There is soooooo much to do and see in Thailand – it can be hard figuring out where to visit and which route to take in order to make the most out of your time.
I travelled around for 3 weeks, which I found was a perfect amount of time to experience most of the countries highlights.
Personally, I love beaches, snorkelling, cities and culture…so that should give you an idea of what this itinerary will cover.
So let’s gooooo – here is everything you need to know for the most epic 3 weeks in Thailand…
(Bangkok > Gulf Islands > Chiang Mai):
Bangkok is a super hectic city, staying there more than 3-4 days would be pretty overwhelming – it’s humid, busy and v v fast pace!
I would say it’s best to cram it in and see all it has to offer over a shorter period of time.
For my ultimate guide to Bangkok click here and I’ll let you know everything there is to do and see to fill your time in the big city…
You will have to allow 1 full day for travel here as you have to make you way down to the south of Thailand.
How to get from Bangkok to Koh Tao?
Koh Tao, or as it translates to, Turtle Island is just a must see. I have never seen beaches so flawless – I’m talking Maldives vibes – it’s madness. Pick a beach to visit a day and you’re golden, this place is full on beachy, chill vibes.
This little island is also a great base to hop on a load of epic day trips and tours…
The ferry from Koh Tao > Koh Phangan is just under 2 hours.
I’m going to leave this here before I begin…there is soooo much more to Koh Phangan than the full moon party! When I visited, we stayed on a deserted beach in the north of the island and lived in tiny huts for the week. Check out my guide to Bottle Beach, Koh Phangan to see what we got up to.
This island has the best of both worlds – it is the place to go if you’re up for a huge party, but it also has beautiful, secluded beaches…
The ferry from Koh Phangan > Koh Samui is about 45 mins.
Koh Samui is the third island in the cluster of three in the East of Thailand. I haven’t personally visited (as I extended my stay on Koh Phangan instead), but it looks equally as stunning as the other two.
It is the biggest of the three islands and has everything from fancy resorts, to cool beach bars, to bungalows on the beach…
Again, you will have to allow 1 full day for travel here as you have to make you way back up to Northern Thailand.
How to get from Koh Samui to Chiang Mai?
You can also fly direct from Koh Samui to Chiang Mai – but this will cost you a little more.
Chiang Mai is set in Northern Thailand and is the second largest city after Bangkok. Although saying this, it is wayyyy more chill than Bangkok and much easier to navigate.
The city is surrounded by mountains and jungle, making it the best location to visit an elephant sanctuary. Check out my guide on how to choose an elephant sanctuary to visit here.
If I took this route again, I would 100% shorten my time in both Bangkok and Chiang Mai and elongate my time on the islands.
I’m a sucker for a beachy holiday – lounging around and doing nothing and felt like this itinerary didn’t allow enough time for relaxing on a beach.
However, if you’re looking for the perfect balance between exploring cities and getting some sunbathing time in there too, then this itinerary is just right for you!
I am so so keen to explore the islands to the west of Thailand – so, the Phi Phi Islands, Koh Lanta, all of those.
I have also heard that there is another clusters of islands to the west including Ko Lipe and Ko Ra Wi which look worth a visit.
If I found myself in Northern Thailand again, Pai would defo be on my list of places to check out (about a 3 hour drive away from Chiang Mai).
Oh, and Khao Sok National Park is right up there on my list – look it up, it looks incredible.
And give me a shout if you have any questions about booking your trip.