodations and restaurants allow travelers to treat themselves a bit more without spending a fortune, and there are lots of affordable activities to enjoy in Thailand as well.

Apart from your travel style, the season in Thailand and whether you are in the North or South of the country can also affect your budget.

Typically it is cheaper to travel in the shoulder or low season , rather than the high season which occurs in December, January, and February.

The North is also well known for being a lot cheaper than the South . This is especially so when it comes to the island as everything needs to be shipped in.

Only Have 2 Weeks In Thailand?

Perhaps you are trying to make the most of your annual leave from work so just stay for 2 weeks in Thailand. In which a suitable itinerary would be:

  • Chiang Mai (3 days)
  • Bangkok (2 days)
  • Ao Nang (3 days)
  • Koh Lanta (3 days)
  • Koh Phi Phi (2 days)
  • Phuket (1 day)

Looking For A 1 Week Thailand Itinerary?

If you are a bit more limited in how long to spend in Thailand and only have one week a good option would be:

  • Ao Nang (2 days)

FAQs About The Thailand Backpacking Route 3 Weeks

Is 3 weeks long enough for thailand.

Sure, Thailand is huge, but spending 3 weeks in Thailand will give you a great opportunity to see some of the highlights of the country. If you have the time spending 4 weeks in Thailand is another great option to make the most out of your 30 day visa.

How much does it cost to spend 3 weeks in Thailand?

Honestly, the cost to travel Thailand depends on your travel style. For example, I have backpacked Thailand for $23.00 per day staying in hostels and doing free activities, but I have also visited solo spending $70.00 per day staying in nice resorts and diving multiple times each day.

What is the best time to visit Thailand?

The best time to visit Thailand is during the dry season which typically occurs between November and March. During this time, the weather is relatively pleasant, with cooler temperatures and lower humidity. This is also considered the peak tourist season in Thailand where you will find accommodation prices are higher.

How many days in Thailand is enough?

Honestly spend as much time as you can in Thailand. This is an epic country with so much to offer. However, remember most tourists are limited to a period of 30 days at a time.

What month is the cheapest in Thailand?

Generally, the cheapest month to travel Thailand will be in the low or shoulder season. This is typically between May to October where you can expect to see plenty of travel deals to entice travelers to visit. However you should also be aware that this is the rainy season, so the weather in parts of the country may not be the best.

Do I need a visa for Thailand?

The visa requirements for Thailand depend on your nationality, the purpose of your visit, and the duration of your stay. Most countries get a 30 day visa on arrival when arriving in Thailand.

Wrap Up: The Ultimate Thailand Backpacking Itinerary

This three week itinerary in Thailand offers an incredible opportunity to explore the diverse landscapes, rich culture, and vibrant cities of this incredible country.

From the bustling streets of Bangkok to the serene beaches of Krabi and the ancient temples of Chiang Mai, there is something for every traveler to discover.

By following this suggested itinerary, you can experience the best that Thailand has to offer, including its mouthwatering cuisine, friendly locals, and unforgettable experiences.

So pack your bags and embark on a memorable journey through this land of smiles – an experience that will undoubtedly leave you craving more.

Any Questions? Let me know in the comments!


Find out the perfect 3 week Thailand itinerary to ensure you have the ultimate adventure from North to South. Let’s talk about the best route, things to do, transportation, accommodation, and more during your time in Thailand!

Want more Thailand Inspiration? Check out….


Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. So, if you click on it and purchase something, I get a small percentage at no extra cost to you. As always all opinions are my own and your support is much appreciated.

Related Posts

viewpoint over the city while backpacking chiang mai

Backpacking Chiang Mai Travel Guide: Costs, Travel Tips and More!

Learn all you need to know about backpacking Chiang Mai on a budget while in [...]

walking out into the water at haad salad , one of the best beaches in koh phangan

The Best Beaches In Koh Phangan: Paradise In Thailand

Want to explore the best beaches in Koh Phangan? From my favorite beaches, the best [...]

elephant sanctuaries in chiang mai, two elephants grazing on leaves with a mahout sitting in the background at an elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai, showcasing a peaceful coexistence.

The 6 BEST Ethical Elephant Sanctuaries In Chiang Mai [2024]

Check out what the best elephant sanctuaries in Chiang Mai are during your visit to [...]

Avatar for Tasha Amy

Tasha Amy is a true backpacker at heart and has been discovering the world on a budget since 2015. Based in Gisborne, New Zealand she will spend many months each year traveling overseas as a solo female traveler before coming home and sharing her adventures online with you.

One thought on “ 3 Week Thailand Itinerary: BEST Backpacking Route [2024] ”

Avatar for Oona

Great itinerary. Thanks for the tips! I’ve been to Thailand several times, and all of these places are amazing. I haven’t visited Elephant Nature Park or other elephant sanctuaries yet. So it’s on my list. :)

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Passport and Stamps altenative Logo Header Transparent White 350

The Ultimate 3 Weeks Thailand Itinerary for Backpackers

Want the ultimate Thailand backpacking adventure? This jam-packed 3 week Thailand itinerary covers the best of Bangkok, the islands, jungles & tips to maximise your fun on a budget.

Last Update: March 7, 2024

We have been to Thailand about 4 times, if not more. It’s always a pleasure to get back to the land of smiles; it’s our favourite country, after all. Even though we have been there every time for different lengths, three weeks in Thailand is what we feel is right for a great trip.

Thailand is the most popular destination in Southeast Asia, and there are high chances you get a cheap flight to Bangkok either from Europe, Australia or even the US. In this article, we will take you on a journey from the north to the south of Thailand, covering all the must-visit destinations and highlighting the best things to see and do along the way.

Spending 3 incredible weeks exploring Thailand is the trip of a lifetime. This complete guide will help you plan the perfect 3 weeks in Thailand.

Rooftop bars in Bangkok Thailand - 3 week itinerary for Thailand

How to plan a trip to Thailand for 3 weeks

There are a lot of variables while planning a trip to Thailand. It’s important to be prepared and know a few things before travelling to Thailand for 3 weeks.

Before embarking on your of lifetime, keep these essential travel tips in mind:

Thailand Visa

Most nationalities can enter Thailand without a visa for 30 days. Be sure to have an onward travel ticket and sufficient funds. If staying longer, apply for a 60-day tourist visa.

How to get around Thailand

We have been going around Thailand in all the ways possible, from night buses to extraordinary experiences on the Bangkok to Chiang Mai Route Sleeper train .

Public transportation like trains, buses, ferries and domestic flights connect most destinations. You are fine travelling to Thailand for long distances, as the country is travellers ready, and offers a wide range of possibilities also price-wise.

For short distances, and transfer within the city, you can use Grab taxis, bolt or pink taxis. These options are widely available. Visiting the north, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai , look for the red buses; these affordable vans are called Songthaews, which are basically shared pickup trucks. The same options exist also in the south, Phuket, Koh Samui and Koh Tao. 

Recommended airports and entry points into Thailand

The main international airports are Bangkok ( BKK ) and Phuket ( HKT ). Bangkok makes a good starting point. Chiang Mai ( CNX ) and Krabi ( KBV ) also have international airports.

If you find a cheap flight direct to Chiang Mai, you can start this itinerary directly from the Capital of the North. There is always time to explore Bangkok, as it is the main hub for international flights.

Best times of year to visit Thailand

November to February is the peak season with great weather, but it is crowded and expensive. March-May is hotter but cheaper. June-October has rain but fewer tourists.


Before travelling, make sure you book the travel insurance. For digital nomads, we recommend Safety Wing ; for single-trip insurance, book HeyMondo and get a 5% discount with our link!

A Map of your Thailand itinerary for 3 weeks

Thailand itinerary 3 weeks Map

A 3 weeks itinerary in Thailand from Bangkok

Now, let’s dive into the perfect 3 week Thailand itinerary!



Day 1 -4: Arrive in Bangkok, explore the city and go on a day trip

Kickstart your Thai adventure by immersing yourself in the chaotic Capital of Bangkok for your first 4 days. Dive headfirst into the cityscape to marvel at the glittering Grand Palace and Temple of the Emerald Buddha, then brace yourself for lively open-air markets like Chatuchak.

Don’t miss experiencing Bangkok’s famous nightlife, whether bar-hopping along Khao San Road or rooftop cocktails. Then, escape the city buzz for a day, choosing between floating through Damnoen Saduak’s canal-connected floating markets or wandering the ancient ruins of Ayutthaya , the prior Capital.

This diverse first taste of Thailand, balancing ancient ruins, frenetic streets, and market culture, sets the stage for the islands and northern adventures ahead.

Best view of Wat Arun from the inside | 3-week thailand itinerary

Top experiences in Bangkok

Kickstart your Thailand trip in the Capital, Bangkok. Spend 3-4 days here taking in the top experiences:

  • Admire the Grand Palace and Wat Pho temple
  • Visit vibrant Khao San Road
  • Go shopping at Chatuchak Weekend Market
  • Take a longtail boat through Bangkok’s canals
  • Enjoy rooftop bars like Sky Bar or Octave Bar

Where to stay in Bangkok

137 Pillar Suites in Bangkok | Passport and Stamps

137 Pillars Suites Bangkok

The most luxurious stay in Bangkok with a breathtaking infinity pool and stunning city view! BOOK IT NOW!

Best rooftop in Bangkok

Here is the list of the best rooftop bars in Bangkok:

  • King Power Mahanakhon: The new addition to the greatest rooftop spaces in Bangkok. You can enjoy a 360 view over the city, so special at night. BOOK IN ADVANCE TO GET ACCESS.
  • Octave Rooftop Lounge: 360-degree views from the 45th to the 48th floor of the Marriott Hotel in Bangkok. Enjoy DJs and dancing as the sun sets behind skyscrapers.
  • Sky Bar: One of the world’s highest open-air bars located 63 floors up, made famous by the Hangover 2 movie.
  • The ROOF(Rooftop Bar) : A nice rooftop with the perfect clear view of Wat Arun. Ideal for an aperitif watching the Cha Phra River at sunset.
  • Moon Bar at Banyan Tree Hotel:  Dreamy views over the Chao Phraya River
  • Sirocco at Lebua State Tower: Known for excellent food and views to match its height
  • Marriott Marquis Queen’s Park: Creative craft beers and Thai bites paired with lush views of Lumphini Park below
  • Baiyoke Observation Deck : You will get the perfect view of the Bangkok landscape from an advantaged point on the 77th floor. Book this entry ticket with Lunch or Dinner included.

Best day trips from Bangkok

Other guides about bangkok you will love.

Best photos of Bangkok at night

Is Bangkok worth visiting? Top Reasons Why Visit Bangkok

Bangkok vs Chiang Mai

How to spend 24 hours in Bangkok

Bangkok to Chiang Mai sleeper train guide

A guide to Talat Noi

Bangkok Instagram Spots

Day 5: Travel From Bangkok to Chiang Mai

Bangkok to Chiang Mai is on top of every backpacker travel route. After getting a taste of Bangkok, you must reach the Capital in the North. There are many options for the journey, from quick and easy to longer but more scenic.

Flying from Bangkok to Chiang Mai takes only 90 minutes, and tickets are cheap, starting from $50. This is the fastest option, with flights departing mainly from Don Muang Airport (DMK) with Air Asia and Thai Lion Air offering the cheapest options.

We slept on a sleeper train in Thailand - Bangkok to Chiang Mai

Get to Chiang Mai by Overnight Train

Our journey through Thailand was the best experience of our life, so we took it slow and enjoyed the scenery. Most backpackers travel from Bangkok to Chiang Mai through sleeper trains overnight . The journey is, after all, comfortable, and it’s on a budget.

Tickets for the 2nd class AC bunk bed cost only $20, with the 1st class cabin getting pricer to $50. BOOK YOUR TICKET IN ADVANCE HERE , AS IT GETS SOLD OUT QUICKLY. The train takes about 12 to 15 hours to reach Chiang Mai, but we assure you the journey is beautiful. For more information, read our guide.

Bus to Chiang Mai

Buses depart from Bangkok’s Mo Chit station every hour, offering varying levels of comfort. We have done this route two times and have mixed feelings about that. Still, we prefer the overnight train, but if you are comfortable with buses, it can be an option.

The bus goes through day and night, but due to the long journey, we prefer the overnight bus. Bring entertainment and snacks, as there is none on board. The route is about 750Km and depending on your ticket and stops, it can take between 9 and 12 hours.

Private Car/Van

If you want a more comfortable journey, you can hire a car and get to Chiang Mai on your own. We discourage you from doing that, as the journey is so long, and you will waste a lot of time and energy driving. The travel cost is higher and in the range of $100 per day, including fuel.

Wat Pha Lat known as the hidden temple in Chiang Mai - Bimba overlooking the temple | 3 weeks in Thailand itinerary

Day 6-7: Explore Chiang Mai

Finally, you are in Chiang Mai; we have an interesting 3-day itinerary ( Read it ) that might interest you. You will be staying in Chiang Mai for two days. The Cultural Capital in the north of the country is a Digital nomad’s heaven.

We can’t stress enough that there are so many things to do in Chiang Mai that you can fill up an entire month of activities. We visited Chiang Mai two times, and both for almost a month each. It is Alessia’s favourite city in Southeast Asia, where we feel comfortable to spend a few days anytime. 

The laid-back vibe, affordable lifestyle and scenery around Chiang Mai make it tempting to linger longer!

Best things to do in Chiang Mai

Spend 2 days immersed in cultural and outdoor activities around Chiang Mai:

  • Browse Chiang Mai Night Bazaar’s street food and souvenirs
  • Join a cooking class to learn Thai cuisine ( We did this one )
  • Hike through lush jungle and hill tribe villages (We went on this tour, and it was fantastic; check the itinerary )
  • Interact with elephants at ethical sanctuaries
  • Admire ancient temples like Doi Inthanon (This tour was the highlight of our trip; check it out! )

Where to stay in Chiang Mai

On thapae chiang mai, hotel de wualai chiang mai, how to get from chiang mai to chiang rai.

The top ways to cover the 200 km, 2.5-5 hour journey between Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai are buses, mini-vans, trains or hiring a private car. You can check prices and schedules here . Buses leave frequently, taking 3-4 hours for just $5-12.

Though less comfortable, trains are cheapest at $2-10 while making several stops over 4-5 hours. For more convenience despite higher prices around $100, consider hiring a private car and driver to customise your route.

However, minivans seating 12 people offer the fastest option at 2.5-3.5 hours for moderate prices from $7-15. Evaluate your budget, time and interests, but buses give the best balance of affordability and direct transportation between these two Northern Thai cities.

Chiang Mai guides to get to know the city

– Chiang Mai 3 days itinerary – Is Chiang Mai worth visiting? – Best time to visit Chiang Mai – Is Chiang Mai Safe? – Chiang Mai Rainy Season – Chiang Mai vs Chiang Rai – A guide to Sunday Night Market in Chiang Mai – Can you drink tap water in Chiang Mai – Renting a scooter in Chiang Mai

Best view of Lady Buddha in Chiang Rai | 3 weeks in thailand itinerary

Day 8-9: Travel to Chiang Rai and explore the city

Your adventure in the north is not over yet. Another important place to visit is Chiang Rai. Well, not many mention this hidden gem in Thailand, but it’s definitely worth a visit. You can reach Chiang Rai from Chiang Mai easily, within 3 hours, using a public bus for about $4.

We concentrated our journey in Chiang Rai on three main sights: The God of Mercy and the Blue and white temple. I f you want to stay longer in Chiang Rai we suggest planning a day out visiting some local ethnic villages and hill tribes in Mae Fah Luang.

We didn’t expect to find Chiang Rai so lively at night. The traditional bazaar in the centre of the city is always open, making it a fantastic spot to relax and eat street food.

Where to stay in Chiang Rai

Mora boutique hotel, sooknirund hotel chiang rai, things to do in chiang rai.

  • Marvel at Wat Rong Khun White Temple
  • Visit hill tribes and ethnic villages around Mae Fah Luang
  • Sample local food at Chiang Rai’s Night Bazaar
  • Go on a day tour of the Golden Triangle region

How to get from Chiang Mai Airport to Phuket

To travel from Chiang Mai Airport down to the tropical beaches of Phuket, you have two main route options: fly or take an overnight train plus bus. Flights take under 2 hours, with airlines like AirAsia, Nok Air and Thai Lion operating this popular domestic route.

Expect to pay around $100 one-way. Alternatively, take an airport shuttle bus from Chiang Mai Airport to downtown , then board the overnight train to Bangkok (12 hours). From there, transfer by bus to complete the additional 12+ hour journey to Phuket.

Though long, the train and bus combo is very affordable at approximately $60 total, letting you save money for enjoying Phuket’s island adventures.

What to do in Chiang Rai? Read our guide

Discover all the best reasons why Chiang Rai is worth visiting . A detailed guide on what to do, places to see and where to stay! READ THE GUIDE HERE!

Phuket Insatgram cafe - Toti and Ale sitting and admiring the view at Ma Doo Bua Cafe in Phuket

Day 10-14: Explore Phuket’s old town, enjoy the beaches and get on day trips

Catch a 1-hour flight down from Chiang Mai to Phuket Island for some beach bliss!

You have over 10 days to explore Southern Thailand and take advantage of the endless beaches, incredible islands, and unique landscapes. Relax on the white shores of Phuket, or like us, go on an adventure to the remote islands.

Apart from that, we liked Phuket Old Town ; the Sino-Portuguese architecture is one of a kind. Actually, we stayed around the old town and rented a scooter to get around. In our opinion, it is the best way to enjoy your trip to Thailand. The coast side of Phuket, and Patong Beach ahead, is too crowded but perfect for nightlife. Read our guide to Phuket in 3 days for a perfect itinerary.

While lounging by the pool or sea, take day trips to snorkel around Phi Phi Island, rock climb in Krabi or ferry to postcard-perfect Phang Nga Bay.

Things to do in Phuket

  • Get around Patong Beach and enjoy the nightlife
  • Lounge at Kata Beach for families and surfing waves
  • Freedom Beach for laidback vibes
  • Explore Phi Phi Islands
  • Take a tour to Maya Bay (We went on this one, and Maya Bay is still one of our favourite beaches in the world. Book it tour! )
  • James Bond Islands (You can do this tour from Krabi, too; BOOK IT! )

Where to stay in Phuket



If you are planning to stay in Phuket for an extended period, consider staying at Pure Phuket Residence . This hotel is located in the old town, just 10 minutes away from the main street.

The rooms are spacious and clean, making it a perfect place for solo travellers or couples.


Pure Residence Phuket Accommodation

Best beaches in Phuket

Our top three couldn’t be more different but all took our breath away. Tiny Freedom Beach , which we reached by scooter, on a steep road, and passing through the forest. It felt like our own secret paradise – we spent hours swimming among the fish and laughing on the pristine sand. Surin Beach attracted us with its trendy yet laid-back vibe; bars and chill vibes set the perfect spot for a sunset in Phuket .

And we fell hard for the postcard-worthy golden sand and jungle-covered cliffs surrounding Ya Nui Beach . It is the first place with Freedom Beach. Out of Phuket’s many stunning choices, these three gave us our quintessential island beach fix.

Best day tour from Phuket

How to get from phuket to koh tao.

The most popular way to travel from Phuket to Koh Tao is to take the ferry. There are no direct ferries, so you need to stop in Surat Thani first. The entire journey takes 6-8 hours. First, board a ferry from Phuket to Surat Thani, which takes around 4-5 hours.

Popular ferry companies are Lomprayah and Songserm. Next, from Surat Thani, switch to another Lomprayah or Songserm ferry to Koh Tao, taking 2-3 more hours. Ferries run several times per day. 

Expect to pay around 1000-1500 THB ($30-$45 USD) for both ferry legs one-way. Check prices here . This island-hopping route by boat is the fastest and most scenic transportation between Phuket and Koh Tao in the Gulf of Thailand.

Read more about Phuket! Guides to the perfect stay

Thailand vs Indonesia our detailed guide

Thailand vs Indonesia: A detailed comparison

Have fun in Phuket travelling on a budget - For backpackers is very important to keep track of their expenses. Enjoy Phuket Without Breaking the Bank - Budget-Friendly Activities - Cheap Things to do in Phuket: Budget Travel Guide

Phuket on a budget: Things to do with a small budget in Phuket

Freedom beach is one of the most beautiful stretch of sand in Thailand. While in Phuket you can't miss this in the south of the biggest island in the country.

The Ultimate Guide for a day out at Freedom Beach in Phuket

Most Instagrammable cafes in Phuket - Ma Doo Bua Cafe

The Ultimate Phuket 3 days itinerary | Culture, fun and island hopping

Phuket Old Town Architecture | Phuket 3 days itinerary

Is Phuket worth visiting? 15 Best Reasons why visit Phuket, Thailand

Day 15 – 18: explore one of the best islands in thailand, koh tao.

It’s time to get from one coastside to the other. If you think that the tropical beaches of Phuket or the soft white sand of Maya Bay is incredible, well, that’s not all Thailand has to offer. Travelling from Phuket to Koh Tao , you will leave the comforts of developed resorts for a more laid-back atmosphere.

Koh Tao is among the best islands in Thailand , perfect for learning scuba diving or just relaxing on the beach. Every year, backpackers flock to this little island to get their PADI Certification, the cheapest in the world.

Around the tiny island, there are dozens of diving schools, and it makes prices extremely low. You can get your certification, valid worldwide, for about $300. The two most popular schools are: Koh Tao Scuba Club and Scuba Birds Diving Centre .

Things to do in Koh Tao

  • Diving certification courses and fun dives
  • Hiking Viewpoint Summit and John Suwan Rock Viewpoint
  • Sunset Viewpoint and Love Koh Tao (Entrance 50 THB)
  • Go on a Snorkeling Tour in Koh Tao
  • Spend time at Mango Bay and Hin Wong Bay
  • Go snorkelling at Sharks Bay ( All the above included in this tour! With Lunch included !)
  • Yoga, spas and wellness retreats

Where to stay in Koh Tao

Cape shark villas.

Luxury villa and private beach area, Cape Shark Villas, is the ideal place for you to unwind and enjoy Koh Tao. We loved our stay here and highly recommend booking in advance to don’t miss this opportunity!

Cape Shark Villas Koh Tao | Passport and Stamps

“Stunning view of the sea and island from the balcony/pool. The staff were very friendly, cleaned and changed towels daily and drove us to destinations when we booked it with them. Takeaways are available from the villa and delivered directly to the table. Amazing place. Highly recommended.”

Best Tours from Koh Tao

How to get from koh tao to koh samui.

The easiest way to travel between the two popular Thai islands of Koh Tao and Koh Samui is by ferry. The total boat journey takes around 4-6 hours, depending on the ferry route and company. Several ferry operators like Lomprayah and Songserm run daily multi-stop connections between the two islands.

Travel time is broken up into three legs: from Koh Tao to Surat Thani (2 hours), Surat Thani port transfer (30-60 minutes), and finally Surat Thani to Koh Samui (90 minutes-2 hours). Ferries run several times per day in both directions. Expect to pay roughly 1000-1500 THB ($30-$45 USD) for the complete one-way boat trip between laidback Koh Tao and the larger resort island of Koh Samui.

Kayaking in Thailand | Ultimate Thailand 3 Weeks itinerary

Day 19-20: Relax for a few days in Koh Samui

Koh Samui is a fantastic island in the Gulf of Thailand, just 1.5 hours away by boat from Koh Tao. The transport is easy, and you will take the same boat that you catch to get to Koh Tao. Koh Samui is Thailand’s second largest island after Phuket, and so more touristy than the smaller Koh Tao.

Most of the coastline is within luxury resorts and coconut groves. We have to admit we continue to love Phuket more than Koh Samui, as the vibes are different, and there is much going on.

Also, prices for accommodation are much better in Phuket, as Koh Samui tends to be higher, and it’s not the best for backpackers who either go to Koh Tao or Koh Phangan (Full Moon Party). T he best area to stay is around Chaweng Beach or Lamai Beach. We stayed a bit up to Lamai and was walkable and active at night.

Things to do in Koh Samui

  • Big Buddha statue
  • Shop local handicrafts at Fisherman’s Village
  • Visit Hin Ta Hin Yai rock formations
  • Day trip to Ang Thong National Marine Park
  • Explore the night market
  • Enjoy a fire show on the beach

Where to stay in Koh Samui

We recommend staying on popular Chaweng Beach or laidback Lamai Beach in Koh Samui. For boutique style, try Samui Honey Cottages Resort.

Tango Luxe Beach Villa

Samui bayside luxury villas, day 21: fly back home or your next destination.

It’s the end of your fantastic trip to Thailand. Three weeks are enough to scratch the surface, but the country is so big that you will need months, or at least five more entries like us, to get to know a bit more.

Three weeks in Thailand will fly away, but it will leave you a lot of memories.

The reason why we decided to finish the trip in Koh Samui is that it’s easy to get back to Bangkok, just taking a 1-hour flight or getting back to Phuket for a few more days relaxing. If so, in the next few paragraphs, you will see some suggestions on how to spend a few more days in Thailand or around.

hidden gems in Thailand - view of Pai White Buddha

More time to explore? Extend your 3 weeks in Thailand itinerary!

To make the most out of your tourist Visa, you can extend your time in Thailand. The regular visa (Free for many passport holders), gets 30 entire days in the country. So, out of our original 21 days in Thailand, you can get an extra 9 days to explore more.

Of course, there is a lot to do, and you can make a longer journey out of the initial 3 weeks stay in Thailand . The first time we visited the country, we stayed until the last day and then crossed the border by land to Laos. You can do the same. These are the options to enrich your Thailand itinerary.

Spend more time in the north and visit Pai

We spent about 5 days in Pai and got around by scooter. The small community is the hippiest destination in Thailand, and it’s been kept a little secret since the 70s. It’s easy to reach Pai from Chiang Mai by miniVan , from CMX Arcade and the bus station. In Pai, you certainly find the backpacking community, hanging out at the bar, chilling by pools, and having fun at night.

Among the best attractions we suggest writing down there are: The White Buddha, Pai Canyon, Hot Springs, I Love Pai Bar, Land Split, The Chinese Village and, of course, spending endless time within Pai town.

Luang Prabang Laos Kuang Si Waterfall | 3 weeks in Thailand itinerary

Cross the border with Laos

On our first trip to Thailand, we explored the north better, and only on the second visit we went down the Southern coast and islands. On our first visa – 30 days – We crossed the border with Laos from Chiang Rai.

It was easy to get to the border, and get your visa clock restarting for another 30 days. Through a cheap public bus we got from Chiang Rai to Chiang Khong Border, crossed it, paid the Visa for Laos and spent a night at Huay Xai, on the other side of the Mekong River.

Take the slow boat from Huay Xai for two days to reach Luang Prabang, the ancient Capital of Laos.

Explore more islands in Thailand

Within this Thailand itinerary of 3 weeks , we only scratched the surface, visiting the mains. You can add to the best islands in Thailand to visit Koh Phangan, Koh Lanta and Koh Chang. Pick one of them extra, and add more days to Phuket, Koh Tao and Koh Samui.

Read Also: – How to get from Phuket to Koh Lanta

Koh Sok National Park

Last but not least, spend more time in Thailand visiting Koh Sok National Park. This incredible nature reserve is easy to reach from Phuket , Krabi and Surat Thani. You can easily squeeze this destination in between Phuket and Koh Tao. Koh Sok is often one of the highlights of travellers extending their initial 3 weeks in Thailand.

Bangkok Hua Lamphong station - Backpacking in Thailand

How much does it cost to visit Thailand for 3 weeks?

  • Backpacker Budget (hostels & street food) : $60 USD/day
  • Mid-range Budget (hotels & local restaurants) : $100 USD/day
  • Luxury Budget (resorts & higher-end experiences): $300+ USD/day

Detailed breakdown

Travelling through Thailand for 3 weeks can easily be done on a budget of $60 USD a day or roughly $1,260 for the entire trip. We did it as a couple, and below is our breakdown of overall expenses:


$15-20 per night for hostel dorm bed/private room in the guest house: $420

By staying in affordable hostel dorms that include free breakfast, you can save significantly on accommodation costs. Private rooms at guesthouses are also an option if you want more privacy, and backpacking as a couple, you can split the costs and save money.

$5 per meal x 3 meals a day x 21 days = $315

It’s cheap to eat in Thailand. One of the best parts of backpacking Thailand is sampling Thai food from street stalls and local restaurants, which keeps dining very budget-friendly. We didn’t get sick at all, so it’s safe.


Opting for overnight trains and buses between destinations saves time and accommodation costs. Plus, domestic flights are pretty cheap if you book in advance . Songthaews, public transit, and ferries connect the islands. You can rent a scooter for cheap.

  • Flights: $100
  • Overnight trains/buses: $150
  • Local transportation: $50
  • Scooter rental: Between $2.5 and $8 (Phuket was the highest price we paid)
  • Total: About $300

Learn to scuba dive on Koh Tao and enjoy walking tours, cooking classes, jungle treks and more activities for under $100 each. Temple entrance fees are usually under $5.

  • Scuba diving course: $300
  • Entrance fees: $50
  • Tours: $100
  • Total: $375

The total cost to budget for a 3 weeks itinerary in Thailand is approximately $1,260 USD / $60 per day. Adapt this overall budget to your travel style, and you will get an accurate estimate. We did stick with a $60 budget, travelling through Thailand multiple times. However, we were travelling slowly, which can reduce your daily budget significantly. Slow travel allows for more in-depth adventures!

Skywalk rooftop view - A gorgeous sunset over Bangkok - Is Bangkok worth visiting

Best 3 week Thailand tour

If you want easy planning and let a guide take you around Thailand, the below are the right tours for you. Having a plan is the easy way to explore Thailand for the first time without the hassle of planning to take flight/train tickets. You pay a little extra but get a great service. Check the below tours of Thailand for 3 weeks and combined, selected for you.

Private Tour Around Thailand in 10 days – $2,882.85

Combine with:

11 Day Tuk Tuk Adventure in Northern Thailand – $1,723.54

Combine the perfect 7-day trip with the rest of our itinerary

7-Day Cultural Tour of Thailand from Bangkok: Ayutthaya, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai

Book the perfect: 21 days THAILAND, LAOS, VIETNAM & CAMBODIA – $3,184.00

What to pack for Thailand 3 weeks

When packing for 3 weeks backpacking in Thailand , travelling light is key. Focus on breathable, lightweight clothing that can handle both urban adventures and tropical beach jaunts. Don’t forget your hat, sunscreen, sunglasses and reusable water bottle, too, in this hot climate. You can pick up toiletries and snacks along the way, so no need to overload your bag. 

One main thing we learned is that some cameras are not equipped for tropical weather, so invest a few bucks in solid silicon protection. We didn’t on our first trip, and the external plastic started to melt a couple of weeks into our trip.

With just the following essentials, you’ll be set to experience Thailand’s iconic sites comfortably.

  • Lightweight, breathable clothing
  • Swimwear & coverup/sarong
  • Hat, sunscreen, sunglasses
  • Sweater/light jacket
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Passport, money, chargers, meds

Visiting the incredible Maya Bay - Toti and Ale walking on the beach

Other itineraries | Alternative Thailand travel route

  • 2 Weeks in Thailand Itinerary – One week North, Second week Islands
  • 1 Week in Thailand Itinerary – North and South

How to replan around 2 weeks in Thailand

With just 2 weeks in Thailand, you can still see some of the best attractions by focusing your time on Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and the southern islands.

Start in Bangkok and spend 3-4 days exploring top sites like the Grand Palace, Wat Pho, and vibrant Khao San Road, and taking a longtail boat through the canals. Next, take the overnight train up to Chiang Mai.

Over 3 days in the cultural hub of Northern Thailand, browse the night bazaar, join a cooking class, visit ancient temples, hike through lush jungle and interact with elephants at ethical sanctuaries.

Then fly down south to finish off your Thailand trip island hopping between Phuket and Koh Samui or Koh Tao. Split your remaining week relaxing on beautiful beaches, snorkelling vibrant reefs, and discovering coastal attractions like Phang Nga Bay. With a bit of planning, 2 weeks allows a nice taste of Thailand’s cultural and natural highlights.

Only have 1 week in Thailand? Follow our suggestions!

With just 1 week for your Thailand trip , you can still have an amazing experience by focusing on the highlights of Bangkok and Phuket. Start by spending 2-3 days in Bangkok , Thailand’s bustling Capital. Explore top sites like the Grand Palace sacred Wat Pho, visit Khao San Road, and take a longtail boat ride through Bangkok’s canals. Enjoy the famous nightlife and street food scene.

Then, catch a quick 1-hour flight down to Phuket in Southern Thailand for the remainder of your week. Over 4 days, split your time relaxing on some of Phuket’s most beautiful beaches, like Patong Beach, Kata Beach, and Banana Beach. Take day trips to swim and snorkel around stunning islands like Phi Phi and Phang Nga Bay .

Treat yourself to fresh seafood dinners and sunset views from beachfront bars. Phuket offers the classic Thai island experience to cap off an incredible week of discovering Thailand’s highlights.

Wrap-up | Your Thailand 3 week itinerary

An epic 3-week Thailand itinerary allows you to see the top cultural and natural attractions at an enjoyable pace. Start in Bangkok for 3-4 days of temple hopping to sites like the dazzling Grand Palace, Wat Pho’s reclining Buddha, and taking longboat rides through vibrant canals.

Next, travel up to Northern Thailand , spending several days immersed in Chiang Mai’s ancient temples, cooking classes and jungle treks before venturing further north to discover Chiang Rai’s alternative arts scene and colourful hill tribes. Then, fly south for a week of rest and relaxation on Phuket’s postcard-worthy beaches, snorkelling around tropical islands on day trips.

Continue the island hopping by ferry, making your way to Koh Tao to learn diving among coral reefs and end by unwinding those sore muscles on Koh Samui’s coconut palm-fringed shores, soaking up the last golden Thai sunsets. With oversight planning, 3 weeks provide the ultimate Thai experience.

FAQ | Thailand three weeks itinerary

Is 3 weeks too long in thailand.

3 weeks is not too long for your first trip to Thailand. With 21 full days, you have the perfect amount of time to see many of the top destinations without an overly rushed pace. You can spend nearly a week exploring Bangkok’s temples, food markets, and nightlife scenes. Then, head north to Chiang Mai to hike through lush jungles and visit elephant sanctuaries for 4-5 days. Finish off with a week of relaxing on the tropical beaches and island hopping along the turquoise waters of the Andaman Coast or the Gulf islands of Koh Samui or Koh Phangan. 

How much money will you need for 3 weeks in Thailand?

Budget of $50 a day which comes out to around $1,050 for 3 weeks in Thailand . This budget allows for comfortable mid-range accommodations, delicious Thai food, and adventures like island hopping tours. You could spend less by staying in hostels and eating street food.

How many days are sufficient for Thailand?

Most first-time visitors spend around 2-3 weeks in Thailand to see the top sights at a comfortable pace . With 3 full weeks, you can see highlights like Bangkok, Chiang Mai, the islands, and more without rushing too much.

Do I need a visa to go to Thailand for 3 weeks?

Most passport holders can enter Thailand visa-free for 30 days , which covers a 3-week trip. Some nationalities, like India and China, need visas. Double-check Thailand’s visa rules for your nationality before booking flights.

Is Phuket too touristy?

Parts of the island feel very touristy, but it’s easy to escape the crowds. Rent a motorbike to explore quiet beaches or take a day trip to uninhabited islands for a more tranquil experience. The natural scenery helps offset the busy tourist vibe.

What happens if I stay longer than 30 days in Thailand?

Thailand offers visa exemption stamps for 30 days. Overstaying could result in fines, blacklisting, and even jail time in extreme cases. If you wish to stay longer than 30 days, then apply for an appropriate Thai visa before arriving.

How far is Bangkok from Phuket by plane?

It’s only a short 70-minute flight between Bangkok and Phuket, making it easy to combine both destinations. Flights can be found for under $100 roundtrip if booked in advance.

What is the best way to travel around Thailand?

For backpackers, the most flexible and affordable option is to travel overland via bus and train. This allows easy stops along the way at places that interest you. Package tours or domestic flights can save time.

Maya Bay is one of the most incredible beaches on earth. The white soft sand, perfect blue crystal-clear water. Meet Toti and Ale on this trip around Thailand islands

Meet the Authors: Toti and Ale

We're Toti and Ale, avid travellers, award-winning writers, and photographers  living life one stamp at a time. It's more than five years since we hit the road in search of the perfect place to explore, dive into the local culture, eat tasty exotic food, and discover every corner. We have been in more than 35 countries, hand in hand, offering inspiring guides on Passport and Stamps and other award-winning travel blogs. We are London-based, but we travel the world as Digital Nomads with a purpose: to help you travel more and better in a sustainable way. You can find us here, offering tips for backpackers, itineraries or guides to cross countries and get on the most insane adventures. We are committed to sharing insights, providing valuable information, and inspiring responsible and meaningful travel. Join us as we explore off-the-beaten-path destinations, savour the beauty of slow travel, and make a positive impact on the places we visit.

I love Pai sign at Chinese Village

20 Epic things to do in Pai (2024 Pai Travel Guide)

Bangkok Hua Lamphong station - Backpacking in Thailand

Thailand backpacking route and itineraries

Talat Noi district Bangkok is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in the city, where everything started and Chinese immigrants built their houses.

Talat Noi: A guide to Bangkok heart and soul

In Between Travels Logo

  • 13 February 2024

Your Ultimate 3-week Thailand Itinerary | The best places to visit

This is your ultimate 3-week thailand itinerary including the best places to visit in thailand.

This 3-week Thailand itinerary promises an immersive journey through the best of Thailand. Of course, it includes the best places to visit in Thailand, from the vibrant city life of Bangkok to the tropical paradises of Koh Samui and Koh Tao. Furthermore, you can find the most beautiful nature in Khao Sok and the serene mountain escapes of Chiang Mai and Pai. Moreover, each destination offers a unique blend of cultural experiences and natural wonders combined with lovely food. Therefore, Thailand will leave you with a bag full of unforgettable adventures. Start packing your bags and get ready to explore the best places to visit in the Land of Smiles. 

How many days in Thailand?

Determining the ideal duration for your Thai adventure depends on your preferences, your time available and the level of relaxation you want to achieve. For an immersive journey, a 3-week Thailand itinerary offers a well-rounded exploration of Thailand’s diverse landscapes and cultural gems. This timeframe allows you to experience a mix of activities and destinations, such as the metropolis of Bangkok and the culture in Chiang Mai. Further combined with natural beauty in Pai and Khao Sok and unwind in Koh Samui and Koh Tao, while travelling at a relaxed pace.

If time is more limited, a 2-week itinerary can be tailored to focus on specific regions, such as exploring the cultural north and indulging in island retreats. In that case, I would advise combining one island with a quick visit to Bangkok and the North of Thailand. However, in my opinion, Khao Sok is the best place to visit in Thailand, which might be difficult to squeeze in.

On the other hand, for those with an extended vacation, a 4-week itinerary provides the opportunity to add more destinations to your travel route. In that case, you can visit the islands on both sides of Thailand (add for example Koh Phi Phi and Koh Lanta). Alternatively, you can add cultural destinations. Lastly, you can slow down and stay at the different beaches or in Pai for a longer period. 

Best Time to travel to Thailand

While Thailand’s high season and dry period typically span from November to February. This timeframe provides pleasant weather and ideal conditions for most regions, the best time to visit varies depending on the chosen destinations.

What I didn’t know before my visit to Thailand was that not all regions are best to visit between November and February. While the best time to visit Chiang Mai and Pai is between December and March, the southern islands like Koh Samui and Koh Tao are best to visit between January/February and April. If you plan to visit Khao Sok, the drier months from December to April are recommended. For the best overall experience, I would advise you to travel to Thailand between mid-December and March.

Just to let you know, the monsoon season, occurring from May to October, may bring heavy rains, particularly in the southern regions.

A 3-week Thailand Itinerary - Summary

Hike to Sui Nuan Beach 1 and 2 on Koh Tao

3-week Thailand Travel Route

– Travel Time – 

1. Bangkok (3 nights) 

2. Chiang Mai (3 nights)

3. Pai (4 nights) 

4. Khao Sok (3 nights) 

5. Koh Samui (3 nights)

6. Koh Tao (4 nights)

7. Bangkok (1 night) 

Your day to day 3-week Thailand travel plan

|| explore the capital of thailand: bangkok (3 nights).

During my last Thailand trip, I decided to skip Bangkok. However, you can’t miss out on Bangkok when you are a first-timer in Thailand. First of all, when in Bangkok you shouldn’t miss out on the famous temples  Wat Pho and Wat Arun.  Also, the  Royal Palace  is home to rich culture and abundant golden temples. Furthermore, a great way to explore Bangkok is with a biking tour by  Ko van Kessel. Of course, if you want to experience backpacker madness in Thailand, you can’t miss out on the famous Koh San Road. Also, visit one of the famous rooftop bars to admire Bangkok from above. Lastly,  a floating market, such as Amphawa, is a great addition to your visit to Bangkok. 

Where to stay in Bangkok: Noursabah Boutique Bed Bangkok (€45) The Yard Bangkok Hostel (€12 for a dorm, €35 for a private room) Hansa Bangkok House (€30) CHERN Bangkok (€40) Here Hostel Bangkok (€11 – €30)

Your ultimate 3-week Thailand Itinerary, Bangkok

|| Head to northern Thailand: Chiang Mai (3 nights)

From Bangkok, you can either fly to Chiang Mai or take a night train. If you are keen on taking the night train, make sure to book your tickets early on. Chiang Mai is the largest city in the North of Thailand and offers a great combination of nature and culture. Top things to do are for example to explore the  Old Town or visit one of the night markets or the Night Bazaar. Also, you should enjoy a cup of coffee or a cocktail in the popular Nimman neighbourhood . Next to that, you can’t miss out on the famous temples within Chiang Mai, such as  Doi Suthep, Wat Pra Sing  and  Wat Chedi Luang.  However, my personal favourite was  Wat Pha Lat, which can be reached by hiking the famous Monk’s trail. 

Also, there are spectacular day trips available from Chiang Mai, such as a visit to the Sticky Waterfalls , Doi Inthanon or Chiang Rai .  Lastly, Chiang Mai is the perfect location to indulge in the local culture. For example, enjoy local food such as Khao Soi, relaxing with a Thai Massage and trying a Muay Thai Class.

To learn all about Chiang Mai, don’t forget to check out my complete Chiang Mai Travel Guide.

Where to stay in Chiang Mai: Samantan Hotel at Nimman (€32) Hostel One Art and Gallery (€42) Chada Mantra Hotel (€35) Le Canal Boutique House (€30) Somwang Boutique Hotel (€40)

Monk's Trail to Wat Pha Lat in Chiang Mai, Thailand

|| Laid back vibes and Lush nature in Pai (4 nights)

Pai was one of my favourite places in Thailand, and I know for a fact I’m not alone in that opinion. This beautiful laid-back town in the north of Thailand offers a wide range of activities, a set of great restaurants and bars. Due to the great vibe, I recommend staying in Pai for 4 nights, so you have enough time for a set of day trips. When heading from Chiang Mai to Pai, you can either rent a motorbike and drive yourself or take a shared van (3-hour drive).

Firstly, you can’t miss out on a visit to the Bamboo Bridge, Santichon Village and the Yun Lai Viewpoint. Furthermore, the White Buddha near Pai is an easy attraction to visit. Next to that, you must watch the sunset at the Pai Canyon and/or Two Huts during your stay. Lastly, there are some great activities to further explore Pai’s beautiful nature, such as a visit to the Nam Lod Cave or the Mae Yen Waterfall. 

Moreover, you have to visit Pai’s night market , head for a lovely brunch at Bom Bowls or OM Garden and step your foot into the nightlife at for example Jazz House  or Music.Bros Bar.

For a complete overview of the best things to do in Pai, check out my Pai Travel Guide here.

The best places to stay in Pai: The Countryside Resort (€15) Country Hut (€15) Pai Village Boutique Resort (€75) Society House Luxury Hostel (€10) 

Sunset Pai Canyon, North Thailand

|| My favourite place in Thailand: Khao Sok (3 nights)

After Pai, you’ll have to travel a bit longer to get to your next destination. However, it’s more than worth it! From Pai, head back to Chiang Mai and take a flight to Surat Thani. From the airport, it is a 1.5-hour drive to Khao Sok village. Upon your arrival in Khao Sok, book the overnight lake tour starting the next day. In my opinion, this overnight lake tour in Khao Sok was the most beautiful and impressive experience during my time in Thailand. 

Check out my Khao Sok Travel Guide to learn all about the overnight lake tour and the best restaurants in Khao Sok.

The best places to stay in Khao Sok: Tree Tops River Huts (€30) Khao Sok Palmview Resort (€17) Mulalee Khao Sok Resort (€70) Tanoshi Glamping (€90) Coco Hostel (€8)

Khao Sok Lake, Overnight Bungalows, 3-week Thailand Itinerary

|| Relax on the islands: koh Samui (3 nights)

After Khao Sok, it is time to head to the beautiful Thai islands to end your 3-week Thailand Itinerary with some well-deserved beach time. I choose to travel to the islands in the east of the country, where you can combine Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao. Alternatively, you can choose to visit the western islands such as Koh Phi Phi and Koh Lanta including a visit to Krabi. 

However, I liked the mix of the eastern islands better and this also matched my Muay Thai adventure as there are plenty of Muay Thai schools on Koh Samui. When in Koh Samui, you can visit some lovely temples such as Wat Pai Laem,  visit the beautiful beaches on the island and visit the Overlap Stone and  Na Muang Waterfall.

For an overview of the best things to do in Koh Samui, including the best bars and restaurants, check out my Koh Samui Travel Guide. 

Best places to stay in Koh Samui: The Rock Samui (€80) Mantra Samui Resort (€80) Lipa Lodge Beach Resort (€60) The Nest Samui (€40) New Hut Bungalow (€15).

Wat Plai Laem, The best things to do on Koh Samui, 3-week Thailand Itinerary

|| Escape to paradise: Koh Tao (4 nights)

Your final destination during your 3-week Thailand Itinerary is Koh Tao, a smaller idyllic island, perfect for diving. You can reach Koh Tao by boat (1,5 hours) from Koh Samui. When in Koh Tao, you can’t miss out on a short visit to K oh Nang Yuan to visit the viewpoint. Also, there are plenty of hidden and local beaches on Koh Tao, that you’ll pass when hiking the coastline. Lastly, you can’t miss out on visiting John Suwan Viewpoint. 

Furthermore, when staying near Sairee Beach there are plenty of remarkable food options, such as Cactus Cafe, 995 Roasted Duck and The Factory Cafe. 

Everything you need to know about your visit to Koh Tao, including the best things to do as well as the best restaurants, can be found in my Koh Tao travel guide. 

The best places to stay in Koh Tao: Ava Resort (€60 for 2 persons) Aiya Resort (€35 for 2 persons) Savage Hostel (€15 for 1 person) Koh Tao Heritage (€30 for 2 persons) Dearly Koh Tao Hostel (€15 for 1 person) The Fisherman’s Village (€175 for 4 persons)

Jansom Bay, Hiking Koh Tao

More Thailand travel tips

  • 18 February 2024

The best places to stay in Thailand – Hostels, Hotels and more

More thailand blogs.

  • 3 February 2024

Koh Samui Travel Guide – Explore Beaches and Culture in Thailand

  • 27 January 2024

Wat Pha Lat Monk’s Trail to Doi Suthep – Hiking in Chiang Mai

Pin for later:.

A 3-week Thailand Itinerary, Your Ultimate Travel Route

Save Thailand Itinerary:

A 3-week Thailand Itinerary, Your Ultimate Travel Route

Privacy Overview

3 Weeks In Thailand Itinerary – The Ultimate Guide

Thailand is one of the biggest travel hubs in all of Asia and the perfect destination for all sorts of travelers.

In this 3 Weeks In Thailand Itinerary, you will find everything from tropical beaches to buzzing cities, and everything in between!

best beaches in krabi, tonsai beach, krabi beach, things to do in krabi, railay beach krabi, railay beach west, west railay beach, east railay beach, railay east beach, raliay viewpoint

Table of Contents

This Thailand backpacking route starts in Krabi and ends in Bangkok.

Here is a quick overview of an ideal 3 weeks in Thailand Itinerary of all the best places to visit in this order:

  • Krabi (3 days)
  • Koh Tao (4 days)
  • Bangkok (3 days)
  • Chiang Mai (5 days)
  • Chiang Rai (1 day)
  • Pai (4 days)
  • Bangkok (1 day)

shark bay koh tao, koh tao shark bay, shark island koh tao, sharkk beach koh tao, best beaches koh tao, koh tao beaches, beaches koh tao, beaches in koh tao, beaches on koh tao, koh tao best beaches, best beaches koh tao


The currency in Thailand is Baht and the exchange rate is approximately $1 USD = 30 Baht.

Getting a tourist sim card for your trip to Thailand is very simple. You can obtain a sim card upon arrival at the airport or from a 7-Eleven store. The cost of a tourist sim card for 8GB of data is around $15.


When planning a trip to Thailand , it’s good to know that it can be visited all year round as the climate can vary.

However, the best time to visit is in the cool dry season between November to early April.

Broadly speaking, Thailand’s wet season is April – October, with the wettest months being August – October.


Thailand currently offers visa-free entry to nationals of 57 countries. The free visa on arrival is valid for 30 days in Thailand. For more visa information visit .


There are a few ways of getting around Thailand and that is with either bus, boat, taxi, train, plane, or motorbike.

In my experience, the cheapest and most convenient way of getting around Thailand is by bus. The most reputable bus/boat company is Lompraya transport.

I always use  12Go Asia to search and book all of my transportation within Thailand.

tuk tuk bangkok

The BEST way to book your travel in Asia!

12Go Asia

12Go Asia is the best online platform to find cheap tickets for buses, trains, ferries, airport transfers, and flights all over Asia!

Save time and money on your travels by using 12Go Asia to organize and book all your transportation.


Day 1, 2 & 3: krabi.

I arrived in Krabi by plane and spent three days exploring Krabi town and its beaches. I have to say I was absolutely blown away at each location!

See All → Homestays / Hotels / Resorts in Krabi

White sand beaches surrounded by towering limestone cliffs and turquoise waters are just some of the things to expect in Krabi making it the perfect spot to kick-start your 3 weeks in Thailand!

I have put together a complete guide of the best beaches in Krabi, also including other useful information on where to stay in Krabi and the best Krabi tour packages.

View Full Blog Post → Krabi Beach Travel Guide

Krabi to koh tao.

From your hotel in Krabi , you can take a bus and ferry combination to Koh Tao and the journey takes approximately 7 to 8 hours.

Check transport availability on the 12Go Asia website and book online to get the best rates.

tonsai beach krabi thailand 35

Have you got travel insurance for your trip?!

hey mondo 1

We all know accidents can happen and having Heymondo Insurance will save you thousands of dollars if something goes wrong.

Heymondo offers low-cost Travel Insurance to keep you covered on all your adventures.

DAY 4, 5, 6 & 7: KOH TAO ISLAND

Koh Tao is my favorite island in Thailand and one of the best tropical destinations in all of South East Asia!

Koh Tao is the famed diving haven in Thailand and attracts scuba divers from all over the world. Ultimately, it should not be missed on your southern Thailand itinerary .

Find All →   Accommodations in Koh Tao

Other than diving, there are many more fantastic things to do on Koh Tao other, including beach hopping, island hopping, panoramic viewpoints, and a buzzing nightlife scene.

I spent 4 days exploring the best of the best that Koh Tao has to offer and have put together the ultimate guide of Koh Tao Island which includes the best things to do and recommended places to stay!

View Full Blog Post → 15 Awesome Things To Do In Koh Tao

Koh tao to bangkok.

The next stop on this Thailand 3 weeks Itinerary is Bangkok.

From Koh Tao, you can take a ferry and bus combination to Bangkok and the journey takes approximately 10 hours.

things to do on koh tao, koh tao things to do, things to do in koh tao

DAY 8, 9 & 10: BANGKOK

Bangkok really is one of the world’s most buzzing cities and a central hub for backpackers! There are many things to do in Bangkok in three days that include vibrant street life, sacred shrines, boat-filled canals, and countless rooftop bars!

Plus, if you travel as a family, you’ll find a ton of things to do in Bangkok with teens !

Find All → Hostel & Hotels in Bangkok

I spent three days in Bangkok and it’s a must-see destination not to be missed during your 3 weeks in Thailand.

To help you craft together your own Bangkok itinerary, I have written a detailed travel guide of the best things to do in Bangkok which also includes recommended places to stay and the best way to get around Bangkok City!

View Full Blog Post → 5 Best Things To Do In Bangkok

Bangkok to chiang mai.

After a buzzing time in Bangkok, you can take an overnight bus to Chiang Mai and the journey takes around 10 to 12 hours.

wat arun temple bangkok, wat arun temple

Pssst! Check out this AWESOME travel bag!

Nomatic Bag 40L

The Nomatic 40L is the best travel bag on the market, perfect for weekend trips or month-long adventures!

Featuring multiple compartments for clothes, shoes, laptop, water bottle, RFID-protected pocket, and more.

It’s designed to fit the maximum size allowed for carry-on luggage, so you’ll never have to spend money on check-in baggage again!

DAY 11, 12, 13, 14 & 15: CHIANG MAI

Chiang Mai is a culturally rich ancient city located in the mountains of Northern Thailand. There are so many things to see and do here which is why I recommend spending five days in Chiang Mai.

Find All → Accommodations in Chiang Mai

I guarantee once you get a taste of Chiang Mai you won’t want to leave!

I have put together an easy guide to Chiang Mai including panoramic viewpoints, buzzing night markets, historic temples, the best places to eat, and much more!

View Full Blog Post → 10 Awesome Things To Do In Chiang Mai

what to do in chiang mai in 3 days, thigns to do in chiang mai, best things to do in chiang mai

The BEST Affordable Camera For Travel

canon g7x

If you’re on the hunt for a professional camera for traveling, check out the Canon G7 X Mark II .

This tiny camera fits in your pocket, captures high-quality photos and videos, and has Wi-Fi so you can instantly transfer to your phone!


Chiang mai to chiang rai.

I highly recommend taking a day trip from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai to visit the famous White Temple and more.

Chiang Rai is worth visiting for so many reasons, and you’ll easily understand why.

I organized my Chiang Rai day trip with a tour company called Take Me Tour which includes all transport, entrance fees, lunch, and an experienced tour guide!

The Chiang Rai Tour was surprisingly one of the best days I had while backpacking Thailand.

I chose the Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai tour package which includes Mae Kajan Hot Spring, The White Temple, lunch at Salungkham restaurant, Doi Tung Botanic Gardens, The Royal Villa, and a visit to the Akha Hill village tribe.

The Chiang Rai tour starts at 7 am with a hotel pick-up in Chiang Mai and returns back to Chiang Mai between 8 pm – 9 pm.

View Full Blog Post → Chiang Rai Day Tour

Chiang mai to pai.

The next destination on this 3 weeks in Thailand itinerary is Pai. You can take a shared minivan from Chiang Mai to Pai and the journey takes approximately 3 hours.

white temple chiang rai, wat rong khun, chiang rai temple, chiang rai white temple, things to do in chiang rai

Forget plastic SIM Cards… Get an eSIM!

one sim

Say hello to eSIM – a virtual SIM card pre-loaded with mobile data so you can get online and stay connected around the world.

OneSimCard is the best eSIM for travel, with low-cost data packages available in 150+ countries.

Simply buy online, install it on your smartphone, and you’re good to go!

DAY 17, 18, 19 & 20: PAI

Pai is a small countryside town in the Mae Hong Son province of Northern Thailand and far away from the crowds of Bangkok City. There is a mecca of fun things to do in Pai including viewpoints, waterfalls, hot springs, and more!

Find All → Accommodations in Pai

I spent 4 days exploring the Mae Hong Son province and have put together a complete guide of the best things to do in Pai and other handy information on where to stay and getting around.

View Full Blog Post → 10 Best Things To Do In Pai

Pai to bangkok.

From Pai, you can take an afternoon minivan to Chiang Mai and then transfer to another bus and continue on to Bangkok for the last leg of your 3 weeks in Thailand.

yun lai viewpoint


Back to Bangkok to enjoy the last day in Thailand! You can choose to go shopping at one of the malls or hit up Koh San road for some street food and cheap beers. Either way, it’s worth celebrating having just completed your Thailand backpacking route!

If you don’t want to travel all the way back to Bangkok from the north of Thailand, there’s the option to depart the country from Chiang Mai International Airport.

Although in my experience, I found it cheaper to fly out of Bangkok to continue on to my next destination, Bali.

Find All → Accommodations in Bangkok

things to do in bangkok in 3 days

Check Out This Must-Have Travel Accessory!

travel adapter

When arriving in a new country, not being able to charge your phone and gadgets is a nightmare.

Equip yourself with a Universal Travel Adapter which works in 150+ countries around the world.


thailand map


When visiting Thailand, here is a list of items I highly recommend bringing with you:

Must-Have Travel Essentials

Hidden money wallet.

anti theft money belt

Keep your cash and other valuables safe with this anti-theft hidden money wallet!

Reusable Water Bottle

grayl geopress

The GRAYL GeoPress is the best reusable bottle that allows you to purify water from anywhere!

Travel Backpack

Nomatic 20L Bag

The Nomatic Travel Backpack has 20+ innovative features, perfect for everyday use!

Quick-Dry Travel Towel

travel towel

The most compact, lightweight, and quick-dry towel for traveling!

Portable PowerBank

anker powerbank

Keep your phone, laptop, and accessories charged while you’re on the go with the Anker PowerBank!

More Thailand Travel Guides


Click the button below to view all articles related to Thailand!


I hope you found this article useful and if you have any questions, please leave me a comment below this post and I will get back to you as soon as I can. For a quicker response, be sure to join Jonny Melon’s Travel Tribe on Facebook and post your questions or recommendations to our awesome community.

Fb Community Image


Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or it’s your first trip overseas, here are some useful travel resources to help you kick-start your next adventure!


Search and book accommodation worldwide.

logos 3

Compare and book cheap flights to anywhere.

logos 7

Find tickets, tours, and experiences around the world.

logos 14

Book buses, trains, and transfers online in advance.

discover cars

Search all rental cars in your next destination.

hey mondo

Need travel insurance for your next trip?


Hey friend, thanks for reading this guide!

Please know this post may contain affiliate links. When making a purchase through one of my links, I earn a small kickback at no extra cost to you and it’s a big help to keep the site up and running. Rest assured, I only promote products and services that I personally use and recommend.

Click here to find out how you can support the site organically .

Many thanks!


THAILAND e1547647978961

1 thought on “3 Weeks In Thailand Itinerary – The Ultimate Guide”

Yes it is such a great country! You’re welcome!

Leave a comment Cancel reply

Notify me of follow-up comments via e-mail.

Work with us

Support the site

Plan Your Trip

Travel guides


Hotel guides

Find best tours

Travel Gear

Travel resources

How to start a blog

Photography guides

Follow On Socials

© 2024 Jonny Melon Adventure Travel Blog. All rights reserved.

Privacy Policy | Terms | Sitemap

The Travel Scribes

Our ultimate 3 weeks in Thailand itinerary

So you’ve decided to take the plunge and spend all your holiday entitlement in one hit. Or you’ve been planning to check out Thailand as part of a longer travel itinerary. And straight off the bat, let me throw it out there and say it’s a decision well made. Thailand is one of the best places to provide you with sun, sea, sand, parties, jungles, hiking and vibrant cities – all within easy reach of each other. We’ve spent a bit of time in the country and have a few firm favourites, so have put together this travel guide to the best way to spend your time there – our ultimate 3 weeks in Thailand itinerary!

Wat Benchamabophit, Bangkok

Why choose Thailand?

If you’re already made your (excellent) choice and decided on Thailand, just head straight to Our 3 week in Thailand Itinerary below. But, if you’re still unsure, let’s spell out why you should choose Thailand as your destination of choice:

  • Firstly, it’s one of the easiest places to travel in all of South East Asia – they have been set up for tourism for many years. This makes it the perfect place to explore with convenience, especially if this is your first time in the region.
  • Since it’s geared towards tourism, most of the industry speaks great English, really helping to make your travel there painless, unlike some other countries in SE Asia.
  • It offers so much variety, whether you are interested in food – great cooking classes to learn. A passion for yoga – some amazing retreats. Consider yourself a beach bum – Island hopping in places like Phi Phi . Interest in history – you’ll get lost in temple heaven. An adventure enthusiast – hiking, white water rafting, abseiling, zip lining. Love nature – some of the world’s best national parks are in Thailand . You get the picture. There is something for everyone in Thailand
  • The food. Did we mention the food? Offering some of the most varied and delicious cuisine in the region, Thailand is a foodie’s paradise. Everything from Michelin-starred street eats to upmarket gourmet establishments to suit all budgets and tastes
  • Digital nomad? Thailand is a great option. It has very fast WiFi speeds, a number of great networking options and cafes, and a good expat scene
  • While it’s definitely not unexplored, there is still the opportunity to get off the beaten path and venture to areas where few tourists go
  • And of course the cost… Yes, it’s definitely increased in price over the last few years. But compared to holidaying in many western countries, it’s still an absolute steal.

Our 3 weeks in Thailand itinerary

  • Day 1 – 3 – Bangkok
  • Day 4 – 6 – Koh Pha Ngan (or Koh Samui)
  • Day 7 – 9 – Koh Tao
  • Day 10 – 13 – Ao Nang, Railay and Koh Phi Phi (or Koh Lanta)
  • Day 14 – 16 – Chiang Mai
  • Day 17 – 18 – Pai
  • Day 19 – 20 – Chiang Rai
  • Day 21 – Bangkok

Getting around Thailand

If you’re looking to book your own travel around Thailand, then we’d recommend checking out Bookaway for the best trains, bus and transfer options. They have amazing 24 hour support and many options have great cancellation options – which is a bit of a relief, when you need to change travel plans. Trust us, that happens more than you’d expect.

If you prefer flights, then make sure you check out the latest prices on Skyscanner .

Travel Insurance for your 3 weeks in Thailand

Got your travel insurance booked? We promise to never push a brand or product we don’t personally use, and the travel cover from Safety Wing is a policy we don’t just use, but we highly recommend. They offer some of the most flexible policies, amazing customer service and are affordable too.

Check out the latest travel insurance prices with Safety Wing here.

Bangkok – 3 days

The capital of Thailand, the largest city and one of the most vibrant places you’ll ever go. Bangkok is where you’ll likely be starting your 3 week itinerary and is a city, that sometimes divides opinions, is a great way to dive head first into Thai culture. The sights, sounds and smells are going to captivate your senses. So, enjoy the next three days. It time to explore a city that you will never forget.

Bangkok street, Thailand

Where to stay

Luxury : Banyan Tree is a lovely smaller boutique chain of hotels across Asia that turns out impeccable rooms and wonderful food. The Bangkok location is no different and offers fantastic views of the city, a world-class spa and gorgeous luxuries making it a home away from home.

Mid – range : When in Bangkok, we stay at the Printing House Poshtel , which essentially is aimed at flashpackers and those looking for a bit more luxury than the typical hostel. Set in a really convenient area, it has well-appointed rooms, great service and a delicious range of food on offer at affordable prices in it’s restaurant downstairs.

Budget : Bangkok is the start of the backpacker trail so you are spoiled for choice in terms of hostels in this city. Generally Diff Hostel gets the best reports from travellers – it’s a small hostel but comes with great amenities (USB chargers, privacy curtains) and a great atmosphere for networking.

Day 1 Bangkok

You’re probably going to land into Bangkok’s International Suvarnabhumi Airport, if you’re arriving on a long haul flight. But if you’re jumping over from another place in South East Asia, you’re likely to be entering via Don Mueang Airport, which doesn’t have such good transport links. We’ve put some info on the best ways to get from the airports into town below.

After checking into your hotel, hostel or Airbnb, it’s straight out to get your fix of the city’s famous temples. There are so many to explore but we would recommend the following three as some of our favourites…  and all being near to each other, along with a quick river crossing, you get to cross off a number of key sights relatively quickly. Give yourself a few hours, and if you are able to spend more time in the city, it is great to go to these as early as possible. That way you’ll miss the crowds and, usually, it’s cooler since Thailand can get incredibly hot and humid.

Wat Phra Kaew

First up on your 3 week Thailand itinerary is Wat Phra Kaew. Also known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, it is regarded as the most sacred temple in all of Thailand. The Wat is located in the Palace Grounds, so you also can explore the Grand Palace at the same time. The Emerald Buddha irself is actually relatively small at 66cm tall, but made from a single jade stone. The cost to enter is relatively steep at 440 THB (approx. 11 GBP), but we think it’s really worth forking out the cash for this one.

The Grand Palace, Bangkok

Location: Na Phra Lan Rd, Khwaeng Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang, Khet Phra Nakhon, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10200, Thailand

Open: Open daily from 8.30am to 3.30pm

Next up, and literally just around the corner, is probably our favourite Wat in Bangkok – Wat Pho . You’ve probably seen photos of this on Instagram of the giant reclining gold Buddha. And trust us, it is spectacular to see. Wat Pho is both the largest and the oldest temple in Bangkok. We found this one of the quieter temples to visit, with lots of opportunities for photos in the grounds with virtually no one else around. This is of course dependent on time of year and day that you go.

Reclining Budhha Wat Pho, Bangkok

The cost to visit is 100 THB (so about 2.50 GBP).

Location: 2 Sanam Chai Rd, Khwaeng Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang, Khet Phra Nakhon, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10200, Thailand

Open: Daily 8.00am – 5.00pm

And finally, if you carry on along Thai Wang Alley, across a 4 way intersection, you’ll come to the Ferry terminal. Here you can jump on a boat across the Chao Phraya River to visit the final Wat – Wat Arun; easily one of the most instagrammable places in Bangkok ! The cost for the ferry is 10 THB (approx. 0.25 GBP), but only takes about 5 minutes to do the river crossing. It’s actually a great opportunity to take some snaps of river life, with numerous boats heading up and down the river, ferrying everything from goods to passengers.

Wat Arun, Bangkok

Set on the shores of the Chao Phraya river, Wat Arun is best visited at sunrise (it is known as the Temple of the Dawn), so if you have time in the schedule, you could also reserve this one for an early morning excursion. That said, you are able to climb a little way up the central tower to get a view of the city.

Cost to visit is 50 THB (so 1.25 GBP).

Location: 158 Thanon Wang Doem, Khwaeng Wat Arun, Khet Bangkok Yai, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10600, Thailand

Open: 8.30am – 5.30pm

Some tips: Make sure you are dressed in the correct clothing for visiting temples. Thailand can be quite conservative in their dress outside the main backpacking and beach areas/islands. It may sound obvious, but the number of people that we saw turned away for short shorts, skirts and uncovered shoulders made us cringe a little, else they had to hand over cash for a well-worn cover-up at the door.

Definitely don’t take any tuk tuk that is hanging around one of these Wat’s. They’re probably going to try and take you to a ‘friends’ store or scam you in some way… they’ll normally stand by an entrance not open and say that the Wat is closed for the day. Just walk past and find the right entrance! Use Grab, which is South East Asia’s equivalent to Uber. And, if you are really keen to take a tuk tuk, we’d recommend you do this in Northern Thailand, as the costs are far cheaper.

Wang Lang Market

By now, you’re definitely ready to indulge in some delicious Thai fare. About 2km (a 20 minute walk) from Wat Arun, you can find the Wang Lang market. This is a great area to explore a number of food stalls and try some authentic Thai street food; it’s one of the markets catering more to locals than tourists, so is fascinating to visit. It was also the first place that we tried one of our favourite street snacks – coconut pancakes – gooey, warm little balls of heaven!

Wang Lang Market, Bangkok

Location: Wang Lang Market, 45 Arun Amarin Rd, Khwaeng Siriraj, Khet Bangkok Noi, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10700, Thailand

Next, head back to your accommodation to rest up, maybe a quick nap if you’re jet-lagged, as tonight we’re going to visit the infamous Khao San Road. Here you will really get a glimpse of why Bangkok is so synonymous with backpackers and partying.

Khao San Road

You’ve probably seen the scene from the film The Beach , where Leonardo Di Caprio stumbles along the Khao San Road. With drunken backpackers falling out of bars, market stalls selling Chang Beer t-shirts and elephant trousers to the food stalls offering fired insects to crocodile meat and hawkers offering you everything in between, the film which was shot back in 2000 is still not far away from what it is like today. James was last here in 2001, and it really hasn’t changed. But we think that no trip to Bangkok is complete until you’ve spent the time to wander down the road, maybe stopping in one of the quieter bars and doing some people watching. It really is fascinating, overwhelming, a must-see in Bangkok.

Khao San Road, Bangkok

Oh and if you haven’t seen the film (or better yet, read the book), it is really worth a watch (or read) before you start your 3 week itinerary.

If you’re keen for some dinner, really close to the Khao San Road is one of our favourites Krua Apsorn . This little gem is in the Michelin guide for it’s affordable yet lipsmackingly good food. Don’t expect great service but do expect fragrant egg omelettes and to-die-for crab and prawn dishes. For about 400 THB (10 GBP) you can have a great meal for two.

Day 2 Bangkok

Chatuchak Weekend Market (or MBK Centre)

Now, we’re obviously taking a bit of an assumption here that you’ll be in Bangkok over a weekend, so our first stop for day two is at the Chatuchak weekend market. Don’t fret if you’re not as we have an equally good option for you – just read on.

The Chatuchak Market is located handily on both the Skytrain (to Mo Chit) and also the MRT (get off at the Chatuchak Park station), this is the largest market in all of Thailand. And if markets are your thing, you could easily spend the whole day walking around the numerous stores that sell everything from clothing to handicrafts. So make sure that you leave some space in your suitcase BEFORE you arrive so you can fill up on some great wares.

Do note that the market is so massive (about 8,000 stalls) and over a weekend it can attract 200,000 visitors, so be prepared for a bit of a crush.

Chatuchak Location: Kamphaeng Phet 2 Rd, Chatuchak, Bangkok 10900, Thailand

Open: Fridays – 6.00pm to midnight. Saturday/Sunday – 9.00am to 6.00pm

If you aren’t in Bangkok over a weekend or if you just love to shop, another great location is to head to the MBK Centre. Probably the most famous mall in Bangkok, this shopping centre sits over 8 floors and is rammed with over 2,000 stalls, selling everything from the latest electronics to cheap clothing. And if you barter hard, you can really pick up a bargain.

Picture of Bangkok-branded underwear

Handy tip: if you are there over a weekend and want to visit both the MBK centre and the Chatuchak Market, then best to head to MBK first, as our next stop is right next to Chatuchak and is a little gem that you CANNOT miss.

MBK Centre Location: 444 Phayathai Rd, Khwaeng Wang Mai, Khet Pathum Wan, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10330, Thailand

Open: Daily 10am – 10pm

Or Tor Kor Market

And the next stop today, and luckily so, as you’re probably famished from all that stiff bargain negotiating, is the Or Tor Kor Market: our favourite food market in all of South East Asia and a real Thai hidden gem . You just have to spend some time here – it’s a foodie’s dream. This market was set up by the previous Thai King as a way to support farmers from the north of Thailand in promoting their goods. The catch? They needed to put out the finest that they had, and they also had to convert it into ready-to-eat cuisine, to be sold at the market’s central food court.

Or Tor Kor Market. Spices.

We would highly recommend booking a food tour to get the most out of your time at the market. Read all about the Or Tor Kor tour and experiences we had at this market .

Or Tor Kor Location: Khwaeng Chatuchak, Khet Chatuchak, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10900

Open: Daily 8.00am to 6.00pm

Bargaining Tips: Now if you’re anything like Lee, you might be really quite uncomfortable with bartering to get a discount on your goods. But it’s really important to know that it is part and parcel of the Thai culture. And if it’s done it the right way, you’ll probably find that you get a kick out of it and it adds to your experience.

  • Our most important tip is always smile, be friendly and, where you can, bargain with humour. A smile goes a hell of a long way with a seller.
  • Think of the price that you are willing to pay, and be happy if you pay that, or even slightly less.
  • Don’t forget, if they’re willing to sell something to you at a price, they’re making money on it. They wouldn’t sell it if not.
  • It’s ok to walk away, and then return a little bit later; and can be a good tactic

The Sky Bar, Lebua for drinks and sunset

If you’ve seen the Hangover Part II film, then you’ll probably know of the views that you can get from the rooftop bars in Thailand. The setting for this film is the Sky Bar, Lebua. It’s popularity has obviously sky-rocketed (excuse the pun) since the film but it is still one of the best places to view the city at sunset and into the night. Although don’t be surprised that the drinks here are possibly the most expensive that you’ll have in South East Asia – up to 20 GBP for a cocktail or a beer!

Picture of Bangkok night skyline from Sky bar

Location: Lebua at State Tower, 1055 Silom Road, Bangrak

Open: Daily 6.00pm to 1.00am

If you’re looking for other (cheaper) options for rooftop bars as part of your 3 week travel itinerary, Thailand, there is a great list here . Also good to note that a lot of the rooftop bars have stricter dress codes: closed shoes and long trousers for men.

Day 3 Bangkok

For your final day in Bangkok, we’d recommend getting up early and heading over to one of the most vibrant parts of Bangkok, Chinatown. This district – called Yaowarat – makes it onto CNN’s list of the best places for street food, and offers not just mouth-watering meals, but temples and viewing points galore. Many people will recommend that your last day would be better spent visiting a local floating market but, if we’re honest, we wouldn’t advise this: they are heavily over commercialised and really don’t offer too much in the way of experience.

Sampeng Market

Start out the day at Sampeng market, which offers local food, souvenoirs, homewares and handicrafts. We’d recommend getting a good coffee here but also you could try out some morning dim sum or yummy egg omelettes.

Sampeng Location: Soi Wanit 1, Khwaeng Chakkrawat, Khet Samphanthawong, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10100, Thailand

Wat Traimit

We’d suggest visiting two temples in Chinatown, and this is the first and best. Home to the world’s biggest seated Buddha (which is, incidentally, also the largest gold statue in the world), this Wat was built in the 14 th century and is quite the popular site. It is technically free to visit but if you want to frequent the museum that is 10 THB (0.25 GBP)

Wat Traimit Location: 661 Charoen Krung Rd, Khwaeng Talat Noi, Khet Samphanthawong, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10100, Thailand

Open: Daily 8.00am to 5.00pm

Wat Mangkon Kamalawat (Wat Keng Noei Yi)

Dating back to 1872, this temple is one of the most important Chinese-Buddhist temples and has a mix of Buddhist, Taoist and Confucian shrines, making it a really interesting place to explore. It was originally named Wat Leng Nui Yee, but this was changed to Wat Mangkom Kamalawat (Dragon Lotus Temple) by King Rama V.

Wat Mangkon Kamalawat Location: 423 Charoen Krung Rd, Khwaeng Pom Prap, Khet Pom Prap Sattru Phai, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10100, Thailand

Open: Daily 9.00am to 5.00pm

Street eats and drinks

We recommend you head back onto the streets of Chinatown, kicking off with a hearty helping of kui chai. Just a stone’s throw (about 250 metres) from the Wat is Jay Noi’s Kuichai Meal, which offers you a steamed Chinese chive cake, with dipping sauce. This is a simple push cart vendor but absolutely delicious, and perfect for vegetarians! They also include a few other veggie options including fried taro which will fill your belly with delight.

Picture of streets of Chinatown, Bangkok Thailand

Finish off your day trying different delicacies in the neighbourhood (we’re told Mangkorn Khao has the best egg noodles), and finally end your day with a drink or two. Try Ba Hao for a refreshing signature cocktail or, for the ultimate view, head to the Grand China Hotel . It has a revolving restaurant which gives you panoramic views of the district and of the river.

Insider tip: Want to see Bangkok from a different angle, at night? We love the Bangkok Night Cycling Tour , where a local guide will take you past another side of the city after dark, from the back of a bicycle!

Getting from Bangkok airport into town

From Suvarnabhumi Airport

Taxi: The most convenient and, of course, the most expensive. You can take a taxi from Gate 4 and 7 of the passenger terminal – make sure to ask them to put the meter on! It takes between 40-50 minutes and ranges from 350 to 450 THB (7.50 – 10 GBP). You can also book a Grab taxi via the Grab app, which usually ends up a slightly cheaper.

Public Van: The vans make stops along the route to Victory Monument in the city center, ensuring they take a bit longer than a taxi – about 45 minutes to an hour depending on the number of drop-offs. Usually the cost is 40 THB (1 GBP) and from Victory Monument you can either walk, or take another bus, van or Skytrain.

Airport Rail Link: The fastest option, this connects the airport with downtown Bangkok and only takes between 25-30 minutes. It makes six stops and ends at Phayathai station which again provides the option of bus, van or taxi. Cost at time of writing was 45 THB (1.2 GBP)

From Don Mueang Airport

Taxi: The airport is about 24 km from downtown Bangkok, and taxi is the easiest way to travel between the two points. The journey takes between 30-60 minutes depending on traffic and price ranges from 300-400 THB (7.50 – 10.00 GBP)

Bus: A more affordable option is to take Bus No 29 which costs 20 THB (0.5 GBP). This takes between 45-75 minutes.

Koh Pha Ngan – 3 days (or Koh Samui)

After a few days taking in the sights and sounds of the big city, we would recommend for the next part of your 3 weeks in Thailand itinerary to head to the islands in the south to get in some sun, sand and sea. There are a few choices to make, firstly, which area to head to – the islands of Koh Tao, Koh Phangan and Koh Samui on the east coast, or the likes of Koh Lanta , Koh Phi Phi , Koh Jum. You could also stay in Phuke t or Krabi on the west coast.

Bluerama pool, Koh Pha Ngan

On this itinerary we have chosen to do both east and west coasts, but during the monsoons the weather can be miserable so best to check what time of year you are going on where to go.

And secondly, how best to get from Bangkok to the south. On our most recent trip, we took the overnight train from Bangkok to Surat Thani, then the ferry across to the east coast islands. One positive is that the night train saves you a night’s accommodation, but it’s obviously a lot slower than flying and wasn’t entirely comfortable. We generally recommend air travel, since you can fly directly to Krabi, Phuket , Surat Thani or Koh Samui but we’ve put the detail on the train-ferry combo below.

Getting from Bangkok to Koh Pha Ngan

We’d recommend booking with Bookaway . If you’re looking for hassle free travel, 24hr support and great cancellation policies, these guys are great otherwise it’s also pretty easy to sort yourself.

We booked the overnight train that, on arrival in Surat Thani, provided you with a connection bus to take you to the corresponding ferry operator. We went with Lomprayah (high speed catamaran) as it is the fastest option taking about 2.5 hours, but there are a couple of others which are cheaper and slightly slower. Although after a night on the train, if you’re like us, you’ll probably be aching to get to the beach as quick as possible… We heard that the bus and ferry combination was a better option.

Here is a list of favourite hotels in Koh Phangan to try:

Luxury : Anantara Rasananda Koh Phangan Villas is part of the larger Anantara chain, which always offers great luxury at more affordable (but still premium) pricing. These villas offer some of the best experiences on the island, amd is one of the best family friendly hotels in Thailand .

Mid – range : Our vote is for Le Divine Comedie in the Baan Tai area. This is  quieter area but yet very popular for travellers, and this resort is not only beautiful but – bonus – serves breakfast all day! So even if you have a late night (or morning) after the Full Moon party, you won’t miss out on your bacon and eggs…

Budget : Backpackers will tell you that Koh Pha Ngan offers heaps of great accommodation options but Oasis Hostel is one of the more well-known and regarded.

Day 4 Koh Pha Ngan

For our time on the east coast islands, we selected both Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Tao as our favourites, but depending on your interests, pick any two out of three or even just one if you want to spend less time travelling.

When arriving into Koh Pha Ngan, you’ll be dropped off at the Thong Sala Pier, on the south west side of the island. There will be a bunch of songthaew (converted pick-up trucks acting as taxis) waiting – and asking where you are heading to. It’s good to chat to them and barter hard to take you to the area that you’ll be staying in… they will hang around a bit to make sure they have a full load before departing.

It’s good to note that just near the Thong Sala pier is the weekend night market, which is well worth a visit, and if you’re staying near here (like we did), every night there is the Phantip food market which is a fantastic spot for cheap, but very good street food.

Snorkelling at Haad Mae

For your first day on Koh Pha Ngan, we’d probably suggest some rest and relaxation, which would include a trip up to Haad Mae. This pristine white strip of beach is a perfect introduction to island living – just rent a beach chair from an enterprising local, and take in the ocean views for the day. There are also a number of mid-range beach resorts in the area, many of them offering an easy yet affordable lunch.

Mae Haad, Koh Pha Ngan

Haad Mae beach is the best snorkelling spot in Koh Pha Ngan and also offers a short beach walk since at low tide you are able to walk over to the Koh Ma Island. Simply rent a snorkel from one of the beach huts (or a stand up paddle board if you prefer), and spend a few hours under the water chasing angel fish before heading over to Koh Ma to look around.

Haad Mae beach Location:

Wang Sai Waterfall

The Haad Mae area also offers a chance to take in the first waterfall of your Thailand 3 week itinerary: the Wang Sai waterfall. This water feature is easily accessible since it’s literally just before the entrance to the beach. Wang Sai is impressive all year around and has a small basin at the bottom, meaning you can take a dip in it’s refreshing, cool water. The entrance is about 100 metres before Maad Hae Beach – park your motorbike or car and take the small footpath on the right for about ten minutes. There is signage directing you.

Wang Sai waterfall Location :

Day 5 Koh Pha Ngan

Without doubt one of our highlights of our itinerary in Thailand was our day trip to Ang Thong National Park. You can read a full review along with the day’s itinerary right here.

Lee overlooking mu ko ang thong national park

It’s not well known but the real inspiration for Alex Garland’s novel The Beach (which we mentioned earlier), was Ang Thong, and not Koh Phi Phi or Krabi as some might think. The National Marine Park is actually an archipelago of 42 islands, characterised by incredible towering limestone cliffs, white beaches and – as we found during our exploration –  vivid sea life, baby blue lagoons and thick, humid jungle bush.

So if there’s anything that you take from this list, we can’t rate this experience any more highly! It’s important to note that it can get crowded, so pick an operator that uses speedboats to beat the crowds and also goes out of it’s way to find secluded spots. We went with Safariboat tours and had the most amazing time.

Ang Thong can be reached from both Koh Pha Ngan and Samui, so definitely do also add it to your itinerary! If you’re coming from Koh Samui, we’ve heard great things about this tour .

Day 6 Koh Pha Ngan

Now, to the other extreme of Koh Pha Ngan, and what this island is most famous for: the party scene. For the last day (and evening), we’d suggest that you head to Haad Rin, where you can party to your hearts content. This is the place where the Full Moon P arty was created – all the way back by a bunch of friends in 1970s!

Full Moon at Haad Rin, Koh Pha Ngan

If you haven’t heard of it before, this is a monthly beach ‘festival’ celebrating the arrival of the full moon. And over the years it has become synonymous with travellers and gap year students who want a night they won’t forget. Essentially a night of bad decisions and good music. So if you are able to time your arrival to coincide with the full moon, that’s great – here is a calendar of all the full moon dates .

However, don’t fear if you aren’t there during the full moon. With so many travellers wanting to experience the party scene and only 12 nights of the year to host the party, there are now also quarter and half-moon parties along with secret jungle parties every week. So you won’t miss out on the fun…

Koh Tao (Turtle Island) – 3 days

Travelling between the islands is really easy, again hop on one of the operators and head from Koh Pha Ngan to Koh Tao – the smallest of the Chumphon Archipelago. The journey only takes 60 mins on the high speed ferry with the slowest option taking a couple of hrs. Don’t forget to book ferries in advance , especially if you’re travelling in high season!

If you’re doing a dive course it might make the most sense to take advantage of the rooms offered alongside the dive course, as we did with Crystal Dive . However, there are a number of great places to stay in Koh Tao , to suit every budget!

Dive Squad

Luxury : For those looking for a bit of premium travel, The Haad Tien is a great hotel based on Haad Tien beach. It’s actually paired with a slightly cheaper sister hotel, Beach Club by Haad Tien, if you want to save a few pennies.

Mid-range: While it’s quite north of the island, its relaxing to stay near Mae Haad beach, and the best pick of the mid-range bunch is Koh Tao Beach Club . It’s a family-friendly beach resort with great on-site facilities.

Budget: It’s not necessarily a backpacker hostel but Nat Resort is a fantastic budget option. A stone’s throw from the Haad Sairee beach, it offers cheap rooms with an amazing location.

Day 7 to 9 on Koh Tao

Now the main reason that you’re going to head to Koh Tao is for the scuba diving, it’s potentially the cheapest place in the world to learn. We recently did both a refresher course (James hadn’t been diving in 12 years) and an open water dive course (Lee was a total newbie) on the island. If you’d like to read more about who we’d recommend if you’d like to learn to dive – check it out here .

Good to note that you’d need a minimum 4 days on Koh Tao if doing the full open water course, so you may want to cut short another location. Although a good tip to save time: look at doing a part PADI open water at home (pool skills and theory) before you arrive to just enjoy your time in the water! Most good scuba schools are very open to this.

So what to expect from the island and what to do if you don’t want to dive the whole time?

Well the obvious alternative to scuba diving is going on a snorkelling trip. And you won’t be disappointed! At certain times of the year, there is also the chance to see and swim next to a whale shark. These peaceful giants of the sea are pretty rare, and a massive bucket list for many divers, so if you get a chance to swim with them you are in for a real treat.

Blue spotted ray

If you head over to the south of the island, for us there are two great things to do: Firstly, snorkelling in Shark bay, where you’ll often get to swim with young black tip reef sharks. A thrilling experience. And also hike up to the John-Suwan Viewpoint, to give you some beautiful views of the coast. It’s a little bit of a strenuous hike, so good to do early in the morning or for sunset, but so worth it…

What we also really loved about Koh Tao is that the island has really taken on eco-tourism. The island doesn’t allow plastic bags at shops, most places won’t provide you with  a straw etc. Its so great to see them trying to make a difference.

Ao Nang, Railay Beach and Koh Phi Phi – 4 days

So your time on the east coast islands has come to an end, but now we’d suggest heading over the peninsula to the west coast. There is so much to explore but we’ve tried to pick out our highlights for your 3 weeks in Thailand itinerary.

First up, heading from Koh Tao across to Krabi. It’s a bit of a journey, but a couple of ferries and a coach ride takes a good half day, so make sure you factor this into your planning. You’ll arrive in the old town, but we’d recommend heading straight out and be based over in Ao Nang for the next few days. It’s a good place to book day trips from, has some great accommodation options, a nightlife scene and good dining options.

Check out the latest travel options between Koh Tao and Krabi here .

Where to stay in Ao Nang/Railay Beach

Looking for the best places to stay in Ao Nang ? Here are some of our best picks in each price range.

Luxury : It reminds us of an African lodge, so it’s no wonder we would recommend Peace Laguna Resort . It boasts detached cottages that are gorgeous inside and out, plus has a number of different pools (three in fact) and is about 500m from the beach.

Mid-range: When last in Ao Nang, we stayed at Deevana Krabi Resort and we can’t recommend it enough. Well-appointed rooms, fantastic service and delicious food in its restaurant shared with its sister hotel. It’s slightly off the main strip so there is a 10 minute walk to the beach but it’s well worth it, since the promenade can get very busy and you’ll probably love the quiet. It is Adults Only but the sister hotel allows children.

Budget: Pod-style living is all the rage and it’s well-delivered at Mini Boxtel Ao Nang , one of the best hostels in the area. Right by the beach and in the action, this is a clean, highly-recommended hostel which is a bit less social than others but offers a great experience in Krabi.

If you’re keen to have a few days of pure relaxation, you may want to instead check out Koh Lanta . We absolutely loved spending a few days chilling on Koh Lanta!

Day 10 Ao Nang

So after a pretty long travel day, you’ve arrived into your accommodation in Ao Nang, a good chance to freshen up, and maybe a quick nap if needed. Before you head out to experience Ao Nang, the main street on the beach front offers a load of dining options, some good cafés and an array of souvenir shops.

Just before night falls, it’s definitely worth heading down to Ao Nang Beach where you’ll get the chance to see a cracking sunset.

Image of girl on Ao Nang beach during sunset

For dinner, we absolutely loved Kodam Kitchen . It’s just nestled a couple of streets back from the main drag, but the food and hospitality is so so good. We ended up eating there 2 nights in a row and kind of wished we found it earlier.

Day 11 Railay Beach

It’s a must-see as part of your 3 week Thailand itinerary. One of the most famous Thailand beaches, we’d recommend that you get up early to enjoy Railay Beach to it’s fullest. First thing when there is virtually no one else there. So head down to Ao Nang beach, wander along and you will find plenty of longtail boat drivers waiting to take you the short hop over to Railay. At time of writing you needed to have a minimum of 6 to a boat and it cost between 20-60 THB (0.5 – 1.5 GBP) per person.

Although we travelled in low season, we arrived at the beach around 7.30 am and found a few others also looking to make the 10 minute boat ride to Railay beach.

Railay Beach, Thailand

You’ll be dropped off on Railay Beach West. Take some time to stroll up and down the beach, before heading over to the East side. It’s nowhere near as pretty as the West beach, but if you then walk towards Phra Nang beach and the Phra Nang cave shrine (it’s well signposted), you are in for another treat. Probably the most spectacular of all the beaches in the area.

Phra Nang beach, Thailand

If you’re keen on rock climbing, there is some of the best rock climbing in Thailand on Railay (we are told that Krabi Rock Climbing are the best operators), and if you’re feeling energetic there is a great viewpoint that can be accessed on the walkway between East Railay and Phra Nang. We weren’t able to climb the viewpoint as it was a bit wet from a couple of days prior. But it looked pretty steep and tricky!

Once you’ve had time to explore, swim and sunbathe on Phra Nang, head back to Railay West for more of the same… it’s a great place to chill out for the day. And whenever you are bored or keen to head back to Ao Nang, head over to the longtail boats to catch the ride back.

Day 12 Koh Phi Phi

Another highlight in the region is taking a speedboat tour of Koh Phi Phi. Koh Phi Phi is actually an archipelago of 6 islands, which are about 30 km south of Ao Nang in the Andaman Sea. So, today you will have the chance to swim and snorkel with some beautiful fish and coral reefs. And relax on the soft, white sand beaches of the islands.

Picture of boats on the water in Phi Phi Islands, Thailand

After your pick up from your accommodation, and the speed boat ride to the islands, first stop will be Pileh Lagoon, a natural lagoon framed by sheer cliffs. Next, you’ll head over to Maya Bay, one of the filming locations of The Beach . Be aware at time of writing, no boats are able to enter the bay since there are ongoing conservation projects to try and rejuvenate the fish and coral population due to over tourism.

The next stop on the itinerary will be Monkey Bay, where you’re likely to encounter a few cheeky macaques, often they’ll come right up to you on the beach. Following the monkeys it’s time for some lunch on Koh Phi Phi Don, the largest of the islands. Followed by some snorkelling, swimming, and exploring Bamboo Island before transfer back to Ao Nang.

It’s a pretty long day – about 8 hrs or so, but a very memorable experience.

Day 13 Try Muay Thai and travel to Chiang Mai

Now, we’d never really done any combat sports beforehand, but a morning lesson with a Muay Thai expert turned out to be one of our favourite sporting activities that we did while in Thailand. There are no issues if you are a complete newbie to boxing/kick boxing, you can actually pick up loads in just an hour long lesson.

We had a private lesson at Deevana Krabi and apart from being absolutely exhausting. It was so much fun. And something we’d definitely do again in a heartbeat. Find out more here .

So after an early morning bit of exercise, you’ll be raring to go, as today is another travel day. Freshen up from the workout, pack up your stuff and use the remaining time to explore Ao Nang a bit more before heading over to Krabi airport to head to the north of Thailand.

We’d recommend taking the evening flight from Krabi to Chiang Mai. Air Asia has two daily flights direct, which only takes a couple of hours. There are other providers, but they all require a stop in Bangkok.

Chiang Mai – 3 days

The largest city in northern Thailand is without doubt our favourite, and if you are a digital nomad, you can seriously consider it as a base to stay for a little while. Alongside great cafes (awesome spots to catch up on some work), restaurants and accommodation, the city is teeming with history. You can get lost wandering around the old city and there are also some pretty cool activities to do too, with hiking in the hills and visiting waterfalls a must! Which is why we have dedicated 3 days to seeing the sights as part of this 3 weeks in Thailand itinerary!

Luxury : Ten minutes from the night market is one of the most beautiful boutique hotels in Chiang Mai, 137 Pillars House. It offers huge, luxurious suites with garden views and has an outdoor pool, a highly-rated spa and gym.

Mid-range: Chiang Mai has a host of great options in the midrange budget but the best of the bunch is 18 In Town Homestay . It has a lush green garden, lovely cozy clean rooms and free bikes to help you get around the town.

Budget: We stayed at Hostel by Bed , and would really advocate for this great little hostel. It’s impeccably clean, has a huge shared kitchen, friendly staff and delicious breakfast each day!

Day 14 Chiang Mai

Coffee stop

So first thing in the morning, it’s worth getting a taste of the fine northern Thai coffee, and what better place to try than at Akha Ama Coffee. Probably the best coffee in Thailand. And also handily located right next to the most beautiful Chiang Mai temple, Wat Phra Singh. Make sure you hit up the right one though – Akha Ama La Fattoria – or you’re in for a bit of a hike to the temple!

Picture of tea and coffee at Akha Amma Coffee in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Location: Tambon Si Phum Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand

Open: Daily 8.00am to 5.30pm

Wat Phra Singh

Just a quick stroll along from the café, you’ll find the Wat Phra Singh. The original temple here was built in the 14 th century, and since then several other buildings added to form a large complex with several smaller chedis and kuti, where the monks live. It’s one of the most attractive temples in Chiang Mai, with gorgeous gilded rooftops and whitewashed walls but also one of the remaining working temples, as you see the monks roaming about and there is a school on the grounds itself.

Wat Phra Singh, Chiang Mai

Location: 2 Samlarn Rd, Phra Sing, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai, Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50280, Thailand

Open: 6.00am to 5.30pm

Day 15 Chiang Mai

So time to either hire another driver/tour guide for the day, and head out to the Bua Tong Sticky Waterfalls. The limestone waterfalls are about 90 minute drive north of Chiang Mai (60 km). If you are going to visit any waterfall in Northern Thailand, we would definitely recommend this one! Before arriving in Thailand we’d never heard of these falls, but soon learned about how they get their name…  limestone mineral deposits have been left over the years which act as a grippy surface. Essentially enabling you to scale the falls through the gushing water, something that is impossible at most other waterfalls.

Picture of couple at top of Sticky Waterfalls in Chiang Mai

Our guide for the day, PD (Piangduan) was fantastic. Book your tour to the Sticky Waterfalls, with Get Your Guide her e .

Of course you could hire a motorbike and drive there yourself, but we really valued the guide helping us to navigate the waterfalls the first time. But we strongly recommend that you get there early – it can get busy by the afternoon. And also worth putting on some insect repellent. We didn’t and the mosquitoes loved James…

Location: Mae Ho Phra, Mae Taeng District, Chiang Mai 50150, Thailand

Day 16 Chiang Mai

Wat Chedi Luang

One of the oldest temples in Chiang Mai, which was partially destroyed due to an earthquake in 1545 and then restored, partially, by UNESCO in the 1990s, we really enjoyed our time at this unique temple. The temple was really cool, but what we enjoyed most was the opportunity to chat about Buddhism and Chiang Mai with its monks. Everyday the Wat hosts ‘monk chat groups’ where you can have a great conversation with them. Note there is a 40 THB entrance fee (about 1 GBP).

Wat Chedi Luang, Chiang Rai

Location: 103 Prapokkloa Rd, Tambon Si Phum, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai, Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand

Open: 6.00am to 6.30pm daily

Thai cooking course

Of course, you can’t come to Thailand without trying your hand at a spot of Thai cooking. What better way to take home a real souvenir than to learn how to cook some Pad Thai or Thai Green Curry? Well look no further than booking yourself into one of Chiang Mai’s many cooking ‘schools’ for an evening’s introduction into the art of fine cuisine.

Picture of food from a Thai cooking course

There are loads of options, but the most popular is May Kaidee’s Cooking School. Founded in 1988, the school specialises in vegetarian dishes and runs twice daily, at a cost of 1,500 THB per person (about 40 GBP)

Getting from Chiang Mai to Pai

By minibus: There are buses every hour from Chiang Mai to Pai and it takes about 3 hrs to get there.

Note: If you are skipping Pai, there are lots of options to go directly to Chiang Rai, ideally taking the Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai bus .

Pai – 2 days

You’re made it to Pai, one of the newer attractions on the Thailand circuit. And for good reason: it’s a dynamic, vibrant place filled with interesting people, great cafes and incredible scenery like waterfalls, canyons and bamboo bridges . So a must on your 3 weeks in Thailand itinerary.

Luxury : Treat yourself to a luxurious getaway with Puri Pai Villas . Overlooking Pai, these rooms are well-appointed, with friendly staff, wonderful food and a hopping bar, the Barn, which offers panoramic views.

Mid-range : Just 300m from the bus station is Pai Cherkaew Boutique House, the perfect oasis for your stay in Pai. Cool aircon, strong wifi and a lovely shared lounge which allows you to network with other guests, the rooms are spacious and include all the mod cons like flatscreen TVs.

Budget: If you’re looking to meet fellow travellers, Pai Circus is the backpacker’s dream hostel. The rooms are a bit basic but the social aspect and fantastic activities (bonfire nights, barbeques, you name it) make up for the lack of facilities.

Pam Bok Waterfalls

The Pam Bok waterfalls are relatively close to Pai and a great reprieve from the heat. Hike or take a motorbike out here and spend the morning relaxing in the cool water, before heading to your next stop.

Location: Tambon, Thung Yao, Pai District, Mae Hong Son 58130, Thailand

Elephant conservation

Now, a caveat. We are not huge fans of elephant tourism and we have not done this particular activity ourselves, as we have a personal aversion to animal tourism. However, Conserve Natural Forests offers a great sustainable version of elephant conservation, as the animals wander freely. You are able to feed, stroke and wash the elephants, at a cost of 1,000 THB (26 GBP) per person. There is also apparently a good ethical elephant experience in Chiang Mai.

Elephants, Thailand

Open: Tours between 01.30pm and 5.00pm daily.

Wat Phra That Mae Yen

We’d suggest heading back to your hotel to clean up, and then going out to catch the sunset at the ‘temple on the hill’ or Wat Phra That Mae Yen. This offers a gorgeous view of the town and surrounding mountains, and is a popular sunset spot, although is about 350 steps to walk up!

You can also walk a little further to the World War II Memorial Bridge, which is lit up every night.

Location: Mae Hi, Pai District, Mae Hong Son 58130, Thailand

Open: 24 hours a day

Night Market/ Walking Street

What better way to spend first night in Pai than in one of the best walking streets in South East Asia. The street comes alive around 6.00pm, as it becomes pedestrianized and loads of little stalls start popping up. Try the sizzling kebabs, buy some souvenirs or find those delicious coconut pancakes that Lee loves so much!

Location: Chai Songkhram Rd, Wiang Tai, Amphoe Pai, Chang Wat Mae Hong Son 58130, Thailand

Open: Daily from 6.00 – 11.00pm

It’s one of the must-do sights in Pai and the perfect way to kick off your second day, as you see giant red cracks across the earth. There is a narrow walking trail along the edge, which you need to navigate.

Picture of the view from Pai Canyon, Thailand

Go early in the morning to get the sunrise but also the entire place to yourself.


Hot Springs

After a busy morning hiking the canyon, the best way to relax is in a natural hot spring! These are about 8km from Pai so take a tuk tuk out there and spend the afternoon relaxing in the various pools.

It costs 300 THB (approx. 8 GBP), and includes mineral baths, hot springs and a swimming pool.

Location: 84-84/1 Moo 2, Mae Hee, Pai, Mae Hong Son, Pai, 58130, Thailand

Treat yourself for your last dinner in Pai by eating at Silhouette . It’s a delectable fine dining experience – you’ll feel like you are sitting in a European restaurant, albeit with Thai flair.

However, if you’re looking for something more affordable, local expats recommend Lemon and Thyme café. Run by two young Thai men, they specialize in delicious sandwiches but also eclectic weekly specials and fish dishes.

Getting from Pai to Chiang Rai

By minibus: The trip takes about 6 hours departing at 7am. Check out the latest options here .

Chiang Rai  – 2 days

The most northern city in Thailand, in reality Chiang Rai is a bit of a sleepy town – one of the reasons why we love it. Another perfect place to relax, hang out and see some stunningly picturesque sites. It’s also a great place to base yourself to explore the north if you have more than 3 weeks, with trips to the Golden Triangle and to visit hill tribes or head out on some hiking adventures.

Luxury : About 2km out of town is The Riverie . Nestled on an island in the middle of the Kok river, is is one of the best luxury resorts in the region and boasts stunning views across the mountains, and fantastic rooms and facilities.

Mid-range: While its quite out of town, we’d make a very strong recommendation for Bura Resort . An eco resort, each bungalow has its own cascading waterfall! It is beautifully designed and what makes it so special is the staff: attentive, kind and willing to help with whatever you need.

Budget: Right by the Chiang Rai night bazaar and near the city centre is Mercy Hostel . This great gem of a hostel offers dorms and private rooms, all with wifi, aircon and a communal swimming pool and snooker table!

Day 19 Chiang Rai

We would recommend getting a driver for the day to take you around to the famous temples and sites – yes those ones that you’ve seen from Instagram! The cost for a driver for the day is about 1,600 THB (40 GBP), so although it was a little expensive it just made the day a lot simpler. However, if you’re relatively comfortable riding a moped, then you could also hire one for the day, but there is a bit of distance between these sights. Also, Grab (the SE Asia version of Uber) works well too, and taxis aren’t too expensive.

The White temple

Make sure you head out early to visit Wat Rong Khun, also known as the White Temple to try and avoid those crowds. One of the most famous landmarks in Thailand , this temple is actually a privately owned art exhibit, created by Chalermchai Kositpopat… it definitely is stunning but totally unconventional and a refreshing alternative to many other temples. Alongside the main white temple, there are loads of other interesting exhibits and buildings to explore. There is an entrance fee of 50 THB (approx. 1.25 GBP).

The White Temple, Chiang Rai

Location: Pa O Don Chai, Chiang Rai 57000, Thailand

Open: Daily 6.30am to 6pm

The Black House

Another alternative experience, and from chatting to many travellers, their favourite in Chiang Rai. For us, although it wasn’t quite as cool as the White Temple, The Black House or it’s real name Baan Dam is definitely worth the trip. The Black House is actually a park with a strange selection of buildings, displays, sculptures and installations. Baan Dam is a display of the life’s work of Thai artist Thawan Duchanee. There is an 80 THB entrance fee (about 2 GBP).

The Black House, Baan Dam, Chiang Rai

Location: 414 Moo 13, Ban Du, Chiang Rai

Refuel at Chivit Thamma Da

To give you a real taste of colonial style living, and because it is just down the road from our final stop of the day we’d recommend heading to Chivit Thama Da for a spot of lunch or even just some afternoon tea and cake. The place is a little on the pricier end, but make sure you sit upstairs in the library areas, where you can play free pool or snooker while eating out on the veranda overlooking the river Kok.

The Blue Temple

And onto the final stop for the day, a 2 minute drive or 5 minute walk from the restaurant, you’ll find the Blue Temple, Wat Rong Suea Ten. If you haven’t seen photos of this place, you’ve probably guessed by the name, this Thai temple is decorated almost exclusively in blue, providing it with a very unique style.

The Blue Temple, Chiang Rai

Location: 306 Maekok Rd, Mueang Chiang Rai District, Chiang Rai 57100

Open: Daily 6.00am to 7.00pm

Day 20 Chiang Rai

Wat Huay Pla Kang

This morning, head out towards the north of Chiang Rai, where you will find the Chinese temple complex of Wat Huay Pla Kang, which has three separate, and all very different temples. Firstly there is the giant Buddha, pretty impressive on it’s own, but when you add the steps leading up to it, protected by giant dragons – it makes for a pretty magical place. You can also take an elevator up inside the Buddha with great views.

Dragons, Wat Huay Pla Kang, Chiang Rai

Right next door, you have a very elaborately decorated white temple, and then next to that the 9-storey pagoda which again you can climb to the top, providing an excellent view of the surroundings.

One of the best things about Wat Huay Pla Kang is that it was also relatively empty. We went in the middle of the afternoon and found ourselves virtually alone.

Location: 553 Moo 3 | Rimkok, Chiang Rai 57100

Open: Daily 8am to 6pm

After spending time at the temple complex, it’s time to head back into Chiang Rai. If you’re hungry we’d definitely recommend that you try the Veggie burger and sinfully chocolate shake at Kunda Vegan . Then time to unwind by spending the afternoon relaxing among some furry friends at the CAT ‘n’ A CUP Cat Cafe. We have visited a few cat cafes in Asia and this is one of our favourites: there are strict rules around handling the animals, which means this is a more sustainable sort of animal tourism.

3 week thailand tour

Location: 596/7 Phaholyothin Rd, Chang Wat Chiang Rai 57000

Open: Daily 11.30am to 10.00pm

Night Bazaar

Open every night, we found this night market a great one to explore and try out some local treats. It has everything you’d expect from a Thailand night market, but given it’s proximity to the centre of town and friendliness of the stall holders, we loved it and would definitely put it on the list of things to do here.

Location: Phaholyothin Rd, Chiang Rai

Open: Daily from 6pm to 11pm

Getting from Chiang Rai to Bangkok

By plane: There are loads of direct flight options to Bangkok – these take about 1.5 hours

By bus: The night buses take about 12+ hours between Chiang Rai and Bangkok. Check out more options on 12go Asia .

Bangkok – 1 day

Day 21 final day exploring bangkok.

So depending on if you’ve flown out of Chiang Rai back to Bangkok the evening before, travelling overnight by bus or flying into Bangkok today, you may have a little more time to head out of the airport and explore the city. And so, we have left our favourite temple for you until last. The Golden Mount Temple – Wat Saket. Entrance fee is 50 THB (about 1.25 GBP), we loved it as it was so quiet and has a great view of the city. So make sure this is your final stop on your 3 weeks in Thailand itinerary.

Picture of girl at the Mount Temple in Bangkok Thailand

Location: 344 Thanon Chakkraphatdi Phong, Khwaeng Ban Bat, Khet Pom Prap Sattru Phai, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10100

And in case you have a bit more time in the city, here are a few more things that you may want to check out:

  • Tour the Jim Thompson House
  • Take a street food tour
  • Visit Lumpini Park
  • Soak up some history at the National Museum

So there you have it, a comprehensive 3 weeks in Thailand itinerary… but if you have any tips, think we’ve missed anything or have any questions, just let us know in the comments below or get in touch here !

When to go?

Thailand is made up of so many different regions, and not surprisingly the climates vary throughout. So although there are definitely ‘better’ times to visit, you really can get lucky or unlucky with the weather. We travelled in May, which is on the shoulder of dry into wet season, but were really lucky during our time and had virtually no rain anywhere we went. It also came with the added benefit of being ‘low season’ meaning costs were lower and we found notoriously busy places empty and our own to explore.

However, many sites will recommend that the best time to visit Thailand is during the cool and dry season between November and April.

As mentioned earlier in the article the weather in the south on the islands can vary hugely between the east and west. Where November to April is prime weather, although once the monsoon rains move in, from June onwards, you’ll get the best of the weather in the Gulf of Thailand. Where it can be lovely all year round.

What camera equipment and other gear do we use?

We’re living proof that you don’t need the most expensive gear to travel the world and take good photos. Here are some of our must have items that make it into the packing list for all our travels.

  • Main Camera: Panasonic Lumix FZ1000
  • Drone: DJI Mavic Air – Fly More Combo
  • GoPro: Hero 7 Black
  • GoPro Dive Case: Go Pro Housing
  • GoPro Case: Smatree GoPro Carry Case – Small
  • Packing Cubes: Eagle Creek Packing case
  • Backpack: Osprey Farpoint 70
  • Powerbank: Anker Powercore
  • Phone: Xiaomi Mi 9
  • Hard drive: Transcend Slim Storejet 2TB
  • Laptop: Lenovo IdeaPad 720s
  • Headphones: Bose Quiet Comfort 35
  • Wifi Hotspot: GlocalMe G4

Some useful Thai phrases

  • Hello – Sawatdii
  • How are you? – Sabaaidii mai?
  • I’m fine – Sabaaidii
  • I’m not well – Mai sabaii
  • Thank you – Khop kun
  • Sorry – Khot hort
  • Goodbye – Bai

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I pack for Thailand?

Not sure what to pack for Thailand ? Well, like most of South East Asia, you’ll need cool, lighter coloured clothing (ideally), sandals, sunscreen and definitely an adapter! Remember also that if visiting temples (which you inevitably will), you should cover your shoulders and your knees.

What are some other areas in Thailand that I could consider? 

There are really so many fabulous places to visit in Thailand. Favourites include Khao Sok National Park, Pattaya, Koh Lipe, Koh Chang or the ancient city of Ayutthaya.

How must does 3 weeks in Thailand cost?

Thailand is one of the pricier countries in South East Asia, but of course great value compared to the US or perhaps Europe. Also, your budget always depends on your travel style. If you’re on a backpacking budget, you could easily do a daily budget of 50 GBP / 65 USD or less. For us, we fall between backpacking and mid-range, and spent 80 GBP / 100 USD per day for our 1 month in the country; although this did include some more expensive pursuits like learning to scuba dive.

What is the best itinerary for Bangkok for only 3 days?

We’ve put together the Bangkok portion of the itinerary above as 3 days but you could also dive a little deeper, since we have a full post on 4 days in Bangkok .

Is 3 weeks in Thailand enough?

Probably, yes. You can see most of the key cities and sights, spend time in the islands, and trekking in the north. Obviously there is a host of other attractions that you could add, but 3 weeks in Thailand is undoubtedly a good start.

Is Koh Tao really a dangerous place to include in my itinerary to Thailand?

There was a lot of chatter about safety on Koh Tao since there was a high profile murder in 2014, and a lot of negative media attention particularly in the UK. However, Koh Tao is a very safe place to travel and these sensationalist reports should not put you off visiting this island paradise.

Want to save it for later? Why not pin it…

3 week thailand tour

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Website URL

3 week thailand tour

Amazing post, Really interesting to read. I would like to go there with my family on my next vacation. Thanks for your valuable information. It will be very helpful when I planned to go there.

3 week thailand tour

No worries! Drop us an email through the contact us section if you’d like any further information! Definitely make it your next destination… Thailand is amazing.

3 week thailand tour

Fantastic blog! Do you have any recommendations for aspiring writers?

I’m hoping to start my own website soon but I’m a little lost on everything. Would you recommend starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many choices out there that I’m totally confused .. Any ideas? Thanks!

Thank you! So glad that you like our writing… In terms of recommendations, we are only aspiring writers too. Especially Lee who is trying to pen her first novel! So not too many hints that we can provide. However, we really believe that experiencing what you write about helps!

In terms of the WordPress question. 100% go for WordPress. It is amazing when you start to understand how to use it. And in terms of traffic from Google, much better than Squarespace, Wix etc…

3 week thailand tour

This is one of the most comprehensive, informative posts I’ve ever read! I’ve been confused with the logistics and places for months since I booked my 3 week trip to Thailand and you’ve explained EVERYTHING I need to know in a way I understand. Thank you so much! 🙂

Hi Jess, thanks so much for the feedback on our post! We love hearing back from people that find our itineraries useful 🙂 Of course, if you have any queries, do feel free to drop us an email too and we’ll come back with as much information as you can? Whereabouts are you going in Thailand? We’re very excited to be heading back there early this year…

3 week thailand tour

Just wondering about the island hopping in the east and west coast, is it better to just station myself in one town/city on each side and go on tours to nearby islands day by day or should I move islands/accomodations as well? Just trying to find the best, most time efficient way of travelling south of Thailand. We wanted a mix of party and relaxation. Please let me know what you recommend. Thanks, Erika

Hi Erika, great question! We’d definitely recommend on the most part that you move from island to island too. The islands are far enough away that often day trips aren’t that feasible, unless using speedboat options (we much preferred the slower large ferries). It also depends how long you plan on staying on the islands. I’d say the biggest mistake that people make are spending only one or two days on each island, as they want to see everything. And each island offers very different things, so it also makes a difference in what you’re interested in… but take it slow and relax, Koh Phangan is a great option for both (if you stay away from the main party areas). Hope that helps, but send us an email if you want on where you are thinking, and we’ll try and provide some recommendations! Best, James and Lee

3 week thailand tour

I read a lot of your articles and all the articles are very informative. I too would like to contribute an article on your web page. I enjoy reading your blogs, and I love them, Thank you for sharing with us. All the information is in detail and explains everything.

Follow on Pinterest

Where are we now?

London, England

Our Favourite Post

A Beijing Itinerary | 4 days in China’s bustling capital

A Beijing Itinerary | 4 days in China’s bustling capital

Beijing is massive. Third largest city in the world kind of massive. So how do you fit all that you need to see in the ancient city, formerly known as Peking? Well, we hope that…

Three Week Traveller

3 Weeks in Thailand Itinerary

DISCLAIMER: This post might have links to travel services and products that we enjoy. We might make a commission from it at no extra cost to you.

Thailand is undeniably one of the most popular holiday destinations in Southeast Asia. It’s safe to say that it is the gateway to the region, welcoming tourists with its fine white-sand beaches. Thailand is also known for being an affordable vacation place compared to Europe acnd North America.

To spend 3 weeks in Thailand is not a problem. There are many places to see, from hiking mountains, diving for the corals, and, most importantly, tasting authentic Thai dishes. You can do all these in just 21 days in Thailand without rushing yourself.

I’ve been to Thailand at least 5x, all with different lengths of time . It’s one of those destinations where you could easily spend 24 hours and still be able to see lots of things. On the other hand, 3 weeks won’t make feel like you have too much time.

In this article, I will share the must-see places in Thailand and how many days to spend on each. You don’t have to follow this itinerary day-by-day, you can make your own travel itinerary that is more suitable for you.


4 images - Wat Arun temple, Chiang Mai sea of clouds, Phuket beach shore, pad thai - 3-Weeks in Thailand Itinerary

But before you pack your bags and book the flights, take a quick look at these things you should know about taking a vacation in Thailand. This will help you visualise and organise your trip better.

When is the best time to go to

Southeast Asia has long months of typhoon season. The best time to visit Thailand is during the cool and dry season between November and early April .

However, peak tourist season aligns with this period, especially around December and January. The rainy season, characterized by monsoon rains, spans from May to October , which should be considered whether you’re coming for the islands or hiking.

The shoulder season falls right before and after peak season, typically in late October to November and late April to early May, offering a balance between good weather and fewer tourists. The month of May is scorching hot, so keep that in mind.

During the busiest time, hotels get booked quickly, and prices are a little higher. The crowds are also much larger.

Are 3 weeks enough in Thailand

For 20 days, you could visit a lot of places in Thailand . Of course, the more time you have, the better. But with 3 weeks in Thailand, you can see the top attractions such as exploring Bangkok, hiking around Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai, and visiting the southern islands such as Koh Samui, Phuket, and Krabi.

If you combine taking the bus with a domestic flight, you could maximise your time. Rent a motorbike around the islands, which will give you the freedom to see many places in a short period of time.

If you feel like 3 weeks in Thailand is too much, you can also plan a 20-day trip between Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia .

What to pack

Aside from your best swimsuits and sunglasses, don’t forget to pack some good walking shoes or sandals . This 3 weeks in Thailand itinerary includes visiting Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, where you can do some fun hiking.

Thailand is also filled with temples and pagodas, which means y ou should carry lightweight and long trousers or shirts to cover your legs and shoulders (both sexes). A lightweight oversized scarf or sarong will do the job as well.

To help you pack smartly , download our free packing list for a 3-week trip, which you can find on our sidebar or scroll at the bottom if you are on mobile.

Animal abuse

For over a decade, T hailand was known for riding elephants and tigers photo opportunities . Elephants were trained to be friendly around people, make the ride on their back “safe”, and perform circus-like shows. During this training, elephants get tied, beaten, and abused. While tigers were drugged so tourists could take a picture “safely”.

Today, although the government has distanced itself and condemned these businesses offering this kind of experience, there’s yet to be a law to prevent these businesses from existing.

There are now many “sanctuaries” for elephants claiming to be ethical and working towards rescuing and taking care of them. Instead of riding, tourists will get to feed and bathe the elephants. Although many of them do a lot of good, not all of them are entirely ethical.

Be cautious of places labelling themselves as elephant sanctuaries, tiger/kingdom sanctuaries, and dolphin shows/aquariums. I recommend you read reviews from different sites and YouTube channels to filter places out.

How to get around

You probably know that tuk-tuks are Thailand’s main transportation in cities and rural areas. You can take a domestic flight or a bus from one city to another. Plane tickets are pretty affordable , so to save you some time and travel hassle-free, it’s better to get on a plane if possible.

You can also use ride-hailing apps in metropolitan cities , such as Grab and inDriver. At the same time, you can rent a motorbike in small towns or islands to get around if you feel comfortable driving it. You must have your international driver’s license or IDP to drive in Thailand legally.

T hailand has quite a friendly visa policy . Visitors with passports from most of Europe, North America, Southeast Asia, East Asia, Oceania, and some Latin America, Gulf Countries, Africa, and South Asia can enter Thailand and enjoy a visa-free or visa on arrival for 14 to 90 days.

Average cost of 3 weeks in Thailand

Fortunately, Thailand has remained affordable, being a top destination in Southeast in the last three decades and continues to be so.

  • Affordable/Backpacker : Expect to spend $700-$900 . Accommodations in hostels, street food, and local transport make this a frugal choice.
  • Mid-Range : Budgeting $1,500-$2,500 will get you private rooms in boutique hotels, occasional dining in restaurants, and some guided activities or tours.
  • Luxury : For upscale resorts, gourmet dining, private tours, and spa treatments, plan on $5,000-$9,00 0 or more.

These estimates include accommodation, food, transport, and activities but can vary based on personal preferences and activities chosen. Main flight to Thailand and travel insurance are excluded on these calculations .

Package tours

You can also save up your energy and book a package tour instead, where the agent will handle all the arrangements on your behalf. The service includes accommodation, tours, food, guides, porters, and transportation.

There are tours for young people, such as those in their gap years (18-30s something), and there are also family-friendly tours.

There’s a 14-day tour and a 15-day tour covering Bangkok and Koh Tao. If you’re staying longer, then you can have the freedom to plan the final week of your trip. That means you can do the 7 days on your own if you’re feeling adventurous. There’s also a 12-day family-friendly tour if you’re travelling with children.

Other travel tips

Travel arrangements can be overwhelming, especially if you don’t go on trips that often. But it doesn’t have to be. Today, there are many services out there, but if you find sites that you trust and enjoy, offering a wide selection and flexible cancellation, that will be more ideal.

This is the reason there are travel sites that I love using. If you need help finding trusted sites for travel services, these are the tools and websites I always use:


Click the enlarge button on the top right corner. Credit: map data: Google


This itinerary will take you to one of the world’s most famous cities – Bangkok, where you can warm up for your vacation. Then you will head to the north for some hiking, before you fly down to the south for some beach time and water activities.

Depending on what you like, you can also swap cities and islands . Just make sure to look up if the places you want to add have easy access via air, land, or sea. In this way, you won’t be spending too much time in transport terminals and airports.

Day-to-day overview

  • Day 1 : Arrive in Bangkok. Arrange an airport transfer to your hotel from Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) or Don Mueang Airport (DMK) .
  • Day 2-5 : Explore Bangkok’s top sites
  • Day 6 : Take a bus , train , or fly to Chaing Mai from Bangkok; travel time is 10 to 14 hours by land and a bit over an hour by air
  • Day 7-8 : Explore Chiang Mai
  • Day 9 : Go to Chiang Rai from Chiang Mai by bus or a minivan , 3-4 hours
  • Day 10 : Explore Chiang Rai
  • Day 11 : Take a flight from Chiang Rai to Phuket , you can also take the bus, but it’s more than a day’s journey, book an airport transfer from Phuket Airport to hotel
  • Day 12-13 : Enjoy Phuket’s beaches, waterfalls, and boat tours
  • Day 14 : Travel from Phuket to Krabi by bus , ferry , or minivan ; travel time is 3 to 4 hours
  • Day 15-16 : Explore Krabi
  • Day 17: Get to Koh Samui from Krabi by plane ; flight is less than an hour
  • Day 18-19 : Do boat tours and party in Koh Samui and Koh Phangan
  • Day 20 : Take your flight out of Thailand

Bangkok for 4 days

Bangkok is known for many things, but one of those is how street food here is impressive . If you are worried about sanitation, these local dishes can also be found in restaurants. Thai food is well-liked everywhere in the world. So, don’t let this chance to try authentic Thai food slip away.

Bangkok also has a very vibrant party scene, and it’s definitely one of the must-do for a lot of visitors to Thailand. Below is a list of places to see and things to do in Bangkok.

What to do in Bangkok

  • The Royal Grand Palace – check this tour that includes Wat Pho and Wat Arun
  • Wat Phra Chetuphon (Wat Pho)
  • Victory Monument
  • Damnoen Saduak Market (floating market) – join a market and city package tour
  • Democracy Monument
  • Equestrian Statue of King Rama V
  • Wat Benchamabophit Dusitwanaram
  • Join an authentic Thai cooking class
  • Jim Thompson House Museum
  • White Orchid River Cruise – book a cruise
  • Food tour – check what’s included
  • Join the Bangkok Instagram tour

Day trips from Bangkok:

  • Death Railway Museum – there’s a tour to ride the train
  • City Pillar Shrine or San Lak Mueang
  • Wat Thewa Sangkharam
  • Kanchanaburi War Cemetery
  • Ayutthaya Temples – check the tour price

Accommodations in Bangkok

  • Affordable: Bed Station Hostel or The Spades Hostel
  • Mid-range: Nuovo City Hotel or Citrus Suites Sukhumvit
  • Luxury: Shanghai Mansion or Centre Point Sukhumvit

2 images - wat arun temple and a boat in the floating market - 3-Weeks in Thailand Itinerary

Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai/Pai for 6 days

After your adventure in Bangkok and its surrounding areas, it’s time to spend time with nature and get away from busy areas . Thailand’s northern part has five national parks you must hike during your 3-week vacation.

You can reach Chiang Mai via a direct flight from Bangkok . Alternatively, you can also take a 9-hour bus ride. Apart from hiking, there are many places to see in Chiang Mai and tours that you can get on. If you love yoga and meditation, this is also the spot you want to be. We also have a list of 3-week yoga retreats you can do worldwide.

Since you have a week in Chiang Mai, you can also head to Chiang Rai or Pai , which is about a 2 to 3-hour drive. In those locations are more hiking trails and adventures waiting for you.

What to do in Chiang Mai

  • Wat Rong Khun (White Temple, located near Chiang Rai) – visit all the temples in a full-day guided tour, pick up from Chaing Mai
  • Wat Phrathat Doi Kham
  • Hmong Village and Doi Suthep – book a half-day trip
  • Grand Canyon
  • Ginger Farm
  • Doi Inthanon National Park – check the tour price
  • Wiang Kum Kam
  • Mae Sa Waterfall
  • Doi Pui National Park hike – get on a 6-hour trek
  • Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden
  • Chiang Dao Cave, Den Sali Temple, and Bautong Sticky Waterfall – book a tour
  • Huay Tung Tao Reservoir
  • Tha Phae Gate
  • Wat Chiang Man
  • Srilanna National Park
  • Book a lunch food-tasting tour or Authentic Thai cooking class

What to do in Pai

  • Kho Kuu So Bamboo Bridge
  • Yun Lai Viewpoint
  • Santichon Village
  • Doi Kiew Lom Viewpoint And Rest Stop
  • Sai Ngam Hot Spring
  • Nam Lod Cave

What to do in Chiang Rai

  • Wat Rong Khun (White Temple) and Golden Triangle – join a guided tour
  • Garden Of Reeds
  • Singha Park Chiang Rai
  • Pong Phrabat Hot Springs
  • Baan Dam Museum
  • Long Neck Village
  • Huay Mark Liam Hot Spring

Accommodations in Chiang Mai

  • Affordable: i-smile or The Newnormal House
  • Mid-range: El Barrio Lanna or De Chai Colonial Hotel & Spa
  • Luxury: Viangluang Resort or The Empress Premier

Phuket and Krabi for 6 days

Even though hiking the mountains of Thailand gives such inner peace and complete serenity, you probably can’t wait to see Thailand’s famous beaches and see why they are very sought-after . 3 weeks in Thailand must include these two famous and stunning beach destinations.

You can take a direct flight to Phuket from the north of Thailand , which is about two hours. Phuket is an island in the south of Thailand, just hours from the border with Malaysia.

It’s well-loved for its very clear blue waters, lots of spots for diving and snorkelling, and many, many areas for water activities or simply beach bumming.

Krabi is not very far from Phuket . You can get there by land, which is about a 3-hour drive or a 3.5-hour ferry ride. Krabi is another spot for great water adventures, such as diving, snorkelling, and exploring mangroves and caves.

RELATED POST: 3 weeks in Malaysia

Things to see in Phuket

  • Freedom Beach
  • Kata Noi Beach
  • Phi Phi Islands – get on a boat tour
  • Kamala Beach
  • Kathu Waterfall
  • Maya Beach – you can combine this with the Phi Phi Islands tour
  • Hanuman World
  • James Bond Island – enjoy a luxury sunset cruise
  • Similan Islands – the best snorkelling spot
  • Khao Rang Viewpoint
  • Kao Khad Views Tower
  • Monkey Cave – where you can do white rafting and zipline
  • Khai Nai Island
  • Join a food-tasting tour or Thai cooking class

Accommodations in Phuket

  • Affordable: Phuket Sunny Hostel or Baan Baan Hostel
  • Mid-range: The Arbern Hotel or The Memory at On On Hotel
  • Luxury: The Village Coconut Island Beach Resort or The Westin Siray Bay Resort and Spa

What to do in Krabi

  • Phi Phi Islands – pick up from Krabi
  • Railay Beach – try rock climbing
  • Shell Cemetery
  • Island hopping – visit the 7 Islands on a sunset tour with barbeque and snorkelling
  • Monkey Trail in Ao Nang
  • Emerald Pool – check tour price for Tiger Temple, hot spring and crystal pool
  • Ao Nang Beach
  • Ao Thalane – book a kayaking tour
  • Klong Root (Clear Water Canal)
  • Dragon Crest (Khuan Sai) – mountain hike, ATV, and kayaking
  • Hat Nappharat Thara-Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park
  • Blue Lagoon – where you do some kayaking and ATV ride

Accommodations in Krabi

  • Affordable: Pak-Up Hostel or Krabi P.N Boutique House
  • Mid-range: T he Seens Hotel or Sita Krabi Hotel
  • Luxury: The Pavilions Anana Krabi or Krabi SeaBass Hotel

2 images - cape shot of James Bond Island and a big rock near the shoreline in Krabi - 3-Weeks in Thailand Itinerary

Koh Samui and Koh Pha Ngan for 4 days

Your last stop is Koh Samui, another island off the coast of Thailand . You can get there by taking a direct flight or a 7-hour bus ride. Although Koh Samui is an island, the places you can explore are not only about off the coast. You can do many things inland, such as waterfall hopping and hiking.

On this island, I highly recommend booking a luxury resort. Not only do you deserve to be lazy at the end of your trip, but also because it has the best 5-star resorts in Thailand. It also has the best spots for sunset and sunrise.

There’s another island next to it – Koh Pha Ngan, which you can reach by boat tour or a ferry (if you wish to change islands). On your last day, make sure to arrange your airport transfer .

What to do in Koh Samui

  • Mu Ko Ang Thong National Marine Park – book a sunset cruise
  • Tan Rua Waterfall
  • Lat Wanon Waterfall
  • Khun Si Waterfall
  • Na Mueang Waterfall
  • Namtok Tar Nim & Magic Garden
  • Lamai Beach & Viewpoint
  • Grandfather and Grandmother Rocks (Hin Ta Hin Yai) – go on a wild 4WD Jungle Safari trip
  • Lipa Noi Beach
  • Maenam Beach
  • Fisherman’s Village
  • Lad Koh View Point

What to do in Koh Pha Ngan

  • Namtok Than Sadet National Park
  • Salad Beach
  • Chaloklum Beach
  • Mae Haad Beach
  • Namtok Wang Sai
  • Malibu Beach
  • Bottle Beach and Viewpoint
  • Thong Nai Pan Beach
  • Haad Sadet Beach
  • Haad Wai Nam

Accommodations in Koh Samui

  • Affordable: Us Samui or P & T Hostel
  • Mid-range: The Hive Hotel or Long N Joy Samui
  • Luxury: Banana Fan Sea Resort or Samui Resotel


3 dishes - on the left is pad thai on a plate. in the middle is sticky mango rice on a plate. on the right is a green curry on a bowl - 3 Weeks in Thailand Itinerary

To wrap up this 3 weeks in Thailand itinerary, you should know what food you must eat. It’s common knowledge how great Thai cuisine is. You probably have your favourite Thai restaurant back home, but nothing beats the authentic and more affordable version :

  • Pad Thai : Stir-fried rice noodles with shrimp, tofu, or chicken, peanuts, scrambled egg, and bean sprouts.
  • Tom Yum Goong : Spicy shrimp soup with mushrooms, tomatoes, and a distinct sour flavour.
  • Green Curry (Kaeng Khiao Wan) : Creamy coconut milk-based curry with chicken, beef, or tofu and Thai eggplant.
  • Som Tam : Spicy green papaya salad with tomatoes, green beans, and peanuts.
  • Massaman Curry : A rich, slightly sweet curry often made with beef or chicken and potatoes.
  • Khao Pad : Thai fried rice, often with chicken, shrimp, or crab.
  • Pad Krapow Moo Saap : Stir-fried pork with Thai holy basil and chilli.
  • Tom Kha Gai : Chicken in coconut soup with galangal, lemongrass, and mushrooms.
  • Mango Sticky Rice (Khao Niew Mamuang) : Glutinous rice with sweet ripe mango and coconut milk.
  • Fried Bananas : Banana slices deep-fried in a sweet batter.
  • Thapthim Krop : Water chestnuts in syrup, served with crushed ice and coconut milk.
  • Khanom Buang : Thai crispy pancakes with sweet or savory toppings.
  • Thai Iced Tea (Cha Yen) : Sweetened iced tea with creamy condensed milk.
  • Singha or Chang Beer : Popular local Thai beers.
  • Lemongrass Juice : Refreshing drink made from boiled lemongrass, sweetened and served cold.


It’s so easy to spend 3 weeks in Thailand. You can visit and do so much, from hiking and city exploration to island hopping. Towards that end, you can even do nothing for 2 to 3 days and instead go for massages and read your book.

I hope you found this itinerary for 3 weeks in Thailand helpful in your upcoming vacation. Remember to make the most out of your holiday because you deserve it.


Enjoy a three-week holiday in Thailand: visit Bangkok's temples, explore Chiang Mai's mountains, and relax on Phuket's beaches. Experience vibrant markets, delicious street food, and welcoming culture. Discover ancient ruins and lush jungles in this diverse paradise. via @threeweektraveller

  • North Dakota
  • Czech Republic
  • Switzerland
  • Vegan City Guides
  • Vegan Travel & Tips
  • Vegan Fashion
  • Sustainability
  • Blogging Tips
  • Photo Diaries
  • Unfortunate (but hilarious)
  • Recommendations
  • Get in Touch
  • Work With Me
  • Best Travel Insurance
  • Freelance Gig

The Wanderful Me

  • Asia , Thailand

If you’re ready to head to Thailand for beaches, sunny days, parties, islands, snorkeling and all of the other incredible island activities, explore this 3-week southern Thailand itinerary to help you plan your trip. Featuring popular destinations, like Koh Phi Phi and Koh Phangan, as well as more quiet islands, like Koh Lanta, you can experience the best of what the south of Thailand has to offer.

3-Week Island Hopping Itinerary for Thailand | The Wanderful Me

Psst, this post contains affiliate links. Read our disclosure .

If you’ve been planning a three-week backpacking trip through the south of Thailand, but aren’t sure where to go or how long to spend in each place, this is the itinerary for you!

With lots of island hopping, exploring cool destinations, visiting vibrant cities (hello, Bangkok!), and visiting little-known Thai islands that’ll blow you away, this 3-week south Thailand itinerary ticks all of the boxes.

Check it out below and if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me!

Psst, before you embark on your trip, don’t miss out on reading my 4-part guide on everything you need to know before visiting Southeast Asia !

Table of Contents

Three-Week Thailand Island Hopping Itinerary

A few notes before we jump into this 3-week south Thailand itinerary! These will help you better understand my guide and how to plan the best trip possible.

Note 1: In this itinerary, you’ll find that I say “X nights” instead of say “X days” because I think this makes it easier in understanding how long I recommend you should actually be in a destination. Sometimes, I find that using the term “days” can be confusing, as it doesn’t really stipulate when you should depart said destination.

Note 2: You’ll find that every itinerary starts and ends in Bangkok, as this is the most common city to fly in and out of in Thailand. However, if you’re flying in and out of a different destination, such as Krabi or Koh Samui, adjust the itinerary as needed!

Note 3: This Thailand island-hopping itinerary is flexible! Don’t think you have to visit each and every destination on the list. Mix and match based on your personal preference.

Note 4: With the note above on flexibility, I recommend keeping your schedule open! When I’m backpacking Thailand, I like to book only one or two nights in advance, just in case I really like a place and want to stay an extra day or two, or I totally dislike somewhere and want to leave early. You should do the same!

With that said… let’s get into it!

3 week thailand tour

Featuring an amazing selection of some of the best islands in Thailand, this itinerary is for all my sun-soaking, island life-lovers, beach-bumming backpackers.

You’ll find the following destinations on this 3-week south Thailand itinerary:

Bangkok (1 night)

Krabi/ao nang (3 nights), railay beach (2 nights), koh phi phi (2 nights), koh lanta (3 nights).

  • Krabi (1 night)

Koh Tao (3 nights)

Koh phangan (3 nights), koh samui (2 nights).

This island-hopping Thailand itinerary starts off in the crazy city of Bangkok! Depending on how tired you are from your journey getting here, you may want to just book a chill hostel or hotel to relax in.

If you do have some energy to explore, here’s some things to do.

Things to do in Bangkok:

  • Explore the Grand Palace
  • Visit Wat Pho and Wat Arun (be sure to wear the right clothing !)
  • Go on a free walking tour (there are many that occur throughout the day)
  • Party on Khao San Road
  • Experience a different side of the city on a river cruise
  • Spend time at the floating markets
  • Go shopping at popular shopping malls like Terminal 21 (Asok), MBK Center and Platinum
  • Visit Jim Thompson’s House
  • Relax and read a book (or scroll through TikTok!) in Lumphini Park
  • See a cabaret show
  • Feed your foodie side on a Bangkok food tour

3 week thailand tour

Where to stay in Bangkok:

  • Budget-Friendly : The LOL Elephant Hostel OR Kinnon Deluxe Hostel
  • Mid-Range : Dhevi Bangkok Hotel OR Tamni
  • Luxury : Eastin Grand Hotel Phayathai OR Sindhorn Kempinski Hotel

Bangkok → Krabi

After spending a night in Bangkok, it’s time to make your way down to the area of Krabi and Ao Nang! As a sustainable traveler, I always recommend traveling via bus or train to minimize your environmental footprint .

From Bangkok, there are countless buses that go down to the south of Thailand — you won’t be short on bus transportation options. I recommend booking your Bangkok to Krabi transportation via 12go Asia .

This journey takes around 13 to 15 hours and can be done overnight, meaning you’ll save $$$ on accommodation!

Plan on staying in hostels while traveling Thailand for 3 weeks? Check out my blog on must-have hostel essentials to make your stay as comfortable as possible!

3 week thailand tour

A popular destination for tourists, Krabi and Ao Nang are filled with a myriad of souvenir shops, restaurants, tattoo shops, bouncing clubs, tour operators, and other great things to keep you occupied.

Things to do in Krabi and Ao Nang:

  • Spend the day on the sea and hop around to different islands (I recommend this 7-island sunset with snorkeling + BBQ !)
  • Visit the notorious Emerald Pool (check out this tour if you don’t want to rent a scooter to get there)
  • Go rock climbing at Railay Beach
  • Explore Krabi Town and its vibrant night market
  • Get a relaxing Thai massage in Krabi Town or Ao Nang
  • Visit the Phi Phi Islands on a day trip tour
  • Ascend the 1256 stairs to Wat Tham Sua (Tiger Cave Temple)
  • Take a dip in the hot springs at Khao Phra Bang Khram Nature Reserve
  • Marvel at the beautiful sea life on a snorkeling or scuba diving tour
  • Go on a day trip to the famous Maya Bay
  • Hike to Khao Ngon Nak Viewpoint for an insane view of the limestone karst mountains
  • Immerse yourself in wildlife and go jungle trekking

Where to Stay in Krabi/Ao Nang:

  • Budget-Friendly : Pak-Up Hostel OR K-Bunk Hostel
  • Mid-Range : The Brown Hotel OR Sugar Marina Hotel CLIFFHANGER Ao Nang
  • Luxury : Anana Ecological Resort OR Ban Sainai Resort

Krabi/Ao Nang → Railay Beach

Getting from Krabi to Railay Beach is easy, with many shuttle boats operated by local tour providers and private boat owners. The journey is only around 30 minutes and takes you past gorgeous limestone karst rocks jutting out from the sea and surrounding landscape. You’ll love it!

3 week thailand tour

Railay Beach has become a major hotspot for backpackers seeking outdoor adventures. From rock climbing and snorkeling to island hopping, jungle trekking, and more, Railay Beach features a broad spectrum of exciting activities.

And even if you’re not into those types of things, you can fill you day sitting on the beach, soaking up the sun, and admiring the insanely beautiful views!

Top things to do in Railay Beach:

  • Get your tan on at the beach (Railay Beach, Phra Nang Beach and Tonsai Beach)
  • Go on an island-hopping boat tour
  • Have a go at rock climbing
  • Explore some caves — Phra Nang Princess Cave and Railay Bat Cave are popular!
  • Hike to Railay’s “hidden” lagoon
  • Go snorkeling (I recommend bringing your own snorkel mask to Thailand)
  • Rent a kayak and explore the nearby islands and limestone karst rocks (like Ko Rang!)
  • Experience Railay’s vibrant walking street
  • Admire the many stalagmite and stalactite formations

Where to Stay in Railay Beach:

  • Budget-Friendly : Blanco Hideout Railay OR Friend Seeker
  • Mid-Range : Railay Garden View Resort OR Avatar Railay
  • Luxury : Railay Phutawan Resort OR Tinidee Hideaway

Railay Beach → Koh Phi Phi

Getting from Railay Beach to Koh Phi Phi is often a breeze! You’ll take a short boat ride from Railay Beach back to Krabi and then a ferry or speedboat from Krabi to Koh Phi Phi. Depending on when you get your boat from Railay to Krabi, this journey should only take a few hours.

As always, I recommend booking with 12Go Asia or asking your hostel to book your transportation.

3 week thailand tour

Koh Phi Phi is one of those classic destinations that you’ll find on many Thailand itineraries!

With gorgeous turquoise waters, a beautiful island landscape, stunning views of limestone karst rocks rutting from the sea, an exciting nightlife, and exceptional boat trips that take you around to nearby popular attractions (like Maya Bay!), Koh Phi Phi often tops the Thailand bucket list for many backpacker and travelers.

Personally, this island holds a special place in my heart, as I met my husband on this island when we were both backpacking southeast !

3 week thailand tour

Things to do in Koh Phi Phi:

  • Embark on a boat trip to nearby attractions ( this one is popular – it goes to the infamous Maya Bay! Or check out this one , which is a private tour!)
  • Hike to one of the Koh Phi Phi viewpoints for sunset (or sunrise to avoid the crowds!)
  • Go snorkeling (try Shark Point, where you can snorkel right off the beach!)
  • Experience Koh Phi Phi’s wild nightlife
  • Watch a fire show on the beach
  • Adrenaline junkie? Go cliff jumping off the gorgeous limestone cliffs!
  • Visit Monkey Beach (a popular spot to stop on many boat trips)

Where to stay on Koh Phi Phi:

  • Budget-Friendly : @The Pier 519 Hostel OR Sweed Dee Hostel
  • Mid-Range : Paradise Pearl Bungalows OR P2 Wood Loft
  • Luxury : Phi Phi Phu Chalet Resort OR SAii Phi Phi Island Village

Koh Phi Phi → Koh Lanta

Getting from Koh Phi Phi to Koh Lanta is a breeze! It’s just a one hour ferry ride and no changes. You can either book this in advance through 12Go Asia (helpful if it’s busy season!) or book it through your hostel or hotel the day before your departure date.

Itching to visit an elephant sanctuary while in Thailand? Make sure you read my guide on why MOST elephant “sanctuaries” are not ethical .

3 week thailand tour

Koh Lanta is one of those islands that’s becoming more and more popular as travelers stray from the “typical” Thailand destinations and discover more off the beaten track gems!

With fewer crowds, cool cafes, mangrove forests, national parks , beautiful beaches, and more than a few hammocks perfect for relaxing in, you’ll no doubt fall in love with Koh Lanta.

Things to do on Koh Lanta:

  • Simply find a great beach (there are SO many!) and relax in the sun
  • Experience the magical 4-island boat tour
  • Rent a scooter and explore the island
  • Check out Mu Koh Lanta National Park (beautiful coral reefs!)
  • Explore the vibrant Thung Yee Pheng Mangrove Forest
  • Walk around Koh Lanta Old Town
  • Go scuba diving or snorkeling
  • Give back at the Lanta Animal Welfare Centre
  • Hike to Khlong Chak Waterfall
  • Explore one of the many beach bars
  • Practice self-care and book a massage or facial at a spa

Where to stay on Koh Lanta:

  • Budget-Friendly : Hub of Joys Hostel OR Lanta Long Beach Hostel
  • Mid-Range : Coco Lanta Resort OR Sleep In Lanta Resort
  • Luxury : Layana Resort & Spa OR Pimalai Resort & Spa

3 week thailand tour

Koh Lanta → Krabi OR Koh Tao

Another easy peasy journey on your three-week Thailand trip, getting from Koh Lanta to Krabi Town is just a 3 hour van ride. You can also take a ferry from Koh Lanta to Ao Nang if you want to go via water.

This 3-week Thailand island itinerary has a one night stopover in Krabi to break up the long journey between Koh Lanta and Koh Tao.

However, if you’re short on time or want to just get the transportation over with in one day, you can book your transportation to Koh Tao from Koh Lanta in one go. (Just be warned — it’ll be a LONG journey depending on what type of transportation you book!)

Personally, I would take the 6:00 AM morning van from Koh Lanta to Krabi Town , which arrives at its destination around 8:30/9:00 AM. Then, I’d book the late morning transfer option from Krabi to Koh Tao , which is a van + speedboat combo and takes around 6-7 hours.

The other (and more affordable) option is to take a van and then jump on an overnight ferry to Koh Tao. While this is cheaper, it can often be far more uncomfortable (though you do save money on accommodation for one night).

3 week thailand tour

Ahhh… Koh Tao, by far one of my favorite Thailand islands!

Though it may be small, Koh Tao offers a plethora of great things to do, a phenomenal nightlife, exceptional hostels, wonderful cafes and restaurants and just an overall amazing island vibe.

I have no doubt that after you spend three nights here on your 3-week Thailand trip, you’ll love Koh Tao just as much as I do!

Things to do on Koh Tao:

  • Relax on the beaches and soak up the sun
  • Get PADI certified (Koh Tao is one of the best and cheapest places in the world to get your scuba certification!)
  • Go on a snorkeling tour across Koh Tao’s many vibrant bays and nearby islands
  • Watch the sunset from a beach or rooftop bar
  • Hike to one of Koh Tao’s viewpoints (John Suwan Viewpoint and Fraggle Rock are great!)
  • Party it up on an exciting pub crawl
  • Take a Muay Thai class

Where to stay on Koh Tao:

  • Budget-Friendly : Savage Hostel Koh Tao OR Indie Hostel
  • Mid-Range : View Point Resort OR DD Hut Koh Tao
  • Luxury : Cape Shark Villas OR Lücke Boutique Hotel

Koh Tao → Koh Phangan

Getting ready for some smooth sailing and an easy journey from Koh Tao to Koh Phangan . Whether you take the slower ferry or faster speedboat, this trip shouldn’t take any longer than two hours (unless there’s a delay… which is common in Thailand.)

Book your transportation from Koh Tao to Koh Phangan with 12Go Asia or through your accommodation (or a travel agency office on Koh Tao).

3 week thailand tour

Koh Phangan is a popular island located between the islands of Koh Tao and Koh Samui in the Gulf of Thailand. With a reputation for an awesome nightlife and wild bars, it’s by far the biggest party island in Thailand. (Um, hello, did someone say the Full Moon Party?)

However, there are other things to do here, too, if parties aren’t your thing! From beach hopping and hiking to snorkeling, scuba diving, wellness activities, and more, you can find some great activity to fill your time while on Koh Phangan.

Things to do on Koh Phangan:

  • Beach hop like a pro (Haad Rin, Mae Haad Beach, Bottle Beach, and Haad Khom are great!)
  • Go on a snorkeling trip
  • Experience the Full Moon Party or Half Moon Party
  • Explore the many waterfalls on Koh Phangan (Phaeng Waterfall is a top one!)
  • Elevate your wellness — try a yoga, meditation, or breathwork class
  • Go off-roading on an ATV jungle adventure tour
  • Hike to one of Koh Phangan’s many viewpoints
  • Rent a kayak and explore the island’s coast by water
  • Take a Thai cooking class
  • Go on a day trip to Ang Thong National Marine Park
  • Watch a Muay Thai fight (or take a class to learn how to fight yourself!)
  • Explore the island’s many temples — Kuan Yin Temple, Wat Pho, and Wat Phu Kao Noi
  • Check out Koh Phangan’s night markets (Thong Sala Night Market, or Panthip Market, is a good one)

Where to stay on Koh Phangan:

  • Budget-Friendly : Hideout Hostel OR Puk’s Palace
  • Mid-Range : Papillon Bungalows OR Shanti Boutique Hotel
  • Luxury : Anantara Rasananda Villas OR Mayara Pool Villas

Koh Phangan → Koh Samui

At just a 30 minutes speedboat away, Koh Samui is easy to get to from Koh Phangan. Click here to book your transportation through 12Go Asia or by asking your accommodations.

I recommend getting the earliest ferry or speedboat from Koh Phangan to Koh Samui so you have more time on this fun island!

3 week thailand tour

As the third largest Island in Thailand, there are plenty of things to do on Koh Samui! Whether you want to rent a scooter and explore the island, visit some temples , eat your way across the island, or simply hang out on the beach all day, you won’t get bored here.

Things to do on Koh Samui:

  • Rent a scooter for the day and explore to your heart’s content (it’s a big island, so be prepared!)
  • Check out some of Koh Samui’s waterfalls
  • Explore the many cute and amazing cafes and restaurants on Koh Samui
  • Hang out on one of the many beaches
  • Soak up the culture at some of the island’s temples (here’s a great Koh Samui tour if you don’t feel comfortable on a scooter!)
  • Go on a fun hike (Koh Samui is quite mountainous!)
  • Walk around Fisherman’s Village, a super cute place with shops, restaurants and markets
  • Go on a day trip to “Pig Island” (yes, there are real, adorable pigs!)

Where to stay on Koh Samui:

  • Budget-Friendly : Chill Inn Lamai Hostel OR Kerton Hostel
  • Mid-Range : Deva Beach Resort OR The Mud – Eco Hotel
  • Luxury : Garrya Tongsai Bay Samui OR Banyan Tree Samui

3 week thailand tour

Koh Samui → Bangkok

The end of your 3-week Thailand island itinerary has come to an end! You most likely need to head back to Bangkok for your departing flight, which you can get to one of two ways:

  • Ferry/speedboat and bus combination ( click here to view it on 12Go Asia )
  • Flight out of Koh Samui airport

While a flight is definitely faster, the ferry + bus combination is far more affordable (and more sustainable !).

Book your ferry + bus ticket with 12Go Asia (or your accommodation). If you choose a flight, I recommend booking that with Skyscanner (always has the cheapest flights in my experience!).

If you need to stay in Bangkok the night before your departing flight (or wherever you’re heading next), take a peek at my list of where to stay in Bangkok here .

With that said, this 3-week southern Thailand itinerary comes to an end! After weeks of beaches, blue waters, islands, culture, and delicious Thai food, you should leave this amazing country with many phenomenal memories.

Are you in the midst of planning a three-week trip to Thailand? Have any questions? Ask them in the comment section below! I’m here to help.

Not sure what to check out next? Readers love these posts:

  • 9 reasons to visit Vietnam that you’ll absolutely love
  • 15 things that shocked me when backpacking Southeast Asia for the first time
  • Packing for my long-term trip to southeast Asia
  • Psst, many elephant “sanctuaries” aren’t ethical or responsible. Here’s why.
  • The best chemical-free, zero waste sunscreen to pack for southeast Asia
  • Must-have hostel essentials every traveler needs to have on their packing list

Like this post on the best 3-week south Thailand itinerary? Pin it!

3 week thailand tour

As mentioned above, this post contains affiliate links! Which means if you make a purchase through the links, this site receives a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps us to continue bringing you wanderful inspiration! Read our full disclosure  here .

' src=

Related Posts

3 week thailand tour

How to spend 3 weeks in Thailand: cities, mountains and island life

3 week thailand tour

Southeast Asia backpacking route: how I spent 3 months traveling SEA

3 week thailand tour

9 reasons to visit Vietnam that you’ll absolutely love

Leave a comment cancel comment.

Sign me up for The Wanderful Me newsletter!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed .

  • Travel Planning Guide

The Best 3-Week (21-Day) Tours in Thailand

Khao Sok National Park, Thailand

Looking for the perfect 21-day getaway to Thailand with a fantastic guided tour? We've carefully analyzed all of the possible three-week tour options to Thailand based on price, comfort, service, guest ratings, cuisine, and activities in order to find the absolute best multi-day organized tour options available. Whether you're seeking a relaxing getaway or an action-packed expedition, these all-inclusive guided tours offer the perfect length to indulge in the best of both worlds. From captivating excursions to tantalizing cuisine, get ready to experience the ultimate 3-week escape that will leave you with unforgettable memories and a renewed sense of wanderlust. So, check out our curated list of tours below to get started!

  • Highlights of Vietnam, Cambodia & Thailand 21 Days 21 Days, $2479.00
  • Thailand & Vietnam: Mountains & Coastlines 21 Days, $2049.00
  • Cambodia to Vietnam: Night Markets & Noodle-Making 20 Days, $1699.00

Which 21-day tour options are available in Thailand?


Here are the important factors:

  • 9 trip options analyzed
  • $105 average price per day (USD)
  • 20 to 21 days in length
  • 4.83 of 5 average rating
  • 16 people or less on average

You'll be surprised at the array of tours lasting 3 weeks in Thailand, as there is something for everyone. It's no wonder that visitors can't get enough of these tours, boasting an impressive average guest rating of 4.83 out of 5 stars. Picture yourself joining a group of like-minded adventurers, with an average maximum size of 16 people, ensuring a fantastic blend of social and personalized experiences. The average tour length spans 21 days, with tours ranging from 20 to 21 days long. Regarding physical activity options, you'll find tours marked as easy and moderate, with the most being easy. With our thorough analysis of 9 tours lasting 3 weeks, we've found the best. So rest assured that Thailand has something to captivate every kind of traveler.

(All tour prices are in US Dollars before taxes, and come from a base price that is reported by TourRadar. Peak season prices can vary significantly, particularly in destinations where seasonal travel fluctuates dramatically.)

So, let's get to it and see...

The 9 Best 3-Week Tours in Thailand

Highlights of vietnam, cambodia & thailand 21 days.

  • High Quality: guest ratings are higher than average.

This fantastic voyage has a rating of 4.9 out of 5 stars, visiting Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand. Discover a journey that spans 10 destinations, with notable stops in Ho Chi Minh City, Mekong Delta, Chau Doc, and Phnom Penh. Your journey will begin in Hanoi and end in Phuket. Lasting 21 days, the maximum group size is 15 people, and it's good for travelers of all ages. Organized by Bravo Indochina Tours , this is a great deal because it's only $118 per day.

  • Sightseeing

Thailand & Vietnam: Mountains & Coastlines

  • Great Value: the daily price is lower than average for tours lasting 3 weeks.

With a stellar 5 out of 5 rating, this extraordinary trip, visiting Thailand and Vietnam, is the perfect choice. This trip takes you on an adventure to 13 destinations, including Quy Nhon, Nha Trang, Mui Ne, and Kanchanaburi. Begin your trip in Bangkok and complete it with a memorable finale in Ho Chi Minh City. Spanning across 21 days, the trip accommodates 18 individuals, and is suitable for guests from 18 to 39 years old. Offered by G Adventures , this remarkable trip is priced at just $68 per day. Don't miss out on this incredible experience.

Cambodia to Vietnam: Night Markets & Noodle-Making

  • On Sale: 25% Off See Prices

This exceptional trip offering by G Adventures has received a 4.6 out of 5 rating. On this 20-day trip, visiting Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam, you can unwind while also making new memories. With 12 destinations to explore, you'll get the chance to see Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, Koh Rong Sanloem, and Ho Chi Minh City, and more. Your journey starts off in Bangkok and finishes in Hanoi. With a group size of 18 people, it's suitable for guests from 18 to 39 years old. This remarkable trip is priced at an unbeatable $64 per day. Take advantage of the current sale and secure your spot today!

  • In-depth Cultural

Southeast Asia: Hilltribes & Street Food

Check out this voyage that has received rave reviews, earning a stellar 4.7 out of 5 rating, visiting Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore. Along the way, this journey encompasses 10 destinations, including Cameron Highlands, Kuala Lumpur, Malacca, and Chiang Mai. Your journey will begin in Bangkok and end in Singapore. Spanning across 21 unforgettable days, this voyage offers an intimate group experience with 18 participants, and it's great for guests from 18 to 39 years old. Brought to you by the renowned G Adventures , this exceptional opportunity is priced at an incredible $77 per day - an unbeatable value. Act fast to take advantage of the current sale.

Traversing Time and Culture in Vietnam and Thailand 20-Day

  • On Sale: 50% Off See Prices

This 20-day trip, visiting Vietnam and Thailand, is ideal for guests from 4 and up. And priced at only $155 per day, it's a great value, too. And since the priority is on local culture and family-friendly activities, this tour is a great choice. This itinerary covers 20 captivating destinations, with stops in Hue, Ho Chi Minh City, Cu Chi, and My Tho, among others. Begin your trip in Hanoi and complete it with a memorable finale in Phuket. It's offered by Legend Travel Group , a very popular company with rave reviews and knowledgeable guides. Don't miss out on this limited-time sale.

Cultural Capitals of Southeast Asia Tour 21-Day

Priced at just $146 per day, this terrific 21-day trip, visiting Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam, is ideal for guests from 4 and up. Immerse yourself in a travel experience that includes 21 destinations, featuring Chiang Rai, Golden Triangle Park, Huay Xai, and Pakbeng. Your journey starts off in Bangkok and finishes in Ho Chi Minh City. Organized by the reputable Legend Travel Group , this is one of the best tours on this list. It's also on sale right now!

A 20-Day Journey of Contrasts through Vietnam and Thailand

  • On Sale: 56% Off See Prices

Check out this incredible journey that has received a 5 out of 5 rating from previous guests, visiting Vietnam and Thailand. With a duration of 20 days, this journey ensures an intimate group size of 15 people, and is good for guests from 1 to 90 years old. Uncover the beauty of 10 destinations on this itinerary, with highlights such as Halong Bay, Hue, Hoi An, and Ho Chi Minh City. Your journey will begin in Hanoi and end in Phuket. This fantastic option, organized by Realistic Asia , presents an unbeatable value at just $150 per day. Take advantage of the current sale and secure your spot today!

Bangkok to Singapore Travel Pass

Spanning over 21 days, this voyage, visiting Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore, has a maximum size of 20 individuals. Welcoming guests from 10 and up, it is organized by Bamba Travel , a very popular company with plenty of great reviews. Traverse through 11 enchanting destinations, with Kuala Lumpur, Malacca, Koh Tao, and Ko Pha Ngan among the must-see stops along the route. Begin your trip in Bangkok and complete it with a memorable finale in Singapore. Available at an unbeatable price of only $50 per day, this option also has a rating of 5 out of 5 stars from previous guests.

Northern Thailand & Beaches

Here's your chance to take off on an exceptional journey that has garnered a 4.6 out of 5 rating. With a duration of 21 days, this jouney will have 20 participants, and it warmly welcomes guests from 18 and up. Expertly organized by TruTravels , this amazing trip is an incredible value at just $114 per day.

See also The Best Family-Friendly Tours to Thailand , The Best Wildlife Tours to Thailand , The Best Hiking & Trekking Tours in Thailand , The Best Historical Tours in Thailand , The Best 10-Day Tours in Thailand , The Best One Week (7-Day) Tours in Thailand , The Best 3-Day Tours in Thailand , The Best 2-Week Tours in Thailand , The Best Extended Trip Tours in Thailand, One Month or Longer , The Best River Cruises in Thailand , The Best Bicycle Tours in Thailand , Tours for Outdoor and Nature Lovers in Thailand , The Best Christmas & New Years Tours in Thailand , The Best Coach Bus Tours in Thailand , The Best Adventure Tours to Thailand , The Best Eco Tours in Thailand , The Best Thrill-Seeking Tours in Thailand , The Best Sightseeing Tours in Thailand , The Best Cultural Tours in Thailand , The Best Music Tours in Thailand , The Tours for Animal Lovers in Thailand , The Best Romantic Tours for Couples in Thailand , The Best Safaris in Thailand , The Best Nightlife Tours in Thailand , The Best Religious Tours in Thailand , The Best Yoga Tours and Retreats in Thailand , The Best Honeymoon Tours in Thailand , The Best Tours Under $1000 in Thailand , The Best Budget Tours to Thailand , The Best Tours for Seniors to Thailand , The Best Contiki Tours to Thailand , or The Best G Adventures Tours to Thailand for more tour ideas. With so many options, there's a guided tour or vacation package for every type of traveler.

Also, if you're departing from a specific destination, see The Best 3-Day Tours from Bangkok , The Best 3-Day Tours from Phuket , The Best 3-Day Tours from Chiang Mai , The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Bangkok , The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Phuket , The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Chiang Mai , The Best 10-Day Tours from Bangkok , The Best 2-Week Tours from Bangkok , or The Best 2-Week Tours from Chiang Rai for more package tour options.

How much do 21-day tours to Thailand cost?

Visitors will find a large range of terrific options for tours lasting 3 weeks when planning a visit to Thailand. The price of these specific trips can vary according to length, destinations, and travel style. The average price of tours lasting 3 weeks in Thailand based on data from 9 options is an affordable $105 per day. If you're interested in more information about tours here, see our guide to tour prices in Thailand .

And for more information on Thailand, see Thailand Travel Costs and Thailand Hotel Costs .

Subscribe to our Newsletter

By signing up for our email newsletter, you will receive occasional updates from us with sales and discounts from major travel companies , plus tips and advice from experienced budget travelers!

Budget Your Trip

3 week thailand tour

Some of the links on this website are sponsored or affiliate links which help to financially support this site. By clicking the link and making a purchase, we may receive a small commission, but this does not affect the price of your purchase.

  • Privacy / Terms of Use
  • Activities, Day Trips, Things To Do, and Excursions

Unveiling the Ultimate 3-Week Thailand Itinerary from Bangkok

3 week thailand tour

Dreaming of an exotic getaway that encapsulates vibrant culture, breathtaking landscapes, and heartwarming experiences? Look no further! This 3-week Thailand itinerary from Bangkok is your passport to an extraordinary adventure that will leave you awe-inspired. Dive into the enchanting world of Thailand as we guide you through an itinerary that promises to be a blend of discovery, relaxation, and cultural immersion.

3-Week Thailand Itinerary from Bangkok

Week 1: exploring bangkok’s marvels.

Your journey begins in the bustling heart of Thailand, Bangkok. Immerse yourself in the city’s dynamic energy as you explore its vibrant markets, ornate temples, and modern attractions.

  • Arrival in Bangkok: Embracing the Buzz Upon landing in Bangkok, let the energy of the city captivate you. Check into your comfortable accommodation and prepare to embark on a thrilling adventure.Exploring the Grand Palace, a mesmerizing architectural masterpiece, should be your first stop. The intricate details and cultural significance will leave you in awe.
  • Chao Phraya River Cruise: A Serene Evening Indulge in a calming Chao Phraya River cruise during sunset. Witness Bangkok’s iconic landmarks illuminated against the twilight sky.
  • Street Food Safari: Gastronomic Delights Delve into Bangkok’s world-renowned street food scene. From Pad Thai to Som Tum, let your taste buds embark on a delectable journey.
  • Chatuchak Weekend Market: Shopper’s Paradise Get lost in the labyrinthine alleys of Chatuchak Market, where you’ll find everything from fashion to handicrafts.
  • Wat Arun and Wat Pho: Temple Treasures Explore the stunning Wat Arun and Wat Pho temples. Marvel at the intricately designed structures and the majestic Reclining Buddha.

Week 2: Cultural Immersion in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai

Your journey continues to the charming cities of Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, where you’ll immerse yourself in traditional culture and lush landscapes.

  • Travel to Chiang Mai: Ancient Charms Fly to Chiang Mai and explore its ancient temples, including the revered Doi Suthep Temple.
  • Elephant Sanctuary Visit: Ethical Encounters Embark on a heartwarming visit to an elephant sanctuary, where you’ll interact with these majestic creatures ethically.
  • Chiang Mai Night Bazaar: Shopping Extravaganza Indulge in retail therapy at the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar. Shop for handicrafts, textiles, and local treasures.
  • Doi Inthanon National Park: Nature’s Splendor Embark on a journey to Doi Inthanon National Park, where you’ll encounter lush forests, stunning waterfalls, and hill tribe communities.
  • Chiang Rai Exploration: Golden Triangle Discovery Travel to Chiang Rai and visit the captivating White Temple (Wat Rong Khun) and explore the enigmatic Golden Triangle.

Week 3: Island Bliss in Phuket and Krabi

Escape the urban buzz as you venture to the paradisiacal islands of Phuket and Krabi. These gems offer tranquil beaches, turquoise waters, and thrilling adventures.

  • Travel to Phuket: Beachside Serenity Fly to Phuket and unwind on the white-sand beaches. Relax, rejuvenate, and soak in the island vibes.
  • Phi Phi Islands: Snorkeling and Scenic Wonders Embark on a day trip to the Phi Phi Islands, a haven for snorkeling, swimming, and soaking in the stunning natural beauty.
  • Exploring Phang Nga Bay: Kayaking Adventure Navigate through the emerald waters of Phang Nga Bay on a kayaking expedition. Explore hidden lagoons and limestone caves.
  • Railay Beach, Krabi: Rock Climbing Thrills Travel to Krabi and experience the adrenaline rush of rock climbing in Railay Beach, surrounded by dramatic cliffs.
  • Four Islands Tour: Tropical Exploration Discover the magic of the Four Islands Tour, visiting Phra Nang Cave Beach, Tup Island, Chicken Island, and Poda Island.
  • Is 3 weeks enough to explore Thailand from Bangkok? Absolutely! This itinerary is designed to maximize your experience in diverse destinations, giving you a well-rounded glimpse of Thailand’s beauty.
  • What’s the best time to embark on this itinerary? The ideal time is during Thailand’s cool and dry season, from November to February, to ensure comfortable weather for outdoor activities.
  • Can I customize this itinerary to my preferences? Certainly! Feel free to adjust the duration and activities to suit your interests and pace.
  • Are there vegetarian or vegan food options available? Thailand offers a wide range of vegetarian and vegan dishes, especially in popular tourist areas.
  • Do I need special permits for national park visits? Most national parks require an entry fee for foreigners, which is generally affordable and contributes to the park’s maintenance.
  • How do I travel between destinations within Thailand? Thailand has an extensive network of domestic flights, buses, and trains that make intercity travel convenient and accessible.

Embarking on a 3-week Thailand itinerary from Bangkok is a journey of a lifetime that promises an exquisite blend of cultural exploration, natural wonders, and unforgettable experiences. From the bustling streets of Bangkok, the charming cities of Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, each destination offers a unique tapestry of beauty and discovery, to the serene islands of Phuket and Krabi . So, pack your bags and set forth on an adventure that will enrich your soul and create memories to cherish forever.

Leave a Comment Cancel reply

You may also like.

3 week thailand tour

Elephant Sanctuaries in Thailand

3 week thailand tour

Thailand Entry Requirements for US Citizens: A Comprehensive Guide

3 week thailand tour

Thailand Holiday Packages from South Africa: Your Gateway to Tropical Bliss

Our newsletter.

Get free consultation on designing your travel itinerary in Vietnam

Don’t Miss Out! Expert trip Planning for Vietnam & Southeast Asia:

Get free itinerary designed just for you.

Looking to plan an unforgettable trip to Vietnam & Southeast Asia?

Our travel specialists have over 20 years of experience and thousands of satisfied customers. They’ll work with you to create a custom itinerary that fits your interests and ensures a memorable trip.

The Offered Consultation includes:

  • A personalized itinerary tailored to your interests and preferences (FREE)
  • A trip quotation that includes detailed inclusions (FREE)
  • Insider knowledge and expertise from our local travel specialists. (FREE)

To claim your free consultation, simply share us with your name and your email address. We’ll be in touch with you shortly to begin planning your dream vacation.

ALL FOR FREE! Don’t wait, take the first step toward your dream Trip now.

Our team of travel specialists will create a customized itinerary for you in just 24 hours, completely free of charge. Well collaborate with you every step of the way to ensure that every detail is tailored to your satisfaction. Feel confident that you’re in good hands, and let us take care of the planning.

  • Your Name *
  • Your Email *
  • Your Message

3 week thailand tour

Limestone karsts and longtail boats on famous Phra Nang Beach in Krabi province, Thailand

3 weeks in Thailand: Itinerary for your first trip to this incredible country

Some links on this page may be affiliate links. That means if you follow one, see something you like, and purchase it, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you. For more information, see this site's disclosures .

A suggested 3-week Thailand itinerary for first-time visitors. From north to south, it includes the best of the country’s breathtaking landscapes, legendary street food, beautiful temples, and wonderful people.

As you can probably tell from a glance at my past blog posts, Thailand is one of my favorite countries in the world. I’ve honestly lost count of the number of times I’ve been – I go back frequently for months at a time (and have for the past 12 years or so). I don’t care that it’s one of the most touristed places on the planet. I simply love Thailand, its incredible scenery and food, and its wonderful people. 

Three monks in orange robes sitting in front of a golden seated Buddha statue in the ordination hall of Wat Pho in Bangkok, a must-see on this 3-week Thailand itinerary.

Needless to say, you can easily spend a whole lot more than three weeks in Thailand and still barely scratch the surface of everything to see and enjoy. That said, three weeks is enough time to get a good sampling of all of the country’s highlights. That way, when you come back (and I bet you will), you’ll have a good idea of what you like and where to spend more of your time.  

So let’s get to it! 

People seem to either love Bangkok or hate it, and I am firmly in the former category. I’ve loved Bangkok since the moment I first set foot in Asia more than a decade ago.

It is busy and bustling, absolutely, but not in an overstimulating way (in my experience). People are generally kind and polite. Along with its world-famous cultural sights, legendary street food, and sprawling markets, Bangkok has good public transportation and tons of interesting neighborhoods to explore. (Three days, of course, is not enough time to really dig into Bangkok, but I just want to emphasize how much there is to discover here.) 

Intricate gold carvings and colorful tiles at Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok, the first stop on this three-week itinerary for Thailand.

I would say your absolute must-sees in Bangkok are the Grand Palace (which includes Wat Phra Kaew, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha), Wat Arun (the Temple of Dawn), and Wat Pho (where you’ll find Thailand’s largest reclining Buddha).

If you’re there on a weekend, definitely make your way up to Chatuchak Market . This is one of my favorite places to wander, even when I have no intention of buying anything.

If you need a break from the heat and sightseeing, head to the shopping malls near the Siam BTS station . You’ll find tons of good food (Thai and international) and air conditioning on full blast. 

A distinctive spire at Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn) overlooking the temple grounds and Bangkok cityscape.

Then of course there’s the famous backpacker enclave of Khaosan Road . I don’t really recommend staying around here unless you’re under 25 (and if you are, you should – it’s like a rite of passage!), but it’s definitely something to see regardless of what kind of traveler you are. To get here, I always take the skytrain or metro to the river and then grab one of the public ferries heading north. Traffic in Bangkok can be horrendous, and taking a boat on the river is one of the top things to do in Bangkok anyway! 

And now for something a little more low-key…

I’m starting your itinerary in Thailand’s beautiful, mountainous north with Chiang Rai. I imagine, because you only have three weeks in Thailand, that many of you reading this will want to fly south when it’s time to visit the islands. You will have many more nonstop flight options from Chiang Mai (including Phuket, Krabi, Surat Thani, and Koh Samui) than from Chiang Rai (where your only direct options are Phuket and Bangkok). 

If you’re planning to take the train up from Bangkok rather than flying, you can start in Chiang Mai instead (see the next section) and use that as a base for exploring northern Thailand.

The White Temple (Wat Rong Khun) in Chiang Rai, a must-visit on any 3-week itinerary for Thailand.

I personally really like Chiang Rai. It’s what I imagine Chiang Mai was like before the tourism industry overran the entire city. Not that Chiang Rai isn’t touristy (it certainly is in places), but I feel Chiang Rai has retained more of itself than Chiang Mai has, and it’s easier to find more “normal” pockets of the city. That is just my experience, though, and there are plenty of people who will tell you it’s boring and better done as a (very long) day trip from Chiang Mai.

Its three main sights are the White Temple (Wat Rong Khun), the Blue Temple (Wat Rong Suea Ten), and the Black House (Baan Dam). You’ve likely seen many pictures of the White Temple already – it is one of the most beautiful and unique in Thailand. (As you’ll see, though, once you get up close the art is actually a bit sinister!) 

Demon sculptures at the White Temple in Chiang Rai.

The Blue Temple is also stunning. It was reconstructed quite recently, and its color distinguishes it from most other temples you’ll find in the country.

The Black House , though sometimes referred to as a “temple” by tourists, is actually a museum. It showcases the work of the famous Thai artist Thawan Duchanee, who also designed the 40-something buildings and smaller structures that comprise the museum. The work here is also a bit dark, standing in rather stark contrast to the quiet, leafy grounds that house it.

Chiang Rai has a lot of lovely little spots for a coffee break. There is also a night bazaar just next to the bus station, a few blocks away from Chiang Rai’s famous golden clock tower.  

Day or overnight trip to the mountains

If you have room for a car and driver in your budget, consider spending your second day (and perhaps night) in the nearby mountains. (Note that when I say “nearby,” I mean 2-3 hours of challenging, hilly driving – but through incredibly beautiful landscapes. I only recommend driving yourself if you’re already familiar with Thai roads and have an appropriate license.) 

Sunrise over a sea of clouds, the mountains of Laos, and yellow sunflowers at Phu Chi Fa viewpoint in northern Thailand.

In the winter months, Phu Chi Fa is a popular place to watch the sunrise over the Mekong and neighboring Laos. Thai people from all over the country come here to see the “sea of clouds” – dense morning fog that sits in the valley below the surrounding mountain peaks. 

Alternatively, head to Doi Mae Salong for tea plantations, green mountain vistas, and lots of Chinese cultural influence. 

Flowers and crop fields in the rolling mountains of Mae Salong, a nice day or overnight trip from Chiang Rai and a possible itinerary stop with 3 weeks in Thailand.

I have visited both of these destinations by motorbike from Chiang Mai (a much longer endeavor), but you can arrange a taxi service from Chiang Rai. Although both places are well-known among domestic tourists, they’re not super popular with international visitors (yet). You may have to ask around a bit, and it may be a little expensive, but it’s definitely possible (and worth it). 

Chiang Mai is about three and a half hours southwest of Chiang Rai. It’s generally considered to be Thailand’s “second city” (in terms of culture and importance, not size), but it has a completely different vibe from Bangkok. Whether that is a good or bad thing really depends on you and what you enjoy. 

Entrance to a coffee shop in Chiang Mai with a decorative bicycle, flowers, and lots of green plants.

Chiang Mai’s Old City dates to the 13 th  century. Although it’s still home to plenty of temples, it is also now packed to the brim with spas, restaurants, cafés, and guesthouses. You’ll find a lot of really great value in Chiang Mai; prices here are quite affordable for the quality you can find in terms of food, accommodation, shopping, and services. 

The famous Wualai Walking Street and Thaphae Walking Street night markets take place here every Saturday and Sunday, respectively. If that doesn’t align with your schedule, worry not – you can visit the nearby Night Bazaar any day of the week. 

Small Buddha statues and floating candles at a Chiang Mai temple at night.

For a trendy area (or at least as trendy as it gets in Chiang Mai), head to the Nimmanhaemin neighborhood west of the moat. This area is popular with students and digital nomads, as is the cheaper, less tourist-centric, and slightly more chaotic Santitham to the north.  

The temples and markets are what bring people here initially, but they are really just the beginning of everything Chiang Mai has to offer. Other popular things to do including taking a cooking class or visiting an ethical elephant sanctuary. The surrounding mountains have waterfalls, hot springs, hikes, and lots of lovely small towns. A lot of people who come here for a few days end up sticking around for months or even years!

Pick one: Pai or island time

With three weeks in Thailand, you have some choices to make! For most people, I’d suggest deciding between two days in the mountain town of Pai  or  just heading south to start exploring some of Thailand’s breathtaking beaches. 

However, if you enjoy a fast pace of travel and/or you find yourself bored in Chiang Mai after one day (it’s not for everyone), it’s possible to squeeze it all in.

A table, chairs, and colorful cushions on a cafe terrace overlooking the mountains of Pai, Thailand.

You may also decide that a beach is a beach, and you’d rather cut out more than one of the islands in favor of extending your time up north. I would especially recommend this if you’re traveling between November and January and you want to do some exploration by motorbike – many of the best trips through the mountains are multi-day loops. 

If you’re confident on a motorbike and legal to ride in Thailand (i.e. you have a Thai license – unlikely if you’re reading this article – or you have an International Driver’s License with a motorcycle endorsement), have a look at some of my favorite motorbike trips in the north . You may decide to visit Pai as part of a longer adventure .

Is Pai worth a stop on your Thailand itinerary?

So, Pai. It’s a bit of a polarizing place. The vibe is  new-age-conscious-community  turned up to 11, with a bit of backpacker-gap-year thrown in. Some people adore it and want to stay there forever (you’ll hear them talk about the “Pai hole”). Others immediately wonder why they risked life and limb on Thailand’s most notorious road to visit a tiny, commercialized, overpriced tourist town. 

Colorful lanterns hang over Pai Walking Street night market stalls selling food and souvenirs.

I am somewhere in the middle. There’s no question that the setting is beautiful and peaceful. The mountains, the river, the hot springs, oh my! Do I think it’s worth risking your life in a minivan to get there? No, I don’t. (I have been on some hair-raising bus rides in my life. Trekking in the Himalayas was worth it. But Pai? It’s a no from me.) I recommend hiring a private driver, driving yourself (again, only if legal and comfortable on Thai roads) or looking for a rideshare on social media if you decide to go.

Once there, make sure to visit Yun Lai viewpoint, Pai Canyon, the bamboo bridge, and the Big Buddha overlooking the valley.

Now, the easiest way to get around Pai’s major sights is definitely by scooter. This is where I and countless backpackers before me first hopped on a bike. I’m not saying it’s smart, and it’s definitely not legal. If you are hurt without a proper license, your insurance almost certainly will not cover you. So I cannot actually  recommend  doing this – the more time I spend riding around Thailand, the more gratitude I feel for having been lucky in my younger, more reckless days. However, I will say that it’s quite common, and that there are a lot of quiet backroads around Pai where you can drive slowly and carefully ( with a helmet , for the love of everything) as you find your confidence. 

Big Buddha statue overlooking the tiny town of Pai, Thailand.

That being said, the steep hill to Yun Lai viewpoint, the highway to Pai Canyon, and the potholed road to the bamboo bridge are really not where I recommend learning to drive. The sensible thing to do is to just book a tour. If you come back to Thailand with more time, you can take an introductory riding course, get your license, and explore to your heart’s content.

Pick one or two out of three: Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, and Koh Tao

And now it’s time to head south! As mentioned above, you have a few direct flight options from Chiang Mai. Feel free to switch this itinerary around and visit the Andaman coast first if you find a better flight to Phuket or Krabi – or if you’re trying to time your trip to coincide with (or avoid!) a Full Moon Party.

These three islands, located next to each other in the Gulf of Thailand, all have very distinct vibes. They’re all incredibly beautiful, but I can almost guarantee you’ll have a preference. So let’s help you decide! 

Koh Samui is the largest of the three islands and the most expensive. It has a lot of resorts, families, package tourists, and international food. I would say its nightlife scene trends a little icky at times. (It’s not quite Phuket, but parts of it aren’t far off.)

Looking out at the ocean from a small beach structure with cushions, pillows, and plants on Koh Samui.

I think this is a good choice if you want convenience and luxury – Koh Samui has its own airport and some very nice high-end resorts. 

Koh Phangan

Koh Phangan, the middle island, has a bit of a split personality. The southern part is home to the legendary Full Moon Party and all of its smaller iterations (the Half Moon Party, the New Moon Party, Tuesday night) that take place the rest of the month.

Young backpackers. All-night music. Neon body paint. Fire shows. Rum buckets. 

Neon body paint designs on display under a blacklight during the Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan.

North of the ferry pier, you’ll find a large spiritual community with a lot of long-termers.

Yoga. Drum circles. Kirtan. Sound healing. Ecstatic dance. Did you like Pai? You will like this part of Koh Phangan. 

Koh Tao is the smallest of the three islands, and it has long been one of the cheapest places in the world to get scuba certified. (It’s home to something like 70 dive shops!) Despite not actually having a lot of healthy reefs, it is known as  the  place to dive in Thailand.

If you’re an experienced and well-traveled diver, I would honestly tell you to save your money for the Andaman coast. You will likely be disappointed here. (Well… unless you see a whale shark!)

Scuba diver swimming alongside a whale shark in waters just off of Koh Tao, the most popular island in Thailand for diving courses.

However, if you’re a new diver or if you’ve always been curious about diving, Koh Tao is a fantastic place for it. I did my Open Water and Advanced training here, and I absolutely loved it. I didn’t know if I would, though, so I didn’t want to lay out a bunch of money getting certified.

Koh Tao is a really fun and stress-free place to learn because you’re surrounded by so many others doing the same thing. You also just have  so many  dive shops to choose from; it’s hard to imagine you won’t be able to find one that makes you feel comfortable and at ease.

Turquoise water and sandbar of Koh Nang Yuan, just off the coast of Koh Tao.

Even if you have no interest in diving, Koh Tao is definitely worth visiting. Its beaches are some of Thailand’s most beautiful and great for snorkeling. 

It also has fun nightlife, but it doesn’t feel as… wild? debauched? as Koh Phangan because people don’t come here specifically for that purpose.  

Khao Sok National Park is one of those places I’m surprised more people don’t visit. It’s certainly not a secret, but it doesn’t seem to land on a lot of first-time Thailand itineraries. I really think this is a mistake – it’s one of the most beautiful and unique destinations in the country. It’s also a great place to break up your beach time between the two coasts! 

The best way to experience Khao Sok is to spend a night in one of the park’s many floating bungalows. There are options for every budget, from simple huts to a luxury honeymoon suite with its own pool (yes, in the middle of the lake). 

Dramatic limestone cliffs jutting out of Khao Sok lake, the most unique destination on this 3-week Thailand itinerary.

To do this, you’ll generally need to spend a night in the nearby town of Khao Sok before heading out your overnight trip to the lake. I wrote a separate post about how to get there and the different bungalows available . 

You can also head straight to Krabi and book a day trip to Khao Sok from there. This will involve some backtracking, and you won’t be able to stay in a floating bungalow, but you’re working with a limited time frame. Sometimes you just don’t feel like packing up and moving every day. 

Since we’re working on a schedule here, my recommendation is to skip Phuket (overrun, seedy in many places, and difficult to get around) and head to Krabi province from Khao Sok.

Krabi is, unfortunately, also too crowded for its own good, at least in high season. But that is for a reason, and I think most first-time visitors to Thailand would like to see it.

Distant limestone cliffs behind two longtail boats in clear turquoise water on Phra Nang Beach - one of the prettiest places on Thailand's southern Andaman coast.

There are quite a few places to base yourself in the Krabi area. Railay Beach is one of the most popular – the dramatic limestone cliffs and bright, clear water here and at nearby Phra Nang Beach make this one of the most arresting landscapes in Thailand. Next door, Tonsai Beach (accessible via forest hike, longtail boat, or a bit of rock scrambling) is popular with rock climbers and those looking for more budget-friendly accommodation on the peninsula. 

There is no road access to Railay or Tonsai; you can get there via longtail boat from Krabi town or Ao Nang Beach. Some people prefer to base themselves in one of the latter two and just take day trips to Railay, Tonsai, and nearby islands like Koh Poda.

Limestone karsts rising from the ocean on Tonsai Beach in Krabi province.

Ao Nang is not that nice of a destination in itself, but it’s convenient if you want to spend some time exploring the some of the nearby hikes and viewpoints inland in addition to the beaches. Krabi town is the most budget-friendly option of them all, as there is no beach here. It’s mellow and not too touristy, which can be refreshing. 

Koh Lanta is a popular island, but its size makes it feel much more relaxing than the others I’ve mentioned so far. It offers lots of long, swimmable beaches with plenty of space to find your own plot of sand. It has breezy beachside restaurants, some of Thailand’s best diving , and easy, chill roads great for exploring by scooter. 

A beach shack and two colorful towels in the sand at quiet Ao Nui Bay on Koh Lanta.

I would say Phra Ae Beach , or Long Beach, is probably the most convenient place to stay on Koh Lanta. There are lots of restaurants and cafés around here; everything you need is within walking distance. 

If you’re looking for something more remote, the southern half of the island and the east coast are more secluded. I personally would recommend sticking to the west coast, as I think the beaches are nicer. 

With extra time, pick one: Koh Phi Phi, Koh Lipe, Koh Jum, or the Similan Islands

Depending on how quickly you moved through this Thailand itinerary and whether or not you need to make your way back to Bangkok, you might have a couple of nights left. 

Thailand has countless islands, and infrastructure is constantly being developed on less-visited beaches as some of the classic destinations become oversaturated. Although there are some nice options a bit further afield, I recommend sticking around the south to avoid spending more time in a minivan than on the beach.

Koh Phi Phi

You are surely wondering about Maya Bay, the stunning cove made famous by Leonardo DiCaprio and  The Beach . This incredibly beautiful but incredibly crowded beach, located in the Phi Phi islands, is only accessible via day trip. It’s also closed for several months each year in an (arguably futile) effort to undo the environmental damage caused by thousands of daily visitors for the better part of two decades.

Fire show at Slinky Bar on the infamous party island of Koh Phi Phi Don, a popular stop on backpacker itineraries for Thailand.

All of the Phi Phi islands are breathtakingly beautiful, but they have definitely suffered from overtourism. I think it’s worth spending the night on Koh Phi Phi Don if and only if you’re looking to party. Otherwise, I would recommend visiting as a day trip from Koh Lanta or Krabi (or not visiting at all if you’re bothered by crowds). 

I recommend a stop on Koh Lipe if you’re heading onward to Malaysia. Otherwise, I would save it for another trip, as it’s a bit of a mission to reach. It has beautiful beaches and spectacular diving and snorkeling. (Or so I’ve heard… the visibility when I was there was maaaybe 1-2 meters. I could tell it would be great under better conditions, though – lots of colorful, healthy coral!) 

Longtail boats on Sunrise Beach on Koh Lipe with Koh Usen in the background.

Koh Jum/Koh Pu

This is just one island, but for some reason the northern part is referred to as Koh Pu, while the southern half is called Koh Jum. 

This is a bit of an “up and coming” island, one you’ll hear people call “the Thailand of 20 years ago.” I recommend this if you want quiet, secluded, and not much to “do” other than hang out on the beach.

Similan Islands

This one is mainly for the divers. Anyone can visit the Similans, but I don’t really think it’s worth going out of your way just to snorkel. The best dive site in Thailand (by a mile, honestly) is Richelieu Rock, located about 45 kilometers off the coast between the Similan and Surin archipelagoes. Most diving here is done by liveaboard, although it’s sometimes possible to go by speedboat from Khao Lak (about two hours north of Phuket).

Diving with a sea turtle on my Similan Islands liveaboard - an option for divers with extra days to fill on on their 3-week Thailand itinerary.

You can book a short liveaboard leaving from either Phuket or Khao Lak. (If you decide to do this, it may make sense to put the Similans on your itinerary between Khao Sok and Krabi, but it really depends on where you need to catch your departing flight.)

I went on my first liveaboard in the Similans. Read my thoughts on whether it’s worth it for more details on logistics and what to expect there.

Important notes on rainy season and burning season in Thailand

This 3-week itinerary is really meant to be a rough outline. These are the best places to get a sense of everything Thailand has to offer, but you should make adjustments based on your interests, whether those include diving, temple-hopping, or exploring by motorbike. I also encourage you to shift things around depending on the time of year you plan to visit and your tolerance for rainy weather.

Rainy season

Most of Thailand experiences a rainy season from roughly  May/June through late October . Although you might get unlucky with some truly torrential weather, the rain usually isn’t bad enough to warrant skipping Bangkok or northern Thailand during this time. It often rains for just a few hours a day, and the result is that the surrounding landscapes are incredibly lush and green. If you’re dreaming about those vibrant green rice terraces, this is the time to see them. 

Hiding from a rainstorm at Bangkok's Grand Palace while traveling in Thailand during rainy season.

Weather on the Andaman and Gulf coasts

If you’re traveling during this time, however, you might consider skipping or limiting time on the Andaman coast and reallocating those days elsewhere. Some ferries will stop running, and many guesthouses and restaurants will be closed for the season. (However, it’s worth noting that you can often find great deals at the places that do stay open. Accommodation is often discounted up to 50% compared to high season prices.) 

The Gulf Islands of Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, and Koh Tao also get some rain during this time, but it’s usually not enough to ruin a vacation. Note, though, that they have their own monsoon season from roughly October through mid/late December. The start and end are hard to predict, but the worst of it is usually in November. Still, if you’re risk-averse, it’s probably better to skip the Gulf during these three months. 

So, to summarize: From  June through September , the Gulf Islands are a safer bet. In November and December , it’s better to stick to the Andaman side.  May and October  can really go either way. There will likely be at least some rain on both coasts throughout this period, but how much is very hard to predict. 

Three people walking in the waves under stormy skies on Koh Lanta. The sunset is just visible through the clouds but there are also rainstorms in the distance.

If you’re traveling to Thailand during the rainy season, it’s probably better to stay flexible and hold off on booking nonrefundable accommodation until you can check the forecast. (Since these are not busy months in Thailand, you’ll often get some great deals this way as well.) Hopping in a minivan from one side of the isthmus to the other is a pretty straightforward (if a bit tiring) affair.

For the best beach weather on both coasts,  January through April  is your best bet. (January is the coolest but busiest month. April is the hottest.) 

Smoky season

From roughly  mid-February through mid-April, I would advise skipping the north of Thailand altogether . I really hate to say that, because I have a deep love for the north, and it really is quite distinct from the south. However, northern Thailand and neighboring countries suffer from incredibly poor air quality during this season (as in, it rivals Delhi on its worst days) thanks to agricultural burning and forest fires throughout the region.

A screenshot of hazardous air quality levels in Chiang Mai in March.

Some years are worse than others, and there are always people who will tell you it’s no big deal. If you value your health, though, that simply isn’t true. Hospital admissions for respiratory problems soar during this period. It’s unhealthy to do anything other than shut yourself inside with multiple air purifiers running. You’re not going to want to climb Doi Suthep or go zipping through the brown, dry landscapes of the mountains, I can almost promise you. Click around on Google Street View in Chiang Mai and you will immediately be able to tell, without looking at the date, if an image was taken in March or April. 

There is a mass exodus of people who can afford it every year starting in late January. People who have no such luxury have been begging the government for change for years – so far with little improvement.

March and April are also the hottest months of the year (with highs often hovering in the high 90s Fahrenheit/mid-high 30s Celsius for weeks at a time), so it’s a good time stick to the coast anyway.

Where to start your 3-week Thailand itinerary

I’ve started this itinerary in Bangkok, because I assume most people reading this will be flying into the Thai capital. If you’re flying back out of Bangkok at the end of your trip, you can save one or two of these days for later so you have a bit of a buffer before your international flight. 

If you’re still in the planning stages, though, I would encourage you to check if you can fly out of Phuket. There are more international flights from here than you might think, and this will help you avoid some backtracking. 

Coming from Laos

If you’re coming overland from northern Laos, it definitely makes more sense to start your itinerary in the north of Thailand. (Chiang Khong will be your first port of call in Thailand if you’ve been exploring this area or if you’ve taken the slow boat from Luang Prabang. It is approximately two hours from Chiang Rai by bus.) You can visit Bangkok in the middle of your trip (as you transition from northern Thailand to southern Thailand) or at the end if you have a flight out of Suvarnabhumi or Don Mueang. From central or southern Laos, it’s probably easier to just start in Bangkok.

Coming from Malaysia

If you’re coming overland (or by sea) from Malaysia, you can do the reverse, starting with the Thai islands and then visiting Bangkok in the middle or at the end of your trip. Ferries from Langkawi to Koh Lipe take just 90 minutes. (Note that they only run during high season, though – this is typically late October through May.) There is also a train from Penang to Hat Yai, but you’ll need to change trains at the border.

Coming from Cambodia

From Cambodia, Bangkok is a sensible first stop in Thailand, so there’s no need to rearrange the itinerary. It is quite easy and common to book buses to Bangkok from Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, or Battambang.

More on Traveling in Thailand

The 10 best motorbike trips from Chiang Mai

Guide to the Mae Hong Son Loop by motorbike

Riding the Mae Salong Loop from Chiang Mai

Visiting Chiang Dao and the Sticky Waterfalls from Chiang Mai

What’s so great about Chiang Mai anyway?

Staying in a floating bungalow in Khao Sok National Park

Diving in the Similan Islands: A great first liveaboard

Guide to diving Koh Lanta: Dive sites, prices, and when to go

Similar Posts

The Best Time to Visit Montreal: A Month-by-Month Guide

The Best Time to Visit Montreal: A Month-by-Month Guide

The Mae Hong Son Loop: A guide to Chiang Mai’s most famous road trip

The Mae Hong Son Loop: A guide to Chiang Mai’s most famous road trip

Best Places to Visit in Chile: A First-Time Itinerary

Best Places to Visit in Chile: A First-Time Itinerary

Taipei Itinerary: 7 Days in Taiwan’s Capital

Taipei Itinerary: 7 Days in Taiwan’s Capital

Calle Lanín: A colorful Buenos Aires street without the crowds

Calle Lanín: A colorful Buenos Aires street without the crowds

Jiufen, Taiwan: An easy, classic day trip from Taipei

Jiufen, Taiwan: An easy, classic day trip from Taipei

NOMADasaurus Logo

The Perfect 1, 2 and 3 Week Thailand Itinerary

Gabby Boucher

  • Last Updated: January 20, 2024

How to make the most of your Thailand itinerary, whether you have 1 week, 2 weeks or 3 weeks, written by an expert!

Thailand is an incredibly diverse country in Southeast Asia that can be explored in any sort of time frame.

But of course, the longer you have to visit Thailand, the better.

From cities like Bangkok and Chiang Mai in the north to stunning islands like Koh Phi Phi in the south, any trip to Thailand could be jam-packed.

But having more time to explore means you aren’t rushing around, constantly hopping on flights and buses, and you have more time to stay in one spot and soak it all in before moving on.

Thankfully, Thailand is pretty small, very affordable, and easy to get around.

So if you have one week, two weeks, three weeks, or more, you can easily see different parts of the country without sacrificing too much time and money on travelling around.

You can explore both northern Thailand and the islands of the south easily in just one week, though of course, you can see more exciting things in two or three weeks.

Thailand Itinerary

Budget airlines make it very cheap and easy to fly around Thailand, and flights are often only an hour or two.

So even in just one week, you can explore the culture and cuisine of the mainland before jumping on a quick flight down to the islands for some swimming, snorkelling, and kayaking.

In this article, you’ll find three samples for a possible Thailand itinerary.

Of course, these can be modified depending on what you want to see and how much time you actually have.

For example, you could spend all of your time hopping around the islands if you want, or you could spend all of your time up in the mountains and cities of the mainland if you’re not much of a beach person.

You could even spend your entire Thailand trip in one place, or you might feel intrigued to visit places not mentioned in these itineraries.

This article serves more as a guide for those who are visiting Thailand for the first time and are unsure of what they want.

These itineraries will combine a bit of culture in the mainland with a bit of beach time in the islands, so travellers can get a taste of the different parts of Thailand.

Make sure you get your travel insurance before you embark on your Thailand trip. It is pretty much essential.

Table of Contents

2 Days in Chiang Mai

2 days in phuket, 1 day in koh phi phi, 2 days in bangkok, 3 days in chiang mai, the white temple (wat rong khun), the blue temple (wat rong suea ten), 2 days in koh lanta, 2 days in ao nang, octave rooftop bar, scarlett rooftop bar, red sky rooftop bar, 4 days in chiang mai, 2 days in pai, 2 days in chiang rai, 2 days in khao sok national park, 1 day spent travelling from khao sok national park to koh samui., 3 days in koh samui, 7-day thailand itinerary.

This Thailand itinerary is for those who have one week in this beautiful corner of Southeast Asia.

Though a week goes by quickly, it is definitely enough time to dabble in the culture and natural beauty of Thailand.

You’ll most likely fly in and out of Bangkok for any Thailand trip, as this is where most international flights go.

READ MORE: Here’s our guide to the best places to visit in Thailand . You’ll find all these destinations in our Thailand itinerary in there.

As the capital city of Thailand, Bangkok is crazy and crowded but absolutely packed with culture and things to do.

No Thailand itinerary would be complete without at least 2 days in Bangkok .

Some fun activities you can fill your days with include tasting street food on Khao San Road , checking out the massive government buildings in the Dusit District , taking a riverboat tour along the Chao Phraya River , and exploring the local temples.

Here are some notable temples to visit in Bangkok during your Thailand trip.

Wat Pho temple is famous for its giant reclining Buddha.

  • Location: 2 Sanam Chai Rd, Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang
  • Hours: 8 am to 6 pm
  • Cost: 200 Baht

Located in a scenic spot right on the river bank, this temple has a mix of Buddhist and Hindu influences.

  • Location: 158 Thanon Wang Doem, Bangkok Yai
  • Cost: 100 Baht

This temple has a massive golden pagoda and is located on top of a man-made hill known as the Golden Mountain

  • Location: 344 Boriphat Rd, off Ratchadamnoen Klang
  • Hours: 9 am to 7 pm
  • Cost: 50 Baht

Probably the most beautiful landmark in Bangkok is the Grand Palace, a huge property filled with glittering temples, incredible statues, towering pagodas, and overall fascinating architecture.

Located inside the Grand Palace is Wat Phra Kaew , one of the most sacred temples in Thailand and home to the Emerald Buddha.

Built in only 1782, the Grand Palace is a true work of art, so travellers should brave the crowds to check out this famous attraction.

  • Grand Palace Location: Na Phra Lan Road, Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang
  • Hours: 8:30 am to 3:30 pm
  • Cost: 500 Baht

After two days of exploring the highlights of Bangkok like Wat Pho and the Grand Palace, fly north to Chiang Mai.

READ MORE: 10 awesome things to do while travelling in Bangkok

Wat Arun Bangkok

Chiang Mai is a bit more relaxed than Bangkok, but there are still plenty of things to do.

This city in northern Thailand has over 300 Buddhist temples and is surrounded by lush jungles.

You can take a Thai cooking class, get a Thai massage, or watch a Muay Thai Boxing match to immerse yourself in the culture of Chiang Mai.

Make sure you taste a traditional Khao Soi, which is a creamy curry and egg noodle dish famous in northern Thailand.

Khao Soi Khun Yai in a cheap and authentic local restaurant in Chiang Mai where you can try a delicious Khao Soi.

If you’re looking for a nice place to stay in Chiang Mai, check out the Floral Hotel at Thapae Gate .

Located right in the Old City and close to all Chiang Mai’s attractions this gorgeous hotel has comfortable rooms, a nice swimming pool, and only costs between 50 and 70 USD per night.

For exactly what there is to see and do there, check out our list of what to do in Chiang Mai .

Once you’re finished with your time in the city, fly from Chiang Mai to Phuket.

After arriving at the Phuket airport on the north of the island, catch a taxi down to the beautiful white sands of Karon Beach.

All-Star Guesthouse is a great place to stay near Karon Beach, as it is a small, cozy, family-run place that is centrally located and very affordable.

For more accommodation options in Phuket, check out this article on all the best places to stay in Phuket for every budget.

Here’s a more detailed article we wrote on how to make the most of your Phuket itinerary .

During your two days in Phuket, you can visit the Big Buddha, go sightseeing in Phuket Old Town, go parasailing at Patong Beach, and watch the sunset from one of the island’s many viewpoints.

Head over to Rassada Pier to take the ferry to Koh Phi Phi, a gem of any Thailand trip.

READ MORE: Add these to your list of things to do in Phuket .

Phuket Sunset

For the last day in your 7 day Thailand itinerary, soak in the picturesque views at Koh Phi Phi.

Koh Phi Phi is actually a chain of three tiny islands, though only one of them, Phi Phi Don , is inhabited.

On Phi Phi Don you can find lots of cheap backpacker hostels, bars, clubs, clothing stores, and souvenir shops.

Make sure you save time for sunbathing next to the turquoise waters of Loh Dalam Bay, and for hiking up to the viewpoint that looks over the whole island.

Koh Phi Phi doesn’t have an airport, so you can either take the ferry back to Phuket and fly out of there, or take the ferry to Krabi on the mainland and fly out of there.

Koh Phi Phi Viewpoint

2 Week Thailand Itinerary

This 2 weeks in Thailand itinerary is great for those who can’t take loads of time off work but still want to get a good feel for the country.

Start your 2 weeks in Thailand in Bangkok. If you’ve seen enough during your first day in Bangkok, you can switch things up by taking a day trip out of the city.

The best day trip from Bangkok is visiting Ayutthaya , the former capital of the Siamese Empire.

This ancient city is about 85 km north of Bangkok and was founded in the 14th century.

Ayutthaya is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is full of old but well-preserved temples, monuments, and national parks.

Next on the agenda for 2 weeks in Thailand, fly from Bangkok to Chiang Mai.

READ MORE: 12 awesome things to do while travelling in Bangkok

No 2 weeks in Thailand itinerary is complete without stopping in Chiang Mai.

If you’d like to make a day trip for one of your 3 days in Chiang Mai, Doi Inthanon National Park is a great place to go nearby.

Located about 70 km away from Chiang Mai, Doi Inthanon National Park is a massive green space filled with temples, local villages, gardens, hiking trails, waterfalls, and lots of peaceful forests.

You can take a songtaew to reach the park from Chiang Mai, which is a red pick-up truck that serves as a collective taxi.

Try and find other travellers to share the ride with you so the overall price becomes cheaper!

Another option is visiting Elephant Nature Park , an elephant rescue sanctuary near Chiang Mai. If you are tempted to see elephants on your Thailand trip, just remember to visit somewhere ethical that protects the animals and forbids riding. Elephant Nature Park is a great place to visit elephants ethically!

Check out this Chiang Mai 3 Day Itinerary for more inspiration on things to do in this charming northern Thai city.

Chiang Rai is next on your 2 weeks in Thailand trip. Take a minibus from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai. We recommend booking this on the website .

Doi Inthanon National Park

Chiang Rai is a quiet and beautiful city in the north of Thailand. If you have time to visit it on your Thailand trip, definitely do so!

Stroll through the small town centre and chat with friendly locals, or drive up to the northernmost tip of Thailand which is connected to Myanmar by a bridge.

The breathtaking temples are definitely the highlights of Chiang Rai. Make sure you check them out during your 2 weeks in Thailand.

Probably the most visited temple in Chiang Rai, the unique decoration and detail of this whitewashed temple will blow your mind.

  • Location: 1 Phahonyothin Rd

Slathered in deep blue colours and adorned with Buddhist relics, the Blue Temple is a feast for the eyes.

  • Location: 306 Maekok Rd
  • Hours: 7 am to 8 pm

If you’re travelling on a budget, Chiang Rai has lots of really nice and affordable accommodation options.

Connect Hostel has high ratings from travellers and costs only 8-9 USD per night for a dorm room or 37 USD per night for a private room.

Fly from Chiang Rai to Phuket so you can enjoy some of the island destinations during 2 weeks in Thailand!

READ MORE: Learn all about these incredible things to do in Chiang Rai .

Because Phuket is such a mountainous island, there are lots of hilltop restaurants with open views where you can look over the beautiful scenery while you dine.

Head to Heaven Restaurant & Bar for a view over Kata Noi Beach, the Palace Restaurant and Sky Lounge for a view over Patong Beach, or Tung Ka Café for a view over Phuket Town.

Or take a day trip to the James Bond Island, located in Phanga Nga Bay.

Next on your 2 weeks in Thailand itinerary, take the ferry from Phuket’s Rassada Pier down to Koh Lanta.

Koh Lanta is an island in the Andaman Sea that is far less touristy than some of Thailand’s other islands.

Snorkelling, swimming, kayaking, diving and sunbathing are all incredible here as there are few crowds to distract from the tropical scenery.

Explore the natural phenomenon of the Emerald Cave, stroll through the tiny and rustic Old Town, or go hiking in the Mu Ko Lanta National Park.

A gorgeous place to stay in Koh Lanta during 2 weeks in Thailand is the Crown Lanta Resort and Spa (has recently been renamed to Avani Plus Koh Lanta Krabi Resort).

Read the full, NOMADasaurus detailed review of this luxury hotel here .

Take the ferry from Koh Lanta to Ao Nang to finish off 2 weeks in Thailand.

Koh Lanta Beach

Ao Nang is relaxing and quaint, but still leaves travellers awestruck with its towering limestone cliffs and postcard-worthy beaches.

Railay Beach is the most popular attraction here, and you can hop on a cheap long tail boat from Ao Nang Beach to reach this little cove of cliffs and turquoise water.

Ao Nang is ideal for rock climbing enthusiasts, as the abundance of massive, jagged rocks makes for challenging but rewarding climbing spots.

You can also hike Hang Mak Mountain or go zip lining over the jungle for a bit of excitement.

Any 2 week Thailand itinerary must include a day of snorkelling or diving.

Ao Nang is an amazing place for snorkelling or diving as the water is warm and clean and there is lots of wildlife thriving in the area.

After an action-packed 2 days in Ao Nang and 2 weeks in Thailand fly from Krabi back to Bangkok to catch your departing international flight.

READ MORE: Add these to your list of things to do in Ao Nang .

3 Week Thailand Itinerary

A 3 week Thailand itinerary is great for those who really want to explore the stunning country Thailand.

Aside from the big cities, you’ll get to visit small towns, national parks, and islands in the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand. A 3 week itinerary is ideal!

3 Days in Bangkok

Between checking out the tourist attractions and taking a day trip to Ayutthaya, you’ll have an incredible 3 days in Thailand’s capital city.

An awesome activity in Bangkok is visiting a rooftop bar in a giant skyscraper, with a panoramic view of the city.

Outside of the Old Town, Bangkok is super modern and cosmopolitan, so it can be fun to treat yourself to a nice cocktail or meal overlooking the metropolis.

Keep in mind that most rooftop bars are classy and have a dress code, so try to dress fancier than usual.

Here are some of the best rooftop bars in Bangkok, all of which sell high-quality food and beverages and have a crazy view of the city sprawled below.

  • Location: 45th floor, Bangkok Marriott Hotel Sukhumvit, 2 Ban Kluai Nuea Alley, Khlong Tan Nuea, Watthana, Bangkok 10110
  • Hours: 5 pm to 1:30 am
  • Location: 37th floor, Pullman Bangkok Hotel G, 188 Silom Rd, Khwaeng Suriya Wong, Khet Bang Rak, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10500
  • Hours: 5 pm to 12 am
  • Location: 55th floor, Centara Grand at CentralWorld, 999/99 Rama 1 Road, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330
  • Hours: 5 pm to 1 am

For additional things to do in Bangkok, consider checking out the Airplane Graveyard or celebrating Songkran , the Buddhist New Year, in the city.

Next on your 3 week itinerary, fly from Bangkok to Chiang Mai.

With an extra day in Chiang Mai, you have time to take another day trip out of the city to explore the surrounding nature.

One of the coolest places to visit near Chiang Mai is the Sticky Waterfall, or “Bua Tong Waterfall” located in the Jedsee Fountain Forest Park.

Here you can climb the vertical waterfall using just your hands and feet because the rocks are coated with rough mineral deposits so they aren’t slippery. It’s one of the most amazing day trips from Chiang Mai.

Spend a few hours here swimming, splashing, climbing, and having a picnic (there aren’t any shops in this remote area near Chiang Mai so bring your own food and drinks!).

After your 4 days in Chiang Mai, take a minibus to Pai.

Pai is a relaxing jungle paradise where backpackers love to chill out and spend quality time with nature.

There are so many natural wonders to explore near Pai, such as the Pambok Waterfall, the Tham Lod Caves full of stalactites and stalagmites, the soothing Tha Pai Hot Springs, and the massive Pai Canyon.

Rent a scooter for a couple of days and enjoy the freedom of zooming through the jungle, and stroll through the local walking street market at night for some cheap local street food.

Spend your two nights in Pai at one of the local backpacker hostels.

Tribal Pai Backpackers is a great choice for accommodation because it is social and fun, but a bit less crazy than a party hostel.

A dorm here costs as little as 4 USD per night, and private rooms are about 33 USD per night. Accommodation can be super cheap when you visit Thailand!

Catch a minibus from Pai to Chiang Rai .

READ MORE: Add these to your list of things to do in Pai .

Pai Motorbike Thailand

If you haven’t yet taken a cooking class in Thailand, Chiang Rai is a great place to do it.

You can book a full-day cooking class that starts with a tour of the local market to pick up fresh ingredients.

Then you can learn all about the rich flavours and simple techniques of Thai cuisine and eat all the delicious food you cook.

This is a great insight into the culture of Thailand, so you should definitely try and squeeze a cooking class into a 3 week Thailand itinerary.

Fly from Chiang Rai to Phuket.

After spending a decent amount of time soaking in the sun on Phuket’s pristine beaches, entertain yourself by watching a famous ladyboy cabaret show.

A ladyboy performance is a must-see when you visit Thailand.

Phuket’s Simon Cabaret was established in 1991, and now hosts some of the best cabarets in the country.

Ladyboy cabarets consist of drag queens wearing fantastic costumes and putting on a show full of dancing, acting, lip-syncing, sometimes real singing, and a whole lot of energy and pizazz.

Take the ferry from Phuket to Ao Nang .

In addition to the outdoor activities mentioned in the 2 week Thailand itinerary, you can try to explore a little more of the islands surrounding Ao Nang by doing an island hopping tour.

A 3 week Thailand itinerary still can’t cover all of the country’s stunning islands, so a guided day tour by speedboat is a great way to pack lots of cool places into a short time.

On a day tour, you’ll see gorgeous beaches, huge cliffs, snorkelling sights, and just a lot of mind-blowing natural beauty.

Then, add another epic place to your 3 week itinerary and take a shuttle from Ao Nang to Khao Sok National Park .

Khao Sok National Park is an oasis of serenity and scenery that looks like it came out of a fairy tale. It’s often a highlight for those who visit Thailand.

Dense jungle, hanging vines, limestone cliffs, caves, rivers, lakes, animals and insects are just a few of the things you’ll find here.

You can go hiking and kayaking, or take a boat tour through the park, or just relax and soak in the serenity from your lakeside wooden bungalow.

Cheow Lan Lake is the most beautiful area to stay in, but you can also stay in the Khao Son Riverside if you don’t want to be so deep in the jungle.

Khao Sok National Park Thailand

Travelling from Khao Sok National Park over to Koh Samui in the Gulf of Thailand can be done by some combination of shuttle and minibus, but you’ll have to dedicate one full day to the trip.

The transport prices are usually very cheap, but it will take quite a while since you have to cross the Malay Peninsula.

After reaching the ferry port on the eastern side of the peninsula, just hop on a ferry and make your way to Koh Samui!

Check out this website for planning your trip.

Spend the last 3 days of your 3 week Thailand itinerary relaxing on the white sands of Koh Samui .

Chaweng Beach, Lamai Beach, and Choeng Mon Beach are the three most popular beaches on Koh Samui and they all offer beautiful scenery and turquoise water for swimming.

Koh Samui is the second-largest island in Thailand, so there is plenty to do here in addition to just being a beach bum.

Head to the north of the island to check out the Big Buddha and the night markets, including Fisherman’s Village Street Market, held every Friday from 5 pm to 11 pm.

Take a fruit carving class or visit the Secret Buddha Garden, full of mysterious statues and peaceful forest.

Definitely spend one of your days in Koh Samui taking a day trip to Ang Thong National Marine Park.

This protected area consists of 42 little islands, and you can only visit by government approved tour boat.

There are lots of affordable day tours that can bring you into the park and take you hiking, snorkelling, kayaking, and exploring throughout the diverse and impressive national marine park.

Other things to do in Koh Samui include visiting Koh Tao for snorkeling or Koh Phangan for the Full Moon Party. Both Koh Tao and Koh Phangan can be visited as day trips via local boat.

If you have even more than 3 weeks in Thailand, you can continue exploring Koh Tao and Koh Phangan for even longer, as there are plenty of fun things to do here.

If your Thailand trip is coming to a close after Koh Samui, fly back to Bangkok to catch your departing international flight.

DISCLAIMER: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links, which means if you book accommodation, tours or buy a product, we will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. These commissions help us keep creating more free travel content to help people plan their holidays and adventures. We only recommend the best accommodations, tours and products that ourselves or our fantastic editorial team have personally experienced, and regularly review these. Thanks for your support, kind friend!

Gabby Boucher

Gabby Boucher

Hi, We’re Alesha and Jarryd!

Join the Team

We’ve been traveling the world together since 2008, searching for the planet’s best destinations and adventures.

Love Travel?

Sign up for our free weekly newsletter for the best travel tips, ideas and deals!

We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at any time.


17 EPIC Things to Do in Pai, Thailand [2024 Guide]

Keemala Phuket Review – Phuket’s Best Luxury Resort

Riding the Mae Hong Son Loop – Motorbike Travel Guide

Related Posts

20 epic things to do in chiang rai, thailand (2024 guide), sustainable tourism in thailand – ecotourism, wildlife and culture guide, thailand/myanmar (burma) border crossing – mae sot to myawaddy, where to stay in phuket – the best hotels for every budget, 4 thoughts on “the perfect 1, 2 and 3 week thailand itinerary”.

I’m absolutely hooked on your Thailand itinerary! Week 1’s cultural immersion, Week 2’s adrenaline-packed activities, and Week 3’s idyllic relaxation—what a well-rounded adventure. Your blog is a goldmine for anyone planning a trip. I’ll be sure to share this valuable resource with my fellow travel enthusiasts!

This trip blog truly captures the essence of wanderlust and adventure. The stories shared here evoke a sense of curiosity and make me yearn to explore the world. It’s the perfect escape for those moments when you can’t physically travel but still want to be transported to new horizons.

Wonderful itinerary! Thanks for the tips!

I’ve been to Thailand several times, and I loved all of these places. I have yet to visit Khao Sok — it is on my list.

Thank you for stopping by. Definitely check Koh Sok out next time you are in Thailand. 🙂

Leave a comment Cancel reply

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

Main Claire's Itchy Feet logo

3 Week Thailand Itinerary: Tips for Planning a Trip to Thailand

Posted on Last updated: February 27, 2024

This 3 week Thailand itinerary is the only Thailand trip planner you need for an unforgettable vacation. If you plan a trip to Thailand , you’re probably overwhelmed figuring out the cost to travel to Thailand and what to see while backpacking Thailand. 3 weeks in Thailand is a short time to cover such an incredible country. But this Thailand itinerary will help you plan the perfect Thailand backpacking route!

Thailand Itinerary 3 Weeks

Days 1-2: bangkok.

  • Day 3:  Ayutthaya
  • Days 4-6: Chiang Mai
  • Day 7: Phuket  (or Krabi)
  • Days 8-10: Koh Yao Noi
  • Days 11-14: Koh Jum and Koh Lanta
  • Days 15-16 Krabi
  • Days 17-19 Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, and Koh Tao
  • Days 20-21: Bangkok

Did You Get Travel Insurance Yet? The Insurance companies I recommend are  Hey Mondo and Safety Wing Hey Mondo  is great if you are looking for a great value flexible policy. They offer single-trip cover, annual multi-trip cover, and long-term travel cover. Safety Wing  is great value, with monthly coverage starting at $45.08. It’s super easy to use, and it just renews each month. I currently use them as they offer me free cover for my son as part of my policy. Read my full  travel insurance post  here, where I go into detail about all companies. 

Bangkok is crazy—the city can be overwhelming if it’s your first time backpacking in Thailand! I suggest kicking off your Thailand itinerary with one or two days in Bangkok, though you should return at the end of your trip to explore more.

I was too jet-lagged and culture-shocked to fully appreciate it on my first attempt at planning a trip to Thailand. I have a Bangkok Thailand trip planner you can read here and a detailed Bangkok itinerary here .

Where to Stay

The Yard : I cannot recommend this place enough! It is fantastic, and the people who run it are incredible—at the end of your stay, you will be sad to leave and eager to return. Pre-book your accommodations, as the last thing you’ll want to do once arriving in Thailand is search for somewhere to stay.

Adventures in Asia | 3 week Thailand Itinerary | Backpacking in Thailand Guide


After landing in Bangkok, we got a taxi, as we were too tired to attempt to navigate public transport. Getting a cab is easy—go up to the correct level, purchase a ticket, and head to the bay number. They will tell you the cost before traveling.

If you decide to stay at The Yard , take the sky train. There is one change, and it’s a 5-10 minute walk from the station.

Quick Tip:  Book accommodation, tours, and transport ahead of time online to save money and stress.  Best Thailand Tours :  Click here to check out the top Thailand tours Best Thailand Accommodation:  Click here to check out the best accommodation in Thailand Best Thailand Transport:  Click here to book a bus, ferry, or train in Thailand

3 weeks in Thailand – Day 3: Ayutthaya

You don’t need more than a day to explore the temples in Ayutthaya. I recommend traveling there around lunchtime. Give yourself several hours to rent a bike (about 100 THB), eat dinner, and take the night sleeper train to Chiang Mai .

If you aren’t planning on staying overnight in Ayutthaya , you must store your bags somewhere. There are three options:

  • Take your bag with you (no thanks)
  • Pay for a hotel in Ayutthaya to leave it there, take a nap, and shower before the night train
  • Pay a few THB to store it at the train station in Ayutthaya

We chose to store our backpacks at the train station in Ayutthaya and had no issues with baggage security , but ensure your belongings are locked up.

Planning a trip to Thailand and want the perfect Thailand backpacking route companion? I highly recommend investing in one (or all) of these books:

3 week thailand tour

There are several options to travel from Bangkok to Ayutthaya:

We were hungover (cheers Koh San Road) and tired, so we got a taxi for 1000 THB, which we were happy to pay.

You can now book your transport in Thailand online (yay) ! Read this post for more information about booking transportation in South East Asia .

Days 4-6: Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand

From Ayutthaya, head to Chiang Mai on a  sleeper train —it’s cheap and quite the experience.

Fresh off the sleeper train, we dropped our bags at our hostel and explored the city on bikes. We then spent two days hiking mountains. There are many outdoor activity options in the Chiang Mai area, from hiking to whitewater rafting among elephants and everything in between!

I feel like Chiang Mai passed us by because we didn’t have much time to explore all the highlights people told us about. I didn’t have time to go to Pai, and I wasn’t blown away by any places we stayed. I suggest spending 4-6 days here without pre-booking accommodations so you can be spontaneous.

Ensure you book a cookery class in Chiang Mai , visit Pai, and shop at the market—I didn’t, and I still regret it!

Chiang Mai Thailand - 3 week Thailand Itinerary

From Bangkok, you can travel by day or night train or bus or fly from Bangkok to Chiang Mai with Air Asia or Thai Airways. The flights are very cheap, especially if you book in advance. Treat yourself to an upgrade and fly business class with Thai Airways !

Once arriving in Chiang Mai early in the morning, you’ll encounter a crowd of shouting tuk-tuk and taxi drivers. Check your bags at the train station and grab a map from the tourist info desk. Walk to the closest café for breakfast and plan your next move so the crowds die down. Once refreshed, head into town to find a nice place to stay and return for your bags.

We stayed in two places —while they were okay, I don’t recommend either, as they were far from town with mediocre staff.

Need Transport in Thailand?

I’m a big fan of using when booking transportation in Thailand . I wrote a whole blog post about using them that you can read here . It makes the entire booking process so much easier, plus they have 24/7 support in case you need it!

Day 7: Phuket (or Krabi)

This was a transit day for us, as we quickly stopped by before heading out to the islands. However, there are many fun things to do in Phuket . We paid for a fancy hotel suite and lazed by the pool all day, recovering from our mountain trek and early morning flight. If you only have time for a Thailand 7 day itinerary, return to Bangkok and fly home. Otherwise, continue for the rest of this Thailand itinerary 3 weeks.

We stayed at The Village Resort and Spa in Karon Beach , which cost 14,000 THB for the two of us for one night (expensive in Thailand). However, it was worth it, and it was the only time we splashed out on accommodations the entire trip. It had a pool bar, a breakfast buffet, and the biggest bed I have ever seen!

Adventures in Asia | 3 week Thailand Itinerary | Backpacking in Thailand Guide

We flew from Chiang Mai to Phuket with Air Asia —I don’t recommend an early morning flight. We struggled to find a taxi to pick us up at 4:30 a.m. for our 6:00 a.m. flight! Instead, pay extra to fly in the afternoon.

You should also book your flight before you get to Thailand because the earlier you book, the cheaper it will be. You must fix the date you leave, but this will save you an entire day of travel on a train or bus. My flight was about £30.

Top Tip : If you need transfers between airports and boats, pre-book a car online or via a travel agent to save a few hundred tbt.

If you aren’t interested in seeing Phuket, fly to Krabi instead.

Days 8–10: Koh Yao Noi

I highly recommend visiting one (or both) of the Koh Yao Islands . We spent three nights at a fantastic yoga retreat , but you could also stay at a local resort. Hire a bike or scooter to explore and take a boat trip during your days there.

Island Yoga : The cost includes accommodations, breakfast (my favorite in Thailand), morning Thai Chi, and two daily yoga classes a day. The rest of your time there is free to explore and hang out with fellow travelers. I wish we could have stayed longer!

From Phuket, you must go to Bang Rong Pier and board a long or speed boat to the Koh Yao Islands.

Days 11-14: Ko Jum and Koh Lanta

I spent two days on Ko Jum, but if I returned, I would spend one day on Jum and three on Koh Lanta. Hire scooters, explore the islands, visit the best beaches in Thailand , and dine on fantastic food. You can also take many boat trips to other Thai destinations.

Koh Lanta Thailand

I stayed at Jungle Hill Beach Bungalow , a good basic option with a nice place to eat and stunning views. The beach there was rocky, but we walked down the road to a nearby beach. Ko Jum is small, so there aren’t many places to stay.

The only way to get to Ko Jum from Koh Yao Noi is via Krabi unless you want to hire a private boat, which is expensive. I traveled from Koh Yao Noi to Krabi by taking a taxi to the pier for the 11 a.m. boat to Koh Jum and Koh Lanta. Keep your wits about you—our driver tried to drive us to Koh Lanta!

Purchase a return ticket if you plan on going to Koh Lanta from Jum. If you don’t have your ticket, it costs double to buy it on the boat (I found this out the hard way). There is only one daily boat, so don’t be late!

Days 15-16: Krabi Town

I don’t recommend spending more than two days in Krabi if you take day trips from Jum or Lanta. We stayed somewhere central and enjoyed eating at the night markets, but we spent most of our days at Phi Phi or the Islands. If time allows, visit Railay Beach —I’ve heard nothing but good things about it. I didn’t fully explore Krabi, which I regret because there are many things to do in Krabi . Do research in advance and consider extending your stay.

In Krabi Town, we stayed at Baifern Mansion—while it’s pretty basic, the WiFi was good, and the staff helped book tours and transportation, significantly reducing our stress. We were also able to check in early and check out late. If you prefer to arrange transport yourself, I recommend .

To return to Krabi , you must take a ferry and grab a taxi or a transfer from the pier into town. Book your onward travel to Koh Samui ASAP as coaches fill up. There is also a night ferry (which we wanted to take but was sold out), or you can fly. The coach was fine, and it only took a few hours.

Book with Lomprayah, and if you have already reserved your accommodations, pay extra for a transfer upon arrival.

Koh Samui Thailand 3 week guide

Days 17-19: Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, and Koh Tao

The perfect Thailand itinerary for these islands depends on what you want to do. Koh Samui and Koh Phangan are ideal for partying—spend a night in Koh Samui in Fisherman’s Village for relaxation. Travel to Koh Phangan early the following day, stay 1-2 nights and spend 1-2 nights in Koh Tao.

Check out this great list of  the ten best things to do on Koh Samui .

Where to Stay: Koh Samui

On Koh Samui , I recommend staying in Fisherman’s Village . They have a walking street every Friday, there are many restaurants, and the beach is small but nice and clean.

Where to Stay: Koh Phangan

Pre-book somewhere to stay in Koh Phangan , or know what area you want to visit before arriving. If I returned, I would stay near the northwest or northeast beaches.

Where to Stay: Koh Tao

We didn’t make it to Koh Tao , which I regretted, but there wasn’t enough time. Next time I plan a trip to Thailand, I will skip Koh Samui and Koh Phangan to head straight there.

There are many daily ferries run by different operators. You can book through one of the local travel agents, who can also organize your transfers from where you are staying to the pier. Traveling around the islands is easiest on a scooter—if you don’t fancy that, hire a car (preferably a 4-wheel drive as some roads are rough).

Days 20-21: Return to Bangkok

When you return to Bangkok at the end of this 3 week Thailand itinerary, you may feel completely different about it—I did! We stayed at The Yard, and I didn’t want to leave. I only had an overnight stay, which I regretted. In hindsight, I wish I had taken several days there to explore with the new understanding and outlook I had gained over my weeks backpacking Thailand.

Bangkok Thailand ' my 3 week Thailand guide

Bangkok Food

I have a complete blog post for this: How to Eat in Thailand for Under £5 a Day !

To return to Bangkok from the islands, you must take a ferry and a bus, a ferry and a train, or a ferry and night bus/train. We chose the ferry and bus, as they fit best with our schedule. This is easy to book online or through an agent, and the cost should be the same regardless.

Thailand Itinerary to Plan Trip to Thailand: Final Thoughts

I hope this 3 week Thailand Itinerary encourages you to try backpacking in Thailand. Three weeks isn’t enough time—three months would have been great! If you’re concerned about the cost to travel to Thailand, a 3-week Thailand backpacking adventure is perfect. I wish I had more time to visit Thailand’s southern islands. Snorkeling in Koh Kraden is at the top of my list next time I plan a trip to Thailand.

If you enjoyed this Thailand itinerary 3 weeks, save it in your  Stipple Thailand trip planner . You’ll find destinations, things to do, and accommodations in one place without juggling multiple apps.

Top Tip : Thailand has introduced  the eVisa on Arrival system to make the application process smoother for a better entry experience.

3 Week Thailand Itinerary

2-Week Thailand Itinerary Recommendations

  • If you want to party, head straight from Bangkok to Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, and Koh Tao.
  • If you want a more cultural experience, spend more time in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and other northern places.
  • If you want beautiful beaches and relaxation, stick to the southern islands.

Wherever you go, I’m 100% confident you will fall in love with Thailand like I did. If you need a Thailand 7 day itinerary or 2-week Thailand itinerary , cut out some destinations.

Quick Tip:  View my full  Thailand packing guide  here including a downloadable checklist. And check out my Thailand Essentials shopping list  here .

Thailand Travel Guide Planning

🧳 Any recommendations on what I should pack for Thailand?

Yes! I have created a whole packing guide to Thailand which you can read  here  and you can also check out my packing list for Thailand on Amazon  here .

👩‍⚕️ What is the best insurance to have while traveling?

I recommend using  Heymondo  for a great value policy. The app also offers you 24/7 Dr Chat. For Digital Nomads check out  SafetyWing  digital nomad insurance. I have also written a blog post covering all my recommended travel insurance  here

✈️ Any flight recommendations?

WayAWay  offers you cheap flights with cashback. You can use this code  CLAIRE22  to get 10% off. Otherwise  Skyscanner  or  Expedia  are my go to flight searching platforms.

🚗 Where can I book rental cars or private transportation?

I strongly recommend using  12Go  or  Bookaway . There are many transport options available such as train, bus, and ferry.

I would strongly advice against driving a car in Thailand but you can easily rent a scooter locally.

🎫  Where can I buy tickets for museums, attractions, and tours in Thailand?

First and foremost check out all of the amazing Thailand tours  Where Sidewalks End  has. They are a small local company and they have some really special experiences.

For everything else I recommend either  Viator  or  GetYour Guide . 

📱What do you use for internet connection while traveling?

I’m a big fan of personal WiFi devices and they have saved my ass so many times when traveling. I wrote a full review of the top travel WiFi devices you can read  here . I personally use  GlocalMe  as I can either pop in a physical sim card or use their local carrier.

With regards to my phone connection, I use e-sims while traveling, so rather than having to swap out my regular sim card I can download the app and buy a virtual sim card. I recommend using either  Airhub  or  Alosim . Both have great coverage of multiple countries and are very easy to use.

🛏️ What is the best platform to use for booking accommodation?

The 3 best platforms that I normally use are , , and  Expedia . They offer great deals and multiple options. I always check all three to be sure of the best deals. However,  Agoda  is highly recommended in Thailand and it has the most selection.

🛅  Do you have any luggage recommendations for traveling?

I do have a complete list of the best packing and luggage products that I recommend, you can check the list  here . I’m currently traveling with  this suitcase  and  this backpack. 

Are you heading to Vietnam next? Read this article about backpacking Vietnam . If you’re going to Cambodia, here are 10 awesome places to visit . You’re welcome!

Are you planning a trip to Thailand? Then take a read of my 3 week Thailand Itinerary. This backpacking guide will help you make the most of your time backpacking Thailand. #backpackingthailand #thailand #thailandtravelguide #ThailandItinerary

Sunday 5th of April 2020

Hey Claire,

Looking at travelling Thailand next year, wondering about how much money i will need once out there for 3 weeks? i know everyone spending is different but just trying to look at estimates? How much did you spend once you where out there? Thanks,

Tuesday 5th of February 2019

When did you travel Thailand, thinking of travelling with my boyfriend in July / August for 3 weeks and was wondering if there was any tips you would be able to give. Heard that sticking to the eat coast is the best however read that i shouldn't take a boat in monsoon weather?

Claire Summers

Friday 8th of February 2019

Hey Emily, I actually went in December so I'm afraid I can't be much use in answering your questions. So sorry!

Monday 23rd of July 2018

I plan to spend 3-4 weeks in Thailand in January so this guide has come in very helpful! Especially the last part focussing on the islands as I had no idea where to start, and what islands to pick. It's a rather overwhelming decision when there are just so many beautiful islands to consider! Great post :)

Tuesday 24th of July 2018

Yey! I'm so glad. So it's not official yet but I may be in Thailand in January so might see you there haha!

Anna Makridi

Thursday 12th of July 2018

Fantastic post! I loved it! Good job!

Thank you :-)

Sunday 9th of July 2017

Thanks for this.

Claire Summers

Hi I’m Claire!

At 34 I sold all my worldly possessions that wouldn’t fit into 3 boxes or my backpack and hit the road.

I started Claire’s Itchy Feet to inspire women to pack their bags and travel more. With no plans to stop anytime soon I’m always looking for my next adventure be it attempting to surf or climbing a volcano I’ll try (almost) anything once!

© 2023 Claire’s Itchy Feet  

Calculated Traveller

9 Essential Stops for Your 3 Week Thailand Itinerary

It’s hard not to fall in love with Thailand. Sure, it’s wildly touristic, which makes getting off the beaten track a little more challenging. But once you visit this South East Asian country, you can understand why people flock here in such droves! Having visited Thailand a few times in my teens, I recently went back to spend three weeks in Thailand. I had an absolute ball.

I mean, it’s cheap, full of cool things to see and do, the food’s epic, and the natural beauty on display is insanely gorgeous. Also, thanks to its popularity as a tourist hotspot, the infrastructure’s in place to make travelling in Thailand safe and straight-forward. It’s as if this incredible country’s been purpose-built for travellers.

Do you have a three-week trip to Thailand to plan? Well, with limited time at your disposal and endless attractions to choose between, deciding where to go can be a challenge. If you’re running short on ideas, keep reading for 9 top stops that must end up on your 3 weeks in Thailand itinerary!

Top Stops for a 3 Week Itinerary in Thailand

Thailand table of contents, krabi and ao nang, koh phi phi, top things to do in koh tao (other than diving) include:, koh samui and/or koh pha ngan, here’s a selection of things to do in chiang mai:, here are some things to do in pai:, time to plan your 3 week thailand itinerary.

One fact about travelling is that it’s better when things aren’t planned to a tee. It leaves room for flexibility, which helps you go with the flow when you’re actually in the country. In that spirit, I’m not going to suggest a specific day-to-day run-through of how to spend your time in Thailand. Instead, I want to point out a selection of top spots to consider including in your itinerary.

Just know that visiting some, or all, of these places in your three weeks in Thailand would make for an epic experience.

Ao Nang Beach 3 week adventure in Thailand

Honestly, you could spend your entire three weeks in and around Krabi. There’s just a huge amount to do here. It was also the first place I visited and one of my favourite places I experienced on my trip.

Located on the southwestern side of Thailand, Krabi itself is a province that encompasses an expansive area. This can lead to significant distances between attractions, but don’t be put off! Everywhere you go is stunning and has more Instagram opportunities than you can imagine (try these attitude captions for Instagram photos you take), making the journey itself part of the appeal.

Among the plethora of things to do here, Krabi’s also a gateway to many of Thailand’s famous islands. For that reason, I’d make it a go-to place on your three-week Thailand itinerary.

6 Awesome Things to Do in Krabi:

1. Chill on the beach

The beaches in Krabi are nothing short of stunning (as they are all over the country). With amazing stretches of sand right on your doorstep, you should definitely spend some time checking them out. The food is pricier at the beach than in other places, but you pay for the location. Get down to the beach in time for sunset, grab a beer at one of the bars, and enjoy watching the night draw in!

2. Visit Ao Nang

Ao Nang is a buzzing little tourist town in Krabi Province, with another epic beach and access to the islands. Check it out for a lively atmosphere, shops and market stalls, good nightlife, and a quality beach to chill out on. You can also access the islands from here and embark on a wide variety of tours into the surrounding area.

3. Take an Island Tour

One of my favourite days in Thailand was spent touring the nearby little islands. Pay for a local tour guide to take you and a few friends out to them – there are masses to visit, but most tours visit 4 of the most popular islands.

An island tour is unquestionably one of the most touristic things to do here, but it’s hard to overstate how beautiful the islands are! Spend the day exploring what can only be described as paradise.

4. Swim at the Emerald Pools (AKA the Crystal Lagoon)

The Crystal Lagoon is one of the must-do things in Krabi. Otherwise known as the Emerald Pool , the water here is as clear as you’d expect from the name making it ideal for a swim on a hot day. Hang out with the masses of tourists and locals who head here to enjoy a refreshing dip in truly stunning surroundings.

5. Check Out the Krabi Hot Springs

The hot springs are pretty close to the Emerald pools, making for a quality Krabi day trip if you combine the two. These hot pools (called the Klong Thom hot springs ) are situated in beautiful lush rainforest, making for an epic backdrop as you soak in the warm water. Thailand’s not exactly cold, so if you start to overheat, hop into the freshwater stream nearby to cool off! 

6. Visit Wat Tham Suea Temple (Tiger Cave Temple)

If you fancy working up a sweat, then head to Wat Tham Suea by first entering through an impressive set of caves and then hiking up a leg-burning 1,237 steps to take you up to the temple itself. The Wat is an impressive sight to behold in its own right, but your efforts are rewarded even further by epic panoramic views over the surrounding area.

Koh Lanta

Koh Lanta was the first island I visited on my way out of Krabi. It’s a lovely 2-hour ferry ride away and one of the most chilled out islands I visited during my trip. Expect endless expanses of sand, insane sunsets that paint the sky red, and a bunch of quirky local attractions to enjoy.

You can also dive here, visit the lighthouse, and check out the dog rescue shelter, where you can look after a dog for the day!

There’s no shortage of places to grab food and drink in Koh Lanta. However, be sure to visit Mr Pad Thai . It’s just a tiny street food stall (run by Mr Pad Thai himself) that parks up at the far end of Long Beach (just next door to Aleena Minimart- where you go to buy your beers first). He serves one meal only: Pad Thai (although he can do vegan and vegetarian versions). It’s by far the best Pad Thai I had in Thailand, and it only sets you back 80 TBH per portion. I recommend visiting him.

Views over Phi Phi! Don’t be fooled by the chilled out appearance of it – this place is wild. If you’re looking for a good night out as part of your three week trip to Thailand, be sure to head to Phi Phi.

3 week itinerary for Thailand - Phi Phi Island

I went from the chilled-out beaches of Koh Lanta to the madness of Koh Phi Phi. This place is a whole new ball game. Phi Phi is wild!

Anybody in Thailand looking for a crazy night out comes to Phi Phi, and you can’t ask for a more beautiful setting to get blindingly drunk. There’s nothing quaint about the centre of this island. It has a reputation for being sunburnt drunken tourist-central and was somewhere I thought I’d hate.

I nearly didn’t go. But then I did.

And I ended up having a fantastic 24 hours there! Phi Phi lives up to its reputation and is a lot of fun. It’s not for the faint-hearted, though, or for any travellers looking for an authentic Thai experience. If you’ve got some money to burn and want to let off some steam, though, then Koh Phi Phi’s the place to go.

Nicely, you can find some quieter spots there as well, located outside of the main town. A nice trail across the island takes you over to this haven away from the chaos of Phi Phi’s centre. Be sure to check these beaches out if you need a break from the bars and buzz. Don’t forget to go up to the lookout for sunset as well. It’s the best view in town by far and a scenic place to soak up the Phi Phi beauty (remember to take some cash to cover the entry fee).

The coastal walk on Koh Tao is just one of the fantastic things to do here. A stopover here is well worth it for any three-week itinerary in Thailand.

Koh Tao

From Phi Phi, I went on an epic (aka stupidly long and arduous) journey around to Koh Tao. I was travelling for about 18 hours, took two boat trips (one of them overnight) and multiple buses. Was it worth the effort?

All things considered, yes. Koh Tao’s an incredible place, with a lot going for it. Koh Tao’s another touristy destination, but the island handles it well and offers a nice mixture of attractions to keep you occupied. Koh Tao is one cool, bustling island with a more chilled out atmosphere to Phi Phi. It’s also dive central, so if you want to learn to dive or add to your logbook, then Koh Tao’s the place to come. It’s also stunning and enjoys a different vibe to other islands on your Thailand travel itinerary.

Be a bit careful here, though; I heard some worrying rumours about the island’s connections with Thai gangs. Quite a few people have gone missing here, which is never fun to hear when you’re looking to explore it. Personally, I never saw any evidence of it, but I did speak with one or two other travellers backpacking Thailand who’d had some dodgy things happen. Like anywhere in the world, though, if you keep your wits about yourself and choose your company wisely, then you should be fine.

  • A wonderful coastal hike from Mae Haad to Chalok
  • Visiting the numerous lookouts for superb ocean views
  • Renting a scooter to explore places that are further afield
  • Taking a Muay Thai boxing class
  • Grabbing a beer in town and catching the sunset

Views like this make me sad that I didn’t fit Koh Samui into my trip! You can see why it would be another epic stop for a three week trip to Thailand.

Koh Samui

Koh Samui and Koh Pha Ngan are both a stone’s throw from Koh Tao.

Now, I didn’t go to either of them on my trip. But I heard dozens of people raving about them and, from what I gather, they’re well worth a visit. They’re super touristy but offer more of those famous Thai beaches and clear blue waters.

The nightlife’s meant to be another main allure of these two islands. For example, Koh Pha Ngan is host to the notorious Full Moon Party (book ahead of time if you’re coming for the Full Moon Party, and expect all accommodation to require minimum stays of 4 days or so). There’s also a place called Mushroom Mountain. Anyone keen to experience a special kind of ‘trip’ can probably guess what’s growing in abundance there…

These islands sound like lots of fun, but if you are all partied out, short on time, getting tired of all the beaches, or looking for something different, think about skipping ahead instead.

Doi Suthep Temple in Chiang Mai -  a must when on a 3 week tour of Thailand

I liked Chiang Mai a lot. It’s a hell of a long way from all of the islands, though. So, with limited time available, it’s worth booking a flight there (either from Krabi or Bangkok, depending on where you find yourself).

Chiang Mai’s a big city, but (from what I saw) it lacks the chaos and disorder of other South-East Asian cities. It was a nice blend of the ordinary and the exotic, a Thai experience with a European twist.

I felt at home there almost instantly. There are heaps to see and do in Chiang Mai, too, so give yourself a few days here to experience the best of it – you have 3 weeks in Thailand after all.

1. Visit the Temples

Chiang Mai is temple central. There’s more than 300 of them scattered across the city! Take a bit of cash with you (some of the main ones have a small entry fee) and set about exploring. Around every corner, there’s another beautiful ancient temple. Feel free to plan the ones you want to visit, or take my approach and just set out to see what you stumble upon!

2. Visit Doi Suthep Temple

Doi Suthep ’s another Thai temple, but this one is unique. It’s one of the major tourist attractions in Chiang Mai and well worth the effort of getting there. 12km out of the city (and up a pretty steep hill), you’ll need some transport to get there. Rent a scooter, hop on a tuk-tuk or take the famous Chiang Mai ‘red car’ taxi (go in a group to share the expense).

The views from the top are spectacular. However, the main event is the temple itself. With its enormous golden Buddha and white elephant shrine, this is a special place set with a scenic backdrop.

3. See the Hmong Tribe Village

While you’re at Doi Suthep, be sure to go the extra mile (almost literally) to visit the Hmong Tribe village. It’s in the temple’s vicinity and turned into one of my favourite places in Chiang Mai. I suppose it counts as another tourist trap (expect lots of stalls selling Thai trinkets), but, thankfully, it’s managed to maintain a degree of authenticity.

High up in the hills, the view on a clear day would be spectacular (it was cloudy when I was there!). But the village itself is cool to explore too. It feels like you’ve stepped back in time, with streets and buildings that seem straight out of the history books.

Doi Inthanon National Park 3 weeks in Thailand

4. Take a Day Trip to Doi Inthanon National Park

I was gutted that I didn’t make it out to Doi Inthanon National Park (pictured above) . It’s a reasonable distance from Chiang Mai but is supposedly another attraction that’s well worth the effort of getting there. You only have to look at pictures of it to understand why. Home to the country’s highest mountain, you’ll witness all sorts of wildlife, another temple to see, and stunning grounds to wander through.

5. Enjoy the Nightlife

Chiang Mai enjoys a reputation for substantial nightlife too. You won’t struggle to find a good night out here!

6. Visit the Grand Canyon

Don’t forget the Grand Canyon either. What was once an old quarry has steadily filled with rainwater, providing a surprisingly impressive artificial ‘canyon’. I didn’t go, but it looks and sounds like a lot of fun- especially on a hot day. Swim in the water, dive off the rocks, paddle in kayaks, and do all sorts of other fun activities in this novel Thai environment.

7. Do Some Work

For digital nomads out there, this city should be on your radar as a great place to stop and get some work done too. 

The White Buddha in Pai! It’s an epic place to catch the sunset when you’re spending three weeks in Thailand.

Budha in Pai Thailand

Pai (pronounced ‘pie’) is this lovely bohemian oasis located a couple of hours north of Chiang Mai. It’s up in the hills and surrounded by rainforest, providing a dream-like quality to this relaxed, charming and exceptionally chilled out place. I’d never even heard about it until I got to Thailand. Once there, though, everyone I met started filling my ears with tales of a long and winding road with this spiritual wonderland at the end of it.

Pai lives up to much of its reputation. It is, indeed, a little haven that’s unlike anywhere else I went in the country. But I would have preferred it 20 years ago when I imagine people first started going here.

These days tourism has started to catch up with it. But you should still go! Despite the tourist buzz, it was still one of my favourite places in Thailand.

Heads up, with a crazy 762 bends in the road, the journey to Pai can get a little nauseating (some people literally throw up). Don’t sweat it, though! You’ll be fine, and it’s worth the effort- Pai’s the sort of place that’s hard to leave.

  • Go to the night market for a bright and atmospheric evening full of excellent food to try.
  • Walk up to the White Buddha for an epic place to watch the sunset.
  • Hire a scooter to explore the surrounding area, which is jam-packed with walks, canyons and waterfalls to visit.
  • Relax in the laid-back bars and restaurants that are all over the place to enjoy.

Chiang Rai Temple Thailand

I was super sad that I didn’t make it this far north on my trip. However, I heard fantastic things about Chiang Rai, which made me decide to include it here anyway. With three weeks to play with, you can make it up here. Ironically, this provincial town’s charm in the far north seems to be how far away it is from everything else. Simply, far fewer tourists make it here.

The result is a far more relaxed atmosphere compared to other places. You’ll enjoy its sleepy nature, with rivers to boat down, a jazz festival to enjoy, and a night bazaar for entertainment.  Like most places in Thailand, expect more amazing temples to visit as well. Art lovers will also enjoy the art scene in Chiang Rai and its reputation for quality food and music.

Buddha Bangkok

Last but not least is the Capital City, Bangkok. I’m not going to lie; I wasn’t blown away by it. But, you know, it’s Bangkok! You can’t come to Thailand for 3 weeks and not spend a day or two here.

I spent my final 36 hours in Bangkok and wiled away the time walking the streets and visiting a few of the many temples here. There are a bunch of markets (including floating markets) and some excellent street food to enjoy.

Eating out in Bangkok, Thailand - Bangkok Street Eats

PRO TRAVEL TIP: If you are in Bangkok on a Saturday or Sunday, make plans to visit Chatuchak Weekend Market. You won’t be disappointed with over 15,000 market stalls on 35 acres of land.

You may also be interested in Khao San Road. It’s meant to be one of the most famous streets in Thailand, featured in The Beach, with Leonardo DiCaprio. It’s worth checking out if you’re in the area. The mass of tourists that go there creates a definite buzz. But, in all honesty, it’s just a big, busy, touristy street!

Read our article: Eating Out in Bangkok Thailand

Other than that, I’d use Bangkok as another gateway destination for your three week Thailand itinerary. You could start or finish your trip here and use the easy transport links to escape north to Chiang Mai or south to the Islands.

A 3 week trip to Thailand is an ideal length of time to explore this beautiful country. It’s long enough to see many of the main attractions without becoming exasperated by mass tourism in evidence here. For the food, weather, beaches, beauty, friendly locals, and ease of travel, Thailand is sure to capture the hearts of any traveller lucky enough to pay it a visit.

If you’re heading there soon, I hope the Thailand 3 week itinerary suggestions above will help you decide where to go!

Guest Author Danny Newman is currently writing and travelling his way around the world in a bid to figure out precisely what he’s doing with his life. He’d love you to follow along with his journey over at What’s Danny Doing .

You may find these articles interesting:

  • My Ultimate Indonesian Bucket List Adventure
  • The Taste of Travel – Memories of Food
  • “Scully and Mulder” in Bangkok, Thailand

3 week thailand tour

Travel is always good idea.

Shubenacadie Tidal Bore Rafting and Mud Sliding Nova Scotia Style

11 dishes to eat in kerala india during a south indian adventure.

3 week thailand tour

  • Destinations
  • Travel advice

Wat Arun Bangkok

Useful 3 weeks Thailand itinerary

  • February 12, 2024

Table of Contents

If you are orientating yourself to travel to Thailand, you have many options. In this article you can read why Thailand is one of the most beautiful countries in Southeast Asia to travel to, what you can see there, which transport options there are, how much a trip through Thailand costs and why this 3 weeks in Thailand itinerary is complete and diverse.

We have traveled for 3 weeks in Thailand and based on our experience we put together this 3 weeks Thailand itinerary. You can also read tips to extend or shorten this to a trip of 3 weeks Thailand. Our trip has a nice mix between cities, nature, culture, and history. If you are looking for adventure and want to do something different every day, this 3 week trip to Thailand is perfect for you.

You can copy this 3 week’s itinerary of Thailand and do exactly what we have done or you can use this itinerary as inspiration to put together your route.

Bangkok Boedha

How many days do you need for Thailand?

We recommend traveling through Thailand for at least 2 weeks, with 3 weeks in Thailand being perfect. In 3 weeks you have enough time to discover different places. If you have more/less than 3 weeks, you can add/skip destinations in this 3 weeks Thailand itinerary.

When planning your trip, it is important not to underestimate the distances and travel times between destinations. If you have a balanced itinerary you are mainly discovering things instead of being constantly on the road.

If you have less than 3 weeks, you can minimize our itinerary. In addition to our Thailand itinerary for 3 weeks, we also share a Thailand itinerary for 2 weeks.

If you have more time to discover Thailand, you have several choices, depending on your wishes. If you like culture, temples, and nature, we recommend spending more time in the north of Thailand in Chiang Rai province. If you are in Chiang Mai, it is highly recommended to extend your trip by visiting Pai. This is a village in the middle of the mountains. We were unable to visit Pai because the roads were unsafe due to the rain.

If you like islands, tropical sandy beaches, snorkeling, and the sea, island hopping from Koh Samui, Ko Pha-Ngan, and Ko Tao is highly recommended. Other top destinations in the south of Thailand are Phuket and the Trang Islands. Due to a lack of time, we were unable to visit these places.

Sign Up for Newsletter banner

How much does it cost to travel through Thailand?

Thailand is cheap to travel to. In Southeast Asia, Thailand is one of the more expensive countries to travel to. If you watch your spending, by not doing extremely expensive excursions every day, and don’t doing crazy things, a budget of $25-$30 per day can be sufficient. This only applies to people who consider themselves budget travelers. An average traveler spends $33-$55 per day. This is an indication if you want to know more about how much it costs to travel through Thailand you can read our article for more information. In this article, you can read in detail how much you spend per cost type per day. You can also read how much we spend during this 3 week Thailand itinerary.

Our favorite places to stay during this Thailand itinerary

During our trip through Thailand, we went looking for nice and special places to sleep. In our opinion, the nice and special accommodations where you stay give your trip an extra dimension. We have managed to find those places in Thailand and are happy to share this with you. We share two unique tips per destination. In this article, we give you an overview of the   best places to stay in Thailand .

Khoa Sok floating houses

Travel insurance

World Nomads travel insurance policies offer coverage for more than 150 activities. Get a quote, make a claim, or buy or extend your policy while on the road.

image 100550758 15379636

Thailand itinerary which direction to go?

Your trip probably starts in Bangkok, the advantage of Bangkok is that this city is centrally located in Thailand. After seeing Bangkok, you have two options: travel north or south. We recommend traveling north first and then continuing your journey south. The reason for this is that you do more activities in the north and have more time in the south to enjoy the tropical islands and beautiful beaches. We prefer to do at the beginning our the trip the most active things. In the second part of the holiday, you will have more time to relax. You can also turn it around, this is completely personal.

3 Weeks Thailand itinerary

Below you see the perfect Thailand itinerary that we made based on our experience. To give you a good idea of all the destinations of this Thailand itinerary, we have briefly described each destination below. If you want to know more about a specific destination, you can click on the link to the destination. We have written a detailed article for each destination in which you can find information about sights, activities, dining options, our favorite hotels & hotels, and our tips. These articles help you to give a good picture of the destination.

See all destinations below in an overview in which you can see how many nights and days you will stay per destination.

*You are of course free to determine how many days and nights you are going to stay at certain places. In our experience, this is a great division, so that you have a good mix between nature, culture, adventure, and relaxation.

Your journey begins in Bangkok, a great city to discover. It is a perfect place to get used to the Thai culture and the high temperatures. Be prepared to get used to all the noises because this city is different from the ones you’re probably used to. In Bangkok you can do many great things, for example, you can go to the palace of the king, discover different temples but also visit local markets. You need 3 days for Bangkok , open our article via the link.

Tip: Bangkok is very popular, so our favorite accommodations fill up quickly. Bangkok is probably your start and end destination of the tour through Thailand or Southeast Asia. It is therefore recommended to record these in good time.

Tip: stay 3 nights | day 1 – 4


Chiang Mai is arguably the best city to visit in Thailand. It is a city with a relaxed atmosphere. The highlight of Chiang Mai is the local Sunday night market. From Chiang Mai, you can organize a lot of fun activities. You can visit a recognized elephant sanctuary where you can volunteer for a whole day. You can also make beautiful hikes in the Chiang Mai area and do many more activities. Are you curious about what you can do in Chiang Mai, where you can eat, and which accommodation we recommend? We’ve gathered all our tips in our 3 days Chiang Mai itinerary .

Tip: stay 3 nights | day 4 – 8

Tip regarding Pai: If you have the opportunity, we recommend that you continue your journey to Pai. We were unable to visit Pai because the roads were unsafe due to the rain. Stay 3 nights | day 8 -11.

Chiang Mai temple

Surat Thani

Surat Thani is a city in the south of Thailand. From Chiang Mai, you travel via Surat Thani to Koh Samui. If you take the plane from Chiang Mai to Surat Thani in the morning, you can take the ferry to Koh Samui in the afternoon. If you leave in the afternoon (or later) from Chiang Mai, you will arrive in Surat Thani in the evening, there you can take the ferry to Koh Samui in the evening/night. It is then not necessary to stay in Surat Thani, so you can stay 1 night longer in Koh Samui.

If you arrive in Surat Thani very late, we recommend staying in Surat Thani at B Boutique Residence . The next morning you can take the first ferry from Surat Thani to Koh Samui. The advantage is that you do not travel at night, which means you are more rested.

Tip: stay 1 nights | day 11 – 12

It’s time to discover one of Thailand’s most beautiful islands. Above Surat Thani are three very popular islands and each has its advantages. We went to Koh Samui because this is the largest island and therefore has more to offer. We are travelers who love to discover the authentic parts of a country and believe us you can find it in Koh Samui. It’s very easy, rent a scooter and go around the island. There are many places where it seems like you are the first to discover it. There are plenty of beaches on Koh Samui where you will be all alone. We share our tips in our Koh Samui guide .

Tip: stay 5 nights | day 12 – 17

Koh Samui beach relax

Khao Sok National Park

After relaxing in Koh Samui, you will visit perhaps one of the most beautiful national parks in Thailand: Khao Sok National Park. This park is surrounded by rock formations that can have an altitude of 900 meters. When you are in Khao Sok National Park you have the feeling as if you are standing in a scene from Jurassic Park. There is a lot you can do in this park. We wrote all our tips and things you need to know in this article Khao Sok National Park travel guid e . This will help you to make sure that you get the most out of it.

After relaxing on Koh Samui, you will visit perhaps the most beautiful national park in Thailand: Khao Sok National Park. This park is surrounded by rock formations that can be up to 900 meters high. When you are in Khao Sok National Park you feel like you are in a scene from Jurassic Park. You can do a lot in this park, such as staying in a bungalow on the water in the middle of the wilderness. We’ve written all of our tips and things not to miss in this article Khao Sok National Park travel guide . This article ensures that you are prepared.

Tip: stay 3 nights | day 17 – 20

Khoa Sok safari guide

Thailand travel guide

Putting together an itinerary is part of preparing yourself for 3 weeks backpacking in Thailand. If you want to know more about Thailand, we recommend reading this Thailand travel guide . In this travel guide, you read what is the best period to visit Thailand, how safe Thailand is to travel to, which items are essential to bring with you, and more useful information.

Itinerary Thailand 3 weeks FAQ

1. i would like to travel for 2 weeks in thailand, which itinerary do you recommend.

If you are looking for a 2 weeks Thailand itinerary, you can use the overview below as inspiration. During these 2 weeks, you still have the chance to discover nice places in Thailand. The only difference is that you have less time at a destination and do not visit Pai.

What do you think of our 3 weeks Thailand itinerary? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Did you enjoy this article? Then save it to Pinterest for later!

thailand itinerary pin I

Hello, we are Cynthia & Alexander, the team behind Travel Your Memories! Traveling is our passion. When it comes to exploration, we love sharing our tips and adventures to inspire you. Welcome to Travel Your Memories, where we share our love for travel with you! Read our story .

Follow our adventure

More to discover.

Khao Sok Raft

Thailand on budget: Thailand trip cost below $48 daily?

Khoa Sok safari guide

Complete travel guide to Khao Sok National Park

Khoa Sok boat

The best Thailand travel guide | everything you need to know

Koh Samui beach relax

14 Amazing things to do in Koh Samui

Chiang Mai temple

The best 3 days in Chiang Mai itinerary

Khoa Sok floating houses

#14 Best places to stay in Thailand

3 week thailand tour

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Let's get social

Follow our adventures, popular places.

  • United Kingdom

2024 Travel Your Memories. Website created by Red Pineapple .

Privacy Policy       Sitemap

Privacy Overview

Follow our adventures on instagram.


Deals of the Week   Mad for the Med   Up to 50% OFF

3 Week Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam Tours & Trips

Filter for departure dates and price to find the right 3 week Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam tour with TourRadar. Choose from 79 trips with 717 customer reviews, that range from 15 up to 21 days.

79 Thailand, Cambodia And Vietnam 3 week tour packages with 717 reviews

Bangkok to Hanoi (via Cambodia) Travel Pass Tour

  • Christmas & New Year

Bangkok to Hanoi (via Cambodia) Travel Pass

  • 10% deposit on some dates Some departure dates offer you the chance to book this tour with a lower deposit.

Cambodia to Vietnam: Night Markets & Noodle-Making Tour

  • In-depth Cultural

Cambodia to Vietnam: Night Markets & Noodle-Making

Kim was an incredible guide - he really helped us to gel as a group and was passionate about the countries he took us to. We’d heard from other groups on similar tours that their tour guides weren’t as interested in getting to know their group on a personal level, however this was not the same for Kim. I also got a sickness bug on one of the days, and he went out of his way to ensure I was okay and got me some food and drinks from the shop to get me on the mend so I could rejoin the group. All in all, he is amazing at his job and he made my experience the best travels of my life so far. He is a credit to the G Adventures team!

Beauty Of Vietnam, Cambodia And Thailand – 21 Days Tour

Beauty Of Vietnam, Cambodia And Thailand – 21 Days

  • €99 deposit on some dates Some departure dates offer you the chance to book this tour with a lower deposit.

Laos - Vietnam - Cambodia & Thailand Discovery 21 days Tour

Laos - Vietnam - Cambodia & Thailand Discovery 21 days

21 days Thailand, Laos, Vietnam & Cambodia Tour

  • Coach / Bus

21 days Thailand, Laos, Vietnam & Cambodia

Laos was a country I’d like to explor further, the accommodations were great and the people terrific. Hoi An Village villas was a jewel, the service was excellent, the area around it a real highlight, especially the local people. Ha long over night boat trip was another wonderful experience. We could have made a week of it, if we were taken to other sights further away. The whole trip was one of the best I’ve done.

Highlights of Vietnam, Cambodia & Thailand 21 Days Tour

  • Sightseeing

Highlights of Vietnam, Cambodia & Thailand 21 Days

While the tour was excellent overall, some travelers might prefer more downtime. Perhaps offering optional excursions for those who want to explore independently could be considered.



Grand Indochina - Discover Vietnam | Cambodia | Thailand in 21 days Tour

Grand Indochina - Discover Vietnam | Cambodia | Thailand in 21 days

Unforgetable Thailand Laos Vietnam & Cambodia 21Days/20nights Tour

Unforgetable Thailand Laos Vietnam & Cambodia 21Days/20nights

Indochina Tour with Bangkok Extension 21 Days Tour

Indochina Tour with Bangkok Extension 21 Days

"I highly recommend Bravo Indochina tours all of my tour guides and all accommodations were outstanding and we were very pleased with this tour company. Company employees go over and beyond for you!!! From the travel agent Toni, to Cheawin in Cambodia, to Vincenzo in Chiangmai, everything was wonderful and I highly recommend this tour company!!!!"

Highlights of Vietnam, Cambodia & Thailand 19 days Tour

Highlights of Vietnam, Cambodia & Thailand 19 days

I had a great time. Hannah was very helpful to me. Thank you

Hanoi to Bangkok (via Cambodia) Travel Pass Tour

Hanoi to Bangkok (via Cambodia) Travel Pass

21 days Thailand, Laos, Vietnam & Cambodia Tour

The Heart of Cambodia & Vietnam with Bangkok (Southbound)

The Heart of Cambodia & Vietnam with Bangkok (Northbound) Tour

The Heart of Cambodia & Vietnam with Bangkok (Northbound)

What people love about 3 week thailand, cambodia and vietnam tours.

Awesome trip. You will get to see so many great places and it's a huge relief to not be having to take care of the whole itinerary yourself. Everything is taken care of. Our tour guide Minh was an amazing guide and he was handling every situation like a pro. He gave us exceptionally detailed information which helped a lot in a tour where there is tons of traveling. Thank you so much for the experience! :)
Everything worked as planned. Great tour and amazing guides
I can't recommend Bravo Indochina Tours enough for a Thailand and Vietnam adventure. Their attention to detail was impeccable, ensuring that every aspect of the trip was well-planned and hassle-free. The diverse itinerary allowed me to explore bustling cities, serene temples, and breathtaking natural landscapes. Plus, their local insights added depth to my understanding of Thai culture. Bravo indeed

Other Regions in Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam

  • Lesser Poland 7 day Tours (11)
  • Lesser Poland 10 day Tours (6)
  • Greater Poland 3 week Tours (6)

International Versions

  • Deutsch: 3 Wochen Thailand-Kambodscha-Vietnam Rundreisen
  • Français: Circuits Thaïlande, Cambodge et Vietnam de 3 Semaines
  • Español: Circuitos por Tailandia, Camboya y Vietnam de 3 Semanas
  • Nederlands: 3-Weekse rondreis Thailand, Cambodja en Vietnam

Why did the bridge collapse and what is the death toll?

What is the death toll so far, when did the baltimore bridge collapse, why did the bridge collapse, who will pay for the damage and how much will the bridge cost.

NTSB investigators work on the cargo vessel Dali, which struck and collapsed the Francis Scott Key Bridge, in Baltimore


What ship hit the baltimore bridge, what do we know about the bridge that collapsed.

The 1.6-mile (2.57 km) long Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, Maryland collapsed into the water overnight after a cargo ship collided with it on March 26.


Reuters Graphics Reuters Graphics

Get weekly news and analysis on the U.S. elections and how it matters to the world with the newsletter On the Campaign Trail. Sign up here.

Writing by Lisa Shumaker; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Josie Kao

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles. , opens new tab

3 week thailand tour

Thomson Reuters

Lisa's journalism career spans two decades, and she currently serves as the Americas Day Editor for the Global News Desk. She played a pivotal role in tracking the COVID pandemic and leading initiatives in speed, headline writing and multimedia. She has worked closely with the finance and company news teams on major stories, such as the departures of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and significant developments at Apple, Alphabet, Facebook and Tesla. Her dedication and hard work have been recognized with the 2010 Desk Editor of the Year award and a Journalist of the Year nomination in 2020. Lisa is passionate about visual and long-form storytelling. She holds a degree in both psychology and journalism from Penn State University.

Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse in Baltimore

Bristol Myers' bowel disease drug fails to meet main goal in late-stage study

Bristol Myers Squibb said on Thursday its experimental drug to treat Crohn's disease, a chronic inflammatory bowel condition, failed to meet the main goal in a late-stage study.

A general view shows a crowd and shops at Al Ataba, a market in central Cairo


  1. 3 Week Thailand Itinerary

    3 week thailand tour

  2. The Ultimate 3 Week Thailand Itinerary • She Loves Wanderlust

    3 week thailand tour

  3. The Perfect 3 Week Thailand Itinerary

    3 week thailand tour

  4. Visit the BEST Thailand Travel Destinations with this ultimate 3-week

    3 week thailand tour

  5. The Perfect 3 Weeks In Thailand Itinerary

    3 week thailand tour

  6. The Best 3 Week Thailand Travel Plans For Backpackers

    3 week thailand tour


  1. Thailand tour #thailand #tour

  2. india to Thailand Tour plan

  3. 3 Days in Thailand

  4. MOVING TO THAILAND! 🇹🇭 (Apartment Hunting in Bangkok)

  5. Thailand 8 Days Complete Itinerary

  6. നമ്മള് ഇത് എത്ര കണ്ടിരിക്കുന്നു


  1. Perfect 3 Weeks in Thailand: 3 Itineraries with Costs

    The Cost of a 3-Week Thailand Tour. If you're looking for a premium journey without breaking the bank, Thailand is an ideal destination. You would likely pay US$200-250 per person per day for private transfers, private guides, local experiences, 4/5-star hotels and internal flights. The peak price usually comes with the best time (the dry ...

  2. Our Ultimate 3 Week Thailand Itinerary! {Updated 2024}

    The Ultimate 3 Week Thailand Itinerary. Okay, let's break this Thailand Itinerary 3 weeks route down. We have 21 nights and a lot of ground to cover! Stop 1: Bangkok (2 Nights) As it's such a central hub for the rest of Thailand, there is the chance to make 3 individual stops in Bangkok as a part of this itinerary.

  3. The Perfect Thailand Itinerary (3 Weeks) For First Timers

    Bangkok. Sukhothai. Chiang Mai. Koh Pitak. Chumphon. Koh Tao. Koh Samui. So, if you're ready to take the leap and book your next trip to one of Asia's highlight countries, use this helpful guide, inspired by our friends at Intrepid Travel, to plan the perfect three-week Thailand itinerary.

  4. 10 Best 3 Week Thailand Tours & Trips

    3 Week Thailand Tours & Trips. Filter for departure dates and price to find the right 3 week Thailand tour with TourRadar. Choose from 56 trips with 1,293 customer reviews, that range from 15 up to 21 days. Dates & length Places Filters. 56 Thailand 3 week tour packages with 1,293 reviews

  5. The Ultimate 3 Week Thailand Itinerary (For 2024)

    Thailand 3 week itinerary. In this 3-week Thailand itinerary, I've gathered my absolute favorite places, from Thailand's vibrant capital, Bangkok, to the breathtaking islands in southern Thailand such as Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, Koh Tao, Krabi, and Koh Lanta. And of course, there are also the culturally rich northern regions of Thailand, where ...

  6. 3 Weeks in Thailand

    For the 4th leg of your 3-week itinerary in Thailand, you should visit Chiang Mai, the capital of Northern Thailand. To cover the 300 km between the two places, you can take: Your rental car: The drive takes 4 hours and 30 mins on well maintained roads. The Bus from Sukhothai bus station: 6 hours / 300 Bahts.


    Week 3) Andaman Islands (Krabi, Ao Nang, Koh Phi Phi, Phuket) Book a ferry + van ticket from Koh Phangan - Krabi, because you've got one last week of island hopping adventures. For the first 3 days explore Krabi Town, Ton Sai Bay, Railey Beach, and Ao Nang beach area.

  8. 3 Week Thailand Itinerary: BEST Backpacking Route

    The Best 3 Week Thailand Itinerary: EPIC Route From North To South. Map Of My 3 Week Thailand Itinerary. Quick View Of Our Thailand Itinerary 3 Weeks. Day 1, 2 & 3: Chiang Mai. Day 4 & 5: Ayutthaya. Day 6 & 7: Bangkok. Day 8 & 9: Koh Tao. Day 10, 11 & 12: Koh Phangan. Day 13 & 14: Ao Nang.

  9. Thailand 3 Weeks Itinerary: Route, Budget And Best Places To Visit

    Day 2-4: Explore Bangkok's top sights. Day 5: Travel to Chiang Mai from Bangkok. Day 6-7: Explore Chiang Mai. Day 8-9: Travel to Chiang Rai and explore the city. Day 10: Take a flight from Chiang Mai to Phuket; 3 weeks seems a lot, but it's not, and you have to maximise travel time. Day 11: Explore Phuket's old town.

  10. 3 Weeks in Thailand: Cities, Mountains & Island Life

    Bangkok → Chiang Mai. Next up on this three-week Thailand itinerary is Chiang Mai. When determining the best way to get from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, you have three options: Overnight Train — 10-12 hours; 1,000-1,300 Baht. Overnight Bus — 9-12 hours; 6,000-1,000 Baht. Flight — 1 hour; 900-1,500 Baht.

  11. Your Ultimate 3-week Thailand Itinerary

    This 3-week Thailand itinerary promises an immersive journey through the best of Thailand. Of course, it includes the best places to visit in Thailand, from the vibrant city life of Bangkok to the tropical paradises of Koh Samui and Koh Tao. Furthermore, you can find the most beautiful nature in Khao Sok and the serene mountain escapes of ...

  12. 3 Weeks In Thailand Itinerary

    Here is a quick overview of an ideal 3 weeks in Thailand Itinerary of all the best places to visit in this order: Krabi (3 days) Koh Tao (4 days) Bangkok (3 days) Chiang Mai (5 days) Chiang Rai (1 day) Pai (4 days) Bangkok (1 day)

  13. Our ultimate 3 weeks in Thailand itinerary

    Wat Phra Kaew. First up on your 3 week Thailand itinerary is Wat Phra Kaew. Also known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, it is regarded as the most sacred temple in all of Thailand. The Wat is located in the Palace Grounds, so you also can explore the Grand Palace at the same time.

  14. 3 Weeks in Thailand Itinerary

    Average cost of 3 weeks in Thailand. Fortunately, Thailand has remained affordable, being a top destination in Southeast in the last three decades and continues to be so. Affordable/Backpacker: Expect to spend $700-$900. Accommodations in hostels, street food, and local transport make this a frugal choice.

  15. The Best 3-Week South Thailand Itinerary (Island Hopping!)

    Koh Samui → Bangkok. The end of your 3-week Thailand island itinerary has come to an end! You most likely need to head back to Bangkok for your departing flight, which you can get to one of two ways: Ferry/speedboat and bus combination ( click here to view it on 12Go Asia) Flight out of Koh Samui airport.

  16. The Best 3-Week (21-Day) Tours in Thailand

    The average price of tours lasting 3 weeks in Thailand based on data from 9 options is an affordable $109 per day. If you're interested in more information about tours here, see our guide to tour prices in Thailand . And for more information on Thailand, see Thailand Travel Costs and Thailand Hotel Costs . Budget Your Trip is all about finding ...

  17. Unveiling the Ultimate 3-Week Thailand Itinerary from Bangkok

    Embarking on a 3-week Thailand itinerary from Bangkok is a journey of a lifetime that promises an exquisite blend of cultural exploration, natural wonders, and unforgettable experiences. From the bustling streets of Bangkok, the charming cities of Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, each destination offers a unique tapestry of beauty and discovery, to ...

  18. 3 weeks in Thailand: Itinerary for your first trip to this incredible

    A suggested 3-week Thailand itinerary for first-time visitors. From north to south, it includes the best of the country's breathtaking landscapes, legendary street food, beautiful temples, and wonderful people. ... The sensible thing to do is to just book a tour. If you come back to Thailand with more time, you can take an introductory riding ...

  19. The PERFECT Thailand Itinerary for 1, 2 or 3 Weeks [2024]

    A 3 week Thailand itinerary still can't cover all of the country's stunning islands, so a guided day tour by speedboat is a great way to pack lots of cool places into a short time. On a day tour, you'll see gorgeous beaches, huge cliffs, snorkelling sights, and just a lot of mind-blowing natural beauty.

  20. 3 Week Backpacking Thailand Itinerary

    This 3 week Thailand itinerary is the only Thailand trip planner you need for an unforgettable vacation. If you plan a trip to Thailand, you're probably overwhelmed figuring out the cost to travel to Thailand and what to see while backpacking Thailand. 3 weeks in Thailand is a short time to cover such an incredible country.But this Thailand itinerary will help you plan the perfect Thailand ...

  21. 9 Essential Stops for Your 3 Week Thailand Itinerary

    A 3 week trip to Thailand is an ideal length of time to explore this beautiful country. It's long enough to see many of the main attractions without becoming exasperated by mass tourism in evidence here. For the food, weather, beaches, beauty, friendly locals, and ease of travel, Thailand is sure to capture the hearts of any traveller lucky ...

  22. Useful 3 Weeks Thailand Itinerary

    We recommend traveling through Thailand for at least 2 weeks, with 3 weeks in Thailand being perfect. In 3 weeks you have enough time to discover different places. If you have more/less than 3 weeks, you can add/skip destinations in this 3 weeks Thailand itinerary. When planning your trip, it is important not to underestimate the distances and ...

  23. 3 Week Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam Tours & Trips

    Español: Circuitos por Tailandia, Camboya y Vietnam de 3 Semanas. Nederlands: 3-Weekse rondreis Thailand, Cambodja en Vietnam. Find the best 3 week tours to Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam with TourRadar. Choose from 77 tours with 730 real tour reviews. Book now and save with!

  24. Baltimore bridge collapse: What happened and what is the death toll so

    The Francis Scott Key Bridge was one of three ways to cross the Baltimore Harbor and handled 31,000 cars per day or 11.3 million vehicles a year. The steel structure is four lanes wide and sits ...