Thai people are more or less like Indians. We eat a lot, probably all day as the variety of food that’s available is in plenty. We shop till we drop, we have deep-rooted practices that we still continue to follow, temples so beautifully constructed, people are a mixed bag of emotions and the weather is as hot or as cold as it can get.
Thailand, in short, feels like my second home.
This year, Narayanan and I decided to explore Thailand and let me tell you why. I was lucky to win a 4N/5D trip to Krabi, a contest organised by TourRadar. How cool is that? So when it came to deciding dates and places other than Krabi, my mind went absolutely high on putting together the itinerary. Before I tell you how we planned the trip, I have a confession to make – I am not a beach person. Now, don’t judge me 🙂
This is my second time to this country as I have been to Bangkok earlier on a girls-only trip for three nights. Since then, I have been wanting to come back to explore north of Thailand as many had spoken very highly about Chiang Mai and Pai. As always, we were able to take off from our regular schedules for only a week and we had to pack the itinerary accordingly. We chose the Ramzan week as it would mean taking off only for four days as far as applying for leave was concerned.
After a lot of researching and incorporating Narayanan’s request to spend atleast two nights in Bangkok, the third and the obvious destination was Chiang Mai. The break up of days looked like this – 4N in Krabi, 3N in Chiang Mai and 2N in Bangkok. And with these places, we couldn’t wait to explore the little of Thailand in under 10 days. As Krabi was a tour that I won, the entire trip was curated by Bamba Experience and the itinerary was done entirely by those guys, except for Day One.
Itinerary Break Down
|10 Days In Thailand Itinerary|
|Day One||Land in Krabi. After checking in, rent a bike and visit the Tiger Cave Temple (Wat Tham Sua). This is a rather steep climb to the top but it is worth the climb, don’t miss the panoramic views of Krabi. At night, go shopping in the walking street in Krabi Town.|
|Day Two||Awesome day trip to visit Phi Phi Don, Pileh Bay and the Viking Cave. Swim at the iconic and popular Maya Bay where the movie, “The Beach”, with Leonardo di Caprio was filmed. Snorkel and visit some more beaches like the Bamboo Island, Hin Klarng, Ao-pelae and Loh Sama. Go shopping in Ao Nang or just drink beer in the bars once you are back to the pier.|
|Day Three||Mangrove & Cave Kayak at Ban Bor Thong. This is a cave surrounded by lush limestone cliffs overgrown by palms and cycads. Continue paddling to reach “Pee Hua Tor” known as the big-headed ghost cave after a larger-than-average human skull was discovered here. Awe at the 100 pictographs of mythological and real animals and people etched onto the cave ceiling and walls, evidence of an ancient civilization that resided here. Observe the interesting stalactite formations in the cave with a unique shape directed towards the light at the cave’s main entrance. Imagine life here thousands of years ago among the ocean, limestone crags and mangroves as you paddle into the depths of this great chamber and emerge again through through one of cave’s three openings. Drink in Ao Nang or go to Krabi Town. Also, may be some Thai Massage 😉|
|Day Four||Rock Climbing at Railay Beach. The cliffs around Railay Beach make up part of one of the world’s largest coral reefs that stretches all the way from Papua New Guinea to China. This rock climbing location has options for climbers of every level with over 700 routes catering to beginners 5a’s, classic multi-pitch 6a’s and extreme 8c’s. Absolutely fun and makes you realize your strength. You will need a massage for sure today.|
|Day Five||Land in the beautiful city of Chiang Mai. Book your tour with Eagle Track (we used them) or Flight of the Gibbon and become a jungle man for a few hours zip lining from tree to tree. In the evening, cycle around the city and visit the temples. Do check which temples are open after 1700 hrs and plan accordingly.|
|Day Six||Visit the White Temple in Chiang Rai (it is a beauty) + Golden Triangle + Mae Sa + Karen Neck Village. This is a package and you can check with your hotel to book this tour. In the night, get a massage at Lila Thai which is a place which employs former inmates.|
|Day Seven||Spend some time in Chiang Mai and explore the temples. Wat Chedi Luang and Wat Pra Singh are our picks. Then head towards Doi Suthep, Doi Inthanon, Wat Umong, Wat Sri Suphan (different from the rest, and if possible on a saturday). There is an Umbrella Market which is a must visit called the Bor Sang Village. Visit the food and walking street in Chiang Mai (Anusarn Market). Drink at Rasta Cafe or dine at one of the most celebrated Italian restaurant in Chiang Mai – Piccola Roma Palace. You will know why I say famous when you get there.|
|Day Eight||Fly to Bangkok. Shop till you drop. Party like there’s no tomorrow. Don’t forget to get a massage.|
|Day Nine||Visit the famous Floating market (Damnoen Saduak) and the Bridge on the River Kwai. In the evening, visit the highest sky bar in Bangkok – the Vertigo Moon Bar 61st Floor @ Banyan Tree.|
|Day Ten||Head back with some amazing memories and try hard not to pay for extra luggage 😉|
There are so many other things that can be done away from this itinerary depending on what interests you more. For eg; in Krabi, you can take the Sunset Island tour or the Four Island tour, you can go kayaking in Railey Beach. If you have more time in Chiang Mai you can soak yourself in this lovely town (we really wished we had two more days here), consider adding Pai in your itinerary if you have more days at hand. In Bangkok, you can do so many things in around the city.
If beaches are what you want in Thailand, then just don’t spend your time in Pattaya, there are other beautiful beaches like the Koh Samui (which is now becoming crowded), Koh Kradan and Koh Rok in Trang, Koh Phangan in Surat Thani etc. Phuket and Krabi are next to each other, so plan in advance and try to explore both at one shot if possible. The famous James Bond island is near Phuket and I hear people prefer this beach town to Krabi. If you have been to both, let us know what’s your take 🙂
Cost Break Down
If I have to wrap up the money that went out of our pockets, end to end, it ended at ₹1,42,ooo for the two of us (75000 Thai Baht).
What this includes:
Travel (Flights+local transport), visa, food and drink, shopping (lots of it), the cost of the stay at Chiang Mai, things to do in Chiang Mai and Bangkok.
If we had to calculate all expenses including Krabi (stay+activities) and Bangkok stay, we would have ended up spending ₹2,00,000 approx (105500 Thai Baht). More on where to stay in Krabi.
The only way to bring down this expense would be to reduce the number of activities (kayaking, rock climbing etc). Okay, then why are you even going to Krabi 😉 ? I don’t think that you can come down below this as this expense will average out in one way or the other.
Thailand is not just a beach destination
Well, as far as I have heard about Indians travelling to Thailand, it’s always been stories of Bangkok and Pattaya or Phuket, Koh Samui, Krabi etc. I know very few people who have explored beyond these places and I wish everyone would do the same. Chiang Mai was my favourite of the three cities I had visited during this trip and you will say that I was right with my pick. That’s only if you get to step out and explore. 😉
Now I can’t wait to explore Pai and more of Chiang Rai in northern Thailand, Ayutthaya near Bangkok and Hat Yai. Oh and I also hopefully get to enjoy Songkran or their Lantern Festival. I shall dream and work on it while you can actually plan and just go 🙂
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7 thoughts on “Exploring Thailand: North to South of Thailand in 10 Days”
If you are going to explore more of Northern Thailand, may I recommend Mai Hong Song? I went there last year and did some cave exploration and hiking (Stayed at Cave Lodge). It was amazing.
Hey Vidhya, we did a bit earlier this month. Based ourselves in Pai and roamed around a bit. A lot more is still pending, as always!