A Solo Traveler's Guide To Bangkok

Courtesy of Flickr
Courtesy of Flickr
Photo of Kelly Iverson
12 October 2016

Traveling solo can be intimidating. You are heading into the great unknown, with nobody but yourself to have your back. So many top sights and attractions in Bangkok may seem like they are better seen with a handful of friends to accompany you. That being said, traveling alone is one of the most rewarding experiences that you will ever have. Traveling as a group can be detrimental to your experience abroad, as you have to tailor and shift your itinerary to better align with the majority. Thailand is known as the Land of Smiles. The people here are friendly and helpful, making Bangkok one of the best cities to travel in solo. Here is a guide as to how to spend your days in the City of Angels, alone.

Stay Close to Public Transportation

Because you are taking on the city of Bangkok alone, you will also be paying for your transportation without the relief of having to split the cost however many ways. Because of this, the best and cheapest way to get around the city is by utilizing public transportation, including the BTS Skytrain, the MRT Subway, or the boats that run on the Chao Phraya River. Of course, getting a taxi at some point is inevitable, but save yourself some time and money by using public transportation. The closer your accommodation is to these, the better.

BTS Skytrain | © Courtesy of Kelly Iverson

Book a Hostel

Staying in hostels is quite possibly the best way to meet like-minded travelers who are also taking on the City of Angels solo. There are hostels located around the city, from the business district to some of the city’s shadiest of areas, that are great for meeting people. The most backpacker area of the city is Banglamphu, which is where you will find Khao San Road, the backpacker haven of Bangkok. Silom is another great area to look for accommodation, as it is located on public transportation routes and is close to some of the best nightlife in town.

Hostel | © Courtesy of Pixabay

Have a Drink on Khao San Road

Khao San Road certainly has mixed reviews. Some vouch by the nights they spend on this unforgiving road, while others steer clear of it as much as possible. This is a great area to meet people, however. Most of the bars that line the tourist-ridden street also have colorful plastic stools around shoddy, metal tables. Pull up a stool and grab a seat with your fellow travelers, and maybe even share a bucket or two. As goes for any situation, be wary of your surroundings and stay safe.

Khao San Road | © Courtesy of Ronald Tagra/Flickr

Go Where the Expats Go

Bangkok has an extensive expat community. Prior to taking on the city alone, it is a good idea to get connected with this group. One of the best areas to meet expats is Cheap Charlie’s, an outdoor, street-side bar filled with foreigners and cheap drinks to boot. Other great places to meet expats include Levels Club & Lounge, Saxophone Pub, the Australian Pub; essentially any pub will be filled with English-speaking expats.

Chang glass | © Courtesy of Johnn/Flickr

Visit the Top Attractions

Bangkok has plenty of top sights and attractions that are jaw-dropping, whether you are alone or not. Some of the best places to visit in the city include the Grand Palace, which is also home to the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. It is in this area of the city you will also find Wat Pho, which houses the enormous Reclining Buddha on its grounds. You can spend ample time exploring these ancient areas. Wat Arun is also located near these two temples, however, it is currently under construction and much of the temple is covered in scaffolding.

Grand Palace | © Courtesy of Kelly Iverson

Take on Bangkok’s Markets

Do not let all of that shiny baht burn a hole through your pocket. Instead, head to one of Bangkok’s outdoor shopping arenas and get ready for the shopping spree of a lifetime. Bangkok has some of the best markets and night bazaars in all of Southeast Asia. One of the most popular markets that foreigners visit is Chatuchak Weekend Market. It is one of the largest markets in the world, and the sheer number of goods and souvenirs certainly reflects its massive size. Whether you are on the hunt for a new outfit or just want to kill some time by exploring its weaving vendors and stalls, this is the market for you. Some other markets in Bangkok include JJ Green Night Market, Liab Duan Night Market, Rod Fai Train Market, Asiatique the Riverfront, and Pak Khlong, or the flower market. Many of these markets and night bazaars are only open on the weekend, so be sure to check online before venturing to one of these popular shopping scenes.

Chatuchak Weekend Market | © Courtesy of Kelly Iverson

Learn Some Thai

While staying in backpacker hostels and visiting foreign-ridden areas of the city is one easy way to meet people, you will see the city much better in the hands of a local. While it is certainly more daunting to try and have a conversation with someone whose first language might not be English, you will find your solo traveling experience much more rewarding by doing so. Many Thais living in Bangkok already have a knowledge of basic English phrases, as it is a major city and they are oftentimes working and dealing with foreigners. Knowing a handful of Thai words is one way to attempt a conversation. Say hello, state your name, and most Thai people will appreciate your effort, even if your accent and intonation are horrific.

Motorbike Taxi Driver | © Courtesy of Transformer18/Flickr

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