I’ve been to Thailand twice – once to do the north and once to do the south – it is an AMAZING place! If you want to go for a few weeks, you can have a great mix of exotic adventure and relaxing beach time. I’d maybe start in the north as you can do some amazing hilltribe treks (a bit strenuous but nothing you have to train for) and experience more authentic Thai culture, before heading down south where you can have more time for relaxation and beaches.
Bangkok is a loud, crazy, busy city with some cool sights, but really it’s almost more stressful being there than enjoyable. I’d spend a couple of days there seeing some of the temples and markets but that’s about it. Definitely see the floating flower market though! And Khao San road seems to be every market shopper’s paradise although it wasn’t really my thing…
Some of my recommendations:
* Chiang Mai – great city and the place to kick off the hilltribe treks
* Definitely do a two night hilltribe trek as you get to stay in the local villages, meet some amazing people, and experience life as they do. The village stay is very basic – no modern conveniences (no electricity or running water) but it’s worth it.
* The actual trek is great – beautiful scenery, crossing rivers on elephants, bamboo rafting down calm streams etc. Amazing.
* Khao Sok National Park – AMAZING! We stayed in tree houses but they also have raft houses floating on the river near the bank as well. Our nature walk included hiking through caves and having an Indiana Jones-esque experience – difficult to describe but awesome adventure and beautiful scenery.
* Koh Samui – a more touristy island on the east side of Thailand but definitely lovely beaches and some decent hiking
* Koh Tao – a bit further on than Koh Samui (but on the same ferry route), some of the best diving in the world. Tiny, somewhat remote island – they only got electricity about 30 years ago – so it’s very rustic but quite lovely.
And just a couple of other random things that you can’t miss in Thailand – first, banana pancakes. I don’t know if they originated in Thailand but they’re amazing there (make sure you get the kind with the banana mixed in to the pancake, not the crepe style pancake wrapped around a banana). And a massage – foot massage, back massage, whatever…..they’re all amazing. Don’t miss out!
Sorry this is so long – I am obsessed with traveling (hence why I have been around the world several times now!) and love talking travel with anyone and everyone!
Happy planning – feel free to PM me if you have any questions!