Ultimate Guide to Backpacking in Thailand [2023]

Thailand was one of the very first countries I travelled to when I was 18, and fresh-faced out of sixth form ready to see the world. It was one of my favourites countries then, and still is to this day. Backpacking in Thailand is one of my most fond memories!

From its stunning beaches, expert scuba diving and flavoursome cuisine, the country is a must-visit when thinking of visiting Southeast Asia.

I have now visited Thailand four times, all when I was backpacking in my early 20’s. I just couldn’t keep away from this magnificent land and that’s why I’ve pulled together this guide to spending backpacking in Thailand for you. 

backpacking thailand

Ultimate Guide to Backpacking in Thailand

Planning a trip to Thailand

Are you planning a Thailand trip? As Thailand is quite a complex country, with lots of islands, jungles and remote villages, it is crucial to understand how you will spend your Thailand holiday when you get to Thailand before you arrive. 

If you are travelling to Thailand soon, I have an array of travel blogs related to travel to Thailand. I’ve also got a blog post on where to stay in Koh Tao, how to spend 10 days in Thailand and things to do in Koh Tao. As well as lots of other content including my ultimate guide to backpacking in Southeast Asia, as well as Vietnam and Cambodia



Coronavirus Update: Thailand travel advice

Following a government meeting in Thailand on 26 March 2021, a plan has been announced to open up Thailand to vaccinated travellers without the need for quarantine. The plan will take place in phases. In the first phase, Phuket will lead the way for the reopening of Thailand.

From 1 July 2021, fully vaccinated travellers can visit Phuket without the need to quarantine on arrival.  From 1 October 2021, fully vaccinated travellers can visit Chiang Mai, Ko Samui, Krabi, Pattaya, Phang Nga and Phuket without the need to quarantine on arrival. By the end of 2021/start of 2022, Thai authorities say that quarantine should be lifted entirely in all areas of Thailand for vaccinated visitors. The proposed date for this to happen is on or before 1 January, 2022.

*This information is subject to change and I will update this information box as often as possible. 

hiking thailand

How to get around in Thailand


Where to stay in Thailand

Thailand is incredibly cheap and if you are happy to stay in hostels then your 10 days in Thailand will be incredibly inexpensive. It’s the perfect back for that backpacking as you can find hostels in Thailand for as little as $5 a night in some places. But of course the cheaper the hostel, the more rogue they can be. I’ve stayed in some ‘interesting’ hostels over the years.

My fave has to be a 36-bed dorm in Phi Phi where I spent many hungover days recovering….

You can often find really nice accommodation that’s really cheap too, with even some of the more luxury hotels and hostels at less than $20 a night for a room. Also, check out this guide from Conde Nast for further detail on each island.

  • Nappark Hostel At Khao San, Bangkok – £tbc – Get a feel for authentic Thai living with chilled vibes and atmospheric décor at the award-winning NapPark Hostel. The newly renovated Thai house sits in a garden under an amazing 150-year-old tamarind tree. 
  • Sunset Beach Club, Haad Rin –  £24 – Pared-back rooms & suites with balconies in a casual hotel offering 4 pools & direct beach access.
  • Dancing Elephant Beach Club, Koh Phangan – £tbc – The Dancing Elephant is run by a warm-hearted owner and his staff. You’ll enjoy a wonderful time at the beach, 
  • Pak-Up Hostel, Krabi – £tbc – The first to open in Krabi, Pak-Up Hostel has become a legendary meeting place for like-minded travellers. Head down to our Playground Bar every night for a free barbecue.
  • The Vista Pool Villa, Kanchanaburi – £29 – Informal rooms & villas, some with pools, in an understated lodging offering free Wi-Fi & breakfast.
  • Stamps Backpacker, Chiang Mai – £tbc – Unlike most hostels in Chiang Mai, dormitories are set up using a semi-private sleeping pod concept with a variety of room options including single-bed pod dorms and shared bunk-bed dormitories.

backpacking thailand

Ultimate Guide to Backpacking in Thailand

10 days in Thailand // Itinerary

  • Day 1 – Arrive in Thailand and explore Bangkok 
  • Day 2 – Explore Bangkok
  • Day 3 – Travel to Chiang Mai and explore
  • Day 4 – Explore Chiang Mai 
  • Day 5 – Travel to Phuket and explore
  • Day 6 – Explore Phuket
  • Day 7 – Travel to Krabi
  • Day 8 – Explore Krabi
  • Day 9 – Travel to Koh Phi Phi 
  • Day 10 – Last day in Koh Phi Phi and fly home



Bangkok, Thailand’s capital, is a large city known for ornate shrines and vibrant street life. The boat-filled Chao Phraya River feeds its network of canals, flowing past the Rattanakosin royal district, home to opulent Grand Palace and its sacred Wat Phra Kaew Temple.
It’s a great place for backpackers to start their trip around Thailand, as you can get your money exchanged, fill up on good food, explore and buy a SIM card. 
temples in thailand
ko phangan

Chiang Mai

You are probably asking yourself, where is Chiang Mai? It’s located a bit further away from the other backpacker hotspots, in the north of the country.

This is another very popular location in Thailand with a lot of restaurants and high-class villas. Most people visit the place knowing how many days in Chiang Mai they want to spend. But this is an incredible location that you will not want to leave. 

NOTE: One thing you should NOT do whilst you are travelling around Thailand is to visit Tiger Temples.

temples backpackers


Phuket is the capital of Thailand’s Phuket Province and is most famous for the Old Town, Thalang Road which is lined with colourful 19th-century shophouses and Sino-Portuguese buildings.
Built-in 1903 by a wealthy tin merchant, Baan Chinpracha mansion has Italian floor tiles, shuttered windows and antique furniture. Its an amazing place to add to your trip whilst backpacking in Thailand. 
bangkok thai food

Phi Phi Islands

One of my favourite place in Thailand has to be the Phi Phi Islands. They are an island group in Thailand between the large island of Phuket and the Straits of Malacca coast of Thailand. The islands are administratively part of Krabi Province but are a world away from the commercial centres of Krabi and Phuket. It’s a great place to visit on a budget. 

Ko Pha Ngan

No trip to Thailand is ever complete without a night at Ko Pha Ngan’s famous Full Moon Party. And what a party it is! The island is in Thailand’s southeast and is renowned for its monthly Full Moon Party.

The crazy night-long celebration, which is tied to the lunar calendar to its southeastern peninsula, Haad Rin and Sunrise Beach. It’s a must-do for any backpacker travelling to Thailand. 

full moon party full moon party

Become a Digital Nomad 

Over the past eight years, I have meandered from job to job, living in six houses, in two countries, taken over 100 flights, to 24 countries around the world, bought a house, lived with my parents again, got engaged, been fired, quit jobs, had meltdowns, and spent many countless hours putting blood sweat and tears into my business. 

Thailand has previously been identified as a favourite amongst digital nomads, but even more so in recent years as it has emerged as an increasingly popular spot. With its broad scope of coworking offices, ideal for those wanting to work amongst other travellers and entrepreneurs, make connections or perhaps even collaborate.

Apart from the distinct beautiful scenery beaches renowned for surfing, and a range of restaurants/nightlife, you are also able to live well here on a budget. Therefore, Thailand is an excellent place for those who want to save some of their hard-earned money to travel elsewhere in the future.

Thinking of travelling the world and working? Check out my guide to becoming a digital nomad


*Content is part of a campaign with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). 


My Travel Tips and Recommendations


To book flights, I always use flight search engine Skyscanner, I regularly use the Everywhere tool to find the cheapest places to travel. It’s how I get to travel so much all around the world. I find it the easiest way to compare flight prices across airlines and get the best deals. 


For accommodation, I usually book most of my hotels or hostels through I love using this platform as it provides me with some amazing deals for accommodation all around the world. Or if you prefer, I also recommend using Airbnb. If you haven’t signed up with Airbnb already, you can use this link to get £25 off your first visit!

Travel Insurance

Picking travel insurance that covers you in all eventualities is an essential part of planning a trip for every single person. If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel. You never know what’s around the corner. 


You can also find me on social media: FacebookTwitter, YouTube and Instagram.

Did you know I also vlog my trips? Make sure you subscribe to my YouTube channel so you get alerted when all my travel videos go live… CHECK THEM OUT HERE


Thank you for reading and as always happy adventuring! If you have any questions about the destination please leave these in the comments below.

If you’ve enjoyed this post, please share it for me with all your friends and family!

Sophie X

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