Two Weeks in Thailand: The Ultimate Holiday Itinerary
So, you want to spend two weeks in Thailand but aren’t sure which places to add to your itinerary? I’m here to help! I’ve been lucky to spend over three months in Thailand over several trips and have come up with a pretty awesome (I know that’s a bit boastful) itinerary. It includes a decaying former capital, a town full of monkeys, the setting for one of the best war movies ever made and one of Thailand’s most underrated islands.
Two Weeks in Thailand: Welcome to Bangkok (2 nights)
The most likely point of entry to Thailand is Bangkok, a massive, slightly intimidating city. I’d spend two days in Bangkok, allowing you to recover from your flight, do some shopping, get scammed by tuk tuk drivers, try the delicious local food, visit some temples and sample the nightlife. The scams are actually easy to avoid (read my post on Bangkok for more details) but part of the fun is embracing the chaos and engaging with the locals.
Sightseeing in Bangkok mostly revolves around temples, with Wat Pho, Wat Arun and the Grand Palace the highlights. It’s also worth checking out Chinatown, taking a trip down the river on a local ferry and having a drink or two at a rooftop bar. I always stay close to Khao San Road, the infamous backpacker district. These days it caters to all kinds of travellers. It’s in no way authentically Thai but it’s an entertaining (and easy) place to stay. You can easily book tickets and plan the rest of your trip there, but stay a street or two away from Khao San Road to avoid the noise.
Kanchanaburi (3-4 nights)
From Bangkok, you have a few options on where to head next. For the sake of giving you a usable itinerary I’ll pick a route and stick to it, but you can definitely change up the order.
Kanchanaburi, 3-4 hours west of Bangkok, offers up a large array of ways to spend your days. You could head out to Erawan Falls, one of the most famous waterfalls in Thailand, cycle through the lush (in the right season) countryside or take a ride on the death railway to Hellfire Pass for some WW2 history (The Bridge on the River Kwai was set in Kanchanaburi). You can see most of the good stuff in a couple of days, but it’s worth lingering a little, especially if you choose to stay in one of the laid-back floating bungalows.
FURTHER READING: Kanchanaburi Travel Guide: War History and Waterfalls in Thailand
Bangkok to Kanchanaburi
Mini buses are the most convenient way to travel from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi. You can catch them from the Victory Monument — you shouldn’t have to wait long before one leaves. You can also buy a ticket in the Khao San Road area — it’ll cost a bit more but it should include a pick up from your hotel. You can also take a train. I did that once and it took ages — the mini buses are much faster.
Ayutthaya (2 nights)
Ayutthaya is home to some of the most impressive temple ruins in Southeast Asia (I’d rate it below only Angkor Wat and Bagan). Cycling around the ruins of this former Thai capital (or exploring them by tuk tuk) is a highlight of any trip to Thailand. You can see it all in a day, and there’s not much else to do in the area, so one or two nights should be enough. A lot of people visit Ayutthaya on a day trip from Bangkok but it’s definitely better to spend at least a night there. Watching the sunset at Wat Chaiwattanaram is a special experience, as is stopping by random ruins on the side of busy streets. The ruins are scattered around this small but traffic filled city, making for a unique setting.
FURTHER READING: Cycling to the Ruins in Ayutthaya, Thailand
Kanchanaburi to Ayutthaya
Apparently there’s a daily minibus from Kanchanaburi to Ayutthaya leaving at 1.30 pm. You can also catch a bus to Suphanburi then change to one heading to Ayutthaya. It generally takes 3 – 4 hours (longer if going via Suphanburi).
Lopburi (1 night – or possibly just do a day there and head back to Bangkok after)
More ruins await in Lopburi, a former Thai capital just an hour away from Ayutthaya. The ruins are pretty cool (like Ayutthaya, they’re scattered around a fully functioning city) but the real stars of Lopburi are the monkeys. They dominate the downtown area — crossing roads in massive processions, harassing people for food and fighting each other for scraps and prime chill-out spots. Their turf is centred on the Khmer era Prang Sam Yot (Aka the monkey temple), a short walk from the train station. You could see most of Lopburi in a few hours but it’s worth spending a night if you can.
FURTHER READING: Exploring the Ruins in Lopburi, Thailand’s Ancient Monkey Town
Ayutthaya to Lopburi
Regular trains run between Ayutthaya and Lopburi — it takes around an hour and it’s very cheap.
Koh Kood (4 – 5 nights)
It wouldn’t be a proper first trip to Thailand without visiting some pristine beaches, and luckily one of the most beautiful islands in the country is (relatively) close to Bangkok. Koh Kood is by far my favourite island in Thailand, and I’ve been to a few of the most popular ones. The beaches are stunning and definitely not overcrowded — we often had them all to ourselves. There aren’t many party options on Koh Kood (head to nearby Koh Chang for that) but there are plenty of nice bars and restaurants. There are heaps of beaches with accommodation and it can be hard to choose. I’d recommend Klong Chao and Bang Bao for the perfect mix of beautiful beaches, a full spectrum of accommodation options and plenty of places to eat and drink.
There’s not a lot to do on Koh Kood but there are plenty of beaches to explore. You’ll probably be looking for a bit of relaxation at this point anyway and this really is the perfect place to do it.
FURTHER READING: Koh Kood: The Most Beautiful Island in Thailand?
Lopburi to Koh Kood
Getting from Lopburi to Koh Kood is a bit of a hassle — this will definitely be the hardest travel day. It seems like the best way to do it is to head back to Bangkok and then catch a bus to Laem Sok Pier (close to Trat). You can book a bus / ferry ticket from an agent in the Khao San Road area or catch a bus from the Mo Chit bus station. The last ferry leaves for Koh Kood at 2.20pm and the bus takes 5-6 hours. So, if you’re going from Lopburi you could head to Bangkok, stay another night there and leave first thing in the morning (the 8 am bus will get you there on time). Or you could catch a night bus, which will get you to the pier in time for the first ferry (this is helpful if you haven’t booked accommodation as the cheaper places often fill up). It’s a bit of a hassle whichever way you do it, but it’s definitely worth it.
Getting back to Bangkok is easy — just book the boat / bus from your guesthouse or a travel agent. You might need to spend the last night in Bangkok, depending on what time your flight home is. It’s best not to leave things too tight as delays do happen.
Thailand Travel Tips
- Ask the people who work at guesthouses and restaurants how much tuk tuks should cost, as drivers tend to rip off tourists. Try and bargain things down but don’t go too overboard.
- If you’re rich, take private transfers (but make sure to take a local train at least once — it’s an experience).
- Try the local food. It’s almost always good and it’s cheap. 7-Elevens are really popular in Thailand and they do really good toasted sandwiches.
- Relax. Thailand can be hectic and things won’t always go to plan. It’s good to have a sense of humour about things! It’s actually a pretty easy place to travel and everywhere on this itinerary has excellent tourist infrastructure, but it can still get frustrating at times.
- Choose your season. Thailand’s high season is roughly December to February, when the weather is clear and (relatively) cool. March to May is dry and hot, and if you can handle the heat it’s not a bad time to go. Haze can also be a problem during the hot months, and things aren’t quite as “green” as they are after rainy season.
And that’s it for my two week Thailand holiday itinerary. It hits most things you could ask for, including an awesome waterfall, one of the best cities in the world to party, WW2 sites, pristine beaches, ancient ruins and monkeys. It can be done on a budget too — there are no internal flights and you can find cheap guesthouses (500 baht or less) in every place along the way.
Of course, there is so much else to see in Thailand. This itinerary is a good start, and if you love it I’m sure you’ll keep returning like I have. Check out my post about backpacking in Thailand for a full run down of the places I’ve been / more Thailand travel tips.
Are you planning a trip to Thailand? Do you think two weeks in Thailand is enough? Let me know in the comments below!