Road trip in Thailand: The best itineraries for 7, 10, 15, 21 days and 1 month


Visit Thailand by car: The 5 best road trip itineraries

You’re planning to do a road trip in Thailand?

Great idea!

Visiting Thailand by car is not very common and yet it’s for sure the best way to discover the country’s must-see attractions.

In order to help you plan your stay, I have prepared this guide with the 5 best road trips itineraries in Thailand depending on the duration of your stay (7 to 30 days).

For each duration, I will give you a summary of the itinerary as well as the link to read the detailed itinerary article I have written.

And at the end of this guide, I will also give you my list of the best accommodations in Thailand depending on your budget as well as my best tips to enjoy the perfect road trip.

Let’s plan your road trip!

What’s the best airport to start a road-trip in Thailand?

Thailand has several international and national airports. The best serviced are at:

  • Bangkok, the capital. There are 2 airports: Suvarnabhumi airport (where all international flights arrive) and Don Mueang airport for domestic flights or border countries such as Cambodia or Vietnam.
  • Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand
  • Chiang Rai, also in the North
  • Phuket, for the South and to visit the islands
  • Krabi, also in the South
  • Koh Samui

For each of these itineraries in Thailand, whether for a week or 1 month, I’ve chosen arrival at Bangkok. Simply because it is the most convenient place to start driving through Thailand, going further north gradually.

Rent a car for a road trip in Thailand

If you are planning a road trip in Thailand, you will have to rent a car.

I always recommend booking a car from the airport because there you will have the greatest choice of international or national rental agencies and can therefore get the best prices.

A small specific detail about road trips in Thailand: you must rent a car car from Don Mueang airport and not from Suvarnabhumi airport, where you arrive. It is much more convenient to get your car back to Don Mueang when leaving Bangkok as this airport is directly on the way to the next stop.

You must also book your car in advance so that you have a choice of vehicle and prices that are much lower than those you get on the spot.

If you’ve ever visited my blog to organise your trips, you’ll know that I always recommend using Cars for your car rentals. Canada, Greece, Sardinia, I can’t even count how many times I’ve rented cars from this website!

I find it really convenient to compare the prices of all the rentals and see the reviews from previous customers.

Booking Cars’ specific comprehensive coverage insurance system also ensures that you get recompensated for any costs incurred in the event of an accident or even theft of your car. And I can assure you that it works, and that the payouts are given rather quickly, you just have to send an email (They have reimbursed me for more than 1200 Euros to date).

Other benefits: the site guarantees you the best prices (it reimburses you if you find cheaper elsewhere) and the modification or cancellation is very often free until the last moment.

To compare the prices of a car rental in Thailand, just click on the button below:

Voyage Tips - Advice

Choose a rental agency that does not charge a one-way fee in case you take the car from Bangkok and return it at Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai.

In Thailand you drive on the left side of the road. If you are unfamiliar with this driving direction, take an automatic car.

No special advice for driving: the roads are in excellent condition, often with several lanes, free of charge and bordered by petrol stations. We had no problems during our whole trip in Thailand .

Voyage Tips - Advice

In this article I will give you a summary of each route in Thailand depending on the duration of your trip.

I will also post a link to the detailed itinerary, which contains all the things to do for each leg, the best hotels to stay at, and all my tips and plans!

Thailand road trip: one week

For this first example, I have a road trip from Bangkok to explore Thailand by car for a week.

On this 1 week road trip in Thailand: Bangkok, Ayutthaya and Chiang Mai.

Day 1 and 2 – Exploring Bangkok:

  • The Grand Palace
  • Wat Pho 
  • Wat Arun
  • Khao San Road
  • Wat Saket
  • Chinatown
  • The Siam district

I have prepared a 2-day itinerary for Bangkok in this article: Visit Bangkok.

Day 3 – Visit to the Ayutthaya historical park and its ancient temples, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site

All the practical information to visit Ayutthaya is in this detailed article: How to visit Ayutthaya.

Days four, five, and six – Exploring the capital of Northern Thailand: Chiang Mai.

For more things to do in Chiang Mai, read my post: What are the things to do in Chiang Mai?

Day 7: The end of your trip, head to Chiang Mai Airport for your return flight.

Voyage Tips - Advice

If you would like to go on a week-long road trip in Thailand, please read our detailed article: One week itinerary in Thailand. 

Very practical, you will also find lots of good plans and hotels where you can stay every step of the way.  This is the best way to organise your trip easily! 

Wat Chai Watthanaram Ayutthaya
Wat Chai Watthanaram Ayutthaya

Thailand Road trip: 10 days

Second idea for a road trip, this time to visit Thailand by car in 10 days.

For this itinerary, you will leave from Bangkok and finish your stay in the South.

On the agenda for this 10-day road trip in Thailand:

  • Bangkok
  • Ayutthaya
  • Chiang Mai
  • Phuket or Krabi (choice)

1) Bangkok (2 days)

You must start this 10-day road trip in Thailand with the capital, Bangkok. In addition to the day you arrive, you should stay there for 2 days to recover from the flight and jet lag.

Day one: Here’s an idea for your first day in Bangkok:

For the second day, continue your visit with Wat Saket, Chinatown and a walk in the Lumpini park. Then go shopping in the Siam district.

At the end of the day, don’t miss the Bayoke tower (Bangkok’s tallest tower) to admire a view of the city. Tickets can be booked here.

To best organise your exploration of Bangkok, read our article: Top 20 things to do in Bangkok.

Grand Palace Bangkok
Rooftop view of Bangkok at night

2) Ayutthaya (1 day)

The next day (day three), for the rest of this 10-day road trip in Thailand, visit the historical park of Ayutthaya.

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it has several magnificent temples that you can see during the day.

If you want more details about Ayutthaya, please read my detailed article: Visit Ayutthaya.

3) Chiang Mai (3 days)

Days four, five, and six shall be devoted to visiting Chiang Mai, the capital of northern Thailand.

The unmissable spots:

  • The old town of Chiang Mai where all the temples are located: Wat Phra Sing, Wat Chedi Luang or Wat Inthakhin Sadue Muang
  • Warorot market, the city’s largest market
  • The night market and/or the Saturday or Sunday evening market to buy souvenirs and taste street food
  • The Doi Suthep National Park, where the temple of the same name is located, offers a panoramic view of the whole province
  • Visit the elephants in a shelter
  • Take a cooking class to make delicious Pad Thai and currys.

And for other places to see in Chiang Mai, you will find information here: Chiang Mai: the definitive guide.

Elephants Thailand
Aller voir les éléphants à Chiang Mai

4) Phuket or Krabi (3 days)

Finish this 10-day road trip to Thailand by visiting the South, where you can enjoy the country’s most beautiful beaches.

From Chiang Mai, it is very easy to reach Phuket or Krabi in less than 2 hours.

For days seven, eight, and nine of your itinerary, you can choose between spending 3 days on Phuket Island or in Krabi province.

What are the things to see in Phuket and nearby?

Details of all these places are in this article: What are the things to see in Phuket?

If you prefer to spend the end of your holiday in Krabi, you can:

Information on these activities can be found here: The best things to do in Krabi?

On the day ten, it will be time to take your return flight from Phuket or Krabi airport.

Voyage Tips - Advice

If you want more details about this 10-day road trip in Thailand, please read our detailed article: 10 day itinerary in Thailand.

You will also find our list of the best accommodations for each leg. As you’ll see, planning your 9-10 day trip to Thailand is fast and easy!

Krabi Railay Plage
Plage de Railay


Thailand Road trip: two weeks

If you go on a road trip in Thailand for 15 days, you will be able to divide your time between the central/northern part of the country and the south.

This 2-week road trip in Thailand I am suggesting also starts from Bangkok.

You will find all the details to organise this Thailand tour in our article: 2-week itinerary in Thailand.

I’ll summarise the legs of the journey below:

1) Bangkok (2 days)

For this two-week road trip in Thailand, we will start by visiting Bangkok for 2 days.

You’ll have time to see many of the places we discuss in our Top 20 places to visit in Bangkok.

Days 1 and 2 – Things to do:

2) Ayutthaya (1 day)

On day three of your 15-day road trip in Thailand, visit Ayutthaya, the ancient capital of the kingdom of Siam.

These ancient temples are now classified as UNESCO World Heritage sites.

The timings, prices, and temples that you should not miss, everything is included in my article dedicated to the historical park: Ayutthaya: the definitive guide.

3) Sukhothai (2 days)

Day Four: keep one day for travelling the 350 km from Ayutthaya to Sukhothai.

Day five – Visit the historical park of Sukhothai.

Like Ayutthaya, Sukhothai was one of the capital cities of the kingdom of Siam and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Here too, the best way to prepare for your visit is to read my article: How to visit Sukhothai.

Wat Mahathat Sukhothai
Wat Mahathat Sukhothai

4) Chiang Mai (3 days)

Day seven of your 15-day road trip in Thailand: Travel from Sukhothai and Chiang Mai, 300 km away.

On day eight, you must visit Chiang Mai Old Town. You should absolutely see all the temples there, including Wat Phra Sing and Wat Chedi Luang. At the end of the day, head for the Night Bazaar to eat at one of the many stands or buy some souvenirs.

Day nine – You have several options to finish exploring the city and its surroundings:

You will find all these activities and much more in my dedicated article: The top 20 things to do in Chiang Mai.

5) Phuket or Krabi (3 days)

Visiting Thailand in 15 days also allows you to devote part of your stay to the South of the country.

From Chiang Mai, you must choose between Phuket and Krabi for the rest of your 2 week road trip in Thailand. To get there, you just have to catch a plane.

On days nine, ten, and eleven , you will have plenty of time to travel around Phuket Island or Krabi province.

For the best things to do in Phuket, be sure to read our article: Visit Phuket.

And to discover Krabi, you can read this article: The must-see spots in Krabi.

Phuket plage
Les plus belles plages de Phuket

6) Koh Lanta or Koh Yao Noi (3 days)

After Phuket or Krabi, you can continue your road trip in Thailand with another Southern Island.

For days twelve, thirteen, and fourteen, you must choose between staying for 3 days at:

You can find the detailed itinerary of each island by clicking on the name of the islands.

7) Return to Phuket or Krabi (1 day)

You know that now we are on day fifteen, and that means we are at end of your holiday.

For the return trip, you can catch your plane in Phuket or Krabi.

Voyage Tips - Advice

Just a reminder, I have explained this road trip in detail in my article: 2-week itinerary in Thailand.

You will also find plenty of tips and my selection of the best accommodation depending on your budget.

Diamond Cliff Koh Lanta
Faire le tour de Koh Lanta

Thailand Road trip: 3 weeks

For a 3 week road trip in Thailand, you can divide your holiday into 3 main parts:

To help you organise your three-week road trip in Thailand as best as possible, I explained everything in detail for each day in my article: 3-week itinerary in Thailand.

To know everything: the legs of the journey, places to visit, travel times and hotels, just click on the link above!

To give you an idea, I’ll give you a summary of the planned visits during these 3 weeks:

1) Central Thailand (3 days)

Start your 21-day road trip in Thailand by exploring the central part of the country for the first 3 days. This allows you to start slowly, recovering from jet lag and getting used to the climate.

Days 1 and 2: Bangkok

Day 3: Ayutthaya

Wat Yai Chaya Mongkon Ayutthaya
Wat Yai Chaya Mongkon Ayutthaya

2) Northern Thailand (8 days)

Continue your three-week road trip in Thailand by heading north.

Days 4 and 5 – Visit to Sukhothai Historical Park

Days 6, 7 and 8 – Explore Chiang Mai and its many temples

Days 9, 10 and 11 – Explore Chiang Rai and its surroundings, with the unmissable white temple, THE spot to see during a 3 week road trip in Thailand!

Chiang Rai White Temple
Le Temple blanc, à Chiang Rai

3) South Thailand (9 days)

After these 11 days in the centre and North, it’s time to continue your 20-21 day road trip in Thailand by heading South.

Days 12, 13 and 14 – Stay at Phuket, one of the most famous islands of the Andaman Sea. Not only will you explore this island, but you’ll also take boat trips to Koh Phi Phi or the Similan Islands.

Days 15, 16 and 17 – Take a boat to Koh Lanta . The island has very beautiful sandy beaches and turquoise waters. And be sure you go on one of these trips, with snorkelling and swimming stops, to the 4 islands or Koh Rok.

Days 18, 19 and 20 – For the last 3 days, you can choose between 2 places to end your holiday:

In both cases, the schedule is not too busy: enjoy the beaches and work on your tan in relaxation mode.

Day 21 – End of your 3 week road trip in Thailand. If you are in Krabi, head for the city’s airport. If you are on Koh Yao Noi, you can choose to fly to Krabi or Phuket.

Voyage Tips - Advice

To read the full version of our 3 week itinerary, with advice and suggestions for accommodation, click here!

Koh Yao Noi
Excursion des 4 îles, Koh Yao Noi

Thailand Road trip: 1 month

The last itinerary for the lucky few who can take a lot of time off: a month long road trip in Thailand!

For around thirty days, you can visit Bangkok and Ayutthaya in the centre but also much of the North with Sukhothai, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai.

Not to forget the other major part of this 1-month road trip in Thailand, exploring the South and its piucturesque islands. I mentioned Phuket, Koh Lanta, Krabi and Koh Yao Noi.

All the details to organise your stay in Thailand can be found in this article: Itinerary for visiting Thailand in 1 month. For each day, you will find the places to see, travel times and the best hotels to stay for each leg of the journey.

It has everything! Preparing for your 1 month road trip in Thailand has never been easier!

Here is the summary of each leg of the journey to give you an overview:

1) Central Thailand (4 days)

For the first part of this month long road trip in Thailand, you must start with the central part of the country for 4 days.

Days 1 and 2: Explore Bangkok  and visit the main monuments such as the Grand Palace, Wat Pho and Wat Arun.

Day 3: Trip to the Damnoen Saduak floating market or to Kanchanaburi and the Kwai river bridge.

Day 4: Admire the beautiful ancient temples of the historical park of Ayutthaya.

Bangkok Grand Palace
Le Grand Palais de Bangkok

2) Northern Thailand (9 days)

The second leg of this 1 month long road trip in Thailand takes us North.

Days 5 and 6: Visit to the temples of the ancient capital of the kingdom of Siam, Sukhothai

Days 7, 8, 9 and 10: Cover the Chiang Mai Province

Days 11, 12 and 13: Finish your stay in the North with the town of Chiang Rai.

Big Buddha Chiang Rai
The Big Buddha of Chiang Rai

3) Southern Thailand (15 days)

The last leg of your 30-day road trip in Thailand takes place entirely in the South of the country.

During these 15 days, you will be able to spend time on Phuket, Koh Lanta, Krabi and Koh Yao Noi.

Days 14, 15, 16 and 17: start with one of the mythical islands: Phuket! The whole itinerary for visiting Phuket in 4 days is in this article: What are the things to see in Phuket?

Days 18, 19, 20 and 21: Continue to another beautiful island: Koh Lanta. To visit Koh Lanta, just read this article: The best things to do in Koh Lanta?

Days 22, 23, 24 and 25: Head to the Krabi province, famous for the Railay peninsula, a splendid place to go to the beach. The itinerary is right here: Visit Krabi.

Days 26, 27 and 28: We will end with Koh Yao Noi, an island where you can relax and finish your holiday in peace and quiet. To know what are the things to do in Koh Yao Noi, click here: The most beautiful places in Koh Yao Noi. 

Voyage Tips - Advice

To make your trip easier, here is the link to the full itinerary: How to visit Thailand in 1 month?

Koh Yao Noi tour scooter
Koh Yao Noi

Itinerary for the Southern islands

I have also prepared 2 itineraries exclusively for the Southern islands.

I won’t include them in the “road trip” category because you won’t necessarily need a car to travel around the islands and you can get from one island to the other by boat.

You can find them here:

These itineraries are similar to the road trips with the day-to-day plans and the sights to see.

Where to stay in Thailand during your road trip?

Now you know how to organise your Thailand road trip, but there is another important point to address: accommodation.

Where to stay during each leg of your itinerary in Thailand?

Easy, I have prepared a selection of the best hotels to stay in Thailand, sorted by city and budget, for all the road trips I mentioned earlier.

You can find those by clicking on the links below:

For central and Northern Thailand:

For Southern Thailand:

Phuket Marriot Resort & Spa - Hôtel de luxe à Phuket
Phuket Marriot Resort & Spa – Hôtel de luxe à Phuket

When should you go on a Thailand road trip?

For a road trip in Thailand, the best time is from November to February. These months are the “cold” season.

When I say “cold”, you should expect between 25 to 30° on average towards Bangkok or the South, and a little less towards the North, where temperatures can drop quickly, especially at night. Generally, the climate is hot and humid any month of the year.

The months of December and January are particularly popular among Europeans who come to Thailand to spend the holiday season and get away from the grey skies. If you are going to Thailand during this period, I strongly recommend that you book your accommodation as soon as possible as prices increase quickly.

If you want to avoid peak tourist season while enjoying the most favourable climate, I would say that February is the best month to visit Thailand by car.

Between March and May, it is the summer. If you can’t stand the heat, exploring the country can be challenging. Not to mention that the vegetation tends to dry out very quickly and the landscapes are less beautiful.

But if you like the heat and especially if you have a hotel with a swimming pool or on the seafront, you can still have a great holiday!

Between June and October, there’s the rainy season. It may rain every day on your road trip but good news it usually lasts only a few hours and not all day. However, it is difficult to withstand the combined heat with that much humidity. 

It is better to avoid the islands located on the west coast of the Andaman Sea (Phuket and Koh Lanta for example) which face heavy rainfall that can lead to flooding. Some islands can also be inaccessible as boat connections are cut off. 

Choose the islands on the East coast of the Andaman Sea that are less affected at that time, like Koh Samui.

However, on the other hand, it rains more in the East between September and December and at that time it will be better to plan a stay to the West of the Andaman Sea to visit the islands.

So what have you planned to see on your road trip in Thailand?

Book your trip now and save money!

Thailand travel Guides

You’re traveling to Thailand? These articles will help you!

Discover all my articles about Thailand: All my articles to help you plan your trip to Thailand are listed there.

The 25 Best Things to Do in Thailand

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thailand road trip itinerary
Thailand road trip itinerary

Creator of the Voyage Tips blog, travel and photography lover. I give you all my best tips to plan your next trip.

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