The 7 best road trips in Thailand

Joe Bindloss

Oct 30, 2023 • 10 min read

Photo taken in Ban Doi Lan, Thailand

The roads in Thailand are relatively well maintained, but driving rules are often flouted © Thattaphon Sukborwornophat / Getty Images

If your first port of arrival in Thailand is Bangkok, you might feel a little apprehensive about the idea of taking to the highway on a road trip. In the Thai capital, cars are stacked bumper to bumper, motorcycles duel for space with pedestrians and seemingly anything goes when it comes to road rules. But breathe easy: Bangkok is not all of Thailand.

Escape the capital and traffic conditions calm considerably, though you’ll still need to be cautious of speeding trucks and buses and the steady throng of motorcyclists. The good news is that Thailand’s roads are mostly well-maintained, car and motorcycle rental costs are moderate and there’s so much to see that even a short road trip takes on an air of adventure.

The smart way to road trip in Thailand is to start outside Bangkok, renting a vehicle in one of Thailand’s smaller towns. The further you go off the tourist trail, the quieter the roads and the more there is to discover in the towns and villages you pass through on the way. For inspiration, here are our favorite road trips in Thailand.

1. Mae Sa Valley

Best road trip for first-timers Chiang Mai–Chiang Mai; 80km (50 miles), allow one day

A great taster trip to get you used to driving or riding in Thailand, this circuit through the forested mountains north of Chiang Mai will introduce you to village life and the jade-green rainforest landscapes of northern Thailand. After leaving Chiang Mai, the crowds drop away as you get closer to Nam Tok Mae Sa , a natural swimming pool that makes a lovely picnic spot. 

Continue to the Queen Sikrit Botanical Gardens , a collection of plantations, walking trails and greenhouses, with a family-friendly natural history museum. From here, you enter a part of the country that was once used to grow opium poppies before hill tribe farmers were persuaded to switch to fruit and flowers by the Thai royal family.

Experience village life with a detour north to the Hmong community of Nong Hoi, where local restaurants at Mon Cham serve tasty village food and Thai fruit liqueurs in pavilions overlooking the valley. The loop back to Chiang Mai on the 1269 passes Samoeng village and a series of spectacular viewpoints where you can pause for photos, before swinging back into the Northern Thai capital.  

Planning tip: Get an early start to make the most of this day-long road trip. Grab a portable breakfast at the Talat Thanin food market before you set off.

Young woman walking in the Old Town of the Koh Lanta island, Thailand

2. Phuket to Satun and back

Best road trip for island adventures Phuket–Satun–Phuket; 1100km (690 miles) round trip, one week

Because of political unrest in Thailand’s far south, the Andaman Coast is best explored as an out-and-back road trip starting from Phuket , avoiding the troubled east coast. With hundreds of idyllic islands offshore, you’ll want to stop regularly for overnight sojourns on tropical islands along the way.

Starting with a seafood feast in Phuket, follow the Andaman Coast around Phang-Nga Bay, stopping for a boat trip around the otherworldly karst islands of Ao Phang-Nga Marine National Park . Keep following the bay south to Krabi and the epic rock-climbing cliffs around Railay , one of the world’s most enjoyable adventure sports hubs.

Let the coast call you south to Ko Lanta for more time on the sand, then return to the mainland to reach Trang , gateway to its own collection of idyllic karst islands. The final leg south passes through townships that feel almost Malaysian in character. Turn around at Satun and take a couple of days to snorkel and hike on the unspoiled islands of Ko Tarutao Marine National Park before you retrace your steps to Phuket.

Planning tip: The seas off the Andaman Coast can get very choppy from May to October and many ferry routes and some national parks close for the season, so it's best to avoid this time of year.  

Unidentified people walk at landmark and the famous street of Chiang Mai City in front of MAYA shopping store

3. Bangkok to Chiang Mai

Best road trip for history Bangkok–Chiang Mai; 583 km (362 miles), three to four days

If you’re brave enough to start from Bangkok, the drive from the capital to Chiang Mai packs in a lot of history and some of Thailand’s most spectacular ancient sites. The hardest part is the beginning, escaping Bangkok’s gravitational pull on route 347. Fortunately, it’s only 90 minutes to Ayuthaya , the first stop on the route.

Explore the ruins of the imperial city that was Siam’s capital from 1350 to 1767, then continue north on route 32, making a detour east to view Lopburi’s monkey-thronged Prang Sam Yot temple. Back on the highway, it’s a sustained slog north to Phitsanulok , where you can pay your respects to one of Thailand’s most revered Buddha images at Wat Phra Si Ratana Mahathat .

The next stop is stunning Sukhothai , whose ruined stupas and temples were the hub of a powerful Thai kingdom from the 13th to the 14th century. Break the journey north with a homestay at Ban Na Ton Cham or an overnight (or longer) stop in hip Lampang , where cool cafes throng with more local movers and shakers. Lamphun is another worthy stop before you roll into Chiang Mai and head straight for the night markets to feast.

Detour: To add some contemporary history to the trip, tack on a detour to Kanchanaburi between Bangkok and Ayuthaya. Made infamous by the Burma-Siam Railway, this town on the Mae Nam Khwae Yai river is today a hub for encounters with history and day trips to splash in the waterfalls of Erawan National Park .

Doi Inthanon Twin Pagodas at Inthanon Mountain Near Chiang Mai, Thailand

4. Mae Hong Son Loop

Best road trip for traveler vibes Chiang Mai–Chiang Mai; 604km (375 miles), four days

A more ambitious road trip from Chiang Mai meanders through the green hills to the southwest, following Route 108 and Route 1095 through the lively traveler town of Mae Hong Son . This twisting loop is famous for having 1864 curves and the Chamber of Commerce in Mae Hong Son issues souvenir certificates for drivers who complete the circuit. On the way, you can swing into some of the most interesting townships in northwest Thailand.

Leaving Chiang Mai on the 108, the first stop is Doi Inthanon National Park , a lush, green mountaintop that is one of the few places in Thailand to see temperatures dip below freezing. You’ll want to pause for a day or two at Mae Sariang, a relaxing riverside town that’s a great base for hiking and sustainable adventures in the hills. 

There’s time for another stop at Khun Yuam to explore wartime history before you roll into Mae Hong Son, one of northern Thailand’s best hubs for monastery-hopping and treks to hill tribe villages. On the loop back to Chiang Mai on route 1095, make stops at the Su Tong Pae bamboo bridge, the “Little Switzerland” of Pang Oung and the bustling traveler hub of Pai , where you can kick back for a while, enjoying everything from treks to yoga classes and cooking schools.

Planning tip: Be ready for cold temperatures at Doi Inthanon National Park; chilly fog can swirl around the summit year-round so bring a warm layer. 

Athletic tourist jumping in the clear Lake Ratchaprapha, Khao Sok Nationalpark,

5. Hua Hin to Surat Thani

Best road trip for low-key beaches Hua Hin–Surat Thani; 580km (360 miles) one-way, three to four days

Southern Thailand’s long, slender profile doesn’t lend itself to looping road trips, but there’s plenty to see by drifting along the coast. Start in Hua Hin , Thailand’s original beach resort, where one-way car rentals can be arranged through Thai Rent a Car . Slide south through the low-key, locals-oriented beach towns of Prachaup Khiri Khan, Ban Krut and Bang Saphan Yai to Chumphon , where the Muslim culture of southern Thailand starts to surface. Before ending the trip at Surat Thani , duck inland to Khao Sok National Park , a 160-million-year-old rainforest that provides shelter for bears, tapirs, gibbons, elephants and tigers, myriad birds and the enormous Rafflesia kerrii – the world’s largest flower. The fun doesn’t have to stop at Surat Thani; the town is a jumping-off point for the Gulf Islands of Ko Samui, Ko Pha-Ngan and Ko Tao, where you can bask, party and enjoy some of the world’s cheapest scuba diving.

6. Chiang Rai to Phayao

Best road trip for dramatic vistas Chiang Rai–Phayao; 250km (155 miles), three days

Chiang Rai is northern Thailand’s second great city – crammed with temples and cultural sites like Chiang Mai, but with less of a backpacker vibe. A stop at the “white wat” of Wat Rong Khun is almost obligatory if only to view the pop culture murals showing such diverse subjects as the 9/11 attacks and Keanu Reeves in The Matrix.

To reach the Lao border town of Chiang Khong , follow back roads through a region that was once notorious as the heart of the opium-growing Golden Triangle. Take your time drifting through villages tucked along forest-cloaked ridges, then stop for a day or two in Chiang Khong to soak up the Lao influences seeping in from Huay Xai across the Mekong River.

Divert south on the 1020 and follow routes 1093 and 1155 through dramatic emerald hills to epic viewpoints such as Pratu Siam and Phu Chi Fa. Pause to enjoy the hot waterfall at Nam Tok Phu Sang before you roll onwards to finish up in leafy Phayao , an overlooked northern Thai town with pretty wooden houses, wetland scenery and a lost-in-time mood that will give you a sense of what all of northern Thailand was like before the arrival of mass tourism. 

Planning tip: This route follows many back roads off the main highways; turnings are usually signposted, but if not, ask at roadside cafes and petrol pumps.  

Prasat Phanom Rung, Burirum Province, Thailand

7. An Isaan loop

Best off-the-beaten-track road trip Nakhon Ratchasima–Nakhon Ratchasima; 830km (515 miles), one week

Travelers gush about Thailand’s Isaan region – the tract of land running northeast from Bangkok against the Lao and Cambodian borders. In this gently slumbering corner of the country, the cuisine is spectacular, the pace of life unhurried and crowds are rare… in other words, conditions are perfect for a slow road trip by motorcycle. Spare yourself the drive out of Bangkok by taking a bus or train to Nakhon Ratchasima (Khorat) and pick up some wheels there.

Hit the trail and meander east through Phanom Rung Historical Park , a striking Khmer temple complex atop an extinct volcano. Track the Cambodian border eastward to reach Ubon Ratchathani , an off-the-tourist-track town studded with handsome monasteries and balanced beside the Mae Nam Mun river.  Loop through Yasothon (worth a stop during the rocket festival in mid-May) and lake-centered Roi Et to reach Prasat Puay Noi , a fine Khmer Hindu temple complex from the 12th century. Keep the Khmer theme going at Phimai , a grand temple ruin fusing Hindu and Buddhist motifs, then close the loop back in Nakhon Ratchasima, grazing on Isaan delicacies at RN Yard .

Planning tip: A big part of traveling in Isaan is sampling the food. Essential Isaan dishes to try include laab (a zesty ground meal salad with lime, mint, chili and toasted rice), som tam (a pounded salad of green papaya, green beans, peanuts and shrimp) and sai grok isaan (a sour, smoky, fermented pork sausage).

Tips for driving in Thailand

Thailand officially drives on the left, though be wary of locals flouting the rules, particularly motorcycles, which often ride against the traffic flow on the hard shoulder. Always give way to larger vehicles such as buses and trucks, and watch out for pedestrians. Driving slowly is always sensible. You can hire cars, motorcycles and scooters with a home driving license; take out as much insurance as is available and keep your license and passport (or copies of the identity pages) handy for police checks. 

This article was first published Oct 14, 2022 and updated Oct 30, 2023.

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Road trip in Thailand: The best itineraries for 7, 10, 15, 21 days and 1 month

Visit thailand by car: the 5 best road trip itineraries.

You’re planning to do a road trip in Thailand ?

Great idea!

Visiting Thailand by car is not very common and yet it’s for sure the best way to discover the country’s must-see attractions.

In order to help you plan your stay , I have prepared this guide with the 5 best road trips itineraries in Thailand depending on the duration of your stay (7 to 30 days).

For each duration, I will give you a summary of the itinerary as well as the link to read the detailed itinerary article I have written.

And at the end of this guide, I will also give you my list of the best accommodations in Thailand depending on your budget as well as my best tips to enjoy the perfect road trip.

Let’s plan your road trip!

What’s the best airport to start a road-trip in Thailand?

Rent a car for a road trip in thailand, thailand road trip: one week, 1) bangkok (2 days), 2) ayutthaya (1 day), 3) chiang mai (3 days), 4) phuket or krabi (3 days), 3) sukhothai (2 days), 4) chiang mai (3 days), 5) phuket or krabi (3 days), 6) koh lanta or koh yao noi (3 days), 7) return to phuket or krabi (1 day), 1) central thailand (3 days), 2) northern thailand (8 days), 3) south thailand (9 days), 1) central thailand (4 days), 2) northern thailand (9 days), 3) southern thailand (15 days), itinerary for the southern islands, where to stay in thailand during your road trip, when should you go on a thailand road trip, you’re traveling to thailand these articles will help you.

Thailand has several international and national airports. The best serviced are at:

  • Bangkok , the capital. There are 2 airports: Suvarnabhumi airport (where all international flights arrive) and Don Mueang airport for domestic flights or border countries such as Cambodia or Vietnam.
  • Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand
  • Chiang Rai , also in the North
  • Phuket , for the South and to visit the islands
  • Krabi , also in the South

For each of these itineraries in Thailand, whether for a week or 1 month, I’ve chosen arrival at Bangkok . Simply because it is the most convenient place to start driving through Thailand, going further north gradually.

If you are planning a road trip in Thailand, you will have to rent a car.

I always recommend booking a car from the airport because there you will have the greatest choice of international or national rental agencies and can therefore get the best prices.

A small specific detail about road trips in Thailand: you must rent a car car from Don Mueang airport and not from Suvarnabhumi airport, where you arrive. It is much more convenient to get your car back to Don Mueang when leaving Bangkok as this airport is directly on the way to the next stop.

You must also book your car in advance so that you have a choice of vehicle and prices that are much lower than those you get on the spot.

If you’ve ever visited my blog to organise your trips, you’ll know that I always recommend using Rentalcars.com for your car rentals. Canada , Greece , Sardinia , I can’t even count how many times I’ve rented cars from this website!

I find it really convenient to compare the prices of all the rentals and see the reviews from previous customers .

Rentalcars’ specific comprehensive coverage insurance system also ensures that you get recompensated for any costs incurred in the event of an accident or even theft of your car. And I can assure you that it works, and that the payouts are given rather quickly, you just have to send an email (They have reimbursed me for more than 1200 Euros to date).

Other benefits: the site guarantees you the best prices (it reimburses you if you find cheaper elsewhere) and the modification or cancellation is very often free until the last moment.

To compare the prices of a car rental in Thailand, just click on the button below:

Choose a rental agency that does not charge a one -way fee in case you take the car from Bangkok and return it at Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai.

In Thailand you drive on the left side of the road . If you are unfamiliar with this driving direction, take an automatic car.

No special advice for driving: the roads are in excellent condition , often with several lanes, free of charge and bordered by petrol stations. We had no problems during our whole trip in Thailand .

In this article I will give you a summary of each route in Thailand depending on the duration of your trip .

I will also post a link to the detailed itinerary, which contains all the things to do for each leg , the best hotels to stay at, and all my tips and plans!

For this first example, I have a road trip from Bangkok to explore Thailand by car for a week.

On this 1 week road trip in Thailand: Bangkok , Ayutthaya and Chiang Mai.

Day 1 and 2 – Exploring Bangkok:

  • The Grand Palace
  • Khao San Road
  • The Siam district

I have prepared a 2-day itinerary for Bangkok in this article: Visit Bangkok.

Day 3 – Visit to the Ayutthaya historical park and its ancient temples, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site

All the practical information to visit Ayutthaya is in this detailed article: How to visit Ayutthaya.

Days four, five, and six – Exploring the capital of Northern Thailand: Chiang Mai.

  • The old town and its many temples
  • Warorot market
  • The Night Bazaar
  • Doi Suthep National Park
  • Huay Tung Tao Lake
  • A day in an elephant sanctuary
  • A Thai cooking class

For more things to do in Chiang Mai, read my post: What are the things to do in Chiang Mai?

Day 7: The end of your trip, head to Chiang Mai Airport for your return flight.

If you would like to go on a week-long road trip in Thailand, please read our detailed article: One week itinerary in Thailand. 

Very practical, you will also find lots of good plans and hotels where you can stay every step of the way.  This is the best way to organise your trip easily! 

Wat Chai Watthanaram Ayutthaya

Thailand Road trip: 10 days

Second idea for a road trip, this time to visit Thailand by car in 10 days.

For this itinerary, you will leave from Bangkok and finish your stay in the South.

On the agenda for this 10-day road trip in Thailand:

  • Phuket or Krabi (choice)

You must start this 10-day road trip in Thailand with the capital, Bangkok . In addition to the day you arrive, you should stay there for 2 days to recover from the flight and jet lag.

Day one: Here’s an idea for your first day in Bangkok:

  • Siam Museum or Bangkok National Museum
  • Dinner cruise on the river

For the second day , continue your visit with Wat Saket, Chinatown and a walk in the Lumpini park. Then go shopping in the Siam district.

At the end of the day, don’t miss the Bayoke tower (Bangkok’s tallest tower) to admire a view of the city. Tickets can be booked here.

To best organise your exploration of Bangkok, read our article: Top 20 things to do in Bangkok.

Grand Palace Bangkok

The next day (day three) , for the rest of this 10-day road trip in Thailand, visit the historical park of Ayutthaya.

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it has several magnificent temples that you can see during the day.

If you want more details about Ayutthaya, please read my detailed article: Visit Ayutthaya.

Days four, five, and six shall be devoted to visiting Chiang Mai, the capital of northern Thailand.

The unmissable spots:

  • The old town of Chiang Mai where all the temples are located: Wat Phra Sing , Wat Chedi Luang or Wat Inthakhin Sadue Muang
  • Warorot market, the city’s largest market
  • The night market and/or the Saturday or Sunday evening market to buy souvenirs and taste street food
  • The Doi Suthep National Park, where the temple of the same name is located, offers a panoramic view of the whole province
  • Visit the elephants in a shelter
  • Take a cooking class to make delicious Pad Thai and currys.

And for other places to see in Chiang Mai, you will find information here: Chiang Mai: the definitive guide.

Elephants Thailand

Finish this 10-day road trip to Thailand by visiting the South, where you can enjoy the country’s most beautiful beaches.

From Chiang Mai, it is very easy to reach Phuket or Krabi in less than 2 hours.

For days seven, eight, and nine of your itinerary, you can choose between spending 3 days on Phuket Island or in Krabi province.

What are the things to see in Phuket and nearby?

  • Phuket Town
  • Monkey Hill
  • The beaches: Freedom Beach, Kata Beach, Karon Beach, Nai Harn Beach…
  • Koh Phi Phi
  • Similan Islands
  • James Bond Island

Details of all these places are in this article: What are the things to see in Phuket?

If you prefer to spend the end of your holiday in Krabi, you can:

  • Enjoy Ao Nang beach
  • Spend a day on the Railay Peninsula and its 2 beautiful sandy beaches
  • Take a boat trip to the 4 islands
  • Explore Koh Phi Phi
  • Visit the Hong Islands

Information on these activities can be found here: The best things to do in Krabi?

On the day ten , it will be time to take your return flight from Phuket or Krabi airport.

If you want more details about this 10-day road trip in Thailand , please read our detailed article: 10 day itinerary in Thailand.

You will also find our list of the best accommodations for each leg. As you’ll see, planning your 9-10 day trip to Thailand is fast and easy!

Krabi Railay Plage

Thailand Road trip: two weeks

If you go on a road trip in Thailand for 15 days , you will be able to divide your time between the central/northern part of the country and the south.

This 2-week road trip in Thailand I am suggesting also starts from Bangkok.

You will find all the details to organise this Thailand tour in our article: 2-week itinerary in Thailand.

I’ll summarise the legs of the journey below:

For this two-week road trip in Thailand, we will start by visiting Bangkok for 2 days.

You’ll have time to see many of the places we discuss in our Top 20 places to visit in Bangkok.

Days 1 and 2 – Things to do:

  • Bangkok National Museum
  • A river cruise
  • Bayoke Tower
  • Chinatown and Wat Traimit
  • The Siam neighbourhood with huge shopping centres

On day three of your 15-day road trip in Thailand, visit Ayutthaya , the ancient capital of the kingdom of Siam.

These ancient temples are now classified as UNESCO World Heritage sites.

The timings, prices, and temples that you should not miss , everything is included in my article dedicated to the historical park: Ayutthaya: the definitive guide.

Day Four: keep one day for travelling the 350 km from Ayutthaya to Sukhothai .

Day five – Visit the historical park of Sukhothai.

Like Ayutthaya, Sukhothai was one of the capital cities of the kingdom of Siam and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Here too, the best way to prepare for your visit is to read my article: How to visit Sukhothai.

Wat Mahathat Sukhothai

Day seven of your 15-day road trip in Thailand: Travel from Sukhothai and Chiang Mai , 300 km away.

On day eight, you must visit Chiang Mai Old Town. You should absolutely see all the temples there, including Wat Phra Sing and Wat Chedi Luang . At the end of the day, head for the Night Bazaar to eat at one of the many stands or buy some souvenirs.

Day nine – You have several options to finish exploring the city and its surroundings:

  • Explore Doi Suthep National Park, home to a temple, Bhubing Palace (the royal family’s winter residence), a Hmong village and several waterfalls.
  • Spend a day with the elephants at a shelter to help the caretakers feed or wash them.
  • Take a traditional cooking class, a typical activity to do in Thailand!

You will find all these activities and much more in my dedicated article: The top 20 things to do in Chiang Mai.

Visiting Thailand in 15 days also allows you to devote part of your stay to the South of the country.

From Chiang Mai, you must choose between Phuket and Krabi for the rest of your 2 week road trip in Thailand. To get there, you just have to catch a plane.

On days nine, ten, and eleven , you will have plenty of time to travel around Phuket Island or Krabi province.

For the best things to do in Phuket, be sure to read our article: Visit Phuket.

And to discover Krabi, you can read this article: The must-see spots in Krabi .

Phuket plage

After Phuket or Krabi , you can continue your road trip in Thailand with another Southern Island.

For days twelve, thirteen, and fourteen, you must choose between staying for 3 days at:

  • Koh Lanta to enjoy the beaches and go on beautiful trips around the 4 islands or Koh Rok .
  • Koh Yao Noi experience the authenticity of Thailand on an island which is still free of mass tourism.

You can find the detailed itinerary of each island by clicking on the name of the islands.

You know that now we are on day fifteen , and that means we are at end of your holiday.

For the return trip, you can catch your plane in Phuket or Krabi.

Just a reminder, I have explained this road trip in detail in my article: 2-week itinerary in Thailand.

You will also find plenty of tips and my selection of the best accommodation depending on your budget.

Diamond Cliff Koh Lanta

Thailand Road trip: 3 weeks

For a 3 week road trip in Thailand , you can divide your holiday into 3 main parts:

  • Central Thailand with Bangkok and Ayutthaya
  • The North , to discover Sukhothai, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai
  • The South , and its heavenly islands: Phuket , Koh Lanta , Koh Yao , Krabi .

To help you organise your three-week road trip in Thailand as best as possible, I explained everything in detail for each day in my article: 3-week itinerary in Thailand.

To know everything: the legs of the journey, places to visit, travel times and hotels , just click on the link above!

To give you an idea, I’ll give you a summary of the planned visits during these 3 weeks:

Start your 21-day road trip in Thailand by exploring the central part of the country for the first 3 days. This allows you to start slowly, recovering from jet lag and getting used to the climate.

Days 1 and 2 : Bangkok

Day 3 : Ayutthaya

Wat Yai Chaya Mongkon Ayutthaya

Continue your three-week road trip in Thailand by heading north.

Days 4 and 5 – Visit to Sukhothai Historical Park

Days 6, 7 and 8 – Explore Chiang Mai and its many temples

Days 9, 10 and 11 – Explore Chiang Rai and its surroundings, with the unmissable white temple, THE spot to see during a 3 week road trip in Thailand!

Chiang Rai White Temple

After these 11 days in the centre and North, it’s time to continue your 20-21 day road trip in Thailand by heading South.

Days 12, 13 and 14 – Stay at Phuket , one of the most famous islands of the Andaman Sea. Not only will you explore this island, but you’ll also take boat trips to Koh Phi Phi or the Similan Islands.

Days 15, 16 and 17 – Take a boat to Koh Lanta . The island has very beautiful sandy beaches and turquoise waters. And be sure you go on one of these trips, with snorkelling and swimming stops, to the 4 islands or Koh Rok.

Days 18, 19 and 20 – For the last 3 days, you can choose between 2 places to end your holiday:

  • Krabi and Ao Nang
  • Koh Yao Noi

In both cases, the schedule is not too busy: enjoy the beaches and work on your tan in relaxation mode.

Day 21 – End of your 3 week road trip in Thailand. If you are in Krabi, head for the city’s airport. If you are on Koh Yao Noi , you can choose to fly to Krabi or Phuket.

To read the full version of our 3 week itinerary, with advice and suggestions for accommodation, click here!

Koh Yao Noi

Thailand Road trip: 1 month

The last itinerary for the lucky few who can take a lot of time off: a month long road trip in Thailand!

For around thirty days, you can visit Bangkok and Ayutthaya in the centre but also much of the North with Sukhothai, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai.

Not to forget the other major part of this 1-month road trip in Thailand, exploring the South and its piucturesque islands. I mentioned Phuket, Koh Lanta , Krabi and Koh Yao Noi.

All the details to organise your stay in Thailand can be found in this article: Itinerary for visiting Thailand in 1 month. For each day, you will find the places to see , travel times and the best hotels to stay for each leg of the journey .

It has everything!  Preparing for your 1 month road trip in Thailand has never been easier!

Here is the summary of each leg of the journey to give you an overview:

For the first part of this month long road trip in Thailand, you must start with the central part of the country for 4 days.

Days 1 and 2: Explore Bangkok  and visit the main monuments such as the Grand Palace, Wat Pho and Wat Arun.

Day 3: Trip to the Damnoen Saduak floating market or to Kanchanaburi and the Kwai river bridge.

Day 4: Admire the beautiful ancient temples of the historical park of Ayutthaya.

Bangkok Grand Palace

The second leg of this 1 month long road trip in Thailand takes us North.

Days 5 and 6: Visit to the temples of the ancient capital of the kingdom of Siam, Sukhothai

Days 7, 8, 9 and 10: Cover the Chiang Mai Province

Days 11, 12 and 13: Finish your stay in the North with the town of Chiang Rai.

Big Buddha Chiang Rai

The last leg of your 30-day road trip in Thailand takes place entirely in the South of the country.

During these 15 days, you will be able to spend time on Phuket, Koh Lanta, Krabi and Koh Yao Noi.

Days 14, 15, 16 and 17: start with one of the mythical islands: Phuket! The whole itinerary for visiting Phuket in 4 days is in this article: What are the things to see in Phuket?

Days 18, 19, 20 and 21: Continue to another beautiful island: Koh Lanta. To visit Koh Lanta, just read this article: The best things to do in Koh Lanta?

Days 22, 23, 24 and 25: Head to the Krabi province, famous for the Railay peninsula, a splendid place to go to the beach. The itinerary is right here: Visit Krabi.

Days 26, 27 and 28: We will end with Koh Yao Noi, an island where you can relax and finish your holiday in peace and quiet. To know what are the things to do in Koh Yao Noi, click here: The most beautiful places in Koh Yao Noi. 

Koh Yao Noi tour scooter

I have also prepared 2 itineraries exclusively for the Southern islands.

I won’t include them in the “road trip” category because you won’ t necessarily need a car to travel around the islands and you can get from one island to the other by boat.

You can find them here:

  • 7 day itinerary in South Thailand with 2 versions: one from Phuket and the other from Krabi.
  • 15-day itinerary in Southern Thailand with no less than 4 islands on the agenda: Phuket, Koh Lanta, Krabi and Koh Yao Noi.

These itineraries are similar to the road trips with the day-to-day plans and the sights to see.

Now you know how to organise your Thailand road trip, but there is another important point to address: accommodation.

Where to stay during each leg of your itinerary in Thailand?

Easy, I have prepared a selection of the best hotels to stay in Thailand, sorted by city and budget , for all the road trips I mentioned earlier.

You can find those by clicking on the links below:

For central and Northern Thailand:

  • Best hotels in Bangkok 
  • Where to stay in Ayutthaya?
  • Accommodation in Sukhothai
  • Best accommodation in Chiang Mai
  • List of hotels in Chiang Rai

For Southern Thailand:

  • Best hotels in Phuket
  • Where to stay in Koh Lanta?
  • Accommodation in Krabi
  • Best accommodation in Koh Yao Noi

Phuket Marriot Resort & Spa - Hôtel de luxe à Phuket

For a road trip in Thailand , the best time is from November to February . These months are the “cold” season.

When I say “cold”, you should expect between 25 to 30° on average towards Bangkok or the South, and a little less towards the North, where temperatures can drop quickly, especially at night. Generally, the climate is hot and humid any month of the year.

The months of December and January are particularly popular among Europeans who come to Thailand to spend the holiday season and get away from the grey skies. If you are going to Thailand during this period, I strongly recommend that you book your accommodation as soon as possible as prices increase quickly.

If you want to avoid peak tourist season while enjoying the most favourable climate, I would say that February is the best month to visit Thailand by car.

Between March and May , it is the summer . If you can’t stand the heat, exploring the country can be challenging. Not to mention that the vegetation tends to dry out very quickly and the landscapes are less beautiful.

But if you like the heat and especially if you have a hotel with a swimming pool or on the seafront , you can still have a great holiday!

Between June and October, there’s the rainy season. It may rain every day on your road trip but good news it usually lasts only a few hours and not all day. However, it is difficult to withstand the combined heat with that much humidity. 

It is better to avoid the islands located on the west coast of the Andaman Sea (Phuket and Koh Lanta for example) which face heavy rainfall that can lead to flooding. Some islands can also be inaccessible as boat connections are cut off. 

Choose the islands on the East coast of the Andaman Sea that are less affected at that time, like Koh Samui.

However, on the other hand, it rains more in the East between September and December and at that time it will be better to plan a stay to the West of the Andaman Sea to visit the islands.

So what have you planned to see on your road trip in Thailand?

Thailand travel Guides

  • Buy the Lonely Planet Thailand guide on Amazon.com or on Amazon.co.uk
  • Buy the DK Eyewitness Thailand guide on Amazon.com or on Amazon.co.uk

Discover all my articles about Thailand : All my articles to help you plan your trip to Thailand are listed there.

The 25 Best Things to Do in Thailand

  • Itinerary: One week in Thailand – Perfect to visit Bangkok, Ayutthaya and Chiang Mai!
  • Itinerary: 6,7 or 8 days in Thailand – 2 itineraries to the southern islands, starting from Phuket or Krabi
  • Itinerary: 10 days in Thailand – The perfect itinerary to discover the best of Thailand!
  • Itinerary: 2 weeks in Thailand – Discover Bangkok, Ayutthaya, Sukhothai, + Best Southern islands!
  • Itinerary: 15 days in Thailand – The best itinerary to visit the most beautiful Southern islands
  • Itinerary: 3 weeks in Thailand – Discover the best of Thailand in 20-21 days
  • Itinerary: 1 month in Thailand – The most complete itinerary to visit Thailand!
  • Road trip in Thailand: The best itineraries for 7, 10, 15, 21 and 30 days
  • Ayutthaya: The definitive guide to visit the archaeological park
  • Bangkok: The 30 best places to visit
  • Chiang Mai: The 20 best things to do
  • Chiang Rai: The 17 must-see attractions
  • Koh Lanta: The 15 most beautiful places to see on the island
  • Koh Yao Noi: All the things to do on this paradise island!
  • Krabi: Top 17 best places to visit
  • Phuket: The 23 best things to do
  • Sukhothai: How to visit the historical park?
  • 3 days in Bangkok – The best itinerary to visit the Thai capital in 72h!
  • 3 Days in Chiang Mai – The perfect itinerary to visit the Chiang Mai in 72h!

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Creator of the Voyage Tips blog, travel and photography lover. I give you all my best tips to plan your next trip.

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The Travel Intern

4D3N Khao Yai Itinerary — The Whimsical City Just 3 Hours From Bangkok

road trip ke bangkok

A 3-hour drive from Bangkok lies a city filled with wineries, farms, and massive floral fields. Wait what? That exists in Thailand? Yes it does, and you can find it all in Khao Yai. Here’s how to cover all the must-eat-see-do in this 4D3N Khao Yai itinerary.

Lala Mukha Tree House Loft - Khao Yai Itinerary

Bangkok has been my go-to getaway whenever there’s a short window for travelling. Flights are fairly cheap (being only 3 hours away), food is delicious and affordable, and it’s easy to get around. But there’s only so much the city can continue to excite us, restless travellers.

Right after we landed in Bangkok this time, we drove 3 hours north to the city of Khao Yai where we spent four days exploring places we hardly expected to see in Thailand.

Pre-trip Essentials

PB Wine Valley - Khao Yai Itinerary

Best time to visit: Khao Yai is generally a few degrees cooler than Bangkok but the cool weather and clear skies are best experienced during the post-monsoon/winter season between November – February (flights then are relatively cheap too!). Average temperatures in the day hover around a comfortable mid-20 and drop to 10–15°C at night.

Getting around: Many key sights can be up to an hour’s drive away. There are also no metered taxis or ride-hailing apps around here. So we booked an affordable 4-day private car charter through Klook which gave us complete freedom to decide what we wanted to experience each day in Khao Yai. More on that below!

*Pro-tip: Use code <THETRAVELINTERN> on Klook to get 5% off all activities with a min. spend of S$50 (discount cap at S$15). Apply the promo code upon checkout. One-time use only!

Connectivity: 8-day unlimited data SIM card (pick up from BKK airport)

Travel insurance:  TravelCare covers medical overseas expenses including adventurous activities cover (starts from $4.50/day )

Read also : 11 Whimsical Accommodations in Khao Yai for an Extra Magical Holiday

Arrive in Bangkok

If you’re landing at Suvarnabhumi Airport, you can spot the drivers waiting outside Gate 4 with distinct orange (Klook) signboards. We met our driver, bought some breakfast and were on our way.

*Pro-tip:  The ride will take 2.5–3 hours so grab yourself some food at the airport’s Family Mart. You can get a pretty decent Thai Basil Rice set with a runny fried egg for ฿65.

Yellow Submarine Coffee Tank

Yellow Submarine Coffee Tank - Khao Yai Itinerary

After a 2.5-hour drive, we took a coffee stop at the Yellow Submarine Coffee Tank . The black walls and minimalist architecture attract many locals who use the various corners for a mini photoshoot.

Yellow Submarine Coffee Tank Hokkaido Coffee - Khao Yai Itinerary

But don’t just come for the photos, some notable items on the menu include their Hokkaido Coffee (฿140) and Charcoal Honey Toast (฿185), which comes with a delicious scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Yellow Submarine Coffee Tank Charcoal buttered Toast - Khao Yai Itinerary

The coffee was alright but the charcoal toast was pretty good! It was crisp, evenly buttered throughout and compliments well with the vanilla ice cream.

Cost: From ฿140/dish Opening hours:  9AM – 6PM (Mon – Thu), 9AM – 7PM (Fri – Sun), closed on Tues and PH How to get there:   11min drive from Khao Yai National Park ( Google Maps )

*Note: Might be closed on weekdays during the low season.

Primo Piazza

Primo Piazza Ice cream - Khao Yai Itinerary

Just a 3-minute drive from Yellow Submarine Coffee Tank is the famous Primo Piazza  — an Italian-themed village with vintage buildings.

Drop by the cafe for some brunch or the ice cream parlour to cool off under the midday sun.

Merino Sheep at Primo Piazza - Khao Yai Itinerary

But perhaps the greatest highlight here is the sheep, donkeys, and alpacas! Your entry ticket can be exchanged for a bunch of animal feed which serves as a good bribe for photos with the animals 😀.

Primo Piazza Alpacca - Khao Yai Itinerary

Entrance fee:  ฿200 Opening hours:  9AM – 6PM How to get there:   11min drive from Khao Yai National Park ( Google Maps )

Dinner at Krua Kampan

Kua Kampan Thai Food - Khao Yai Itinerary

After exploring hipster cafes, and walking through little Italy, we were craving some homely Thai food and chanced upon Kua Kampan — a 10-minute drive from Palio. Its cosy, open-air setting and affordable prices turned out to be quite popular with local tourists.

Kua Kampan - Khao Yai Itinerary

The centrepiece is a modified boat made to accommodate a couple of tables on the deck. Popular dishes here are the Red Curry with Snails (฿200) — snails were alright but the curry was really good, and Red Ruby Fish (฿320) — the fish was massive! If there are only two of you, the grilled mackerel (฿220) is a good alternative.

Cost: From ฿200/dish Opening hours:  9AM – 9PM How to get there: 8min drive from Khao Yai National Park ( Google Maps )

PB Wine Valley

Shiraz Wine at PB Wine Valley - Khao Yai Itinerary

Start the day early and hop on the 9AM winery tour at PB Wine Valley — a 350-hectare vineyard and the largest in Khao Yai.

PB Wine Valley Grapes - Khao Yai Itinerary

At 350m above sea level, the conditions are perfect for growing certain varieties of wine grapes, as well as other seasonal fruits you can find here.

PB Wine Valley Tour - Khao Yai Itinerary

The tour leaves four times daily (9:15AM, 11:15AM, 1:15PM, and 3:15PM) and will bring you through vineyards, the wine factory, and of course, to taste some wine. Kids as well as those who aren’t up for alcohol can ask for a full glass of 100% Shiraz Grape juice (non-alcoholic) instead.

Cost:  From ~S$14/pax for a 70-minute tour around the winery (includes 3 wine tasters) Opening hours: 8AM – 8PM (Sun – Thu), 8AM – 10PM (Fri and Sat) How to get there: 26min drive from Khao Yai National Park ( Google Maps )

Farm Chokchai

Farm Chokchai Tractor - Khao Yai Itinerary

This 100-hectare farm holds tours twice a day from Tuesdays to Fridays and every 20 minutes over the weekends. Unfortunately, we couldn’t book the tour but heard great reviews from the other travellers we met in Khao Yai.

Farm Chokchai Sheep - Khao Yai Itinerary

The tour brings you through the farm’s agriculture processes, a rodeo show and even has ice cream-making classes (only available through pre-booking).

Farm Chokchai ATV Ride - Khao Yai Itinerary

If you miss the farm tour, there are also ATV rides (฿360) that bring you into the forest and an open farm with sheep and horses you can feed for ฿40. There’s also a Chokchai Museum that houses a wide range of collections from cowboy merchandise to vintage cars and cameras.

Cost:  ฿300 for a 2-hour Farm Tour Farm tours:  10AM and 2PM (Tues – Fri); 10AM, 11AM, 1PM, 2PM (Sat, Sun and PH); closed on Mondays unless it’s a PH How to get there: 30min drive from PB Wine Valley ( Google Maps )

*Note:  Pre-book the tour by calling +66 4493 5504

Ban Mai Chay Nam

Ban Mai Chay Nam Superman - Khao Yai Itinerary

Ban Mai Chay Nam is so much more than just a restaurant. While walking in, you’ll see an extensive collection of characters like Superman, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, and even Colonel Sanders. Walking through the corridor to our tables was a whole journey of childhood nostalgia.

The place is huge but can get quite crowded during lunch hours as tour buses will make a stop here.

Ban Mai Chay Nam Food - Khao Yai Itinerary

We ordered papaya salad (฿60), a medium-sized plate of fried rice with generous servings of real crab meat (฿150), and tom yum soup (฿200) which were all really tasty and priced affordably.

Cost: From ฿60/dish Opening hours:  9AM – 9PM How to get there: 20min drive from Farm Chokchai ( Google Maps )

Baan Suan Noi (Hobbit House)

Baan Suan Noi Hobbit House Bridge - Khao Yai Itinerary

After lunch, wean off your food coma with a 40-minute nap in the car before arriving at Baan Suan Noi; known as the Hobbit House.   Primarily an accommodation (that gets booked up really quickly ) you can also visit just to take photos and explore the area.

There’s even a whole room full of costumes ranging from Snow White to Harry Potter and of course, The Hobbit characters. Some of the unbooked rooms are even left open for anyone to explore.

Baan Suan Noi Hobbit House - Khao Yai Itinerary

There are 13 themed rooms in either Hobbit or Santorini style.

Baan Suan Noi Santonrini House - Khao Yai Itinerary

Have to say I was really quite impressed with the Santorini rooms. Not only because of its all-white theme but the little details like the curvatures in the wall and the little trinkets in the room really reminded me of our Airbnb when we were in Santorini .

Baan Suan Noi Santorini Room - Khao Yai Itinerary

Cost:  ฿50 (Entrance Only); ฿100 (Entrance + Costume Rental) Opening hours: 8AM – 11PM How to get there:  32min drive from Ban Mai Chay Nam ( Google Maps )

Dinner at Midwinter Green

Midwinter Green Evening - Khao Yai Itinerary

Up for a castle dining experience? Head to Midwinter Green an hour before the sun sets so you can see the place when there’s still natural light but also at its most beautiful when the outdoor lights go on.

Midwinter Green - Khao Yai Itinerary

If you’re visiting in the cooler seasons, ask for the outdoor seats so you can enjoy the cool evening breeze and live music, while dining with a view of the castle.

Dishes cost around the same as cafes in Singapore which isn’t too pricey considering the setting and service. We ordered the pork ribs with BBQ sauce (฿490) as well as the Aglio Olio (฿295) which was really fragrant and a must-try for spicy food lovers.

Cost: From ฿295/dish Opening hours: 10AM – 10PM (Sun – Thu), closes at 11PM on Fri and Sat How to get there: 31min drive from Baan Suan Noi ( Google Maps )

Day 3: Khao Yai National Park

Khao Yai National Park Aeriel View - Khao Yai Itinerary

Spanning across 2,000 square kilometres, Khao Yai National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is home to lots of wildlife like elephants, deers, otters and gibbons.

Grab a map from the Visitor Centre before going on self-guided treks to check out waterfalls and viewpoints where you can overlook the vast greenland. Most of the treks are fairly easy and straightforward, with the option of getting your driver to drop you close to the lookout point.

Entrance fee:  ฿400 and ฿50/car Opening hours: 6AM – 6PM How to get there: 10min from Primo Piazza ( Google Maps )

Haew Narok Waterfall

Khao Yai National Park Haew Narok - Khao Yai Itinerary

Starting from the furthest point, and also the tallest waterfall in the National Park, Haew Narok measures 100m high. From the closest drop-off point, it’s an easy 900m walk to the lookout point.

If you’re game, there’s also a rocky path from the left side of the barrier where you can climb down to the base. It might look really steep but you’ll see lots of families with young kids attempting the trail too.

Recommended time: 1.5 hours Opening hours:  8AM – 5PM

Pa Deo Die Cliff (Also spelt Pha Diao Dai/Pha Diew Die)

Khao Yai National Park Pha Diao Dai Cliff - Khao Yai Itinerary

There are a couple of scenic viewpoints from the Pak Chong Entrance towards the visitor centre but Pa Deo Die is arguably the best. There’s a raised wooden path that makes the cliff easily accessible and a round trip around the path only takes 15 – 20 minutes.

Although there are warning signs against getting too close to the edge, the flat boulders are pretty safe to hang your legs over as you enjoy the panoramic view upfront.

Recommended time:  30 – 45 minutes

Haew Suwat Waterfall

Khao Yai National Park - Haew Suwat Waterfall - Khao Yai Itinerary

Haew Suwat Waterfall is much easier to access than Haew Narok Waterfall so you’ll see a bigger crowd here; though there are more vantage points so you’re more likely to get a photo without getting photobombed. The waterfall is 25m high and splits into two separate streams. You can even walk to the back of the waterfall although you’ll probably get a little bit wet.

Recommended time:  1 hour

Night Safari

Elephants in Khao Yai National Park - Khao Yai Itinerary

At the visitor centre, you can pre-book your night safari for ฿500 a car (fits up to 10 pax) which goes out at two timings (7PM and 8PM). Although if you’re lucky (like us 😀) you can spot wild elephants during the day from the grassland between Haew Narok and the visitor centre.

Khao Yai National Park Elephants - Khao Yai Itinerary

Popular animals spotted on the safari ride other than elephants include deer, otters, oxes and gibbons. Cost:  ฿500/vehicle Tour timings: 7PM and 8PM

*Pro-tip:  Bring along a sweater as temperatures tend to dip quite a bit at night.

Pak Chong Night Market

Pak Chong Night Market - Khao Yai Itinerary

After a whole day of hiking, the yummy street food at the Pak Chong Night Market was a treat.

Pak Chong Night Market insects snack - Khao Yai Itinerary

Not the most appetising but it wasn’t as bad as expected!

Some of our favourite finds here were the Mango Sticky Rice (฿60 for a whole mango and generous servings of rice), fresh fruits like papaya (฿20, neatly cut and packed in a box), instant noodle salad (฿60) and the Chilli Cheese Fries (฿39).

Pak Chong Night Market Fries - Khao Yai Itinerary

Cost: From ฿20/dish Opening hours:  5PM – 10PM How to get there:  32min from Khao Yai National Park ( Google Maps )

Read also : Thailand Road Trip Guide: 5 Epic Ideas Under 3hrs from Bangkok

Our flight back to Singapore wasn’t until at night so we had the afternoon to explore before driving back to Bangkok.

Brunch at The Chocolate Factory

Chocolate Factory Cakes - Khao Yai Itinerary

Although called the  Chocolate Factory , this glass building is actually more of a restaurant with a pastry and chocolate store on the first floor.

Chocolate Factory Kitchen - Khao Yai Itinerary

When you enter, there’s also a small glass kitchen where you can observe chocolate products in the making.

Chocolate Factory Cafe Chocolate dome - Khao Yai Itinerary

The restaurant serves a wide range of Western to local Thai food with mains starting from ฿180.

Opening hours:  11AM – 10PM How to get there:  12min drive from Khao Yai National Park ( Google Maps )

Jim Thompson Farm

Jim Thompson Farm Flower Field- Khao Yai Itinerary

Saving the best for the last (partially also because it was the most out of the way), it takes about 2 hours to drive to the Jim Thompson Farm but if you love flowers, the scale of these flower fields are well worth it!

Jim Thompson Sunflowers - Khao Yai Itinerary

These sunflowers are taller than the average human being!

Sunflower Field at Jim Thompson - Khao Yai Itinerary

Don’t get too carried away though as it takes around 3 hours to drive back to Bangkok in moderate traffic.

Jim Thompson Pumpkin Patch -Khao Yai Itinerary

There’s also a food court within the Jim Thompson Farm at very affordable prices. Grab a bowl of noodles or rice with curry before heading off for the airport.

Entrance fee: ฿160 (Weekdays), ฿190 (Weekends) Opening hours:  9AM – 5PM How to get there:  2hr drive from The Chocolate Factory ( Google Maps )

Accommodation in Khao Yai

1) luxury: lala mukha tented resort.

Lala Mukha Eco Safari Tent - Khao Yai Itinerary

Not only is the tent interior one of the cosiest we’ve experienced, the surroundings at  Lala Mukha Tented Resort  is so gorgeous you don’t really want to leave the resort, no kidding!

Lala Mukha Tented Resort - Khao Yai Itinerary

The area is surrounded by mountains, plenty of greenery and not to mention how cutely designed the accommodation is. You get to pick from three choices:

Loft Tree house — has one double and two single beds

Deluxe Savana Tent — comes with attached shower and toilet

Eco Safari Tent — no attached bathroom but comes with a living room area, a fridge, a sofa and a TV.

Lala Mukha Shared Toilet - Khao Yai Itinerary

We got the Eco Safari Tent as all the others were fully booked but loved every bit of it! The shared bathrooms weren’t too far away from the tents, modernly designed and were exceptionally clean!

Lala Mukha Tented Resort Breakfast - Khao Yai Itinerary

Breakfast with a view.

All the tents come with air conditioning although if you’re here from November to January, you’ll want to roll down the tent windows and enjoy the cool, crisp air outside.

Lala Mukha Infinity Swimming Pool - Khao Yai Itinerary

Did we mention there’s also a gorgeous infinity pool overlooking the lake?!

Cost:  From ~S$192/night (2 pax) How to get there:  5min drive from Khao Yai National Park ( Google Maps)

2) Fun: The Kids Adventure Khao Yai

Khao Yai The Kids Adventure - Khao Yai Itinerary

Located just 500m from the northern entrance of Khao Yai National Park , The Kids Adventure Khao Yai is a great mid-range alternative.

Khao Yai The Kids Adventure - Khao Yai Itinerary

These are two storied lofts with attached bathrooms in a small but cosy space. However because the beds are located upstairs and cold air sinks, you might want to turn the air conditioning a little colder than you’re usually used to.

Khao Yai The Kids Adventure Loft - Khao Yai Itinerary

Being a kid-friendly accommodation, there are free archery and golf stations you can use anytime.

Khao Yai the kids adventure tents - Khao Yai Itinerary

Cost:  From S$45/night (2 pax) How to get there: 7min walk from Khao Yai National Park ( Google Maps )

3) Budget: At Home Hostel

road trip ke bangkok

Photo credit: Booking.com

Located within walking distance from Pak Chong Night Market, At Home Hostel is one of the first few that opened in Khao Yai and is run by a friendly couple.

road trip ke bangkok

It’s great if you’re here without your own private driver as you can meet and share transport with the other guests staying here.

road trip ke bangkok

Cost: From ~S$27/pax (dorm bed) How to get there:  7min drive from Khao Yai National Park ( Google Maps )

Khao Yai Custom Tours

3 Pax Car Klook Custom Tour from Suvarnabhumi Airport - Khao Yai Itinerary

How this custom tour works is, you’ll be assigned a driver who’ll pick you up from Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi, Don Muang or your hotel) and drive 3 hours north to Khao Yai. Each day, you can plan out a 12–hour itinerary to fit around three to five attractions depending on the distance.

*Pro-tip: Use code <THETRAVELINTERN> on Klook to get 5% off all activities with a min. spend of S$50 (discount cap at S$15). Apply the promo code upon checkout. One-time use only!

Read also : Ultimate Khao Yai Guide — 25 Things to Do in Khao Yai

The regular salon cars will cater for three to four passengers but if you’re going with a bigger group, there’s also the option of picking a van for up to 10 passengers . We spoke to travellers in Khao Yai who booked a van with other tour agents and realised Klook’s prices were a lot lower!

If you’d like to follow our itinerary, here’s the concise version:

Day 1: Yellow Submarine Coffee Tank, Primo Piazza, Kua Kampan, back to accommodation

Day 2:  PB Wine Valley, Farm Chokchai, Ban Mai Chay Nam Restaurant, Hobbit House, Midwinter Green, back to the accommodation

Day 3:  Khao Yai National Park, Pak Chong Night Market

Day 4:  Chocolate Factory, Jim Thompson Farm, Suvarnabhumi Airport

For PB Wine Valley and Farm Chokchai , be sure to call up the office to make reservations for the tour at least one day before going. For us, we arrived on a Sunday and many tours were fully booked but our driver was generally quite flexible about making on-the-spot improvisations. Just be sure to have a list of all the places you intend to cover and your driver can help plan the most efficient route.

We hope you found this 4D3N Khao Yai itinerary useful!

Read also: 5D4N Khao Kho Itinerary — The ‘Thai Alps’ just outside Bangkok

This article was first published on 17 Dec 2017 and updated on the date above! If spot any changes to the locations, do let us know in the comments below so we can keep the content updated and fresh!

This post was brought to you by Klook .

For more travel inspiration, follow us on  Facebook ,  Instagram ,  YouTube , and  Telegram !

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75 comments.

Thanks for all the information. Really very helpful as we are planning for a trip in 2018 feb to Khao Yai.. can you also mention overall budget for 4d3n if we follow exactly the same itinerary?

Hi Deepti, we spent about SGD1100 for 2pax excluding flights from Singapore. It can be easily $3-400 cheaper if you pick alternative accommodations, and eat less at the restaurants!

Hi SGD1100, the KLOOK helps to book accommodations as well and included your for expenditure? How much did you spent on just booking the private car?

We paid around $570 for 4 days because we planned to visit places like the Jim Thompson Farm and the Hobbit House which are a little further out. If you’re not visiting these places, it’s around S$480 for 4 days. More info here: http://bit.ly/fussfree-Khaoyai

Hi Cherie, thank you so much for the recommendation. Yours is a private tour right? Any idea if the price same for mini van?

Nope it costs more but fits up to 10pax! You can check out the latest price by “pretending” to book!

Hi Cherie. For the klook package, is it necessary to book with the Guide option?

Nope! You can just pick the option of a driver but some drivers might have a limited command of English.

Hi! Thanks for these info it sure helps us for our upcoming trip in Mar18. One qn thou, does the customised tour by Klook includes the transfer to Lala Mukha? Thanks!:) Ida

Hi Ida, Yes! The tour is fully customisable so you just need to include it in your itinerary when planning the trip with your driver.

Hi Cherie, after reading yours, i totally fall in love & decide Khao Yai for my next vacay nex month for 4D3N…Do i need to book the driver for 4days? Pls advice.. tia

Awesome! If you’re following our itinerary, the 4 day package will fit perfectly 🙂

hi Cherie. Thanks for these info it sure helps us for our upcoming trip in Mar 28th to mar 31st . we will go with 4 adults ( me and my husband and our parent) and a toddler. i will skip your day 3 trip plan, any recommendation for us?

Hi Jenny! The National Park isn’t that tough as the waterfalls are well marked with clear trails and steps. For the elderly it might be tiring but if they are the adventurous kind, it shouldn’t be a problem! We saw many children and toddlers as well.

For ideas, this post might be more useful! https://thetravelintern.com/25-things-to-do-in-khao-yai/

With the family, you guys might want to travel slower and cover less places as well, so the extra day can be used to take things slow. Hope this helps!

– hendric

Hi hendric, during touring the khao yai national park, such as waterfall and the cliff, can we go by ourselves? or do we need to hire a guide? thanks.

It’s quite a straightforward walk from the respective car parks so you won’t need a guide if you’re driving or have hired a private car charter for the day (like us)! Alternatively, you could ask to be dropped off at the Visitor centre and hike to the waterfall and cliff from there. Guides are available for these longer hikes although there are maps provided and there are people who do it on their own too!

Total price for $1100 for 2 pax includes the meals, car and the entrance to all the attractions that was mentioned?

How does it work if we’re planning to spend a few days in BKK first before heading over to Khao Yai, say, we leave BKK in the afternoon and reach Khao Yai just in time to check in and have dinner? Was checking out the different packages at Klook, we can choose just a few places to go instead of their full list right, seeing how it’s customizable?

Thanks! Jacq

Hi jacqueline,

Yup you can do that too! Simply get the driver to pick you up from someone prominent in BKK. Preferably a hotel I guess so there’s an easy place to park and meet.

The list of places is only a suggestion so your route is entirely up to you!

Hi The klook package is per person or per car rate?

It’s per car!

Hi. May I know where exactly is Pa Deo Die cliff located in the national park? Can’t really find the location for it anywhere.

We couldn’t too! But it’s a popular area and our driver knew exactly where it was. 🙂

Planning 2pax to travel to Khao Yai for 5 days 4 nights But out bud is max $800each, will that work . Kindly share what are the key sites and restaurants are must visits ?

Hi Carmen, what we recommend is already in the itinerary! The sites and restaurants are not expensive, your main costs would be the car rental ( https://bit.ly/fussfree-Khaoyai ) and accommodation. The car rental costs and accommodation can be split so it shouldn’t be that bad!

Hi Cherie, Thank you for all your info and itinerary. I’ve booked with Klook on 2 vans for 18 pax. I’ve followed your itinerary for 4d 3n. Can I check with you, how do I booked all the entrance tickets? Is it possible for us to purchase the tickets as we arrived every destination? If need to book first, do you have all the links that you’ve booked?

Hey Carlyn, the only attractions that required pre-booking was the PB Wine Valley Tour (you can email them for reservations), Farm Chokchai (you’ll need to call them) and the Night Safari at Khao Yai National Park (reserved at the National Park’s visitor centre). The email and numbers are all available in the article! 🙂 All the other tickets can be purchased at the entrance.

However, since you’re travelling with a big group, you might also want to make reservations at Ban Mai Chay Nam too as it can get quite crowded over lunch.

Hi.. is the entrance fees to all the attractions place mentioned in the custom tour are inclusive? Price from Klook is only for the driver, fuel and car.?e.g. 4D Package B : S$570 you mentioned above? I’ve contacted Klook, the CS replied really confusing. Cant differentiate between Private Tour and Custom Tour. We cant decide which package to take and no confidence to ask Klook.

The entrance fees aren’t inclusive so you can choose activities that interest you most and pay when you reach the place. Our itinerary was picked based on what we wanted to see but you can mix and match with stuff from this non-exhaustive list: https://thetravelintern.com/25-things-to-do-in-khao-yai/

I’ve just studied the 2 listings and it looks like the Private Car Charter is only for a single day trip to and from Bangkok. Meaning you’ll have to return to Bangkok on the same day. Whereas for the Custom Tour we took, the driver picked us from the airport in Bangkok and only sent us back after our 4 days in Khao Yai. Every night, we’d be sent back to our accommodation in Khao Yai. Hope this helps!

Im planning family trip ( 1 Adult+1 eldery (age 67)+ 1 teen) to Bangkok/Khao Yai in December 2018. Undecide whether to visit on early-Dec or mid-Dec or 23-27 Dec . Which date would you recommend ? Can suggest some itinerary for 5D/4N trip , prefer to spend 3days or 4 days at KhaoYai. Thank you.

Don’t think there’s a difference for December, but I would personally avoid the Christmas season!

For a 5D4N itinerary, you can consider the other attractions here: https://thetravelintern.com/25-things-to-do-in-khao-yai/

Hi Cherie, I’m planning a 4 days trip but during last week of june so may not be the best weather. Will all the places in your article still be open? eg the PB vineyard and the Jim Thompson farm etc. in case they are seasonal.

I think it’s best to give them a call to check since you’ll need to make a booking beforehand anyway 🙂

Morning We are planning about 4-6pax to travel to Khao Yai from 22 Dec onwards 4 Days 3 nights. Can you help us on the Accomondations, Transport etc… What’s the cost for the package? Do you have itinerary for us?

Thank you Clara

Hi Clara, you can try booking here and follow our itinerary in this article. https://www.klook.com/activity/3738-khao-yai-custom-tour-from-bangkok/?aid=312

Hi Cherie Thank you very much for your sharing. I’m planning to go with my family members 8 pax on end Nov 18 for 3N in Khao Yai. Is it book the van with driver & give my own planned itineraries to the driver?

Hi Felice! Yup that’s what you do. During the booking process, you’ll be asked to list down your rough itinerary. The drivers are flexible, but it’s better to have a rough plan.

Hi, Thanks for the great write up. I’m planning for 4d3n in Dec. If I’m leaving on day 4 around 10am to catch the 4pm flight from BKK, then should I get the 4 days package or 3 days? If I take 3 days, then what about my transport to airport on day 4? If I take 4 days, then I would have wasted the day 4 since I’m leaving at 10am. Thanks!

Hi Lilian, Yup you are right! The driver follows you all the way to it’s either you sacrifice the time or find an alternative way. Perhaps you can end Day 3 in BKK then take a taxi or transfer from your hotel in BKK to the airport? That’s what another reader did as well.

May I know if you stayed at 1 accommodation throughout the 4D/3N itinerary? Are all the resort choices in Khao Yai accessible to all your 25 recommended activities?

We are planning to visit during the Christmas week which you caution to avoid. Why so?

Cheers, Sophia

Hi Sophia, we stayed in two different accommodations: – Lala Mukha Tented Resort (our favourite) – The Kids Adventure Khao Yai

You can easily base yourself at one location without worry because of your driver ( https://bit.ly/fussfree-Khaoyai ) No worries!

We mentioned avoiding Christmas as it’ll be crowded that’s all. Other than tourists, there will also be plenty of locals on holiday!

Hi , I’m planning to go Khao Yai during December for 4d3n. Are you able to provide me an itinerary and package rate for 3adult and 1 kid. Hotel we booked ourselves . Pickup at airport to khao yai and return to Bangkok.

Hi Mark, you can book here! https://bit.ly/fussfree-Khaoyai

Hi Cherie, Does the package A or B of each number of days apply to 1 driver to any number of pax ? Does that means – if 2 pax or 5 pax to a driver and choose package A – 3 days, the price is the same ?

Hi Lynette, the price applies to per vehicle!

Hi Cherie If I choose Package A – 4 days at S$482 , but I want to include some other places which are not covered in this package, does the driver accomodate and not charge us ? You mentioned many times driver is accomodating, thus places like Jim Thomson Farm and HobbitHouse can be requested on that day itself if we decide to change the itinerary? I don’t seem to be able to get a reply from KLOOK from some of my enquiries.

Hi Lynette, if it’s within a 50km radius of the national park, it should be ok! However it’s still best to get a confirmation from Klook’s helpdesk. They have a live chat that is quite responsive usually!

Hi, can the car accommodate 4 pax? Is it possible to include Saraburi Sunflower Field in our itinerary. I hope to know before booking.

Hi Jenn, unfortunately the car charter is up to 3 pax for the small car. However you can rent the bigger van that can accommodate up to 10! Should be possible to include!

According to Klook: Standard Car (Toyota Corolla or Vios): 3 Passengers + 3 Pieces of standard luggage Standard Van (Toyota Commuter): 10 Passengers + 5 Pieces of standard luggage The number of passengers and amount of standard luggage should be no more than 6 for car, no more than 15 for van.

Hi, When you visited the National Park is the driver with you the whole time bringing you to the different areas? Did you spend the whole day inside the park or go in and out? Is there food available for dinner if we stay on for the safari?

Hi Loges, Yes the driver drove us around as the areas can be quite far away. We spent majority of the time in the park. There are quite a number of food stalls near the main national park centre where you can get food. Not to worry!

Hi, im planning to go khaoyai in this November, but i am struggling on the transportation part. as i read your blog, you booked a car charter on KLOOK right ? can the car accomodate 4 person ? or more than 3 then i must book a van ==. secondly, the prices in KLOOK for per car is for one person or the whole car ?

The prices are in per car/van. And yup you are right that the car can only fit up to 3pax

Is it possible to do it in a DIY way? Or really need to book a private tour for this Khao Yai experience. Thanks.

Hi Mae, if you’re comfortable with driving you can rent your own car too! We just found this easier and more fuss free in Thailand.

Thank you very much for your sharing. Noted that follow the Plan B you went Jim Thomspson farm on the last day. However, i couldn’t see the location stated in the itinenery. Did you make a special request to the Klook or the Driver ? Can make the request 1 day in advance ? Look forward your kind reply. Thanks 🙂

Hi Sam Sam, For us we made our request on the first day and also indicated it when booking the transport.

I have been trying to email and chat with them on the klook website but it was no respond. Hope that you can help us on the following queries:

1. If we have 8 adults and 3 kids ages 12, 10 & 6, is it ok for us to book for the 10 pax Van?

2. If based on your above reply to others, am i correct that the itinerary can be customized according to ourselves rather than the one posted in Klook website? We are actually looking for 3 days 2 nights trip there?

3. We have 3 elderly travel with us, will the Haew Narok Waterfall, Pa Deo Die Cliff and Haew Suwat Waterfall needs to trek and not suitable for them?

Looking forward to your kind reply. Thank you and have a nice day!

2) Yes! That’s the great thing about the car charter. You can just pick the number of days and select the activities you’d prefer. Have you seen our article on 25 things to do in Khao Yai ? You can pick and choose from the possibilities there.

3) It’s been some time since we went but if my memory doesn’t fail me, only Haew Suwat was a little hard to get to. Pa Deo Die Cliff and Haew Narok Waterfall has proper walkways so if they’re okay with strolling, it’s quite accessible!

Unfortunately I can’t answer #1. If might not be allowed because of safety. Did you try the live chat function on the website? They usually reply quite quickly there!

I try but every time no answer…not sure why.

Btw the trip that you mentioned is “Khao Yai Custom Tour from Bangkok” rather than “Khao Yai All-Time Favorites Private Tour from Bangkok”, am i correct? i get a bit confuse with their package, and not sure i should book which one….If i based on those places that we wanted to visit, i think only Hobbit House is a bit far, others location should still within the 50km radius from Khao Yai National Park. I guess we will need to go with Package B if i understand correctly.

I am wondering what is the different if we book “Khao Yai All-Time Favorites Private Tour from Bangkok”, is that mean the itinerary has to follow exactly shown in the website?

I will love to visit Jim Thompson Farm but they only open in 8 Dec’18 which we have to make it a miss this time.

Btw, thanks a lot for your reply. It was a great help to us!

When I looked through Klook, they mention if our hotel is located other than Pakchung area, there is surcharge to pick us to & from hotel everyday..So if I were to take Package B 4 days as per you, is there any additional charges if I were to stay in Ozone hotel or any other hotels? and for all the hotels you stayed, is there any surcharge for picking you up?

Thanks a lot!

Hi Seok Hoon, I think you will have to check with Klook for the hotel you are staying in to see if it lies within their zone. However for the hotels we stayed at, we did not pay any surcharge.

Cherie, so glad to stumble upon your blog! Cos we are also doing a 4D 3N visit with Klook. I saw you wrote that the PB tours are only till noon. So I was thinking of going there in the morning then the National Park in the afternoon. I mainly want to see the Haew Suwat waterfall (cos you said it is easier to get to!) and Pao Deo Die cliffs. Do you think that is workable or should we go to the National Park in the morning?

sounds possible! Those two can be covered under 3 hours. If you stay till the evening, you can even sign up for the safari tour

I saw your post of this; “Hi Mae, if you’re comfortable with driving you can rent your own car too! We just found this easier and more fuss free in Thailand.”.

May u recommend the good car rental agent of service? is it meant that we could personally drive from Bangkok to Khao Yai? how’s about the road along the Khao Yai, and is it easy or nope to park the vehicles?

Thanks..really enjoyed ur story!

Hi Wanwan, We know it exists but unfortunately have not tried it before so we can’t comment too much! What we replied to Mae was all we are aware of.

Hi Cherie Thanks for the helpful blog. The sim card offered by Klook is 8 days unlimited data sim card. Can it be share with hotspot and for how many persons?

Many thanks.

Hi Angie, last we remembered it does not allow hotspot. But we’re not sure now!

Hi looking at your blog made me booked for a trip coming Nov19 via klook. As I am travelling with kids, would like to check with you the safety level in Khao Yai especially visiting night safari is it very dark/unsafe for kids since it is in the wild?

Hey Coco, it’s pretty safe!

Hi, i am unable to see the itinerary. It ends at arrival at BKK. Anyway to access the full itinerary? Thanks

Hi! Thanks for the heads up, it’s fixed now 🙂

Hi Cherie, we are planning to visit khao yai in Nov. we love your itinerary & plan to go with that. However, when i book the khao yai custom tour from BKK, the pick up field is only for hotel, not BKK Suvarnabhumi airport. I email Klook and was instructed to book a separate private car charter just to send us from BKK airport to khao yai. That does not look like the way you travel. could you plse enlighten me thank you

Hey Julia, thanks for writing in!

We’ve brought this up to Klook and they’re looking at making their listing a little clearer. Would you like them to contact you at the email you’ve provided?

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Thailand Insider

Popular Road Trips In Thailand: From Bangkok to Eastern Thailand

When exploring Thailand, there’s nothing better than experiencing our country on the open road on your terms. By taking a road trip through the vibrant landscapes of eastern Thailand, you will experience a wide variety of experiences in bustling cities, serene beaches, ancient temples, and lush countrysides, each offering its unique charm and allure. Here’s our guide to one of the most popular road trips in Thailand, starting from the capital city of Bangkok and through the scenic landscapes of Eastern Thailand .

road trip ke bangkok

Start your adventure in the vibrant capital city of Bangkok , where ancient temples stand in harmony with towering skyscrapers. While Bangkok is known for its iconic attractions like the Grand Palace and Wat Pho, the city also has some hidden gems waiting to be explored by curious travelers. One such hidden gem is the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) , a sprawling gallery showcasing a diverse collection of Thai modern art. From avant-garde installations to thought-provoking sculptures, MOCA offers a refreshing perspective on Thailand’s contemporary art scene, making it a must-visit destination for art enthusiasts seeking to delve beyond the surface of Bangkok’s cultural landscape.

Before leaving Bangkok, make sure you stop by for some delicious street  food, which has helped expand Thailand’s culinary scene in mainstream media. Head to Bangkok’s Chinatown, where travelers can explore the city’s hidden food alleys and local markets. Bang Rak, also known as Bangkok’s “Village of Love,” offers diverse flavors of Thailand’s regional cuisines, with local vendors serving up specialties like boat noodles, fiery curries, and fragrant rice dishes. Whether you indulge in the local food scene, vibrant night markets, and lively cultural performances, Bangkok is the perfect starting point before heading toward Eastern Thailand.

road trip ke bangkok

Your next stop is the coastal town of Sattahip in Chonburi , renowned for its pristine beaches, vibrant marine life, and rich naval history. This is a great destination regardless of the type of traveler you are. If you’re more about relaxing and taking your time, spend a couple of days relaxing in the sun on the golden sands of Sai Kaew Beach, where its crystal-clear waters are great for swimming and snorkeling. If you’re up for a trek, visit Khao Chi Chan, where the majestic Buddha Mountain stands tall and is carved into the cliffside. Just being able to capture a glimpse of this sight is worth it.

If you love to eat, Sattahip boasts a vibrant culinary scene that will give your taste buds a sensorial experience with its fresh seafood delicacies and traditional Thai flavors. Travelers can experience its local seafood markets and waterfront restaurants, savoring dishes like grilled prawns, spicy seafood salads, and fragrant curries made with the freshest ingredients from the surrounding waters. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, or cultural immersion, Sattahip offers diverse experiences that promise to enchant and inspire every traveler who ventures to its shores.

Chanthaburi

road trip ke bangkok

Continuing your journey eastward, you’ll arrive in Chanthaburi, known as the “Gem of the East of Thailand” for its thriving gemstone industry and scenic riverside setting. You will want to visit one of Chanthaburi’s gem markets, including the streets of Si Chan Road , where travelers can marvel at the dazzling array of precious stones and learn about the city’s gemstone trading history. Another must-visit attraction is the Chanthaboon Waterfront Community. Located along the Chanthaburi River, this community offers a glimpse into the city’s colonial past with its well-preserved architecture, charming cafes, and vibrant art galleries. Strolling along the riverside promenade, visitors can soak in the picturesque views of traditional wooden houses and bustling street vendors, immersing themselves in the unique atmosphere of this historic neighborhood.

Nature enthusiasts will find plenty of natural wonders in Chanthaburi, with its lush orchards, verdant mountains, and pristine waterfalls waiting to be explored. One of the most iconic natural landmarks in the area is Namtok Phlio National Park , home to the enchanting Phlio Waterfall, where visitors can swim in the cool, crystal-clear pools surrounded by lush tropical foliage. This locale is the perfect backdrop for your Instagram selfies.

road trip ke bangkok

The highlight of your road trip is the enchanting island of Ko Chang , where palm-fringed beaches and lush rainforests await. Beach lovers can bask in the golden sands of White Sand Beach, one of the island’s most popular stretches of coastline, where crystal-clear waters beckon for a refreshing swim or a stroll along the shore. For those seeking a more secluded retreat, the serene shores of Lonely Beach offer a tranquil escape, with swaying palm trees and breathtaking sunsets providing the perfect backdrop for relaxation and contemplation. If you can, visit the vibrant fishing village of Bang Bao, where wooden stilt houses line the pier and fresh seafood is served straight from the boat.

For those more adventurous, exploring the island’s dense rainforests and rugged terrain is a must-do activity, with opportunities for hiking, jungle trekking, and wildlife spotting. Visitors can embark on guided excursions to discover hidden waterfalls, encounter exotic flora and fauna, or even embark on a thrilling zip-lining adventure through the treetops. Whether seeking relaxation on the beach or adrenaline-pumping adventures in nature, Ko Chang offers an unforgettable island getaway for travelers of all interests.

A Journey to Remember

From the bustling streets of Bangkok to the tranquil shores of Ko Chang, this road trip through Eastern Thailand offers a perfect blend of culture, history, and natural beauty. Whether you’re exploring ancient temples, lounging on sun-drenched beaches, or indulging in culinary delights, each destination along the way promises unforgettable experiences and lasting memories. For more places to visit in Eastern Thailand, check out our page on destinations in Eastern Thailand .

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  • 42 Bangkok Tips For First Timers: Must-Read Guide

About to take your first trip to Bangkok? These Bangkok tips for first timers will help you get started on the right foot, from where to eat and to where to stay to which sights should make your itinerary.

If you are planning to visit Bangkok for the first time, you are in for a treat. To make sure you come to love the city as much as we do, our good friend Helen from Differentville has shared her list of Bangkok tips for first-timers, aka how not to hate Bangkok , to help you make the most of your visit.

Why I didn’t enjoy my first Bangkok trip

1. find the areas with character, 2. don’t just go where everyone else does, 3. get up early, 4. find somewhere to chill out, 5. it’s okay to go to mcdonald’s and hope it all goes away, 6. keep your eyes peeled, 7. the grand palace is probably open, 8. know where to find good food, 9. ask an expert, 10. don’t fret about chopsticks, 11. don’t try to find street food on a monday, 12. take the chance to go gourmet, 13. know where the girly bars are, 14. be nice, 15. drinking in soi 4 for women, 16. stay downstairs, 17. buckets are evil, 18. the ‘hangover bar’ is not the only rooftop bar in bangkok, 19. khao san road., 20. there are cool bits of bangkok, 21. visit a night market, 22. the airport train may not go where you’re staying, 23. buy a rabbit card, 24. bring your passport, 25. tuk tuks are fun, 26. be careful of taxis, 27. get some small notes as soon as you arrive, 28. download grab, 29. don’t forget the boats, 30. get on the right boat on the chao praya, 31. walking is the best way to see stuff, 32. choose your area well, other useful advice when visiting bangkok for the first time, 33. don’t drink the water, 34. avoid food poisoning, 35. take probiotics before your trip, 36. buy a sim card or esim, 37. carry id with you., 38. pack a top that covers your shoulders and skirt or trousers that cover your ankles., 39. you might see ++ on a restaurant or hotel bill., 40. carry plenty of small banknotes., 41. stop looking for anyone carrying a pig on a motorbike, 42. you will at one point during your trip get the song one night in bangkok stuck in your head..

This page contains affiliate links. Please read see our disclosure policy . Considering I have been to Bangkok eight times it might surprise you to hear I hated it the first time I went. So did my partner (who is now as addicted to the place as I am).

It’s a story I hear over and over again–and while it’s taken me a long while to ‘get’ the place, I think I’ve picked up a few tips that might help everyone on their first time in Bangkok have an incredible time.

My first trip to Bangkok was sometime in the early 2000s – prime  The Beach  territory. Until then, most of my holidays had been to Europe or the USA, but I had heard that in the other direction, there was this place called Asia where chaos reigned.

Here the roads were full of motorbikes, often carrying everything from a whole wardrobe or a small family of pigs.

The food was exotic and spicy, and you diced with death if you ate it anywhere except a clean, sanitised restaurant.

Khaosan Road or Khao San Road, either way, its backpacker central in Bangkok, Thailand

Markets either floated or were a cacophony of noise, smells and sights guaranteed to turn me vegetarian.

There were gleaming temples, winding alleys, a hint of sin… Imagine my surprise therefore when I turned up in Bangkok to find a branch of Boots (a UK pharmacy) opposite my hotel, McDonald’s on every corner, and a selection of designer clothes shops to rival Bond Street in London. I was confused.

Seven Eleven along the Sukhumvit street at Thong Lor district in Bangkok, Thailand.

I wandered around the temples; I went to the backpacker central of the Khao San road where people with dreadlocks and ridiculous traveller’s trousers looked like they’d arrived in 1974 and never left.

I whizzed about in tuk-tuks and I ate my body weight in Pad Thai, but I didn’t find this madness I was looking for.

I went home decidedly underwhelmed and thinking that Bangkok was overrated. Other people have the opposite experience. ‘It was all just too much,’ says my partner Neil. ‘Everything was noisy and smelly.

Bikes were everywhere. People were everywhere. I just couldn’t think. I decided I wouldn’t go back.’ We were both staying on the same road, just at different ends!

Over time I’ve realised that whatever you’re looking for in Bangkok – frantic madness with a side order of grit, a ‘mild’ introduction to Southeast Asia, or trendy bars and coffee shops that wouldn’t seem out of place in London or New York, you can find it in Bangkok (if you know how) – and in time it’s a place that just gets under your skin.

But before that can happen you need to enjoy your first time in Bangkok and here’s my list of tips that I think will help. You’ll learn where to go, what to eat, and what to do to have an awesome first trip to Bangkok.

Sightseeing in Bangkok

I’m guessing you’ve come to Bangkok to see some sights and there are a lot of them – the Grand Palace, Wat Pho, Wat Arun, and Khao San Road should all be on your must-see list for a Bangkok first-time visitor – but if you’re not careful, your first trip to Bangkok can seem like a mass of temples, all blending into one another and not a lot in between.

Wat Arun, Bangkok, Thailand

That’s a shame because if you look behind the surface a bit of Bangkok and you’ll find a fascinating city full of intriguing things to discover.

So, here are some ideas that might not be on the radar when you’re visiting Bangkok for the first time but should be…

On my first time in Bangkok, I stayed as so many people do in the area of Sukhumvit. It’s a fantastic place – if you want to go shopping…if you’re looking for somewhere with a bit more grit or character, you won’t find it here…as my friend Greg (another Bangkok first-time hater) said, ‘I just found it all really sterile.’

Areas with a bit more character to check out include Chinatown, Talad Noi, a working district full of car repair shops that’ll make any photographer’s day, Little India, and the Khlong Toei Wet Market.

Talad Noi's famous car in Bangkok, Thailand

If your Bangkok first-time itinerary reads ‘Grand Palace, Wat Pho, Wat Arun, Khao San, and Damnoen Saduak Floating Market’ you’ll see some amazing sights, but you might also walk away from Bangkok saying it’s too touristy, so mix things up a bit.

The places above will help, but if you have time also think about visiting Nang Leong Market  for all the cheap food you can eat.

You might see one or two other foreign faces in this lunch place for locals but not many more than that.

  • North Samsen Road Even around the tourist centre that is Khao San road, wander north about 25 minutes-walk up Samsen Road and you’ll find a truly local area with an amazing wet market and some fascinating backstreets. Find directions in this guide to less touristy things to do near Khao San .
  • Taling Chan about 11km from Bangkok’s Grand Palace is no longer the secret it once was, but it’s still a good place to get some nice pics of a genuine floating market – without having to get up at 4 am to beat the crowds at Damnoen Saduak.
  • Take a day trip to Maeklong Railway Market.  This market is famous as a train runs through it daily – yes, it’s packed with tourists, but if you go by train, rather than on a tour, you’ll get an experience few other folks do. You’ll find full instructions on how to get to Maeklong by train here .

Maeklong Railway Market, Thailand

If you are going somewhere super touristy (and you should because there’s a reason all the main Bangkok sights are on your must-see list), go early – everyone else is sleeping off the after-effects of 200 baht buckets of booze! 

Anywhere in Asia can feel a bit full-on if you’re out pounding the pavements day in, day out.

And if you’re not going to come away from your first time in Bangkok, needing a holiday or swearing never to return, you’ll need to take a break sometimes.

road trip ke bangkok

Sit by the pool in your hotel sometimes – it’s not a crime (it’s where you’ll find me most mornings until Bangkok wakes up!)

If you want to combine chilling out with sightseeing, visit Lumphini Park, which, once you get away from the traffic that rings it, is a proper escape in Bangkok

Or, go and see an exhibition at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre opposite the MBK shopping centre. The silence here makes a welcome change.

There’s also a park just outside the, sometimes insanely busy, Chatuchak Market that you can escape to when inside the market gets too hot and sticky.

So you’re visiting Bangkok for the first time and you’re ready to throw yourself into 24-7 Thai Culture.

And then five days in, you’ve had enough spicy food, it’s too hot, you’re sick of Thai beer and no you don’t want a bloody t-shirt with Same Same on it.

That’s fine – go get a Maccas. Sit in the air-con and literally and figuratively chill. There’s no law that says you have to go all Thai, all the time.

A McDonald's in Bangkok, Thailand

Personally, though if you’re going to eat fast food in Bangkok I’d say go to KFC – it’s great in Bangkok, the staff seem to genuinely enjoy their jobs; you get cutlery; the food is great – and it comes with chilli sauce! If it is all getting a bit much, but you don’t quite want to go fully Western, some nice compromises are:

  • Head to the giant ICONSIAM shopping mall and go to their floating market food hall. Clean, easy, air-conditioned – and full of local restaurants.
  • Visit Cabbages and Condoms – it’s a Thai restaurant with a unique theme. The food is good, the staff speak English, it’s nice and calm (just wear insect repellent).
  • Wander around the food hall at Siam Paragon – it’s one of my favourite places in the city. Just buy a prepaid card, load it with cash, and pick whatever looks good.
  • Check out the Unicorn Cafe and destress cuddling magical creatures.

Some of my favourite Bangkok moments have been nothing to do with the big sights – they’ve just been things I’ve spotted on the street like watching a pink-haired old lady feed her duck just a few minutes walk from Khao San Road – who knew?

Another day I watched a troop of Lion Dancers squeeze their entire costume (and all of them) into a tuk-tuk and speed off to their next job.

I was on the bridge overlooking CentralWorld as a Thai football team went past on an open tour bus with what seemed like every single moped in Bangkok riding alongside them beeping – that was a never-to-be-repeated experience.

road trip ke bangkok

None of them are in any tour book, but they’re some of my best memories of my trips to Bangkok.

There’s so much going on if you keep your eyes peeled – and always, always look in shop doorways. Some of them are amazing.

Scams: what every first-time visitor to Bangkok needs to know

‘Everyone is trying to rip you off’ – is another common refrain you hear about why people hate the city after visiting Bangkok for the first time.

And yes, I will confess I’ve met a few scammers in my time there. Here’s what not to fall for…

The first time I went, I got in a tuk-tuk to go to the Grand Palace.

If you’re going to find a dodgy tuk-tuk driver in Bangkok, saying the words Grand Palace will make them manifest faster than saying Beetlejuice three times brings out Michael Keaton.

They smile and say. ‘It’s closed today, let me take you somewhere else instead.’ That somewhere else is his brother’s shop!

You’ll also find ‘helpful’ people telling you that it’s closed on the roads around the Palace and other major sights.

Remember the Golden Rule of Bangkok – unless something very important is happening with the Royal Family (which will be on the news), it’s extremely unlikely that any of the major attractions are closed when they are supposed to be open.

The Grand Palace is open from 8.30 am to 3.30 pm, 7 days a week. Oh, your hostel is very unlikely to have burned down without them telling you too.

Also watch out for any tuk-tuk driver who wants to take you on a detour to a shop, restaurant, or bar, en route to wherever you want to go. Just say no.

Photo of The Grand Palace, a complex of buildings at the heart of Bankgok, Thailand

My favourite story on Bangkok scams though comes from a friend, who, as a naïve 20-something got a limo to pick her up from the airport.

As he hurtled along the freeway at about 40 over the speed limit, he gave her a grave warning. ‘Don’t get in the normal taxis – they carry spare gas in their boot and if another car hits them, they explode.’ Of course, at this point, he then offered to be her personal chauffeur, in his clearly non-exploding car, for the rest of the trip.

To me this sums up Bangkok scams, they’re harmless guys chancing their arm – just be aware of it.

Eating in Bangkok for first-timers

Eating all the Thai food you can is probably on your list of things to do in Bangkok, but I admit, until recently, even I was a bit cautious about what I ate and where I ate it.

Lock Tien Food Center Pad Thai Phuket

It’s taken time for me to get brave enough to try some of the more local-looking places – and chances are you’re going to be equally nervous on your first trip to Bangkok. So….

There’s a lot of good food in Bangkok, and there’s a lot of cheap food in Bangkok, but sometimes it doesn’t seem that there’s a lot of good, cheap food – particularly in places you might be spending most of your time when in Bangkok for the first time! 

Good choices include the Tom Yum at Pe Aor in Ratchathewi and the famous 50-year beef soup at Wattana Panich in Watthana near Ekkamai.

For full details and more suggestions, check out my post on  where to find some of the best cheap food in Bangkok here.

If it’s your first time in Bangkok and you’re a bit nervous about street food or eating locally, I definitely recommend taking a food tour with Bangkok Food Tours. They show you the best places.

A food tour in Bangkok, Thailand

They got me over my worries about just walking in somewhere with no English menu and pointing at whatever looks good – the dishes above were from somewhere I tried on the tour, then went back to.

Thai food is eaten with a knife and fork.

The stalls close for cleaning. For the same reason, don’t plan a trip to Chinatown on a Monday night, if you want to eat from the tiny stalls that fill the roads there. You’ll be disappointed.

Bangkok is home to four of the top 10 restaurants in Asia – according to the San Pelligrino Awards.

And the prices are VERY cheap compared to eating at similar quality places elsewhere in the world. Three of the best are Sorn, Raan Jay Fai, and Suhring.

Bangkok nightlife for rookies

Whether it’s drinking cold bottles of Chang watching the world go by on Khao San Road, a sophisticated night of cocktails on a rooftop, or a full-on Hangover-esque trawl through the dodgiest bars in Bangkok, you’re not going to be lacking for something to do in Bangkok at night, but like everything else, it pays to know what you’re doing so you don’t end up with a three-figure bar bill or a tattoo on your face!

And avoid them If this type of thing is going to upset you. Prostitution may be illegal in Thailand, but you’d never believe it in a few areas.

The good news is, it’s fairly easy to avoid–don’t go to Soi 4 in Sukhumvit or Soi Cowboy near Asok, avoid Soi 1 and 2 or Soi Twilight in Patpong. Job done.

Soi Cowboy, Bangkok, Thailand

Admittedly, the last time we went, a lot of the bars at the upper end of Soi 4 had closed and other businesses were moving in. There’s even an Ibis hotel at that end now.

Rules in the Nightlife areas

Knowing these “rules’ will help you navigate Bangkok after dark and find the right place for a great night out.

If you are drinking in Nana or Patpong. and are males on your own, yes, the girls will approach you. If you’re not interested, just be nice and say no thank you. They’re only doing their job.

If you’re a girl drinking in Soi 4, I’ve found Hilary’s bars most friendly. If you don’t want to go into an official girly bar, try Hanrahan’s Irish Pub.

Personally, I don’t go into the bars in Patpong, as I’m not keen on the area, but there are a few outside areas of bars that line the market that give you a good chance to watch the world go by and soak up the atmosphere.

If you go to Patpong, don’t go upstairs in a ping-pong bar – you’re just asking for a few thousand baht bar bill and a large guy standing in the way of your exit until you pay it.

If you want to get an idea of what goes on inside such establishments, take a trip to the fun Patpong Museum instead.

Patpong Museum, Bangkok, Thailand

Oh, and know that if you ever play a bar girl at Connect Four, you will lose. They are masters at it. Thankfully, this mistake will only cost you the price of a Lady Drink.

They sound like a great idea. Lovely, lovely booze that tastes like sweeties for just a few hundred baht. You’ll just have one you tell yourself.

You’re on holiday you tell yourself. It’s your first trip to Bangkok, you want the picture you tell yourself.

Tourists enjoying bucket drinks in Khao San Road Bangkok Thailand walking street

You will not drink one. You will think you only drank one and then find pictures of yourself with three different coloured buckets.

You will then spend the whole of the next day with your head on a table thinking you are dying. I can neither confirm nor deny if I know this from personal experience.

The Sky Bar on the 63rd Floor of the Lebua Tower has become a must-visit for Bangkok first-timers after its appearance in The Hangover.

Lebua Tower Skybar, Bangkok, Thailand

Yes, it’s incredible – but it’s also very busy because of it. It is a first-time in Bangkok rite of passage – and, if it’s on your list you must go (checking the dress code first).

You won’t believe how high it is when you’re up there with barely any safety barriers! But, if you don’t like crowded places, want somewhere you’ll feel as comfortable ordering a beer as a cocktail, or just want to do something different, here are a few other bars with views you might want to check out – most of them have a slightly less formal feel than Sky Bar.

  • Sala Rattanakosin – directly opposite the Wat Arun temple, it has a great view of the river and is stunning at sunset.
  • Above Eleven – chic bar just off Sukhumvit
  • Octave Rooftop Bar and Lounge near Thong Lor – it’s chilled and has a good happy hour.
  • Red Sky – right on top of the Central World tower so convenient if you’re staying around Siam/Chitlom
  • If you’re in Chinatown and get thirsty, the Hotel Royal has a small pool bar with a view of the surrounding roofs

All of these are clearly marked on google maps.

It is What it Is! And what it is, is a melting pot of the world’s backpackers – which basically means that come 10 pm it looks like your local High Street on a Saturday night… No matter where you’re from!

It’s fun, the beer is cheap, find the right venue and you’ll have a blast – but don’t expect a cultural experience.

Oh and no matter how good an idea it seems at the time, you do not need a frog that croaks when you rub a wooden stick over its back.

If you do become tired of the ladies selling you frogs, the accents you hear back home or just the backpacker-ness of it all and want a change of scenery without going far, try Soi Rambutri which is still cheap and cheerful but less rowdy, take a walk up Phra Sumen to the more local Pat Bar.

Or, walk up to Samsen Road which is lined with small bars like Adhere the 13th Blues Bar or Post..

I’ve just talked about the line of bars on Samsen Road in which you’ll find some Thai hipsters hanging out, but there are a few other areas to try if you want to search out Bangkok’s next cool thing.

Charoen Krung Road, slightly southeast of Talad Noi is Bangkok’s newest hipster area with coffee shops, art galleries, restaurants, and a few bars springing up. Search for Tropic City and Jua on google maps.

Also, check out the more established group of trendy bars in Chinatown on a road called Soi Nana. Look for Tep bar or Teens of Thailand on google maps.

Night markets are also another cool thing to do in Bangkok – no, not the touristy ones selling you knock-off Rolexes and Same Same t-shirts, but those that combine selling vintage goods with pop-up bars and restaurants or food trucks.

Rachada Night train market (Talad Rot Fai) at night in Bangkok, Thailand

Check out JJ Green near Mo Chit BTS station or Talad Rot Fai at Ratchada (metro: Thailand Cultural Centre). Both markets run Thur- Sun from 6 pm.

Getting around Bangkok as a first timer

Getting around Bangkok can be a bit tiring – traffic is pretty bad and a lot of places you want to go as a first-time visitor don’t seem to be immediately accessible by any obvious transportation. It takes a while to get your head around it all.

This should help…

Bangkok BTS

Basically, there are four main ways you’ll be likely to get around during your first time in Bangkok – taxi, BTS Skytrain – an elevated train that goes to many popular tourist destinations – the Metro and the Chao Praya river boats which go up and down the main river that runs through the city.

But I’d also suggest you explore by the smaller canal boats, tuk-tuks and on foot.

You can also get motorbike taxis and the bus – but I’m not sure they are best for first-timers. A few things to note though include:

At 45 baht a trip (rather than 300-400 for a taxi) the Airport Train to the city can save you cash, but be aware – it only takes you to Phetchaburi or the Phaya Thai Metro station where you’ll need to swap lines to the Metro or BTS which can be a bind if you’ve got a lot of luggage – and if you’re staying at Khao San Road, you’ll still need a taxi.

Not to mention that the BTS gets very full at certain points and getting out of it with luggage could be tricky.

If you want to avoid long taxi trips just jump off the train at whichever stop is closest to your hotel and grab a taxi there.

Like the Sydney Opal card or the London Oyster card, this preloaded card lets you pay for your journeys on the BTS Skytrain without having to fumble for cash.

You can also use it in Family Mart, Subway, McDonald’s, and a heap of other stores to pay for purchases.

They now ask all tourists to show their passport when registering their Rabbit card for the first time, or filling up an old one, so make sure you have it with you.

There’s nothing like blasting through the Bangkok traffic in one – especially late at night when they can go fast enough to blast.

Tuk Tuks in Bangkok traffic, Thailand

However, they are not the cheapest way to get about if you’re a foreigner. Know that, barter the fare down a bit to pay what you think the experience is worth for you – then just enjoy it

Catching taxis can be the one time where even I hate Bangkok! You get in the taxi – and they refuse to put the meter on.

I’ve even got staff in the hotel to get a taxi, have them put the meter on as they leave, then get around the corner and turn it off, demanding a flat fee way higher than what I’m supposed to be paying.

It’s a better plan to use the BTS Skytrain service to get as far as you can out of the area in the direction you need to go – and then get a cab.

What I have learned though is that this is far more likely to happen in the area around Sukhumvit where the traffic is appalling and it can easily take 40-50 minutes for a short journey.

If it happens, remember that you’re often still only paying a few pounds or dollars over the odds and sometimes, it’s just not worth worrying about.

Elsewhere in Bangkok, the drivers have been fine and I’ve never had a problem with a taxi leaving from the official queue at the airport.

There are two tolls on the road from the airport into Bangkok and the driver will ask you to pay them, that’s normal, but it’s handy if you have a small note to do so.

There’s also a 50 baht airport fee that’s added, again, totally normal.

This app is like Uber and it makes getting around Bangkok in a taxi far less stressful, as the driver always knows where you’re going and the fare is fixed.

It can get busy and you might need to wait so allow a little extra time if you’re going to use it.

Bangkok has a series of canals running through it – and, if you’re trying to get from say, Khao San Road to Siam, it’s a lot easier to jump on one of the San Saeb Canal boats than try and get there by the BTS.

You can also get the boat along the main Bangkok river, the Chao Praya which can come in very handy.

Sathon Pier Bangkok

This is great for getting to Khao San Road from Sukhumvit – take the BTS to Saphan Taksin, find Sathorn Pier, jump on the boat, and get off at Phra Arthit a short walk away.

Ditto the easiest way to get to the Grand Palace from Sukhumvit is to get the riverboat up to Ta Chang from Sathorn Pier.

Note: The Chao Praya boats don’t run at night, they are for day trips only.

If you decide to take the boat up the river, when you get to Sathorn pier, you will be greeted by a mass of humanity – all looking completely confused as to what boat to get.

The main two boats you’ll probably need to know about your first time in Bangkok are the Tourist Boat . 

This has a blue flag and costs 60 baht to take you to where you want to go – or 200 baht for a day pass.

Chao Phraya Tourist Boat in Bangkok aka the hoho boat

The guides speak English and will be a bit more forgiving about waiting at the pier for you to get off.

They only stop where people want to get off so if you hear the name of your pier called, yell out – or it’ll whizz past. The downside is it only runs every half an hour.

The Regular Boats : This costs 16 baht to go to the same places as the Tourist Boat. This has an orange flag. If there’s no ticket seller on the pier on which you board, or you didn’t get a chance to buy one, you can just pay the conductor on the boat.

It can be a bit frantic and you need to be ready to get out at your stop – they don’t hang around.

There are also regular boats with no flags, boats with yellow flags, and boats with green flags that run at different times of day and stop at different piers.

Passengers ride the Bangkok Orange Flag Ferry

Note. You can’t get on any of the regular boats with the 200-baht pass. I’ve seen a lot of tourists look very grumpy when they have to pay again.

I’m inherently tight when it comes to these boats so will always get the cheap boat – in reality, you’re quibbling over about 35 baht so get on whichever comes in first!

Read our detailed public transport guide here

But man it’s hot. Wear sunscreen, carry water (there’s always a 7-11 or Family Mart close by to buy some), and walk slowly so you don’t overheat.

Where to Stay in Bangkok your First Time

When you’re visiting Bangkok for the first time you do not want to stay in the middle of nowhere. You’ll spend your whole day travelling.

You want to be somewhere close to the sights you most want to see – or with easy access to transportation. So,

And for a first-time Bangkok visitor, I’d suggest you stick to:

Located around the BTS stations of Nana and Asok, Sukhumvit is lined with big hotels and while it doesn’t have any attractions per se (unless you’re into the girly bar thing) the fact that the BTS Skytrain runs right down the middle of it makes it easy to get around.

Signage above Sukhumvit Road, in the central district of Bangkok, Thailand

You won’t have any problems finding hotels in this area – plus Bangkok has some of the cheapest hotel prices in the world for the quality of the rooms you get. You’ll find you can often book a suite for the price of a budget room in London! A good choice is the Fraser Suites . We stayed here on one trip, and the room was possibly larger than my house.

Top tip if you do stay here, use the little Tuk Tuk to the station – it will save your legs from a lot of steps. Another popular choice is Grande Centre Point Terminal 21.

Chitlom to Siam

This is the other end of Sukhumvit Road and where I stayed for my first time in Bangkok. It’s again, brilliant for transport and amazing if you want to shop.

Personally, I would recommend the Amari Watergate . It’s set a bit back from the main area but is only a short walk to all the shopping malls.

Phot of the bust transport around Siam Square, central Bangkok, Thailand

If you can, spring for an executive club room which gives you access to your own private rooftop bar. Sitting here after a day of madness and watching the sunset with a (free) glass of fizz was absolutely fantastic. On my first trip to Bangkok, I stayed at the Holiday Inn Bangkok which is even closer to the shops. I haven’t been there for a long time, but it’s still there and still gets great reviews!

MBK Shopping Centre

This is a super convenient place to stay because even though there’s not a lot around her (apart from the mall) you are smack bang in the middle of everywhere you want to go by public transport.

MBK Shopping Centre, Nangkok, Thailand

There’s even a hotel on top called the Panthumwan Princess which is fantastic – and has one of the best pools I’ve found in Bangkok so far.

Khao San Road

If you want to spend most of your time around the main sights of the Grand Palace, Wat Pho, and Wat Arun, it’s probably the best area to stay for sightseeing as you can walk to the main sights in about 20 minutes. The road itself is crammed with more ridiculously cheap hotels than you can shake a stick at but if you aren’t on a backpacker budget, look at the Casa Nithra which is a little bit off Khao San itself, but my normal place to stay on this side of the city.

Or, if you’re lucky enough to get a room, try the Riva Surya . It’s always been full when I’ve tried to go.

The Riverfront

There’s a crop of boutique hotels around the riverfront by the Grand Palace itself – very convenient, but the influx of daily tourists might drive you a bit mad.

Bangkok City at night time, Hotel and resident area in the capital of Thailand

Have a look at Sala Rattanakosin  (yes of the bar I mentioned above) or Riva Arun .

There are also 5-star hotels all along the river and the Millennium Hilton Bangkok is right next to ICONSIAM for serious shoppers.

The business district is lined with office blocks and glitzy five-star hotels – rubbing shoulders with the madness that is Patpong.

I have never stayed here personally, but you’ll be unlikely to go far wrong with established names like the Banyan Tree or The Sukhothai .

Hopefully, all the above will mean you have an awesome time on your first trip to Bangkok and come away loving it not hating it – but just before you go off to plan heaps of cool stuff, there are just a final few things that might smooth things out for you.

Don’t even brush your teeth in the water. Most hotels offer bottled water or pick it up from the 7-11. There will be one close to your hotel – they are everywhere.

Use all the normal sensible advice on eating to avoid food poisoning.

If you can buy them where you live, take Bimuno Travelaid Pastilles before you leave. They are prebiotic pastilles that feed the gut bugs that fight off tummy troubles.

I swear by these and have literally eaten off the same plate as my partner when using them and he’s got sick and I haven’t.

Bangkok is enormous and if you want to walk anywhere you’re going to need maps.

It’s a legal requirement, and we have been stopped and asked for it before

You’ll need it if you’re going to go into any of the main temples, the new Giant Buddha at Wat Paknam or the Grand Palace. The Grand Palace dress code is particularly strict.

View from the canal of the Wat Paknam Phasi Charoen Temple, with a massive gold Buddha statue, outside Bangkok, Thailand

As well as the above (and a scarf to cover your shoulders won’t cut it), you can’t wear anything tight-fitting, anything see-through, anything that shows your middle, back, or cleavage, or anything ripped. It’s also best to wear closed-toe shoes.

This means that your bill will come with a 10% added service charge plus local taxes (around 7%). If a bill says “nett,” then these are included already.

If you have a large Thai banknote, go to 7-11 and buy a drink to break it – they always have change.

That’s Vietnam (I know I was disappointed too). There are a lot of dogs on scooters though!

I can’t help you with that one! You can listen to it here .

Keep Planning Your Trip to Thailand

  • How To Get Around Bangkok: Public Transport For Visitors
  • The Chao Phraya Tourist Boat: Sightseeing Tips For Every Stop
  • 12 Things to Know Before Going to Thailand
  • Simple Thai Words and Phrases for Traveling in Thailand

About the Author: Helen Foster is a freelance journalist and author based in Sydney. Her travel articles have appeared in publications including The Australian, Jetstar Magazine, and RAC Horizons. She has taken more than ten trips to Thailand.

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Home » Southeast Asia » Thailand » Bangkok

Backpacking Bangkok Travel Guide (Budget Tips + More • 2024)

Bangkok is renowned among backpackers for its crowded streets, cheap souvenirs, wild nightlife, and insane traffic. Many backpackers travelling Southeast Asia will visit Bangkok and are somewhat overwhelmed due to the pollution and crowds, however, compared to many big Asian cities, Bangkok is actually quite beautiful.

Give the city time and you will definitely come to love it. I’ve spent over three months backpacking in Bangkok, across a dozen visits over ten years, and it’s a city I still love to visit… While the initial chaos and, at times, admitted seediness can initially throw newcomers off, there is a lot to fall in love with should you give Bangkok the chance.

So, today, I’m going to breakdown beautiful and bombastic Bangkok! We’re going to talk about where to stay amongst Bangkok’s eclectic neighbourhoods, and what to do amongst it’s hidden bars and steaming hole-in-the-walls eatery. Most of all, we’ll talk about how to backpack Bangkok on a budget.

After all, this is Thailand, and Thailand is baby’s first budget backpacking Asia adventure. I’m bringing you the best travel tips as it all starts in Bangkok.

How Much Does Backpacking Bangkok Cost?

Top things to do in bangkok, where to stay in bangkok, bangkok travel guide – extra tips and advice, final thoughts from this bangkok travel guide.

It all depends on your style of travelling. If you’re staying at fancy hotels and not eating locally, it will add to your travel costs in Bangkok very fast. Plan ahead, don’t spend money left and right and you’ll have an enjoyable and affordable trip. Whether you decide to just spend a weekend in Bangkok or you’re here for a few weeks, you’ve still got to be careful despite this being a famously budget place to visit!

Dorm rooms start at around $3 but you can get a cheap double room for just $4 if you look around. Dorm rooms in prime locations will set you back at least $10. Private rooms near Khao San start at around $10 but if you walk ten minutes outside of Khao San the price will drop by a few dollars. Chana Songkram is a good road to find cheap accommodation, it is just a five minute walk from Khao San and has loads of budget hostels, the Merry V Guesthouse is one of the cheapest.

In Bangkok, you can eat street food for under a dollar! The food is delicious, nutritious and great value. A meal in a restaurant will see you back a fair bit more, perhaps $10 a person including a couple of drinks.

City buses tend to be very crowded and can be quite confusing but they cost as little as $0.25 a journey. The Skytrain and Metro usually cost under a dollar a trip and are a great way to get around. Taxis throughout the city usually cost between $3 and $5 but make sure your driver puts the meter on. If you are travelling by yourself and don’t want to use public transport try out the famous motorcycle taxis, these are good value, especially during rush hour.

A person standing on Khao San Road in Bangkok, Thailand next to some classic Thai tuk tuks of all colours.

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Daily Travel Budget in Bangkok Breakdown

Dorm bed in a hostel: $3-$6

Small basic room for two: $7-$14

Nice accommodation (Airbnb, hotel, etc.): $15+

Street eat: $1-$3

Sit-down meal: $7-$14

Bus ride: <$1

Metro/Skytrain ride: <$1

Taxi fare: $3-$6

Bangkok Budget Backpacking Tips

Travelling to Thailand is relatively cheap, but there are some travel tips you can use to keep your daily spending budget lower. To keep your spending to an absolute minimum whilst travelling in Bangkok I recommend sticking to these basic budget backpacking tips…

  • Use Public Transport – Bangkok has an extensive system of buses and metro lines (not to mention the countless taxis, moto-taxis, and tuk-tuks that line the streets). So make use of this and save up to do better things!
  • Couchsurf : Couchsurfing is an excellent idea while backpacking Bangkok.
  • Cook your own food: Get together with your amigos at the hostel and cook up a meal. You can save some pennies doing this.
  • Haggle: Know how to haggle, and do it as much as you can. You can always get a better price for things especially while in local markets in Bangkok.
  • Pack a travel water bottle : Save money – and the planet – every day!

Why You Should Travel to Bangkok with a Water Bottle

Plastic washes up on even the most pristine beaches… so do your part and keep the Big Blue beautiful

You aren’t going to save the world overnight, but you might as well be part of the solution and not the problem. When you travel to some of the world’s most remote places, you come to realise the full extent of the plastic problem. And I hope you become more inspired to continue being a responsible traveller .

STOP USING SINGLE-USE PLASTIC! If you’d like some more tips on how to save the world , be sure to watch the video below.

Plus, now you won’t be buying overpriced bottles of water from the supermarkets either! Travel with a filtered water bottle instead and never waste a cent nor a turtle’s life again.

mockup of a person holding a smartphone in white background with Holafly logo

A new country, a new contract, a new piece of plastic – booooring. Instead, buy an eSIM!

An eSIM works just like an app: you buy it, you download it, and BOOM! You’re connected the minute you land. It’s that easy.

Is your phone eSIM ready? Read about how e-Sims work or click below to see one of the top eSIM providers on the market and  ditch the plastic .

There is loads to do in Bangkok is absolutely stacked with awesome activities and attractions. Don’t miss out! Infact, with so much to do you might just want to plan out a proper Bangkok Itinerary !

1. Receive the Sacred Sak Yant Tattoo

Many travelers visiting Thailand express an interest in learning about the fascinating practise of holy Sak Yant tattoos, find out more about these amazing works of art and get your own tattoo from a monk – I strongly recommend reading up on what the Sak Yant tattoo is to find out if it’s is right for you…

road trip ke bangkok

2. Learn About Thai Elephants Before You Buy “The Pants”

Open from 8:30 to 4:30, the Royal Elephant Museum is well worth a visit to learn more about elephants in Thai culture.

3. Try Some Authentic Market Shopping

You can buy almost anything in Bangkok’s huge markets, the best is probably the huge Jatujak Weekend Market. Tour a night market with a local in Bangkok and really discover the hidden gems of the city .

4. Or Some Less Authentic Modern Shopping

There are tons of shopping malls in Bangkok and if you have the cash these are great places to find relatively cheap clothes, electronics and designer knockoffs.

5. Visit the Grand Palace and Wat Po

Wat Po is home to the fantastic reclining golden Buddha and is definitely worth visiting. When you get to the temple touts may tell you it is closed, ignore them and go straight inside. Better yet, pre-purchase your ticket for Wat Po!

road trip ke bangkok

6. Relax a Day in Lumpini Park

If you end up staying a while, one of the best places to see in Bangkok is this fantastic park with jogging trails, free weights and rowboats.

7. The Underbelly of Bangkok

A lot of travellers are keen to explore Bangkok’s famous sex scene; Soi Cowboy is supposed to be the more high-market place to hang.

8. Explore the Infamous Khao San Road

The epicenter of Bangkok’s backpacking scene, Khao San is definitely worth checking out. This is a fantastic place enjoy a few beers or get your first taste of a Thai bucket! Beware that a night out on Khao San will empty your wallet.

road trip ke bangkok

9. Learn How to Cook a Proper Thai Feast

Booking a cooking class in Bangkok is an excellent way to get to know the legendary Thai cuisine flavors. Plus, you get to take some pretty awesome skills home with you.

10. Sample the Street Eats

The street food in Bangkok is some of the best street food in the world. It is cheap, plentiful and super tasty. It is also very safe and unlikely to make you sick. If in doubt, buy food from a stall frequented by local Thai people, that way you can be sure the fare is of good quality.

A woman cooking Pad Thai on the street in Bangkok, Thailand

For me, one of the most exciting things about being on the road is meeting new people and staying in new places. Bangkok is the starting point for many backpacking adventures, and there are some fantastic hostels to check out. These backpacker meccas are great for meeting fellow travellers, exchanging travel stories, tapping into the backpacking grapevine and just chilling the fuck out.

Hostels may be your best entry point for meeting fellow travellers, however, there are way more accommodation options! Swanky Airbnb apartments, family guesthouses, and authentic homestays secreted away amongst the vibrant neighbourhoods of Bangkok . Whether you’re looking for the insanity of nights trawling the city, or just a new home to live your digital nomad dream, you’ll find a place to stay in Bangkok to suit your needs.

Best Places to Stay in Bangkok

Sukhumvit Bangkok

Sukhumvit is a centrally located neighbourhood with easy access to other districts throughout Bangkok.This neighbourhood boasts a number of historic and cultural attractions as well as great bars, restaurants and shopping making it the best area to stay in bangkok for first-time visitors.

Banglamphu, Bangkok

Banglamphu is the heart and soul of Bangkok. Centrally located, this neighbourhood is where you’ll find an excellent mix of historic and beautiful temples and a vibrant and lively party scene.

Khao San Road, Bangkok

  • Khao San Road

Bangkok’s nightlife is nothing short of epic, and the city’s dedicated nightlife area is Khao San Road, a haven for backpackers looking to dance the night away and enjoy a non-stop party.

Thonglor Bangkok

Thonglor is by far one of the coolest areas to stay in Bangkok. Located east of the centre, this trendy district is where Bangkok’s young, rich and famous come to sip ultra-hip cocktails and indulge in world-class cuisine.

Siam Bangkok

Siam is the commercial centre of Bangkok and one of the city’s safest neighbourhoods, making it one of the best areas to stay for families. High-end malls and world-class restaurants are just a few of the top attractions here.

Best Time of Year to Visit Bangkok

The peak tourist season in Thailand is November to February when the weather is beautiful across the country but there’s a high chance you’ll run into a ton of tourists in Bangkok. The really popular guest-houses fill up fast so this is a country where it can definitely be worth making reservations. This way you can find cheaper accommodation which is difficult to find during peak season.

The local people are a really friendly bunch and keen to help so if you have any problems don’t be afraid to ask for directions from the locals. And Bangkok is a wonderful city to get lost in, there is SO much to explore.

road trip ke bangkok

If you want to give the other tourists a miss, head over there in the non-touristy season. You can still do most things your planning for your trip to Bangkok  even at the quiet times. It is just as much fun, maybe more!

Need help deciding between Bangkok and Chiang Mai ? Check out our helpful guide.

Getting In and Out of Bangkok

Bangkok is the beating heart of the backpacking scene in South East Asia and most travellers end up starting their Southeast Asia backpacking trip by flying into Bangkok. You can, of course, also arrive via road or rail from:

  • Or Cambodia .

Many nationalities can receive a thirty day, free, visa waiver on arrival (if arriving by air, it’s currently 15 days if you arrive overland). You can generally extend the waiver once, to receive an additional thirty days, for a fee. If your nationality requires a pre arranged visa or you want to sort out a Thai visa in advance, particularly for a longer stay, it is fairly simple to receive one a Thai embassy at home or abroad.

road trip ke bangkok

From Bangkok, you can travel to a ton of really beautiful islands and some cool cities as well. Some islands are very crowded and others only have just a few bungalows on them. Some of the best (well… best- known ) are:

  • Koh Phangan
  • The Similan Islands

Chiang Mai is one of my favourites destinations in Thailand and is popular with the digital nomad crowd (according to new digital nomad statistics ). If you’re unsure where the heck to go after Bangkok, check out this epic 3-week Thailand itinerary from my amigo Dave.

  • Budget Backpacking Thailand Guide
  • Where to Stay in Thailand
  • Backpacking Chiang Mai Travel Guide
  • Best Hostels in Thailand

How to Get Around Bangkok

road trip ke bangkok

If you are super stoked by the prospect of riding in a tuk tuk, go for it but be sure to negotiate a price before you get in Keep an eye on your shit when in a tuk tuk . The local bus system is another great way to get around Bangkok and I also frequently use the Skytrain for longer distances. To get into the city from the airport, catch the Skytrain and then catch a Grab or a taxi from Thonburi or Bearing.

Grab (similar to Uber) is now readily available in several countries in the region including Thailand! Grab a great way to find taxis and the price is locked in on the app. However, Grab can often prove to be more expensive than regular taxi’s.

Best Nightlife and Parties in Bangkok

The best party streets in Bangkok are:

  • Royal City Avenue
  • Sukhumvit Soi 11

Khao San Road’s reputation as the ultimate backpacker party hub is known across Southeast Asia, and has been for decades. Internet cafes, bars, restaurants, massage parlours, tattoo shops and hawkers line the 1km stretch of absolute mayhem. You’ll see people eating, drinking and dancing on the streets.

I would definitely not advise staying on Khao San road even though the cheap prices might be tempting as it’s damn noisy and you won’t catch any sleep. If you want to party stay nearby, just not on the actual road.

Safety in Bangkok

While having earned a reputation for its wild nightlife, tuk-tuk scams, and incorrigible ladyboys, Bangkok is safe – or at last a fairly safe destination to visit. You definitely stil need to keep your wits about you – especially if youre new to this part of the world – but you’re still looking at a safe trip to Bangkok. The main thing to stay aware of is knowing how to get loose safely and,  crucially , not getting too loose.

Even though drugs are free flowing in the half moon and full moon parties, Thailand has very very strict laws against possession of drugs including imprisonment and the death penalty. My advice is to be extra cautious when it comes to drugs.

road trip ke bangkok

A lot of the time, the weed is low-quality brick weed. Every now and again, unfortunate backpackers do get roofied so be careful with your drinks and don’t accept random shit from strangers. Read Blazed Backpackers 101 for tips on how to stay safe whilst partying in Bangkok.

Tinder is awfully common in Bangkok but more as a hookup app than a dating app. You can still give it a spin though, just before you take all the necessary precautions as Thailand makes it easy to get too wrapped in love and sex on the road .

Travel Insurance for Bangkok

Traveling without insurance would be risky so do consider getting good backpacker insurance sorted before you head off on an adventure.

ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing .

They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.

road trip ke bangkok

SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!

Click the button below to learn more about SafetyWing’s setup or read our insider review for the full tasty scoop.

Books to Read on Bangkok

  • Lonely Planet Bangkok Travel Guide – Plenty of useful info on bus routes and where to go.
  • Bangkok Tattoo – While Bangkok is rich in history, crowded with temples it is also a city shrouded in shadows with pollution, corruption, and the touted sex capital of the world. This book is a narrative of this dichotomy.
  • Bangkok Eight – Bangkok is a strange city where Buddhist monks in saffron robes walk the same streets as world-class gangsters. Mystery ensues when a US marine sergeant is killed.
  • Miss Bangkok: Memoirs of a Thai Prostitute – Miss Bangkok is a vivid and extremely moving memoir of a life of prostitution in Bangkok. Her confessions will make you laugh and cry, cringe and applaud but she will definitely change your perception of prostitution forever.
  • Bangkok Haunts – This book is about the underbelly of Bangkok- District 8 and the story of Detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep who has seen just about everything on his beat there.
  • The Damage Done: Twelve Years Of Hell In A Bangkok Prison –  In 1978, Warren Fellows was convicted in Thailand of heroin trafficking and was sentenced to life imprisonment and what he went through for those years is beyond your worst imagination. It is an essential read.

road trip ke bangkok

Make Money Online Whilst Backpacking Bangkok

Traveling in Bangkok long-term? Keen to make some cash when you are not exploring the city? 

Teaching English online is a great way to earn a consistent income—from anywhere in the world with a good internet connection. Depending on your qualifications (or your motivation to obtain qualifications like a TEFL certificate) you can teach English remotely from your laptop, save some cash for your next adventure, and make a positive impact on the world by improving another person’s language skills! It’s a win-win! Check out this detailed article for everything you need to know to start teaching English online .

In addition to giving you the qualifications to teach English online, TEFL courses open up a huge range of opportunities and you can find teaching work all over the world. To find out more about TEFL courses and how you can teach English around the world, read my in-depth report on teaching English abroad .

Broke Backpacker readers get a 50% discount on TEFL courses with MyTEFL (simply enter the code PACK50), to find out more, please read my in-depth report on teaching English abroad.

Whether you are keen to teach English online or looking to take your teaching game a step further by finding a job teaching English in a foreign country, getting your TEFL certificate is absolutely a step in the right direction.

Volunteering in Bangkok

Long term travel is awesome. Giving back is awesome too. For backpackers looking to travel long-term on a budget in Florence whilst making a real impact on local communities look no further than Worldpackers . Worldpackers is an excellent platform connecting travelers with meaningful volunteer positions throughout the world .

In exchange for a few hours of work each day, your room and board are covered.

Backpackers can spend long periods of time volunteering in an awesome place without spending any money. Meaningful life and travel experiences are rooted in stepping out of your comfort zone and into the world of a purposeful project.

Worldpackers opens the doors for work opportunities in hostels, homestays, NGOs, and eco-projects around the world. We’ve tried and approved them ourselves – check out our Worldpackers in-depth review .

If you’re ready to create a life-changing travel experience and give back to the community, join the Worldpacker community now. As a Broke Backpacker reader, you’ll get a special discount of $10. Just use the discount code BROKEBACKPACKER and your membership is discounted from $49 a year to only $39.

road trip ke bangkok

Worldpackers: connecting travellers with  meaningful travel experiences.

road trip ke bangkok

Being a Responsible Backpacker in Bangkok

Backpacking in Bangkok will bring you ample opportunities to participate in debauchery, and it is very important to have fun, let loose, and get a bit wild at times. Most backpacking trips I have been on across the world have included at least a few mornings where I wake up knowing I went too far.

There are some things that will put you in the category of a straight up jackass if you do them. Being super loud and obnoxious in a tiny hostel at 3 AM is a classic rookie backpacker mistake. 

Everyone in the hostel will hate you when you wake them up. Show your fellow travelers respect whilst backpacking in X and anywhere else for that matter!

Check out our post on how to be a responsible backpacker.

road trip ke bangkok

Will Hatton

Backpacking Bangkok Travel Guide Pinterest Image

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Note: Grab is more expensive than a metered taxi, grab make money from adding their booking fee to the meter price. Grab is different to uber.

Calling a Thai Ai hee ah…which literally means anus of a monitor lizard is possibly the most stupid thing that a person could do in Thailand. As a farang it may not cost you your life, but it is an insult which has vdry grave consequences. Suggest you take it down.

Your content is awesome and so useful! For sure I am going to use your tips when I go to Bangkok for my birthday on July! Keep up the good work! 🙂

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road trip ke bangkok

  • The Best Bangkok-Chiang Mai Road Trip Guide: Eat Your Way Up North

Let’s check out the road North together!

Thailand Chiang Mai Travel

road trip ke bangkok

For some, the pandemic has made the thought of travelling by public transportation less than appealing. Whether it’s visiting far-flung provinces or touring across a region, many people are opting for road trips all over Thailand. Driving yourself may take a little longer and may require overnight stays along the way. But the amazing upside is that you’ll have experiences that you might never have if you went directly to your ultimate destination. So is the case with the way North from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. If you’re not in a rush, you can take your time on a road trip full of eating, touring, and shopping in diverse destinations. You can take in nature’s beauty across Tak. Or you could make the great journey to the borderland of Siam in Chiang Rai and go back to chill out in Chiang Mai. Sounds good? Then check your tyre pressure, get the car ready, and pack your bags. It’s time to hit the road!

Wrapped candy floss, Ayutthaya’s delicious sweet treat. (© Shutterstock)

Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya

Ayutthaya’s grilled jumbo river prawns that foodies love.  (© Shutterstock)

The Arts of the Kingdom Museum in Ko Koet has a unique learning centre all about khon , the distinctive Thai performing art. It covers everything from costumes, jewellery, and accessories to creating masks and the huge set pieces and scenery used in the intricate performances. Some of the scenery is made with advanced technology to produce motions and movements. New khon fans can now have fun as they learn about this performing part of Thai heritage. In the same museum complex is also a collection of national treasures that everyone should visit at least once. These masterpieces were created by artisans from 23 disciplines under the auspices of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit the Queen Mother’s Foundation for the Promotion of Supplementary Occupation and Related Techniques. And the souvenir shop is filled with artworks of historic to contemporary designs that would make wonderful mementos or gifts.

Phra Phuttha Maha Nawamin Sakyamuni Sri Wiset Chai Chan at Ang Thong’s sacred Wat Muang.  (© Shutterstock)

Nakhon Sawan

Kamphaeng phet.

The majestic Bhumibol Dam, the only arched concrete dam in Thailand, is one of the many gorgeous sights for you to enjoy in Tak. (© Tourism Authority of Thailand)

Some tips before you go

  • From Bangkok, there are two main routes to Chiang Mai: From Nakhon Sawan, you can head to Tak and Lampang or go through Phitsanulok. Or you can take the Phayao route to Chiang Rai then turn to Chiang Mai, returning via Tak for a lovely long round-trip road trip.

Travelling is a learning experience. This cold season, if you have plans for a road trip North, don’t forget to stop and experience the local communities along the way. You’ll encounter new and wonderful things for even more unforgettable memories, all while directly helping local economies. During your travels, don’t forget to wear a mask, wash your hands, and protect your health. Also, be on the lookout for the SHA logo. SHA is a project involving the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), Ministry of Tourism and Sports, with the Department of Disease Control, Department of Health, Department of Health Service Support, Ministry of Public Health, and others. SHA certification verifies the safety, hygiene, and sanitation quality of products and services of Thai businesses while promoting the quality of Thai tourism among travellers. For more information about this project, please visit thailandsha.tourismthailand.org CONTINUE READING: Food Walk: Nakhon Pathom, The Full-Flavoured Inspiration Of Chef Thanintorn "Noom" Chantharawan Hero image: © Shutterstock

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After five years of writing about travel for leading publications, Saranyu now immerses herself in the arts, culture, food, and documentaries. Though what she loves the most is discovering what inspires people.

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Southern Thailand Road Trip: Bangkok to Krabi by motorbike

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Why we chose a Southern Thailand road trip

It was unfortunately monsoon season when we decided to take a month long road motorbike tour of Thailand. So we had to weigh up the pros and cons of a Northern vs Southern Thailand road trip.

Although we were keen to explore the North, the weather in this region looked treacherous. Instead we opted for ‘a little less rain’ and a Southern Thailand road trip it was!

Here’s our motorbike route

Places we visited

Bangkok (start).

  • Samut Songkhram
  • Sam Roi You
  • Surat Thani City
  • Nakkhon Si Thammarat
  • Klong Thom Krabi
  • Thungwualaen Beach
  • Phrachuap Khiri Khan
  • Phetchaburi
  • Nakhon Pathum
  • Bangkok (Finish)

View and download our entire route here on Google Maps . It took us just over 5 weeks to complete, spending between 1 and 7 days in each location. The exact route shown may differ slightly from the one we took, this is because we sometimes opted to take longer coastal roads instead of the more direct option.

Renting a motorbike or scooter?

We rented our bike from Emma’s Motorbikes and Scooter Rental in Lat Phrao, close to Don Mueang airport. Emma’s offer the best service, quality, insurance options and selection of bikes and scooters in Bangkok.

 Southern Thailand Khao Sok National Park landscape viewpoint

We opted for a 155cc Yamaha NMAX which handles the road well. It has larger than an average wheels for a scooter, ABS breaks, a roomy boot and is incredibly comfortable – perfect for long journeys.

Safety first

In Thailand you drive on the left, the same as in the UK. The roads are known to be some of the deadliest in the world so it is imperative to wear a helmet. Not only is it for your own safety, but it is also the law in Thailand. As a tourist the police will find any reason to pull you over, don’t let this be one of them!

We invested in our own helmets (that we travel with all over SE Asia) and recommend a full face style. These offer better protection, fit and comfort. Gloves are also a good idea for both the driver and passenger.

Preparing for our road trip

Before setting off on our Southern Thailand road trip, there were a few basic things we needed to get sorted, one of which was a Sat Nav set-up. On our previous adventures by bike in Bali , I’d been the designated navigator (phone in one hand, clinging on for dear life with the other!) as I am sure most couples will concur, this is like taking a trip to Ikea…

We bought a Thai SIM card with ample data and would rely on google maps to find our way. There are a number of operators to choose from, but AIS offered us the best coverage vs price for our impending locations.

Motorbike route to Sam Roi Yot in Southern Thailand

Managing our luggage

We did not have panniers, and with limited space in the boot there was no way we could take our two large Osprey backpacks , plus our snorkel and dive gear and goodness knows what else!

After 10 months of backpacking its surprising how much junk you accumulate. We’d been lugging around mouldy old clothes since Raja Ampat . It was time for a clear out! We minimised our belongings for the next 5 weeks and fit everything required into one large backpack which I would be wearing. Everything else was stowed away at Bangkok Self Storage .

Packing tips and essential items

We packed our bag methodically, ensuring all valuables were safe and watertight. The boot of our bike was reserved for laptops and cameras. There are a number essentials that we highly recommend keeping to hand on a road trip. As we soon found out, it is best to pack these items somewhere you can easily access:

Rain jackets or ponchos – Essential during monsoon season! International driving licence  – Being pulled over by the police is highly likely in Thailand as a tourist Passports – Always good to keep these to hand Cash – For coffee breaks, toll roads, ferry crossings etc Waterproof phone case – To keep your phone dry if you set it up as a Sat Nav on your bike Powerpack & charger – In case your phone dies, very important if you’re using it for directions! Microfibre towel – Handy for drying off after getting caught in the rain Drinking water – Travelling long distances in humid weather is thirsty work Pain killers – Nothing worse than a bumpy headache! Sunglasses – To stop you from squinting and protection from glare Phone – For Google Maps, to book hotels, to document your journey! Camera – To take pictures of all the epic scenery you’re guaranteed to see along the way!

Tips for booking hotels in Thailand

Rather than pre-booking our accommodation, it made sense to do this on a day by day basis in case of any unforeseen circumstances. We may really like a place and want to stay longer, or the weather might take a turn for the worst.

We gave ourselves the fun challenge of spending no more than £10 per night. The room requirements were a fan, WiFi and a score of 7.5 or more on Agoda! If we ended up with AC, hot water or even a free breakfast then we would be absolutely delighted.

Agoda is our preferred method of booking our accommodation in SE Asia. The app is super easy to use while on the go. It takes no more than a few minutes to book and receive confirmation. They offer the best rates and reward you with discounts and points for your loyalty, which goes a long way when you are a backpacker on a budget! We also find their reviews to be mostly accurate.

We had around 5 weeks to play with. Our plan was to follow the Southern coastline, stopping for a week in Tha Sala, then crossing over to Krabi, down to Koh Lanta, and finally back up to Bangkok before our visa ran out.

There were a couple of places we hoped to visit along the way such as Sam Roi Yot and Khao Sok National Park meaning we could take a slightly different route back up North.

Myanmar Thailand Border on Motorbike

With this rough outline we would take coastal and scenic roads where possible. Nick calculated that we’d need to be on the move for approximately 2-3 hours per day. If this included pit stops, it would take around 3-4 hours to reach each destination.

Our starting point was Pathum Thani, an hour or so North of the centre of Bangkok. I was not looking forward to this part of the journey as navigating through the crazy city is an adventure in itself. While Nick gave his sole attention to the road, I winced as we played ‘the smallest gap’ between busy lanes of traffic in the baking sun.

Where we stayed in Bangkok

Prior to our Southern Thailand road trip, we spent two months renting a quiet little  Air BnB cottage in Khlong Luang, Pathum Thani, on the outskirts of Bangkok.

Bangkok to Samut Songkhram

Our first stop outside the capital took us to the small town of Amphawa in the province of Samut Songkhram on the Mae Khlong River. Amphawa is mostly famous for the Maeklong Railway Market. Walking along its busy tracks in a cramped, dimly lit alleyway we admired the fresh produce. It seemed impossible for a train to run through here 4 times a day!

But it wasn’t long before we heard the whistle and market stall sellers sprang into action, pulling back their awning, while grumpy Grandmas directed tourists, telling them to stand back. The train passed just centimetres from our noses. Despite the hoards, it was quite the spectacle and definitely worthy of a stop over!

Where we stayed in Samut Songkhram

Good accommodation within our budget was hard to come by in Amphawa. We opted for the Royal Land Mae Khlong Hotel which is quite possibly one of the worst places we’ve ever laid our heads!

Samut Songkhram to Cha’ Am

The route to Cha’ Am involved a lot of long motorway driving. The traffic was fast and unnerving as giant trucks passed us by. We hugged the hard shoulder most of the way.

The small seaside town of Cha’ Am resembled somewhere retired British expats would settle on the Costa Del Sol. Shops selling buckets & spades, flip flops and inflatable flamingos were empty, while the odd bar pumped out music. Token Western guys were lapping up the cheap beer and attention of young Thai’s. Despite this, we enjoyed a sunset stroll along the beach lined with sunbeds. It was hard to imagine them ever being used.

Where we stayed in Cha’ Am

Our hotel The Beach Cha’ Am Residence was very modern, comfortable and a significant upgrade from the previous night!

Cha’ Am to Sam Rio Yot National Park

After passing through Hua Hin, the scenery became more beautiful and the roads more rural. With gentle seas lapping and swaying palms on our left, vast mountains and farmlands to our right, it finally felt like we were on a Southern Thailand road trip.

Hidden Temple Phraya Nakhon Cave Sam Roi Yot

Sam Roi Yot National Park offers visitors plenty to see and do, but the first thing on our agenda was a visit to the incredible Phraya Nakhon Cave. After a scenic hike we made our way down through the cave and into a huge main chamber which houses the most beautiful sacred temple.

Where we stayed in Sam Roi Yot

We stayed for two nights at the hippy little Blue Beach Resort and loved it. Although our room was a bit tired, we had AC, WiFi, free breakfast and even a swimming pool. For less than a tenner a night, who’s complaining?

Sam Rio Yot to Bangsaphan in Southern Thailand

After leaving behind the scenery of Sam Roi Yot National Park, we passed very little on the way to Bangsaphan. Typical Thai houses were dotted between long stretches of rubber and Coconut plantations. Our road trip was revealing how vastly untouched Thailand really is.

Where we stayed in Bangsaphan

We arrived starving and sweaty at the Sananwan Beach B&B . Feeling too tired and achey to find the nearest food stall, we ordered from the in-house menu. After what felt like eternity, a strange tasting noodle dish arrived. We got the feeling that they hadn’t had any guests for a while…

After a nap, a shower (and a brief scare thanks to an enormous spider) we ventured out see the only ‘tourist attraction’ we could find on the map. The Red Cliffs!

Bangsaphan to Chumphon

This busy port town is the mainland jumping point to the island of Koh Tao . Our first impressions were very much food-related, as we hit the buzzing night market. The dish of the day was Pad Thai, but it wasn’t any old Pad Thai, this was the original! Our mouths watered as huge woks of noodles and juicy shrimp were cooked up by the locals like street performers.

Where we stayed in Chumphon

We imaged the Go Green Resort to be some kind of eco-warrior, but the only thing ‘green’ about it was its insipid lime facade. It reminded me of a cheap American motel, but the owner was kind and provided free coffee, biscuits and bananas. The heavens opened and we stayed for two nights, but used our time wisely to work on the blog.

Chumphon to Tha Chana

We made a quick dash once the clouds cleared in Chumphon. I wrapped our backpack in a spare poncho in an attempt to keep it dry, but we barely made it onto the main road before I caught a glimpse of it flying off in the wind behind us.

The journey to Tha Chana was long and miserable, as we had to keep stopping due to torrential rain. But we finally arrived safe (and soaked) thanks to Nicks determination and concentration on the road!

Where we stayed in Tha Chana

Spirits were low when we arrived at the Boryhee Resort where an elderly man checked us in. Shivering and exhausted, we couldn’t wait to get to our room to change out of our wet clothes. When eventually acquainted, we were greeted with two small single beds for the night, each consisting of brown fitted sheets and a towel placed on each. The man explained that these were to be used as a blanket…

Venturing out for dinner to a neighbouring restaurant on a stunning beach, we found empty palm shacks with wooden tables and chairs. Our preference is to be where the tourists are not, but seriously, were we the only people on a Southern Thailand road trip?

Tha Chana to Surat Thani City

Another day, another soggy drive to Surat Thani City, monsoon season was in full swing!

Monster Bike Tha Sala Thailand

Where we stayed in Surat Thani City

We opted for the friendly Amera Resort which was in close proximity to a good night market. The only real downside being the rock hard Thai bed. It didn’t matter how many nights we’d spent in Thailand, there is no getting used to this style of sleeping for me!

Surat Thani City to Nakkhon Si Thammarat

It wouldn’t be long before we’d reach our destination in Tha Sala, but first we had to stop on the outskirts of Nakkhon Si Thammarat to break up the journey.

We chose the charming Kanta Hill Resort . The ladies running the resort had me picking mangosteens with a bamboo stick and insisting we take their Durians for breakfast. Hospitality at its best 😉

Nakkhon Si Thammarat to Tha Sala

The peaceful area of Tha Sala is vastly off the tourist trail but with plenty of local markets, hikes, waterfalls, view points and temples to explore we were in our element for the next 7 days.

Where we stayed in Tha Sala

Tucked away along a curling beachside road in the tiny village of Tha Khuen, we found the perfect Air BnB . A simple Thai-style house on 2 acres of land, fenced off by typically ornate gates. We had two guard dogs and a private beach in our backyard.

Tha Sala to Thung Song

The city of Thung Song is in a strategic location, slap bang in the middle of the provinces of Krabi and Nakkhon Si Thammarat. While exploring the streets on foot we attracted rather a lot of attention. A couple of old guys sitting on the pavement enjoying a Durian pointed and smiled. They wanted to share their precious fruit with us, which we happily obliged!

Where we stayed in Thung Song

Right opposite the train station is the Sino @ Thung Song Hotel , that comes highly recommended.

Thung Song to Klong Thom, Krabi

One of the things we were most excited about seeing on this trip was Krabi’s signature karst limestone landscape, and the sweeping roads leading to the province did not disappoint.

Southern Thailand Gas Station in Krabi

Where we stayed in Klong Thom

The Vanilla Ville Resort lies on the outskirts of Krabi, and was a quick stop before our final push to Koh Lanta. Surprisingly this was one of the stand-out hotels from our Southern Thailand road trip (finally a bed that didn’t feel like you were sleeping on a dining table!). Aside from its comforts, the highlight was hanging out with the host and his collection of rescue cats and dogs, each with their own unique story.

Klong Thom, Krabi to Koh Lanta

It was a relatively short drive from Klong Thom to the car ferry which would take us to Koh Lanta. It seemed we were the only tourists taking a bike across from the mainland. After a short boat trip, we were on the island!

Where we stayed in Koh Lanta

Koh Lanta is a popular destination, so we chose to stay in quiet Lanta Old Town. From the ferry port it took around 35 minutes to reach our Air BnB. The Old Town community is a base for the local fishermen who live in quaint wooden houses on stilts over the water. We managed to find the perfect pad nestled between them, and stopped here for 1 week.

Koh Lanta Old Town Sunrise

Koh Lanta to Krabi Town

On our crossing back to the mainland, we were hit with more wind and rain but thankfully our hostel in Krabi Town was only about an hours drive.

Where we stayed in Krabi Town

The Siri Krabi and its quirky decor is a great base for the centre of town. It even came with all inclusive tea, coffee and breakfast.

Krabi Town to Khao Lak

Winding our way through the province of Krabi, enormous limestone cliffs engulfed either side of the road on our way to the Khao Lak. During the 2004 Tsunami this region was the hardest hit, but this beautiful stretch of coastline has made a miraculous recovery.

Where we stayed in Khao Lak

We stayed at Fasai House , a good budget option especially as most accommodation here is tailored towards holidaymakers.

Khao Lak to Khao Sok National Park

Khao Sok was one of the highlights of our Southern Thailand road trip. Climbing a rollercoaster of roads through the park, whilst visiting Ratchaprapha Dam  every corner turned was a spectacle of vast mountain ranges, deep wilderness and jungles, rivers and waterfalls! It was a shame we didn’t have more than 24 hours here.

Khao Sok Ratchaprapa Dam on motobike

Khao Sok is also famous for its Elephants, and there are a number of sanctuaries in the park. However Thailand is well known for its questionable treatment of Asian Elephants and unfortunately they are still exploited for ‘trekking experiences’. At one point we spotted a poor creature chained to the side of the road. Stopping the bike to take a closer look, the elephant swayed miserably, his eyes running with tears. It was a heart breaking sight, which left us feeling just as distressed as he looked.

Where we stayed in Khao Sok

We chose the simple but sweet Khao Sok Homestay Resort . The warm and passionate owner, originally from Bangkok, set up the homestay as her retirement. She has created her own little haven amidst a serene backdrop of the park. Breakfast and blogging in her garden was dreamy!

Khao Sok to Ranong

After leaving Khao Sok we followed the border of Myanmar and our location become noticeably more remote, uncovering wonderful views and empty roads.

Where we stayed in Ranong

Accommodation was slim pickings in Ranong. We spent a night at the really rather grim Montra Guesthouse .

Ranong to Thungwualaen Beach, Chumphon

It was time to cross back over to Chumphon from Ranong via Route 4 and follow the east coast again. We’d been on the road for over a month and our visa was fast-expiring!

Where we stayed in Thungwualaen Beach

We chose to stay a bit closer to the coast this time at the Albatross Guesthouse which was a much more chilled version of Chumphon.

Thungwualaen Beach to Phrachuap Khiri Khan

We loved Phrachuap Khiri Khan the moment we arrived. From the Buddhist monks walking barefoot to the naughty monkeys scavaging on the roadside, soaking up the culture here was magical.

We were up at 5am to hike Kao Lom Muak, a mountain located inside the army barracks. Unfortunately when we got there it was shut, so instead watched the sunrise over Ao Manao Bay. Not a bad compromise.

Ao Manao Bay Pratchuap Khiri Khan sunrise

Where we stayed in Phrachuap Khiri Khan

We rested our heads for the night at the cosy Baan Pak Sukjai .

Phrachuap Khiri Khan to Phetchaburi

With only two nights away from reaching Bangkok, we were back on the fast roads and on a mission. 7-Eleven stops were the main highlight. It is true what they say about their famous toasted sandwiches, they really are a travellers best friend!

Where we stayed in Phetchaburi

Bagging a room at the swanky new Maithong Riverside was quite a treat. It appeared to be the hotel of choice for travelling Thai businessman, grubby backpackers, not so much!

Phetchaburi to Nakhon Pathum

Our final night on the road was spent in the city of Nakhon Pathum. We found ourselves doing laps around the Phra Pathom Chedi temple  due to the complicated one-way system before eventually locating an impressive night market. There was no holding back, as we indulged in all our favourite Thai market foods such as fragrant yellow rice and boiled chicken, a steamy bag of Siao Pao, fresh sweet pineapple and coconut milk cups. Yum!

Where we stayed in Nakhon Pathum

Thai hospitality was lost in translation at the Baan Jumpa Residence . They didn’t get my vote, but all in all its really not a bad place to stay!

Finish: Don Mueang, Bangkok

We were so relieved to have made it back to Bangkok in one piece. If one things for sure, the roads in the South were far less dangerous than that of the Capital city. Completing our Southern Thailand road trip felt like such an achievement!

On our last night in Thailand we stayed at the aptly named Donmuang At Last  which was very fitting after sampling a total of 20 hotels on the road.

Reflections on our Southern Thailand road trip

The route we took was relatively straightforward. The roads were enjoyable and notably in great condition. Overall the driving was not challenging, except on motorways where the traffic moves fast so you have to have your wits about you. None of this compares to Bangkok – which is not for the faint hearted!

We loved the convenience of travelling on Thai roads. No matter what, you can always find a petrol station and 7-Elevens are literally everywhere. We were never caught short of fuel, for the bike or ourselves. Garages are readily available if your bike needs maintenance. The same goes for good, cheap accommodation, along with an abundance of markets and great places to eat.

Yamaha NMAX Scooter in rain

The hardest part for us was travelling during monsoon season. The rain was non-stop at times, making the journey quite difficult and dangerous. But this was all part of the adventure. Next time we’ll definitely aim for the dry season. Watch this space!

Making the decision to explore Southern Thailand by motorbike has easily been one of the best and most rewarding experiences in all our travels. This journey gave us a wonderful overview of Thailand, as we were able to soak up many different aspects of this unique culture and diverse country.

Have you ever been on an epic road trip by motorbike? Have any recommendations or tips for future trips? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below 🙂

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Hey Claire! Loved reading about this adventure as I’m planning something similar. Looks like you had an amazing journey! Main differences for me are that I’m solo and own a bigbike I’ll be riding down. When you went to Lanta, did you bring your bike across on the ferry, or leave it behind and rent again on the island? Since my bike is my own I’m trying to learn if island-hopping with it is in any way feasible. Also, how would you have felt about all of these places if you had been by yourself? I’m competent and pretty tough, but as a solo female traveler I’m always a little concerned about safety in remote foreign places.

Btw, aren’t Steve and Emma from Emma Motorbikes the best? I rented from them before I bought 🙂

Hi Samara, thank you for such a lovely comment 🙂 so awesome to hear that you’re planning a similar journey! It was such an adventure, and a really nice way of experiencing local parts of Thailand. The coastal and rural roads are incredible, no doubt you are going to love them on your big bike. And yes, you can take your bike across on the car ferry to Koh Lanta (actually this was why we chose to go there). We’ve lived in Thailand for nearly a year, and in all that time I can honestly say I’ve never felt unsafe, even in more remote places. Of course you can never be too careful, but everyone we’ve encountered here has been wonderful. Oh how funny, yes Steve and Emma are amazing! We’re renting from them again right now and cannot fault their services! Wishing you safe travels – Claire

Thanks lots for the quick and thoughtful reply! I’ve been in BKK for 3 months and while I wouldn’t say I’ve ever truly felt unsafe per se, I notice a lot of unwanted attention being directed at me by Thai men. I’m half-used to catcalling since I’m from Brooklyn, but here it’s more like “window shopping,” with stares often so prolonged and objectifying they can be unsettling, for me at least. I’m sure it’ll be fine, but I always like to be prepared up front, especially when I’m heading somewhere more remote.

They really are a pair of gems! I’ve been a customer at two other shops around BKK and they’re special. Actually I should be seeing them in the next day or two since Steve offered to take a look at my bike for me. Thanks again and take care!

I totally relate, its the same in London 🙈 but completely understand your concerns, and yes I also experience ‘the stares’… We’re based in the sticks in a really local neighbourhood, so when I do go out on my own I get a lot of looks – from both men and women. Despite this, I wouldn’t say that I necessarily feel unsafe, I think people are just curious. Of course it probably helps that I’m with Nick most of the time (who looks Thai) and the fact that we’ve been in SEAsia for ages so maybe I’m immune to it now!

We can definitely go more incognito in Thailand compared to Indonesia, where it is impossible to walk down the street without being stopped and spoken to 😂

Aww really?! Its such a small world 🙂 Hope your trip goes really well, you’ll have to stay in touch and tell us if you find any gems on your journey! Thanks so much for your comments & take care – Claire

I agree it’s partially interest and other kinds of benign admiration since light-skinned western girls aren’t all that common and Thai beauty standards center heavily around western features. I get it from the women too but I don’t mind that as much. Feels less “thirsty”, ya know?

I haven’t been to Indonesia yet but will be soon so I’ll mentally prepare haha.

Thanks again for your replies and I will! If you’re ever bored around Sathorn and wanna grab a smoothie or something stronger shoot me an email and I’ll give you my number ✌️

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road trip ke bangkok

32 Best Stops Between Bangkok and Chiang Rai

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How long is the drive from Bangkok to Chiang Rai?

The direct drive from Bangkok to Chiang Rai is 515 mi (828 km) , and should have a drive time of 9 hrs 53 mins in normal traffic.

If you’re going on a road trip from Bangkok to Chiang Rai, we did the research for you and compiled some great stops along the way — with Ayutthaya and Sukhothai , as well as top places to visit like Ko Kret and Ko Kret, or the ever-popular Woodland Museum & Resort.

road trip ke bangkok

Top cities between Bangkok and Chiang Rai

Phra nakhon si ayutthaya.

road trip ke bangkok

Best stops along Bangkok to Chiang Rai drive

Woodland museum & resort.

road trip ke bangkok

Dream World

road trip ke bangkok

Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon

Wat chaiwatthanaram, historic city of ayutthaya, wat maha that, wat phra si sanphet, pb valley khaoyai winery, wat pa lelai worawihan, phra prang sam yot, sam chuk market, wat chantaram (wat tha sung), wat khiriwong nakhon sawan, kamphaeng phet historical park, wat mahathat, sukhothai historical park, wat si chum, bhumibol dam, si satchanalai historical park, boon lott’s elephant sanctuary (bles), phae muang phi forest park office, wat phrathat lampang luang, thai elephant conservation center, wat phra that haripunchai woramahawihan, bhum thai cookery school, san kamphaeng hot springs, mae kampong waterfall, top searches in chiang rai, other popular road trips from bangkok, explore nearby places.

  • Mae Fa Luang
  • Chiang Saen
  • Chiang Kham
  • Chiang Khong
  • Phayao City
  • Chai Prakan
  • Wiang Chiang Rung

All related maps of Chiang Rai

  • Map of Chiang Rai
  • Map of Mae Fa Luang
  • Map of Wiang Chai
  • Map of Ban Du
  • Map of Mae Lao
  • Map of Mae Salong
  • Map of Phan
  • Map of Mae Chan
  • Map of Thoeng
  • Map of Mae Suai
  • Map of Chiang Saen
  • Map of Pa Daet
  • Map of Thaton
  • Map of Mae Sai
  • Map of Mae Ai
  • Map of Phu Sang
  • Map of Chiang Kham
  • Map of Tachileik
  • Map of Wiang
  • Map of Chiang Khong
  • Map of Wiang Kaen
  • Map of Huay Xai
  • Map of Fang
  • Map of Chun
  • Map of Phayao City
  • Map of Chai Prakan
  • Map of Wiang Chiang Rung
  • Map of Mae Chai
  • Map of Pong
  • Map of Phrao
  • Map of Nam Phrae

Chiang Rai throughout the year

  • Chiang Rai in January
  • Chiang Rai in February
  • Chiang Rai in March
  • Chiang Rai in April
  • Chiang Rai in May
  • Chiang Rai in June
  • Chiang Rai in July
  • Chiang Rai in August
  • Chiang Rai in September
  • Chiang Rai in October
  • Chiang Rai in November
  • Chiang Rai in December

Looking for day-by-day itineraries in Chiang Rai?

Get inspired for your trip to Chiang Rai with our curated itineraries that are jam-packed with popular attractions everyday! Check them out here:

  • 1-Day Chiang Rai Itinerary
  • 2-Day Chiang Rai Itinerary
  • 3-Day Chiang Rai Itinerary
  • 4-Day Chiang Rai Itinerary
  • 5-Day Chiang Rai Itinerary

Frequently Asked Questions

Can i drive from bangkok to chiang rai.

Yes! You can drive from Bangkok to Chiang Rai.

How far is Chiang Rai from Bangkok by car?

The drive from Bangkok to Chiang Rai is 515 miles (828 km).

How long does it take to drive from Bangkok to Chiang Rai?

Driving from Bangkok to Chiang Rai should take you 9 hrs 53 mins in normal traffic.

How much would gas cost from Bangkok to Chiang Rai?

Gas from Bangkok to Chiang Rai would cost around $45 to $105 , depending on your vehicle's fuel efficiency.

Where should I stop on the way from Bangkok to Chiang Rai?

You could check out Ko Kret and Ko Kret, or the always popular Woodland Museum & Resort!

What are the best cities to visit between Bangkok and Chiang Rai?

People love visiting Ayutthaya and Sukhothai, among others.

What's the weather like in Bangkok?

It depends on when you visit! We've compiled data from NASA for each month of the year: see the links below for more information.

  • Weather in Bangkok in January
  • Weather in Bangkok in February
  • Weather in Bangkok in March
  • Weather in Bangkok in April
  • Weather in Bangkok in May
  • Weather in Bangkok in June
  • Weather in Bangkok in July
  • Weather in Bangkok in August
  • Weather in Bangkok in September
  • Weather in Bangkok in October
  • Weather in Bangkok in November
  • Weather in Bangkok in December

What are some other road trips from Bangkok?

There are plenty! Below you'll find links to all the road trips we've assembled for Bangkok.

  • Bangkok to Siem Reap drive
  • Bangkok to Pattaya drive
  • Bangkok to Singapore drive
  • Bangkok to Ho Chi Minh City drive
  • Bangkok to Hua Hin drive
  • Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur drive
  • Bangkok to Hong Kong drive
  • Bangkok to Phnom Penh drive
  • Bangkok to Hanoi drive
  • Bangkok to Kathu drive
  • Bangkok to Chiang Mai drive
  • Bangkok to Kanchanaburi drive
  • Bangkok to Krabi Town drive
  • Bangkok to Hoi An drive
  • Bangkok to Luang Prabang drive
  • Bangkok to Yangon (Rangoon) drive
  • Bangkok to George Town drive
  • Bangkok to Chiang Rai drive
  • Bangkok to Hue drive
  • Bangkok to Vientiane drive
  • Bangkok to Nha Trang drive
  • Bangkok to Macau drive
  • Bangkok to Melaka drive
  • Bangkok to Patong drive
  • Bangkok to Sukhothai drive
  • Bangkok to Da Lat drive
  • Bangkok to Battambang drive
  • Bangkok to Halong Bay drive
  • Bangkok to Bagan drive
  • Bangkok to Pak Chong drive

road trip ke bangkok

  • Itinerary + map in one view
  • Live collaboration
  • Auto-import hotels and reservations
  • Optimize your route
  • Offline access on mobile
  • See time and distance between all your places
  • Plan a Road Trip
  • Plan a Flight
  • Find an Airport
  • Where to Stay
  • All Questions

Trippy

Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok drive

Kuala lumpur to bangkok road trip planner.

Here's a sample itinerary for a drive from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok. If you're planning a road trip to Bangkok, you can research locations to stop along the way. Make sure you check road conditions to double check the weather. Find the best hotels, restaurants, and attractions based on the most talked about places recommended by Trippy members.

9:00 am  start in Kuala Lumpur drive for about 2 hours

11:01 am   Cameron Highlands stay for about 1 hour and leave at 12:01 pm drive for about 2 hours

2:04 pm   Penang stay for about 1 hour and leave at 3:04 pm drive for about 3.5 hours

6:42 pm   Songkhla stay for about 1 hour and leave at 7:42 pm drive for about 1.5 hours

day 1 driving ≈ 9 hours

8:00 am  leave from Ko Tao drive for about 2 hours

10:05 am   Surat Thani stay for about 1 hour and leave at 11:05 am drive for about 2.5 hours

1:23 pm   Chumphon stay for about 1 hour and leave at 2:23 pm drive for about 2 hours

4:36 pm   Prachuap Khiri Khan stay for about 1 hour and leave at 5:36 pm drive for about 3.5 hours

9:05 pm  arrive in Bangkok stay at lebua at State Tower

day 2 driving ≈ 10 hours

Where should I stop along the way?

Cameron Highlands   (6 answers)     Cameron Highlands   (2 mentions) Penang   (40 answers)     Batu Ferringhi   (4 mentions)     MacAlister Road   (3 mentions)     Air Itam Market   (2 mentions)     Little India   (2 mentions)     Penang Island   (2 mentions)     restaurants around Penang:         Gurney Drive Hawker Centre     questions about Penang:         Best Street Food in Penang Songkhla   (3 answers) Ko Tao   (3 answers) Surat Thani   (14 answers)     Khao Sok National Park   (4 mentions) Chumphon Prachuap Khiri Khan

Where's the best place to stay in Bangkok?

Are you going straight to a hotel, or looking for a vacation rental or Airbnb?

The best resource on neighborhoods, areas, and hotels is the Trippy page on where to stay in Bangkok .

If you're looking for a quick answer, you can check out lebua at State Tower , which was mentioned 5 times on Trippy.

Here are some more hotels people talk about:

Want to research more popular hotels in Bangkok? Click the blue button below.

Where's the best place to eat in Bangkok?

Need some recommendations on somewhere to get food?

Trippy members suggest Sky Bar , which was mentioned 10 times.

Here are some more restaurants people talk about:

Want to research more popular restaurants in Bangkok? Click the blue button below.

What are some things to do in Bangkok?

This section could be endless, so rather than trying to suggest every local activity or attraction, we'll leave it open-ended.

These are some of the places people talk about on Trippy:

Of course, Trippy is the perfect place to ask questions because there's an entire community of travelers talking to each other and sharing tips and advice. Trippy is where you can get answers personalized for your tastes, budgets, trip dates & more!

For example, here are some questions people have asked about Bangkok. Click on any question to see answers from the community!

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Click the button below to explore more questions and answers related to Bangkok.

Do I really have to go back home?

Yes, even this step is optional, because if you're on vacation who wants the trip to end? It's okay, you can start planning your next trip!

Want to plan the trip back? Get the reverse directions for a Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur drive , or go to the main page to plan a new road trip .

You can also compare the travel time if you're flying or driving by calculating the distance from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok . Or get a full Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok flight plan .

Don't forget about exploring your own hometown with a staycation. You can also find some cool day trips or get away for a weekend.

And if you know Kuala Lumpur well, please help your fellow travelers and answer their questions about Kuala Lumpur!

More info on this route:

road conditions from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok

places to eat

alternate routes

Google driving directions

Private Angkor Wat special tour

Private Angkor Wat Sunrise tour

2-day Private Guided Journey

3-day in Siem Reap Itinerary

My Siem Reap Tours

Private Angkor Wat Tours to Unlock the Magic

How to Get from Bangkok to Siem Reap by Road - A Detailed Guide

How to Get from Bangkok to Siem Reap by Road – A Detailed Guide

How to get from bangkok to siem reap by road: a detailed guide, looking for a road trip to angkor from bangkok here is your essential overland travel companion between thailand and cambodia.

For many travelers, a visit to the ancient temples of Angkor Wat and the charming town of Siem Reap is at the top of their Southeast Asia itinerary. The overland journey between Bangkok and Siem Reap by road is now easier than ever, with improved infrastructure and transportation options connecting Thailand and Cambodia.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know to travel from Bangkok to Siem Reap entirely by road. We’ll cover detailed directions, tips, and advice for buses, private transfers, car rentals, border crossings, and more.

Whether you’re looking for affordability, flexibility, or just an adventure, this guide has all the information to help you plan your road trip from Thailand’s capital to Cambodia’s famous temple town. Let’s hit the road from Bangkok to Siem Reap!

Key Takeaways:

  • Distance between Bangkok and Siem Reap is approximately 250 miles (400km)
  • Total drive time averages 8-12 hours with border crossing
  • Direct buses take 7-11 hours and cost $25-$45 USD
  • Private transfers range from $80-$130 USD but require vehicle change
  • The border crossing can take 1-2 hours, be sure to prepare visa
  • Ideal time to drive is during cooler months of November-February

Journey in Luxury from Siem Reap to Bangkok!

Travel in style and comfort with our premier private transfer service. Direct from Siem Reap to Bangkok, enjoy an exclusive, seamless experience. Don’t wait, elevate your travel today! Book Your Luxury Transfer Now!

Siem Reap to Bangkok by Road with Private Transfer [Your Bangkok to Siem Reap or Siem Reap to Bangkok Routes]

Table of Contents

How Far is Bangkok from Siem Reap?

The distance between Bangkok and Siem Reap is approximately 250 miles (400km) as the crow flies. By road, the journey spans 275 miles (443km).

Driving time averages around 5-6 hours just for this portion, not including the border crossing wait. The road conditions are decent, with a well-paved 4-lane highway nearly the entire route from Bangkok to the border.

After crossing into Cambodia, the main road is paved but narrows to 2 lanes. Driving speeds may be slightly slower, but the road is still in reasonable condition. Total road trip duration averages 8-12 hours door-to-door depending on traffic and the border wait.

Now let’s look at the step-by-step directions and transportation options for road tripping between Bangkok and Siem Reap.

Directions from Bangkok to Siem Reap by Road

Here is an overview of the route by road from Bangkok to Siem Reap:

  • Leave Bangkok and drive east on Highway 1 (Phahonyothin Road)
  • Continue on Hwy 1 to Hin Kong intersection
  • Turn left onto Highway 309 towards Aranyaprathet
  • Drive to the border crossing at Aranyaprathet/Poipet
  • Cross border into Cambodia at Poipet and continue on NH5
  • Follow NH5 north to Siem Reap

This route sticks to major highways and is pretty straightforward with clear signage along the way in both Thai and English.

Next, let’s look at the options for getting from Bangkok to Siem Reap by bus, private transfer, rental car, or ride share.

Bus from Bangkok to Siem Reap

For budget travelers, taking a direct bus from Bangkok to Siem Reap is a convenient option. You can sit back and relax while the bus handles the driving and border crossing.

Bus Route from Bangkok to Siem Reap:

  • Depart Bangkok from Khao San Road or Morchit Bus Terminal
  • Drive east on Highway 1 to Aranyaprathet (3.5-4 hours)
  • Stop at border for visa processing (1-2 hours)
  • Continue on NH5 from Poipet to Siem Reap (3.5 hours)
  • Arrive in Siem Reap town center or bus station

Several bus companies offer direct service including Giant Ibis Transport, Transport Co., Travel Mart, and Nattakan Transport.

Buses depart Bangkok in the morning and arrive in Siem Reap in the evening, taking ~7-11 hours total. Tickets cost $25-45 USD one-way. Be sure to book 1-2 days in advance.

Tips for Taking the Bus:

  • Depart Bangkok 7:30-9am to arrive Siem Reap by dinner
  • Book tickets online and print/save e-ticket
  • Confirm if visa is processed by bus company
  • Have small bills ready for potential tips at border
  • Keep valuables with you when crossing border

Pros of taking the bus are the low cost and convenience of direct service. Cons are the early departure time and long travel day. But it’s a comfortable way to get from Bangkok to Siem Reap overland.

Hop Aboard: Bus Companies for Travel from Bangkok to Siem Reap

Private Angkor Wat special tour – Angkor Guided Tour with Phnom Bok Sunset and much more

Extra Tip from Bangkok to Aranyaprathet – Poipet border

The land border crossing between Aranyaprathet, Thailand and Poipet, Cambodia is a key junction on the road from Bangkok to Siem Reap.

You can also reach the Aranyaprathet border point by train from Bangkok’s Hua Lamphong railway station, which takes around 5 hours. Local transport like tuk-tuks and mini-vans from the train station shuttle passengers the short distance to the border crossing. Just be prepared to negotiate fares in advance.

Whether you arrive by road or rail, these tips will help streamline your border passage as you make your way from Thailand into Cambodia on the famous Bangkok to Siem Reap route.

Trains from Bangkok to the Border

Ban Klong Luk Border Location :

Private Car or Van Transfer

For flexibility and convenience, consider booking a private transfer by car, van or minibus to get from Bangkok to Siem Reap.

Transfer Route from Bangkok to Siem Reap:

  • Hired car picks you up in Bangkok
  • Drive east on Hwy 1 to Aranyaprathet border (3.5-4 hours)
  • Change vehicles and guides at border
  • Continue in new car from Poipet to Siem Reap (3.5 hours)
  • Arrive at your Siem Reap accommodation

Because vehicles can only be licensed in their country of registration, you must switch cars and drivers at the Thailand/Cambodia border during a private transfer.

Costs range from $80-130 USD total for a private transfer from Bangkok to Siem Reap. The benefit is door-to-door service and flexible timing. Just be sure to confirm all pricing ahead of time.

Private Transfer Tips:

  • Ideal for groups of 3+ to save costs
  • Agree on vehicle size, total pricing, amenities
  • Reconfirm border transfer process
  • Keep passport handy for easy access
  • Stop for snacks/photos along the way

This option allows you to fully customize your itinerary between Bangkok and Siem Reap. You could even add stops at attractions along the route.

Driving Route from Bangkok to Siem Reap:

  • Pick up rental car in Bangkok
  • Drive east on Hwy 1 and cross at Aranyaprathet border
  • Continue driving through Poipet and on NH5 to Siem Reap
  • Return rental car in Siem Reap or Bangkok

This gives you maximum flexibility tocruise the open roads of Thailand and Cambodia. Just be prepared for the challenges of navigating a foreign country on your own by vehicle.

You can rent cars or motorbikes in Bangkok through rental agencies like Avis, Hertz, or local companies. Daily rates start around $30 USD for motorbike rentals to $70+ USD for car rentals, depending on vehicle size.

Be sure to verify:

  • International driving permit requirements
  • Rental insurance options & waivers
  • Border crossing documentation
  • Drop-off fees if returning in Siem Reap

The independence of a rental car or motorbike lets you tour at your own pace. But driving in Southeast Asia can be stressful, so weigh the pros and cons.

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Carpooling from Bangkok to Siem Reap

If you want to share the drive, consider carpooling to split costs between Bangkok and Siem Reap.

  • Use apps like Karoo Road or PickMe to find carpools
  • Match with drivers going from Bangkok to Siem Reap
  • Meet driver in Bangkok and start your road trip
  • Switch vehicles at the border along with fellow riders
  • Continue on to Siem Reap together

Carpooling is affordable and sustainable. Just be sure to vet driver profiles and reviews first. Apps tend to offer verification.

Costs vary by occupancy but expect to pay around $15-30 USD per person for carpooling from Bangkok to Siem Reap.

Carpooling Tips:

  • Review driver profile and past reviews
  • Confirm vehicle meet point in Bangkok
  • Don’t pay full amount until arrival
  • Bring snacks and music to share
  • Get to know your fellow passengers

This option gives you the benefit of shared costs while still being transport door-to-door from Bangkok to Siem Reap.

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Crossing the Border Between Thailand and Cambodia

However you choose to travel by road from Bangkok to Siem Reap, you’ll need to cross the border. The main land border crossing used by travelers is between Aranyaprathet, Thailand and Poipet, Cambodia.

Here’s what to expect:

  • Long lines on Thai side for exit stamp
  • Walk across ~100 yards of “no-man’s land” – Cambodia visa processing and entry stamp
  • Transport waits on other side to continue

It’s best to arrive early morning when offices first open to avoid long queues. Weekends and holidays also tend to be busier.

The visa-on-arrival for Cambodia costs $30 USD cash only. Be sure to have small US bills ready, as officials may claim they cannot provide change. There are often separate windows for visas and stamping.

If using a bus or transfer service, they will assist with the border crossing process. Going independently requires navigating each step yourself using local transport like tuk-tuks or minivans.

Overall, the Thailand-Cambodia border crossing tends to be straightforward if busy at times. Just practice patience and go with the flow.

Escape to the Cambodian Countryside – A Journey Off the Beaten Path

What to See and Do Along the Way

The route between Bangkok and Siem Reap travels through the Thai countryside before crossing into Cambodia. Here are some noteworthy stops and attractions along the drive:

In Thailand

  • Damnoen Saduak Floating Market – See vendors paddling boats of local fruits and foods to trade
  • Phanom Rung Historical Park – Tour the beautifully restored Khmer-style temple ruins from atop an extinct volcano
  • Prasat Muang Tam – Admire the picturesque, partial restoration of a Khmer temple near the border
  • Local farms and fruit orchards – Stop for tropical fruit snacks like freshly picked mangoes

In Cambodia

  • Banteay Chhmar Temple – Marvel at the atmospheric sprawling temple complex with elaborate carvings
  • Beng Mealea Temple – Wander the jungle-entwined ruins, like a less-crowded version of Ta Prohm near Angkor
  • Khleang North Bridge – Instagrammable colonial-era bridge near Siem Reap surrounded by rice fields
  • Treat yourself to a fish pedicure or massage in Poipet town

Don’t rush – leave time to pull over and enjoy sights along the Bangkok to Siem Reap road trip!

Where to Stay Between Bangkok & Siem Reap

You’ll need to decide whether you want to tackle this road trip all in one long day, or spread it over two days with an overnight stop midway:

Option 1: Break up over 2 days

  • Day 1 – Drive Bangkok to Aranyaprathet
  • Overnight in Aranyaprathet or nearby town
  • Day 2 – Cross to Poipet and continue to Siem Reap

Option 2: Drive nonstop

  • Depart Bangkok early morning
  • Complete drive with minimal stops
  • Arrive Siem Reap just after dusk

For a 2-day road trip, the best place to overnight is Aranyaprathet. There are hotels for all budgets close to the border.

Top picks are Prachak Resort (mid-range), Home Hug Hotel (budget), or for a splurge, try Rattanachol Hotel & Serviced Apartments.

With an early start, you can drive the Bangkok to Siem Reap route nonstop in about 12 hours. Having a second alert driver is advisable for this marathon option.

Driving Your Own Vehicle Between Thailand and Cambodia

If you’re considering driving your own vehicle from Bangkok to Siem Reap, here are some key tips and requirements:

  • Your home country driver’s license is valid in Thailand and Cambodia
  • But an International Driving Permit (IDP) is recommended
  • Purchase extra auto insurance for travel between both countries
  • Carry vehicle registration papers, proof of ownership
  • Allow extra time for border customs procedures
  • Only right-hand drive cars are allowed in Thailand
  • Car Rental companies may prohibit cross-border travel

Thailand and Cambodia drive on the left so steering wheel placement is important. Expect added paperwork and inspections during the border crossing with your own vehicle.

Hiring a driver for your own car or renting a vehicle is usually easier than navigating the bureaucracy of cross-border vehicle paperwork. But with preparation, it’s possible.

When is the Best Time to Drive from Bangkok to Siem Reap?

The cooler dry season months of November to February are ideal for road tripping between Bangkok and Siem Reap. Benefits include:

  • Pleasant daytime temperatures in the 80s F / high 20s C
  • Low chance of rain along the route
  • Lush green scenery and rice paddies
  • Less crowded at Angkor temples and Siem Reap
  • Peak conditions for sightseeing along the way

The hot season between March and May can see temperatures top 100°F (38°C) which may be less comfortable for long drives without AC. Just stay hydrated!

Other items to note:

  • Monsoon rains run from May to October
  • Busy travel times are Christmas/New Year and Thai school holidays
  • Avoid major Thai holidays for less traffic

Whenever you go, this road trip from Bangkok to Siem Reap will give you fond memories of both Thailand and Cambodia!

Driving Tips for Road Tripping from Bangkok to Siem Reap

Follow these tips for a smooth driving experience on the Bangkok to Siem Reap road route:

  • Get an International Drivers Permit (IDP)
  • Make sure your license is valid for vehicles you’ll drive
  • Arrange appropriate auto insurance coverage
  • Confirm rental vehicle condition prior to driving
  • Load a offline map app on your phone or rent GPS
  • Have local currency for tolls, snacks and emergencies
  • Follow speed limits and traffic laws
  • Drive defensively as conditions change quickly
  • Be prepared for inclement weather like heavy rain
  • Refuel often as gas stations can be sparse
  • Carry a hard copy of all documentation
  • Don’t drive overnight or when excessively tired

Most importantly, allow plenty of time so you can take in the sights at a comfortable pace along the way.

With these road trip tips and transportation options from Bangkok to Siem Reap, you’re ready to start planning your overland adventure in Southeast Asia. Safe travels!

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COMMENTS

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