Just like many of you, I love to do spontaneous trips. My husband and I decided last minute right before New Years to take off for the holidays and spend it in Thailand. We booked our flights pretty quickly and tried to figure out where in Thailand we would go and what we would do.
We were really excited to visit the temples but also bask in the sun. So today, I’m going to share with you how we did Thailand in just 6 days.
Let me just start off by saying that 6 days obviously does not do Thailand justice! It’s a huge country with so much to see and try. We ended up settling for the following itinerary and had an incredible time. I’ll also share things we considered but didn’t have time to do. Hopefully we will plan another trip out to Thailand to complete the adventure.
Day 1 – Fly into Bangkok
We were pretty exhausted from the flight so we took it easy the first day. A friend had suggested to us to check out Safari World because of its massive Giraffe herd that you can feed. It was the first time either of us had fed a giraffe or had been that close to one. Personally, I wouldn’t recommend it because the place was totally run down that I was worried about the animals’ well-being because they were squeezed into tiny places. I’ll never forget the pond for the alligators…there was no room for them that they piled on top of each other to get some water to cool themselves from the heat. Nonetheless, my husband and I will never forget feeding those cute giraffes!
We were hoping to make it out to the Jim Thomson House. It’s a museum in the home of Jim Thomson, an American architect that joined the Army and decided to stay in Thailand after his service but we didn’t have the time and we were pretty tired.
Day 2 – The River, Temples and Historic Sites
After breakfast take the sky train to Saphan Taksin and jump on a ferry from Sathorn/ Central Pier station on the Chao Phraya river.
The area along this main river of Bangkok (Ko Ratanakosin) used to be the ancient royal district so many of Bangkok`s most famous attractions are here. Wear comfortable shoes because you can easily walk between the temples and sites in this area. Tip: Get an early start since most of these sites close around 3:30 pm and there is so much to see and too many people!
Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha)
- Opening hours: Every day 8:30 – 15:30
- Ticket price: 400 Baht = 13 usd
- Estimated time: 2-3 hours
- What to wear: You must be properly dressed before being allowed entry to the temple so wear shirts with sleeves, long pants/skirts and shoes. Do not wear tank tops! If you’re wearing sandals or flip-flops you must wear socks, so no bare feet either. Many tourists don’t know this if you forget and show up at the front gate improperly dressed, there is a booth near the entry that provides clothes to cover you up properly. It was hot the day we went so I just packed a cardigan and scarf in my purse and dressed in a long dress that day with some comfortable shoes that I can quickly take off and on. Lastly, Shoes should be removed before entering the main chapel.
Wat Pho – Reclining Buddha
From Grand Palace, walk (about 10 minutes) and grab something quick and delicious to eat or drink at one of the many food stalls along the street on your way to Wat Pho. Wat Pho is so beautiful and it is where you will find the reclining buddha covered in gold leaf and mother-of-pearl ornaments at his feet. It is a remarkable 46 m long and 15 m high and illustrates Buddha entering nirvana (Buddha`s death).
Wat Pho contains four chapels and a beautiful long line of golden Buddhas from all over Thailand sitting in lotus position.
Wat Pho is Thailand`s headquarter for the teaching of traditional Thai medicine and Thai massage. After this walk around Grand Palace and Wat Pho, you might want to get a head or foot massage and if this is your first time getting one, this is a safe and very authentic place to try out a Thai massage. If this is something you want to try out at Wat Pho, you can book a spot when entering Wat Pho because there might be a waiting list.
- Opening hours: Every day 8:00 – 17:00 (Thai massage is available till 18:00)
- Ticket price: 100 Baht = 3 usd
- stimated time: 1-2 hour (extra time if you want a Thai massage)
Wat Arun – Temple of the Dawn
Now it is time to cross the river and see Wat Arun which is my absolute favorite temple. It has spectacular steep piers going up to the sky and it’s magical like out of a fairytale. You will have to jump on a cross-river ferry from No. 8 Tha Tien to Wat Arun pier (only 3 Baht = 0,09 usd).
This temple is 82 m high and is a beautifully decorated Khmer-style tower where you can walk up the (very) steep stairs and admire the view of Bangkok and it`s rivers. Hands down my favorite!
- Opening hours: Every day 8:30 – 17:30
- Ticket price: 100 Baht= 3 usd
- stimated time: 1-2 hour
Eat Bangkok’s Best Pad Thai
After all this walking and sightseeing you probably worked up an appetite! From Wat Arun, we took the cross-river ferry back to No. 8 Tha Tien. From there take the river ferry to No. 6 Memorial Bridge, and grab a tuk-tuk or taxi to Tip Samai restaurant (313 Th Maha Chai, Banglamphu). Just make sure it`s after 5 pm, as this is when Tip Samai opens.
This small restaurant is widely considered to have the best Pad Thai in Bangkok! Which is pretty cool considering that Pad Thai is basically sold everywhere here.
Thip Samai also has amazing freshly squeezed orange juice!
- Address: 313 Th Maha Chai, Banglamphu
- Opening hours: 17:00 – midnight
- Reviews of Thip Samai on TripAdvisor
Day 3 – Market Day! Weekend Market + Floating Market
Chatuchak Weekend Market
If you are staying in Bangkok during a weekend, then you have to check out the Chatuchak Weekend Market! I loved getting lost in the maze of shops here. I bought homemade soaps, colorful scraves, and unique t-shirts for friends and family here. The merchants were so nice and many of the shops were very unique, just keep walking around and you will find them! This is also a great place to get smoothies, mango sticky rice and even delicious boba drinks!
- When: Saturdays and Sundays, 6 a.m. – 6 p.m.
- What to get there: Souvenirs, colorful necklaces, t-shirts, and just anything you can think of!
- How to get there: Sky train to Mo Chit station, or the underground to Chatuchak station, and we just followed the crowd of people.
- Webpage: http://www.chatuchak.org/
We actually didn’t have enough time to check out the floating markets but we wish we did! Some of the ones you should check out are just outside of Bangkok. An easy way to see many of them is to take the Offbeat Floating Markets Tour by Bangkok Food Tours. On a full day trip outside the city, it would show you three floating markets (Tha Kha Floating market, Bang Noi market, Amphawa floating market, and the Maeklong Train Market).
Damnoen Saduak is the biggest and most popular floating market in Bangkok because it is colorful, noisy, and exciting but it is very touristy. It is about an hour from Bangkok and is best if you do it through a tour group.
Day 4 – Goodbye Bangkok, Hello Krabi!
After spending a couple days in Bangkok, we were ready to relax. We hopped on a flight to head out to the Krabi province seeking sun, sand, beaches and of course monkeys 😉
We stayed at a resort called Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Krabi that was not accessible by the road which was really nice because it kept us away from the main town and the large crowds of tourists. The beach at the resort was private and there were boats that would take you to the main town, Ao Nang.
On the first night, we relaxed at the pool and enjoyed the incredible views from our room. We then went and took the “monkey trail” over the mountain behind the resort to get to Ao Nang. This town is bustling at night.
Day 5 – Island Hopping
We planned for this day to be the day we hit up all those beautiful islands nearby so we assumed that we would just do the “four island” tour that all the tourists talk about. We went to our concierge to reserve it and realized that we wouldn’t be allowed to break from the group to do the hike up to the Phi Phi Island Viewpoint which was something we really wanted to do. The Four Island tour limited us to a strict time schedule with a large group of people.
We then decided to just splurge and book a private speedboat for just me and my husband to do the island hopping on our own time. As you can imagine…it was absolutely well worth it!
We were able to go to the islands we wanted to and spend as much or as little time as we wanted to at each one. We also lucked out and got the most chill captain for our boat. He was around our age so it was fun to talk to him, played music for us, advised us and served us some refreshing drinks and fresh fruit during the trip!
We ended up visiting the following, all of which were absolutely memborable:
- Bamboo Island
- Monkey Island
- Phi Phi Island
- Maya Bay (as seen in Leonardo DiCaprio’s movie The Beach)
Tip: Start as early as possible because you want to beat the tour groups as they fill up and populate these tiny islands pretty quickly. Buy a waterproof, dry bag like this one so your belongings don’t get water damage.
If you don’t want to get a private speed boat then something else we were considering was taking the ferry out to Phi Phi Island and then paying for a private long tail boat to go to the other islands.
Tickets can be purchased on almost every corner or from your hotel/ hostel. The tickets relatively cheap and are 250 baht for a one way ticket or 400 baht for a round-trip ticket (which is about $13). Click here for ferries departing from Krabi. The reason we didn’t end up doing that was because our hotel was so far away from where the ferries depart that it would have eaten up most of our day getting there then taking the ferry.
So another thing to keep in mind is where your hotel is located. As much as we loved how our resort was hidden behind a mountain, it made it difficult for us to use the ferries.
Hike up to the famous Phi Phi Viewpoint and admire the island from up there, the views are incredible.
The hike is not that bad depending on if you do the dirt road hike or the stairs. However, expect it to be steep and hot regardless! Bring water. We did the dirt road hike up and some people were just in their flip-flops and swimsuits but I ended up changing out of my flip flops and into tennis shoes. On the way down we took the steep staircase which is about 300 steps.
At the top, there’s a snack/ beverage stand in case you need something refreshing once you make it to the top. There is a couple that runs the place up there and they are very nice.
I didn’t know this but the cult classic movie “The Beach” with Leonardo DiCaprio was filmed at Maya Bay which is near Koh Phi Phi. Our captain mentioned that to us so as soon as I got home I watched the movie!
Bamboo Island Quaint and beautiful little island that is extremely clean. The only downside is when the flood of tourists come in and there is no space so come to this island first!
Monkey Beach: just as it sounds, it’s a beach FULL of monkeys! We had way to much fun here.
Day 6 – Beach Lounging or Caves
There are so many beaches and caves to choose from in Krabi. Here are a few suggestions!
Phra Nang Beach (Cave Beach) Phra Nang Beach, also known as Cave Beach, features sky-high cliffs and a small ground level cave that becomes more or less exposed depending on the tide. It’s a fun place to climb and explore.
Cave Exploring at Tham Klang If you’re into hiking and cave exploration, Tham Klang (ถ้ําคลัง) or Klang Cave is the place for you. It is about an hour outside of town and will give you a nice break from the heat.
Phra Nang Cave (Diamond Cave)
Take a look at the limestone cliffs from the inside through Phra Nang Cave, also known as Diamond Cave. You might even see some bats!
There’s a walkway with lighting, so this activity isn’t strenuous. The lighting is dim though so you might want to bring your own flashlight! There is also a 40 baht entrance fee.
Railey Beach and viewpoint Railey beach is another great place to relax. It also has a viewpoint you can hike up and take in spectacular views!
Important Thai phrases you should learn before arriving
- Hello or Bye = Sa-wa-dee-(ka for females, krub for males)
- Thank you = kop-kun (ka or krub)
- You’re welcome = yin-dee (ka or krub)
- How are you? = sa-bai-dee-mai (ka or krub)
- Cheers = chon or chon-kaew
- Yes = chai
- No = Mai
- How Much? = tao-rai or kee-baht (ka or krub)
- Toilet = hong-narm
- Water = narm or narm-plao