Our Thailand Travel Itinerary for 30 Days
We spent an incredible month in Thailand, with extensive time spent between four different areas. Between multiple cooking classes, jungle and beach time, a week at a plant-based yoga retreat, food tours and more, we wouldn’t change a thing we did! If you’re planning a trip to Thailand and are asking yourself questions like which cities should you visit, should you go to the islands and is it hard to get around, you’re not alone. It took us some time and we hope sharing our Thailand travel itinerary will help you narrow a few things down.
You can easily spend two weeks to a month in Thailand, but even if you don’t have that much time you can pick and pull out the parts of our trip that look most interesting to include them in your own trip. Below is the full itinerary, as well as a video if you’d prefer to watch.
Alright…let’s see what’s happening in Thailand!
Bangkok (5 Days)
Our journey began with 5 days in Bangkok, the largest city in Thailand. Bangkok has two airports, and since we flew a short distance from Taipei, Taiwan we flew into the smaller airport, DMK. For longer international flights, you’ll probably fly through BKK, located on the east side of the city.
For transportation from the airport to our hotel, we opted for a standard taxi. From our personal experience we wouldn’t recommend this. It was a somewhat uncomfortable experience, especially as we entered an unfamiliar country. Our driver didn’t want to use the taxi meter. So we had to debate in the parking lot for 10 minutes to force him to turn it on. And then he continued to complain to us the entire time about the rate we were paying him, and tried to squeeze more money out of us at the end with fake fees.
Instead, to avoid this negotiation process, we recommend downloading the Grab app. It’s like Uber for South East Asia and it’s seems to be available in all larger cities. Its typically very affordable, you’ll get much cleaner cars with seat belts, and the process is much simpler than using the standard taxis. You do pay in cash, but the app provides the price to both driver and customer. No haggling.
Bangkok is a giant city so it can be tough to figure out exactly where to stay. After a bit of Youtube watching and blog reading, we decided to reserve an Airbnb on the west side of the city closer to the backpacker area, not far from Khao San Road. This area was close to many of the temples and sites we wanted to visit.
In terms of food, Bangkok is well known for its street food. However, being vegan, there weren’t a ton of options. Good thing Bangkok is filled with a ton of chill vegan restaurants that were affordable and damn delicious. Our favorites were Ethos, May Kaidee’s and Mango. You can also take some really fun cooking classes, like this one.
SURAT THANI/ KHAO SOK PARK (3 DAYS)
Next, we headed south toward Surat Thani. We wanted to visit one of the many national parks in Thailand and we chose Khao Sok National Park, situated just outside of Surat Thani.
From Bangkok, we made our way back to DMK airport in a Grab for our flight down to Surat Thani. We booked all of our flights within Thailand through Air Asia. We had incredible service and all flights were always on time. Each one-way ticket cost an average of $50 USD. Make sure your carry-on bag weighs less than 7KG (15 lbs), or they will charge quite a hefty fee if it’s over weight. Learn more about what we packed for Thailand. I definitely could have packed a little less!
After a quick 1-hour flight, we arrived at the Surat Thani airport. We chose to rent a car to drive the the national park rather than taking a bus or taxi. We pre-booked the car online through Priceline, so the process was quick and easy at the airport Avis. The price per day was around $23 USD with unlimited miles.
After renting the car, we headed inland on a 2.5 hour drive to Khao Sok National Park. Since they drive on the other side of the road, we were a little nervous at first because we hadn’t drive that way before. But after hopping on the freeway, it wasn’t difficult at all. Surat Thani is not very population dense so it was mostly driving on open roads. The drive was absolutely gorgeous, cruising through sections of the oldest evergreen rainforest in the world. Since we wanted our trip to be a good mix of cities, jungles and beaches, this leg was set to fulfill all our jungle desires.
Lodging & Activities
Since we wanted an authentic jungle experience, we booked a room at a resort where we could sleep in rustic huts. It was a notch or two up from traditional camping, so we still got our fair share of mosquitos and oversized bugs crawling around. But it was eco-friendly, had amazing Thai dinners and the price was very budget friendly. There were many options for rooms in the area, but we suggest booking ahead of time. Some places were sold out!
Khao Sok park offers a variety of activities like hiking, swimming, elephant washing so be sure to read about those ahead of time. We did a boat tour through the jungle, which was about a 45 minute drive from the resort. This is why we’re big fans of renting cars in foreign countries – a lot of freedom and accessibility. They have busses available, but we prefer to go at our own pace on our own schedule.
KOH PHANGAN (12 DAYS)
After three days in the jungle, we were ready to check out a Thai Island. We chose Koh Phangan as it was monsoon season for the western islands, which meant better weather on the gulf side. Koh Phangan has less resorts and less expensive than Koh Samui, but not as remote as Koh Tao.
We woke up early, drove back to Surat Thani airport, dropped off the rental car, and purchased combo tickets at the airport for a bus transfer to the Dansak ferry port and a ferry ride to Koh Phangan. There was no need to book these ahead of time. We just showed up at the counter at the airport, and purchased our combo tickets for $15 USD each. Easy!
The bus transfer from Surat Thani to the ferry port was about 1-hour long. And the ferry to Koh Phangan took about 3 hours. The ferry is very comfortable and they have the entire boarding and unboarding process down. No worries!
Lodging & Activities
Once we were on the island, we hopped in the back of a local truck taxi, called a Song Thaew and made our way inland to a yoga retreat at Wonderland Healing Center. Here we spent 5 days on a yoga retreat practicing yoga and eating delicious a vegan buffet. This was one of our bucket list items, and Wonderland is the most budget-friendly and all-inclusive yoga resort you can find. We couldn’t believe how beautiful and cost effective it was!
With one more week left on Koh Phangan after the yoga retreat, we decided to stay on the northwest side of the island, away from the full moon parties and more touristy areas. We took a Song Thaew to our hotel which was right next to Haad Son beach. This is also close to many vegan restaurants. We rented a scooter from our hotel which was the easiest way to get around the island. Highly suggest getting a scooter since the streets aren’t the easiest for walking long distances due to a lot of hills and dangerous corners. We chilled on the beach, check out the incredible vegan restaurants in the area, took a cooking class and enjoyed the island life. You can read a full overview of our activities here.
CHIANG MAI (7 DAYS)
After a week on the Islands, it was time to head back to the mainland to check out Chiang Mai. We took a taxi to the Dansak ferry port, planning to take the same traditional ferry we took to get to the island, but due to weather conditions, the ferries were delayed and being cancelled. The ferry operator suggested taking a high-speed catamaran instead. We just walked a couple of blocks down and easily booked it. It was a little bit more expensive, about $25 more per person, but we arrived in just about 1.5 hours so we thought it was worth it and would take it again.
Back on the mainland, we boarded large busses to head to the airport to take our next flight. The bus was also included in the catamaran price, which made the it so easy for us. They’ve got a really fast and efficient system there.
Our flight to Chiang Mai was only 1.5 hours. One thing we love about traveling on the small flights throughout Asia is how efficient everything is at the airport. In the U.S., it seems like traveling domestically is such a pain. Flights canceled, long security lines. However, for our entire month long trip, we had zero delayed flights and never had to wait in lines for more than 10 minutes (knock on wood). They’ve got it down!
Once we landed in Chiang Mai and having learned our lessons with taxis, we again reserved a Grab to get to our hotel.
Hotels & Activities
For the next 6 days, we stayed in an AirBnb in the Nimmen district. Walking around the first night, it was shocking how modern and hip Chiang Mai is. For some reason we were expecting a much smaller, slower city. Instead it’s a relatively busy city with tons of modern coffee houses, bars and restaurants. We toured the city, ate a lot and took a few vegan cooking classes.
***(Final 3 Days)*** We headed back to Bangkok for three short days to take a really fun vegan food tour we’d signed up for and work a bit before wrapping up our Thailand trip with a flight back to the U.S.
Overall, Thailand is an absolutely incredible country to visit on your next holiday. Delicious food, stunning landscapes, friendly smiles and, as you can see, fantastic transportation options. We’ll update you on how our itinerary goes for future trips where we plan to take things a little more rural. Hope this helps with your trip planning and happy travels to you.