Setting off on a trip to Thailand can be daunting especially if you are a solo female traveller. Rest assured with a little bit of preparation and your tool belt of common sense you’re bound to have a trip of a lifetime. We’ve compiled a guide to help you make the most of your time in the Land of Smiles.
Look like you know what you’re doing (even if you don’t)
There is nothing that sticks out like a sore thumb than a tourist standing on a street corner looking bewildered at a map trying to gain their bearings. Avoid unwanted attention by researching your desired destination before you set out. If you are still confused ask your hotel staff for guidance. Taking small preparation steps like this will help make you feel and look confident.
Getting from one place to another
Thailand’s transport system is world class — with a distinctly Thai flavour. Whether you’re whizzing through the streets of Bangkok on a hair-raising motorbike taxi, navigating the BTS Skytrain system, heading to an idyllic island on a long-tail boat or travelling north to south by bus, train or plane — Thailand’s transport options are boundless.
It pays to note that Thailand’s road safety is ranked the most dangerous in the world and precautions are advised like wearing a safety helmet on a motorbike taxi and not travelling with a disreputable bus company, particularly at night.
Hitchhiking is not advised or common in Thailand. Uber and Grab are now available in larger cities and tend to have a good reputation and are very affordable.
Top tip: If you are getting a motorbike taxi, tuk-tuk or songtaew (communal red taxi), remember to bargain for a better price. Keep it light and humorous and don’t push too hard. If it all gets heated simply walk away.
Thailand is generally considered to be a safe country, including for solo female travellers. Thai people are some of the friendliest on the planet and are fantastic hosts.
Walking around towns and cities is generally safe at any time of day although general common sense is advised. Many places in Thailand do not have adequate pavements, uneven tarmac and a beautiful artwork of cables hanging at frighteningly low levels. Mind your step.
If you wish to head to the jungles of the north, rural Isan or to a Thai island and don’t feel comfortable travelling on your own, join forces with a fellow female solo traveller and travel together. Making new friends on the road is one of the best things about travelling on your own and can also reduce your costs.
Thailand is world famous for its parties and nightlife. Just because you are travelling alone does not mean you can’t enjoy this eye-opening experience. If you’re at a jungle rave in Pai, at a Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan or sampling the famous night scene of Bangkok’s Khao San Road, don’t be discouraged from attending. Before you know it, you would have likely made new friends and be exchanging travel stories.
Like everywhere else, do not leave your drink or your personal possessions unattended. Local Thai drinks can be potent, be responsible and practice restraint rather than ordering a SangSom bucket for yourself. Possession and consumption of drugs in Thailand is no laughing matter as the country has some of the strictest drug laws in the world — consider yourself warned.
What to wear
Thai people generally tend to dress fairly conservatively, particularly in rural parts of the country. As the temperatures are usually hot and humid it is advised to wear comfortable, loose fitting cotton clothing. As a general rule, wear unrevealing clothing to avoid unwanted attention. It is not acceptable to wear beachwear like bikinis or for men to go shirtless away from the beach or a pool. When visiting temples and other religious sites appropriate attire is required.
Where to stay
Accommodation options in Thailand range from basic village home-stays to luxurious 5-star resorts and everything in between. Most places are suitable for solo female travellers and some hostels even have female-only dorms available. Research your options and book in advance so you know where you will be staying and how to get there. Staying in hostels is a great way to make new friends and potential travel companions.
Connectivity is everything, especially when you are travelling on your own. Thailand has wifi available in most cafes, restaurants, bars and hotels and also has excellent mobile data packages available for tourists. 3G and 4G span the length and breadth of the country and very rarely you’ll find yourself without any signal. Keep your friends and family updated on your whereabouts and travel plans. It is also a wise idea to register yourself with your country’s embassy and keep up-to-date with any travel warnings they may have in place.
Happy and safe travels!