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A Week in Thailand – Ultimate Itinerary

Have you decided to go on a trip to Thailand ?

To help you organize your stay, and discover some of the country’s unmissable places of interest , I have prepared a one-week itinerary for you in Thailand.

For this circuit, I suggest you focus on 3 great classics: Bangkok , the capital; Ayutthaya , the famous historical park; and Chiang Mai , in the North.

In addition to day-to-day things to do, find our selection of the best accommodation for each stage and all our advice for visiting Thailand in 1 week.

So what to do and see in Thailand in a week? 

Day 1-2: Bangkok

For your week-long trip to Thailand, I suggest you land directly in Bangkok, the country’s capital.

To reach downtown Bangkok from Suvarnabhumi International Airport, located further east, there are 3 possibilities:

1) Take the Airport Rail Link, the train that connects the airport to the city. This is the fastest and cheapest solution.

The train is in the basement of the airport. You can buy your trip directly at the automatic terminals . Do not be surprised, the ticket is actually in the form of a token that you will have to keep, since it is necessary to insert it in the gate at the end of the journey to be able to exit.

The price of the journey is calculated according to the distance travelled. Remember to look before the address of your hotel to know at which station you should get off. From the airport to the terminus (Phaya Thaï station), count only 45 Bahts! (less than 1 euro 50)

There are departures every 15 minutes from 6am to midnight and the journey takes just 30 minutes from one end of the line to the other.

The Airport Rail Link is connected with the BTS (the aerial metro) and the MRT (the underground metro), which is very convenient for reaching the majority of hotels.

If your accommodation in Bangkok is not near a public transport station, you will then have to finish the journey by taxi. Do not accept a fixed price, always ask the driver to switch on the meter (“taximeter” in English).

Taking the Airport Rail Link is really the best solution to avoid traffic jams and get to the city center quickly.

2) Take a cab. 

They are on level 1 of the airport. You will first need to take a ticket from an automatic terminal to make your reservation. You will then be told the number of the place where to wait for your taxi.

Before leaving, ask the driver to switch on the meter . Do not accept a fixed rate, which will always be higher than with the meter. Be aware that if the driver takes the highway, the toll charges will be your responsibility.

For a trip to the city center, count between 250 and 450 Bahts depending on where you are going and depending on the traffic situation. During rush hours and in some places in Bangkok, you may be stuck for several minutes and the fare will suffer.

I advise you to ask your hotel to provide you with directions in Thai for your driver. Some don’t speak English and with the hundreds of hotels in Bangkok, it’s hard to navigate, even for them.

 

Getting around Bangkok

After these practical considerations and a good night’s sleep, you are now ready to begin your one-week tour of Thailand by visiting Bangkok.

Direction the emblematic site of the city: the Grand Palais (or Royal Palace). If your hotel is nearby, no problem walking there. Otherwise, you will have to take a taxi because there is no metro in the area.

The Grand Palace has long served as the residence of Thai rulers and includes hundreds of buildings, pavilions and palaces. During your visit, do not miss to admire the Royal Chapel of the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. The statue there is revered by all Thai people.

You can also discover the Chakri Mahat Prasat Palace, one of the most imposing buildings of the complex, the residence of King Rama V.

The Grand Palais is open every day. Entrance ticket at 500 Bahts per person.

After visiting the Grand Palace, continue exploring Bangkok via another must-see tourist attraction, Wat Pho (entrance at 200 Bahts). You can walk there, there is only a 5-10 minute walk between the 2.

Wat Pho houses the largest reclining Buddha statue in the city. It is 45 meters long and 15 high.

And to complete the trio of places not to be missed , I then suggest you go to Wat Arun.

Located on the other side of Wat Pho , you have to take a river shuttle to cross (4 Bahts). It stops directly in front of the entrance (50 Bahts).

At Wat Arun, you can admire the tower (a Prang in Thai) 82 meters high and 4 smaller ones, entirely covered with mosaics.

Wat Arun

Then take the shuttle back in the opposite direction.

For the rest of this first day in Bangkok, I leave you the choice between 2 museum visits , each equally interesting, to immerse yourself in Thai culture:

  • The Siam Museum: a really fun museum with games and videos on the history of Thailand. It is less than 10 minutes walk from the landing stage. Ticket at 300 Baht.
  • The National Museum of Bangkok which also evokes the history of the country but in a more traditional way than the Siam Museum. It is the largest museum in Southeast Asia. It is 2.1 km from the landing stage. Entrance ticket at 200 Baht.

Leaving the museum, then join the most famous street in Bangkok: Khao San Road. It is located just a few steps from the National Museum. Here you will find jewelery and souvenir shops , as well as a multitude of bars and restaurants.

Finally, to end the day in style and discover the most beautiful temples of Bangkok illuminated at night, I recommend that you opt for a river cruise.

Spend the night in Bangkok.

Bangkok dinner cruise

For the second day of your 1-week stay in Thailand, we continue our visit to Bangkok.

Direction the Temple of the Golden Mountain (Wat Saket) for a short climb in the cool (or not!) of the steps leading to the panoramic terrace. From up there, you will have a 360° view of Bangkok.

Count 50 Bahts for the entrance.

Wat Saket being not far from Chinatown , it is the ideal opportunity to then discover Chinatown and stroll through the lively and colorful streets.

Don’t forget to visit the district’s best-known temple , Wat Traimit , which houses a 5.5-ton gold Buddha statue. Entrance ticket at 40 Bahts.

Wat Traimit

After all this entertainment, I suggest you go and enjoy a greener and quieter setting in the largest park in the city, Lumphini Park. The easiest way to get there from Chinatown is to take the subway from Hua Lamphong station to Lumphini stop.

In the park there are trails, playgrounds for children and a lake on which you can go pedalo. You will surely have the opportunity to meet the inhabitants of the place: Malay monitor lizards, which strongly resemble Komodo dragons.

From there, I suggest you continue this day in Bangkok, through the Siam district. Prepare your credit card, this is where all the major shopping centers are concentrated . A paradise for shopping lovers!

You can find absolutely everything there: electronics, clothes, souvenirs, jewellery. And even if you don’t feel like shopping, I can assure you that you will appreciate the air conditioning!

They also all have large food courts where the hardest part will be deciding what to eat.

To conclude your stay in Bangkok, in the evening, I suggest 2 totally different activities:

  • If you feel like having a romantic time and celebrating the start of your week -long Thailand road trip , grab a drink on one of the city’s rooftops like Sky Bar Lebua or then go up to King Power MahaNakhon SkyWalk or Bayoke Tower . For this activity, it is better to book your tickets in advance because you will not be the only ones to have had this idea.
  • If you want to spend the evening in a supercharged atmosphere , then attend a Muay Thai boxing match , Thailand’s national sport.

Spend another night in Bangkok.

For more information on all the places to see in Bangkok, do not hesitate to read our article: Visit Bangkok: the ultimate guide.

Tips

To visit temples in Bangkok or any city during this week in Thailand, you will need to have your shoulders and legs covered.

If you don’t have shawls or long skirts/trousers , you can rent them at the entrance or buy everywhere for 100 Bahts. That’s why all the tourists find themselves decked out in magnificent pants with elephants on them!

Accommodation in Bangkok

To help you among the hundreds of accommodation offers, here is my selection of the best hotels to sleep in Bangkok!

The best hotels near the Grand Palace and Wat Pho:

  • D Hostel Bangkok: Hostel located near the temples and 5 min from Khao San Road. Bed in dormitory from 20€. Most: the location to visit the temples on foot, cleanliness, modern decor. Ideal for small budgets!
  • Rambuttri Village Plaza: Located 1.5 km from the Grand Palace and 300 m from Khao San Road. Pleasant and bright double room from €30 per night, breakfast included. Most: the location, the swimming pools on the roof.
  • Baan Wanglang Riverside, Bangkok: Hotel located on the opposite bank of the Grand Palace, 5 minutes by shuttle bus. Spacious double room with a view of the river from €50. The pluses: the splendid view of the river, the rooftop, the proximity to the 3 main temples.
  • Siri Heritage Bangkok Hotel: Brand new hotel, 10 minutes walk from the Grand Palace and 1 km from the National Museum. Warm and comfortable room with balcony from €70, breakfast included. Most: the setting, the comfort of the beds, the very helpful staff, the swimming pool. It is our favorite for its price/performance ratio in the vicinity of the Grand Palais!
  • Inn a day: Located 600 meters from the Grand Palace. Room with original and atypical decoration, in the industrial style, from 100€, breakfast included. Most: the magnificent view of the river and Wat Arun, the excellent breakfast, the design.
  • Chakrabongse Villas: Located on the banks of the river, only 15 min walk from Wat Pho. Room and suite with oriental but modern decoration, from €170, breakfast included. Most: the breathtaking view of Wat Arun, the excellent geographical location, the swimming pool. This is our recommendation for a romantic stay in Bangkok!

The best hotels in Bangkok that are quiet and close to the metro for easy travel:

  • Bangkok Patio: It is located 10 minutes walk from the BTS Skytrain. Super spacious, modern studios and apartments with equipped kitchen and balcony from €40 per night. Most: the swimming pool, the calm, the geographical location. It is our favorite for its price/performance ratio! Also ideal for a family stay.
  • Noursabah Boutique Bed Bangkok: Located 500 meters from the BTS and the Airport Rail Link (direct line to the airport). Well decorated room with a super comfortable bed from €50 per night, breakfast included. Most: calm, comfort, provision of food (noodle, yogurt, cereals), water, fruit juice 24 hours a day, super convenient for going to the airport.
  • Anajak Bangkok Hotel: Located 5 minutes from the metro and the Airport Rail Link. Cozy and very comfortable double room from €75 per night, breakfast included. Most: the quiet location, the swimming pool, the style of the rooms. An excellent choice for visiting Bangkok or reaching the airport at the end of your stay in just 30 minutes.
  • Eastin Grand Hotel Sathorn: Located a few steps from the metro. Spacious room with large bay window overlooking the buildings from €115, breakfast included. Most: the standard of the hotel, the infinity pool, the breakfast at the top, the direct access to the metro. This is our recommendation for an upscale stay in Bangkok!
  • Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok: Luxury hotel with direct access to Siam Paragon Mall and BTS. Elegant and contemporary room from €230, breakfast included. Most: the large swimming pools and the garden, the jacuzzi, the Spa, the excellent breakfast. The best hotel to stay in Bangkok for a luxury stay! 
The Grand Palace in Bangkok

Day 3: Ayutthaya

For the second leg of this 1-week itinerary in Thailand , leave Bangkok to reach Ayutthaya , 75 km away.

There are several options for getting to Ayutthaya from Bangkok:

1) By car: you can absolutely visit Thailand in 1 week by renting a car. It is the best solution to be able to see the maximum of things and not to be dependent on schedules.

Ayutthaya being in the North of Bangkok, the best is to rent your car at Don Muang airport (not to be confused with that of Suvarnabhumi by which you arrived), which is right on the route. It will then take you 45 minutes to go to Ayutthaya.

 

2) By train: the cheapest solution with a train ticket at only 15 Bahts for 2 hours.

3) By bus: 1h30 at 50 Bahts

4) By minivan: 1 hour at 70 Bahts.

Arrived in Ayutthaya, you can then spend the day exploring the historical park , listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Ayutthaya

The place is vast and houses several ancient temples  spread over different areas . If you don’t have a car, it’s best to rent a bike to get around it. Impossible to do everything on foot. Count 50 Bahts for the day.

If the bike does not tempt you, you also have the possibility of renting a scooter (200 Bahts) or booking a tuk tuk for 1 day. The driver takes you everywhere and waits for you during the visits. On the other hand, it is the most expensive option: 1200 Bahts (try to negotiate a little).

Entrances to the temples are paid : 50 Bahts for the main ones, 20 Bahts or free for the less known or more remote ones. To save a little money, I advise you to take the 6 temples pass for 220 Bahts.

It allows to visit:

  • Wat Mahathat
  • Wat Ratchaburana
  • Wat Phra Si Sanphet
  • Wat Phra Ram
  • Wat Maheyong
  • Wat Chai Watthanaram

I explain everything in detail in my article devoted entirely to the historical park of Ayutthaya . Here you will find all the information you need:

  • How to visit Ayutthaya: practical information
  • The temples to see 
  • How long to visit Ayutthaya
  • The tourist map of the temples
  • A circuit to visit Ayutthaya in 1 day
  • The history of the historic city
Wat Chai Watthanaram Ayutthaya

For all those who do not wish to bother with organizational matters , you have one last possibility to visit Ayutthaya: book an organized day trip from Bangkok.

Everything is planned:

  • Bus transport from your hotel in Bangkok to the historical park
  • A guide to accompany you on temple visits
  • Entrance fees to temples
  • Lunch
  • The return by boat with cruise on the river

And if you don’t like group excursions, it is also possible to take a private driver for the day to make the Bangkok-Ayutthaya round trip. It’s super convenient because it takes you to the entrance of each temple and waits for you in front.

At the end of the day, you have the choice of returning to Bangkok , spending the night in Ayutthaya or departing directly for Chiang Mai. I will explain these different scenarios to you in the third step.

Accommodation in Ayutthaya

  • Early Bird Hostel Ayutthaya: Hostel located 700 meters from Wat Mahathat. Dormitory bed from €7, breakfast included. Most: lovely staff, cleanliness, privacy thanks to the curtain. Ideal for backpackers!
  • Baan Baimai Boutique Room: Located 1.7 km from Wat Mahathat or 5 minutes by car. Spacious and well-decorated double room from €27. Most: calm, decor, private parking. An excellent choice where to stay cheap in Ayutthaya!
  • PU Inn Resort: Located 5 minutes from the bus station and 10 minutes from Mahathat temple. Comfortable and colorful double room from 45€. Most: the swimming pool, the central location, the warm welcome.
  • Baan Thai House: Located 1.4 km from Wat Yai Chai Mongkon. Spacious villa with balcony and garden or lake view from €60, breakfast included. Most: the swimming pool, the exteriors, the good meals, the setting, the calm.
  • Classic Kameo Hotel & Serviced Apartments, Ayutthaya: Located 5 minutes drive from Yai Chai Mongkon Temple. Double room with kitchenette and lounge area, modern and spacious, from €75, breakfast included. The pluses: the equipment, the comfort, the swimming pool, the Spa.
  • Sala Ayutthaya: Located 1.6 km from the historical park and Wat Chai Watthanaram. Modern double room with exposed red bricks from €140, breakfast included. Most: the swimming pool, the view of the river and the temples, the quality of the catering, the design of the hotel. This is our recommendation for a luxury stay in Ayutthaya!
Wat Yai Chaya Mongkon Ayutthaya

Day 4-6: Chiang Mai

For the rest of your week-long trip to Thailand, I am now taking you to discover the capital of the North of the country: Chiang Mai.

I told you a little earlier, at the end of your day in Ayutthaya, several options are possible for the continuation of your vacation and to reach Chiang Mai, which is still 600 km away.

1) You can choose to fly. This requires returning to Bangkok , Ayutthaya has no airport.

If you have opted for the organized excursion or the private driver, as the return is already planned in Bangkok, it can be really practical. And if you visited Ayutthaya on your own, just take the train/bus/minivan in the opposite direction to return to Bangkok.

The plane is the fastest way (1 hour flight only!) to go to Chiang Mai and honestly the prices are really reasonable.

2) Take an overnight train in Ayutthaya to go to Chiang Mai.

It is the cheapest solution but the slowest with 12 hours of journey. Book a berth to try and get some sleep and arrive in Chiang Mai in good shape.

3) Spend the night in Ayutthaya and take the day train the next day. It is a little bit faster than the night one but you will travel on classic seats.

4) Spend the night in Ayutthaya and then drive to Chiang Mai if you have rented a car for this one week Thailand tour. The journey takes 8 hours.

Once arrived in Chiang Mai, here is the program that I propose to you to visit the city and the surroundings.

On the first day, discover the old town . There are all the main temples to visit, museums and plenty of bars and restaurants.

To best optimize your circuit in the city, I have prepared an itinerary for you:

  • Visit  Wat Phra Singh,  the most famous temple in Chiang Mai. Free admission.
  • Discovery of  Wat Chedi Luang  where the Emerald Buddha that you saw during your visit to the Grand Palace in Bangkok used to be. Entry at 40 baht.
  • Photo stop at  Wat Inthakhin Sadue Muang, an all-teak temple. Free.
  • Passage through  the Monument to the 3 Kings
  • Visit one of the 3 museums  located on the monument square:  the cultural center, the history center  or the Lanna folk art museum. They all deal with the history of the city and the province.
  • Direction  Wat Chiang Man,  the oldest temple in the city, it dates from the 13th century.
  • Then take Moon Muang Road
  • Walk the aisles of  the Warorot market. With its many fruit and vegetable stalls, it is the largest in the city.
  • Passage through the temples of  Wat Saen Fang, Wat Buppharam and Wat Mahawan. All 3 really beautiful and original. Only the Buppharam temple is paying: 20 Bahts.
  • End your day with the Night Bazaar  on weekdays or  the Saturday or Sunday Night Market on weekends. The opportunity to stock up on memories and try the excellent Thai street food. Guided tours of the market with tastings of delicious dishes are also organized.
Wat Chiang Man, in the old town of Chiang Mai

The next day, continuation of your stay in Thailand for a week, by visiting the surroundings of Chiang Mai.

I recommend you to go to Doi Suthep National Park . The park includes several cool places to see:

  • Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, a temple erected on top of a hill and which offers a spectacular view of the entire Chiang Mai region. Entrance at 30 Baht.
  • The Bhubing Palace (50 Bahts) which is the winter residence of the royal family. You can stroll through the well-appointed and very flowery gardens.
  • The Hmong Doi Pui Village (10 Bahts), here also with a landscaped garden in the middle of which flows a waterfall.
  • The Mon Tha Than Waterfall (100 Bahts): a large waterfall in the forest
  • The Huay Kaew Waterfall: another small waterfall located at the entrance to the park. Free access.

To visit the park , it is best to do so by car or scooter.

There are also song taew (collective taxis) that leave from the old town and take you from one point to another, but you will have to wait until they are full each time to leave.

The last option, very practical if you do not want to drive or be dependent on song taew, is to book an organized excursion. 

You will be picked up in front of your hotel and a 10-seater minibus will transport you to the temple and the Hmong village. You will also have the chance to benefit from the explanations of a guide.

Doi Suthep temple in Chiang Mai

In the afternoon, after having traveled through Doi Suthep National Park, you can go and relax a little at the edge of Huay Tung Tao Lake.

By car or scooter, it is 15 minutes from the city center . The place is very popular with locals who come to eat fresh fish in the small wooden huts installed at the edge of the water.

There are areas reserved for swimming and pedal boat rentals.

Also not to be missed is the area with straw sculptures of giant animals (gorillas, lions, elephants) where you can spend some time taking pictures.

Entrance to the lake is 50 Baht.

In the evening, if you haven’t already done this activity in Bangkok, you can watch a Muay Thai boxing match . There are 3 different locations where battles take place depending on the day of the week.

Ask your hotel, they will be able to tell you. A place for the evening with several fights costs between 400 and 600 Bahts.

Spend a second night in Chiang Mai.

Huay Tung Tao Lake

Today for the last day of your 1 week road trip in Thailand, I suggest you choose between 3 options according to your interests:

1) In the morning, learn about Thai cuisine by taking a cooking class . It is one of the most popular activities in the province.

The chef takes you to the market in the morning to buy all the ingredients needed to make the recipes and then you spend the morning cooking . Everything ends of course with the tasting of your dishes during lunch .

You will even leave with a recipe booklet to reproduce all this at home.

In the afternoon, you can take a digestive stroll through the city to see, for example , Wat Si Suphan, an all-silver temple, or visit a museum .

And why not finish with another Thai specialty: a good massage!

Discover the excellent Thai cuisine

2) As it would be a shame to go to Thailand for a week without going to see the country’s emblematic animals , you can also spend your third day in Chiang Mai in an elephant sanctuary.

These shelters collect mistreated animals in order to take care of them and recreate living conditions in a natural environment as much as possible.

Here there is no question of taking a ride on their backs , you can help the trainers by feeding the elephants and giving them a bath.

Go see the elephants in Chiang Mai

3) Last option for those who would like to fill up on thrills , you can test one or more sports activities. 

These are not the options that are missing towards Chiang Mai (click on the links to book):

  • Mountain biking in Doi Suthep National Park. From 1,650 Bahts for 4 hours of cycling.
  • Rafting . For a descent of about 10 km, count 3,000 Bahts per person.
  • From the quad . From 2,200 Bahts for 3 hours.
  • Kayaking . 1,750 Baht for 4 hours.
  • Buggy in the jungle. 1 hour for 2,000 Baht per person
  • A 2-hour Segway tour + ziplines at Flight of the Gibbon Park
  • A day at the Grand Canyon water park with slides, inflatable games in the water, zip line, paddle rental, kayak, boat
  • A hike in Doi Inthanon National Park
  • A hike in the middle of the jungle + visit to a mountain village

Whatever your choice for this day, then spend one last night in Chiang Mai.

The next day is the end of your 1 week vacation in Thailand, it will be time to take your return flight . Chiang Mai has an international airport, so you can either fly home directly or catch a connection in Bangkok.

For even more information on visiting Chiang Mai, read our article: Top 20 things to do in Chiang Mai.

Accommodation in Chiang Mai

The best hotels in Chiang Mai leave very quickly so remember to book as far in advance as possible!

  • HOSTEL by BED: Hostel located 500 meters from Wat Phra Sing and the Sunday market. Bed in modern and clean dormitory from 10€ per night, breakfast included. The pluses: the cleanliness of both the rooms and the common areas, the full and good breakfast, unlimited bottles of water. This is the best cheap accommodation to stay in Chiang Mai. Ideal for backpackers.
  • Wing Bed: Located in the Old City, 800 meters from Wat Chedi Luang. Comfortable and warm double room from €35 per night, breakfast included. Most: brand new establishment, the ideal location, the excellent welcome. It is our favorite for its price / performance ratio in Chiang Mai!
  • Pingviman Hotel: Located 10 minutes from the weekend market and 700 meters from Wat Phra Sing. Thai-style double room with carved wooden furniture, spa bath and balcony, from €80, breakfast included. Most: the swimming pool, the traditional decoration, the perfect geographical location, the comfort.
  • 99 The Heritage Hotel: Located in the pedestrian street of the Sunday evening market. Double room with neat decoration and very comfortable bedding from €135, breakfast included. Most: the swimming pool, the caring staff, the location, the free mini bar and the fruits and cakes available all day. This is our recommendation for an upscale stay in Chiang Mai!
  • Chala Number6: 5* hotel located 200 meters from Wat Chedi Luang, in the historic center. This luxury hotel offers spacious and very comfortable rooms from €190, breakfast included. Most: the swimming pool and the garden, the lovely staff, the charm of the hotel, the snack offered every day. This is our recommendation for a luxury stay!
Wat Chedi Luang in Chiang Mai

Are you going on a trip to Thailand? Read also

Discover all our articles about Thailand : all articles about Thailand are listed here.

Camille L.

Passionate about foreign languages, cooking and writing. I wish to share with you the places, the meetings and the gastronomic discoveries which gave relief to my travels.

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