How To Travel Solo in Thailand

Floating Vendors  | © Courtesy of Joe deSousa/Flickr
Floating Vendors | © Courtesy of Joe deSousa/Flickr
Photo of Kelly Iverson
5 February 2018

Independent travelers have long been flocking to Thailand, the Land of Smiles. The country has an abundance of things to see and do that suit those companionless travelers with nothing but a backpack acting as their cohort. Steer clear of any mishaps and avoid feeling lonely with this solo traveler’s guide to Thailand.

Top Destinations

Travelers have one too many cities to choose from when deciding where it is they want to explore in Thailand. The country is a hodgepodge of unique places, each one luring in a number of travelers for an abundance of reasons. Chiang Mai in the north of Thailand is great for those who enjoy learning about a country’s history, as it is peppered with relics from the Lanna Kingdom. The cities of Ayutthaya and Sukhothai are also home to a number of decaying temples that remain stunning sites today. The capital of Bangkok is equipped with everything one needs to stay entertained, with arguably the best nightlife in the world. Thousands of islands can be found on Thailand’s immense coastline.

Koh Kradan Boat Courtesy of Mark Fischer/Flickr

Those with an itch to explore under the sea should sail to Koh Tao, equipped with some of the best and most affordable diving in the world. Other great spots to dive include the Similan Islands, Phuket, and the Surin Islands. Koh Phangan is great for partiers, as it hosts the full moon party each month, and Koh Samui is a better island destination for those looking for a more laidback atmosphere. The city of Kanchanaburi is great for history buffs, chock full of museums and a stunning national park as an added bonus. All these destinations are a bus, train, or short flight away from one another, and traveling across the country is certainly a cheap endeavor in comparison to most destinations.

Koh Phangan, Hadrin west Courtesy of Tomas Barrios/Flickr

The Art of Dining Alone

Thai cuisine is superb and affordable, leaving many travelers going the entirety of their trip without skipping a single meal. Luckily for solo travelers, there is no better country to dine unaccompanied in than Thailand. The country, and more specifically Bangkok, is home to the best street food in the world. Forget asking for a table for one. Instead, travelers can indulge their appetites at one of the food vendors lining the many sois (streets), grab their eats to go and enjoy the delicious cuisine.

Those travelers who have no desire to venture out and dine solo should instead download Food Panda, a food delivery service with a number of restaurants on their platform for hungry users to choose from. They deliver right to visitors’ accommodation and do so quickly, meaning tourists never have to leave the comfort of their room in order to enjoy delicious Thai cuisine.

Pad Thai Courtesy of jonathanvalencia5/Pixabay

How to get Around

One of the downsides of traveling alone is that the cost of getting from point A to point B often becomes a bit pricier. Without the company of friends, solo travelers are forced to foot the bill of a taxi meter on their own dime (or baht), for example. Luckily for visitors to Thailand there are a number of ways to get around that are both cost effective and safe.

Those making a pitstop in the capital have an abundance of ways to explore the City of Angels while traveling solo. The BTS skytrain is made up of two lines with stations that take visitors to the top destinations in town, and it runs from 6am to midnight. The MRT subway has fewer top attractions at its many stations, but is still a good form of transportation to utilize, reaching destinations including Chinatown and Chatuchak Weekend Market.

Skytrain, Thailand Courtesy of picaidol/Pixabay

Those travelers feeling a bit more adventurous may opt to hop on the back of a motorbike taxi, the perfect mode of transportation for those traveling solo. Be sure to barter with the driver and wear a helmet if possible. Cities like Hua Hin and Chiang Mai are equipped with songthaews, meaning two benches. These are essentially vehicles furnished with two rows for seating in the back of the car. They normally have fixed fares and routes, allowing visitors to hop on and off as they please. Travelers can also save money by taking overnight buses or trains instead of staying in a hotel or hostel. These are normally quite safe, even for those traveling alone, and reach some of the most popular cities in the country.

Songthaew Courtesy of Abdul Rahman/Flickr

Staying Safe

The Land of Smiles is a welcoming and generally safe country to visit, but there are a few things to make note of, especially as a solo traveler. As with any destination, try not to venture out alone too late in the evening. Taxis are readily available, especially in Bangkok, at almost all times of night. There are also plenty of apps that make it easy to book a ride as opposed to walking somewhere alone.

City, Bangkok Courtesy of seatraveller/Pixabay

Must-Have Travel Apps

Those travelers taking to Thailand solo may have to rely on a few travel apps in order to discover and find the best of cuisine, culture, history, and more in the cities they visit in the Kingdom. Of course, the Culture Trip app should be downloaded on traveler’s phones long before they land. It is here travelers will find recommendations hand-picked by our team in Thailand so visitors can discover the best restaurants, bars, clubs, museums, and whatever else it is they wish to explore.

For assistance in getting around, visitors should download apps like Bangkok MRT, BTS Skytrain, and Grab. Grab is similar to Uber, but this pick-up service offers some additional unique features. For example, travelers can choose from a taxi, car, or even a motorbike to get where they are going.

Colorful taxis in Bangkok | © Courtesy of Christian Haugen/Flickr

Top Excursions

Around the country, companies offer different tour services making it easy for visitors to fill their itineraries without having to worry about doing everything on their own. The northern regions are equipped with lush jungles, zigzagged with natural amenities perfect for the more adventurous. From zip-lining to white water rafting or spending the day at an elephant camp, solo travelers have a number of excursions to choose from. Those visiting the south can book snorkeling or diving island trips, getting to know the other bikini-clad travelers on their tours. Signing up for a tour allows visitors to meet like-minded travelers and have a day well spent in the Kingdom.

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