Wanna know the real reason why I felt absolutely COMPELLED to create this Thailand solo travel guide for you?
It’s not glitter and rainbow unicorns level pretty but I’ll tell you anyway since, like with many things in life, I do NOT want you to be like me!
Because in truth:
The very first time that I visited this country and did a bit of solo travel Thailand, I absolutely HATED it.
Basically everything that could go wrong did, short of being abducted by aliens or getting my boat sunk by the Lochness monster.
After my trip, I had absolutely zero desire to ever return to Thailand.
I am a rather forgiving person, or a big-time glutton for punishment, and decided to give Thailand a second chance.
The decade of personal growth in between the two trips didn’t hurt either (Bye naive twenty-year-old Kelly! See ya later!).
Well, I flippin’ LOVE Thailand and think it’s even better than the proverbial sliced bread (No really! Thai curry kicks bread’s ass every single time).
Which is why I want to use this Thailand solo travel guide to create one giant, Thailand love fest for ya!
Along the way:
I’ll also share some of my all-time fave, super-secret, expert tips with you.
Mildly sage advice on things to do, places to go, hotels to stay in, and scams that you’ll need to avoid.
Because in truth:
I really just want you to avoid all of the careless mistakes that I made so that you can have a wicked awesome time while living la vida loca in Thailand (I swear, I’ll keep the 90s era, Ricky Martin references to a minimum. Pinkie promise).
I know I’m a total weirdo here (said with absolute sarcasm since that doesn’t translate in the blog-o-sphere), but I actually WANT you to stay far, far, FAR, away from uber-fun things like wasting an entire day in Bangkok just because someone told you that the Grand Palace was closed for a totally non-existent, national holiday.
Yeah, SPOILER ALERT:
The Grand Palace wasn’t actually closed and this rando guy just wanted to whisk me away to some gem store where he could try and sell me “diamonds”.
Yup, good times, good times.
So, to avoid all this and more (Because yes dear reader, my life really is nothing but total GLAM at all times. LOL), grab an extra cozy snuggie and snug right into this EPIC post about all things Thailand solo travel.
Dear reader, since I am incapable of making it rain money, there’s a high probability that this post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure for more information. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.
Solo Travel Thailand Basics: How to Stay Safe!
For the most part:
Thailand is an incredibly safe country.
Let’s be honest. It has a well-established tourist trail (Thanks Brokedown Palace! Just kidding! That movie made me terrified of traveling to Thailand) and a wealth of fantastic infrastructure, making it the perfect destination for solo travelers, especially if it’s your very first solo trip abroad.
Like with most countries on this glorious planet of ours, Thailand is not without its problems and idiosyncrasies.
Here is a list of everything that you need to know to stay safe, have an epic vacay, and avoid starting an international incident, because you inadvertently insulted some locals, while solo traveling through Thailand!
1. Know Your Scams
There are a few insanely popular scams that you’ll probably encounter while in Thailand – especially if you’re in Bangkok.
Don’t let this slight inconvenience deter you from traveling throughout this wonderfully awesome country.
Be prepared and know what to look for!
No Meter on a Taxi
I’ll give a more in-depth explanation of this scam in the transportation section below.
But, long story short?
No meter, no ride. Period.
If someone tries to tell you that something is closed (or a shop is too expensive!), ignore them.
Because yes my dear friend:
This is definitely a scam, and quite a popular one at that; one that is often used by locals at a variety of popular sites, hotels, shops, and restaurants.
It’s always better to check this assertion out for yourself, rather than take someone’s word for it.
You don’t want to end up like me and get dragged to someone’s brother’s, sister’s, cousin’s shop, just to be pressured into buying something that you really don’t need.
They might switch it up a bit (these scammers are nothing if not creative) and take you on a VERY low quality “tour” instead.
You’ll be asked to pay an obscene amount of money for their lame AF tour.
Yeah, thanks but no thanks. Besides:
I’m gonna go out on a limb here and assume that you probably don’t have an enormous trust fund lying around somewhere, in an off-shore bank account, that you can use to foot the bill on this scam of awful.
Be prepared and just say no to this icky, no good, rotten scam.
Bracelets and Bird Seed
A super common scam – especially on beaches – where someone will either hand you a bag of birdseed or put a bracelet on your wrist.
If you ever find yourself in this situation, just say no because if you do accept either of these things, this seemingly kind person will then inform you that YOU owe THEM money.
I know, it makes me mad just thinking about it.
If you are audacious enough to refuse to pay them, they’ll then make a scene and maybe even bring a corrupt police officer (or two) into the mix, who will then demand a rather large bribe, just to make it all go away (Oh joy!).
So, moral of the story?
Don’t accept anything that you’re not planning on paying for anyway.
Fake Baht Scam
If you head into a shop and they tell you that your bill is fake, don’t panic!
Because It probably isn’t.
In reality, this is a fairly common occurrence and you’re probably being scammed.
What happens is, the cashier will tell you that your bill is fake.
She or he will then take your very real money into the back, just to “thoroughly check it out”.
And when they come back?
Yeah, you guessed it. You get a very fake, Thai Baht note delivered to you, in exchange for your real one.
You should never let your money out of your sight, under any circumstances.
Either take the bill back and use another or make a BIG DEAL out of checking the serial number.
Write the serial number down and say it out loud a bunch of times.
They know that YOU are in on this scam and fully know what’s up!
This scam is most common with the 1000 baht note.
Pay with smaller denomination bills and you’ll have less of a problem with this scam.
2. Hide Your Money in Multiple Locations
You should probably be doing this in every major city that you visit.
Because generally speaking:
Any big city with tourists usually has pickpockets.
And Thailand is no exception. Therefore:
Try not to carry all of your money (and credit cards) with you at any given time.
Carry only what you need for the day and keep everything else in a locked safe, back at your hotel.
If the worst should happen and you do get pickpocketed, you still have money available to you.
Because let’s be real:
You really don’t wanna THAT GUY (or girl) who has to start an impromptu, Go Fund Me page, just so that you can get some dinner (Please sir, alms for the soon to be HANGRY beast!).
If you’re in transit and kind of have to carry all of your belongings with you, then be sure to hide your valuables in different places on your person.
In super-nifty places like your shoes and your bra.
It may seem a little gross, but as long as your money is safe, who really cares?
And if you wanna be SUPER DUPER secure:
You can always use money belts, locks, and anti-theft purses too. Just in case you wanna be like the Fort Knox of travel.
Now, in reality:
I know all of this may leave you looking and feeling like a total tourist, but whatever.
I only do all of this stuff because yeah, it works!
3. Keep Your Drinks Close and Never Take Drugs
Not to sound like a D.A.R.E. instructor or anything…
You’re here for some solo travel Thailand safety, and gosh darn it, I aim to deliver!
And since we’re definitely not in Kansas anymore, Toto (or Amsterdam, for that matter)…
You’ll need to be extra careful when drinking and doing drugs in Thailand.
And while I personally don’t drink or do drugs, I know a lot of people who do and want you to feel extra safe while traveling through Thailand.
You should never, EVER, under any circumstances, accept drinks from strangers or leave your drinks unattended, lest they be spiked with something not so nice.
Don’t do drugs in Thailand! PERIOD.
I’m not actually condoning drug use AT ALL, nor judging it for that matter.
Seriously, whatever floats your boat.
If you’re into drugs, Thailand is not the place to do it.
Because in Thailand:
Taking drugs is particularly dangerous since they’re often cut with harder substances, or random, poisonous chemicals (Because yeah, all drug dealers are obviously SUPER trustworthy people).
What, still not deterred?
Then imagine doing hard time in a Thai prison.
Because while I haven’t visited one myself:
I’m pretty sure that they’re nothing like the one you saw in Bridget Jones’ Diary.
I guess you could always lose all of your Earthly possessions while attempting to bribe a local police officer (Just so that he or she won’t arrest you for illicit drug use).
To me, that also sounds like a distinctly un-fun time (Yup, call me old fashioned but prison is not where I want to spend my vacation).
4. Motorbike Safety is Paramount
Considering how popular motorbike travel is in Thailand:
Perhaps this should have been higher on my list of safety concerns?
But, no matter.
Because regardless of where this particular concern falls on this list, you should seriously ask yourself, first and foremost, “Should I drive a motorbike while I solo travel Thailand?”.
They scare the bejesus out of me.
Have I sat on one while someone else drove?
And I may have even had some fun and not died in the process.
I 100% do NOT feel safe driving one myself since I’ve never actually done it and don’t think Thailand is the place to try it.
Because for me, the risk is just way too great. I mean:
Not to be a total Debbie Downer, but an estimated 5,500 people die EVERY YEAR in motorbike related deaths in Thailand.
You are a fully grown adult capable of making your own decisions.
And if one of those decisions is to ride a motorbike in Thailand:
I want you to be as safe as humanly possible!
You would hardly be the first solo traveler in Thailand to rent a motorbike since they are all the rage among all the uber-cool, man bun loving, vegan minded, backpackers out there!
While some of this information may be repeated in the transportation section below.
I honestly don’t care.
Because this stuff is so important that it really does bear repeating.
So, first things first. Helmets!
Never ever, EVER ride a motorbike without a helmet.
Because if you do rent a motorbike from a reputable person, they WILL ALWAYS have one for you to wear.
If they don’t, find another place. It’s that simple.
You should also know all of the local numbers that you might want to call, just in case the worst should happen an emergency arises. (Think numbers for ambulances, police, motorbike repair shops, etc.).
Funnily enough though:
It’s actually illegal to rent – and ride – a motorbike in Thailand without an international driver’s license.
In practice, no one ever really checks for them and as a result, few tourists ever bother getting them.
I for one am NOT condoning this.
Because as I said before:
It is ILLEGAL, and you should always follow the rules when you are a guest in someone else’s country.
And this includes providing the proper paperwork when renting a motorbike.
Now that I think of it:
You should also ALWAYS purchase travel insurance before any trip that you take.
But, especially if you plan on riding a motorbike.
No really! I need you to PINKY SWEAR that you’ll buy travel insurance before your trip!
What, not sure where to get your travel insurance?
Easy! Go with World Nomads!
Not only do they cover just about any international destination that you can dream up (Thailand included), but they also provide you a fantastic level of coverage that includes almost any major travel mishap you can imagine (minus getting impaled by a rogue unicorn).
Their policies are also super customizable, and can even be extended, or altered, while you’re still traveling.
Pretty sweet right?
But, the real question is, “Which policy should you get?”
Well, I’ll make it super simple for you.
If your gear is worth less than a $1000, get the basic plan.
If your gear is worth more than a $1000, get the explorer plan.
And just in case you were wondering:
Yes, both plans also include up to $100,000 worth of emergency medical coverage.
Heed my slightly overdramatic words and go purchase travel insurance before your trip to Thailand, even if it’s not with World Nomads.
5. Never Insult the Royal Family
The former King of Thailand, Bhumibol Adulyadej (more commonly known as Rama IX), was super beloved by his people.
Even three years after his death, many Thai people still have photos of him hanging in their homes and businesses.
And while the new king, Rama X, is still not quite as beloved by his people (mostly because he’s a new king who hasn’t yet proved himself to his people), you still should never insult or say anything negative about a member of the royal family, especially in front of a Thai person.
Because not only is this incredibly rude, but it could also send you to jail since you could easily be arrested for badmouthing the royal family.
So yeah, just don’t do it.
6. Don’t Drink the Water
Like with many other countries in Asia, the tap water in Thailand really isn’t safe to drink.
To avoid spending your entire trip kissing the toilet (Gross, I know. But, it has to be said since you really do NOT want this to happen to you), do not drink tap water directly from the sink (or use it to brush your teeth).
Use either a LifeStraw or a Steripen to purify the water and make it safe to drink.
While you’re at it, don’t forget your, preferably BPA free, reusable water bottle too!
You can buy bottled water almost everywhere you go.
As a conscientious traveler, I try and do my part to help reduce my overall plastic consumption.
And if you do buy bottled water:
Make sure that the cap is sealed, with plastic, since some people do try and resell used water bottles that have tap water inside.
Be extra careful when buying fruits and vegetables since the exterior of these products is often rinsed in tap water first.
If you do NEED to build up your tolerance to Southeast Asian tap water, using it to brush your teeth is a great place to start.
I’d ONLY recommend this for people who plan on doing long term travel through Southeast Asia.
Just play it safe and stick with either bottled, boiled or cleaned water.
7. Be Respectful at Temples
It’s important to be extra respectful when visiting temples since they are, after all, a highly revered place of worship.
Luckily for you though:
I have some sweet a$$ tips that will help make temple hoping a whole lot easier.
Don’t turn your back to Buddha
I know, I know, how are you supposed to exit the temple?
Well, don’t worry!
Because there’s no need for you to channel your inner Olympic gymnast and vault out of the temple backward.
Just walk across the temple with Buddha at your side, leaving a large enough distance between you and Buddha before you turn around and exit the temple.
If you’re at all confused, just take your cue from the locals here and do what they do!
This also means that you should never be taking selfies with Buddha, where your back is facing him.
This applies to both men and women.
Because while I know it’s HOT:
You still need to keep both your shoulders and knees covered, at all times, when visiting temples in Thailand.
Wearing long pants is always preferable when doing a bit of temple hoping.
And if you’re not covered?
Well, then many temples simply won’t let you inside.
Many do have small counters where you can stop and rent a sarong, for a small fee, if you accidentally wore a tank top and forgot your shawl at home.
Pointing at something with your finger – no matter how staggeringly beautiful – is incredibly rude in Thailand (and throughout much of Asia).
It’s PARTICULARLY rude to point at a highly revered figure, like Buddha.
If you do have to gesture at Buddha, be sure to do so with your full hand and your palm facing upwards.
No Shoes, No Hats, No Chewing Gum
Whenever you walk inside a temple, you’ll be prompted to remove your shoes, as well as any headgear (that includes hats and headphones), before entering.
It really is totally safe to leave your shoes outside, along with everyone else’s.
You really can’t keep chewing your gum since it’s super rude!
Interacting with the Monks
Do try and be as kind and courteous to monks as possible since they are, on the whole, incredibly warm, gracious, and friendly people.
This means that you should press your palms together, as if praying, and bow your head slightly when greeting them.
This called a ‘wai.’
You are also welcome to sit down with a monk, if they are sitting, and start a conversation with them.
And if you ever find yourself handing a monk something:
ALWAYS do so with your RIGHT HAND!
You really should use your right hand in almost ANY interaction in Thailand since It is insulting to use your left hand to do things like shake hands, exchange money, eat, etc.
You should NOT eat in front of monks if they’re not eating.
That’s because they tend to fast during the day.
Therefore, eating in front of them is kind of like shoving your food in their face and sort of a dick move when someone is intentionally not eating for religious purposes.
You should also NEVER point your feet directly at a monk – or any Buddhist for that matter – since they are seen as the dirtiest part of the body (Hence the whole, taking your shoes off before entering a temple thing).
Sit cross-legged, and always on the same level as, or slightly beneath, a monk.
Because monks are VERY traditional people and take their religious vows very seriously, there are a few additional rules that you need to abide by.
Like NEVER EVER touch a monk.
Like, not even a slight graze or a handshake.
This also includes handing money for donations, which should be given to a man first, who will then hand the donation to the monk.
8. Don’t Ride Elephants
While this is a problem that pops up throughout Southeast Asia, it is particularly prevalent in Thailand.
Which is why:
You should never ever ride elephants!
It doesn’t matter that it looks super cool and is probably a once in a lifetime experience.
Just don’t do it.
Well, first and foremost, elephant spines are not physiologically designed to support the weight of a person.
And the fact that people have been riding them for centuries is kind of irrelevant now that we know better.
Many of the elephants that are used in these so-called “rides” are usually inhumanely treated and kept in extremely terrible facilities.
Luckily for you though:
You can still spend tons of time with elephants since there are a bunch of super legit, elephant sanctuaries in Thailand, that are open to the public.
Just to be safe, always do your research prior to visiting a sanctuary and make sure that they treat their animals ethically.
Because these high-quality elephant sanctuaries are in such high demand among tourists, they do tend to book up quickly.
You’ll definitely want to reserve your spot well in advance if you’re looking to spend some time frolicking amongst these amazing pachyderms.
***PSST: Sadly, elephants aren’t the only animals that are being exploited in Thailand. Therefore, it’s important that you always do your research before visiting any animal attractions or doing animal encounters of any kind.***
Solo Travel Thailand: Everything You Need to Know About Public Transportation!
Thailand is a hella big place, with a ton of must-see destinations that are pretty widely dispersed throughout the country.
Luckily for you though:
Public transportation is awesome here and relatively safe too, making it incredibly easy for you to solo travel your way though this epic place.
But, if you’re feeling extra brave:
You can always try commandeering a motorbike (and by commandeering I mean renting) since it is an incredibly popular way to travel, at least for all of my super adventurous solo travelers out there!
You can easily rent a motorbike just about anywhere you go.
They’re everywhere! And the rates are pretty reasonable, too.
Like I mentioned before, you should never, ever rent a bike from someone who doesn’t also provide you with a helmet.
Remember, no helmet, no deal! Got it?
Sorry, but I’m only harping on this because I care.
And while I know I make a lot of jokes, I’m not kidding about this. Because this is STD level, serious people.
And like I previously stated above:
You should ALSO have an international driver’s license before renting any motorbike in Thailand.
Do people rent a motorbike without one?
Hell to the yeah. But it’s also illegal and therefore, not something that I can condone.
But wait, timeout.
What if you’re accident prone like me and solo driving a motorbike is just not your thing?
Dude! I am so right there with you because I would literally NEVER do that.
Not only is the traffic insane, but the rules of the road are more suggestions that no one actually follows.
That’s why thankfully:
Motorbikes are not your only option when it comes to public transportation in Thailand.
Get ready to pick your poison people because you have planes, trains, buses, tuk-tuks, taxis, and even ferries to choose from.
If you want to travel long distances in Thailand, but don’t really have much time to do so, then planes are without a doubt, the best way to go.
Thailand is probably much bigger than you think!
It can easily take well over ten hours, via bus or train, just to move from one major city to another.
And since spending hours upon hours in a moving vehicle of any kind can be utterly EXHAUSTING, you may just wanna say, “Eff it” and take a plane instead.
If you do have ANY lingering concerns about your safety as a solo traveler in Thailand (you shouldn’t, but I totally get it if you do), then flying is a great option since it’s probably THE safest mode of transportation in the entire country.
And added bonus?
Most of the domestic flights that you’ll find in Thailand are fairly cheap and will cost you no more than $55 one way, depending on the distance that you’re traveling (DUH).
But in all honesty:
I’ve definitely seen flights that cost as little as $35 one way.
That being said though:
Do yourself a massive favor and always check the per person luggage allowance before booking any flight.
Trust me on this.
I’ve flown with many a budget airline in my day.
And what they like to do is issue you a really cheap ticket…and then charge you a boatload of money for any piece of luggage that weighs more than 7 kg (15.5 lbs).
Which basically amounts to all luggage since no one out there actually travels with a carry on that is THAT light.
It’s like humanly impossible.
And the result?
Well, that insane amount of money that you spent on excess baggage fees will basically render that super cheap flight not so super cheap anymore.
Do your research and always go with the mode of public transportation that best suits your needs (both financially and otherwise).
To my slight amazement:
The trains in Thailand are actually pretty nice and fairly well connected.
And more importantly, for anyone out there who is concerned about solo traveling through Thailand, they’re incredibly safe too!
Unlike the trains that you’ll find in either Europe or North America, the ones in Thailand are actually really cheap.
Like how cheap?
Well, that largely depends on where you’re going.
But in general:
Daytime trains tend to be cheaper than nighttime trains and can cost as little $2 per ticket!
Seriously! How amazing is that?
Obviously, the further you travel, the more expensive it becomes.
It’s still uber-cheap since train tickets from Bangkok to Phuket (a trip that is just under 12 hours) can cost as little as $35 (With NO excess baggage fees! EVER! HOORAY!).
You may have noticed that little part where I mentioned that the train ride.was a solid TWELVE HOURS.
Definitely quite a long ride. Which is why you should probably just save money, and time, by catching the overnight train instead (same goes for the train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai since that train ride is also a solid twelve hours).
Thailand’s bus network is vast and comprehensive.
And while It may not be the quickest mode of public transportation out there, you can still get almost anywhere you need to go via bus.
But the best part of all?
Most hotels and hostels can actually book bus tickets for you.
Or, being the incredibly savvy solo traveler that you are, you could always just pop into the local bus station, upon arrival since you’re already there, and buy tickets yourself.
However, if you get at all confused. No worries.
Just ask one of the locals for help since most Thai people are incredibly friendly and will happily help out total strangers.
Yup, gotta love the love in Thailand.
In case bus travel wasn’t already awesome enough, it actually gets bonus points since it’s typically the cheapest way to travel in Thailand (it’s also relatively safe too).
And like with train travel:
Overnight buses are another great way to save money on long-distance travel since you won’t need to book accommodations for that evening.
But, the one small downside?
The traffic in Thailand is notoriously BRUTAL! Especially in and around major urban areas (Cough, Bangkok, cough).
And while Thailand’s overall infrastructure is WAY better than neighboring countries, roads here can still get pretty bumpy.
If you’re at all prone to motion sickness, be prepared and take some tablets before the start of your trip (especially if you’re traveling from Pai to Chiang Mai since the roads are incredibly windy).
Also, another big FYI here.
Always take the VIP buses, and skip the backpacker buses.
Most travel agencies, and maybe even some hotels and hostels, will try and push the backpacker buses on you since they’re cheaper.
Like with most things in life, you get what you pay for.
This is why it should come as no surprise to you that the drivers of these buses are often poorly treated and overworked.
Some even have to take drugs just to stay awake on particularly long journeys.
For ethical, as well as safety reasons, please try and avoid these buses during your trip to Thailand!
I totally wanna hear all about your insanely crazy Thai adventures, just minus any near-death experiences that may result from taking an unsafe bus!
Because yes people.
Here at Girl with the Passport, we are all about safety first.
Feel feel to email me any and all of your ridiculous travel tales!
I’ll be waiting.
Tuk-tuks, Taxis, and Ferries…Oh My!
So, I’m kind of lumping all of these together since none of these modes of transportation are really a great way to travel AROUND Thailand.
They are pure awesomeness if you’re looking to travel WITHIN most major cities (or to and from islands, as is the case in Phuket).
So, first Up? Tuk-tuks!
Always a fun experience and definitely one worth having while you’re in Thailand!
Especially if you’ve never been in one.
But wait! What exactly are they?
Well, they’re a motorized, three wheeled vehicle that is fairly common throughout most Asian cities.
They’re also open in the front and closed in the back, which is why I would NOT recommend them if you’re traveling through a particularly dusty area.
I’m speaking from personal experience here. Because nothing is grosser than a face full of dirt. BLECH.
On the whole, tuk-tuks are generally more expensive than metered taxis, which is why you’ll want to barter for a decent price before you get in.
Which brings me to my next point.
ALWAYS agree on a price before getting in a tuk-tuk.
No, really. Repeat after me people.
ALWAYS agree on a price before getting in!
You’ll probably find yourself getting taken advantage of and being charged triple the normal price (if not more).
But, If tuk-tuks ain’t your bag baby, that’s cool.
Because you can always just try it out once, for the fun of it, and then beeline it over to the taxi stand!
ALWAYS make sure that the meter is on before getting in any taxi.
And If the driver refuses to turn the meter on? Then just walk away.
If the driver doesn’t have a meter to begin with, again, just walk away.
Because yeah, it’s a scam!
Sure, some taxis may sometimes legitimately not have a working meter.
That’s really not your problem. Nor is it something that you actually want to deal with (If you can, do try and pay a taxi driver with as close to exact change as possible since I did have one driver just flat out refuse to give me my change back).
And if you’re feeling SUPER adventurous:
You can always just hop on one a motorbike taxi (they’re literally on every corner) since they are even cheaper than regular taxis and just a great way to save some extra cash while solo traveling through Thailand (PSST: You can also use Grab, which is a rideshare app that is basically the Southeast Asia equivalent of Uber. That’s why it’s super cheap and super easy to use if you have mobile data on your phone).
Now, lastly…Ferries, which will be particularly important if you want to visit some of Thailand’s beautiful, southern islands.
And trust me, that is something that you’ll definitely want to do!
If you seem to find yourself island hopping in the South, you can usually just buy your ferry tickets on the same day that you want to travel.
And while ferries aren’t incredibly expensive:
They’re definitely a whole lot pricier than taking either the bus or train.
The one-hour ferry ride from Phuket to the Phi Phi Islands will cost you around 800 baht, or $26 one way.
Which is a bit of a steep price, especially for a place like Thailand.
A solo traveler’s gotta do what a solo travelers gotta do.
The Best Time to Visit Thailand
So technically speaking, there’s really no bad time to solo travel Thailand.
If you have a choice, definitely try and visit between November and April!
Well, I’ve got two words for you: rainy season.
Talk about annoying. Am I right?
And another slightly annoying thing about the rainy season in Thailand?
The whole of Thailand doesn’t really experience one, uniform rainy season.
You kind of have to do your research before jetting off into different parts of the country.
But, that being said:
Even during the dry season, it’s definitely not unheard of to have a random, totally rogue, torrential downpour.
It’s probably best to just completely avoid Thailand between the months of July and October when flooding is at its worst and the heat is basically off the charts level awful.
The good news though is that almost every region of the country experiences dry season between the months of December and March.
That’s also why this glorious time year is also considered the high season.
If you can, do try and visit during shoulder season (April through June and September through October) when hotel prices are at their cheapest.
I’m really NOT joking when I say that Thailand gets HOT.
Like REALLY hot.
We’re talking absolute lows of 83° F in November and December (more likely around 88° F), and highs of 105° F in the summer.
Add 99.999% humidity into the mix and summers in Thailand are just straight up, unbearable.
Regardless of when you visit, always have your sunscreen and water bottle at the ready!
On the plus side though:
Most places come fully equipped with copious amounts of air conditioning.
if all else fails, you can always just sip on some uber-refreshing umbrella drink and take a nice dip in the cool(ish) waters of the beach.
Because let’s be real:
You’re probably at least partly in Thailand to enjoy some of the country’s many, exquisite, sandy white beaches.
The 10 Best Places to Solo Travel Thailand!
You can’t really visit Thailand without seeing Bangkok, especially since the city is home to some of the best street food in Thailand.
Sorry, but it’’s 100% mandatory.
I’m not gonna lie to you. When I initially visited Bangkok, I was none too impressed.
Okay, I actually kind of hated it. However:
After taking some to explore this magical city and devour some of its straight-up life-changing Pad Thai (at least gastronomically speaking), I was all in!
I may have even straight up fell in love with some of Bangkok’s more unusual attractions,
Do you know what really took my love affair with Bangkok to the next level?
Umm, all of the AMAZING brunch spots in Bangkok. Because they are everywhere, and home to some of the fluffiest pancakes that I have ever had in my LIFE.
Yup, true story. Besides:
Who doesn’t love a good brunch? And if you say that you don’t (blasphemy I tell you) then I’m sorry but we can’t be friends
Just kidding! But seriously:
If you wanna do a little more than eat ALL your feelings away, then why not check out Bangkok’s bangin’ nightlife scene (See, look at how totally hip I am! Just like a Golden Girl!)?
Because trust me:
The river cruises, Thai puppet shows, and Muay Thai matches in Bangkok really are something special.
Before you leave Bangkok, you absolutely MUST check out some of the beyond GORGEOUS temples there.
They really are literally everywhere.
Some of my top picks include:
The Grand Palace, Wat Po, and Wat Arun.
And pretty much in that order since The Grand Palace basically left my jaw permanently affixed to the floor.
Can someone pretty please build me my very own beautiful temple? I swear, I deserve it.
Don’t ya think? However:
The only thing better than all that strenuous temple hopping is
unwinding with a nice, relaxing, traditional, Thai massage.
Like the one, I got at Wat Pho!
Because legit? My life just hasn’t been the same since.
(Insert an enormous sigh of discontentment here)
A word of warning though to all my Thai massage virgins out there since this massage ain’t your typical back rub.
They’re actually super intense and can really HURT, especially if it’s your first time.
But I promise:
It’s so worth the pain since you’ll feel next-level amazing afterward.
While I was in Bangkok, I absolutely LOVED the Jim Thompson House.
If you’re a total history nerd like me, then you definitely need to GO NOW and behold the beauty of this enchanting, supersize, teak mansion, that sits along one of Bangkok’s many, pseudo-quiet canals (AKA khlongs in Thai).
And If after all of this, you’re still not feeling mad inspired to visit Bangkok:
Then just check out my hella behemoth article on some of the very best places to visit in Bangkok.
I’m sure at least SOMETHING on that list will totally pique your interest!
Patumwan House (mid-range) – I stayed here during my solo travel trip to Thailand and absolutely loved it. I mean, is it the greatest hotel on the planet? No. But for just $40 per night, you get a comfy bed, a warm shower, and a spacious room that includes a small kitchenette (Perfect for storing my never-ending array of snacks! HOORAY). Plus, this hotel is also really well located and within walking distance of both a ferry stop and the Ratchathewi BTS station, which sits along the Sukhumvit Line of the Skytrain.
If this hotel doesn’t totally appeal to you, then not to worry.
Because not surprisingly:
I’ve got a post for that!
I have an entire post all about 25 of the absolute best places to stay in Bangkok!
Just take a small gander at that article and I’m sure you’ll find at least one hotel (or hostel) that tickles your fancy.
Whatever you do:
You cannot skip Ayutthaya if you’re in Thailand!
I’m sorry, but I forbid it!
That’s why, even if you can’t spend a solid two or three days here, at least visit as part of a day trip from Bangkok.
But wait, let me slow my roll here for just a moment.
I mean, you might not even know what Ayutthaya is and may think I’ve actually started to speak in tongues.
Established in ye olde 1350, Ayutthaya was once the largest city in the entire WORLD and home to over one million people (Which was a big deal back in the day since this city served as a major trading hub between the East and West).
In April of 1767, the city was completely razed to the ground and destroyed by the Burmese Army.
Fast forward to today:
And what remains is an impressive UNESCO World Heritage Site that consists of no less than nine temples.
And while some of the temples here are free to enter:
Many will cost you 50 baht ($1.50) to visit (If you plan on seeing all of the temples in Ayutthaya, you can save some money by getting a special combination ticket for 200 Baht).
If you’re short on time and not sure where to start, you can always visit Wat Mahathat, which has the insta-famous Buddha head that is ensconced in a Banyan Tree.
It really is JUST as cool as it sounds, even though Wat Chaiwatthanaram was my personal fave.
If you can’t get here in time for sunrise, then just make sure that you stay late and enjoy some of the STUNNING views here at sunset!
***PSST: If you arrive via train and are only here for the day, then do yourself a favor and hire a tuk-tuk driver. Because honestly, the temples here are kind of far apart and kind of far from the train station, making it difficult to walk from one place to another. And since you have extremely limited time, you really don’t want to waste it getting lost or trying to walk all the way from the train station to the ruins.***
Siri Guesthouse (budget) – This wonderful guesthouse is run by a woman named Yui, who is one of the most amazing hosts that I’ve ever had. She not only arranged all of my travel around Ayutthaya, but she even managed to get me back to Bangkok for LESS than what I paid to get to Ayutthaya in the first place (what a star!). Plus, tor the bargain-basement price of $21 per night I got an uber-comfy bed in a PURPLE ROOM. I mean really, what more could a weary solo traveler ask for?
Baan Thai House (mid-range) – Conveniently located near the train station, Baan Thai House is a charming little boutique hotel where rooms start at $70 per night. Which sounds like a lot, until you realize that for this price, you get your very own garden villa, complete with a private terrace and access to an outdoor pool. Sure, it might all sound a bit excessive for a solo traveler, but whatever, you’re worth it. Besides, sometimes you just need to splurge and unwind in your very own, private villa. And added bonus? This hotel also serves some wickedly wonderful, traditional Thai food!
I appreciate that Kanchanaburi isn’t for everyone.
I still think it’s one of the most important places to visit in Thailand.
Because when you travel to Kanchanaburi:
It’s all about remembering and honoring the dead since this is the site of the infamous bridge over the River Kwai (also spelled Khwae), which is more formally known as the Burma Railway, or the Death Railway.
Sounds pretty bad, right?
Well, this railway truly was since more than 115,000 people died during its construction.
This thought-provoking, heart-wrenching place is also home to the Hellfire Pass, a section of the railroad that cuts through a mountain and that is said, by former laborers, to have resembled Hell.
Like I previously mentioned though:
Kanchanaburi definitely isn’t for everyone, but if you’re up for it, please do visit and pay your respects.
Because in addition to the Death Railway and the Hellfire Pass:
You can also visit the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery and the JEATH War Museum, both of which are incredibly moving places that are well worth exploring.
And while Kanchanaburi can technically be done as part of a day trip from Bangkok:
It actually takes about 2.5 hours to get there by train…each way.
The local trains here actually run on kind of an irregular schedule, meaning that you might not have actually enough time to see everything if you stop by for the day.
If you’re only interested in visiting a site or two, then a day trip might suffice.
D Luck Hostel (budget) – Like many hostels out there, D-Luck is the perfect place for solo travelers to hang their weary heads and meet other, like-minded, perpetual wanderers. However, not gonna lie, I’m actually particularly fond of the insanely cute herd of cats that call this place home! There’s also a female-only dorm here, which I always prefer to stay in when available, with beds that start at just $9 per night. And while the staff here only speak limited English, they’re all well armed with Google Translate so it’s all good.
Chez Bure (mid-range) – I’ll be honest, I opted for this place on the strength of their breakfast reviews. And spoiler alert? This place does NOT disappoint! It’s also an ideal hotel for anyone who works online since every room here comes fully equipped with its very own, super snazzy, desk! And did I mention that for just $40 per night, you also get your very own, luxe AF, king-sized bed? Yup, Chez Bure for the WIN!
Pattaya is a city with a bit of a bad reputation.
Well, it has a rather large ladyboy population. Not that there’s anything wrong with that!
I just personally think that there is so much more to Pattaya than it’s crazy nightlife scene.
Pattaya is all about that beach life, yo!
If you’re looking to get your beach-loving swerve on, then frolic on over to one of Pattaya’s two most popular beaches, Jomtien or Pattaya.
If I’m being brutally honest, and I always am, some of the beaches here are kind of dirty and SUPER BUSY.
If you’re willing to travel a bit further afield, then head straight to Sattahip Military Beach instead.
Because no joke:
This place is on fleek (Am I using that right? Don’t answer that.) and the water is beyond BLUE!
If you’re one of those rare people who are totally not a beach person (is that even possible?):
Then you can always spend your days exploring the traditional arts and crafts at Pattaya Floating Market or admiring the unique, ancient, wooden architecture of the Sanctuary of Truth.
I also recommend attending a cabaret show since yeah, they are mad fun!
And the Alcazar Cabaret Show is by far the most popular of them all.
There are TONS of different shows around Pattaya for you to choose from.
Kaen Hostel (budget) – I am a total sucker for extra amenities that make me feel 10,000 times posher than I really am. That’s why I love that all of the individual dorm beds here come with a personal reading light and a wall safe. Plus, I enjoyed turning in for the night (It was after 9 pm, I swear) and watching Netflix until my eyes fell out in their communal lounge. This hostel is also a great place to meet like-minded people, making it well worth the $12 a night for a bed in their female-only dorm room.
Sandalay Resort (mid-range) – Is it weird that I was totally lured into this place but their super delightful, pink and black decor? Cause I steadfastly stand by that decision. Oh, and did I mention that they have a giant pool? YUP! This place also sits right across the street from the beach AND the Teddy Bear Museum – and yes, yes, I DID pop in and squeal with delight after seeing all of those Uber-cute teddy bears! And all of this for the incredible value of $56 a night.
5. Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai has exploded in popularity over the last few years.
It’s definitely getting a bit touristy, but still well worth a visit, at least in my humble opinion.
If you’re out there, living the solo travel Thailand dream, then this is the perfect place to find some fellow solo travelers to hang out with and compare notes.
Now, local must-do activities include:
Chasing waterfalls (thanks TLC for keeping it cool), adventures in the great outdoors, and playing with elephants.
Because let’s be honest:
Chiang Mai really is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream since it is SURROUNDED by nature reserves, national parks, and a series of mountains that are perfect for trekking.
Add in copious amounts of waterfalls everywhere, like Ma Fork (which is just a quick walk from where the taxi will drop you off), and you may never want to leave.
I loved the Mae Sa Waterfalls, which sit inside a national park that is home to about ten other, super snazzy waterfalls (because if one waterfall is good, then ten is better).
It’s a bit of a trek to get there, but well worth the added perspiration.
I’m not gonna lie to you, I definitely didn’t make it to the last… few waterfalls in the area.
Don’t forget to bring your bathing suit with you so that you can swan dive, or slowly walk, into the refreshingly cool waters here.
No trip to Chiang Mai would be complete without a visit to an amazing, totally ethical, elephant sanctuaries like Kindred Spirit Elephant Sanctuary or the Elephant Nature Park.
The price was a bit steep at 1500 baht (around $116) per person, but it was totally worth it just to be able to spend the day walking among these gentle giants.
Just remember to book your visit well in advance since let’s be honest, pretty much everyone loves elephants.
Now in terms of food:
Chiang Mai is a vegan and vegetarian PARADISE!
I was in my element here and definitely ate A LOT. Even for me.
What else is a solo traveler in Thailand supposed to do when she is presented with more food than she can possibly consume?
Phew, glad you understand.
And some of my overall faves (after caving into my very gluttonous ways) include Amrita Garden (one of the best vegan carrot cakes that I’ve ever put in my mouth!) and Anchan Vegetarian Restaurant since their taro red curry with tofu basically CHANGED MY LIFE!
Speaking of food:
Don’t forget to stroll on over to the local market, where you can sample some, traditional, Northern Thai cuisine.
And two snacks that you for sure, MUST try are Khao Lam and Krabong.
“What are they?” I hear you wondering?
Well, Khao Lam is sticky rice that is made with coconut milk, sugar, and boiled black beans (sometimes), all of which are all mixed together and served hot, inside a hollow, bamboo shoot.
Talk about super YUM!
And Krabong? They’re uber-delicious, fried vegetable strips that typically include either pumpkin, banana blossoms, or papaya (PSST: Pumpkin is my total FAVE).
Green Sleep Hostel (budget) – Nestled in the heart of old town, located right across from the market, is Green Sleep Hostel. Beds here start at $13 per night and include a wealth of options like female-only dorms (I stayed in the 4-bed option), mixed dorms, and even private rooms. They also have a tremendous breakfast spread that includes a ton of delicious breakfast items, like FRESH bread and fruit! I also met a ton of other solo travelers here who basically decided to forgo the rest of their Thailand travel plans, just so that they could stay here longer. #justsayin’
Sri Ngachang (mid-range) While I myself didn’t leave Green Sleep Hostel (cause why would I?), one of my solo travel buddies did stay here and absolutely loved it. And after seeing her photos, I can’t blame her. I mean, for $40 a night you get your own balcony and a freaking sofa! So, if you’re looking to pamper yourself without going broke, then this is, by all means, the place to do it!
6. Chiang Rai
If you’re short on time:
Then Chiang Rai will make a great day trip from Chiang Mai.
At least, that’s what I did.
And while I would have loved to spend a bit more time in this city, sometimes sacrifices need to be made since well, generally speaking, you never really have enough time to see it all.
If you’re short on time like I was, then here’s the lowdown on all of the places that you absolutely MUST visit while you’re here!
In terms of temples:
Chiang Rai has no shortage of them and is home to some of the most exquisite temples that I’ve EVER seen.
And considering all of the temples that I’ve visited in my life, that’s definitely a bold statement!
First and foremost:
There’s Wat Rong Khun, AKA the White Temple.
And while it’s super touristy, it’s still incredibly beautiful and puts a uniquely modern spin on the design of a traditional Thai temple (I mean, there are superheroes inside. So clearly, this is not your typical, run of the mill temple).
There’s also Wat Rong Suea Ten, AKA the Blue Temple.
Now, truth be told:
I definitely thought that the photos I saw of this place were totally photoshopped and thereby, completely exaggerating just how incredibly blue this temple is.
It is straight up, hardcore blue everywhere. And definitely worth a visit, just to see the architectural awesomeness of this place (and maybe even snap a pic or two for the ‘Gram).
There’s also Wat Huay Pla Kang, which is home to one of the largest Buddha statues that I’ve ever seen.
It’s not actually Buddha, but Quanyin, the bodhisattva of compassion.
Be sure to stop by and pay your respects since, well, I think we can all agree that this world of ours could definitely use a bit more compassion!
And if you have time:
You can also see Wat Tham Pla, or Monkey Temple.
It’s located a bit outside the city, which means that you may need to arrange transport to get here (If you’re doing a tour, they’ll obviously take you here), but I loved seeing the amazing, 7-headed Nagas (mythical serpents) statues that protect the temple and that greet you at the foot of the hella LONG staircase here.
And for any of my fellow history nerds out there:
Also, be sure to stop by the Hall of Opium Museum and learn all about the slightly heartbreaking history of the opium trade here.
Is it sad?
You betcha. But some of the most important places we visit are, and this museum is no exception.
If you loved Chiang Mai (and I know you did!) then Pai will definitely speak to your soul.
Because this place is a magical, oasis for nature lovers that also attracts an eclectic variety of fun and interesting travelers from around the world (They have a dreadlock repair shop. Need I say more?).
Outdoor enthusiasts here can explore some lovely waterfalls, visit the ancient Tham Lod Cave, and even watch some beyond stunning sunsets at Pai Canyon.
But, the real main attraction here?
Why, the Santichon Village, which was established by the Chinese, Yunnans ethnic-minority group, which first fled north of the border during the revolution of Mao Tse Tung.
Santichon Village gives visitors a glimpse into traditional Yunnan culture by allowing them to explore wooden Ferris wheels, take a ride on a mule, purchase local handicrafts, or, my personal fave, try some local FOOD!
They don’t have much in the way of vegetarian food here. Something that definitely bummed me out since I really wanted to try some traditional Yunnan food.
If pork hocks and buns are your thing, then DIG RIGHT IN! (And let me know if it was any good!)
Pai Country Hut (budget) – So, throughout Pai, you’ll find these incredibly popular, individual little huts that everyone seems to stay in. And well, me being me, I just HAD to try one for $20 a night. And while there were a ton of cheaper options out there, I ultimately decided to go with this place since, well, the photos revealed that there was a HAMMOCK outside! Yup, it really is the little things in life.
Medio De Pai (budget) – Pai is so amazing that even when I TRIED to spend money on a luxury hotel (A girl deserves a little treat every now and again. Am I right?) the most I managed to spend was $36 per night. And what did I get for my money? Well, a fab poolside view, a comfy king-sized bed, and a perfectly central location. Which is why this hotel really is a fantastic place to chillax for a bit and read by the pool.
Southern Thailand is the perfect place to just relax and chill the day away.
And Phuket is no exception.
Now, try not to judge me too harshly here but when I first looked up things to do in Phuket I saw the Trickeye Museum and immediately thought that is was a Tricycle Museum.
Imagine my surprise when I visited for myself and saw exactly what it was!
I also don’t really recommend adding this place to your solo travel Thailand itinerary since it’s fairly difficult to get photos by yourself here and as a result, fully appreciate the illusion before you.
Or maybe I’m the only one with this problem?
In any event though:
The Trickeye Museum was definitely not my fave and is something that I think you can take a hard pass on.
I also got the chance to wander through (Translation? Get Lost) Phuket’s charming Old Town; a place where I desperately tried not to spend copious amounts of money on delicious street food.
I epically failed BTW, but still had fun.
And while there is so much more to do in Phuket than eat – i.e. kayaking, visiting national parks, bungee jumping – I kind of just wanted to chill out and enjoy the beach while I was here.
Can you blame me? I mean, have you seen the beaches?
Phuket is also the perfect place from which to catch a ferry and explore some of Thailand’s many, exquisite islands.
And you KNOW your girl just had to take advantage of that while she was here!
***Dying to visit Phuket and want even MORE info? Then check out my exstensive, 3 day Puket itinerary! It has everything you need to know about planning the PERFECT trip to Phuket, Thailand!***
Hugger Hostel (budget) – Don’t worry, you won’t be accosted with hugs everywhere you go! Even though the staff here are super friendly and totally chill. I also always appreciate a place that has dorm beds with curtains, since they provide you with a smidge of extra privacy that is essential when you’re trying to do magical things in your dorm bed, like get out of your bra. And since this place is located right in the center of Old Town, I really couldn’t have asked for a better location. Plus, as with almost every Thai hostel out there, they offer both female-only (at $9 per night) and mixed dorms (at $8 per night). Or, you can totally go crazy and book a private double room, with an ensuite bathroom, for just $26 per night. Yup, we call this living the dream.
The Royal P Phuket (mid-range) – Wanna get all Lourdes on me and really live like a royal for the evening? If so, then The Royal P Phuket will be your new favorite jam. Because for just $60 per night, you get to unwind in an EXECUTIVE SUITE with a comfy AF king bed and a private balcony. You also get access to a swimming pool that is sadly not a private one. While I was here, I also took advantage of the on-site lounge, where I pretended to get some work done.
I’ve got five words for you.
Thai massages on the beach.
If you’re emphatically nodding your head yes then come on! Get your butt over here!
But, I guess the real question is, how?
Well, I went to Krabi as part of a day trip from Phuket.
This beyond magical place can easily be reached from Phuket by either ferry or bus.
I’d recommend taking the bus since both modes of public transportation will get you there in about 2.5 hours.
A bus ticket is actually about a fifth of the price of a ferry ticket.
You do the math and as always…CHOOSE WISELY.
And in case you were wondering:
No, Krabi really isn’t JUST another tropical island.
Because in all honesty:
My visit here was definitely one of the biggest highlights of my trip to Thailand.
And here’s why.
See, one of the coolest things to do in Krabi is to take a traditional long-tail boat through the local mangrove forest here.
Pretty amazeballs. Right?
I mean, I was sure insta was lying to me when I saw the photos, but nope. This place really is that STUNNING!
If you can manage to haul your a$$ out of bed first thing in the morning (ha!), then be sure to head on over to the Emerald Pool hot springs, which are supposed to be bananas level awesome first thing in the AM.
10. Phi Phi
All I did on the Ko Phi Phi Islands was island-hop and sunbathe.
So, please, don’t judge me.
But for anyone out there who is looking for a bit more adventure, then there are tons of things to do here, like snorkel, rock climb, see sharks, and join a cooking class!
Let’s take a moment for a slight PSA here people.
Because the Phi Phi Islands definitely suffer from over-tourism.
The problem got so bad that Maya Beach (Which was made first made famous by the film The Beach with Leonard DiCaprio) was indefinitely closed due to the negative effects of over-tourism.
For the love of God and all that is holy, PLEASE do your part to help keep these islands beautiful and THROW AWAY YOUR TRASH.
Or, better yet:
Recycle and stop using single-use plastics altogether (or when you can since I know it’s tough)!
That been said, do I think this place is it still worth visiting?
Umm, if you’re a fan of the beach (again, who isn’t?), then hell yeah!
Just don’t expect to find your very own, private beach while you’re here.
You absolutely CAN get away from the crowds if you want to.
My personal rec is to head straight for Moo Dee Bay.
Not only is it lit AF (and what I mean by this is that there was no one there to judge me as I downed my fifth coconut water in two hours. Throw no shade my way please because they are straight up, delicious!), but it’s also a quiet, 500 meters long, white sand beach that is bordered by nothing but emerald blue waters.
And if that description doesn’t convince you to visit, then I really don’t know what will.
Chompoo Hostel (budget) – Funnily enough, I actually just rolled on up here without making a reservation and was pleasantly surprised. Now, was this the best place that I’ve ever stayed in? No. But I only spent one night in the Phi Phi islands and this place gave me a nice bed to sleep in, in a mixed dorm (since that’s all they had), for just $10 per night! Plus, all the uber-comfy beds here come with curtains and enormous, personal lockers! The host here, Soph, is also super nice and made trip planning a total breeze.
Phi Phi Relax Beach Resort (mid-range) – Located along a private beach that overlooks the stunning, Andaman Sea, this rustic resort offers guests direct beach access and is less than 3 km away from the Ao Tonsai Pier (They’ll even send someone to pick you up from the pier, on foot, since no cars are allowed on the island). There are also a wealth of laid back bungalows on the property, which start at just $40 per night and feature thatched roofs, wood-paneled walls, mosquito nets, and fans. If you want, you can also stop by their beach bar, open-air massage pavilion, and an on-site restaurant that serves breakfast (for an additional fee), as well as a variety of other meals.
Sample 10 Day Solo Travel Thailand Itinerary
In an ideal world, you would probably have WAY more than 10 days to travel solo through Thailand.
I will be the first one to admit that we do NOT, in fact, live in an ideal world and that most people probably can’t afford to take a ton of time off work and visit Thailand for more than 10 days.
Which is one of the many reasons why I’ve put together this nifty little Thailand itinerary for you!
I provide a general outline for each day of your 10 day Thailand itinerary and give you suggestions on what I think you might want to do (Sadly, I can’t read minds, so this Thailand itinerary is based on what I like to do).
Because in all honesty:
I really just want you to avoid all of my past mistakes so that you can fall madly in love with Thailand, just like I did!
When in doubt, just remember to eat more scrumptious food!
Food really is the answer to all of life’s most difficult problems.
Bangkok (2 nights)
It may be crazy and straight up, overwhelming at times.
No visit to Thailand would be complete without a trip to the capital.
Spend two glorious days exploring the city’s breathtaking temples (and there are A LOT of them), shopping at its markets, and stuffing your face silly, with a variety of different Thai foods that you didn’t even know existed!
And if it’s your first time in this amazing city:
You cannot leave without visiting both the Grand Palace and Chatuchak Weekend Market.
While you’re here, don’t forget about Bangkok’s crazy nightlife scene and catch a show at a local Thai puppet theatre or eat a GIANT bowl of curry at one of the city’s many vivacious night markets.
And if you have a bit of extra time:
Do try and visit, Kanchanaburi. Even if it’s just as part of a day trip.
I know it’s not for everyone, but…
I still think it’s a really important and a super interesting place to visit too.
If you have the time, definitely go.
You could always visit the slightly more upbeat city of Pattaya instead and embrace the beach life while catching a show at a local cabaret!
***What? Looking for a slightly more detailed Bangkok itinerary? If you are then you’re in luck because I have a super in-depth, 3 day Bangkok itinerary that will literally tell you EVERYTHING you ever wanted to know about this amazing city!***
Ayutthaya (2 nights)
Although Ayutthaya can be visited as part of a day trip from Bangkok:
I firmly believe that this wicked awesome place deserves at least two days of your time.
Ayutthaya is so awesome, that it’s actually often referred to as the Angkor Wat of Thailand.
I’ve been to Angkor Wat.
That isn’t an exaggeration.
If you want to sacrifice a day here to fit in more stuff elsewhere (no shade), then, at the very least, visit both Wat Mahathat and Wat Chaiwatthanaram.
And while sunrise is probably the most popular time of day to visit, the sunsets here are just as stunning.
If you’re a very, anti-morning person like me, then skip the sunrise and stick around for sunset instead.
***The best way is to get here from Bangkok is by train. The trip will take about 2.5 hours and will cost around 65 baht ($2) for a second class seat.***
Chiang Mai (4 nights)
Chiang Mai tends to be a favorite among travelers and for good reason!
Skipping out on this fantastic city would be a travesty and a disservice to any solo travel Thailand itinerary!
Now, during your four days here:
You WILL eat your weight in delicious food, which is not a bad thing since it is your duty as a solo traveler to experience as much of Thailand’s beautiful culture as humanly possible.
And that Includes eating ALL the food!
But yes, there really are a ton fo other things to do here, like go hiking, swim under waterfalls, and just get back to nature.
Chiang Mai is also home to a few ethical, elephant sanctuaries, that you might want to check out.
Whatever you do though:
Do NOT ride the elephants…EVER!
While you’re in the north:
You could also do a quick little day trip to either Pai or Chiang Rai or both if you’re feeling EXTRA ambitious (Pai if you’re looking for outdoor adventure and Chiang Rai if you want to see some truly awe-inspiring temples).
***To get here, you can take either an overnight bus or a train from Bangkok. However, the fastest way to get here is to, DUH, fly.***
Phuket (2 nights)
Yeah, you can’t really visit Thailand without at least spending SOME time on the beach.
If you’re looking for a little extra beach time while in Thailand, then you can always spend one less day in Chiang Mai and instead, spend an extra day in the South of Thailand.
While in Phuket though:
I command you to soak up the sun, eat even more food, enjoy the Old Town, and do a bit of island hopping.
Just don’t forget the sunscreen since, well, the sun in Thailand is next level strong.
It’s also perfectly okay to just stay in Phuket if you’re feeling a bit tired and don’t really want to head to an island.
If you’re up for it, definitely take a trip to either Krabi or the Ko Phi Phi Islands, where you can do an awesome tour through the local mangrove forest.
I pinkie promise:
You will not regret it!
If you’re totally up for some EARLY morning hustle, then head to the Emerald Pool at the ass crack of dawn and appreciate the hot springs, just without the hordes of tourists.
***If you’re coming to Phuket from Bangkok, you can catch an overnight bus or train here. The trip usually takes about 12 hours and costs around $20 for a bus ticket and $35 for a train ticket, depending on the class you choose. However, flights to Phuket are usually quicker, especially if you’re coming from Chiang Mai. But of course, they will cost you a bit more, especially if you have a ton of luggage.***
AND…THAT’S ALL SHE WROTE LADIES AND GENTS.
BECAUSE THIS IS THE NOT-SO-EPIC CONCLUSION TO MY RIDICULOUSLY LONG GUIDE ON HOW TO SOLO TRAVEL THAILAND.
BECAUSE BETWEEN MY THAILAND SOLO TRAVEL ITINERARY, MY TIPS ON HOW TO STAY SAFE WHILE TRAVELING TO THAILAND ALONE, AND MY DETAILED LIST OF THE BEST PLACES TO VISIT THAILAND, I’M SURE YOU’VE FOUND AT LEAST ONE PIECE OF MILDLY USEFUL INFORMATION.
SO, IF YOU FOUND THIS POST EVEN SLIGHTLY ENJOYABLE, THEN PIN THIS NOW AND READ IT AGAIN LATER!
NO REALLY. I MEAN, ALL THE COOL, SOLO TRAVEL KIDS ARE DOING IT…
Saturday 21st of December 2019
Interesting that you hates the first time! Of course the years indeed matter though! As a person who spent 1 month there I agree 100% with your "Don't ride elephants" paragraph, I was sooo upset all the time seeing the tourists taking photos/ riding the chained elephants. Super useful guide, well done!
Sunday 22nd of December 2019
Agreed. It's pretty heartbreaking when you see people doing things like that. My only is that people don't know any better and that we can hopefully help educate them as bloggers.
Saturday 21st of December 2019
Very detailed and thorough guide! You are seriously making me want to visit Thailand again. Was hoping for a winter sun get away but left it too late to get tickets and now they are expensive. Pinned when I mostly likely do a solo trip next year.
Sunday 22nd of December 2019
Oh awesome. Thanks so much for reading and so glad you found this guide useful. I hope you get to return next year when prices of flights are a bit lower.
Saturday 21st of December 2019
This is such a thorough post - I've been to Thailand on two separate occasions, combined for about 2 1/2 months, I did a totally different itinerary each time. Reading through your list, there are some absolute gems that I missed out on! I', gutted that I missed out on the Huay Mae Khamin Waterfall. It's stunning!
Sunday 22nd of December 2019
I feel the same exact way for sure! I too have been twice and still feel like there is so much in Thailand that I have totally missed out on. Can't wait to get back myself and explore some more!
Saturday 21st of December 2019
YES! Pinned this for later! I'm currently in Thailand (on Koh Mak!) but only on a short trip... I will definitely be back to do it properly...!!
Saturday 21st of December 2019
Oh good and I hope you're having a great time! Thanks so much for reading!
Saturday 21st of December 2019
thanks for all the great info. I'm planning to be in southeast Asia this spring and this will be helpful.
Saturday 21st of December 2019
Oh good! I am so glad to hear that! If you need any Vietnam info, I also have a post just like this on Vietnam as well!