Thailand undoubtedly surprised me very well. During my Thailand itinerary in 5 weeks I visited many highlights and explored the country. I’ve found out that the nature and national parks in Thailand are beautiful, the people super friendly and the temples very impressive. It’s also a very easy to travel country, which makes Thailand perfect for novice travelers and starting backpackers!
Are you looking for a nice travel or backpack route through Thailand? I will tell you everything about my Thailand itinerary in about 5 weeks.
Thailand itinerary in 5 weeks
Bangkok ➤ Khao Yai ➤ Ayuthhaya ➤ Chiang Mai ➤ Pai ➤ Krabi ➤ Khao Sok ➤ Surin ➤ Krabi ➤ Koh Lanta ➤ Koh Lipe ➤ Bangkok
The journey starts of course in Bangkok, you love it or you hate it. With more than 8 million inhabitants and many tourists, it’s a real metropolis. Bangkok is almost always the beginning of your Thailand itinerary. Airline tickets are often cheaper to Bangkok than to other cities.
I had to get used to this gigantic city but my experience with Bangkok was special! Stay close to Khao San Road if you like meeting other travelers and having a party.
A maximum of 3 days is enough in Bangkok in my opinion.
From Bangkok you can easily travel to Ayutthaya or first to Khao Yai National Park by bus or train. And I definitely recommend you to visit Khao Yai National Park before going to Ayutthaya! As a nature and animal lover I could really enjoy myself here.
More than 70 species of mammals and 300 bird species live in the national park. I spotted several hornbills and saw dozens of gibbons swaying between the branches. And there are even elephants in the wild and how cool it is to see them there! Of course you’ll need a bit of luck.
I definitely recommend doing a 2 day tour.
Would you like to visit Thai temples? Then visit beautiful temples in Ayutthaya! Ayutthaya is very easy to reach from Bangkok and from Khao Yai National Park by train or bus. The historic part of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of the fantastic temples scattered throughout the city.
Ayutthaya is fun for 1 or 2 days.
Chiang Mai is also a city that you should definitely visit. It’s easy to reach with the relaxed (night)train from Bangkok or from Ayutthaya. There are a lot of awesome sights and activities in Chiang Mai, like visiting beautiful temples and eating very tasty food. Visit the Doi Inthanon National Park to see the famous stupas on the mountain. Would you like to climb a waterfall on your own with a beautiful view? Then visit the special Sticky waterfall!
4 to 5 days is definitely recommended for Chiang Mai because there’s a lot to see and do.
Many backpackers (like me) travel by slowboat after Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang in Laos. Also highly recommended!
After Chiang Mai you can travel to the mountain village of Pai, which is even more in the north of Thailand. To reach Pai you have to defy more than 700 bends from Chiang Mai, but then you’ll definitely get something in return! Because there is also plenty to do in Pai.
There are plenty of cool activities and sights in Pai so you can have fun. Renting a scooter is very cheap here and this way you can explore the entire area.
I loved Pai and stayed there for 4 days!
The coastal province of Krabi is located in the south of Thailand. Krabi is easily and often reasonably cheap to reach by plane from Chiang Mai or Bangkok. You can stay in Krabi Town or in Ao Nang.
I really liked the surroundings of Krabi. It is incredibly green and everywhere you see the amazing karst mountains. There are also many cool things to do in Krabi. For example, visit the Tiger Cave Temple and without a doubt climb the Dragon Crest Viewpoint for the most amazing view of Krabi.
3 days was perfect for Krabi in my opinion.
The amazingly beautiful Khao Sok National Park is easily accessible by bus from Krabi. The Khao Sok National Park is known for the large reservoir with lots of mountains and rainforest. It’s also a popular national park in southern Thailand.
Many guesthouses and tour agencies organize tours to the national park. I did an overnight tour in a cabin on the lake, but unfortunately my experience with Khao Sok National Park wasn’t the best though…
2 or 3 days are fine for Khao Sok National Park!
From Khao Sok you can easily travel to the town of Khuraburi where you can easily visit the stunningly beautiful Surin islands the next day. The Surin islands are without a doubt a MUST when you visit the south of Thailand. Or maybe not, because I prefer to keep these islands to myself ;).
Crystal clear blue water, white beaches and even wildlife. This was without doubt the highlight of my Thailand itinerary. I often snorkeled with the most amazing fish and regularly relaxed in the hammock or on the beach.
I ended up staying 3 days on the Surin islands which was perfect! To be honest, I couldn’t bear the thin mat in the tent for much longer..
From the Surin islands I traveled back to Khuraburi from where I took a direct bus to Krabi. If you visit the south of Thailand, you may return to Krabi just like me.
From Krabi you can easily take the boat to Koh Lanta. The big island is a popular yet relatively quiet island in the south of Thailand. There are enough cool activities in Koh Lanta. I have noticed that it is very much where you stay in Koh Lanta. Try to stay close to the beach in a cozy hostel for the best vibe.
I advise you to stay on Koh Lanta for a minimum of 3 days.
From Koh Lanta it’s easy to travel by speedboat to Koh Lipe in about 6 hours. Tropical Koh Lipe is an amazing island near the border with Malaysia. You will find white beaches and super clear blue water where you can snorkel well.
The tropical paradise hasn’t gone unnoticed and the island is therefore often visited by tourists. Since it was my last destination of my Thailand itinerary, I did very little in those days, which was perfect.
I found 4 days relaxing on Koh Lipe perfect!
From Koh Lipe you take the boat and then the bus to one of the southern airports. Such as Hat Yai, Trang or Krabi Airport. Within 2 hours you will be back in crowded Bangkok for onward travel.
Best time to travel Thailand itinerary
The best travel time for backpacking in Thailand is approximately from November to March. I visited the north of Thailand in November and the south of Thailand in January.
Actually, I only had some hours of rain in the mountain village of Pai in the north of Thailand. For the rest the weather was perfect.
Compare airline ticket prices on Skyscanner to get the best value possible.
Duration of Thailand itinerary
I did this Thailand itinerary in a total of 37 days, which amounts to just over 5 weeks. But I’ve been out of the country in the meantime. During this Thailand itinerary, I traveled after Pai to Laos, then to Vietnam, then Cambodia and finally back to Thailand. I can actually divide the route into two parts:
- Part 1: Bangkok, Khao Yai, Ayutthaya, Chiang Mai and Pai in 15 days.
- Part 2: Krabi, Khao Sok, Surin, Krabi, Koh Lanta, Koh Lipe and Bangkok in 22 days.
If you want to see everything I mentioned in this Thailand itinerary, I recommend that you take a minimum of 5 weeks. Of course you can take longer, but maybe also a little shorter. I love to do a lot of activities and sightseeing every day. If you prefer to take it a bit easier, I would definitely spend more than 5 weeks traveling.
Useful apps for this Thailand itinerary
The app I used most during my backpack route through Thailand is Grab. This handy taxi app is very similar to Uber, but for the Southeast Asian countries. You see in advance exactly how much you pay and sometimes you also get nice discounts!
Maps.me is also a very handy app. This allows you to download the maps from Google Maps and view them offline. But of course you can also buy a SIM card so you just have internet everywhere. But what I find very useful about it is that there are often walking routes and tips on Maps.me. Ideal!
But the Booking app is also very handy to have on your mobile.