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A Perfect 10 Days in Thailand Itinerary (Bangkok, Koh Samui, Chiang Mai)

A Perfect 10 Days in Thailand Itinerary (Bangkok, Koh Samui, Chiang Mai)

If you are looking for a 10 days in Thailand itinerary, you have come to the right place!

Thailand is one of Southeast Asia’s most diverse countries to visit. You can find everything from jungles and temples to big cities and pristine beaches. Spending 10 days in Thailand will give you the chance to scratch the surface with all that the country has to offer.

This itinerary will take you around the country to three main locations – Bangkok, Koh Samui, and Chiang Mai, with plenty of fun filled activities along the way.

Read on to learn more about Thailand and how to go about a visit for yourself.

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1) 10 Days in Thailand Itinerary Overview

While there are many places to add to a trip around Thailand, I figured with 10 days you will not want to overdo it. This itinerary will be broken out into the 3 main cities of Bangkok, Koh Samui, and Chiang Mai.

By visiting these three spots, you will get a good sense of the variety that Thailand has to offer. The itinerary breakdown will look something like this:

  • Days 1 & 2: Bangkok
  • Days 3 – 6: Koh Samui
  • Days 7 – 9: Chiang Mai
  • Day 10: Bangkok

Bangkok: The capital of Bangkok will give you the chance to see what the largest city in Thailand is all about. There are plenty of temples, markets, and nightlife options to enjoy during your time there.

Koh Samui: The island of Koh Samui is located in the southeast of Thailand. There you will have the chance to enjoy some beautiful white sand beaches and get a feel of island life.

Chiang Mai: Lastly, you can enjoy time time in northern Thailand in the city of Chiang Mai. Here you will be able to go temple hopping, visit an elephant sanctuary and take part of a cooking class, among several other activities.

Full Moon Party Note: if you are interested in heading to the Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan, I have set up the itinerary so that it aligns with day 4 of the trip.

10 Days in Thailand Trip

2) Planning Your Trip

Below are a few helpful notes to think about when planning out your 10 day Thailand itinerary:

→ The itinerary is set up for 10 full days in Thailand. That means arriving early on day 1 or the previous night and leaving on day 10 or sometime on day 11.

→ I added an additional day in Bangkok at the end since most people will need to get back there to depart the country. Feel free to change that up a bit if your plans are different or if you find better flight options available.

In order to get between all the cities, you will need to book 3 flights. There should be plenty of direct flights between Bangkok and Koh Samui as well as between Chiang Mai and Bangkok. The flight from Koh Samui to Chiang Mai will have fewer options.

Before diving into the itinerary be sure to check out the Thailand Helpful Tips section to get you prepared for your trip. The article includes several important topics such as weather, logistics, and scams.

​Do you have more time to spare? Check out the 2 Week Thailand Itinerary up on the site.

How to Plan 10 Days in Thailand

3) Thailand Itinerary 10 Days Map View

Take a look at the map below which shows you where each city that is part of this itinerary is located throughout the country.

You will start the journey in the center of the country in Bangkok before heading to the islands down south, flying up north to Chiang Mai, and finishing back in Bangkok.

I have also starred the city of Ayutthaya, which can be visited from Bangkok on day 2 as well as Koh Phangan, if you are looking to go to the Full Moon Party.

4) Day by Day Breakdown

To give you a more high level view of what to expect during this ten day trip to Thailand, below is a summary for each day of the trip.

Throughout the remainder of this overview, I will be talking more in depth about each and every spot.

Thailand 10 Day Itinerary #1
Thailand 10 Day Itinerary #2

5) 10 Days in Thailand Itinerary

Now let’s get on to the actual trip! The following is a detailed breakout of the daily attractions and activities on this 10 day Thailand itinerary.

Feel free to scroll through and click on any more in depth posts along the way.

Day 1 – Bangkok

After a long day of traveling you will arrive in Bangkok – the capital city of Thailand. It will definitely be a different type of city experience compared to the remainder of the trip but it does have some amazing sites to see and enjoy.

Your first full day in Bangkok will focus on the city itself (while day 2 will take you outside of the city).

The Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew

To start off your trip, make your way to the Grand Palace & Wat Phra Kaew (both are housed within the same overall complex).

Depending on where you are staying in the city, you can either walk, tuk tuk or take a taxi to the temple area.

When it comes to ornate architecture in the city, the Grand Palace is the place to be. All throughout the complex is beautiful detailed structures and works of art.

As you continue your way around the Grand Palace you will then head towards Wat Phra Kaew also known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. This is where one of the most sacred images of Buddha in all of Thailand is held.

To visit the Grand Palace & Wat Phra Kaew complex, I would expect to spend a couple of hours walking around and taking it all in.

Grand Palace Architecture Bangkok

Wat Pho

Once you are finished up at the Grand Palace, take the short walk to Wat Pho – the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. Here you will come across one of the largest buddhas in the world at 150 feet in length.

Just next to the Buddha you will find 108 small tins that stretch from one side of the room to the other. These 108 tins represent the “108 positive actions and symbols that helped lead Buddha to perfection”.

You can purchase a bucket of coins, which can then be transferred into these 108 smaller tins as you walk along the temple.

It is not done after seeing the Reclining Buddha! There is a wider complex to visit too, which has hundreds of more Buddhas and ornate pieces of architecture.

Wat Pho Bangkok

Wat Arun

While the first two temples of the day are on one side of the river, there is one more main temple left that is on the opposite side of the river – Wat Arun (The Temple of Dawn).

If you first want to enjoy a nice meal or have some drinks with a view, head to a riverside restaurant, where you can see Wat Arun across the way.

Once ready to cross the river just hop on a quick ferry that will take you right up next to this temple. When you reach the temple you will be able to climb up to the top to enjoy the view.

Wat Arun Bangkok

On top of the attractions, you can also take advantage of some of the great nightlife options that Bangkok has to offer such as Khao San Road and Sky Bar, among others.​

Learn More: the Best Things To Do in Bangkok overview goes over this day in more detail

Bangkok Hotels (Nights 1, 2, & 9)

Check out some top rated Bangkok hotels for nights 1 & 2 (and 9) of your trip

Sky Bar Bangkok

Day 2 – Ayutthaya

On your second day in Bangkok, it is time to head outside the city and to ancient capital city of Thailand – Ayutthaya.

Here you will find some of the most incredible temples and architecture in the country. It makes for a perfect day trip and is a great way to explore another part of the country during your time there.

You can get to and from Ayutthaya either by hiring a driver for the day, joining a tour, or taking public transport.

If you are looking for a tour for the day, you can take a look at some highly rated Ayutthaya day trip options.

I ended up taking a driver along with some friends and then rented bikes once we got there. Cycling around to all the different sites was a great way to get around and see the ancient city.

Learn More: check out the Ayutthaya Day Trip guide that will walk you through the entire day from beginning to end

Some of the top highlights will include:

  • Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon
  • Wat Mahathat
  • Wat Ratchaburana
  • Wat Phra Si Sanphet
  • Wat Lokayasutharam
  • Wat Phra Mongkhon Bophit
  • Wat Phu Khao Thong
  • Wat Phra Ram
  • Wat Chaiwattanaram
  • Wat Maheyong
Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon Top
Wat Mahathat
Wat Phra Sri Sanphet
Wat Lokkayasutharam

Day 3 – Travel to Koh Samui

Next up during your 10 days in Thailand, it is now time to make your way to the islands, where you will get to relax, hit some beaches, do some hiking and take some day trips.

Getting to Koh Samui is pretty simple. There will be a few flights in the morning from Bangkok to Koh Samui that should work out well here.

Once you arrive on the island there should be plenty of taxis that can take you to your hotel.

You can then spend the rest of your afternoon relaxing by the pool and beach, enjoying the Thai island life.

Activity Tip: If you would like you could also stop by the giant gold Big Buddha before heading to your hotel.

Koh Samui Hotels (Nights 3, 4, 5, 6)

Take a look at some Koh Samui hotel options for nights 3, 4, 5 & 6 of the itinerary

Big Buddha Samui
koh samui

Day 4 – Ang Thong Marine Park

Today you will take a day trip out to the picturesque Ang Thong Marine Park.

Every hotel should be able to help you book a tour through a local company or you can plan ahead of time and book a highly rated Ang Thong Marine Park tour before you go.

Here is how a typical tour would play out as you explore the ins and outs of the surrounding waters:

The day starts early on getting picked up to your hotel before being transferred to your speedboat for the day (note that not all tours use speedboats).

Your first stop about an hour away is Koh Wao, where you can swim and snorkel the crystal clear blue waters around you. There will be plenty of colorful fish to see as you make your way through the area.

After some swimming and snorkeling you will make your way to a short hiking trail that takes you above the Talay Nai Emerald Lagoon. From here you will also be able to see most of the 42 islands that make up the marine park.

Ang Thong Marine Park Lagoon
Ang Thong Marine Park Kayak

Once the lagoon is complete it is time to hit the kayaks. Your boat will take you nearby, where you will hop into a kayak for around an hour and get to explore the marine park on your own. As you kayak around you are sure to pass small caves and numerous islands surrounding you.

It will now be time for some lunch and your speedboat will take you to one of the main island in Ang Thong – Koh Wua Ta Lap. Here you will also be given some time to explore the island by foot or relax by the beach for a bit.

There is a great hiking trail that takes you up to the top of the island, hitting viewpoints along the way. It can get quite technical closer to the top but the views are worth it. 

At day’s end you will then head back by speedboat to Koh Samui, where you can rest up after a day of exploring.

Ang Thong Marine Park
Ang Thong Marine Park View

Full Moon Party Option

As mentioned earlier, if you would like to enjoy the Full Moon Party, you can take part of it during one of your nights in Koh Samui.

All you would need to do is hop on a speedboat to Koh Phangan, head on over to Haad Rin beach, and then back to Koh Samui at the end of the night.

This of course will only be possible if you line your trip up accordingly. But it could be a fun idea to take part of if you are interested in joining in on the fun.

Learn More: Check out the Ultimate Guide to the Full Party for everything you need to know about this night

Full Moon Party

Day 5 – Koh Samui Relaxation

Whether you took part of the Full Moon Party or not, day 5 is going to be a full on rest and relaxation day as you enjoy the beach life of Koh Samui.

After waking, grab some lunch and relax by the beach for the next couple of hours and maybe get a nice massage. You can explore Koh Samui a bit, head into town, visit some markets, and just enjoy the island life.

If you want to experience the nightlife of Koh Samui there is plenty to take part of. You can check out the Bophut Fisherman’s Market, head to a Muay Thai fight, or hit some of the bars around Chaweng Beach.

Koh Phangan Beach

Day 6 – Scuba Diving or Snorkeling Trip

On day 6 enjoy a day of scuba diving or snorkeling! Many diving shops and tour operators offer these types of tours from Koh Samui.

Scuba Diving

The best thing is you do not even need to be scuba certified to take part of a scuba diving experience. Many shops offer what is known as a Try Dive, which basically is for beginners or those not certified just yet.

You can also check out some of the top rated scuba diving companies in Koh Samui.

Scuba Diving Note

If you do decide to scuba dive on day 6, there are recommendations to wait anywhere from 18-24 hours before going on an airplane. So, feel free to swap days 5 & 6 if this is the case!

Learn More: Check out the One Day Try Dive Experience for a detailed guide to the day

Note: the guide linked above goes over the dive if you are based in Koh Tao, so the main difference here is that you will be doing a lot of the learnings on the boat ride over instead of on the island itself to save some time. Once you arrive in Koh Tao, you will get to take part of a couple of dives before heading back to Koh Samui.

Other Koh Samui Tours

Now, if scuba diving is not for you, no worries! There are several other tours to consider that will have you exploring the waters of Thailand. A couple to consider include:

Koh Tao Diving
Scuba Diving Koh Tao 7
Scuba Diving Koh Tao 5

Day 7 – Travel to Chiang Mai

After plenty of time seeing what the islands of Thailand have to offer it is time to head to the northern part of the country to Chiang Mai. With 10 days in Thailand, this itinerary has 2.5 days of checking out what this city is all about.

As of this writing there is only one direct flight from Koh Samui to Chiang Mai each day through Bangkok Airways at 10:20AM.

If you get on this flight you should arrive at your hotel early afternoon and grab some food before exploring the city and some temples.

Temple Hopping

In and around the city there are more than 300 temples!

To make things simple though I put together a Chiang Mai Temples Tour guide that will take you to some of the more well known ones to visit this afternoon.

The guide goes over 7 temples to visit (although Doi Suthep which is a further journey can be visited on day 9):

  • Wat Chiang Man
  • Three King’s Monument
  • Wat Chedi Luang
  • Wat Phra Singh
  • Wat Sri Suphan
  • Wat Suan Dok
  • Doi Suthep
Wat Chiang Man
Wat Chedi Luang Buddha
Wat Phra Singh Hall
Wat Suan Dok Temple

Chiang Mai Hotels (Nights 7 & 8)

Feel free to check out some of these high rated Chiang Mai hotels for your time in the city:

Chiang Mai Night Market

Day 8 – Elephant Sanctuary

On your second day in Chiang Mai it is time to head off to an Elephant Sanctuary to feed, bathe, and interact with these amazing animals.

Two of the top main elephant sanctuaries that are known for rescuing elephants from poor conditions and treating them well are Patara Elephant Farm and Elephant Nature Park. Both of these places book up well in advance so be sure to check for availability

The main difference between the two programs is that Patara is a 1 on 1 experience with an elephant for the day (~$180) while ENP is more of a group experience (~$70).

Learn More: Read the In Depth Guide to Patara Elephant Farm to get a better understanding of the experience

Patara Elephant Farm Girls
Patara Elephant Farm Bath
Patara Elephant Farm Feeding
Patara Elephant Farm Baby

Day 9 – Doi Suthep / Cooking Class & Travel to Bangkok

On your last day in Chiang Mai it is time to see the city from above and/or take a local cooking class before heading back to Bangkok.

Doi Suthep

During the course of your stay you have probably seen the large mountain that overlooks the city.

Towards the top of the mountain is a temple called Doi Suthep that has amazing views of the city below.

You can grab a taxi for a fixed rate that will take you there, wait for you and then take you back down.

The road to Doi Suthep is filled with twists and turns as you make your way up climbing the hill. Eventually though you will reach the base of Doi Suthep, where a long staircase awaits to the temple. Once inside you can walk around the main area and the large golden chedi.

You can then make your way to the viewpoint that overlooks the city. Due to the Chiang Mai weather being hit or miss, it could be a perfectly clear day out or you could literally be in a cloud with no visibility at all.

But don’t worry, if there really isn’t any visibility be sure to ask your cab driver to stop at one of the viewpoints on the way down the twisting roads, where you are sure to get a good view at some point.

Doi Suthep Steps
Doi Suthep Top
Chiang Mai View

Chiang Mai Cooking Class

Another option to take part of is a local Chiang Mai cooking class.

Many of the cooking classes have morning sessions which start around 9:00AM with pickup being just shortly before then.

After you get picked up along with your fellow guests you will make your way to a local food market. Once there your cooking instructor will teach you all about the local ingredients and what is used for different dishes.

You will then get to pick 4-5 different course options for what you will be making and eating during the rest of the morning. Your instructor will then purchase all the necessities before hopping back in the van to take you to the kitchen.

Many places have open air kitchens and dining rooms which is also a very unique experience instead of being indoors. A sample menu will include spring rolls, soup, pad thai, curry, and mango sticky rice.

Your instructor will then take you through making and eating each dish (usually you cook two dishes, eat them and then go on to the next two). The class should end around 2:00PM, when you can then get ready to depart the city.

Overall it is a great experience cooking, eating, and meeting new people.

Chiang Mai Cooking Class
Chiang Mai Cooking Class Prep

If you have a late flight out from Chiang Mai to Bangkok you might be able to do a cooking class in the morning, followed by Doi Suthep. If you do not have time for both, just choose which experience you think you will enjoy best.

After you finish up with Doi Suthep and/or cooking class catch your flight to Bangkok.

Once back in the capital city check into your hotel, grab some dinner and maybe head out to a place like Khao San Road for your last night out in Thailand.

Day 10 – Depart Bangkok

Your 10 days in Thailand is now coming to an end. Depending on what time your flight is you might have some time to enjoy some more attractions around the city:

  • Chatuchak Weekend Market – one of the largest markets you will come across in Thailand however it is only open on weekends
  • Chinatown – great place to walk around and have plenty of street food options
  • Lumpini Park – a huge park sitting in the middle of the bustling city where you can just relax and walk around the area

You will then hop into a cab and head to the airport to begin the long journey back home.

Thailand 10 Days

6) Best Time to Travel to Thailand

When planning your trip to Thailand, you will need to figure out what time of year to visit.

The most important consideration at play in Thailand is going to be the monsoon season that affects the country. This splits up the seasons between a dry season and a wet season.

The dry season starts in November and ends in May, and the wet season runs from June until October.

One nuance here is that there are actually two monsoons that affect Thailand. The eastern islands (where Koh Samui is located), has its rainy season between October and December.

Ideally for a trip like this one, you are able to visit between January and May give or take.

Even if you happen to visit during rainy season, that doesn’t necessarily mean consistent rain each and every day. However, do expect the rain to come and go throughout the days.

Thailand 10 Day Trip

7) How to Get Around Thailand

For this 10 day Thailand itinerary, you will want to be as efficient as possible with your travel plans. There is no need to waste precious time on long train or bus rides, when there are quicker options available.

While transportation such as flights may be a bit more expensive, they will be your best bet to fully take advantage of this itinerary.

By Plane

In general, taking flights between major cities is going to be the best solution here. For this itinerary, there will be three internal flights needed:

  • Bangkok to Koh Samui (day 3)
  • Koh Samui to Chiang Mai (day 7)
  • Chiang Mai to Bangkok (day 9)

You can check out Bangkok Airlines as a top option, along with some more budget alternative airlines as well.

By Ferry

While ferries will be your go to option for getting between islands, this itinerary does not require them. Since the trip just takes you down to Koh Samui, there will be no ferries needed during the itinerary.

However, if you happen to swap some things around and you want to visit another island, then ferries will be your go to option.

Taxi / Tuk Tuk

Once you have arrived to a destination, there will be logistics needed to see the sights around the area. For that, taxis and tuk tuks will be the main options available.

Just be sure to always agree on a price beforehand so you do not get ripped off at the end of the ride.

Feel free to also leverage some public transport in Bangkok if that happens to be more convenient given where you are staying & going.

2 Weeks Thailand Travel

8) How Much Does 10 Days in Thailand Cost

One thing that I love about traveling to places in Southeast Asia like Thailand is that the costs are on the lower end of the spectrum. This means you are able to spread out your money and get more bang for your buck.

At the lowest end of the budget range, backpackers can get by with spending less than $25 per day. With hostels, cheap meals, and public transport, there should be no issue there.

On the higher end of the budget range, you may be spending closer to $200+ per day. While that may not seem like a lot for some people, it is quite high for Thailand.

With that sort of budget, you should have no issues staying at top hotels, enjoying multi course meals, and taking part of activities.

From an average budget standpoint, spending somewhere in the $50 – $75 per day is standard. Having this type of budget will still get you nice hotel rooms and meals, while still being able to take part of activities along the way.

But no matter what you budget is, Thailand is a perfect place to visit. It allows for all types of travelers to fully enjoy a trip there.

Thailand Itinerary 10 Day

9) Is it Worth Going to Thailand for 10 Days

There is no doubt that it is worth going to Thailand for 10 days!

With 10 days, you will have the chance to visit three very different places within Thailand. These will give you a great idea of what the country has to offer and keep you busy throughout a trip.

Although it is always nice to have more time, 10 days still takes you to Bangkok, the Thai Islands, and Chiang Mai. It is the ideal type of trip for those that are shorter on time but still want to see what the country is all about.

If you find yourself loving the experience, there is always the opportunity to go back and explore some more within the country. Whether that means checking out some other islands, heading to some different places up north, or spending more time in the cities.

My recommendation is to always give it a try and take advantage of the time you do have there!

Hope you enjoy Thailand and all that it offers! Head over to the Thailand itineraries and guides page to check out some more helpful posts, and feel free to comment below with any questions.

10 Days in Thailand

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