How to Spend Two Weeks in Thailand (Easy North and South Itineraries)
You’d be surprised by how much you can see with just two weeks in Thailand. Done right, you can comfortably visit in four to five destinations without feeling like your trip has been rushed.
However, Thailand is a huge, so don’t try to see the whole country in just two weeks. Try focus on either on the north of Thailand or the south of Thailand. This will narrow down the range of destinations you are trying to visit and limit the time spent in transit.
With a month in Thailand, you can certainly visit both the north and south. Flights between major cities can make the travel time quite short.
I’ll assume you are starting your trip in Bangkok. Most international arrivals land in Bangkok, but there are also international airports in Phuket and Chiang Mai.
Starting in Bangkok – 3 days
Bangkok is a true melting pot of cultures. Home to over 11 million people, it truly feels like a city that never sleeps. You will find street food, floating markets, and huge night markets. There a lot of temples to explore, and amazing rooftop bars where you can get epic city views.
Some people say you should leave Bangkok as quickly as possible. Typically, these are the people who didn’t give it a chance. The truth is, there is so much to see here that you could spend your entire two weeks just exploring Bangkok.
It is difficult to understand Bangkok in just a couple of days, that’s why I have written this easy to follow Bangkok Travel Guide. I’ve included all the top destinations and many more you haven’t heard about. There are also public transport maps and plenty of easy to follow instructions.
Now getting onto the more scenic regions of Thailand. Here I have provided two completely different options for spending your two weeks in Thailand…
Explore ancient temples, go jungle trekking, shower under waterfalls, and visit ethnic villages in the mountains. Northern Thailand is one of my favourite regions in the world, and I’m sure you’re going to love it too.
Chiang Mai – 4 days
Your first stop in the north of Thailand is Chiang Mai. This used to be the capital city of the 15th Century Lanna Kingdom. These days, Chiang Mai is Thailand’s second largest city with plenty of things to do.
All around the Old Quarter, you will find remnants of the ancient city such as the perimeter wall and lots of Buddhist temples. You will also find some markets, cooking schools, lots of street food, and great bars to visit.
In the region around Chiang Mai, there are lots of mountains, jungles, waterfalls, and small villages to visit. Doi Inthanon National Park is home to the tallest mountain in Thailand which requires a full day trip to visit, while Doi Suthep National Park offers a closer half day mountain escape.
Another one of my favorite places to visit is the 100 year old village of Baan Mae Kampong, about 45 minutes east of Chiang Mai.
How to get from Bangkok to Chiang Mai:
- Train – the overnight train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai takes about 13 hours but only costs 1,200 THB (40 USD). Book directly at Hua Lampong train station in Bangkok or check for train tickets here
- Bus – quicker and cheaper, but not as comfortable as the train. The bus from Bangkok to Chiang Mai takes about 10 hours and costs 580 THB (20 USD). Check for tickets here
- Fly – flights from Bangkok to Chiang Mai take just under 1.5 hours. There are a few budget airlines such as AirAsia, Thai Lion Air, and Nok Air. A ticket typically costs 100 USD when booked well in advance.
Pai – 4 days
Pai is a place like no other. It is backpacker-friendly, yet super authentic. It is hardly talked about, yet so well known. It is a small town with nothing to do yet has so much to explore. The truth is, I have actually spent an entire two weeks just in Pai.
Pai has beautiful waterfalls, great northern Thai food, an interesting canyon, and really friendly people.
You can be swimming at a waterfall in the morning, hiking through the canyon at lunch, then back in town watching a fire show at dinner. When you think you’ve seen it all, hire a motorbike and explore the mountains!
The winding road from Chiang Mai to Pai is essentially one way in and out. Therefore, I suggest visiting Pai directly from Chiang Mai, before you go further north to Chiang Rai.
How to get from Chiang Mai to Pai
- Van – vans depart from Chiang Mai to Pai almost every hour. The trip takes about 3 hours. Check for tickets here
- Flight – Bangkok Airways has a flight from Chiang Mai to Pai. Tickets aren’t cheap, but it only takes 45 minutes.
Chiang Rai – 3 days
Start with the iconic attractions around town like the White Temple, the Blue Temple, the Clock Tower, and the Black House. Eat northern Thai (Lanna) food which is way different than food in Bangkok or and the south. All of this will only take you a day or two to explore.
Next, venture into the surrounding region where you will discover incredible waterfalls, scenic viewpoints, and relaxing hot springs. There are also lots of small ethnic “hill tribes” where you can experience a unique culture, totally unlike the rest of Thailand.
If you really want to get off the tourist trail and explore regional Chiang Rai, then be sure to check out my Chiang Rai travel guide
How to get from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai
- Bus – the GreenBus is the most common method for traveling between Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. The trip takes just over 3.5 hours. Check for tickets here
- Flights – all flights go via Bangkok, so I don’t recommend this
- Train – there is no train line from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai, so the best option is the bus
How to get from Chiang Rai to Bangkok
- Bus – the overnight bus from Chiang Rai to Bangkok takes about 13 hours. Check for tickets here.
- Flight – direct flights from Chiang Rai to Bangkok takes just under 1.5 hours. There are a few budget airlines such as AirAsia, Thai Lion Air, and Nok Air. A ticket typically costs 100 USD when booked well in advance.
Did you know there are 1,430 Thai islands? It would take you years to visit them all.
As you only have two weeks in Thailand, I have narrowed this down to three great islands and a couple of other destinations in the south of Thailand. You will get to visit some amazing beaches, have the chance to go scuba diving or snorkeling, and go island hopping to some tiny islands.
Koh Lipe – 4 days
Koh Lipe is a tiny laid-back tropical island in the Andaman Sea. Here you will find vibrant coral reefs and white sandy beaches. There is more interest in meditation, yoga, and beach clean-ups than in cheap cocktail buckets.
Sunrise Beach and Sunset Beach are both among some of the most beautiful beaches in Thailand. You can also make a quick half-day trip across the water to the almost uninhabited island of Koh Adang.
Over the past few years, Koh Lipe has been growing in popularity and getting busier. If you are undecided whether to go, I’d say GO NOW, before it gets overdeveloped.
How to get from Bangkok to Koh Lipe
- Flight, Van, Speedboat Combo – the entire trip from Bangkok to Koh Lipe takes about 5 hours. This combo ticket makes arranging your connecting transport so much easier, otherwise you might be spending a night in Hat Yai first. Check for tickets here.
Koh Lanta – 3 days
Koh Lanta is an amazing island in the Andaman Sea. The west coast is lined with long stretches of white sandy beaches and great guesthouses. The south has a rough coast which only a handful of people visit. The east coast has an authentic atmosphere where you will find small villages built on stilts over the water and huge mangrove forests.
It’s hard not to love this island. It is the perfect destination to relax on the beach, snorkel beautiful coral reefs, enjoy amazing sunsets, and a great base to reach some fantastic diving spots further out in the Andaman Sea.
How to get from Koh Lipe to Koh Lanta
- Boat – the speedboat from Koh Lipe to Koh Lanta takes about 2 hours, while the ferry takes about 3 hours. Speedboats only run during the dry season, while ferries run all year round. Check tickets for both options here.
Phi Phi Islands – 3 days
The Phi Phi Islands are actually a group of six islands, though most people only know of two.
The main island where you will find all the accommodation is Phi Phi Don. There are some amazing beaches on Phi Phi Don like Monkey Beach, Loh Dalum Beach, and Laem Tong Beach. You could easily spend an entire 3 days here, but we also recommend doing a bit of island hopping.
Phi Phi Leh is located about 1.5 kilometers south of Phi Phi Don. Just to the north of Phi Phi Don you will also find the tiny Bamboo Island and Koh Yung (Mosquito Island). All of these are easily visited by longtail boat.
How to get from Koh Lanta to Koh Phi Phi
- Boat – the speed boat from Koh Lanta to Koh Phi Phi takes about 1 hour. Check for tickets here.
Krabi – 3 days
Krabi is famous for its towering limestone cliffs. This makes it a popular destination for rock climbers who go free climbing over the ocean. Railay Beach is one of Krabi’s must-visit destinations. This small secluded beach is wedged between cliffs on either side and is only accessible by boat.
Many visitors explore the cliffs and ocean caves by kayak. There are plenty of day trips available which can be booked locally or online with discounts. There are also some amazing hiking trails around Krabi too. The Dragon Crest Trail is a steep but rewarding hike with an epic viewpoint at the top.
How to get from Koh Phi Phi to Krabi
- Boat – the ferry from Phi Phi Don to Krabi takes about 2 hours. Check for tickets here.
How to Plan Two Weeks in Thailand
These two-week Thailand itineraries can be used as a general guide. You can easily change the number of days spent in each destination, travel in the reverse order, or even swap one of these destinations for another one nearby.
Feeling a bit confused with all the destinations to choose from? Feel free to send me a travel planning inquiry. I’ll review where you want to go and what you to experience. Then we can have a call to discuss making your trip as awesome as possible (and save money). Finally, you’ll get a detailed and easy to follow travel plan!
After living in Thailand for more than 5 years, I’ve visited all these destinations and plenty more. So, if you want to get further off the beaten track, we can arrange all of that too.