Most people touring Thailand are able to visit for 30 days without getting a visa. If you want to maximize your 30 days of experience here are my recommendations.
There are three routes.
- The exploration route is about exploring as many places as possible while not rushing too much through each place.
- The experience route is about maximizing time in the best places in Thailand. Thus giving you a better opportunity to absorb the culture and beauty around you.
- The couple’s route is similar to the other two, but is focused on places that are more quiet and intimate.
The Couples route
Days 1-3 Bangkok:
No doubt you will be starting in Bangkok with two major international airports located next to the city. A lot of people overlook Bangkok but it’s actually one of the coolest places you can go.
For a couples getaway, Bangkok is a great place to spend some time. It offers a dizzying number of restaurants, attractions and boutique hotels.
Chatuchak Market: The largest open air market in the world. There’s a semi secret section filled with domestic and exotic pets for sale including cobras and miniature huskies.
Movie theater: There are several places that offer VIP and they vary wildly in price, but do your homework and go for the VIP ticket. It’s an experience you won’t soon forget. Look for VIP theaters with couples seating that lets you snuggle up to your boo.
Rooftop Bar: Rooftop bar drink prices can exceed those of top bars in Western cities, but go for a sunset happy hour and prices are more reasonable. Happy hour is the best time anyway. #Rooftopsunset
Mo Chit park: A lot of people would recommend the more famous Lumpini Park, but I’d argue Mo Chit and its neighboring parks are the most beautiful public parks I’ve ever seen. Stop by a hawker stall pick up some food for an impromptu picnic in the park.
And More: There’s so many amazing places to check out that I can’t fit them all in this space. Check out this article on Trip Canvas for more ideas.
Bangkok is a city of fashion and gluttony. Be sure to sample and explore the 1000’s of options. Don’t feel pressured to stick to only Thai food. Many cultures are respectfully represented here. Bangkok is the perfect place for a romantic dinner too. There are so many options like rooftop restaurants and river front cafés. The competition is fierce in Bangkok so you’ll rarely ever pick a dud.
Riverside: Normally I’d say stay in ASOK or Mo Chit, but when it comes to a romantic getaway, the little bit of inconvenience is worth it to stay on the river. There are so many beautiful boutique stays on the river. Skip the ordinary hotel and seek out a unique stay here.
Days 5-9 Mae Hong Son:
Mae Hong Son was not my favorite place but that was probably because I was travelling solo when I was here. Brad and Angelina Pitt, during their good years, raved about staying in Mae Hong Son. It’s a beautiful village surrounded by breathtaking farm land.
Cooking Class: Thai food is amazing and the best place to learn how to cook Thai food is in northern Thailand. I went with Basil Cookery School. Two thumbs up.
Elephant Sanctuary: The Eco Tourism push seems to really be improving the elephant situation in Thailand. There are a number of no riding/ free range elephant sanctuaries popping up here. I went to Dumbo Elephant Spa and had a great time being around these magnificent creatures.
Tea Village: Not far from Mae Hong Son is a picture perfect Chinese village and tea plantation. It’s a cozy place to get close with your significant other while sampling some great hot beverages. Bring a jacket because this Jungle spot actually gets pretty chilly.
Fern Resort: Live like Hollywood royalty and stay in the same guest house that Brad and Angelina stayed in. It’s a beautiful Bungalow resort surrounded by bright green rice terraces.
Northern Thailand has the freshest Thai food around. Try as many local dishes as you possibly can, and explore the markets for a perfect date day or date night.
Days 11-17 Koh Mak:
Koh Mak is the sleepiest coziest island in Thailand. It’s extremely flat and perfect for a late afternoon bicycle trip after the heat has broken. Beach front Bungalows is the name of the game here, so stake your claim on a piece of beach for the week.
Rent a Bicycle and Explore: Like I said, it’s very flat on this island which is rare in Thailand. Rent a couple of push bikes and go for a ride around the island. There are trail maps around the island that are a great help for finding the best routes on the island.
Have a Drink at Banana Sunset Bar or Koh Mak Resort Beach Bar: Banana Sunset Bar has a beautiful outdoor deck. Koh Mak Resort Beach Bar has hammocks, lounges and beach chairs. These are the two best spots to catch the sunset on the island.
Rent a Kayak: The water around Koh Mak is very clear and very blue. Head to the south side of the island and rent a kayak. There is one long beach along the south side here so when you get tired, beach the kayak and hop in the water for a relaxing dip.
Day Trip to Koh Wai: Koh Wai isn’t much for amenities but it has some if not the best snorkeling in the area. It can get a little crowded, but usually it’s very manageable.
Stay in a Bungalow: You’re on an island. How are you not going to stay in a bungalow?
Seafood is always a good option when in the islands. Krabi was a bit cheaper for seafood, but prices are still reasonable here.
Koh Kham: A tiny island parked right next to Koh Mak, for the ultimate isolation while in the area stay on this exclusive island.
South West Cove: There are a number of lower to mid budget bungalows in this area. It’s a beautiful area and perfect for swimming.
North West Cove: This is usually where the ferry drops you off and it has some of the most established stays and restaurants on the island. Stay in one of Prompakdee’s glass front bungalows and be the envy of the island.
Days 19-23 Krabi / Railay:
Arguably the most picturesque place in Thailand. Railay Beach does attract it’s fair share of tourism, but I didn’t feel overly bothered by it. I think the minimal amount of souvenir stands and peddlers makes it bearable.
Railay is actually three or four beaches that are connected to but isolated from the mainland by limestone cliffs.
Take a boat from Ao Nang beach and you’ll be able to explore all of Railay’s beaches by cutting across the little village between the beaches.
View Point: The viewpoint is the most beautiful beach area in Railay. It’s also where the famous phalic statue is. You also will likely see some very impressive rock climbers going up the cliffs.
Sunbathe: The perfect sunbathing beach. Even with all of the tourists the beach is big enough to spread out and catch some rays.
Splurge: Railay itself is on the pricey side for accommodation when compared to the rest of Thailand, but if you’re gonna live it up, Railay gets my vote as the place in Thailand to do it.
Monkey Trail: From Ao Nang, walk along the beach towards Railay. You’ll find a boardwalk that is the start of the monkey trail. 95% of the time you’ll find monkey’s hanging out around here. Monkey’s are fun, but you know the drill. Protect your belongings and be careful not to upset them.
Nearby by Ao Nang was the best place price wise for seafood that I found in the tourist towns in Thailand. Then again the extra money for a romantic dinner at one of Railay beach’s amazing restaurants is great choice. With all the 4 and 5 star resorts around this area, you know there’s some amazing chefs running the show here.
A Resort in Railay: Railay has some great resorts in a really amazing location. If you’re budget is endless go all out for the Rayavadee resort and get access to their exclusive restaurants like the grotto restaurant. Yes its dining in a cave. It’s pretty expensive so if you can’t afford it, don’t worry there are a lot of other more affordable options too.
Days 25-28 Koh Lipe:
If Koh Mak is my number one choice of islands for couples, Koh Lipe is my number two. It is a total cliché island, but romance and cliché seem to go hand in hand. It’s surrounded by white sandy beaches, surrounded by turquoise blue water.
Diving: Koh Lipe has excellent nearby reefs and the water is pretty clear most of the year. This is a great place for you and your boo to explore the ocean together.
Snorkeling: There are some superb snorkeling options right from the beach. Rent a mask from just about any place on the island and swim off the beach for some undersea beauty
Hiking: Koh Lipe is a small island. It’s not all that hard to conquer by foot, so hiking is a great option to both explore the island and to get around.
Sunrise and Sunset: There are literally two beaches named Sunrise Beach and Sunset Beach. This is the perfect island to catch the start and end of the day.
Admittedly, I wasn’t blown away by the dining options on this island. While there are good places to eat, I wasn’t blown away by any place in particular. The two of you are kind of on your own for this one.
There are a lot of regally great options. Here and no one place is perfect. I personally stayed in a little bungalow here since I was just here for the night. From what I saw while walking around, I would recommend staying in the nicer resorts on the island. They are expensive, but seem to be worth it. Especially if this the end of your trip you want to finish with a bang.
So these are my tips. It’s not an air tight plan, but merely a guide with plenty of space for you to adjust and edit to fit your personal trip. You may notice that there are some days missing on my 30 day guide. I give you a day for travelling between each location which is all you really need to get anywhere in Thailand even by bus or train.
If you want to get some ideas of what the experiences on this list are like, my YouTube channel has plenty videos from my travel through Thailand.