Thailand is one of the most popular tourist destinations; famous for its temples, cuisine, nightlife, and the ability to cater to people with all kinds of budgets.
Bangkok and Phuket are the two most visited Thai cities and I have just the perfect Bangkok and Phuket itinerary for seeing the most of these two amazing places to visit in Thailand. Now I have already shared reasons why you will love Bangkok as well as an extended 3 week Thailand itinerary.
Planning Your Trip To Thailand
- Flights: I highly recommend arriving in Bangkok than Phuket to save you on too many connections unless you are already in Asia. We live in London so we explored Cambodia, China before arriving in Thailand. We could just have easily got flights from London to Bangkok. You can find most major airlines on Expedia flying from major cities into Thailand. Also once you are in Thailand, Air Asia had stupidly cheap flights from Bangkok to Phuket too.
- Hotels: I have shared posts on where we stayed in both Bangkok and a variety of hotels we experienced in Phuket from budget at Gold Diggers Resort to mid-range at Ikon Hotel and then our luxury villa at Renaissance Hotel located right on the beach. Where you stay will very much depend on your travel budget but another reason this side of the world is popular is how cheap it it is. I have shared extensive guides on best areas to stay in Bangkok and best areas to stay in Phuket with hotel recommendations too to make choosing something easier.
- Tours: I have shared tips on amazing tours in Bangkok that won’t break the bank and a great way to maximise your Bangkok itinerary.
- Food: Gastronomy in Thailand is out of this world! Food alone is also a great reason to visit. From street food to amazing restaurants.
- Transport: Getting around Bangkok is super easy as there are plenty of transportation options. Trains, tuk-tuks and taxis. Thus a word of warning though, also make sure you check or negotiate the price on the tuk-tuk before getting on. The same for the taxi or insist on the drive using the meter to avoid being taken for a ride! No pun intended. 🙂
- Budget: When it comes to budget this is a difficult one to one to estimate as my style of travel or type of hotels may not be the same hence the variety of options on the blog to help you travel within your means and budget. Food is cheap, transport is cheap, services are cheap, hotels are plenty from budget to luxe with plenty of options for cool Airbnbs in Bangkok if you want a home from home feel.
- Packing List: While this is an amazing country for beach and adventure holidays please adhere to local customs and rules when it comes to what to wear when visiting temples. For additional inspiration on what to pack for Thailand see tips on the linked post and here.
Thailand Itinerary For Bangkok And Phuket
While Bangkok and Phuket are the main focus you cannot head to Phuket without exploring the Phi Phi islands. With that in mind I have also included excursions to make this a Bangkok Phuket and Phi Phi itinerary/.
DAY 1 Bangkok
Day 1 in Bangkok would be all about exploring the temples and other historical monuments here. Bangkok has a lot of temples because it is a predominantly Buddhist country. When visiting temples, make sure to dress appropriately, that is, covering your body adequately. Many places may not permit you if inappropriately dressed.
Chao Phraya River Cruise
Chao Phrya River is the river that flows from the mid of Bangkok. Most people prefer having a dinner cruise for Chao Phrya River but for this itinerary, the best time for this river cruise would be early morning or afternoon.
Chao Phrya River cruise would allow you to witness sky-scraping towers of Bangkok with the crisp early morning orange sun rays shining upon them. Also, since Bangkok can get pretty hot and humid during the day, in the morning the weather would be pleasant enough for you to cruise the river.
Your Chao Phrya river cruise would start from Sathorn Pier. You can either hire private tours or take ferries just like the majority of the public. Along the bank of the river, you would find a lot of chic restaurants, wooded houses, and temples.
You can grab something to eat from any of the stalls or have breakfast prior to cruising in any of the restaurants near Sathorn Pier. Or, after the cruise, you could treat yourself to some royalty at Michelin starred restaurant Blue Elephant that has franchises all over the world, promoting exquisite Thai cuisine with a colonial façade.
Also Read: Best Bangkok Hotels With Balcony Views
Bangkok’s Grand Palace surely lives up to its name since the palace complex consists of about 100 buildings. It was constructed in 1782 and served as a royal residence in the past. Now, the royals use it for special ceremonies only and it is available for public tours most of the time (from 8.30 am to 3.30 pm) for 500 baht.
Grand palace and the buildings inside it are built as per traditional Thai architecture techniques, decorated with gold and diamonds. The palace’s center is the temple of Emerald Buddha I.e.
Wat Phra Kaeu, which holds significant importance in Buddhism community and Buddhists from all over the world visit the temple to pay their respects to the Emerald Buddha. For an in-depth exploring of the palace since it is huge, you can also hire a guide when buying tickets. I have tips on visiting Grand Palace in addition to what to wear.
When you are done exploring the grand palace, hire a ferry or simply walk towards Wat Pho – the temple of reclining Buddha since it is at a distance of ten minutes. In this temple you will see the enormous (15m tall and 46m long) reclining Buddha plated with gold and ornamented with jewels, lying in the nirvana position.
Wat Pho is also the official school for teaching authentic Thai massage and Thai medicine. And when in Thailand, it is a must to get the relaxing Thai massage and there is no better place than this to get it.
Wat Pho is open every day from 8.30 am to 6.30 pm and the ticket costs 300 baht. If you feel hungry by now, there is a small eatery near Wat Pho, The Sixth, serving delicious Thai dishes. There are plenty of tours for Wat Pho that combine ferry, guide and other additions.
Now take a ferry to visit Wat Arun, the temple of Dawn. This temple would leave you in awe; there is a majestic Khmer style tower in the center that has stairs. Climb the stairs to reach the top and get a striking view of the city from up there. Visiting hours are 8.30 am to 6.00 pm and the ticket price is 100 baht.
The best way to spend your first night in Bangkok is roaming the streets of Chinatown. Located on the opposite side of Wat Arun, across the river, this place essentially wakes up when the sun sets down. It is also one of the oldest areas in Bangkok, which means you will see old temples, buildings, markets, Cantonese style houses and narrow streets lined with stalls.
Chinatown is filled with upscale chic eateries as well as small stalls that serve delicious authentic Thai food. Some very famous food options are curry at Jek Pui Curry, Crab noodle soup at Odean, oyster omelet at Nai Mong Hoi Thod, duck noodle soup at Nai Mao Duck Noodle and traditional Thai desserts at Sweet Time. If you are in a mood for a drink or two, visit the rooftop bar of Sky View 360° Restaurant.
DAY 2 Bangkok
The second day in Bangkok would be all about shopping since there are a lot of markets and shopping malls in Bangkok.
Chatuchak Weekend Market
Chatuchak weekend market is the biggest market in the world and there is literally nothing that you cannot find here. With that said, also know that it is very easy to get intimidated by this place because it is huge, always crowded and hot and humid most of the time.
It is open on Saturdays and Sundays only. Head to this place as soon as you wake up. It is divided into 27 sections. The art section has great paintings and ornaments made by locals which would make great souvenirs. There are many restaurants and food stalls in case you get hungry. However, don’t forget to try the infamous coconut ice-cream, Spanish paella and of course, Pad Thai.
If Chatuchak becomes too hot and crowded for you to handle, or you are not in Bangkok for the weekend, you can opt to go to Siam instead. Siam is the shopping hub of Bangkok. Apart from having air-conditioned shops, local and international brands, restaurants and spas, each mall has a unique element of its own.
Siam Paragon shopping mall has South-east Asia’s largest aquarium, Central World has an ice-skating rink, Siam Center has televisions to display how an outfit would look on you without even wearing it, Siam Discovery has Madame Tussauds Wax Museum.
Near Siam Square, you will find Jim Thompson’s house, an American who significantly promoted Thai silk trade. His house is converted into a museum; there are a souvenir shop and a nice restaurant as well. 200 baht entry ticket also includes a Thai traditional dance performance in addition to the guide of the monument.
Bangkok has a lot of night exclusive-markets. Asiatique is a relatively new market that starts from 4pm until 12 am. Here you will find souvenir items since this market was constructed to target tourists. There are many restaurants and pubs as well; and also, a Paris Wheel.
Bar With A View – Mahanakhon Bangkok SkyBar
Bangkok has an amazing nightlife option from nightclubs, bars, and restaurants with not only an amazing view but great food too. My favourite though were the cool rooftop bars. Time Out has an amazing guide on rooftop bars in Bangkok if you need inspiration on where to hang out at night in Bangkok.
DAY 3 Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
Floating markets are very common in Southeast Asia, and there are many in Bangkok. Visit Damnoen Saduak Floating Market in the morning and start your day with the vibrant meals that vendors make while paddling the boat. You should also try the exotic Asian fruits and vegetable, which you might have not seen before. Boats’ fare can range from 200 to 800 baht.
Lumphini Park is Bangkok’s biggest and greenest park. It is swamped by locals as well as tourists; to make the most out of this serene place amidst the metropolitan. Take a stroll over here in order to relax and unwind a bit.
At 10 minutes’ drive, the Golden Mountain temple is located. It is named so because of its location, which is on top of a mall hill and you need to climb 344 steps. On the way up to the temple, you would find small statues of smiling Buddhas and big bells. When you reach the top, you will be mesmerized by the view up there. Near Wat Saket, there is a restaurant called Thip Samai which quite famous for its Pad Thai.
Vertigo-Banyan Tree Hotel
Your last night in Bangkok calls for a rooftop drink. Vertigo and Moon bar is located on the 61st floor of Banyan Tree Hotel. Apart from world-class champagne, the place restaurant offers exquisite seafood items as well.
DAY 4 Phuket
Take a morning flight from Bangkok and spend your first day exploring Phuket and its culture. If you happen to start with Phuket but layover in Bangkok, check out my guide on things to do at Bangkok Airport.
Bang Tao Beach
Phuket is known for its beaches and resorts. Bang Tao Beach is one of the biggest beaches in Phuket. The water is pristine and the sand is clean. The best part is, this beach is less crowded and quieter as compared to other beaches in Phuket. Hence, have your perfect sea-side morning on this beach. There are a few top-notch restaurants and resorts over here as well.
Also Read: Best Beachfront Villas In Phuket
Old Phuket Town
Old Phuket Town has a rustic charm to it; you will love strolling down the colorful streets that are full of life and speak of Thailand’s vibrant culture. Thalang Road is lined with houses and shops from the 18th century, built-in colonial-Portuguese style.
You will find many art stores, coffee shops, and handicraft stores in Phuket old town. Bohemian Arthouse is a small and cozy café cum art gallery cum bookstore. Tu Kab Khao is a restaurant that has a Victorian façade and offers Southern Thai cuisine.
Siam Niramit is a Thai cultural performance; the show is 80 minutes long and consists of intricate sets, heavily-costumed actors and animals; that depicts Thailand’s traditional culture with reference to history. You can also opt for the pre-shoe buffet; which has an extensive menu consisting of local and international cuisines. Tickets prices start from 1200 baht.
DAY 5 Phuket
Day 2 is all about adventures in Phuket. I have talked about unmissable experiences in Phuket here but below is additional inspiration and if you want to dedicate at least 5 days to Phuket alone then I have the perfect Phuket itinerary.
Phuket Freshwater Fishing Park
Phuket Freshwater Fishing Park has pretty big fishes in its waters and doesn’t matter if you have no experience with fishing, the staff would be more than happy to guide you and give you tips and tricks for catching an enormous fish. There is an on-site restaurant as well.
If you are an adventure junkie, you would love zip-lining through the dense jungles of Phuket. Flying Hanuman offers various zip-lining packages, they are super popular with tourists so visit their website to have more information.
Nothing better than watching the sunset quietly on the island’s shore. Windmill viewpoint is a lesser-visited viewpoint which means you get to witness the sunset on Andaman sea in full romantic mode.
Head to Pa Tong beach to have dinner at any of the chic restaurants that line it and you can spend your night there chilling at the beach. You can take a stroll on the Bangla road which is famous for its nightlife. There are nightclubs and outdoor bars to enjoy the night with a drink or two.
DAY 6 Phuket
Visit the famous tourist spots in Phuket on day 3. If you are visiting Phuket for a honeymoon of looking for inspiration on the perfect couples guide to Phuket.
Bang Pae waterfall
Bang Pae waterfall is the largest waterfall in Phuket island. Going to this waterfall early in the morning can give you some freshness by acquiescing yourself to the mother nature. You can dip in the water; it is cold and clean and there are fish inside.
Baan Teelanka is a major tourist attraction in Phuket island. It is a three-story house in which the furniture is installed upside down. You might feel a bit dizzy but this place is a must if you want cool Instagram pictures. The entrance in the house costs 340 baht. There is a mall, central festival, at 8 minutes’ drive. You can go there to grab something to eat in the food court or for some retail therapy.
Big Buddha statue is located on top of Nakkerd Hills, so you can hire an ACV bike to reach the statue. Later, you can head to Nakkerd sea-view restaurant which offers good food at affordable rates.
Chalong Bay Distillery
This place produces quality rum from 100% sugarcane using traditional techniques. You can join a tour to explore the place or take part in cocktail classes.
You might feel heavy after gulping down all the rum so why not burn it off by going to the monkey hill. You will find many monkeys who are used to getting fed. But be vigilant of your stuff as monkeys can take your belongings away in the blink of an eye. Nam Yoi restaurant is located near the monkey hill which offers delicious Southern Thai food. Try their famous tom yum soup with seabass for dinner.
DAY 7 – Phi Phi Islands Day Trip From Phuket
At Rassada Pier, ferries are available for traveling to Phi Phi islands. Reach there early in the morning to spend the whole day on this archipelago. There are a lot of things you can do in a one-day Phi Phi excursion:
• Have a dip in the clean waters of Pileh Bay Lagoon. Pileh Bay’s sandy beach is also an attraction to just lay down and soak in the sun.
• Hike to the Phi Phi viewpoint which offers stunning views of the island.
• Diving is one of the most popular activities on Phi Phi islands. King Cruiser wreck and shark point are two famous diving points.
• Kayaking is another water sport, offered at Tonsai beach and Loh Dalam Bay.
• Stroll around Tonsai village, you will find restaurants, souvenir shops, art galleries, and tattoo parlors.
• Spend your night partying on the beach-side open-air bars like Slinky Bar and Apache Beach Bar.
You can either book your own private boat or book a tour the day before so that they can pick you up from your hotel early in the morning. I shared tips on out tours to Phi Phi Islands as well as Phang Nga Bay for James Bond Island.
How To Travel From Phuket To Bangkok – Flight Bus Car
Below are some tips on how to get to Phuket from Bangkok with journey duration times. I also recommend use the Omio website as that will give you information on one page with different modes of transportation, costs, duration provided by various airlines, bus and taxi options.
Bangkok to Phuket distance: 844Km
Bangkok to Phuket via train: There is currently no option for a train from Bangkok to Phuket.
Bangkok to Phuket via bus: Note that this is a long trip! The Bangkok to Phuket bus fare is £29.68 and the journey is 14 hours! For that price I would recommend you just fly as the price for the bus and flight are not too far off. It is cheaper to fly to Phuket from Bangkok as you can easily get flights from £20.
Bangkok to Phuket by plane: You can easily fly from Bangkok to Phuket and the flights are only 1 hour and 20 minutes. Flight fare prices are from around £20 and you can find airlines like NokAir, ThaiVietAir, Air Asia and more flying that route on Omio or Expedia.
Bangkok to Phuket via ferry: There is currently no option for this as the two are on opposite sides of Thailand coastlines.
How Many Days In Bangkok and Phuket Is Enough?
So, how many days in Bangkok and Phuket is enough? Well if you consider that a flight from London is some 15 hours when you arrive, you will likely be tired and possibly jetlagged. At a minimum, you will need at least 2 days for Bangkok and a day trip or tour just outside Bangkok to markets and other nearby temples on the outskirts.
Then, there is Phuket, from Bangkok its only 1 hour 2o minutes so easy to get to by plane. As far as how long you stay, I would recommend at least for days minimum. Why? You will need a full day for the Phi Phi island tour, a day for the Phang Nga tour and then the other two days are for exploring the markets and Old Town of Phuket and then Patong and beaches. I would say ideally best to do two weeks in Thailand and if possible extend to 3 and for inspiration see my post on 3 weeks in Thailand.
Bangkok And Phuket Package Tours
There are plenty of companies that offer Thailand tours, for example, there is Contiki Tours offering a variety of options ranging from 8 days to 15 days. Plenty of options to include Krabi, Koh Lanta, Chiang Mai, Ayutthaya and more.
There is also GAdventures offering tours from 5 days to 34 days where you can pick and choose route options in Thailand to create the perfect Bangkok and Phuket package.
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