Thailand in one month - Travelettes Itinerary

1st Feb 2015
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How to travel Thailand in one month
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How to travel Thailand in one month
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How to travel Thailand in one month
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How to travel Thailand in one month
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How to travel Thailand in one month
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How to travel Thailand in one month
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How to travel Thailand in one month
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How to travel Thailand in one month

How to travel Thailand in one month - a Travelettes itinerary:

I’ve said it once, twice, thrice, too many times to count: Thailand is one of my all time favourite destinations in the world to backpack and travel in. I’m definitely not alone here though as Katja, Annika and Alex all share this love for the land of smiles and paradise beaches with me. It’s a place that when I think of it, it gives me a funny feeling in my stomach, and it’s not from a bad memory of some dodgy backstreet Pad Thai dinner. After multiple trips there, it has become a place of many firsts for me:

It’s the place where I first backpacked, it’s the place where I first travelled alone, it’s the place where I first realized the kindness of strangers truly exists, it’s the place where I first experienced home sicknesses, it’s the place where I first experienced actual backpacker belly sickness, it’s the place where I first realized my sister was an awesome travel partner and it’s the place where I met my first love.

An issue that arises when you wang on and on about your favourite place in the world to friends, word gets around that you’re the person to chat to if someone is heading that direction. I love giving advice and relaying my version of the top places to see/eat/drink/party, but this can definitely get tiresome when you receive the 6th email from your friends’ friends’ uncles’ sister asking where she should go in Thailand.

I figured I could do better than just copying and pasting the same text to people who want to know a good route in Thailand to travel in a specified time frame. Say, for example, how to travel Thailand in one month. Thailand is a phenomenal place for seasoned and first-time travelers, so here’s a wee guide on how to see the country in one month, four weeks, 30 days (give or take a few days)!

Text by Sophie Saint

Touchdown: Bangkok (3 days… or forever) Sleepy eyed, you disembark the plane in Bangkok, blink in the foreign sunlight and soak up the new climate. Prepare for a touch of culture shock as you’re in Asia, baby, and there’s plenty of fun filled times to be had! Once you leave the mammoth Suvarnabhumi airport via a licensed taxi, head to Khao San Road aka the backpacker mecca of Bangkok. It’s not quite ‘The Beach’ style Khao San anymore, but it is just as crazed and hectic! Head straight to your pre-booked hostel/hotel and chuck your luggage in your room. Then hit the streets for some amazing street food (don’t be scared!) and mix in with the people. The heaps of people. Take this time in Bangkok to adjust to your new destination; try out some Thai phrases you gleaned from your guide-book on the plane, grab a massage to ease the jetlag, see some awesomely golden temples and perhaps chillax on a boat ride on Bangkok’s many canals. Pick up some traveller-friendly clothes which you may have forgotten to pack (I’m thinking cheap bikini’s, not necessarily fisherman pants) and if you happen to be there over a weekend, shoot over to Chatuchak Weekend Market and ship some beautiful vintage apparel home as a nice present to await you and ease the homecoming.

Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Travelettes
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Travelettes

Culture: Chiang Mai (3 days…. or a month!) Catch one of the many night trains that leave Bangkok’s train station and tuck yourself into a bottom bunk with some snacks for the night. When you step off the train in Chiang Mai, it’ll be like a breath of fresh air from Bangkok’s hectic humidity, and you’ll feel a zen calmness sink into your bones. The cultural activities are endless here, but have a gander around the epic Night Bazaar and eat some uber cheap noodle soup at a street stall before catching an authentic Muay Thai Boxing match. Pop into the zoo to see some Pandas and just generally wander around the greenness, but do prioritise a trip up to the magnificent hilltop temple of Doi Suthep. If you’re feeling daring, drive a scooter up the winding hill or take a Songthaew (pick-up truck taxi) with a bicycle and endure a hair-raising ride back down to town. See more of our tips for seeing Chiang Mai.

Photo of Chiang Mai Thailand by Travelettes

Mountainous retreat: Pai (4 days… but you’ll blink and it’ll be over!) A mere 3.5 hour mini-bus journey out of Chiang Mai will bring you to the lovely little community of Pai. Sure, the journey there can be a tad intense as there are many tight corners and turns on mountainsides, but take in the views and enjoy the ride! This little hippie commune will provide guesthouses with hammocks strung up on your porch, hidden waterfalls to explore with your scooter, vegan cafes that serve wheatgrass shots, and live music that will lead you to suddenly realising it’s 5am and the sun is rising. The locals are incredibly friendly so be sure to hang out with them and perhaps take part in a cooking course. Ride out to Pai canyon to catch an unforgettable sunset and just generally zen the hell out.

Photo of Pai Chiang Mai Thailand by Travelettes
Photo of Pai Chiang Mai Thailand by Travelettes

Get your sweat on: Chiang Saen (3 days. A lot of walking.) A 4 hour drive from the central northern hub, Chiang Mai, will get you to the Golden Triangle. Here you can take a boat trip along the Mekong Delta and pop over to Laos briefly. But since you’re this far up north, you should take a hill tribe trek to see the stunning Thai wilderness and meet hill tribes who still live out in the jungle. Wear grippable shoes, wear long pants as you will be striding through the bush, bring mozzie repellent, a head torch would be great when searching for the loo in the dead of night and be prepared for creepy crawlies. It will be quite hardcore in this heat for those who aren’t particularly fit, but if I can survive it (barely) then you can too!

World Heritage: Ayutthaya (2 days and many rolls of film) On your way back down from the north, swing past this World Heritage Site. Once Thailands capital city in the 14th – 18th Century, it was burnt and pillaged by the Burmese about 400 years ago. You can wander the ruins and climb the temples that still remain today, and take in the morbid beheaded Buddha statues. Witness the Head of Buddha which is enveloped by twists of tree roots, but be sure to hunch over and not stand higher than its height as a sign of respect. Afterwards, pop into the museum or eat your way through the food market. Personally, I was in rapture when I happened upon the cute and kitsch clothes/accessories market by the Ayutthaya Hotel!

Photo of Ayutthaya Historical Park Pratuchai Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Thailand by Travelettes

Painful History: Kanchanaburi (2 days, if you survive the tigers) Snaking down the country back to Bangkok, hit up Kanchanaburi to learn more history of the Thai past. See the Death Railway which was constructed by World War II POW’s under the severe command of the Japanese in 1943. Cruise along the river in a house boat and walk the Ewaren National Park – try get to all seven tiers of waterfalls and take a dip! Don’t be freaked out by the nibbling fish as they’re just feasting on dead skin on your toes…. The Tiger Temple is a big attraction here. See the magnificent creatures walking besides the monks, and if you wish, get up close and personal with the fuzzy beasts!

Photo of Kanchanaburi Thailand by Travelettes

Beach. Party. Sleep. Rinse. Repeat. Koh Phi Phi (4 days and half your liver) So you’ve found yourself back down in Bangkok, but after all the culture and history lessons some girls just need to let their hair down! You’re in Thailand, baby, the place where beaches are stunning and the sun is out! If you’re low on time, grab a cheap flight from Bangkok to Krabi, then a ferry over to the picturesque party island of Koh Phi Phi. Lounge on the beach soaking up the sweet rays or jump on a longtail boat over to Maya Bay, where The Beach was filmed. Unfortunately, Leo isn’t there waiting for you but it is a sight to behold! When the dusk creeps in, so do the neon singlets and cocktail buckets. Beach parties at night reign supreme and are a heap of fun, just don’t be seduced into participating in the burning skipping ropes of fire. Too many insurance claims lie in wait with that kind of ‘fun’. If that’s too hectic for you, go to the other side of the island which is a whole lot quieter and chilled out. Peak season can make this island a bit intense sometimes. Before you leave, take the hike up to the lookout point in the centre to get panoramic views of the island. The perfect way to bid farewell to the partying paradise!

Photo of Ko Phi Phi Khok Yang Krabi Thailand by Travelettes

Heaven on an island: Koh Lanta (4 days of sleepy beach bumming. Perhaps never leave?) Once you’ve decided that you’re done with being hungover, get on yet another ferry and go to the peaceful desert island of Koh Lanta. Ok, so it’s not quite deserted, but it will feel so after Phi Phi! Try not to get down to Koh Lanta straight from Chiang Mai, or risk developing tankles like I did. Too much travelling will leave your poor feet and ankles swollen, but the cooling sea surrounding Koh Lanta will sooth you. It’s the perfect place to spend Christmas as the white sands of wide expansive beaches and tiny reggae bars are exactly what you need, and if you’re lucky you’ll catch an elephant being bathed in the water. Join in some beachside yoga or just take off on a scooter to explore the island that is not as developed as others in Thailand. The snorkeling here is rated as some of the top in the world, so frankly it would be rude not to do some!

Photo of Ko Lanta Krabi Thailand by Travelettes

Rocking out: Ton Sai & Railay (5 days of a community you’ll never want to leave) Once you’re done with the beauty of Ko Lanta (if that’s such a thing) then head back up to the mainland. Boats frequently go from these southern islands to Krabi and once you’re here, you can either wander around the little town or hop straight onto a longtail boat to the bays around the corner from Krabi’s main beach, Ao Nang. Yes, this is a hectically busy guide. I didn’t say it was going to be a breezy walk in the park though! Alright, around the corner lies the awesome Ton Sai. I fondly refer to this as my slice of paradise as it’s a place that has drawn me back many times and I don’t care if I have to go alone. Surrounded by the towering limestone cliffs, Ton Sai is a teeny community of rock climbers and chilled locals. Electricity runs between 5pm – 5am and every guest house will look after you like you’re their first-born child. After two days, you’ll know everyone’s name; after four days you’ll cry at the thoughts of leaving your new family. Try some rock climbing on many of the cliffs or if you have no upper-body strength, lie flat on Railey Beach. Stay in Ton Sai for the vibes and cheap accommodation, climb over the secret cliff to Railay for the huge white beach. I feel a bit sad to tell everyone about Ton Sai, but that’s because I’m a bit selfish and want to keep it to myself…

Photo of Ton Sai Ao Nang Krabi Thailand by Travelettes

Full Moons and Exploring: Koh Phangan (4 days. Half of which will be spent trying to remember who you are) Ok, so this addition doesn’t quite fit into the rough trail I’ve created. To get over to Koh Phangan from Krabi is quite a journey (6 hours but will probably take longer) and you will get squeezed into tourist buses that resemble hot tin cans. The island is infamous for Full Moon Parties which you’ll either love or hate (Alex and I loved it…) but why not add it to your Bucket List? The Full Moon Party is huge, disorientating, fun, wild and confusing. Buckets, fluro body paint, pumping beats – you get the picture! Don’t stay on Haad Rin if you don’t want to have music blasting till your ears bleed (although the food is amaze) and choose to reside on the otherside of the island. Haad Yao or Haad Salad are better alternatives with relaxed vibes and reggae cafes. Wander the long endless beaches and indulge in sandy massages, with a dose of secretive beach bars. Koh Phangan really provides a balance of crazed party times and relaxed exploring!

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