Traveling solo can be a mind-opening experience, as not only do you get to spend some time alone with yourself and explore exotic locales at your own pace, but you can also meet new people.
And when there are people, there are different ideas, as well as different ways of life.
Thailand is both a great and not-so-good place for solo travelling, and today I’d like to share with you some tips on how to plan and experience a solo trip here in Thailand so that you can make the most of your time here.
Where to go
When traveling alone, it’s best to stick to the popular tourist destinations. Such places have better infrastructure such as hotels, hospitals, and as importantly, things to do and see.
Popular destinations in Thailand include Bangkok, Phuket, Pattaya, Koh Samui, as well as Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai up north. I would recommend booking a whole room for yourself rather than sharing a room with backpackers if possible, as the risk of theft of any of your belongings can be higher in shared dormitories.
A great way to meet new people and see new places is to join tour groups. Even if it's easy to visit the Grand Palace in Bangkok by yourself, you'll be missing out on meeting new friends, with whom you could be having fun with in Khaosan road later that night!
Speaking of parties in Thailand, I'd suggest drinking in moderation, as theft of wallets, mobile phones, and other valuables are commonplace. When traveling solo, even with new friends, you should always be on alert.
How to get around
There are multiple ways of getting around in Thailand. You can choose between a taxi, a tuk-tuk, or a bike-taxi, but I'd like to give a word of advice here. While tuk-tuk rides are an essential part of any trip to Thailand, be sure to first negotiate your price, and hold on to the railing tight!
As for taxis, do not arrange a flat rate for your trip, as you will most likely pay double or even more for the actual ride price. Registered taxis are required by law to use taximeters, so you should always ensure that your taxi driver turns them on.
There’s utterly no shame in eating alone in a restaurant! Yes, you might be limited to trying only one to two dishes at a time, but that only means more varieties each day! One thing to remember here is that sanitary standards might be quite low in certain “restaurants” and food joints in Thailand, so please make sure you only eat cooked food, and avoid drinks with ice. Eating uncooked, or contaminated food may cause bacterial diarrhea, and also Hepatitis A and E.
When it comes to fresh fruits and vegetables, I’d advise being on the safe side - i.e., choosing fruits that have to have their skin removed before eating, as opposed to those washed with water such as apple or strawberries.
Another important thing worth mentioning here is that you must be ultra careful when renting a scooter or motorbike in Thailand, as the country is infamous for their high mortality rate caused by road and traffic accidents, many of which involve tourists on scooters.
Thailand is also an area with a high risk of malaria, and Japanese Encephalitis - both of these diseases are mosquito-borne and can be life-threatening. Pacific Prime’s team wrote a more in-depth article about the most common health risks for tourists in Thailand; I encourage you to read it for more information.
Whether you are already a resident in Thailand, or only coming for your solo trip from another country, one thing is clear: having health insurance is extremely important. Travel insurance is a superior choice for visitors, as, besides medical emergencies, it also covers theft and lost items, as well as delayed or canceled flights.
For those that are looking to go on holiday, if you don’t have individual health insurance yet, it’s a good time to consider it, especially if you realize how much medical treatments in Thailand can cost.