If there’s a long list of Thai attractions you’re keen to tick off your bucket list, follow our advice on how to plan your travel itinerary whilst staying at a private villa in Thailand
Organising a travel itinerary in advance of your vacation will ensure you see and do all of the things on your bucket list
If you’re travelling thousands of miles to an exotic destination like Thailand, it’s likely that you’ve already thought about a bucket list of attractions and activities you can’t wait to see and do. In addition to glorious beaches and stunning national parks, Thailand is home to countless temples and shrines, fascinating museums and sublime health and wellness spas. Plus, that’s not to mention the exhilarating activities you can try out whilst in the Kingdom, from ATV riding to scuba diving. With all of these options at your fingertips, it can be a little overwhelming when prioritising what you’d like to do – which is why it’s so important to put together a travel itinerary either before or at the start of your vacation.
For guests residing in one of Thailand’s luxury private villas, the dedicated team of staff at your holiday haven are sure to have plenty of tips and advice for how to plan your itinerary. Plus, you can learn a lot from the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s recently-launched travel app, which will tell you about all the special events and attractions that are going on while you’re in Thailand.
Still feeling overwhelmed? Then check out our top tips on how to plan your holiday sightseeing itinerary.
Plan your itinerary
Koh Samui’s Big Buddha shrine is one of the island’s most popular attractions
To ensure that you have an action-packed holiday but still return home feeling refreshed and revitalised, it’s important to be realistic when planning your itinerary. The key here is not trying to pack in more than you can handle, or you could be travelling back to your home country feeling exhausted from two weeks of non-stop sightseeing. So, to begin planning your travel itinerary, prioritise the top five or ten things you’d like to do. That way, when it comes to planning a blow by blow plan of how you’ll spend your time, you can build in enough allowance for R&R. For example, don’t try and plan a full day’s worth of activities for the day after you arrive in Koh Samui or Phuket. Instead, bookmark a day for relaxing in your private villa. That way, you can begin your sightseeing the following day feeling refreshed from your long journey to the Kingdom.
When planning your itinerary, try to be generous with the amount of time you allocate to each attraction. You don’t want to feel pushed for time when you’re out and about exploring. Plus, there’s no point in zooming through a long list of sights and attractions without leaving enough time to stop and soak up the unique splendour of each one.
Finding a balance
Consider trying a new holiday activity you’ve never considered before
When you’re travelling with your family or as part of a larger group, you’ll want to plan a holiday itinerary that keeps everyone happy. One way to achieve this is to ask everyone to write down two or three things they’d really like to do whilst on holiday. All of these can be put together and organised into a feasible itinerary, with activities organised according to regions, or even time of day. That way, everyone is going to have the chance to do at least a couple of the things they really wanted to.
Having a well-organised itinerary doesn’t mean you have to leave your spontaneity at the door. In fact, being spontaneous can inject your vacation with a fresh sense of fun. We’re not suggesting that you throw out the itinerary plan altogether, however, a certain degree of flexibility can be incorporated at the same time. If you’d planned to spend the day lazing at a particular beach, and the opportunity to kayaking or paddle boarding arises, why not grab it? The bottom line is, don’t let your itinerary dictate your trip. After all, one of the highlights of travelling is the freedom to explore – so you don’t want to be chained to a relentless hour-by-hour schedule.
The friendly staff at your private villa will be able to provide plenty of tips
If in doubt about your holiday itinerary, ask the experts for advice. It’s possible you can ask a friend or family member who has already visited Thailand. However, if you’re staying in a luxury villa in Phuket or Koh Samui, the property’s knowledgeable team of staff will certainly be able to help out. Thailand’s holiday rental villas typically employ local Thai staff, which means you’re in an excellent position to benefit from their local knowledge.
If you have a long list of attractions you’re keen to see whilst on the island, your villa manager will be able to help you arrange this into a more logical itinerary. Let’s say that you’re keen to visit a local shrine but also want to browse the handicrafts at the weekly walking street market. These two activities could actually be rolled into one outing because of their proximity. It’s this kind of local expertise that your villa staff will be able to provide, helping you to plan a well-thought-out vacation schedule.
Book in advance
Phuket Fantasea is one of the island’s most memorable evening attractions
In addition to local knowledge, your villa staff also have the advantage of speaking Thai. That means they’ll be able to book tickets to shows and attractions for you in advance. This can be a particular advantage if the event promises to be busy, or if you’re on holiday in peak season. As well as organising tickets, your villa staff will also be able to help you out by booking transportation for you to get to and from the event. This can be a huge advantage if you’re running short of time one day, and you don’t want to hang around waiting for taxis. The team at your villa will also be able to negotiate a good price for you.
The same principle applies to restaurants. If you’re keen to tuck into a meal at a local restaurant, your villa manager will be able to call in advance to make a booking for you. By the same token, they’ll also be able to recommend a selection of the best local restaurants to include in your gastronomic bucket list. After all, if you want to eat like a local, then why not ask a local about the best places to eat?
Longtail taxis are a popular form of transportation on Thai islands like Phuket and Koh Samui
Visitors in Thailand are spoilt for choice when it comes to modes of transportation. If you’re staying in a private villa, you may be able to rent a car and driver through the property. Alternatively, you can hire a car through local agents. On islands like Phuket and Samui, it’s possible to book a taxi, but if you want to travel like a local, jumping on songthaew is the way to go. These converted trucks are the local way to get around. If you’re based on an island, travelling by longtail boat is also one of the most convenient ways to travel, particularly if the alternative route necessitates a bumpy drive over the forested interior.
If you’re heading out for a full day of sightseeing in Koh Samui or Phuket, be sure to pack the essentials:
- Thanks to Thailand’s balmy climate, it’s a good idea to have a bottle of water with you at all times to avoid dehydrating.
- Even if you’re only nipping down to the local market, it always pays to have your camera handy. You never know where a day in Thailand will take you, and you don’t want to miss out the chance to snap the authentic sites of the Kingdom.
- Your smart phone is a travel essential, not only for communication but also for helping you navigate. Language apps can come in particularly handy if you get lost.