If you’ve come here because you are planning a trip to Thailand and don’t really know where to begin, you’re in luck! When I planned my first trip to the Land of Smiles back in 2014, I too turned to the internet. I had never traveled internationally (minus Canada) let alone travel to the other side of the world. I had no idea where to go, how to get there and what to expect from this mysterious country. Luckily, I am weirdly obsessed with researching travel destinations so after hundreds of hours on Pinterest, I created a perfect (or at least I like to think it is) guide to two weeks in Thailand!


Most likely, Bangkok will be the first stop on your adventure and let me tell you, it makes for a crazy first impression! Coming from a small town in upstate New York, it was a sensory overload. The sights, the smells, the traffic. It seemed totally insane, how were people not run over by motorbikes every second? What puddle of god knows what did I just step into and how is it possible that I am smelling the worst but simultaneously the best scent that has ever entered my nose? I must say though, it was love at first sight.

I personally, wouldn’t recommend staying in Bangkok for longer than three days. It is a very busy, westernized city and there is much more to see throughout the rest of the country.

Things to do in Bangkok

Temple Hopping

This was our first introduction to Asian temples and Bangkok has some of the most magnificent pieces of architecture we have ever seen! You need to add these to your itinerary but make sure you get there early! The temples can get crazy busy and the temperature can get more unbearable as the day goes on. Also, be sure to dress appropriately (skirts or long pants and sleeved shirts are required in all temples). Some of our favorites include:

  • The Grand Palace – Where the King resided up until 1925 but is now mostly open to the public and used for ceremonial state functions. (Tip: Sometimes tuk-tuk drivers will tell you it is closed and try to take you somewhere else. Don’t trust them!)
  • Wat Pho – Home to the oh so impressive, reclining Buddha.
  • Wat Mahadhat – Located right near The Grand Palace, this temple is far less touristy.
  • Wat Arun – Hop on a boat and head to this temple right near the river.

Khao San Road

A backpackers paradise, lined with street vendors, fried insects (YUM), elephant pants, bars and cheap restaurants! This is the place to go if you feel like partying all night long and making a lot new friends. At night, some bars open up and blast their music and have a friendly competition to see who can get the most visitors. It makes for a VERY fun evening.

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

Although touristy, it is worth a trip to see this famous floating market. You can choose to ride in a boat through the waterways or simply just walk around and buy some delicious food!

Visit One of the Many Sky Bars

Thanks to the Hangover II, many visitors flock to the 63rd floor of Skybar at Lebua to sip on some pricey cocktails. If that doesn’t seem to fit your budget, no fear, there are endless amounts of other rooftop bars offering impressive views! If you are planning to visit one, try to do so at sunset and be sure to leave those elephant pants you bought on Khao San Road at home, since many have dress codes.

Chatuchak Weekend Market

Planning on bringing home souvenirs? No better place to stock up than the Chatuchak Weekend Market. With over 15,000 stalls and 11,500 vendors making up Thailand’s largest market, you will be able to find something for everyone here!

Get a Thai Massage

I saved this one for last because massages aren’t exactly my thing but I know I am in the minority here so I feel obligated to add it to the list. I can say though, you will be shocked at the price tag on these massages, they are incredibly cheap and some of the greatest in the world (or so I’ve been told).

Time to Leave the City

From Bangkok, hop on a quick flight and head north to Thailand’s second largest city, Chiang Mai, which also happens to be my favorite place in the world. It isn’t exactly shocking to me when I hear that visitors often skip this destination, because we almost did on our first trip, but please, whatever you do, don’t make that mistake. Although it’s no where near a beautiful beach and all the way up north, Chiang Mai is a magical little city. I have not met a single person that didn’t love being there.

Our first trip to Thailand we spent three days there, second trip we spent five and third trip we spent seven amazing weeks! Honestly, I would recommend moving to Chiang Mai but since this is only a two week guide, I would say five days should do it.

Things to do in Chiang Mai

Temple Hop (Again)

You might think you are all templed out from your time in Bangkok and Chiang Mai’s temples might not be as magnificent, but they are special in a different way. Being that within the city and its outskirts there are over 300 temples to choose from, sometimes you can get lucky enough to be the only one there! Some of the more famous ones do get busy, so I recommend going early, but some of my favorites are the ones that we just happened to stumble upon. A few of the ones you shouldn’t miss:

  • Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
  • Wat Chiang Man
  • Wat Phra Singh
  • Wat Chedi Luang
  • Wat Phan Tao

Eat Your Weight in Khao Soi

This is hands down, our favorite thing to do in Chiang Mai. Khao Soi is famous in northern Thailand and known as Chiang Mai’s signature dish. It is a mix of coconut milk, curry spices, yellow noodles, meat (I like mine with chicken) and topped with fried noodles, lime and red onion (I skip the pickled cabbage). It tastes like something sent down from the heavens, it is SO SO GOOD!

I have eaten a lot of khao soi in my life and narrowed down my favorites in Chiang Mai HERE!

Visit an Elephant Sanctuary

If you’re coming to Chiang Mai, you will probably want to visit with the elephants, and for good reason, it is an amazing experience. Make sure you do your research first. There are plenty of “sanctuaries” that claim to be something they are not. If you can book in advance, try Elephant Nature Park, they are amazing!

Explore the Markets

We have found that Chiang Mai has some of the best markets in the world and no matter what days of the week you are there, there is a market to wander around in every day/night! Our personal favorites are the Saturday Night Market, the Night Bazaar and the Jing Jai Market.

Chat with the Monks

This was something I wasn’t exactly planning my whole day around but it ended up being such a cool experience! There are designated monk chat locations, we happened to stumble upon one in Wat Chedi Luang, where the monks will practice their English with tourists. It was so interesting to learn all about their lives and the sacrifices they make to become a monk.

Head to Nimman

Just outside the Old City is a more modern area filled with great shopping, cool restaurants and trendy coffee shops. We didn’t discover Nimman on our first two trips but ended up living in an apartment there for seven weeks last year. During this time we explored every side street and found some great places to eat and drink. Some include:

  • Accha Indian Restaurant
  • Khun Mor Cuisine
  • Healthy B Cafe
  • Smoothie Blues
  • Food Court in Kad Suan Kaew (Closer to the Old City)

Walk Around the Old City

We walked the Old City almost every day for seven weeks and we were still finding new little alleys to explore. It is such a great place to just take a stroll and admire all the shops, restaurants, graffiti and friendly people!

Take a Trip to Pai

If you’ve had enough of the city life, head about three hours north to a small town called Pai. Although the drive can be very intimidating, we recommend renting a car and going at your own pace, especially if you get car sick. To get to this relaxed, hippy paradise, you have to travel through 762 hairpin turns, which is not something I would want to be crammed into the back of a speeding bus for!

Bye Chiang Mai, Hello Beaches

If you’re traveling all the way to Thailand, you better not leave without experiencing at least one of the many gorgeous beaches. Seriously, Thailand has some of the prettiest beaches in the world! So from Chiang Mai, we suggest you take a flight down to Krabi. Once you arrive, hop on the shuttle and head to the longtail boats. You can buy a ticket right on the spot to take you to Railay Beach!

Things to do in Railay

Step off the boat, grab your luggage and head straight for the beach. You have to take a relatively short walk, all of which is paved, to get there but once you step onto that sand, you’ve made it to paradise! This place is absolutely unreal! The beaches are surrounded by limestone cliffs, the restaurants are right in the sand and the drinks are flowing! Does it get much better than that?!

Do Nothing on Railay Beach West

Step 1: Lay out your towel.

Step 2: Don’t move all day long. Except maybe to buy food from a boat vendor, reapply sunblock and sip water from a coconut.

Phra Nang Cave Beach

Take the path to this other incredible beach, probably even more beautiful in my opinion. There you can join the other tourists in the water, relax on the beach or swim over to see the caves. Just be careful, this area is filled with monkeys who will fight you for food!

Hike to the Viewpoint

This “hike” is not for the faint of heart. I expected a rather simple walk up a hill but boy was I wrong, it was more of a rock climbing adventure. That being said, we didn’t die and the view was absolutely beautiful so I do recommend it, just don’t wear flip flops!

Go Rock Climbing

Now that you’re all warmed up from the viewpoint hike, why not do the real thing?! Railay is known for some of the best rock climbing in the world. If you’re not feeling that adventurous, just watching these athletes scale the cliffs is amazing too!

Tonsai Beach

If you’re on a tight budget, Railay may not be the place for you BUT if you take less than a 5 minute walk through this hidden path, you’ll arrive on Tonsai Beach. Here you will find much cheaper accommodations with a totally different vibe. We stayed in these tiny bungalows, run by a German couple, for $11 a night! We only had power from 10PM to 6AM but it didn’t matter, the people we met and the fun we had, made it a highlight of our entire time in Thailand.

If you like relaxing on the beach and don’t mind not having a ton of things to do, I would suggest 3 days on Railay/Tonsai.

Partying on Phi Phi

From Railay, you can catch a ferry that will take you to Phi Phi Island. This island is not only so much fun, but it is also one of the most gorgeous places in the world (I know, I have said that a lot, but it’s true). So relax, let loose and enjoy 3 days there.

Things to do on Phi Phi

Head for the Water

Jump into the warm, crystal clear, blue waters and you’ll never want to get out! You can rent snorkles and water toys and just have fun all day long!

Booze Cruise

I mentioned this is a party island, right? Well what better way to explore the surrounding islands than aboard a booze cruise. We went with Captain Bob’s Booze Cruise and it was nonstop drinks, laughs and fun from start to finish!

Island Tour

If the booze cruise isn’t your thing, make sure you book some other cruise to take you around or hire a longtail boat. The stops you’ll take will blow your mind!

Fire Dancers

As the sun starts to set, and the music gets louder, the fire dancers come out. It is so cool, and somewhat scary, to watch what they do. They are so talented and are clearly much braver than me!

Go on a Bar Crawl

Phi Phi has a huge range of options to enjoy a drink or two, or more. There were bars where we played flip-cup and beer pong, rooftop lounges where we enjoyed a cocktail and pubs filled with visitors from Ireland and England. There really is something for everyone, even if you are traveling with kids, you can still enjoy some drinks while they play in the sand!

The Phi Phi Viewpoint

Wake up before the sun and head straight for the viewpoint. You will beat most of the crowds and it makes for a pretty amazing photo!

So Long, Thailand

By now you are probably trying to figure out how you could live in this amazing country forever. I’m still trying to figure that out but unfortunately life gets in the way and you must say goodbye. Now, you could either head back to Krabi or take the ferry to Phuket and hop on a plane there. I have done both and while I didn’t love Phuket, it was nice to see a different area before we went home.

Since we didn’t have time to do too much there, I can’t recommend anything but I will say this, the Phuket Walking Street is an area that I will never forget!

This is the first real Thailand blog I’ve written and I am excited to do so much more! Be on the lookout for upcoming posts and happy Thailand planning! 🙂

About Author

We are your typical American family who decided life is too short to live in one place.

You might also enjoy:

Leave A Comment

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