30 Day in Thailand! Where to go & What to get up to!?

Bangkok Marriott The Surawongse

A few months ago I spent 30 days backpacking Thailand. I of course vlogged it all for my youtube channel but I thought I would put everything into one easy place so that you can get a view on our total route and an easy way to find the videos of where you would be interested in going.

Many of the links within this post are affiliate links - this will not effect your experience but I receive commission if you chose to use them so much appreciated if you do! I will preface these links with a *

Our Route

We decided to start in Southern Thailand - mostly as this was somewhere I had been before so I felt like it was a comfortable place to start our trip.

Phuket - 3 nights 

Where we stayed - Hip Hostel, Phuket *

We flew directly in Phuket via an hour layover in Singapore (didn’t get the see the Jewel - should have done my research as it recommended you need over 5 hours to see this even though it is technically still part of the airport). When we arrived in Phuket we had already booked a mini bus to take us to our hostel. Just out of convenience & knowing we have been travelling for quite a few hours we didn’t want to make any stupid taxi mistakes at the airport and start our trip off on a bad note. We stayed in Phuket (Patong Beach) for three days. The vlog below shows our first impressions and what we got up too whilst we were there. Phuket is VERY touristy but the beach is still very beautiful & if you’re in Thailand just to party (as many are…) then this is probably a good spot for you. Bangla Road is full of cheap buckets, loud music & ping pong shows. We decided to stay in a more chilled hostel but still managed to get the 3am drunken person stumbling in and wanting a chat. As to be expected staying in any hostel so close to a massive party street.

Bangla Road Phuket

Phi Phi Island - 4 nights

Where we stayed - Phi Phi Pagarang House

Phi Phi Island

When we were done in Phuket, basically just beaching and getting over out jet lag (& slight ‘what the F*** are we doing vibes) we headed to Phi Phi Island. We took a ferry ride arranged by our hostel, most accommodations can arrange this for you whilst in Phuket. The Ferry was around 4 hours and we managed to catch a pretty bad storm half way through our journey..not very fun when you’re all on an open upper deck trying to catch a suntan! This was pretty scary but didn’t last long & as soon as it finished we started to see the beautiful island of Phi Phi. This is my second time on Phi Phi Island & I can easily say it is still one of the most beautiful places I have ever been too. Although, do bare in mind this is a serious Party Island - its very westernised with McDonalds, Pizza Company, Chain Coffee shops - very catered towards the tourists who flock here to enjoy fire shows, buckets on the beach & red bull that might literally give you wings.

During our stay in Phi Phi we chose to do a boat trip around the Island & I couldn't recommend this more highly, easily one of our favourite days on our trip. You can buy these trips from anywhere on the Island just search around for what you want to do & the best rates. In the video below you can see what we got up to on our trip & see if it is something you would be interested in. I would totally recommend getting a trip that includes the Glowing Planktons as this was a pretty scary (swimming in the dark) but amazing thing to see. It only lasts a few moments and snorkelling in the dark is very uncomfortable but seeing the little glows was very cool.

We also climbed the Phi Phi viewpoint - you can see this all in the video below but basically don’t go the wrong way like we did…its really hard work…take the stairs. Make sure to just ask where you’re going along your way & make sure it is not the long way around.

Koh Lanta - 6 nights

Where we stayed  - Beach Hut - Fishermans Cottage
Where we stayed - Hostel - Hubs of Joy *

Fishermans Cottage Koh Lanta

From Phi Phi we went to probably our favourite place in Southern Thailand, Koh Lanta. This Island is much more chilled out than the two we had previously visited & (in my personal opinion) even more beautiful without the hords of people. Koh Lanta tends to get left off peoples itinerary as it is slightly more difficult to get to. Heading straight here you would need to fly into Krabi airport & get a mini bus to take you over the water to Koh Lanta. We started our stay here in amazing beach huts, there are lots up and down the beach but we stayed in Fishermans Cottage and I couldn't recommend them more highly, we had a really great experience here. We only stayed here a few nights as it was a little out of our backpacker budget but still really affordable especially if you are just on a two week break and not trying to stretch your money in the same way we were. The cottages were literally on the beach in the morning we would just walk out of our room in our swimwear and straight into the sea. It was wonderful. Also, the spot where we saw the most amazing sunset I have ever seen! Its on Klong Kong beach & if you don’t stay at this place I would definitely recommend getting somewhere near this beach or visiting whilst you’re in Koh Lanta. On Koh Lanta most people do tend to ride scooters, as you know if you’ve been keeping up to date with the videos, we don’t. But its easy to get around on the Tuk Tuk BUT haggle with them as they will 100% not start with the best price!

Whilst we are in Koh Lanta we did a lot of hanging out on the beach. The beach restaurants have the most amazing BBQ’s every night with cheap food and cocktails & you have endless options to try out! Another trip highlight for me also took place on Ko Lanta and this was the Lanta Animal Welfare. This is a cat and dog sanctuary set up on the Island to help all the stray animals that you will see everywhere whilst you’re in Thailand. We got a guided tour from the lovely Ashley who helped show us around as I wanted to film a video for them - we also got to go on a forest walk with some of the pups & that was amazing. Its free to visit Lanta Animal Welfare, you can go on a tour but get there early if you want to help out on a dog walk as these fill up quickly. You can also become a volunteer and stay at the sanctuary if this is something you would want to be part of on your trip.

Fishermans Cottage Koh Lanta

Krabi - 1 night

From Koh Lanta we took a bus to Krabi I can’t actually tell you much about Krabi as we literally stayed in an airport hotel ready to get out flight to Bangkok in the morning!

….what I can tell you…lighters in hold bags cause issues…

Bangkok - 4 nights

Where we stayed - Marriott Surawongse

Our next stop was the bustling city of Bangkok as city girls we were very excited to get back into city life! We got a cab from Bangkok airport (now feeling much more confident with this whole traveling thing) you can get a metered cab from the airport or haggle with them for a price you’re willing to pay. The meters work of distance instead of time in the car so a lot of taxi drivers arn't happy to take you if they are going to be sitting in traffic for hours for very little money so sometimes you just need to agree on a price.

We stayed in a hotel in Bangkok so had a bit of a 'flash packer’ experience while we were here. Our hotel was beautiful & was an amazing experience. I would totally recommend it if you want a luxury stay or are on a much higher budget then we were. Bangkok gets very, very hot & it was great to have the rooftop pool to chill, out of the sun and get some amazing views of Bangkok. For views of Bangkok I would also recommend the rooftop bar at the hotel - the cocktails are pricey but the views are worth it! However, there are a lot of great rooftop bars in Bangkok so I will leave a link to a few of these below:

Rooftop Bars Bangkok:

I found a really great blog post about the rooftop bars of Bangkok from Places of Juma I would recommend checking out!

Whist in Bangkok we also went on a personal food tour with With Locals * - all the info about this is in the video below:

I’ve written a whole blog post & made a full video about our trip to Auttaya so I won’t go into this in too much detail (I will however link these below) but this is a great day trip form Bangkok if you have the time. Another way of doing this is taking the train from Bangkok on your way up north to Chiang Mai (for example) & staying a night before continuing your journey. 

Chiang Mai - 7 nights

Where we stayed - Stay Thapae Hostel *
Sleeper Train Booking Agency - 12 Go Asia

After spending a few days in Bangkok we headed for our first sleeper train experience onwards to Chiang Mai. We booked our sleeper train through 12goAsia but you can book this when you get to the train station if you don’t want to be restricted on your travel plans. However, be aware that these tickets can sell out although our train was pretty empty. We opted for 2nd Class (wanted to try first but this was sold out on the day we wanted to travel and we booked this a while in advance if this is the way you want to travel then book early!) 

We absolutely fell in love with Chiang Mai, there is just something so sweet about the wonderful little old town full of cute shops, little bars & restaurants. This part of Thailand is very different from the Koh Phi Phi’s of the country. It is much quieter but still with amazing atmosphere and energy. We stayed in probably our favourite hostel for the whole trip here in Chiang Mai, the rooms were clean and comfortable, the breakfast was yummy & we met some amazing people who became a big part of our trip. Would highly recommend staying here

So what did we get up to in Chiang Mai:

The Jungle Elephant Sanctuary:

I made a whole video about our day with the Elephants. I had total mixed feelings about this and don’t honestly think it is something I would want to participate in again or recommend doing. Our time with the Elephants was undeniably amazing, they are wonderful creatures but knowing that they haven’t been saved from anywhere and are actually just being breed here didn’t really sit too well with me. If you want more information I would recommend checking out my full video of our day there!

Grand Canyon Water Park:

This was one of the most fun days on our whole trip! We headed up to the Water Park with a bunch of girls we’d met at the hostel! I didn’t make a video about this as it was just far too much fun. But, I do have some key tips. Firstly, get a red car up to Grand Canyon, the more of you, you can get in the car the better, the diver will charge you around 100 baht per person, so haggle down to this if you can, our driver was pretty easy to haggle with but he did make me sit in the front with him to help with ‘directions’ and made me chat to his mates every time they called, so that was a pretty fun experience! Secondly, when you arrive check that you’re going into the correct water park! There is a smaller one that you will be directed to first, avoid this one, it is no where near as safe as the larger ‘real’ one next door so just head straight for this. In the correct part you basically get a personal life guard but be careful, they are not afraid to push you in…always make sure to push them back!

A Day Trip to Chiang Rai: Booked through KK Day

We took a day trip to see the White Temple & Blue Temple. I am really glad we didn’t miss out on these. The White Temple or Wat Rong Khun was unlike anything I have ever seen before, I have no words to describe the obscure beauty of this place. The White Temple is a privately owned art exhibit in the style of a Buddhist Temple created by Chalermchai Kositpipat. The temple is still a work in progress and is so much more than just a spot to take wonderful instagram pictures - although it is great for this as well of course. We also visited the Blue Temple, created by Kositpipats apprentice this smaller yet still outstanding temple is something I would not recommend missing.

Sunset on Pai Canyon

Pai - 3 nights

Pai was the last stop of the trip! Right up in the north of Thailand on the border with Laos. We only heard good things about Pai with a lot of people stressing that it has been their favourite part of backpacking in Thailand. I wouldn’t say it was ours but we still had a wonderful time here. Let's start at the beginning. We got the bus from Chiang Mai up to Pai, basically the only way to get there unless you want to risk the scary but stunning scooter ride up, I would only recommend this if you’re VERY confident on a bike as the roads are not fun even in the mini van! So, we booked our ticket on arrival at the bus station in Chiang Mai, looking back we should have done this in advance as we had to wait around for a few hours before there was a bus with a free seat. When people talk about the bus ride up to Pai being challenging they really mean it! The whole 3-4 hour journey is full of twists & turns along a cliff edge. Our drivers (both there and back) drove extremely fast so strap in, download a podcast or fav tunes, don’t be frightened (they know the roads) and just try not to be sick! And make sure you’re making the most of the insane views out of the window whenever you can!!

When we arrived in Pai we realised very quickly how much colder it it than Chiang Mai so prepare for this. Its not like this all of the time but we arrived in early December and the nights were pretty cold in comparison to what we had been used to. Pai is known for its waterfalls, hot spring & being a little bit in your face backpackery so I would totally recommend learning to ride a bike before you get up here. As we don’t ride we found it hard to get around as even after a night out tuk tuks are few and far between. We booked a day trip to see the sites through our hostel and had a great time. Sunset on Pai Canyon is something I will never forget!!

I really hope you enjoyed reading about our trip and watching the videos! I’ve tried to give as much information in this as possible but please let me know if there is anything else you’d like to know either here, on youtube comments or in my instagram DM’s, I will be more than happy to get back to you as soon as I can.

If you are planning a trip I am sooo excited for you, this was one of the most amazing things I have ever done and I wouldn't change a second of it!