Categories > Guides and Tips

Got one week to explore Thailand Here’s how to do it like a pro

Got one week to explore Thailand? Here’s how to do it like a pro!

Frankly, Thailand has so much to offer, a week could be too damn short to experience them all. One of my friends visited Phuket and stayed there for a week then ended up feeling like he didn’t get to maximize his stay in the country.

Well, we can’t let that happen to you! If you have one week to spend in Thailand, we’re detailing the ultimate guide so you can experience the best our country has to offer! 

Day 1: Bangkok

For this one-week trip to Thailand, it’s best if you arrive in Bangkok the night before so you get enough rest. This way, you can enjoy your first breakfast in the capital city and have enough time to reach your first destination as soon as it opens.

Otherwise, you might have to skip our morning plan and start with lunch for your first day in Bangkok.

Grab your breakfast at the Old Town Cafe

Media credit: junesawitri

Address: 130,12 Fueang Nakhon Road, Wang Burapha Phirom, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200, Thailand

Operating Hours: 

  • 8 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. (Monday – Tuesday)
  • 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. (Weekends)

Contact Number: +66 81 810 8456


Prices: ฿

Duration: 20 to 30 minutes

Going to Old Town Cafe is a great way to start the first day of your one-week trip in Thailand. Our team’s caffeine addicts swear by the coffee blends and breakfast sandwiches this local cafe serves.

Their signature Old Town Muddy Coffee is a top pick. It’s a matcha latte and double espresso blend that will definitely wake you up.

Pair it with their Asian-style croissant and baguette sandwiches. They have three options for fillings: grilled pork, roasted chicken, and teriyaki mushroom. 

Check out the attractions inside The Grand Palace

Media credit: michelsch

Address: Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200, Thailand

Operating Hours: 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. (Daily)

Contact Number: +66 2 623 5500


Admission Cost: 500 baht 

Duration: 1.5 to 2 hours

A one-week vacation in Thailand isn’t complete without checking out the Grand Palace. It’s a well-known tourist hotspot, so it’s best to visit during its opening time to avoid the massive crowds of tourists and locals who frequent this palace complex.

The Grand Palace is 218,000 square meters, so expect to see plenty of structures: golden stupas, shrines, a Buddhist library, a throne hall, government offices, etc. There are also popular attractions like Wat Phra Kaew and Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles.

Wat Phra Kaew, also known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, is a must-see. It’s the country’s most important religious temple, which enshrines a one-of-a-kind jade Buddha image, a giant reclining Buddha image, and Thai Ramayana paintings.

Pro tip: 

Hiring a tour guide here is an excellent idea because it can get so crowded that newcomers, in particular, may struggle to find its must-see attractions. Plus, a tour guide is definitely worth it if you like to learn more about this place’s history.

It’s also worth mentioning that the Grand Palace has a strict dress code. Visitors aren’t permitted to wear clothes that reveal their shoulders and legs.

Explore Wat Pho’s temple complex

Media credit: oddkrub

Address: 2 Sanam Chai Road, Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200, Thailand

Operating Hours: 8 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. (Daily)

Contact Number: +66 83 057 7100


Tour Cost: 200 baht

Duration: 1 hour

Wat Pho is across the street from the Grand Palace, so adding it to your itinerary is a no-brainer. This old temple complex has numerous structures: stupas, ordination halls, pagodas, and golden Buddha images.

Its most popular sight is a 46-meter reclining Buddha image. Wat Pho is an active temple, so expect to see locals and pilgrims burning incense and praying for good health or fortune.

The temple also offers Thai massage services since it was a former school teaching traditional massage and medicine.

Pro tip: 

Check and photograph the temple’s directory first. This way, you can explore the temple grounds more efficiently.

Tour the Bangkok National Museum

Media credit: taarekrek

Address: 4 Soi Na Phra That, Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200, Thailand

Operating Hours: 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. (Wednesday – Sunday)

Contact Number: +66 2 224 1370


Admission Cost: 200 baht 

Duration: 1 to 2 hours

For history buffs, the Bangkok National Museum is a treasure trove, and it’s only a 5-minute taxi ride from Tha Tian Market. It has 15 exhibit halls, so expect to see a lot of antiques, sacred relics, sculptures, and treasures during your tour.

Aside from that, this museum has information on the major eras in Thailand’s history. That makes it ideal if you like to learn more about the royal family and the ancient wars.

Given the number of displays, you can easily spend 2 hours here.

Walk around Wat Arun 

Media credit:

Address: 158 Thanon Wang Doem, Wat Arun, Bangkok Yai, Bangkok 10600, Thailand

Operating Hours: 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. (Daily)

Contact Number: +66 2 891 2185


Admission Cost: 200 baht 

Duration: 20 to 30 minutes

This temple complex is a must-visit if you’re staying in Bangkok during your one week in Thailand. It’s one of the country’s most stunning and recognizable temples for one simple reason: its stupas are covered with painted ceramic tiles.

In fact, its porcelain-covered structures are featured in the ten-baht coin. Wat Arun is across the Chao Phraya River from Tha Tien Pier, so it’s easy to reach via a 5-minute longtail ride.

Pro tip: 

Download the Grab app on your phone in case longtail boats are unavailable at the pier due to high river tides. It takes about 14 minutes to reach Wat Arun from Tha Tien Pier via a taxi.

Take a boat tour until sunset

Media credit: alihansabah

Address: Thai Wang Road, Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200, Thailand

Operating Hours: 24/7

Tour Cost: 1,500 to 2,800 baht

Duration: 1 to 2 hours

The canal boat tour that longtail boats in Tha Tien Pier and Wat Arun Pier offer is a great way to see the capital city’s off-beaten sights. We recommend going for the 2-hour boat tour to explore as many canals in Bangkok as possible.

Aside from seeing a unique side of Bangkok, a boat tour also offers the best sunset experience in Chao Phraya River. That makes it ideal for couples, especially if you went for a pricier private tour.

Pro tip: 

Though boat operators typically charge 1,500 baht for these tours, the price is flexible so don’t be afraid to haggle for a lower price.

Eat your way through the Chinatown Night Market

Media credit: kotarski_photography

Address: 148 Maha Chak Road, Chakkrawat, Samphanthawong, Bangkok 10100, Thailand

Operating Hours: 4 p.m. – 9 p.m. (Daily)

Admission Cost: Free 

Duration: 2 to 3 hours

Bangkok’s Chinatown Night Market is a great place to spend the rest of your evening. There are plenty of shops here, so it’s perfect if you like to buy souvenirs, handicrafts, and street food.

Our team was particularly fond of the diverse food options. Think grilled seafood, Chinese-style noodles, pad Thai, barbecue skewers, deep-fried insects, roti, and many more.

Pro tip: 

Don’t forget to haggle when shopping in this night market since it’s part of the culture. Also, be sure to carry cash because most of its vendors don’t take card payments.

Where to Eat Lunch in Bangkok

The riverside Tha Tian Market is an easy choice with its diverse food stalls and restaurants serving affordable Thai dishes and numerous fresh seafood options. Not to mention its proximity to the Grand Palace and Wat Pho.

If you prefer home cooked meals, you can’t go wrong with Thong Heng Lee’s affordable selection of dishes like pad Thai, gai tod, and mango sticky rice. Or you can try the halal restaurant Karim Roti Mataba, specializing in roti dishes and Indian and Thai cuisines.

Of course, there’s also the stylish Praya Kitchen in Bangkok Marriott Hotel The Surawongse for fans of authentic Thai food, premium seafood, and lunch buffet options.

Where to Stay in Bangkok

Go for the ultrachic Sala Rattanakosin with its sleek riverside rooms overlooking the Temple of Dawn or the vibrant Siri Heritage Bangkok Hotel in the city’s residential street, featuring oriental-style motifs like porcelain ornaments and decors.

If you prefer something more budget-friendly, why not consider the cozy Niras Bankoc Cultural Hostel in the capital’s tree-lined street? You can choose between a private room and a mixed or female-only dorm room with bunk beds, lockers, and bookshelves. 

For minimalists, the upscale COMO Metropolitan Bangkok is also a solid choice, featuring sleek urban decors, high-end facilities, and free shuttle service to the BTS Station to get your trip going.

Day 2: Bangkok

After exploring Bangkok’s historical and cultural attractions, our plans for Day 2 involve a visit to its famous neighborhood and local haunts. This should give you the best chance to learn about the local community vibes that’s well-loved by everyone!

Head to Ari and go cafe-hopping in the neighborhood

Media from nanacoffeeroasters

Address: แขวงพญาไท Phaya Thai, Bangkok 10400, Thailand

Operating Hours: 24/7

Admission Cost: Free

Duration: 4 to 5 hours

On day two, start your day by exploring more of Bangkok by heading to Ari. It’s the city’s most popular neighborhood for good reason: aside from its bohemian vibes, it has a lot of community businesses like cafes, exhibits, and more.

That makes hopping between Ari’s famous cafes a must-try if you’re in town. We particularly love going to Soi Ari 4’s Nana Coffee Roasters for its fine selection of specialty coffee, breakfast toasts, and sandwiches.

Aside from that, other must-visit cafes in Ari include Porcupine Cafe, Puritan, Hor Hidden Cafe, Poet House Cafe, Landhaus Bakery, and Bay. That means you’re covered for breakfast until brunch, so you can definitely skip lunchtime.

Pro tip: 

We recommend riding Bangkok’s Skytrain to BTS Ari Station for an easy commute. For the best value for your money, get a one-day pass for 150 baht because you can use it for the rest of the day on all their train lines around the city.

Get your shopping done in ICONSIAM

Media from iconsiam

Address: 299 Charoen Nakhon Road, Khlong Ton Sai, Khlong San, Bangkok 10600, Thailand

Operating Hours: 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. (Daily)

Contact Number: +66 2 495 7080


Admission Cost: Free

Duration: 5 to 6 hours

ICONSIAM is a vast shopping mall in Bangkok with thousands of shops so it has everything you’ll ever need: restaurants, salons, high-end stores, specialty stores, and more. It’s perfect if your ideal vacation involves a lot of shopping.

Given the number of stores in this mall, you can spend your entire afternoon here and barely scratch the surface. However, it’s worth spending this much time in the mall thanks to the numerous displays and events you’ll see while strolling around.

Moreover, there’s a must-see multimedia fountain show at 6 p.m. with stunning and colorful water effects. Afterward, you can hop on a dinner cruise which is a romantic boat dinner along the Chao Phraya River that’s ideal for traveling couples.

Pro tip: 

For an easy commute, use a one-day pass to ride the Skytrain from BTS Ari to BTS Krung Thon Buri station. Transfer to the Gold Line and ride another train to BTS Chong Nakhon station which is in front of ICONSIAM.

Experience the Bangkokian nightlife in Khao San Road

Media credit: seulgihyun

Address: Talat Yot, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200, Thailand

Operating Hours: 24/7

Admission Costs: Free 

Duration: 1 to 2 hours

If you want to experience the nightlife in Bangkok, Khao San Road is the place to be. This bustling street is a backpacker haven, so expect to see scores of bars and nightclubs serving cheap beers, affordable food, and playing loud music.

Going here gives you the best chance to learn about Thailand’s infamous street party scene. Just know that the crowd gets crazy here as the night goes on and more people get drunk.

Pro tip: 

There are plenty of pushy hosts on Khao San Road, so be ready to ignore them and walk away. We suggest returning to your hotel room before midnight to avoid violent drunks and prepare for day 3.

Day 3: Ayutthaya

We suggest booking a full-day tour of Ayutthaya Historical Park on your third day. That means you won’t have to worry about the commute because a shuttle service will pick you up from your hotel in Bangkok and take you on a 2-hour trip to Ayutthaya.

This is convenient because your itinerary is predetermined and you only need to follow your tour guide’s lead. Just be sure to tell the guide to let you stay in Ayutthaya instead of taking you back to Bangkok after the tour to prepare.

Book a full-day tour of Ayutthaya Historical Park

Media credit: nw.cspar

Address: Pratu Chai Sub-district, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya 13000, Thailand

Operating Hours: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (Weekdays)

Contact Number: +66 35 242 286


Tour Cost: 1,200 to 1,500 baht

Duration: 6 to 8 hours

Going on a full-day tour gives you the best chance to explore Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya and its historical sites from Bangkok. You can book this full-day tour package with travel agencies like Klook and Viator for the ultimate convenience.

This includes a hotel pickup service, a predetermined itinerary, and a tour guide so all you need to do is enjoy the experience. The tour will cover attractions like the National Stadium, Bang Pa-In Summer Palace, Ayutthaya City, and Ayutthaya Historical Park.

Moreover, you’ll be covered for lunch at local restaurants and snacks during the tour.

Pro tip: 

Check the tour you’re booking carefully because some full-day tours don’t cover lunch. This way, you can pack lunch beforehand or allocate a budget for visiting a local restaurant.

Where to Eat Lunch in Ayutthaya

Settle only for the affordable and high-quality offerings of Michelin Bib Gourmand awardee Ruanthai Kungpao. This riverside restaurant is well-known for its fresh seafood dishes, from grilled tiger prawns to giant river prawns and deep-fried sheatfish.

If you want to stay close to the Ayutthaya Historical Park, there’s Sukunya Somtum with its refreshing Northern-style vegetarian menu. Or you can opt for Coffee Old City’s fine selection of classic Thai coffee that goes well with their local and International dishes.

Gu Cherng is also worth checking out for fans of modern Chinese cuisine and traditional oriental vibes. It’s the place to go for various types of dim sum, steamed prawn dumplings, Chinese-style noodles, and succulent Peking duck slices.

Where to Stay in Ayutthaya

For the ultimate comfort and relaxation, opt for Thann Wellness Destination and enjoy its massive spa complex and various therapeutic facilities. Otherwise, go for iuDia Hotel’s relaxing ambiance or Phuttal Residence’s tranquil garden and riverside property.

You also can’t go wrong with the Zleepinezz Hostel’s cozy multi-bed rooms or Silp Pa Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya’s quiet and leafy neighborhood. There’s also Athithara Homestay if you prefer a more relaxed community vibe.

Or you can settle with the charming and pet-friendly Niwas Ayutthaya Hotel, which is perfect if you like to go for pleasant afternoon walks in a lush garden with your fur baby.

Day 4: Chiang Mai

Like Ayutthaya, a convenient way to travel to Chiang Mai is to book a full-day tour to a popular attraction like Doi Inthanon National Park. Of course, you can book a tour of another attraction, but we think this park best represents the province’s rich nature.

Again, be sure to skip the return trip to Ayutthaya to stay in Chiang Mai so you can spend your fifth day here.

Join a full-day tour of Doi Inthanon National Park in Chiang Mai

Media credit: titi_pta

Address: 119 Ban Luang, Chom Thong District, Chiang Mai 50160, Thailand

Operating Hours: 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. (Daily)

Contact Number: +66 53 286 729


Admission Cost: 400 baht 

Duration: 7 to 10 hours

Doi Inthanon National Park is a nature reserve at the country’s highest mountain, so it’s worth visiting during your one-week trip to Thailand. It’s 1,000 square kilometers, so expect to see vast mountain forests, hiking trails, and numerous plantlife and wildlife.

The park’s summit is cold and foggy in the morning, but we think it’s definitely worth climbing for its gorgeous view. A full-day tour will include visits to Wachirathan Waterfall, Sirithan Waterfall, Grand Pagoda Napamathanidol, and Mae Klang.

Tours offered by Klook or Viator will also stop by a local restaurant for lunch, but you have to pay for your meal.

Pro tip: 

Local shops and restaurants in Chiang Mai only accept cash, so don’t forget to go to an ATM before the tour.

Where to Eat Lunch in Chiang Mai

Go for the affordable food shops in Doi Inthanon National Park if you plan to camp there or try Italics in Akyra Manor, serving unique deconstruction of classic Italian dishes. 

Or try Shangri-la Chiang Mai’s all-day dining place—serving Thai, Indian, Japanese, Chinese, European, and Mediterranean cuisines—the chic Kad Cafe and the authentic Chinese restaurant, China Kitchen, with its traditional Sichuan and Cantonese dishes.

Where to Stay in Chiang Mai

Spend the night in Chiang Mai’s nature-rich Doi Inthanon National Park Campsite for some animal spotting, bonfire storytelling, and stargazing opportunities. Akyra Manor is also a solid choice with its polished rooms, upscale amenities, and reasonable prices.

You can also consider the elegant Shangri-La Chiang Mai with the largest outdoor pool in the city or the low-rise U Chiang Mai, featuring a harmonious blend of contemporary Thai accented designs and traditional rustic vibes.

If you like to stay on your toes when traveling, Palette The Grand Morocc Hotel is a no-brainer. It has elegant Moroccan-style interiors and it puts you close to our next target destination.

Day 5: Chiang Mai

On your second day in Chiang Mai, finish your hotel’s breakfast quickly so you can look for a car rental company early in the morning. 

You can also ask your hotel’s reception desk since they can help connect you to a place with the perfect rental vehicle. This should make the rental process faster and smoother.

Go on a one-day road trip in Samoeng Loop

Media credit: pim_ni_pak

Address: Highway 1096, Samoeng Nuea, Samoeng District, Chiang Mai 50250, Thailand

Operating Hours: 24/7

Admission Cost: Free 

Duration: 10+ hours


This one-day road trip in Chiang Mai is ideal for first-timers since the route is straightforward. Rental cars cost between 550 and 2,000 baht depending on the vehicle type, and you only need your driver’s license and an International Driving Permit.

The loop will lead you to places like Mae Sa Waterfall, Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden, Mon Jam, Royal Rose Garden, Samoeng Viewpoint, and more. Though it’s only a 100-kilometer loop, it will take over 10 hours to complete while visiting these attractions.

After completing the loop, you can return to your hotel and eat dinner there.

Pro tip: 

It’s wise to pack food before this trip in case you get hungry in the middle of the road. You can also buy takeout food at Mon Jam Village.

Day 6: Phuket

Getting to Phuket from Chiang Mai takes approximately 24 hours by bus, so catch a flight from Chiang Mai International Airport to Phuket International Airport instead. This will take only 2 hours, so you’ll have plenty of time to explore once you arrive.

Be sure to book the earliest flight so you can get to Phuket in the morning. That means you should sleep early the night before to get sufficient rest.

Stroll around Old Phuket Town

Media credit: iamhope_nadya

Address: Thalang Road, Taladyai Mueang Phuket District, Phuket 83000, Thailand

Operating Hours: 24/7

Admission Cost: Free 

Duration: 4 to 5 hours

A visit to Phuket isn’t complete without exploring the streets of its charming old town. It’s dotted with vibrant Sino-Portuguese architecture which makes it one of the most photographed spots on the island.

You’ll also find numerous chic and traditional cafes in Old Phuket Town. Aungku, in particular, is a fan favorite because of its elegant interiors and flower-adorned walls.

Aside from that, it’s also worth visiting other cafes like The Old Phuket Coffee, Coffs & Burgh, and Eleven Two & Co.

Pro tip: 

Though Phuket is far from Chiang Mai, you can travel quickly by flying from Chiang Mai International Airport to Phuket International Airport. The average flight duration is only 2 hours.

Enjoy the clear waters of Patong Beach

Media credit: zling__0118

Address: Pa Tong, Kathu District, Phuket 83150, Thailand

Operating Hours: 24/7

Duration: 4 to 5 hours

Admission Cost: Free 

Patong Beach is one of Phuket’s most popular beaches for good reason: it has clear waters, white sands, luxury resorts, and a buzzing beach party scene. That makes it a must-visit during your one-week trip to Thailand.

Our team’s ocean lovers say it’s ideal for water activities like swimming, snorkeling, parasailing, jet skiing, kayaking, and surfing. With these many activities, we think it’s definitely worth the 24-minute commute from Old Phuket Town.

Pro tip: 

The rainy months in Patong can bring jellyfish to its shorelines, so only visit this beach during the dry season.

Experience the nightlife in Bangla Walking Street

Media from banglawalkingst

Address: Bangla Road, Pa Tong, Kathu District, Phuket 83150

Operating Hours: 5 p.m. – 12:00 a.m. (Daily)

Admission Fee: Free

Duration: 3 to 4 hours

This walking street in Patong is Phuket’s iconic nightlife hub, so it’s the best place to learn about the island’s party culture. Here, you’ll find a lot of streetside bars, nightclubs, and shops.

It’s always crowded at night, so expect to find all kinds of people: tourists, backpackers, entertainers, local vendors, and more. Phuket is a popular tourist hotspot, so don’t be surprised if services here are more expensive than Bangkok.

Pro tip: 

Some bars here are known to charge unreasonable prices. Only drink at places that serve receipts and keep them with you to avoid double-charging and overcharging scams.

Where to Eat Lunch in Phuket

For a traditional food experience, go for Phuket’s arguably most popular restaurant Khao Tom Thanon Di Buk. This restaurant has a Michelin Bib Gourmand, so it focuses on serving affordable and high-quality dishes like its signature khao tom. 

This local favorite is a Chinese-style porridge with a savory brown broth and numerous topping options, from pork offals to sliced fish, pork meat, Phuket sausage, and century egg.

Where to Stay in Phuket

Go for 99 Oldtown Boutique Guesthouse’s budget-friendly Thai-Chinese-style rooms overlooking Phuket’s famous Thalang Road and its Sino-Portuguese buildings. There’s also the oriental and museum-esque Woo Gallery and Boutique Hotel.

For something traditional and contemporary, try Memory at On On Hotel, an iconic hotel featured in a classic Leonardo DiCaprio flick that has been redesigned and modernized with unique oriental-style rooms.

Otherwise, you can opt for the luxurious Rosewood Phuket for its top-of-the-line facilities and proximity to Patong Beach’s infamous party scene.

Day 7: Phi Phi Islands

Arrange a Phi Phi Island tour

Media credit: jayphotograpfy

Address: Mueang Krabi District, Krabi, Thailand

Operating Hours: 24/7

Admission Costs: 20 baht

Tour Cost: 1,700 to 2,800 baht

Duration: 7 to 8 hours

The best way to end your one-week trip in Thailand is through a Phi Phi Island tour. This paradise island is well-known for its beautiful coastlines, dive sites, snorkeling spots, nature trails, caves, and beach parties.

That means you’re covered for diving, snorkeling, cave canoeing, swimming, cliff jumping, hiking, and partying. You can arrange your island tour with your hotel, a travel agency, or at Phuket’s Rassada Pier Terminal. 

Given the number of things you can see and do here, you’ll have to spend the entire day here. With an island tour package, your service should cover your lunch and take you back to your hotel in Phuket at the end of the day.

FAQs about Spending One Week in Thailand

Related topics