Solo Travel

Thailand Trip Planner: A 10-Day Itinerary Recap

By
Katie Liguori
on
May 15, 2024

When it came to traveling, I was a rookie. My wanderlust had been confined to scrolling through Instagram, drooling over pictures of exotic destinations that I thought were too expensive for me. That changed when my roommate, a seasoned explorer with a knack for finding hidden travel gems, introduced me to Under30Experiences.

I first discovered Under30Experiences when my roommate returned from a trip to Greece in June 2023. However, it wasn't until I joined her in Santorini at the end of her Greek journey that I really understood the magic of this travel company. U30X welcomed me for a wine-tasting experience and a truly delicious Greek family-style meal. At that moment, as I enjoyed the feta cheese and the sound of glasses clinking, I knew I wanted to travel with this company, too. All I needed to do was choose where to go next. That's when I picked Thailand.

Thailand has always been a place I dreamed of going to, but I never imagined it would happen. It was a surreal experience and one that deserves to be shared.
I learned a lot during my Thailand vacation with U30X, and I’m excited to share what you can expect. You’ll find out how the U30X itinerary compares to the actual trip. Spoiler: it's awesome!

10 Days in Thailand: My Travel Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Thailand

thailand-bangkok-hotel-view

We arrived in Bangkok a day early and booked the same hotel as our group. The hotel staff was very welcoming, and we could even stay in the same room once the rest of the group arrived.

The hotel was beautiful and had an incredible river view, making every breakfast even more special.

During some free time, before meeting up with the group, we explored the Wang Lang Market for HOURS. There was so much to see, taste, and smell. We enjoyed our leisurely stroll, but eventually, jet lag caught up with us, and we got our first (of many) Thai massages. The service, quality, and price brought us back again the next day…and the next.

Thai Travel Tip on Tipping: Tipping isn’t required, but I encourage it. The wonderful woman who gave me a massage teared up when we tipped her. They did an excellent job and deserved it. Even though tipping isn’t necessarily customary in Thailand, it’s always appreciated.

Once we met up with our group, our guide, “M” took us all around the Wang Lang market and bought various things for us to try as a group. The pineapple was genuinely the best fruit I’ve ever tasted in my life, and we bought it almost every day after that! If you see something you want to try, just ask your guide. It was a cool way to get to know each other and break the ice while trying new and often interesting foods. 

After enjoying delicious street food, we had some free time before dinner. We spent it having a couple of beers with some new friends and then had a fantastic family-style dinner as a group! These dinners quickly became one of my favorite parts of the trip! 

Notes:

  • Having our same room after arriving early wasn’t a guarantee, but they were able to make it happen for us!
  • The hotel provides bottled water because you can't drink from the tap.
  • The hotel we stayed in had AC in the rooms but not in the common areas.

Day 2: Grand Palace & Tour of Bangkok

thailand-grand-palace

Day 2 was a whirlwind of exploration! The main focus was undoubtedly seeing the famous Grand Palace, followed by a visit to Wat Pho and its Reclining Buddha. These ancient temples were honestly breathtaking. Obviously, so much time and history exist in these places, and it was indeed something special to behold and witness.

One of the things I remember most about this day, in particular, is the intense heat. Despite drinking water nonstop, the Bangkok heat still hit me hard. In early February, it was around 38 degrees Celsius, just under 100 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Thai Travel Tip on Temple Clothing: Your knees and shoulders must be covered to enter the temples. You don't need to wear a long-sleeved cover-up like I did; a simple shirt with ¼ sleeves will do just fine. If you can get away with wearing a long skirt, DO IT. Otherwise, I highly recommend some flowy pants you can buy at any local market. I mean, did you really go to Thailand if you didn’t buy flowy elephant pants? Also, to enter the temples, you have to take your shoes off, so maybe leave the holey socks at home that day. 

thailand-canal-tour

After lunch at a local restaurant, we wandered the flower market. Later, as a group, we all decided to go on the canal tour. The tour cost about 350 baht per person (9.53 USD) and was such a cool experience. We fed fish, spotted giant lizards, and saw parts of Bangkok that we wouldn’t have otherwise seen. Plus, the breeze during the tour was also a welcome relief from the heat. Overall, it was a fantastic experience—definitely a 10/10!

thailand-bangkok-night-life

After the canal tour, we had a few hours to spare before dinner, so some of us opted for a massage. For dinner, we took a boat to a restaurant where we tried many different types of curry. Afterward, we visited the more touristy area of Bangkok known as Khaosan Road. Here, our wonderful guide let us explore on our own.

The vibrant nightlife in Bangkok was a spectacle. We walked through busy streets, avoiding vendors selling scorpions on sticks as snacks. Finally, we found some nice places to have drinks and get to know each other.

After negotiating for an affordable ride back to the hotel, we got a ride in a TukTuk and then promptly tucked ourselves into bed.

Notes:

  • If you need a ride, Thailand's version of Uber is called Grab. It's not recommended that you take a taxi because they will likely overcharge you.
  • Negotiating prices is a standard practice. We did have a hard time getting those TukTuk drivers to lower their prices, so we ended up paying 100 Baht each, which M later told us was way too much.

Day 3: Ayutthaya

thailand-ancient-ruins

On the third day, we had breakfast at the hotel. After that, we packed our things into a car. We were heading to Ayutthaya, the old capital of the Kingdom of Siam.

We spent the day riding bikes through the historic city, joking that the day‘s heat was like relaxing in a sauna. The sight of the temples was so striking that I’ll remember them forever—they're even the background on my phone now. To be surrounded by that ancient architecture and history was wildly humbling.

thailand-night-market

After visiting the temples, I had the best noodles I’ve ever eaten. Even on a hot day, the boat noodles were something I wish I could experience again for the first time. I dream about those noddles.

After we ate, we could choose to visit another temple or relax at a bunkhouse that U30X had reserved for us. My roommate and I were tired from visiting temples.

We decided to take a shower. Then, we got another Thai massage while we waited for the rest of the group. After that, we gathered our suitcases back into the vans and headed to a night market, where M gave us each 250 Baht to buy dinner.

The night market had so much food to choose from. After filling our bellies, we all hopped on the night train for a quick 11-hour journey to Chiang Mai.

Thai Travel Train Tip: You will have time to go to 7-Eleven before you board the train. It’s a good idea to stock up on snacks and water. Use that time to grab some fun snacks for the journey. Being on a train for 11 hours is quite a stretch, and eating vanilla cake in your bunk on a speeding train in the middle of the jungle is just something you have to experience for yourself, ya know?

Notes:

  • The train has two restrooms and one of them doesn’t have a toilet. In our group, we didn’t realize there was a stall with a toilet and ended up “holding it” for almost the entire journey
  • The sleeping arrangements on the train are bunks. The bottom bunk has a window, and the top one doesn’t. 

Day 4: Chiang Mai Exploration

thailand-khoasoi

As soon as we got to Chiang Mai, we B-lined for breakfast. We went to a Michelin-starred restaurant known for its fantastic Khao Soi, a coconut curry that Northern Thailand is infamous for.

Remember when I said the boat noodles were the best I’d ever had? Well, I take that back. Khao Soi is now at the top of my list.

After breakfast, we had the option to take a Muay Thai class or have free time. My roommate and I decided to explore.

We were lucky to be in Chiang Mai on the final day of the 2024 Flower Festival. We walked around, sipped some coffee, and couldn’t resist buying something from nearly every vendor we passed. Honorable mention to the best chocolate-covered strawberries I've ever tasted.

That evening, we visited the majestic temple of Doi Suthep, where we learned which Bhudda posture represented each of us. We also received a blessing from a Monk and spent the rest of the evening exploring the Sunday Night Market—my favorite of all the night markets we visited. It stretched for blocks, bustling with energy, and we didn't even manage to see it all. So, it was a usual, yet extraordinary, Sunday in Chiang Mai.

thailand-doi-suthep

Notes:

  • The weather in Chiang Mai was a pleasant surprise; it was much cooler and less humid compared to Bangkok.
  • If you need laundry done, the hotel in Chiang Mai offers a wash-and-fold service. It’s quite affordable. Our laundry cost ~200 Baht, which is roughly $8.

Day 5: Thai Waterfalls

thailand-sticky-falls

Our Thailand vacation continued with a day at Sticky Falls! After our customary stop at 7-Eleven for coffee and snacks, we drove about an hour to reach our destination.

Once there, we slathered on sunscreen and spent the next few hours exploring and actually climbing the falls. Yes, you literally climb directly up the cascading waters!

While there are stairs that get you to the bottom of the falls, the way back requires carefully scaling the rocks. For those of you who are worried, the falls have a rope that helps you every step of the way.

After the falls, M set up a picnic for us, where we shared different Thai dishes and dried off in the shade. After that, we made our way back to Chiang Mai to get ready for the night's festivities: a Thai cooking class.

The class was one of the highlights of the trip for me. We each got to pick three different dishes to make, and our instructor was absolutely incredible.

thailand-cooking-class

We ended the evening by strolling through a huge night market and buying way too many souvenirs. Overall, it was another amazing day!

Day 6: Elephant Sanctuary

thailand-elephant-sanctuary

Day 6 was the day we most looked forward to because it was reserved for visiting the elephant sanctuary. The entire experience turned out to be more wonderful than I really expected, and it was truly one of the best days of my life. After stocking up on more snacks from 7-Eleven, we arrived at the sanctuary, and three elephants immediately greeted us. After we got our photos (and tears) out, we all changed into matching indigo uniforms and set off to learn about how to feed and care for these incredible creatures!

We spent hours learning about them, walking them, feeding them, and making unforgettable memories.

That evening, we enjoyed another fantastic group meal. Afterward, some went out to sing karaoke while the rest of us put ourselves to bed. There is only so much work caffeine can handle.

Day 7: Krabi

thailand-krabi-main

The following morning, we flew to Krabi to start the final chapter of our Thailand vacation.

We took a two-hour flight from Chiang Mai to Krabi, which was incredibly smooth. M had all our boarding passes, and we made it through security relatively unscathed.

Once we touched down in Krabi, we drove to the coast and hopped on a boat to where we would stay for the next three days. Our hotel was incredible. M took us around the island to familiarize us with our surroundings before letting us run wild and free for the rest of the day. We managed to catch the sunset on Railay Beach and found our own way for dinner.

thailand-krabi-sunset

Thai Travel Tip: The nightlife in Krabi is nearly non-existent, at least while we were there. This surprised us, considering how many beach bars there are. However, everything got very quiet after the sunset. This is just something to keep in mind if nightlife is important for your travel.

Note:

  • For the flight to Krabi, the boarding groups are all over the place and you have to take a bus from the terminal to the plane. If you're traveling with someone, there is no guarantee that you will be next to each other on the flight.
  • Krabi is hotter than Bangkok, and Chiang Mai weather is a thing of the past. Prepare to sweat. I brought a portable fan with me, and it was so helpful in managing the heat.
  • Monkeys are common in Krabi and usually come out around dusk for about 1-2 hours. Your guide will warn you ahead of time, but it is truly a shock when you encounter one. Don't feed them, and don't interact with them.
  • Krabi prices were slightly higher than we had experienced in Bangkok and Chiang Mai, but not by much. 
  • When you arrive in Krabi, be prepared to drag your luggage down the bumpy dock and down some dirt paths to your hotel. We were collectively sweating as if it was our job, so you should dress accordingly. 

Day 8: Island Tour

thailand-island-hopping

Day 8: This was another day most of us had been waiting for—island hopping on beautiful beaches. We boarded our boat with our pre-purchased adult beverages, sang Queen, and sailed to our first island. We spent all day snorkeling, applying sunscreen, and pinching ourselves to make sure it was all real.

After lunch on the beach, the intense sun made us head back to the hotel earlier. We were all ready for a refreshing shower and some shade.

Thai Travel Tip: Watch out for jellyfish in the ocean, even tiny ones. One of our group members experienced a painful sting on the last day of our trip. Thankfully, our guide and the hotel staff were really responsive and provided excellent care for her, but it's definitely something to be aware of if you plan to swim.

Also, this is the only place where you can expect some flexibility in your itinerary. For those of us who wanted to rock climb the next day, we did not get fitted for climbing gear the evening prior like the itinerary states. We got fitted the morning we would be climbing. Also, the fire show was rescheduled to our last night of the trip.

Notes:

  • We all brought our own alcohol for the day, and the boat had a fully iced cooler to store it.
  • We could safely leave our belongings on the boat while exploring the islands.

Day 9: Rock Climbing and Cave Exploration on Railay Beach

thailand-rock-climbing

This day was the most divided we ever got as a group regarding daytime activities. A few of us woke up early and headed to Railay to climb the limestone crags that face the ocean. After getting our gear, our guides gave us some tips and sent us up the rock face. As someone who has climbed on and off for many years, I found rock climbing to be somewhere between easy and intermediate.

After climbing, we entered caves to see the beach and water. We could also rappel down from the caves. A sweaty, dirty, adrenaline-filled morning was one of the highlights of my trip!

thailand-climbing-caves

After that, we spent the rest of the day relaxing before our final group meal. This meal was a special time for everyone to reflect on the trip and share their favorite moments. It was truly an incredible trip.

Notes:

  • If you choose not to climb, you will have the entire day to yourself before the final group meal.
  • For those unsure about climbing, my best recommendation is to just try it. Everyone was so encouraging and supportive. Plus, it's included in your trip, so why not at least give it a go?

Day 10: Relaxation & Departure

thailand-goodbye

On our final morning, some of us had to catch extremely early flights. M ensured that they took care of all transportation arrangements. She even came with us to the pier to wait for the boat. We managed to catch the final sunrise of our trip, which felt like Thailand was saying goodbye.

Looking to extend your trip in Bangkok? Check out our tips!

My 5 Thailand Travel Tips

thailand-tips

1. Thai Baht Money Exchange:

As a newbie traveler, I always worry about money exchange when traveling. Before leaving for Thailand, my roommate exchanged money at the airport, and the conversion rate was astronomical. After exchanging $300 American dollars, she walked with the equivalent of $217 American dollars.

After arriving in Bangkok, I withdrew money from a Thai ATM and my bank back home only charged me a nominal transaction fee.

Pro tip: If you want to have money on hand before you leave the country, AAA offers a FREE money exchange. You just need to order it at least seven business days in advance. Thank me later. 

2. Thailand Restrooms

  1. No Toilet Paper - Always have your own toilet paper or wet wipes on hand, as it is not always provided in Thai restrooms.
  2. Can’t Flush Toilet Paper - The plumbing in Thailand, like in many older countries, typically cannot handle toilet paper being flushed due to narrow pipes. You'll usually find signs instructing you not to flush toilet paper, with a bin provided for disposal.
  3. You May Have to Pay - About 50% of the time, we had to pay to use the restroom, so definitely keep some Baht on hand. It was always very affordable, no more than 10 Baht. 
  4. Soap and Drying Your Hands - Sinks are commonly available, but soap and hand drying facilities may not be. It's a definitely good idea to carry hand sanitizer.
  5. There May Be No Toilet At All - Occasionally, you might find a restroom stall with no traditional toilet, just a hole in the ground. This was a big one for me to wrap my head around. Understandably, this may not be the most comfortable experience for those not used to it. However, it is just one of the many cultural differences you will find on your trip. With this in mind, where there was a stall without a toilet, there was always a stall with a toilet to cater to us Westerners. 

3. Bring Bug Spray OR

Douse your clothes in permethrin before your trip. Listen, Thailand has a tropical climate, and the bugs are particularly bothersome. My roommate and I witnessed a majority of our group being eaten alive by mosquitoes despite using regular bug spray. We were spared because we treated our clothes with permethrin.

Before we left for our trip, we sprayed all of our clothes with a strong bug repellent that even lasts on your clothes after several washes. Genuinely, I cannot recommend this enough. If you have the time before your Thailand travel adventure, do your skin a favor and spray your clothes. You will definitely not regret it. 

4. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

You may be thinking, “DUH” but REALLY. I brought hydration packets and used almost all of them within the first 5 days of the 10-day Thailand itinerary.

The heat in Bangkok and Krabi is NO JOKE. Carrying a travel water bottle that you can refill at water stations throughout your trip is vital.

Our guide, M, gave us hydration powder at the beginning of the trip. Make sure to use it if offered to you. You will also stop at 7Eleven almost daily, where you can stock up on additional hydration packs.

5. The Language Barrier

Traveling with a guide who spoke the local language reduced our stress about not understanding the language. Google Translate will be helpful.

I recommend learning basic Thai phrases. Use them while traveling in Thailand. Honestly, wait until you see the faces of the locals light up when you say “hello!” to them in their native language. It’s the best.

Don't forget to check out our article on What to Pack for Thailand.

The Bottom Line

thailand-final

My 10-day trip to Thailand was undoubtedly one of the best trips of my life. We got to not only visit Thailand but experience it as well. From Buddhist temples to swimming in the Andaman Sea, exploring Chiang Mai and the flavors of Northern Thailand, daily stops at 7-Eleven, the ancient ruins, the golden temples, cultural landmarks, monkeys, waterfalls, TukTuks, and more - it was truly the trip of a lifetime.

Under30Experiences has their vacation packages down to a science, making it unbelievably easy to enjoy visiting such a beautiful country and have everything taken care of for us. There was no hassle of planning and worrying about arranging transportation, lodging, meals, etc. They provided us with so much peace of mind that it felt like the first time I truly was able to relax and enjoy my PTO. U30X has really thought of it all, and I'm already counting down the days until my next trip with them! Want to experience this magical itinerary?

Check out Under30Experiences trip to Thailand!

Katie Liguori
Katie is a fitness enthusiast living in Colorado, finding joy in running, writing, and globe-trotting to destinations like Greece, Thailand, Sweden, and Australia. With a growing passion for exploring new cultures and cuisines, she's on a mission to make travel dreams a reality—just as soon as she secures a passport for her labradoodle.

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