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 tonnes 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 this abundance of information at your fingertips, you can set off for your trip to Thailand 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 trip 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 holiday, to budget backpacker hostels where you can save money and meet lots of other travellers. Many accommodations can be booked online, meaning that you can arrive in a new destination confident of where you’ll spend the night.
Thailand is a relatively inexpensive country to explore. Solo travellers needn’t be concerned about shelling out for a double room without having anyone to split the cost with – many hostels have private rooms for one alongside the usual dorm options. Plus, the cost of a stay in a budget hotel or a guesthouse usually won’t break the bank, with some offering comparable rates to hostels. Dining can be as affordable as you make it, souvenirs can be bought for fairly cheap 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 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 immigrants; many menus, signs, maps and guidebooks are written 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 in a restaurant, or even if dining alone doesn’t faze you at all, you must try Thailand’s street food. There are many huge food markets selling an array of traditional meals and you’ll find vendors along almost any street waiting to tempt you with an assortment of goodies. There’s certainly no reason to ever feel hungry in Thailand. Grab a bite to go and find a quiet spot for your meal. 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 can be 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 songthaews (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 the best of them all. If you want to combine several areas, the transportation links and availability of information make it easy to do so. You can have the trip you’ve always dreamed of.
If the thought of exploring a new place by yourself makes you a bit anxious, there are many fantastic tours that showcase 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 trip around a big tour or a series of smaller ones, or whether you mix and match independent exploring 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 special interest ones; so make the most of your time in Thailand with a personalised itinerary.
There are numerous 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 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, which will help 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 for solo female travellers.