The Perfect 5-Day Itinerary to Experience the Best of Thailand

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So, you’re planning to visit Thailand this year and want to know the best way to enjoy your five-day trip? Keep reading and find out where to visit, the must-do activities and to get an idea of how to start planning your dream trip. Accommodation ranges from some of the beachside Thailand vacation rentals in Koh Samui to backpacker hostels in Chang Mai. Depending on your budget, you can find whatever you’re looking for in Thailand.
Before We Start
Thailand is a big country and trying to fit everything into just five days will be a challenge. For this reason, it’s a good idea to determine what kind of activities you want to do beforehand and plan the trip based around those. Do you want to spend your time relaxing on the beach and exploring islands? If so, head to Koh Samui, Phuket or Koh Pha Ngan. For cities and culture, spend a few days in Bangkok, visit the nearby ancient city of Ayutthaya and ride the train along the infamous Death Railway. Or those wanting to experience northern Thailand with a more favourable climate will appreciate Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. This itinerary tries to combine the best of everything for visitors to get a taste of Thailand.
Day One: Arrive in Bangkok
The vast majority of visitors will arrive in Bangkok. While some quickly leave the capital in favour of the beautiful southern islands, spending at least a day or two here is worth it for the experience. Bangkok offers tourists a range of things to do from visiting temples to sampling local Thai cuisine. Expect chaos, noise, pollution with hot and sticky weather. But you should also anticipate rock-bottom prices and a very different experience to any other capital city in the world.
The first attraction that draws tourists is the famous Grand Palace. The opulent Palace in thecentral part of the city covers a vast area with several rooms and pavilions and once served as the King’s residence. Expect to spend at least a few hours inside marvelling at the lavish design and artefacts. When you visit, be extra careful as scammers operate outside the complex trying to charge you for tickets or offer �?discounts’. After visiting the Grand Palace, check out Wat Arun along the river as well as see the reclining Buddha in Wat PhraKaew. Taking a river cruise along the Chao Phraya River is also a favourite activity in the capital.
As the day comes to an end, head to one of the rooftop bars for a sunset cocktail overlooking the city. Or instead, try local Thai food in the street side restaurants for a more cultural experience. Both are popular depending on your travel preferences and interests. It might also be possible to watch Muay Thai boxing, Thailand’s famous mixed martial arts, in Bangkok.
Day Two: Visit Ayutthaya
The most popular day trip from Bangkok is to the ancient capital of Ayutthaya located just 80 kilometres (50 miles) to the north. In 1350, the King of Ayutthaya decided to establish his capital in this region. Following a period of rapid development, palaces and hundreds of temples were built. However, an invading Burmese army sacked and destroyed the former citadel in 1767 prompting the capital to move to its current location in Bangkok. Today, tourists can visit and walk around the ruins of the oldcapital and get a glimpse into the rich history of Thailand. You canjoin a day tour from Bangkok or visitindependently using either the train or bus.
Day Three: Ride the Death Railway
During World War 2, Thailand was the home to the infamous Death Railway. Thousands of Allied Prisoners of War under the Japanese built a railway stretching from Thailand to Burma (Myanmar) in an attempt to move supplies to invade British India. The railway from Bangkok extends to Kanchanaburi and over the infamous Bridge on the River Kwai. Tourists can ride the Death Railway where it’s said that one person died for each sleeper laid. Others can travel to the end of the line and visit the even more notorious Hellfire Pass which claimed the lives of hundreds of Australians. A day trip here is an essential thing to do in Thailand for anyone with an interest in World War 2.
Day Four and Five: Koh Samui
After experiencing Bangkok and the surrounding areas, take a flight to Koh Samui, one of Thailand’s most famous Islands. Not only does the island feature some of the best beaches in Asia but it also has an active nightlife at very affordable prices. Most people come to relax and escape the chaos of Bangkok while others are here to party. A highlight is renting a scooter and exploring the small island at your own pace. Water sports are popular activities too.
More Time in Thailand
If you have more than five days in Thailand, it’s a good idea to explore the northern part of the country. The must-visit destinations include the expat-friendly Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. Chiang Mai features a cooler climate and is both culturally and historically significant in Thailand as well as having incredible natural beauty. Chiang Rai, on the other hand, is home to the famous white Wat RongKhun temple.
The Perfect Itinerary
Deciding on the best places to visit in a country as big and diverse as Thailand can be challenging. But, if it’s your first time consider visiting Bangkok, Ayutthaya, Kanchanaburi and the Death Railway along with Koh Samui. Northern Thailand is a highlight too if you have more time.

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