The best 1 week-long itinerary in Thailand
Have you decided to go on a trip to Thailand?
To help you organize your stay, and discover some of the must-see places of interest in the country, I have prepared a one-week itinerary in Thailand.
For this tour, I suggest you focus on 3 great classics: Bangkok, the capital; Ayutthaya, the famous historic park; and Chiang Mai, in the North.
In addition to the things to do day by day, find our selection of the best accommodation for each stage and all our advice to visit Thailand in 1 week.
So what to do and see in Thailand in a week?
1st stage: Bangkok (2 days)
For your week-long trip to Thailand, I suggest that you land directly in Bangkok, the country’s capital.
There are 2 ways to reach downtown Bangkok from Suvarnabhumi International Airport, located further east:
1) Take the Airport Rail Link, the train that connects the airport to the city. It’s the quickest and cheapest solution.
The train is located in the basement of the airport. You can buy your ticket 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 because it is necessary to insert it in the ticket barriers at the end of the journey to be able to exit.
The price of the trip is calculated based on the distance traveled. Remember to look for your hotel address to find out which station you should get off at. From the airport to the terminus (Phaya Thai station), count only 45 Bahts! (less than $1.50)
There are departures every 15 minutes from 6 a.m. 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 (overground) and the MRT (underground), which is very convenient to quickly get access to the majority of hotels.
If your accommodation in Bangkok is not near a means of public transport, then you will need to finish the journey by taxi. Do not accept a fixed rate, always ask the driver to switch on the meter (“taximeter”).
Taking the Airport Rail Link is really the best way to avoid traffic jams and get to the city center quickly.
2) Take a taxi.
They are located on level 1 of the airport. You will first need to take a ticket from an ATM machine to make your reservation. They will then tell you where to wait for your taxi.
Before leaving, ask the driver to turn on the meter. Do not accept a fixed rate, which will always be higher than with the meter. Please note that if the driver takes the motorway, the toll costs will be your responsibility.
For a trip to the city center, count between 250 and 450 Bahts depending on where you are going and on the traffic. During rush hour in some parts of Bangkok, you may be stuck for several minutes and the cost of the ride may increase.
I advise you to ask your hotel to provide you with access directions in Thai for your driver. Some do not speak English and with the hundreds of hotels in Bangkok, it is difficult to navigate even for them.
After these practical considerations and a good night’s sleep, you are now ready to begin your week-long tour of Thailand with a visit to Bangkok.
Direction to the emblematic site of the city: the Grand Palace (or Royal Palace). If your hotel is nearby, no problem walking there. Otherwise, you will need to take a taxi as there is no metro nearby.
The Grand Palace has long served as a residence for Thai sovereigns and brings together hundreds of buildings, pavilions, and palaces. During your visit, be sure to admire the royal chapel of the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. The statue there is revered by the majority of the population.
You can also discover the Chakri Mahat Prasat palace, one of the most imposing buildings in the capital, the residence of King Rama V.
The Grand Palace is open every day. The entrance ticket is 500 Bahts per person.
After visiting the Grand Palace, continue exploring Bangkok through the other must-see tourist attraction, Wat Pho (entrance at 200 Bahts). You can walk there, there is only a 5-10 minutes walk between the two.
Wat Pho is home to the city’s largest reclining Buddha statue. It is 45 meters long and 15 meters 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 the river from Wat Pho, you have to take a river shuttle to cross (4 Bahts). It stops directly outside the entrance (50 Bahts).
At Wat Arun, you can admire the tower, 82 meters high and 4 smaller, entirely covered with mosaics.
You should know that Wat Arun as well as for the Grand Palace, Wat Pho or Wat Arun, there are no explanations on the sites. So, if you want to know everything about the history and construction of these emblematic monuments, I recommend that you book a guided tour.
Then take the shuttle in reverse.
For the continuation of this first day in Bangkok, I leave you the choice between 2 museum visits, each as interesting as the other, to immerse yourself in Thai culture:
- The Siam Museum: A really fun museum with games and videos on the history of Thailand. Ticket at 300 Bahts.
- The National Museum in 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 South East Asia. Entrance ticket at 200 Bahts.
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. There you will find jewelry 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.
Stay Overnight In Bangkok.
For the second day of your 1 week stay in Thailand, we continue our visit in Bangkok.
Direction to the temple of the golden mountain (Wat Saket), where you will enjoy the panoramic terrace. From there, you will have a 360 ° view of Bangkok.
Count 50 Bahts for entry.
Wat Saket is not far from Chinatown, it is the ideal opportunity to then discover the Chinese part of the city and stroll through the lively and colorful alleys.
Be sure to visit the most famous temple in the area, that of Wat Traimit, which houses a 5.5-ton Buddha statue made of gold. Entrance ticket at 40 Bahts.
After all this animation, I suggest you go and enjoy a more green and peaceful setting in the largest park in the city, Lumphini Park. The easiest way to get there from Chinatown is to take the underground from Hua Lamphong station to Lumphini.
In the park, there are landscaped trails, playgrounds for children and a lake on which you can paddle. You will surely have the opportunity to meet the locals: Malaysian monitor lizards, which strongly resemble the 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!
There is absolutely everything there: electronics, clothes, souvenirs, jewelry. 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 stands where the hardest part is deciding what to eat.
To conclude your stay in Bangkok, in the evening, I offer 2 completely different activities:
- If you want to spend a romantic moment and celebrate the start of your week-long road trip to Thailand, have a drink in one of the city’s rooftops or climb to Bayoke Tower, the tallest skyscraper . 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 more interesting atmosphere, then go and watch a Muay Thai boxing fight, the national sport of Thailand.
Spend another night in Bangkok.
Travel TipsTo visit the temples of 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/pants, you can rent them at the entrance or buy them anywhere for 100 Bahts. This is 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: Youth hostel located near the temples and 5 minutes from Khao San Road. Bed in the dormitory from $20. More: the location to visit the temples is nearby, cleanliness, modern decor. Ideal for small budgets!
- Rambuttri Village Plaza: Located 1.5 km from the Grand Palace and 300m from Khao San Road. Pleasant and bright double room from $30 per night, breakfast included. More: the location, the rooftop pools.
- Baan Wanglang Riverside, Bangkok: Hotel located on the bank opposite the Grand Palace, 5 minutes by shuttle. Spacious double room with a view of the river from $50. More: 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. More: the setting, the comfort of the beds, the very helpful staff, the swimming pool. This is our favorite.
- Inn a day: Located 600 meters from the Grand Palace. Room with original and atypical decoration, in the industrial style, from $100, breakfast included. More: the magnificent view of the river and Wat Arun, the excellent breakfast, the design.
- Chakrabongse Villas: Located on the banks of the river, just a 15-minute walk from Wat Pho. Room and suite with oriental but modern decoration, from $170, breakfast included. More: the breathtaking view of Wat Arun, the excellent location, the swimming pool. This is our recommendation for a romantic stay in Bangkok!
The best hotels in Bangkok, quiet and close to the underground 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. More: the swimming pool, the calm, the geographical location. This is our favorite because of the cost! 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 comfortable beds from $50 per night, breakfast included. More: calm, comfort, provision of food (noodle, yogurt, cereals), water, fruit juice 24/24, super convenient to go to the airport.
- Anajak Bangkok Hotel: Located 5 minutes from the subway and the Airport Rail Link. Cozy and very comfortable double room from $75 per night, breakfast included. More: the quiet location, the 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 from a few steps of the underground. Spacious room with large picture window with a view of the buildings from $115, breakfast included. More: the setting of the hotel, the pool, the excellent breakfast, 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 the Siam Paragon shopping center and the BTS. Elegant and contemporary room from $230, breakfast included. More: 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!
2nd stage: Ayutthaya (1 day)
For the second stage of this 1-week Thailand itinerary, leave Bangkok to go to Ayutthaya, 75 km away.
There are several ways to get to Ayutthaya from Bangkok:
1) By car: you can completely visit Thailand in 1 week by having a rented car. It is the best solution to be able to see different parts of the country.
Ayutthaya is located North of Bangkok, the best is to rent your car at Don Muang Airport (not to be confused with that of Suvarnabhumi), which is right on the way. It will then take you 45 minutes to get to Ayutthaya.
I recommend that you compare prices on Rentalcars.com. The site is really handy for finding all the rates for rental companies at the airport.
2) By train: the cheapest solution with a train ticket at only 15 Bahts for 2 hours of journey.
3) By bus: 1h30 to 50 Bahts
4) By minivan: 1 hour at 70 Bahts.
Once in Ayutthaya, you can then spend the day exploring the historic park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The place is vast and shelters several ancient temples spread over different areas. If you don’t have a car, it’s best to rent a bike to ride it. Impossible to do everything on foot. Count 50 Bahts for the day.
If the bike does not tempt you, you can also rent a scooter (200 Bahts) or book 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).
Entrance to the temples is not free: 50 Bahts for the main ones, 20 Bahts or free for the lesser-known or more remote. To save some money, I advise you to take the 6 temples pass for 220 Bahts.
It allows you to visit:
- Wat Mahathat
- Wat Ratchaburana
- Wat Phra Si Sanphet
- Wat Phra Ram
- Wat Maheyong
- Wat Chai Watthanaram
For those who don’t want to bother with organizing things, you have one last option to visit Ayutthaya: book an organized day trip from Bangkok.
Everything is planned:
- Bus transportation from your Bangkok hotel to the historic park
- A guide to accompany you on temple visits
- Entrance fees to temples
- Return by boat with a cruise on the river
At the end of the day, you have the choice of returning to Bangkok, staying overnight in Ayutthaya or leaving directly for Chiang Mai. I will explain the different scenarios in the third step.
Accommodation in Ayutthaya
- Early Bird Hostel Ayutthaya: Hostel located 700 meters from Wat Mahathat. Bed in the dormitory from $7, breakfast included. More: 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. More: the calm, the decor, the private parking. An excellent choice for a cheap in Ayutthaya!
- P.U. Inn Resort: Located 5 minutes from the bus station and 10 minutes from Mahathat Temple. Comfortable and colorful double room from $45. More: the pool, the central location, the 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. More: the swimming pool, the exteriors, the food, the setting, the calm.
- Classic Kameo Hotel & Serviced Apartments, Ayutthaya: Located a 5-minute drive from Yai Chai Mongkon Temple. Double room with kitchenette and lounge area, modern and spacious, from $75, breakfast included. More: equipment, comfort, swimming pool, Spa.
- Sala Ayutthaya: Located 1.6 km from the historic park and Wat Chai Watthanaram. Modern double room with exposed red bricks from $140, breakfast included. More: the pool, the view of the river and the temples, the quality of the food, the design of the hotel. This is our recommendation for a luxury stay in Ayutthaya!
3rd stage: Chiang Mai (3 days)
For the continuation of your 1 week-long trip to Thailand, I will now take you to discover the capital of the North of the country: Chiang Mai.
I told you above, at the end of your day in Ayutthaya, several options are possible for the continuation of your vacation, join Chiang Mai, which is still 600 km away.
1) You can choose to fly. You have to go back to Bangkok, Ayutthaya has no airport.
If you opted for the planned excursion, as the return is already planned for Bangkok, it can be really convenient. And if you visited Ayutthaya on your own, just take the train/bus/minivan in reverse to return to Bangkok.
The plane is the fastest way (only 1-hour flight!) To go to Chiang Mai and honestly the prices are really reasonable.
2) Take an overnight train to Ayutthaya to go to Chiang Mai.
It is the cheapest but slowest solution with a 12-hour journey.
3) Stay overnight in Ayutthaya and take the train the next day. It is a little bit faster than the one at night but you will travel on classic benches.
4) Stay overnight in Ayutthaya and then drive to Chiang Mai if you have rented a car for this week-long tour in Thailand. The journey takes 8 hours.
Once arrived in Chiang Mai, here is how I advise you to visit the city and the surroundings.
On the first day, set off to explore the old town. There are all the main temples to visit, museums and lots of bars and restaurants.
To optimize your trip to the city, I have prepared an itinerary for you:
- Visit Wat Phra Singh, the most famous temple in Chiang Mai. Free admission.
- Discover Wat Chedi Luang where the Emerald Buddha used to be, which you could see during your visit to the Grand Palace in Bangkok. Entrance at 40 baht.
- Photo stop at Wat Inthakhin Sadue Muang, a teak temple. Free.
- Passage through the Three Kings Monument
- 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 alleys of the Warorot market. With its many fruit and vegetable stalls, it is the largest in the city.
- Pass by the temples of Wat Saen Fang, Wat Buppharam and Wat Mahawan. All 3 really beautiful and original. Only the Buppharam temple charges a fee: 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 souvenirs and test the excellent Thai street food.
Stay Overnight In Chiang Mai.
The next day, continue your week-long stay in Thailand with a visit to the surroundings of Chiang Mai.
I recommend you go to Doi Suthep National Park. The park includes several cool places to see:
- Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, a hilltop temple with spectacular views of the entire Chiang Mai region. Entrance at 30 Bahts.
- 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 it by car or scooter.
There are also song taew (collective taxi) that leave from the old town and take you from one point to the other, but you will have to wait each time until they are full to leave.
The last option, handy if you don’t want to drive or be dependent on song taew, is to book an planned excursion.
We will pick you up at your hotel and a minibus with only 10 seats will transport you to the temple and to the Hmong village. You will also have the chance to benefit from a tour guide.
In the afternoon, after touring Doi Suthep National Park, you can go and relax a bit by the lake Huay Tung Tao.
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 small wooden huts installed at the water’s edge.
There are spaces reserved for swimming and pedal boat rentals.
Also not to be missed, the area with straw sculptures of giant animals (gorillas, lion, elephants) where you can spend some time taking photos.
The entrance to the lake is 50 Bahts.
In the evening, if you have not already done this activity in Bangkok, you can attend a Muay Thai boxing fight. There are 3 different places where fights take place depending on the day of the week.
Ask your hotel, they will tell you. A place for the evening with several fights costs between 400 and 600 Bahts.
Today for the last day of your 1-week road trip in Thailand, I suggest you choose between 3 options depending on your interests:
1) In the morning, introduce yourself to Thai gastronomy by taking a cooking class. It’s 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 rest of the morning cooking. Everything ends of course with the tasting of your dishes during lunch.
You will even leave with a recipe booklet to try all this at home.
In the afternoon, you can take a digestive stroll through the city to see for example Wat Si Suphan, a temple all in silver, or visit a museum.
And why not finish with another Thai specialty: a good massage!
2) As it would be a shame to go to Thailand a week without going to see the emblematic animals of the country, the elephant 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 no question of going for a ride on their backs, you can help the caretakers by feeding the elephants and making them take the bath.
The shrines welcome a limited number of visitors each day, so it is strongly advised to book this day in advance:
3) The last option for those who want to get their feel of thrills, you can test one or more sports activities.
There is no shortage of options to Chiang Mai:
- From a zipline in the middle of the jungle to Flight of the Gibbon park.
- Mountain biking in Doi Suthep National Park. From 1,650 Bahts for 4 hours of cycling.
- Rafting. A descent of about 10 km, count 3,000 Bahts per person.
- Quad biking. From 2,200 Bahts for 3 hours.
- Kayaking. 1,750 Bahts for 4 hours.
Whatever you choose for this day, spend the last night in Chiang Mai.
The next day is the end of your 1-week vacation in Thailand, it’s time to take your return flight. Chiang Mai has an international airport, so you can either go straight home or connect to Bangkok.
Accommodation in Chiang Mai
The best hotels in Chiang Mai are booked very quickly so remember to book as early as possible!
- HOSTEL by BED: Youth hostel located 500 meters from Wat Phra Sing and the Sunday market. Modern and clean dormitory bed from $10 per night, breakfast included. More: the cleanliness of both the rooms and the common areas, the full and good breakfast, unlimited bottled water. It is the best cheap accommodation to stay in Chiang Mai. Ideal for backpackers.
- Wing Bed: Located in the old town, 800 meters from Wat Chedi Luang. Comfortable and warm double room from $35 per night, breakfast included. More: brand new establishment, ideal location, excellent hospitality. This is our favorite for its value for money 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. More: the swimming pool, the traditional decoration, the perfect geographical location, the comfort.
- 99 The Heritage Hotel: Located on the pedestrian street of the Sunday evening market. Double room with neat decoration and very comfortable bedding from $135, breakfast included. More: the swimming pool, the attentive staff, the location, the free mini-bar and the fruit and cakes available throughout the 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. More: the pool and the garden, the lovely staff, the charm of the hotel, the afternoon tea offered every day. This is our recommendation for a luxury stay!
One week tour in Thailand
Now that you have an idea of the things to do and see in Thailand in 1 week. prepare you for an unforgettable stay.
What about you, which places in Thailand would you like to visit?