The ultimate 4-week Thailand itinerary

by Jan

Planning a trip to Thailand, but not sure where to begin?  In our 4-week Thailand itinerary, we share all the details of our month in Thailand this summer.

Our guide provides information on the places we stayed, how we got there and the best places to visit in Thailand.  We’ll also give some top tips and recommendations for your own trip.

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Wat Plai Laem, Koh Samui, Thailand

With stunning islands, national parks, jungles, adventure activities and temples galore, Thailand has a lot to offer its visitors.  Plus, when you throw amazing food, friendly people, wildlife, and cheap prices into the mix, it is one of the best all-round holiday destinations.

In summer of 2023 we spent a month travelling in Thailand with our teenage kids.  Affordable prices and an array of exciting activities make Thailand an ideal location for an extended family trip.

In this guide we’ll share our 4-week Thailand itinerary.  Read on to find out everything about our accommodation, transport, and activities, plus some top tips for planning your own holiday.

Boy looking at huge Bamboo on a Jungle hike, Thailand

Thailand is extremely popular with backpackers but makes an amazing destination for a family adventure too.  Our guide is perfect for anyone planning a multi-location trip of Thailand, whether travelling with kids or not.

We didn’t plan our Thai trip as a budget holiday, but we share cheaper options for those who want to.  Plus, if you only want a 3-week itinerary, you can adapt it to suit you.

So, if you’re heading to Thailand and looking for ideas, this is the perfect guide for you.

Read on to discover how we spent 4 weeks in Thailand.

The perfect 4-week Thailand itinerary

Grand Palace Statues, Bangkok, Thailand

Day 1 - Travel to Thailand

It’s really easy to travel to Thailand.  Bangkok has an international airport, so you can fly there from most places in the world.

We flew directly from London Heathrow to Bangkok International Airport with Eva Air, a Tawainese airline.  It was an overnight flight, which took about 11.5 hours.

The time difference between London and Bangkok is 6 hours, so it was late afternoon when we arrived.  We took a taxi directly to the Centre Point Sukhumvit 10 Hotel.

Please note that the traffic in Bangkok can be awful at rush hour, so it took nearly an hour from the airport.  An alternative is to use the BTS Skytrain, an elevated transit system, which is quicker.  However, if you’ve just arrived for the first time in a new country you probably don’t want to be navigating their train network!

Days 2 - 4: Bangkok

Grand Palace Views, Bangkok, Thailand

We started our trip to Thailand in Bangkok, the capital city.  Although some people are happy to fly in and out, I wanted the kids to get a feel for the place, before heading off on the rest of our Thai adventure.

Bangkok is a large, dynamic city with endless things to see and do, so we allowed 3 days to explore the city and visit a bunch of Bangkok’s top attractions.  We also had an additional couple of days at the end of the itinerary before flying home

Accommodation in Bangkok

Centre Point Sukhumvit 10 Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand

Our accommodation in Bangkok was at the Centre Point Sukhumvit 10 Hotel.  This is a mid-range hotel in a central location.  The hotel is a 10-minute walk from the Skytrain station and several shopping centres.  The kids loved the pool and the buffet breakfast.

Click here to book the Centre Point Sukhumvit 10 Hotel in Bangkok.

Activities in Bangkok

looking down length of Wat Pho Reclining Buddha

First-time visitors to Bangkok should start with a visit to the Old Town.  Start with the Grand Palace and Wat Pho, where you’ll see the amazing 46 metres reclining Buddha.

Our other favourite temples in Bangkok are Wat Saket and Wat Arran.  We stopped at Wat Arran as one of our stops on the Chao Praya river cruise.

Remember that you must cover your shoulders when entering any Thai temple.  In some places, such as the Grand Palace, visitors cannot wear shorts or short skirts.

Wat Aran, Bangkok, Thailand

Other things you to do in Bangkok include a visit to China Town, a drink in Khao San Road and an excursion to the floating markets.

If you’re travelling to Thailand with kids, try not to do too many temples in one day.  The teenagers loved the simple things, like a ride in a tuk tuk, eating street food and seeing scorpions on a stick.  Plus you need plenty of down time by the pool.

READ MORE5 days in Bangkok itinerary

Scorpions on sticks at Khao San Road, Bangkok, Thailand

Days 5-7: Chiang Rai

The second destination on our four-week Thailand itinerary is Chiang Rai.

Chiang Rai is a small city in the mountainous area of northern Thailand.  It is far smaller and quieter than its neighbour Chiang Mai and attracts far less visitors, so offers calm after the bustle of Bangkok.  Chiang Rai also has its own unique history and culture and is a good base for several day trips.

Many visitors head to Chiang Mai for the Golden Triangle, the meeting point of Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos.  However, we were lured by the chance to visit one of Thailand’s most unique attractions, the White Temple.

Getting from Bangkok to Chiang Rai

Chiang Rai is about 488 miles (785 km) north of Bangkok.

You can fly directly with Air Asia, Thai Airways or Vietjet from Bangkok Airport.  The flight takes 1.5 hours.  If you book in advance, you can get a good price on flights.

Chiang Rai airport is about 6 miles (10km) from the city centre, so we took a taxi to the hotel.

A cheaper option is to go by bus from Bangkok, but this takes 10 hours 40 minutes.

Accommodation in Chiang Rai

The Pool at Laluna Hotel. Chiang Rai, Thailand

In Chiang Rai, we stayed 3 nights at the Laluna Hotel and Resort, which I’d highly recommend.  We had modern, Thai-style bungalows, set in tropical gardens, with lush plants and palm trees.  It has a medium-sized, outdoor pool with loungers.

Laluna Hotel is about 15 minutes’ walk from Chiang Rai centre.  There are several restaurants and bars on the way.  We had a buffet-style breakfast at the hotel, but ate our dinner in town.

Activities in Chiang Rai

Lady looking at the White Temple (Wat Rong Kuhn), Chiang Rai, Thailand

The must-see attraction in Chiang Rai is the amazing White Temple (Wat Rong Khun), which is just outside Chiang Rai.  Built by artist Chalermchai Kostpipat, the temple is a privately owned art exhibit, which now attracts thousands of visitors each year.

Allow at least half a day for your visit to the White Temple, as there’s plenty to do around the complex.  You should also visit the Blue Temple (Wat Rong Suea Ten), but this won’t take as long.

Another popular attraction in Chiang Rai is the Black Dam Museum, although we decided to give this a miss.

The Big Buddha, Chiang Rai, Thailand

However, we did go to the Big Buddha of Chiang Rai (Wat Huay Pla Klang), an enormous white statue on the hill.  The Big Buddha represents the Chinese Goddess of Mercy.  You can pay to climb up inside her head, where you’ll find a collection of mythical carvings and statues.

Another of our favourite things to do in Chiang Rai is a visit to Singha Park.  This large park is free, though you do have to pay for the bus and additional activities such as the zip-line.

READ MORE:  Our 2-day itinerary in Chiang Rai

You can visit as a day-trip from Chiang Mai, but this would involve a lot of driving in one day.

Days 8-12: Chiang Mai

The next place on our 4-week Thailand itinerary is Chiang Mai, Thailand’s second largest city.

Chiang Mai is also in the north of Thailand and is a perfect for anyone wanting an authentic Thai experience.  It is extremely popular with back-packers looking for a laid-back vibe and a brilliant destination for families.

Its proximity to several national parks makes it an ideal location for enjoying adventure activities and the great outdoors.

Getting from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is about 118 miles (190 km) from Chiang Rai.  We travelled by car and booked a transfer in advance with  This is not the cheapest option, but one of the kids can get travel sick, so we wanted the option to stop when we needed.  Luckily, we didn’t.

If you are on a budget, there is also a direct bus, which runs every hour and takes about 3 hours 40.

Accommodation in Chiang Mai

View of swimming pool ,At Chiang Mai Hotel, Chiang Mai, Thailand

In Chiang Mai, we stayed in a fantastic mid-range hotel At Chiang Mai in the heart of the Old Town.  It has a fantastic location, just 2-minutes from Sunday Walking Street, local restaurants and temples.

We shared a large family room, which had the biggest bathroom ever.  We had a good buffet breakfast in the dining room, but always ate outside for lunch and dinner.  The staff were fantastic and the pool was amazing.

Click here to book At Chiang Mai hotel in Chiang Mai.

If you prefer budget accommodation, Chiang Mai has some amazingly cheap hostels within the city walls.

Activities in Chiang Mai

Elephants, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Having seen a lot of temples in Bangkok and Chiang Rai, we arrived in Chiang Mai looking for fun and adventure.

Luckily, it’s super easy to find exciting things to do in Chiang Mai.  Whether you are looking for wildlife, adventure, or cultural activities, there’s just so many activities to choose from.

On our first day, we picked three excursions which included a mix of activities, including a visit to an ethical elephant sanctuary, bamboo rafting, and a jungle hike.  We also signed ourselves up for a half-day visit to Smile Organic Cookery School, for a master class in Thai cooking.

Chiang Mai is a brilliant place to see elephants in Thailand, but check that it is an ethical experience.

White water rafting, Chiang Mai. Thailand

Our most adventurous activity in Thailand was white-water rafting.  This full-day white water rafting tour on the Mae Taeng River was so exhilarating, even if it was a bit scary at times.  The whole family loved all 3 excursions, with white-water rafting coming in on top!

Other things to do in Chiang Mai included temple-hopping, the Monks’ Hike to Wat Pha Lat, and the fantastic night markets.  If you’re there at the weekend, head to the Saturday and Sunday walking markets, which both have a fantastic atmosphere.

READ MORE:   5-day-itinerary-in-chiang-mai-thailand

Day 13: Surat Thani

Getting from Chiang Mai to Koh Samui

To get from Chiang Mai to Koh Samui, we flew to Surat Thani, stayed overnight, then took the ferry in the morning.  You can fly direct from Chiang Mai to Koh Samui, but the tickets are extremely expensive.

Instead, we flew with Air Asia to Surat Thani, a busy transport hub in the south of Thailand.  It is a popular stopover for travellers getting to the islands on the eastern coast.  The flight from Chiang Mai takes 2 hours.

We then took the Lomprayah high-speed catamaran to Koh Samui, which takes about 45 minutes.  You can use this ferry if you’re going on to Koh Tan or Koh Phangan.

If you’re on a budget, take the overnight train or bus from Chiang Mai to Surat Thani, then take the ferry.

It is worth noting that the airport is about 45 minutes from the port area, so allow time for this transfer when booking your ferry.

Accommodation in Surat Thani

Baansuan Resort in Surat Thani, Thailand

We stayed overnight at the Baansuan Resort, in Don Sak, Surat Thani.  We were given two basic chalets, which were fine for a one night stopover.  The accommodation was cheap, but didn’t include breakfast.  However, there was a decent roadside restaurant at the end of the lane.

After breakfast we took a taxi straight to the port, so didn’t have a chance to explore Surat Thani.  Baansuan Resort is about 4km to the port.  Check you have the right one for your trip, as there are several ports in Surat Thani.

Click here to book the Baansuan Resort in Surat Thani.

Days 14-21: Koh Samui

Of course, you can’t visit Thailand without some time on one of the beautiful beaches.  So, part four of our 4-week Thailand itinerary is in Koh Samui.

Koh Samui is Thailand’s second largest island and a great destination, whatever your age.  Although it has a reputation as a party island, it’s perfect for families and chilling on the beach too.

If you’re going in the rainy season like us, this side of Thailand is generally dryer than other islands like Phuket and Krabi.  In August, the weather was hot and dry, with regular short rain showers early evening.

Mae Nam Beach, Koh Samui, Thailand

Accommodation in Koh Samui

Our accommodation in Koh Samui was amazing.  We stayed in a private 2-storey villa at the Green Coconut Resort, in Bang Por.  This is on the north-west side of Koh Samui, which was very tranquil

The villa overlooks a sandy beach and is within walking distance of several restaurants, a beach bar, and shops.  It has a lovely swimming pool, which we often had to ourselves.

Click here to book the Green Coconut Resort, Koh Samui

Activities in Koh Samui

Pig Island Experience, Koh Samui, Thailand

As well as spending time on the beach, we found plenty to see and do on Koh Samui.  Some of the top attractions include the Goddess of Mercy statue, the Laughing Buddha, and Wat Plai Laem (the Lady Monk Temple).  One of the easiest ways to see the sights is with a Koh Samui highlights tour. This group excursion will take you to each of Koh Samui’s top attractions for 30 minutes.

This is the Koh Samui island highlights tour that we did.

If you’re looking for more unusual things to do on Koh Samui, try a visit to the Mummified Monk or the Hin-Ta and Hua-Yai Rocks (boulders resembling genitals!)

We also booked a few day trips from Koh Samui, including a half-day excursion to Pig Island.  Yes, that’s right, an island with pigs!  If you fancy island hopping, try a day trip to Ang Thong Marine National Park.  Another popular option is a snorkelling excursion in Koh Tao.

READ MORE:  18 best things to do in Koh Samui

Days 22-24: Khao Sok National Park

Our final destination before heading back to Bangkok is Khao Sok National Park.  This is Thailand’s newest national park and is becoming increasingly popular with visitors.

Khao Sok National Park is one of the oldest rainforests in the world and is one of Thailand’s most beautiful destinations.  It’s the perfect location for anyone who likes nature, wildlife, and adventure activities.

Getting from Koh Samui to Khao Sok National Park

We travelled by minivan from Surat Thani to Khao Sok (135 km).  There’s a good road system and shops and markets you can stop at on the way.  It’s a scenic journey that takes about 3 hours.

There are also good public transport links to Khao Sok National Park, which contributes to its popularity.

Accommodation in Khao Sok National Park

View of two story Treehouse at Our Jungle Camp, Khao Sok National Park, Thailand

The most unique accommodation during our 4 weeks in Thailand was a treehouse in Our Jungle Camp.  Our treehouse was a two-storey house built on stilts.  It looked out over the trees, providing the perfect viewpoint for spotting monkeys in the evenings.

This amazing eco-resort is on the outskirts of Khao Sok village by the entrance to the national park.

Click here to book your own treehouse at Our Jungle Camp.

Activities in Khao Sok National Park

View of limestone cliffs from bow of boat, Cheow Lan Lake, Thailand

Our first activity in Khao Sok was tubing down the River Sok, which is loads of fun.  We also enjoyed jungle hikes, a tour of the organic farm, and wildlife spotting.  In fact, seeing the monkeys arrive in front of our balcony was one of the highlights of our Thai adventure.

Another of the best things to do in Khao Sok National Park is a day trip to Cheow Lan Lake. We booked a 1-day group tour, including a ride on a long-tail boat and visit to Diamond Cave.  We also did a short jungle walk to a waterfall and stopped for lunch on a floating restaurant.  Here we had time for kayaking and swimming in the emerald lake.

Do expect rain if you are visiting Khao Sok National Park.  After all, it is a rainforest!

READ MORE:  Our Jungle Camp, Khao Sok National Park – Our Review

Days 25-27: Bangkok

After 3 days in Khao Sok, we returned to Bangkok for the final stretch of our 4-week Thailand itinerary.  To get there, we had to return to Surat Thani to take a flight.

Getting from Khao Sok National Park to Bangkok

On our return, we took a minibus transfer from Our Jungle House back to Surat Thani airport.  This was organised by the accommodation and took about 2 hours.  From here, we flew with Air Asia to Don Mueang Airport in Bangkok.  This flight only took 1 hr 15 mins.

A cheaper alternative is to take a bus.

Accommodation in Bangkok

Silom Serene Hotel Pool, Bangkok, Thailand

Our second accommodation in Bangkok was at the Silom Serene Hotel.  It was walking distance from Lumphini Park and Patpong Market.

This was cheaper than our first hotel and the room was bigger.  However, the buffet breakfast was more expensive and nowhere near as good!

Click here to book the Silom Serene Hotel.

Activities in Bangkok

Snake Farm Bangkok, Thailand

As we’d seen many of Bangkok’s top attractions on our first visit, we wanted to discover a different side to the city.  Our first stop was Lumphini Park, a large urban park with free-roaming monitor lizards.  From here you can walk to The Bangkok Snake Farm, an interesting anti venom red cross complex and museum with a live snake show!

Our final day was spent in IconSiam Mall, a gigantic multi-purpose entertainment complex.  I never imagined spending so long in a shopping centre, but it is enormous and has loads to do.  As well as shopping and eating, we visited the Van Gogh Immersive Experience and the I-Max cinema.

Day 28: Fly home

The last day of an epic four weeks in Thailand!

If you’ve got an evening flight, you can spend some time relaxing at the pool, but allow time for the transfer.

Summary: the best 4-week Thailand itinerary

I hope our 4-week Thailand itinerary has provided some guidance and inspiration for planning your own trip.  It’s a beautiful country and there’s plenty for everyone to see and do.

It took us a long time to plan, but all felt the balance of locations and activities was just right.  Thailand is easy to travel around and food and activities are cheap.

Travel Resources for our 4-week Thailand itinerary

Here are some of the websites we use when planning our trips.

Discover accommodation to suit all budgets at

Get some of the most affordable prices on flights with Expedia

Look at some of the best tours and trips in Thailand

4-week Thailand itinerary - Frequently Asked Questions

When's the best time of year to visit Thailand?

You can visit Thailand all year round, but some times will be wetter than others.

Between November and early April you will have cooler temperatures and less rain.  Temperatures will between 32 and 36 degrees and you’ll have loads of sunshine.

If you go between March and October, you can expect more rain.  However, although it’s the rainy season it is still warm and doesn’t rain all day.

We went for our month in Thailand in August, as we had to fit in with school holidays.  It was very sunny and hot in Koh Samui, with rain early evening.  However, we did have more rain in northern Thailand, especially in Chiang Rai.  Obviously, one of the advantages of not going in the peak season is less tourists!

What currency does Thailand use?

The currency in Thailand is the Thai Baht (THB).

Many places still only accept cash, so it is useful to take currency with you.   There were ATMs and exchange counters everywhere we went, though you will get charged.  Remember to select “transaction without conversion”.

If you are using a credit card, make sure you use one that doesn’t charge.  We found the Halifax Clarity card to be very good for travelling abroad.

Do I need a visa to travel to Thailand?

Visitors from most countries can enter Thailand for 30 days without a passport.  You will receive this tourism visa on arrival (unless you are from an exempt country).

This is another reason why 4 weeks in Thailand is the perfect length!

Do I need a vaccinations for Thailand?

It is recommended to get vaccinated against Hepatitis A and Tetanus before travelling to Thailand.  You may need other vaccinations if you are travelling elsewhere in the country.  Check with your local travel clinic.

Why did you choose to travel to Thailand with kids?

Two rafts enjoying White water rafting, Chiang Mai, Thailand

We picked Thailand as it is so affordable for an extended holiday.  Plus, there is such a variety of activities.  Our kids love nature and wildlife, so loved the chance to meet elephants and see monkeys in the wild.  Plus, they really enjoyed the culture and the new experiences.

Another of the best reasons to take teens to Thailand is for the adventure activities.  They had so much fun white-water rafting, zip-lining, snorkelling and bamboo rafting.

Plus, they loved the food.  Luckily, our teens are really adventurous when it comes to food and were happy to try everything.  They really enjoyed sampling the new cuisine and couldn’t get enough of the different shakes.

Is Thailand safe for kids?

We found Thailand to be very safe for kids.  The people were friendly and the teens were happy to try new things, including the street food.

Unfortunately, some of the taxis didn’t have a seat belt for the middle person and you just have to embrace the amazing experience of being whisked around the streets in a tuk tuk.

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