Thailand 30 day Itinerary – Northern and Central Thailand

March 8, 2018

Amy Trumpeter

Amazing news – I’m heading to THAILAND! Today I’m here to share my plan of a Thailand 30 day itinerary.

But first of all, happy International Womens Day 2018! It’s a day to celebrate what our women heroes have achieved in the past and also a day to speak out for women’s right. Women have been doing so across the globe, with particular reference for gender based violence and women in poverty.

Personally, as many of you know, I have recently survived a large surgery for endometriosis, a painful condition that affects women of child bearing age, resulting in large cysts and growths that can invade vital organs. I am currently 5 weeks post op, and in one week’s time good to travel! Following an all inclusive much needed holiday to Malta, I will be solo backpacking around Thailand. This is my reward to myself for being so strong through such a difficult 12 months.


Thailand 30 Day Itinerary – Central and Northern Thailand

This Thailand 30 Day Itinerary includes Northern and Central Thailand and finishes up in Bangkok, with a focus on history and temples. Please note that it does not include the islands and beaches. For me, these will be done as a separate trip. At the end of this blog I also make recommendations for those wanting to fit in more trekking and beaches than historical and religious sites.

Days 1-3 Chiang Rai

To get to Chiang Rai, you will need an internal flight probably from Bangkok, few international flights go directly to Chiang Rai.

White Temple Chiang Rai

In Chiang Rai, a visit to the White Temple (Wat Rong Khun) is a must, and the Blue temple (Wat Rong Suea Ten) should also be high on your list. Chiang Rai is smaller than the next destination (Chiang Mai), but a lovely place to hang around and relax.

Day 3-8 Chiang Mai

Some travellers do Chiang Mai in 3 days, but I don’t want to feel rushed, so I’m taking 5, plus the last day will be travel time to the next destination (the bus to Sukhothai is about 5 hours).

Phra Singh Temple Chiang Mai
Phra Singh Temple Chiang Mai

In Chiang Mai, take the day hike up to Doi Suthep and explore the other local temples including Phra Singh. There is also plenty of time for a cooking class, visit to Elephant nature park or a day trip to Lamphun.

Day 9 Overland Travel Chiang Mai to Sukhothai

Day 10-13 Sukhothai

Take at least two days to explore the ancient temples of Sukhothai (possibly by bicycle) and also Wat Mahathat. I’m also taking a day to blog, read and recharge my batteries before heading on to Ayuttaya.


Day 14-17 Ayuttaya

Day 14 will be spent travelling from Sukhothai to Ayuttaya, and then you will have 2 full days to explore the Ayuttaya temple complexes.


Day 18-19 Lop Buri

Day 18-19 can be spend in LopBuri, a sleepier slow paced town with the monkey temples to visit.

Day 20 – Travel and rest day (Lop Buri to Bangkok via Ayuttaya)

Day 21-29 – Bangkok

Finally, end this fabulous Thailand 30 day itinerary in the amazing city of Bangkok, with its sizzling street food, Khao San Road backpackers hangout and frenetic energy. Enjoy the Grand Palace, Wat Pho and Wat Arun.

Grand Palace Bangkok
The Grand Palace

Day 30 – Fly Home (your Visa is probably about to expire!)

Adding to or Expanding this Thailand 30 Day Itinerary

If you would like to include the islands, I suggest internal flights and missing out the central locations on this itinerary such as Sukhothai and Ayuttaya. If you are desperate to see Ayuttaya, this can be done as a day trip from Bangkok.

I’d also like to add that I am really into exploring off the beaten track and finding smaller temples, so my style very much revolves around slow travel. If you wanted to skip a few historical sites and speed up the itinerary, adding in Pai, the islands or Angkor Wat in Cambodia would definitely be possible. Some travellers even do the Thailand – Cambodia – Vietnam – Laos route within a month, but that’s definitely too fast for me. I prefer to see each of these countries for full 3-4 week trips within their own right.

Hikers – Want to speed it up to fit more hiking in? Shave off the main locations to add in 3 days in Pai, a hippy town that backpackers love to use as a base for trekking with the hill tribes.

Beach Lovers – Shave time off all three main cities, and do Ayuttaya as a day tour from Bangkok and fly south to one of the Islands such as Phuket or Ko Phi Phi just over a week ahead of your flight home.

Thailand 30 Day Itinerary - Playa Maya Ko Phi Phi
Playa Maya Ko Phi Phi