Thailand Itinerary & Travel Tips: How to spend 18 days in Thailand?

Spending 18 days in Thailand presents a unique adventure, where every day unfolds a new facet of this enchanting country. The following article is designed to help you make the most of your extensive stay, ensuring that each of the 18 days is packed with unforgettable experiences. From the pulsating energy of Bangkok to the serene beaches of the Andaman Sea, and the cultural richness of Chiang Mai, you’ll journey through a land that seamlessly blends modern vibrancy with ancient traditions. Get ready to immerse yourself in a world of majestic temples, tantalizing street food, lush landscapes, and warm hospitality.

Why Visit Thailand in 18 Days?

Visiting Thailand in 18 days allows you to fully immerse yourself in the country’s diverse and rich experiences. With more than two weeks at your disposal, you can explore the bustling streets of Bangkok, relax on the idyllic beaches of Phuket or Koh Samui, and venture into the northern regions to experience the cultural heartland of Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. This duration also allows you to delve into Thailand’s culinary delights, visit ancient temples, and perhaps even enjoy a serene retreat in less-traveled areas like Isaan or the Trang Islands. 18 days in Thailand ensures a balanced blend of relaxation, adventure, cultural immersion, and exploration of Thailand’s natural beauty, making your visit a truly comprehensive and memorable experience.

Things to Do in Thailand 18 Days

Visit Temples and Pagodas

The Grand Palace, Bangkok

The Grand Palace in Bangkok

With over 40,000 temples, choosing which ones to visit in Thailand can be a daunting task. While the Grand Palace and Wat Pho in Bangkok are often recommended, many other temples across the country could leave a lasting impression. For instance, in Chiang Rai’s northern town, Wat Rong Khun, known as the “White Temple,” captivates with its “bridge of rebirth” over a symbolic “lake” of hands depicting human suffering. Heading south near Pattaya, the Sanctuary of Truth is an awe-inspiring wooden structure, showcasing intricate carvings made with traditional methods. In Phetchabun, bordering the North and Northeast, Wat Phra Thad Son Kaew stands out with its unique Buddha statues reminiscent of Russian nesting dolls, set against a backdrop of striking mountains and Gaudi-style mosaics.

>>> You may need to know: Spiritual Journey To Thailand: Best Temples & Sacred Places To Visit

Relax on Beautiful Beaches

Phuket

Phuket

Thailand is famous worldwide for its breathtaking islands, characterized by lush greenery and crystal-clear, celadon waters. Phuket, the country’s largest and most popular island, serves as the perfect gateway to this tropical paradise. From Phuket’s two bustling marinas, visitors have the opportunity to charter a boat and explore the wonders of the Andaman Sea.

Among these is the famous Ko Khao Phing Kan, better known as James Bond Island, which gained fame in the 1974 movie “The Man With a Golden Gun.” This island stands out as a spectacular limestone karst, rising dramatically from the sea and topped with verdant foliage, resembling a natural exclamation point amidst the serene beauty of Phang Nga Bay. This iconic landscape, along with the myriad of other stunning islands in the area, encapsulates the essence of Thailand’s coastal allure.

Go Shopping at Thailand’s Top Markets

Chatuchak Market, Bangkok

Chatuchak Market in Bangkok

Thailand’s love for shopping is evident in its abundance of markets, each offering a unique experience, from early morning fruit markets to vibrant night ones and everything in between. In Bangkok, the 24/7 Flower Market stands out, offering a stunning array of flowers perfect for Instagram, set against the Chao Phraya River. Another gem in Bangkok is Or Tor Kor Market, celebrated for its traditional sweets and fresh produce, and highly regarded even by the most discerning locals.

In the North, Chiang Mai is famous for its Saturday and Sunday Walking Streets, but the Walking Street in Chiang Khan, along the Mekong River, offers an equally extensive and picturesque shopping experience. For those interested in crafts, Hua Hin’s Cicada Market is a treasure trove of art, clothing, and souvenirs, conveniently located near the beach.

For a more serene experience, the tree-lined Khlong Lat Mayom floating market, less touristy and only a short drive from Bangkok, offers a peaceful alternative to the bustling Chatuchak Market and the popular floating markets of Damnoen Saduak and Amphawa. Each market has its charm, but be prepared for crowds, especially during peak times.

Take a Hike Through National Parks & Forests

Pranburi Forest Park

Pranburi Forest Park

Thailand, often seen as a beach paradise, surprisingly offers a wealth of hiking opportunities for all skill levels. Near the resort town of Hua Hin, just 25km (15.5 miles) to the south, lies Pranburi Forest Park. Here, a 1km-long (0.6 mile) boardwalk meanders through mangrove forests and pine trees, perfect for a family-friendly stroll amidst nature.

In the northern region, close to Chiang Mai, the Buddha’s Footprint Trail extends for 13km (8 miles). This trail, favored by birdwatchers, showcases a rich diversity of wildlife and plants. A guide, which can be hired from the local Hmong villagers, is required for this scenic hike.

For those seeking a more thrilling adventure, Wat Phu Thok in Northeastern Bueng Kan, also known as the “Lonely Mountain,” offers a challenging climb. The ascent to the 359m-high (1,200ft) peak involves steps, carved paths, and wooden slats, designed to reflect the seven levels of nirvana. This hike is not just a physical challenge but also a spiritual journey, encouraging meditation and mindfulness with each step.

Sample Delicious Street Food in Bangkok

Sample Thai street food

Sample Thai street food

Bangkok’s street food scene, having bounced back from the economic downturn caused by COVID, is now buzzing with renewed energy. Key areas like the Old Town, Charoen Krung Road, Bantadthong Road, and around the Victory Monument are hotspots for authentic and delicious street fare.

The epicenter of this culinary richness is Chinatown, also known as Yaowarat, which is widely regarded as the birthplace of Thai street food and restaurants. Here, a fusion of Chinese-Thai cuisine, including dishes like oyster omelets, soup noodles, rice porridge, and black sesame-stuffed dumplings, entices visitors. At night, Yaowarat Road transforms into a vibrant, neon-lit buffet, offering an unforgettable roadside dining experience. However, it’s important to note that many street food stalls are closed on Mondays, so it’s advisable to check the availability of your preferred vendors in advance.

>>> Don’t miss out on these 15 must-try dishes in Thailand.

Suggested Itineraries for 18 Days in Thailand

Thailand Classic Tour 18 Days

Thailand Classic Tour 18 Days

Day 1 – Arrival in Bangkok.

Day 2 – Full-day Bangkok city tour: Check out Wat Timitr, Wat Pho, the Royal Palace, the Chao Praya River, and Wat Arun.

Day 3 – Free day in Bangkok.

Day 4 – Free day in Bangkok: We suggest you cool down in the shopping center or sample the delicious street food of the city.

Day 5 – Full-day tour to Kanchanaburi: Stop at Damnoen Saduak floating market and the JEATH War Museum in Kanchanaburi.

Day 6 – Full-day tour to Ayutthaya: Visit Wat Phanancherng, Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon, Ayutthaya Historical Park, and Wat Phra Mahathat.

Day 7 – Bangkok – Fly to Chiang Mai.

Day 8 – Chiang Mai City Tour: Visit Wat Chiang Man, Wat Phra Singh, Wat Chedi Luang, and Wat Phantao.

Day 9 – Explore Doi Inthanon National Park – the highest mountain in Thailand.

Day 10 – Free day in Chiang Mai: If you are a coffee lover, don’t miss out on the chance to taste the traditional coffee of this city.

Day 11 – Visit the Elephant Sanctuary: Visit the old elephants, learn about their habits, and feed them.

Day 12 – Chiang Mai – Fly to Khao Sok: Join a night safari tour in Khao Sok National Park.

Day 13 – Cheow Lan Lake: Explore the lake by a local long-tail boat.

Day 14 – Cheow Lan Lake – Phuket: Join an early morning safari tour to see the dusky langurs, macaques, gibbons, and wild elephants. Afternoon transfer to Phuket.

Day 15 – Free day in Phuket.

Day 16 – Time to relax on Phuket’s white sand beach.

Day 17 – Free to explore Phuket at your leisure.

Day 18 – Depart Phuket. End of 18 days in Thailand.

Thailand Beach Holiday 18 Days

Thailand Beach Holiday 18 Days

Day 1 – Arrival in Bangkok – Head to Surat Thani on an overnight train.

Day 2 – Surat Thani – Koh Samui.

Day 3 – Angthong National Marine Park: Snorkel in Koh Wao and embark on a boat trip to discover the beautiful Talay Nai. In the afternoon, join in a kayaking adventure.

Day 4 – Free day in Koh Samui.

Day 5 – Take a boat trip to Koh Tao Island.

Day 6 – Free Day in Koh Tao.

Day 7 – Explore Khao Sok National Park: Experience a bamboo raft ride, hike through the forest, and enjoy a coffee break.

Day 8 – Discover Raja Phraba Lake: Enjoy a 1-hour boat trip around the lake, 1.5 hours in the jungle, and a chance to explore the Nam Taloo Cave.

Day 9 – Khao Sok – Phang Nga Bay – Krabi: Explore the magnificent caves of Phang Nga Bay.

Day 10 – Free day in Krabi.

Day 11 – Krabi – Koh Lanta: Free for the rest of the day.

Day 12 – Free day in Koh Lanta.

Day 13 – Discover Koh Phi Phi Island.

Day 14 – Free day in Koh Phi Phi.

Day 15 – Free to swim, dive, and enjoy seafood in Koh Phi Phi.

Day 16 – Koh Phi Phi – Phuket.

Day 17 – Phuket: Embark on a sea canoe to discover the beautiful Phuket Island.

Day 18 – Depart Phuket.

18-Days Tour to Thailand, Cambodia & Vietnam

18-Day Tour to Thailand, Cambodia & Vietnam

Day 1 – Arrive in Bangkok.

Day 2 – Bangkok city tour: Check out the Grand Palace, Wat Phra Kaew, Wat Pho, and Wat Arun.

Day 3 – Sightseeing in Bangkok: Visit Damnoen Saduak floating market.

Day 4 – Fly to Chiang Mai: Visit a handicraft village in the afternoon.

Day 5 – Chiang Mai – Bangkok: Check out Doi Suthep, the Elephant Camp, and take a night train to Bangkok.

Day 6 – Fly to Siem Reap.

Day 7 – Explore Angkor Wat Complex.

Day 8 – Explore the Great Lake: See the sunrise at Angkor Wat and experience a boat ride on the Great Lake Tonle Sap.

Day 9 – Siem Reap – Fly to Hanoi.

Day 10 – Hanoi city tour: Check out Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Complex and the Temple of Literature, and watch a water puppet show.

Day 11 – Hanoi – Ha Long Bay: Embark on an overnight cruise to discover the bay. Try swimming, or kayaking to truly immerse in the emerald water of the bay.

Day 12 – Ha Long Bay – Hanoi – Fly to Da Nang, onward travel to Hoi An: End the cruise itinerary at noon and return to Hanoi for a flight to Da Nang.

Day 13 – Hoi An city tour: Check out the Japanese-covered Bridge, the Pottery Museum, Tan Ky House, Chua Ong Pagoda, etc.

Day 14 – Hoi An – Hue: Travel through Hai Van Pass. In Hue, visit the Royal Citadel, and Khai Dinh Tomb.

Day 15 – Hue – Fly to Ho Chi Minh City: Morning enjoy a cruise along the Perfume River to visit Thien Mu Pagoda and Minh Mang Mausoleum. Afternoon fly to Ho Chi Minh City.

Day 16 – Ho Chi Minh City tour: Check out the War Remnants Museum, the Presidential Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral, Xa Loi Pagoda, and Ben Thanh Market.

Day 17 – Day tour to Mekong Delta: Visit Cai Be floating market.

Day 18 – Depart Ho Chi Minh City.

>>> For the detailed tour itinerary, please check out Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam in 18 Days: A Trip to Remember

Dos and Don’ts in Thailand

When traveling in Thailand, it’s important to be aware of local customs and etiquette to ensure a respectful and enjoyable visit. Here are some key dos and don’ts:

Dos

Don’ts

  • Do Respect the Monarchy: The Thai people hold the royal family in high regard. Always show respect towards images of the king and the royal family.
  • Do Dress Appropriately: Especially when visiting temples and religious sites. Cover your shoulders and knees as a sign of respect.
  • Do Remove Your Shoes: When entering someone’s home or a temple, it’s customary to take off your shoes.
  • Do Use Both Hands: When giving or receiving something, especially from an elder, it’s polite to use both hands.
  • Do Greet with a Wai: The traditional Thai greeting involves a slight bow with the palms pressed together in a prayer-like fashion.
  • Don’t Disrespect Buddha Images: It’s illegal and disrespectful to deface or show disrespect to images of Buddha. This includes tattoos, clothing, and accessories with Buddha images.
  • Don’t Touch Someone’s Head: The head is considered the most sacred part of the body in Thai culture.
  • Don’t Point Your Feet: Pointing your feet at someone, especially at something sacred, is considered rude. The feet are considered the lowest and dirtiest part of the body.
  • Don’t Raise Your Voice or Show Anger: Thais value calmness and politeness. Losing your temper or showing frustration publicly is frowned upon.
  • Don’t Engage in Public Displays of Affection: Overly expressive acts of affection in public are not customary in Thai culture.

Being mindful of these cultural nuances will help you navigate social situations more smoothly and show respect for Thai culture and traditions. Hope you have figured out your 18 days in Thailand travel plan with the above tips and suggested itineraries. Check out our Thailand tours for other suggested tour programs or contact us for a tailor-made one.

>>> Read more:

Frequently Asked Questions

18 days in Thailand is just the right amount of time to explore and enjoy a wide range of experiences. It allows for a well-rounded trip that can include visiting major cities like Bangkok and Chiang Mai, relaxing on the beaches of islands like Phuket or Koh Samui, and exploring the cultural heritage of places like Ayutthaya and Sukhothai.


With 18 days in Thailand, you may need $500 – $1100. This estimate can vary depending on your travel style. If you lean on a more economical style of travel, about $495 to $630 is enough.


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Alice Pham

Hello, I'm Alice Pham - a travel blogger at IDC Travel. I have traveled to almost places in Vietnam and gained numerous useful experiences. I'm here willing to help you plan the most wonderful trip to our stunning S-shaped country.

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