Thailand is one of the most popular destinations in Southeast Asia. Home to a rich diversity of landscapes, attractions, and activities, it’s a great place for solo travellers looking for their next adventure. Here’s why Thailand is ideal for lone travel.
Thailand has been a popular travel destination for many years, for everyone from solo adventurers to groups of friends, families, and couples. So there’s a lot of information available for anyone wanting to travel around Thailand. There are tons of reviews about the best places to visit, where to stay, and where to eat, guides for everything from cuisine and shopping to local culture and transportation, and even suggested itineraries to make planning your trip easy. With an abundance of information at your fingertips, you can set off for your Thailand trip well prepared. Got a question on your travels? Simply look online—it will have been covered somewhere. Unless you are planning to travel well and truly off the beaten track, Thailand is one of the easiest destinations in Southeast Asia for solo travellers.
Unless you go really off the grid in Thailand, you’ll rarely be far away from a bunch of other travellers, including plenty of those going it solo. It’s easy to meet new people and make new friends. You may not want to spend your entire vacation with the same people, but it’s sometimes nice to have pals to have dinner, drinks, or adventures with. You may be a solo traveller, but there’s definitely no need to be alone if you don’t want to be.
Thailand has a staggering array of accommodations to suit all tastes and budgets. In the main tourist areas you’ll find everything from luxury resorts, if you want a pampering vacation, to budget backpacker hostels where you can save money and meet lots of other travellers. Many accommodations can be booked online, helping you to arrive in a new destination with the confidence of knowing where you’ll be spending the night.
Thailand is a relatively inexpensive country to explore. Solo travellers needn’t be so concerned about things like shelling out for a double room without having anyone to split the cost with—there are dorm beds in hostels and many hostels have private rooms for one. Plus, the cost of a stay in a budget hotel or a guest house usually won’t break the bank. Indeed, some hotels can offer comparable rates with hostels. Dining can be as cheap or as pricey as you make it, souvenirs can be bought for fairly cheap prices, and transportation is reasonably priced. As long as you’ve checked average costs and budgeted appropriately, there’s little fear of running out of cash on the road in Thailand. Also, if funds are running low and you’re on a longer trip, you could also pick up some work to replenish your travel budget.
While Thailand offers plenty of fascinating cultural experiences, you’ll never be too far away from familiarity if you start to feel overwhelmed or homesick. Most tourist areas have a wide assortment of restaurants that sell international cuisine, you’ll find bars and eateries owned by English-speaking expats, many menus and signs are written in English, you can get maps and guidebooks in English, and there are plenty of places, like cinemas and malls, where you can take time out to feel more connected with home. Your first encounter with a squat-style toilet might leave you feeling a bit puzzled, but western-style toilets are common in most tourist centres.
If you’re the kind of person who trembles at the thought of sitting down alone for a meal in a restaurant, Thailand’s street food scene is perfect! Even if dining alone doesn’t faze you at all, the street food is still awesome and an absolute must-try when visiting Thailand. There are many huge food markets selling an array of traditional meals and street vendors along almost any street waiting to tempt passers-by with an assortment of goodies. There’s definitely no reason to ever feel hungry in Thailand! Grab a bite to go and find a quiet spot for your meal or take food back to your room if you’re not so comfortable eating alone. Some stalls have a few tables and chairs and you’ll likely spot many people sitting alone to eat. A market setting somehow feels less intimidating than a table inside a restaurant, and you have the added bonus of being able to watch the world go by as you eat.
Thailand has a good transportation system that is generally easy to use. Services may not always run bang on schedule, and trains especially are often subject to delays, but you’ll always get where you need to go. There are normally members of staff at major stations who speak English to help you find where to get your tickets. Alternatively, many accommodations can book tickets for you, often with a pickup service provided. This may be more expensive than buying your own tickets at a station, but the convenience can be well worth the price. Buses, trains, minivans, and ferries connect almost everywhere around the country, including the islands, and domestic flights can be convenient for longer distances. Local buses or songtaews (converted pickup trucks that often operate on set routes) may be a bit trickier to figure out, but you’ll almost always be able to find a taxi or tuk tuk. Just be aware of common transportation scams before hopping in.
Whether you want to spend your days relaxing on gorgeous beaches, exploring national parks and hiking in nature, shopping in vibrant markets, wandering around historic cities and hopping from temple to temple, experiencing the nightlife, or something else entirely, Thailand’s diverse destinations offer something for everyone. If you want to combine several areas, the transportation links and availability of information make it easy. You can have the trip that you dreamed about in Thailand.
If the thought of exploring a new place completely alone makes you a bit anxious, there are many fantastic tours to discover the best of Thailand. There are multi-day tours that take in several destinations and day trips that show you the highlights of a certain place. Whether you plan your entire solo trip in Thailand based around one big tour or a series of smaller tours, or whether you mix and match independent explorations with organised day trips, there’s no need to do all your sightseeing alone if you don’t want to. Tours can be the perfect way of visiting several places in a tight time frame and can also remove the hassle of figuring out how to get from A to B. Some tours cater to general travellers but there are also many specialist-interest tours to help everyone make the most of their time in Thailand.
There are numerous arranged activities, workshops, and classes around Thailand if you want to do more than sightsee, sunbathe, and explore nature. Not only do these offer the chance to do new fun and interesting things, but they are often a great way to meet like-minded people. Fans of the underwater world could join a diving or snorkelling trip. How about a spot of rock climbing or caving? If you’ve fallen in love with Thai cuisine a cooking class could be right up your street. Learn the ancient practice of Thai massage, take a crash course in the Thai language, spend time at a muay Thai camp, learn how to meditate, join a yoga retreat, and more.
Thailand isn’t known as the Land of Smiles for nothing! The people of Thailand are, for the most part, warm and welcoming towards foreign visitors, helping to keep your trip pleasant. While English may not be so widely spoken in some areas, Thai people will often go out of their way to help you out. The friendly faces can be reassuring in a new place too.
Thailand really is a terrific destination for solo travellers, including those who are taking their first solo trip overseas and solo female travellers.