Thailand itinerary help please!

Linda marshall

Level 2 Member
My husband and I are planning a trip to Thailand for our 30th anniversary next February. I have been working on our itinerary and would love some input from those “in the know" about Thailand travel

I have booked our flights (arriving in HongKong and departing from Bangkok 26 days later). To give you an idea what we are looking for, our interests generally include sightseeing- including nature (waterfalls, islands, jungle hikes, ricefields, etc.) as well as architectural/historical places of interest (temples, etc.) We enjoy hiking (he can do more rugged hikes- I’m more of a moderate hiker…) We love relaxing on the beach with a good book and of course I would love to do some shopping! Some specific interests/wish list things to do on this trip include; a cooking class, zipline tour (chiang mai?), jungle trek, elephant sanctuary, seeing monkeys (I could spend a whole day watching them!) temple visits, longboat tour of islands (especially limestone cliffs/karns) completing a scuba course (2-3 day) and possibly an additional dive, snorkeling, and definitely seeing phosphorescent plankton!

We enjoy meeting other friendly people and especially enjoy interacting with locals when possible. Spending at least part of the trip in a more quiet laid back beachy place would also be high on the list- though we don't want to feel/be totally isolated (other than maybe for a short visit somewhere). We aren't big partiers but definitely enjoy the energy of someplace with a vibrant nightlife as long as we can retreat to a quiet place at the end of the night.

I've done some research and here's the plan I've come up with so far:
Day1: arrive in Bangkok, fly directly to Chiang Mai
Days 2,3,4: Chiang Mai
Day 5: fly to Krabi or Phuket and transfer to Phi Phi Don via Ferry
Days 6,7,8,9,10: Phi Phi Don (complete scuba Open Water dive training- 3 days) do some island hopping (monkeys!)
Day 11: travel to Koh Samui
Days 12,13,14,15: Koh Samui
Day 16: travel to Koh Tao
Days 17,18: Koh Tao
Day 19: travel to khao sok national park (cheow lan lake for a couple days of quiet)
Days 20, 21: khao sok
Day 22: travel to Bangkok
Days 23, 24, 25: Bangkok
Day 26: Home

More thoughts/ considerations:
  1. It would be nice to spend a couple of days at the end the trip (before Bangkok) in the most relaxing place (Cheow Lan Lake) and do the more active stuff at the beginning of the trip (phi phi, scuba diving course, island hopping).
  2. Although it might be better to spend less time in the phi phi island area and more time on Koh Tao or Koh Samui- even do the scuba course there (Koh Tao). I couldn't figure out a logical way to do it-- Traveling to khao sok/Cheow Lan Lake (which I think would be a nice place to end our trip) really only makes sense if combined with Koh Samui/Koh Tao as it would be difficult to access from anywhere else. But I think I prefer to visit phi phi first because it will be more active.
  3. Wondering if we’re duplicating the scenery by going to both cheow lan lake and maya bay area (limestone karns).
  4. If places were more accessible and time wasn't a factor, ideally I would prefer to do the scuba course in Koh Tao (cheaper) and then maybe do another dive somewhere else (phi phi? Koh Lanta?). AND if landscape around Cheow Lan isn't significantly different than what we could see in phi phi islands/phuket, I would consider going to Koh Lanta or even all the way to Koh Lipe instead… maybe - Chiang Mai ➡Koh Tao/Samui-➡ phi phi islands-➡ Koh Lanta/Lipe-➡ Bangkok?
  5. Based on my research we probably could skip phi phi area or at least spend less time there (too touristy?). My primary reason for wanting to go there at all, besides the logistics mentioned above and the diving course, is a Sunset boat tour to Maya Beach that includes nighttime snorkeling in phosphorescent Plankton and a much less crowded time at the beach. this trip is out of Phi Phi Don….
  6. If we spent one less day in phi phi, where should we spend it? Chaing Mai? Bangkok? Samui or Koh Tao?
  7. ANY suggestions and or recommendations about what I have so far or options for better Islands is absolutely welcomed and appreciated!!
Thank You-


Level 2 Member
Wondering if we’re duplicating the scenery by going to both cheow lan lake and maya bay area (limestone karns).
You'll be packed like sardines at Maya Bay and pretty much anywhere near Phuket (with the possible exception of Mai Khao Beach). Cheow Lan Lake seems like a tranquil paradise. The scenery may be similar but the atmosphere will be totally different.