The Ultimate 3 Week Thailand Itinerary

Thailand is a hot destination for good reason. Dramatic landscapes, mouth watering food, rich culture and all for very reasonable prices. There was a lot of build up for this trip so a lot of time was spent perfecting a Thailand Itinerary. I believe we came up with a near perfect one but with some suggestions to help you have your dream Thai holiday.

Day 1

Miss your flight from Beijing to Chiang Mai and spend the night in China.

Official Day 1 – 5

Chiang Mai

Accommodation – Varada Place
Cost – 25$/night for 2 people

A highly recommended city, Chiang Mai, was our entrance and exit point to Thailand. Although I did like it, it was one of 2 places I wish I cut short to spend more time in Bali. Some of the best food I ate was in this beloved city and I’d go back just to eat at Taste of Heaven.

A mini break down of our time in Chiang Mai looked like this –

Official Day 1 – Arrive at our guesthouse at about 3:30pm. Explore our neighbourhood. Get a painful massage  (read this post I wrote about things I wish I knew before going to Thailand). Fall asleep at 7:30pm due to jet lag.

Day 2 – Go to Elephant Nature Park. Read this post I wrote about my disaster getting to Elephant Nature Park. Explore the city centre. Give the massages another go.

Day 3 – Attend a Thai cooking class! We decided to go with Thai Orchid Cooking and highly recommend it! It’s run by a husband-wife duo, Kong and A respectively. When I went, A was the lead chef/ instructor but now it sounds like Kong is taking the reins. The class takes place in their home in which they have modified to include an outdoor cooking station. The day starts by pick up (!!) from your accommodation. After a quick stop at their place, they take you to a nearby market. Here A picked up fresh ingredients while simultaneously teaching us about them. A was comical, knowledgeable and open to answer any question you had! The best mango sticky rice we had in Thailand was during this class. Although the course was pricey (around 50$ CDN each in early 2017), I cannot recommend it enough.

Day 4 – Explore some temples within the city. Explore the city centre more. Have dinner with a friend who lives in Chiang Mai. Attend the Anusarn market. Go to a lady-boy show! Disclaimer – Lady-boy is not considered a derogatory term in Thailand. We went to Chiang Mai Cabaret Show and it was a highlight of the trip! I’d recommend going early to get a good seat. When we first arrived I was questioning if anyone else was going to show up but by the time the show started it was packed. The entertainers were very talented and beautiful. My favourite was ‘Rhianna’ ;). Many trip advisor reviews speak about how patrons are harassed for tips/ not tipping but we didn’t experience that.

Day 5 – 6

Bangkok for the day.

Before we got to Thailand, my sister and I decided we would go to Bangkok towards the end of our trip but we didn’t book any accommodations, tours or experiences. And we are SO thankful we didn’t book. We flew to Bangkok from Chiang Mai to catch the overnight bus to the ferry port to get to Koh Phangan. In the few hours we spent exploring, we determined we did not like Bangkok. It was loud, crowded and polluted. In the cities defence, I have heard amazing things about Bangkok. I would be open to going back if I went to Thailand with someone who was dead set on visiting.

Day 6 – 9

Koh Phangan

Accommodation – Bigboss Hostel
Cost – 30$/night for 2 people

We went for the infamous Full Moon Party which you can read my post about important things to know before going here. Our time on Koh Phangan was the only time on the entire trip we encountered all day gloomy/ rainy weather. We did make it out to the beach twice but didn’t get much of a tan. To be honest, my favourite part of the island was eating at Nira’s Home Bakery. In just 3 days, we ate there 5 times. I’m glad I experienced the island and the party but if I’m ever in Thailand again, I’ll head to Koh Tao and Koh Samui.

Day 9 – 14

Railay Beach/ Tonsai Beach

Accommodation – Mountain View Resort
Cost – 33$/ night for 2 people

Ahh Railay Beach. One of my bucket list goals is finding the most beautiful beach on Earth and so far, Railay Beach takes the cake. We stayed on neighbouring land, Tonsai Beach. If you wake up early enough the tides are still low and you can walk over to Railay Beach. Mid to late morning is a different story. You have to pay a Long Tail driver to take you over. Inserting this post again to provide more information on Longtails. Around 6:30pm, the tides reside again and you can walk back to Tonsai if you choose to stay there. Accommodations are more affordable but like most things in Thailand, Railay Beach accommodations won’t break the bank.

If you read my above inserted link, you should know Tonsai is one of the areas that does not have electricity between 6:00am – 6:00pm. Which is fine because you didn’t go to this breathtaking destination to stay indoors during prime vitamin D hours. The majority of our time was spent relaxing. Other than its unique landscapes and turquoise water, Railay Beach is well known for its rock climbing. It was cool to watch the climbers a hundred feet up but I stayed on land as I like being alive.

Five days may seem like a lot for such a small area but we arrived past dark on day 9. In addition, it was the first time on the trip that was a truly relaxing experience.

Day 14 – 18

Koh Phi Phi

Accommodation – Coco’s Guest House & Tropical Garden Bungalow
Cost – 37$/ night for 2 people & 40$/night for 2 people

I was genuinely upset when we were leaving Railay beach as I thought I wouldn’t enjoy another beach quite as much. And then we got to Koh Phi Phi. The ferry ride was 2 hours and actually quite enjoyable due to the scenic ride.

A mini break down of our time on Koh Phi Phi looked like this –

Day 14 – Arrive on Koh Phi Phi. Check into our guesthouse. Sit down at a restaurant and eat non Thai food because I was craving pasta. Go to the beach, Loh Dalum Bay. Go home and relax. Explore the little city at night and indulge in bucket drinks (beach pales essentially filled with 50% hard alcohol, 50% mix).

Day 15 – All day beach day!  Have a late lunch before going home to relax a little bit. Climb to the Koh Phi Phi view point for sunset. Shower and get ready for another evening out. Get a quick snack and more bucket drinks for the beach. Enjoy a fire show.

Day 16 – Wake up in the wee hours of the morning with food poisoning. Check out of guesthouse and into another one right next door. Stay in bed in excruciating pain all day.

Day 17 – Feel significantly better and go on the Maya Bay/ Island hopping boat tour you scheduled 2 days prior. Marvel at the fact you’re standing on a beach Leo stood on. Have your second top highlight of the trip – snorkel in the Maya Bay waters! This was my first time snorkelling and as someone who hates swimming with fish, I absolutely loved it. It made me realize that I would love to get certified in diving. The boat tour was a half day so we spent the rest of the afternoon making up for lost beach time.

Day 18 – Check out of our guesthouse and take the ferry back to mainland.

Day 18 – 20

Krabi Town

Accommodation – Holiday Station
Cost – 20$/ night for 2 people

The only thing we wanted to do on mainland Krabi was climb the Tiger Cave Temple. It’s a crazy 1,237 step climb to a viewpoint. Important to know is that the steps are very steep, most feeling like 2 steps in one. My sister thought the view was worth the climb and the stop in Krabi. Whereas I am indifferent and not sure I would recommend this unless you have unlimited time in Thailand. This is the other part of our trip I would have cut short/ completely to spend more time in Bali.

Day 20

Bali, Indonesia

Catch an early morning flight from Krabi to Bangkok to connect with your flight to Bali.
Read my post about a first timers guide to Ubuds Sacred Monkey Forest.

I have already spoken about what I would do differently to gain more time in Bali. However, if you’re only sticking to Thailand I have some modifications for your Thailand itinerary. With only 3 weeks, I’d suggest cutting out Krabi completely, and spend those 3 days and 2 nights in either Koh Toa or Koh Samui. If you’re keen on visiting those 3 islands (Koh Phangan, Koh Samui and Koh Tao) I would suggest cutting a day from Chiang Mai but try to stay efficient with your time to ensure you still see the city and try as many dishes and restaurants as possible. You could also cut an extra day from your time in Koh Phi Phi (although we needed it because of the sick day). In total, that’s 9 days to island hop.

I went to Thailand in February 2017 and after googling around, many accommodations have gone up in price. I’m happy to report that they are all still quite affordable. We typically stuck to the low to mid range prices however you can go much cheaper or more luxurious if you want. My sister and I did not want to stay in shared dorms so essentially all of Thailand was in guesthouses and then we splurged a little in Bali.

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