Thailand has worked to shed its reputation as a hard-partying backpacker destination and reinvent itself for a wider range of visitors. This is one of Asia's most accessible places for family travellers, and the following itinerary gives you an easy-going introduction to the country that's suitable for all ages. Your journey begins in Bangkok navigating meandering waterways via traditional longtail boats, before venturing to the River Kwai region, where you will you'll visit striking waterfalls near Kanchanaburi. Immerse yourself in the heart of Khao Sok National Park before finishing with a visit to two of the best beaches on Thailand's eastern coast.

Key information

Destinations Bangkok, Ko Lanta, Kanchanaburi, Khao Sok, Ao Nang
Activity Beach, Family, Active, Nature & Wildlife, Culture

Suggested itinerary

Tuk tuks and longtails in Bangkok

Tuk tuks and longtails in Bangkok

Day 1–3 in Bangkok

Known by the locals as Krung Thep, Thailand’s capital city is a sprawling, sweaty fusion of old and new, where towering skyscrapers emerge from crumbling pavements, and historic temples are circled by colourful tuk tuk cabs and monks clad in vibrant orange robes.

Once a small trading post for the 15th century Ayutthaya Kingdom, this thriving metropolis is now home to over 10 million souls, and is considered one of Asia’s premier tourist destinations. Whether you explore the capital’s historic district, hone your haggling skills at one of the many markets, brave the red light district or fill up on world-famous street food, there is something for everyone in this ever-evolving city.

Rafthouses, waterfalls and the railway

Rafthouses, waterfalls and the railway

Day 4–6 in Kanchanaburi

Although best known for its sobering role in WW2 history — with sites including the Death Railway, Bridge over the River Kwae (Kwai) and Allied War Cemetery — Western Thailand's Kanchanaburi has plenty to offer tourists wanting to stay a little longer.

The nearby Erawan National Park is home to a number of caves and one of the most popular waterfalls in the country — a 7-tiered series of falls with emerald green ponds and a head which allegedly resembles the Erewan, the three-headed white elephant of Hindu mythology. In the city, visitors can enjoy a Khmer temple ruins tours or explore the scenic River Kwae area, with peaceful bamboo raft journeys down the river available.

Jungle adventures

Jungle adventures

Day 7–8 in Khao Sok

The South’s most popular nature reserve, Khao Sok National Park is home to 738-sq-km of virgin lowland jungle, towering limestone karsts, waterfalls, caves and the dazzling man-made Cheow Lan Lake. Also known as Ratchaprapha, the lake was formed in the 1980s by one dam and countless vertical limestone castles sculpted by nature's hand. Due to its size, the park houses a number of rare species, including tigers, gibbons, hornbill birds, a variety of orchids and the giant parasitic Rafflesia flower. The park is also known as a top destination for watersports, caving and trekking.

Sun, sea and sandcastles

Sun, sea and sandcastles

Day 9–11 in Ko Lanta

In Krabi Province on Thailand’s Andaman coast lies the island of Ko Lanta, where coral-fringed golden beaches and mangroves give way to sleepy streets and a rocky, jungly interior.

Despite frequently topping the lists of best Thai islands, Ko Lanta remains largely unspoiled, with an emphasis on low-rise developments and a slower, more cautious approach to tourism than some of its noisier neighbours. Spend your time relaxing on one of the dozen beaches on offer, enjoy world-class diving or visit one of the many nearby islands — Ko Kradan, Ko Ngai or Ko Rok all boast fantastic beaches and snorkelling.

Among the nature of Ao Nang

Among the nature of Ao Nang

Day 12–14 in Ao Nang

Ao Nang, a picturesque gem on Thailand's Andaman coast, boasts pristine white sands, crystal-clear waters, and striking limestone cliffs. This popular destination offers a wealth of activities, from sunbathing and swimming to snorkelling and diving among vibrant marine life. Savour the mouth-watering Thai cuisine at beachfront eateries, or indulge in a rejuvenating traditional massage. Adventure enthusiasts can explore the nearby islands, such as Koh Poda and Chicken Island, via longtail boat excursions. With its family-friendly atmosphere, bustling nightlife, and convenient access to Krabi, Ao Nang Beach caters to travellers of all tastes and interests.

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