Thailand Itinerary for Two Weeks – First Timers Guide

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Few years ago, caught between post-graduate studies and internships, I read a Thailand Itinerary on similar lines – Young, broke and bit by the wanderlust bug: Thailand is the perfect place to start”. With time, work pressure and desire to fill the cauldron of life with financial stability, desire to backpack around Thailand gently faded into thin air and everything else stepped forward. 

The city of Bangkok has two parallel world running together
The city of Bangkok has two parallel world running together

All of these empty thoughts that bore seeds in 2011 sprouted 8 years later – “A little older, not very broke and fueled by passion to travel, started 2019 backpacking around Thailand for two weeks. All the stories of famous bloggers and travel influencers mostly start with – “I quit my job and bought a one-way ticket to Thailand”, this managed to brew an uncanny attraction towards the gorgeous country.

Wat Chedi Luang - Chiang Mai
Wat Chedi Luang – Chiang Mai

Thailand – Land of smiles, stunning monasteries, art nouveau corners, white-washed sand beaches, vast expanse of turquoise green Andaman Sea dotted with single standing rocks and quaint cafes to sample organic food to chaos of walking street and street food, the country is plethora of everything a budget backpacker needs. Thailand is for everyone – luxury travelers to broke backpackers, chalking out the right itinerary is what one needs.

Planning a trip to Thailand – PIN THE POST

Are you planning to travel to Thailand? This guide can definitely help you plan your trip, manage your budget and help in choosing places to visit. Based on my solo backpacking experience, I have put together The Comprehensive Two Week Itinerary for Thailand, majorly for first timers. Here is everything you need to know.

Old Phuket Town is a paradise for art lovers
Old Phuket Town is a paradise for art lovers

INFORMATION ABOUT FLIGHTS AND VISA

Generally, the flights from India to Thailand (especially Bangkok) are cheap and quite affordable if booked in advance (2 to 4 months prior). The cheapest flights connect Kolkata to Bangkok; I booked my flight for only Rs 4200/- four months in advance with Air Asia but had to pay extra Rs 1500/- for carrier luggage while web checking (In case you can manage travelling with only 7kg cabin luggage, no extra payment is required). The return tickets are more or less of the same range depending on which city you choose to board the flight from.

Wat Ratchanatdaram

Indians get Visa-On-Arrival for 15 days and generally 2000 Baht in cash is the VOA fee. Thailand waived off the VOA fee for 2 months from Dec, 2018 to Jan, 2019 for 21 countries including India. I visited Thailand from 1st Jan to 15th Jan, 2019 and luckily the VOA fee was waived off. The VOA fee is accepted only in Thai Baht; make sure you have that money to get the visa stamped. Here are the documents required for VOA

  • One photograph (4 x 6 mm)
  • Return Flight Ticket
  • Hotel Booking for First Night
  • Proof of sufficient fund of 10,000 Baht for single person and 20,000 Baht for family (Did not ask me though but always better to keep it handy)
  • Fill the Arrival and Departure card along with VOA form (Keep the Departure card safe till exit)

THAILAND ITINERARY FOR TWO WEEKS IN BUDGET

Hiking through the virgin jungles of Chiang Mai
Hiking through the virgin jungles of Chiang Mai
Wat Arun
Wat Arun

Day 1 – 2 (Arrive at either Suvarnabhumi or Don Mueang Airport in Bangkok and take a bus to city)

Bangkok is the capital of Thailand with airports connecting Thailand to rest of the world. Most of the flights land at either of the airports. The VOA process and formality takes places nearly 2 to 3 hours depending on the time of arrival. I reached Bangkok at Don Mueang Airport at around 6.00 am (Bangkok Timing) and completed the VOA formalities in 2 hours.

How to reach city from Airport – The first is of course the expensive option of hiring a taxi or cab to travel to your hotel. If you are on budget, take a bus from airport to your destination and then if required hire a Tuk Tuk. In Don Mueang Airport, the buses with A1 – A4 number takes you to different places with pick up right outside the airport. Generally, there are boards with bus numbers and route outside the airport to make it convenient for the travelers. I boarded bus number A4 leaving towards Khao San Road and Democratic Monument.

Places of Interest – Grand Palace, Wat Pho, Wat Arun,  Wat Ratchanatdaram, China Town (Yaowarat Rd), Democratic Monument, Giant Swing, Khao San Road

I spent two full days and one night in Bangkok. I spent my 2nd night on a train connecting Bangkok to Chiang Mai booked via 12Go online. The AC sleeper class is quite comfortable and spacious.

Queen Pagoda in Doi Inthanon National Park
Queen Pagoda in Doi Inthanon National Park

Day 3 – 5 (CHIANG MAI)

The 3rd day started after the cozy and comfortable overnight train journey to Chiang Mai. Northern Thailand is unexplored treasure trove tucked in the lap of nature, unlike the ostentatious detailing of the palaces. Chiang Mai sits as a gateway for Northern Thailand peppered with quaint cafes, fashionable alleys, jazz bars and gorgeous temples. One side completely tricks the existence of other with windy roads, windy mountains and boisterous evergreen jungles. Spend three days in Chiang Mai.

Places of Interest – Wat Phra Singh, Wat Chedi Luang, Monk’s Trail, Doi Suthep, Day Trip to Doi Inthanon National Park, Night Market

I recommend you stay at Nimmanhaemin Road as it is close to some of the best organic food cafes. If you stay in Old Chiang Mai Area, make sure you visit Café Green Days for some home-made sandwiches, salads and organic smoothies.

Drooling the gorgeous sunset over Pai Canyon
Drooling the gorgeous sunset over Pai Canyon

Day 6 – 8 (PAI)

Leave for Pai early morning. There are a number of buses and minivans that ply between Chiang Mai and Pai. You can book a seat in a minivan to Pai for 150 to 200 Baht from the booking counters. The easiest way to do is ask the hotel or hostel to book a seat, you will be picked by the van an hour or so before the departure time from your accommodation. Pai is a blissful countryside town dotted with coconut trees, gurgling rivers, virgin forests, serpentine roads and spiritual calling.

Places of Interest – Walking Street at Night, White Buddha Temple, Hot springs, Tham Lod Caves, Chinese Village (Santichon Village), Pai Canyon, Mor Pang Waterfall

I highly recommend staying at UP2U Guesthouse if you are on budget and looking for a hostel or cottage by river. The vibe of the place is super amazing.

The magical night view of Doi Suthep Temple
The magical night view of Doi Suthep Temple

Day 9 – CHIANG MAI

Grab some breakfast and leave for Chiang Mai. The journey is surreal but a lot of people are prone to road sickness. It takes around 4 hours to reach Chiang Mai, so plan accordingly. I stayed with my friend in Nimmanhaemin Road, must say – The place has amazing vibes. Right from tempting cafes to jazz bars to glitzy malls, it has it all.

Phang Nga Bay and the expanse of turquoise green Andaman sea
Phang Nga Bay and the expanse of turquoise green Andaman sea

Day 10 to 14 – PHUKET

By this time, I have seen the city, culture, stunning monasteries, jungles, winding roads and surreal landscape but not a beach. I reserved that last 4 days for some sand, sun and sea. It is recommended to take a flight from Chiang Mai to Phuket to save time, book in advance for cheaper flights. For a first timer like me, I choose Phuket as my base and explore around. You can choose you area of stay depending on preference. If you love art and quaint cafes, choose Old Phuket Town but it is little far from beaches. Patong beach is for party lovers and full of chaos. If you love the beach but not parties, stay either at Kata or Karon Beach.

I recommend staying at FIN Co-working Hostel at Kata Beach if you are a budget traveler and hate noise. They have pods and amazing vibe, stone throw from Kata walking street.

Places of Interest – Old Phuket Town, Kata Beach, Promethep Cape, Day Trip to Phi Phi Island, Day Trip to Phang Nga Bay, Rawai Beach

Picturesque long tail boats of Thailand - Phi Phi Island
Picturesque long tail boats of Thailand – Phi Phi Island

Day 15 – FLY OUT OF THAILAND

The Visa expires on Day 15 if you have VOA on Indian Passport. Take a flight back home or to your next destination.

Boat transit system in Bangkok
Boat transit system in Bangkok

TRANSPORTATION AROUND THAILAND

Thailand is a very pretty easy country to travel and if you know how to ride a bike, it becomes a breeze. Depending on the area you are travelling to, the options vary.

  • In Bangkok, the connectivity of public transport is amazing and with a little bit of asking around, it is easy to find options to travel around. The public buses, sky trains and BTS (boat transit system). Apart from that there are Tuks Tuks, motorbike Taxis or simply call a Grab cab.
  • It is easy to travel in Chiang Mai with Tuks Tuks and Red Taxis called Songthaws everywhere around. The red Songthaws are sort of shared vehicles that help one to commute from one place to another. Chiang Mai also has option of calling a Grab Cab via the app.
  • Pai doesn’t usually have much of public transport and travelling without a scooter or bike might be difficult. There are buses that go from Pai to different places from Pai bus stop. Hitch-hiking is a great option to travel around Pai if you don’t know to ride a bike. Alternatively, even cycles can be hired.
  • Phuket is slightly expensive and hiring a bike or scooty is recommended but for people like me, who doesn’t know to ride a bike, public buses can be used to commute from one place to another. The blue open buses operate from the Old Phuket Town to Kata Beach route and back but last bus leaves at 5.30pm from Old Town. There are normal public buses that hop from one beach to another. Next option is to hire a taxi but it is going to be expensive.
The quaint and cute apartments of Old Phuket Town
The quaint and cute apartments of Old Phuket Town

BUDGETING FOR TWO WEEKS IN THAILAND

One does not need a lot of money to backpack around Thailand and the country can be both cheap and expensive depending on how you travel. Let me give a breakdown of how much I roughly spent for 15 days

The caves in Pai
Flights and Visa

Visa – Generally, it is 2000Baht but luckily this time it was waived off.
Kolkata to Bangkok Flight – Rs 4,228 + Rs 1560 (for luggage beyond 7 kgs) Bangkok to Chiang Mai Train – AC Second class Sleeper for Rs 2, 600/- Chiang Mai to Pai in mini-van – Rs 400 – 500 (180 to 220 Baht) Pai to Chiang Mai in mini-van – Rs 410 (180 Baht) Chiang Mai to Phuket Flight – Rs 4597/-
Accommodation

3400 Baht (Rs 7600/-) was the total money spent on accommodation with breakfast complimentary everywhere except Phuket Hostel. I stayed in FIN Co-working Hostel in Phuket for 4 nights and paid 1700 Baht. There are cheaper hostels in Old Phuket City and Patong Beach.
Entry fees for places

I spent around 500 Baht(Rs 1,130) on the Entry fees of Monasteries and Temples
Day trips

I took four day trips One day trip to Doi Inthanon National Park with Travel hub Chiang Mai (It was a sponsored trip but generally cost 1600 Baht (Rs 3650)Day Trip in Pai costing 500 Baht (Rs 1,130)Day Trip to Phang Nga Bay and James Bond Island for Rs 3,109 booked via KlookDay Trip to Phi Phi Island for Rs 4,181 booked via Klook
Food and Others

Rest all the expenses are manageable depending on what and where you eat, how much you drink, how you travel around, shopping etc. Thailand is known for its amazing street food and organic cafes eat cheap on streets and manage to save money. I generally kept my food budget per day at around Rs 500 – 800/-.
Not sure how much exactly I spent but I guess I spent nearly Rs 45,000 including flights, food, accommodation, shopping, food, exploring and everything else for 2 weeks. The budget can be further reduced if you eat cheap, don’t shop and explore limited places.
Golden hour in Wat Arun
Pin the post

Broke or not broke – Thailand is a country that definitely must be on your list. The landscape changes dramatically from virgin forests and misty hills to gorgeous turquoise green sea lined with palm fringed white sand beaches from North to South. The profound culture, gorgeous temples and monasteries, calm of the mountains, sun and sand of the beaches and people of the country – Once you visit Thailand, it remains with you until you go back again.

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55 Responses

  1. We just returned from our first trip to Thailand so I enjoyed your post! It helped me recall all these lovely spots we also visited!

  2. Amy says:

    This looks amazing! I would love to visit Thailand but it’s just so far away from here in the UK!

    • upsy says:

      Thanks a lot for reading. Thailand is definitely worth the visit in terms of everything. I hope you make it soon. Much love 🙂

  3. Ohhh I loved Thailand! i went when i was a young and broke backpacker and this post brought back such good memories. 2 weeks is a great amount of time for a first trip over. Great post. xx

    • upsy says:

      I cannot agree more with you – It is indeed the perfect place to go when you are young and broke. For me, I was older and not that broke but happy that I made it. Cheers

  4. This is a great schedule! Comprehensive and sees all the important sights

  5. MyBackpackerLife says:

    Oh great post for someone like me who has never been to Thailand! This makes me want to go!

  6. stellymm says:

    So much to do! I am dying to go to Thailand, great itinerary. I especially loved the garden at Wat Arun. Beautiful

  7. This is such a well planned and detailed itinerary! We are planning a visit to Thailand by December and this is going to be really helpful. The view from Pai Canyon is truly amazing. I would love to add Pai too to my itinerary in addition to Phuket and Chiang Mai. Thank you so much for all the information

  8. Bea says:

    What a detailed itinerary! We have never been to Thailand yet but have been talking of possibly going either later this year or next year. I’m saving this for when we plan our trip. Thanks for this!

  9. Lauren says:

    I go to Thailand for the first time in two weeks!! I cannot wait and this post was so so useful especially the cost breakdown 🙂

  10. Anna says:

    A well-rounded itinerary! Can you believe that I’ve been living in Thailand on and off and visiting it for nearly 3 decades yet I still haven’t been to the North? I know, shame on me =D Thanks for the tips!

    • upsy says:

      Hey! Thailand is super amazing, I am totally taken. Its okay, you can visit Northern Thailand now and do some amazing treks there. It is super natural and amazing place with surreal landscapes.

  11. Anisa says:

    So much to do in Thailand, two weeks is ideal. I have been to Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Phuket, but I want to see more of the islands on my next trip.

  12. Gorgeous photos and guide you have for Thailand. It is a place still on my travel list, maybe next year I will plan it 😀

  13. Silly Little Kiwi Blog says:

    I loved that you included visa and flight information– so so helpful! Great post!

  14. Katja says:

    This is a great itinerary combining the north and the south! I´ve been to BKK and the south years ago, but never to the northern part. This inspired me, so who knows, maybe soon 🙂

    • upsy says:

      Northern Thailand is definitely a treasure trove with surreal landscape, virgin jungles, gurgling streams and picturesque landscape. Do spend at least 10 days in Northern Thailand or more. Much love

  15. Lyne says:

    Great itinerary! Thailand look like so much fun, your trip sounds amazing! I may go to Thailand next year so it’s nice to read about it!

  16. We went to Thailand for a few days and I can’t wait to go back. It is such an amazing combination of natural and man-made beauty. How was the overnight train? I’ve done this in Vietnam and while it was a long way from comfort, somehow it was one of the best nights of sleep that I got.

    • upsy says:

      I absolutely agree, it indeed is a combination of everything. The landscape changes from one place to another. The overnight train is really comfortable, beds are good and the train guys make the bed for you. Try using the train in Thailand, it really nice.

  17. Love it! Such an incredible guide and amazing photography!!

  18. Shantelle says:

    Loved Thailand so much. This makes me want to go back!

  19. laughtraveleatblog says:

    Pai looks wonderful! I love the list – I haven’t got the chance to visit the south of Thailand and this is helpful!

  20. Kelly says:

    Thanks so much for sharing! I remember Thailand fondly and did a very similiar route. I missed out on Pai though and would love to visit on a return trip to Thailand. Also missed the bus from.the airport to the city since my flight arrived in Thailand at like 1 am. Lol.

    • upsy says:

      Thailand is such a beautiful country and one can never get enough of the country. I totally loved Pai, I hope you get a chance to travel to Pai soon. Cheers 🙂

  21. I would love to visit Thailand sometime soon, so I’m definitely going to use your itinerary! It looks like an amazing place to visit!

  22. Val says:

    Great and very detailed itinerary! I spent 1 month in Thailand and I really loved it, the landscape indeed changes from one place to the other! I wish to visit Chiang MAi next time , I will pin your post!

  23. Emily says:

    Thailand is one of my favourite countries, but I still have so much to see! Bangkok was the first place I visited in Southeast Asia… A shock to say the least. I absolutely love the chaos!

    • upsy says:

      I agree. There is something new every time you visit. Bangkok in fact is so interesting and many offbeat places are there.

  24. Bright Lights of America says:

    I’d love to visit Thailand and Japan one day. I’ve only been to Bangkok as a stopover when flying to Europe and judging from your post I need to see so much of Thailand!

  25. I haven’t been to Thailand yet, so this will be very useful when I go 🙂

  26. This has been very useful and helpful We’re visiting Thailand in December so its made me aware of a few things. Like asking my bank to order Baht for us!

  27. Kaisa says:

    Your pictures are wonderful! This is a great guide for sure.

  28. Julie says:

    Such an informative guide! I still haven’t been to Thailand, but I hope to make it later this year 😊

  29. It was a pleasure reading your blog. The tips are really useful and surly I would use them whenever I plan Thailand.

  1. March 1, 2019

    […] I hope you enjoyed the comprehensive guide for first timers in Bangkok. Bangkok is a city that weaves so much curiosity and compels you to come back. Next time, I will visit some offbeat places in and around Bangkok and stay for a longer time. Read my complete two weeks itinerary for Thailand for first timers. […]

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