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itinerary thailand 3 weeks

Itinerary Thailand - 3 weeks

3 weeks in Thailand - First time Asia with our kids... A different culture, different food, different climat ... a big adventure!! We had to travel light for this Thailand itinerary, so we made this deal with our kids: they each got a little bagpack, and they were 100% to fill it themselves. Ruben chose his favorite toys: a crane and some cars; Lore wanted to take some books and pencils. We had our plane tickets and booked a hotel in Bangkok for the first nights, and that was it. We just trusted our gut and were curious where this trip would take us!

map thailand itinerary 3 weeks

3 weeks itinerary Thailand:

Day 1: Flight Brussels - Vienna - Bangkok

Day 2-5: Bangkok

Day 6-10: Chiang Mai

Day 11: Flight Chiang Mai - Phuket / Boat Phuket - Koh Phi Phi

Day 12-15: Koh Phi Phi

Day 15-19: Krabi

Day 20-22: Bangkok

Day 23: Flight Bangkok - Vienna - Brussels

Bangkok

Juli 1st 2013, we wait until the bus stops in our street with brand new NorthFace bags (we still use them now, and they still look like new!!). The bus takes us to the train station and the train takes us to Brussels airport. We're totally into public transportation this journey and it starts the minute we close our frontdoor behind us! We start our 3 weeks Thailand journey in Bangkok. After a smouth red eye flight and facing a time difference of 5 hours with Belgium we have our first reality check during the taxi ride to the hotel: the driver seems to have some trouble finding the hotel, a cheap trick to make the ride less cheap... until our daughter haves to throw up, she got sick because of the poor driving skills of the taxi guy, and in less than an minute we are in front of our hotel :). Welcome to Bangkok! 

airport bangkok
grand palace bangkok
grand palace bangkok
grand palace bangkok

Bangkok is a very chaotic city. At first we find it a bit difficult to find our way around. But taking a cab or a tuktuk makes it easy to get around the city and it is also very cheap and the kids find it a lot of fun! This is what we found worth doing in Bangkok:

  • One of the biggest attractions of Bangkok is its stunning temples. The city has over 400 temples, each with its own history, architecture, and significance. Some of the most famous temples that you must see include the Grand Palace, Wat Phra Kaew, Wat Pho, and Wat Arun. Exploring these temples will give you a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of Thailand. The temples have a bit of a fairytale atmosphere with all the gold, our kids love this! 

  • Another must-do activity in Bangkok is tasting the street food! Bangkok is known to be a food lover's paradise, with endless options of delicious and affordable food. From sweet mango sticky rice (the favorite of the kids!) to spicy tom yum soup, the street food scene in Bangkok will leave your taste buds craving for more. Khoa San Road is my favorite street food area!

  • Also a fun activity: taking a boat tour of the Floating Markets - Explore the traditional markets located on the canals of Thonburi district via long-tail boat.

  • Climbing the Golden Mount - A hilltop temple with panoramic views of Bangkok.

After a few days in this very noisy city, it is time to seek some more peace and quiet. The plan was to take the night train to Chiang Mai. But once we arrived at the station, it turned out that everything was full for the next few nights. Disillusioned, we try to figure out what we can do as an alternative. I decide to ask one more time at the ticket office if there are no other options. She advises me to visit one of the small travel agencies in the station. They buy train tickets and sell them as a package together with a hotel in Chiang Mai. This seemed worth trying and we were lucky: there was still room for 4 people in a sleeper compartment on the train. The train tickets were combined with a nice little hotel with pool in the city center. Deal!

train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai
train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai
hotel Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai

The night train is quite comfortable and the children sleep like roses. Breakfast is also included. And not long after our arrival in Chiang Mai, the kids are already splashing in the hotel pool.

Chiang Mai, our second stop on our 3 weeks Thailand itinerary, is a charming city (what a difference with Bangkok!!) located in the northern part of Thailand, surrounded by beautiful mountains and hill tribes. It's the second most important city of Thailand after Bangkok. It is a must-visit destination for those who want to experience the unique culture and natural beauty of the region.

Breakfast is included in our hotel stay, but there are so many nice eateries in the area that we decide to try a different one each morning. Pancakes, fresh fruit, fruit juices, ... every morning is a feast!

restaurant chiang mai
city center chiang mai

The old part of the city it rather small, so you can get around by foot here. When you go outside the center a tuktuk is the easiest way to go somewhere.

kids in tuktuk
kids in tuktuk
kids in tuktuk

The city of Chiang Mai is known for its impressive temples, including Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, which is situated on a mountain overlooking the city.

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

We also visit an elephant sanctuary near Chiang Mai, where we can learn about and interact with these majestic animals in a responsible and ethical environment. We choose 'The Chang'. A little snake farm in the same area is a huge succes with the kids! And of course Chiang Mai Zoo. There was something wrong with my morning pancake, so I ended up vomiting for 24h, but the kids could still enjoy the Zoo. The kids never got sick on any of our trips by the way, it's always me who eats something wrong from time to time :).

elephant sanctuary
river thailand
chiang mai zoo

We also stop by one of the night markets are also a major attraction in Chiang Mai. Here, you can sample authentic Thai food, buy souvenirs and handicrafts, and enjoy live music and entertainment in a lively atmosphere.

After a few days in Chiang Mai it's cristal clear for us: we love this place!

Our time in Thailand is limited, so it's time to move on. We don't feel like traveling via Bangkok again or spending hours on the bus heading south, so we decide to take the easiest but slightly more expensive route: we fly to Phuket. And that's easy indeed, we are in the south of Thailand in no time!

The south of Thailand: Phuket, Koh Phi Phi and Krabi

phuket airport
phuket ferry

Koh Phi Phi: A Paradise for Beach Lovers and Adventure Seekers

Phuket, the third stop on our 3 weeks Thailand itinerary. But we don't intend to stay here. We are going from the airport to the port not far outside the city. I'm trying to see if we can find a boat + hotel deal here too, but that seems rather expensive. So we decide to take the boat to Koh Phi Phi and see on the spot where we can stay. Koh Phi Phi is located in the Andaman Sea, about 46 kilometers from the mainland of Thailand. The boat trip is wonderful, we sail among the small islands of paradise, just as we imagined Thailand in our dreams. On the boat, some people tried to recommend some hotels and since we hadn't booked anything yet, we look through the offerings. Our eye falls on a quiet hotel on the outskirts of the village consisting of small lodges with some swimming pools, located on the beach. Could it get any better? We agree to the proposition and when the ferry docks an employee of the hotel is waiting for us, ready with a cart on which we can put our luggage. After all, Koh Phi Phi is a car-free island. Lore and Ruben are over the moon, playing on the beach all the rest of the afternoon. Ruben can finally take his digging bulldozer out of his little backpack. I suspect this may well be a place they won't want to leave! 

koh Phi Phi
koh Phi Phi
koh Phi Phi

The next morning our paradise life continues with a delicious breakfast on the beach! 
We take a walk around the island. Koh Phi Phi is a small island, but there is a nice hiking trail around the island where you get a nice view from the highest point 'Phi Phi Viewpoint'.

koh Phi Phi
koh Phi Phi
koh Phi Phi

During the next few days we do some excursions on a long tail boat:

  • Maya Bay: Popularized by the movie “The Beach,” Maya Bay is a picturesque beach with crystal-clear waters and majestic cliffs. You can take a speedboat tour from Koh Phi Phi to Maya Bay, but we choose a long tail boat. It is a bit slower, but the boat drops you off on another side of the island, a bit of a hidden gem and you walk to Maya bay where you meet the crowds

  • Bamboo Island: This beautiful island is uninhabited and surrounded by coral reefs, making it great for snorkeling and swimming. It is a day trip from Koh Phi Phi to Bamboo Island.​

  • Monkey Beach: This secluded beach is home to playful monkeys, who love to interact with visitors. You can take a long-tail boat from Koh Phi Phi to Monkey Beach. This is a bit of a tourist trap, but the kids like activities like this, so who are we to judge this?!

  • Viking Cave: This cave is filled with ancient paintings, and is a popular spot for cave exploration. 

  • Phang Nga Bay: This bay is famous for its towering limestone cliffs, hidden lagoons, and mangrove forests. It is spectacular!

maya beach thailand
maya beach thailand

Krabi: The Perfect Getaway for Nature Lovers

After a few days on Koh Phi Phi we decide to take the ferry to Krabi. On the ferry we meet some Dutch backpackers who give us a good address for our last night in Bangkok before we fly back home. I send the hotel an email and they confirm the booking!

With its crystal-clear waters, limestone cliffs, and white sandy beaches, Krabi is the perfect place to relax and soak up the sun. We book a hotel at the desk in the harbor and after a short taxi ride we're at our destination!

krabi
krabi
krabi

During the next few days we do some excursions from Krabi:

  • Railay Beach: Railay Beach is a beautiful beach town accessible only by boat. Surrounded by towering limestone cliffs, Railay Beach is ideal for rock climbing, kayaking, and swimming. We only did the swimming :).

  • Tiger Cave Temple: The Tiger Cave Temple is a Buddhist temple located in a limestone cave. The highlight of the temple is a 1,237 step staircase which offers a stunning view of the surrounding area.

  • Emerald Pool: The Emerald Pool is a natural hot spring surrounded by lush vegetation. The water is said to have healing properties and is perfect for a relaxing dip.

  • Hot spring waterfall: a few natural hot tubs and a litte waterfall, an excellent playground for the kids!

  • Hong Islands: also known as the Koh Hong group, are a small cluster of islands located near Krabi. These islands consist of a set of four small islands, as well as several smaller limestone outcrops. The main attractions of the Hong Islands include crystal-clear waters, pristine coral reefs, and stunning limestone cliffs that rise dramatically out of the sea. We take a speed boat excursion for this one, so that we can see a bit more of the islands, because this area is so beautiful. The islands are home to diverse marine life, including sea turtles, schools of colorful fish, and even rare dugongs.

hong islands
hot springs krabi
hot springs krabi
blue pool krabi

... And back to Bangkok

Krabi

Time to go back to Bangkok, but not after enjoying a good massage with the whole family! It was the best massage ever, and it was happy hour so we could choose some extra's :). I opted for a pedicure, Bart just picked something, and the next thing I saw was a woman standing on his back to crack it a bit :) :).

Since we don't have much time left until our return flight, we decide to take an overnight bus back to Bangkok. The night is a bit strange: a noisy bus keeps us from sleeping and after two hours we are dropped off in the middle of the jungle. I don't show that I find this scary so as not to worry the children. After half an hour another bus arrives, a very comfortable one this time and we are taken to Bangkok without any other detours or crazy stops. The address we got through the Dutch backpacker turns out to be a top one: a fancy hotel near Khao San Roadwith a rooftop pool and a jacuzzi in the room. The perfect end to the trip!

hotel Bangkok
hotel Bangkok
hotel Bangkok

This was our first time Asia, but definitely not the last one! We didn't have to wait long, a year later we went to Indonesia :)

Check out our other family-friendly travel itineraries here!

Hi! We are Bart, Kris, Lore and Ruben. We are a family of 5, yes, we also have a dog named Spike.

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