From buzzing Bangkok to the tranquil island paradise of Phuket, this 15-day Thailand adventure will take you to the country's most intriguing places to learn about its food, culture, and history. Get your fill of street food in Bangkok, browse a floating market in Damnoen Saduak, and jump in the waterfalls at Erawan National Park. Explore Chiang Mai's mountain temples and learn how to make your favorite Thai dishes in a cooking class, and then end your trip on the beaches of Phuket.


  • Browse one of Thailand's largest markets, Chatuchak, in Bangkok
  • Cross the bridge on the River Kwai in Kanchanaburi
  • Explore the lush hidden temples on Chiang Mai's Doi Suthep Mountain
  • Swim and snorkel on a Phuket island boat tour 

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Bangkok & Explore Bangkok
Day 2 Best of Bangkok Tour Bangkok
Day 3 Transfer to Kanchanaburi, Floating Market & Bridge on the River Kwai Kanchanaburi
Day 4 Hiking & Waterfalls Erawan National Park Kanchanaburi
Day 5 Transfer to Ayutthaya & Palace Tour Ayutthaya
Day 6 Alms Giving Ceremony & Transfer to Sukhothai Sukhothai
Day 7 Transfer to Chiang Mai & Lampang Temples Chiang Mai
Day 8 Elephant Discovery Camp Chiang Mai
Day 9 Chiang Mai Temples Tour Chiang Mai
Day 10 Mae Rim Orchard Garden & Village Retreat Mae Rim
Day 11 Chiang Mai Cooking Class  Chiang Mai
Day 12 Fly to Phuket & Free Day to Explore Phuket
Day 13 Similan Islands Speedboat & Snorkeling Phuket
Day 14 Discover Phuket's Beaches  Phuket
Day 15 Depart Phuket   

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Bangkok & Explore

Free Day in Bangkok
Feel the energy of sprawling Bangkok

Welcome to Thailand and Bangkok. A driver will meet you at the airport for a transfer to your hotel so you can get settled into the capital city. If you're ready to start exploring, you might begin in Chinatown for a first taste of street food or go to Siam Paragon, one of Thailand's largest shopping malls. Or, if you happen to be in Bangkok during the weekend, browse Chatuchak Market—more than 15,000 stalls selling clothes, flowers, food, antiques, and nearly anything else you can imagine. 

After shopping or browsing, watch kickboxing—Thailand's signature sport—at Channel 7 Boxing Stadium or Rajadamnern Boxing Stadium. For more light-hearted entertainment, sit down for a traditional puppet show at the Joe Louis Theatre, or head to Warehouse 30 to check out the contemporary art scene, watch a film, or eat at a hip modern Thai restaurant.

Day 2: Best of Bangkok Tour

Explore the Grand Palace complex at Wat Pho Temple

In this city with more than 10 million inhabitants, traffic is a part of life. Today, go from place to place as the locals do, traveling by BTS Skytrain, MRT (Metropolitan Rapid Transit), boat, and bus. Spend the first part of your day seeing some of the city's most remarkable sites and temples. Admire the gilded reclining Buddha statue at Wat Pho, then take a walk in the Grand Palace complex and see Wat Phra Kaew and its Emerald Buddha. Make a stop for lunch, trying an array of street foods, including som tam (papaya salad), gai bing (grilled chicken skewers), or pad thai (fried noodles).

After lunch, travel by tuk-tuk (motorcycle taxi) to the Rattanakosin Exhibition Hall to learn about the history of the former Kingdom of Siam and Bangkok's founding. Then, see another perspective of Bangkok as you travel to your next destination by boat, riding along a Chao Phraya River canal to Hua Chang Pier. Get out for a stroll, stop at a shopping mall, or take a break to try more street food. At the end of your city tour, travel back to your hotel via BTS Skytrain.

Day 3: Transfer to Kanchanaburi, Floating Market & Bridge On The River Kwai

Browse the busy floating markets at Damnoen Saduak

In the morning, meet your driver to travel south 49 miles (80 km) from Bangkok to Thailand's garden province Samut Songkhram in the Mae Klong River Delta. Join locals along railway tracks shopping for fresh produce, fish, and meat. Then at Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, see vendors in boats showing off their most prized tropical fruits, vegetables, and fresh catches of the day.

At Kanchanaburi, see the famous Bridge on the River Kwai, a portion of the 415 km (258 mi) Thai-Burma railway line built in 1942. Take a short ride on the railway, and then stop for lunch near the bridge. After lunch, ride a long-tail boat on the Khwae Noi River to your Kanchanaburi hotel.

Day 4: Hiking & Waterfalls in Erawan National Park

Swimming In The Waterfalls At Erawan National Park
Take a dip in the waterfalls at Erawan National Park
Get your hiking shoes and swimsuit ready to explore some of Erawan National Park's 212 square miles (550 sq km) of caves, trails, and waterfalls today. Meet your guide in the morning to travel approximately 45 minutes north from your hotel to the park and then spend a few hours walking, hiking, and swimming. Visit the most well-known waterfall, Erawan, named for the multi-headed elephant that is said to carry the god Indra in Hindu myths. After a day of adventure, spend the evening relaxing at your Kanchanaburi hotel. 

Day 5: Transfer to Ayutthaya & Palace Tour

Ayutthaya Tour
Explore Ayutthaya's palaces and learn about the former capital of the Kingdom of Siam

Go back in time today to learn about Thailand's history as the Kingdom of Siam, starting with a private transfer east traveling 97 miles (157 km) to Ayutthaya. As you pass through verdant countryside and rice fields, your guide will explain how the area once belonged to the Kingdom's royal families. Visit Bang Pa-In Summer Palace, one such home built by King Rama IV along the Chao Phraya River. Then visit the Buddhist Khmer-style Chaiwatthanaram Temple, the Temple of the Long Kingdom and Glorious Age.

At Ayutthaya, explore palaces, temples, and monasteries such as Wat Yai Chaimongkol, Wat Mahathat, and Wat Chai Wattanaram. Make a stop for lunch, and in the afternoon, reach your Ayutthaya hotel, where you can spend the evening relaxing or going out for dinner.

Day 6: Alms Giving Ceremony & Transfer to Sukhothai

Participate in a morning alms ritual supporting local Buddhist monks

Giving alms is a morning ritual for Buddhist monks, which sustains their communities and also represents a spiritual obligation. During the ceremony, monks walk through villages collecting food and money from the community as the sunrises. This morning, before leaving Ayutthaya, be part of this ritual by giving a food donation to the monks. After the ceremony, eat breakfast at your hotel, or on the go, in preparation for a half-day road trip.

A private driver will take you north from Ayutthaya to Sukhothai, traveling about 4.5 hours. In Sukhothai, settle in your hotel and prepare for a departure to Chiang Mai tomorrow.

Day 7: Transfer to Chiang Mai & Lampang Temples

Plan your trip to Thailand
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
At Wat Phra That Lampang Luang, learn about Thailand's temples and the former Lanna Kingdom
Chiang Mai, a former capital of the Lanna Kingdom, is a city defined by walls and moats, and boasts hundreds of Buddhist temples to explore. After breakfast, start a road trip traveling 182 miles (293 km) to Chiang Mai. Heading north to Lampang, stop in the villages Sri Satchanalai and Baan Na Ton Chan. There, visit rice fields and fruit farms as you learn about local communities and their sustainable practices. Then, stop at a wooden toy manufacturer and silk weaver, watching artisans at work, before making another stop for lunch. 

After lunch, get back in the car with time to get out and visit Wat Phra That Lampang Luang and Wat Pong Sanook as you learn about community-led conservation efforts to preserve the temples. Then, continue the trip north, arriving in Chiang Mai, where you can rest at your hotel and then go out for dinner.

Day 8: Elephant Discovery Camp

Elephant Sanctuary
Spend an afternoon with elephants as you learn about their daily habits

Today you'll have an up-close experience with elephants, traveling south from Chiang Mai through rolling hills, forests, and farmland to Elephant Discovery Camp. There, meet a mahout (elephant handler) who will introduce you to the animals and explain their routine to you, including what they eat and how they bathe and take care of each other.

Walk with the elephants down to Wang River, where it's bathing time in the water and mud. Learn from the mahout about how to prepare food for the elephants and communicate with them, and then help with feeding. Share lunch with your guide and the mahout at the camp, and return to Chiang Mai in the late afternoon.

Day 9: Chiang Mai Temples Tour

At Doi Suthep Mountain, be rewarded after climbing hundreds of steps to see golden pagodas

At Doi Suthep Mountain, monks gather early for an alms ceremony. Get up at 6 am to contribute to the alms ceremony, and then continue up the mountain to explore temples. At Wat Doi Suthep, climb the Golden Naga staircase's 309 steps to reach its golden pagodas. Continue your temple tour at Wat Palad, the Temple below the Temple

At Wat Umong, wander through passageways covered by moss and plants, and pass through tunnels to reach its viharn (assembly hall) for a blessing ceremony. After your temples tour, head down the hill to take a break for lunch. Try a bowl of khao soy with chicken, coconut cream, crispy noodles, and spices that is popular in northern Thailand. Go back to Chiang Mai in the afternoon, where you can spend the rest of the afternoon and evening exploring the city and its street food, with a taste of fried quail eggs, green papaya salad, or something new. 

Day 10: Mae Rim Orchard Garden & Village Retreat

Transfer From Chiang Mai To Mae Rim With Visiting An Orchard Garden
See more than 50 types of orchids in a Mae Rim orchid nursery

Lush landscapes just outside Chiang Mai are your next destination as you travel about 30 minutes north to Mae Rim District. Your first stop is an orchid nursery with more than 50 varieties of orchids surrounded by butterflies floating peacefully in their natural habitats. Walk through the nursery, then get back in the car and take a break for lunch. After lunch, go off-road as you ride a pick-up truck to a Hmong village where you will spend the night. 

Continue the day at your own pace in Mae Rim, either going out to explore, or relaxing at your resort, sitting by the pool and swimming amid a lush landscape. Follow hikes to the waterfalls o Mae Sa, where you can go for a dip in cool, clear water. Or, visit Dara Pirom Palace, the former home of the royal family of the Lanna kingdom, which was an Indianized state. As the sun begins to set, make your way back to your hotel and settle in with other guests for a barbecue dinner. 

Day 11: Chiang Mai Cooking Class

Learn how to make your favorite Thai dishes in a cooking class

This morning takes you back to Chiang Mai as you prepare to fly to Phuket tomorrow. But first, it's time to learn more about the Thai dishes you've enjoyed eating during your trip with a group cooking class. At Asia Scenic Thai Cooking school, get to know a local family who will introduce you to some of northern Thailand's signature dishes, such as khao soi gai (egg noodles in curry broth) and gaeng ho (stir fry curry glass noodles).

Learn the ingredients to create the dishes as you taste herbs and chop vegetables. Eat with the group and then return to your hotel to prepare for your departure for Phuket. 

Day 12: Fly to Phuket & Free Day to Explore

Phuket is one of Thailand's tropical paradises

In the morning, get ready for the island part of your adventure to begin as you say goodbye to Chiang Mai. Meet your driver for a transfer to the airport and catch a two-hour flight south to Phuket. Set on the Andaman Coast, Phuket is known for its beaches, nightlife, and luxury resorts. With its landscapes of tropical rainforests, palm-fringed beaches, and craggy limestone cliffs, there are plenty of options from relaxation to adventure.

Pick a beach near your hotel to sunbathe and then sit back with a cold drink, go for a swim, or try snorkeling. To see more of Phuket from underwater, visit an aquarium in Cape Panwa. If you're feeling adventurous, get a ticket for Hanuman World Phuket, where you can soar through a jungle on ziplines. In the evening, eat seafood for dinner, browse a night market, or go for a drink or dancing on the lively Bangla Road.

Day 13: Similan Islands Speedboat & Snorkeling

Get your snorkeling gear ready for Similan Islands' pristine waters on a boat tour

The Similan Islands, on the maritime border between India and Thailand, are also known as Mu Ko Similan National Park. With the park closed for a few months each year to preserve the natural habitat, it maintains a serene island atmosphere.

In the morning, catch a speedboat from the pier near your hotel to cruise along the Andaman Sea to reach the islands. There will be plenty of stops during your boating excursion for swimming and snorkeling, and your guide will take you to some of the islands' most secluded beaches. Relax and enjoy lunch on the beach, and in the late afternoon, return to your Phuket hotel. 

Day 14: Discover Phuket's Beaches

For your last day in paradise, spend some time on a Phuket beach

For the last day of your Thailand adventure, your schedule is open to spend the day on the beach or however you'd like. If you decide to soak up some sun at one of Phuket's beaches, you have many options.

At Kata Beach, find soft white sand, shady palm trees, food vendors, and a laid-back atmosphere. At Nai Harn Beach, at the end of Phuket, walk around to shops and restaurants if you want to spend the day relaxing and looking for those last gifts to take home with you. For a true escape, head for Freedom Beach, where you can see some of the most pristine white sands in Phuket. To get there, follow a steep path or catch a long-tail boat and then enjoy the reward of a relaxing afternoon away from the crowds. At the end of the day, go out to a Phuket restaurant and get ready for your flight tomorrow. 

Day 15: Depart Phuket 

Enjoy your last moments of island life in Thailand

Today, it's time to say goodbye to Thailand. Spend a final few hours on the beach or souvenir shopping in Phuket before your transfer to the airport. Safe travels!

More Great Thailand Itineraries 

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Thailand? Check out these other Thailand itineraries, explore different ways to spend 15 days in Thailand, or discover the best time to visit Thailand.


Map of Thai Temples, Beaches & Nature: From Bangkok to Phuket - 15 Days
Map of Thai Temples, Beaches & Nature: From Bangkok to Phuket - 15 Days
Written by Hien Do, updated Feb 22, 2023