Thailand Solo Travel Guide
Thailand needs no introduction. The country has long been on the solo backpacker travel circuit because it ticks all the boxes for a perfect travel destination – a variety of experiences, friendly, hospitable locals, cheap and easy transportation, accommodation to suit every budget, and delicious cheap eats on every corner.
Our Thailand solo travel guide answers all the questions asked about solo travel to this well-loved destination. Our aim is to help you plan the holiday of your dreams, travel with confidence around Thailand, and experience the best of this charming country.
How to Plan a Solo Trip to Thailand?
Planning a solo trip to Thailand is easy with our Thailand solo travel guide. This guide gives you all the information you need to plan and organise your trip.
- Best places in Thailand for solo travellers – the top 12 places that are worth visiting for not-to-be-missed unique Thai experiences
- How to solo backpack around Thailand? – tips on how to travel cheaply and easily around Thailand
- Is Thailand safe for solo female travellers? – including tips that women travellers should follow while travelling in Thailand
- Solo holidays to Thailand – Thailand package tours for solo travellers
Best Places in Thailand for Solo Travel
Best for: Temples, shopping, Thai food, scenic journeys
If there’s only one place you visit in Thailand, make it Bangkok. Capital of Thailand, Bangkok has it all – glittering and ornate temples, opulent palaces, one of the biggest street markets and amazing Thai cuisine. Home to the longest reclining Buddha in the world, a Grand Palace, Chinatown and National Museum, river boats and the Chatuchak Weekend Market, Bangkok is more than just a transit point. If you have time, add a cooking or Thai massage course to your itinerary.
2. Chiang Mai
Best for: temples, shopping, Thai food, elephant encounters
The cultural capital of the north, Chiang Mai is a sanctuary of sorts. Solo travellers will love Chiang Mai for its historic temples, fantastic dining scene and adventure activities. The old city is packed with temples, while the countryside boasts jungle treks, elephant encounters and minority villages. This northern town excels in vegetarian cuisine and Thai cooking classes as well.
Best for: Jungle trekking, elephant encounters
Made famous by the movie, The Bridge on the River Kwai, Kanchanaburi is worth visiting for its adventure activities and the infamous Death Railway Bridge. Trek past silvery waterfalls and rushing rivers in search of elusive tigers and gibbons, spend the night at a homestay organised through an ethnic group, and experience the area’s adventure activities, which include ziplining, kayaking, elephant rides and hiking to the top of Erawan waterfalls.
Best for: Historic sites, temples, elephant encounters
Visited on an easy day trip from Bangkok, Ayuthaya is packed with hundreds of temple ruins. Explore the brick-and-stucco ruins on a cycling tour to enjoy the atmosphere of this Unesco World Heritage site, or astride a regally clad elephant like the kings of yesteryears.
Best for: Historic sites, temples
Sukhothai is Thailand’s most impressive Historical Park. Exploring the ruins by bicycle is the classic Thailand experience and is a leisurely way to wind past the crumbling temples, graceful Buddha statues and fish-filled ponds. Worthwhile museums and good-value accommodation make this a great place to visit for solo travellers.
Best for: Historic sites
An easy escape from Bangkok, Phetchaburi is a delightful mix of culture. Explore a former royal hilltop palace frequented by mischievous monkeys. Head out of town to dramatically lit caves boasting Buddhist shrines and naturally occurring calcified sculptures. Then wander the shophouse neighbourhood filled with old-fashioned businesses.
7. Mae Hong Son
Best for: scenic journeys
Take a road trip along the Mae Hong Son loop road, making sure to find time for stops in Pai and Mae Sariang. Cascading mountain vistas are the reward for enduring dizzying switchback roads. The town itself excels in hill tribe treks that are not overrun by tourists.
8. Khao Sok National Park
Best for: Jungle trekking
This ancient rainforest is filled with long sweaty hiking routes up dramatic limestone formations with postcard views. Reward your outdoor work with a relaxing stay at one of the lakeside lodges and listen to the symphony of the jungle.
9. Khao Yai National Park
Best for: Jungle trekking, wildlife watching
Visit Khao Yai National Park on a day trip from Bangkok and enjoy wildlife sightings in this vast Unesco World Heritage-listed reserve. Even if you don’t meet many big animals, the orchids, birds and waterfalls guarantee a good day.
Best for: Karst scenery, adventure sports
Head to Railay in a long-tail boat and wade to the shore of this limestone-studded peninsula. Defy gravity with a rock-climbing scramble up a limestone peak overlooking sparkly seas. Kayakers and snorkellers will love to explore low-tide caves and peek at the marine life sheltered by the islands.
11. Ko Samui
Best for: Beaches
The palm-fringed beaches make Ko Samui a hugely popular island, but it is large enough for solo travellers seeking a quiet retreat. Whether you’re sun-seeking, hammock dozing, feasting or relaxing in a spa, Ko Samui has it covered. Devote yourself to sandy beaches, seaside yoga, world-class pampering and loads of people watching.
12. Ko Lanta
Best for: Beaches, snorkelling & diving
Once the domain of sea gypsies, Ko Lanta has morphed from a luscious Thai backwater into a getaway for visitors who come for the divine long beaches and nearby dive spots of Hin Daeng, Hin Muang and Ko Haa. Solo travellers will love the calm atmosphere and notable culture of the island.
How to Solo Backpack around Thailand?
Thailand has always been a haven for backpackers as it is easy and cheap to travel around this Southeast Asian country. Backpacker accommodation options are plenty on the ground, public transportation is easily available in most towns, and there are street food stalls offering cheap Thai food everywhere.
Below are some ideas to help you backpack around Thailand as a solo traveller. These tips will make it easier for you to travel around Thailand on a shoestring budget.
- The best way to backpack solo around Thailand is to base yourself in Bangkok and take day trips to nearby towns (Ayuthaya, Ko Samet, Khao Yai National Park, Erawan National Park, Kanchanaburi)
- Avoid travelling to Thailand between February and June which is their hot season and June and October which is their wet season
- Avoid travelling to Thailand during holidays (Christmas & New Year) as beaches are packed and prices escalate
- For best prices, book accommodation, transport and tours on the day or a day in advance
- Invest in maps to explore cities
- Due to intense competition in Bangkok, book your accommodation on the day and always ask for a discount
- Areas good for budget accommodation in Bangkok are Banglamphu, Chinatown & Phaturat, Thewet & Dusit
- Head to Soi 2, Th Naresuan (aka ‘foreigner street’) in Ayuthaya for backpacker accommodation
- Head to the street stalls in Bangkok’s Chinatown and food courts (like MBK Food Island) for a variety of cheap and delicious Thai food
- Night markets in most towns offer cheap dinners and is the best place to try local Thai dishes
- Look for busy food stalls filled with locals as a sure bet for cheap, fresh and delicious local dishes
- The cheapest and best way to get around Bangkok is on the BTS (elevated Skytrain) and the MRT (Metro). The Chao Phraya Express Boat is great for getting around the riverfront. Outside of rush hour, Bangkok’s taxis are a bargain; insist on them meter
- To get from Bangkok’s main airport to the city, take the Airport Rail Link which connects to the BTS
- Thailand’s train system is an easy and affordable way to get from one town to another. Book in advance for overnight journeys
- Buses are the cheapest way to travel around Thailand, but are less convenient, reliable and comfortable
- Purchase tickets a day ahead from local bus stations to avoid unscrupulous agents
- Minivans to and from Bangkok is another great way to travel around Thailand as a solo backpacker
- Hiring a cycle is a cheap and convenient way to travel around cities and historic ruins
- Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Lampang and Chiang Rai are the best places in Thailand for shopping
- Head to Chatuchak Weekend Market in Bangkok, one of the largest street markets in the world, for all things cheap
- Weekend bazaars in Chiang Mai, Lampang and Chiang Rai are great for local handicrafts at affordable prices
- Check with your hostel or guesthouse if they offer tours and excursions as they will often be cheaper than booking through a travel agency
- Walking tours are a great and cheap way to see the cities and attractions
- Buy a combined ticket to attractions in Ayuthaya to save money
- Head to massage schools and weekend markets for great yet affordable massages (Wat Pho Thai Traditional Medical and Massage School in Bangkok)
- Hire audio guides where possible to understand the history and background of the attractions you see. These will be cheaper than hiring a local guide
Is Thailand Safe for Solo Female Travellers?
Thailand is generally a safe country to visit, but it’s smart to exercise caution, especially when it comes to dealing with strangers and travelling alone. Single women travellers face relatively few problems in Thailand. As in most countries, attacks and rapes do occur, especially when an attacker observes a vulnerable target.
Tips for Solo Female Travellers to Thailand
- It is respectful to cover up if you’re going deep into rural communities, entering temples or going to and from the beach.
- If you return home from a bar alone, be sure to have your wits about you.
- Avoid accepting rides from strangers anytime, especially late at night.
- Avoid travelling around isolated areas alone.
- Keep Thai etiquette in mind during social interactions and do not flirt or lead Thai men on.
Solo Holidays to Thailand
Thailand is a well-established tourist destination which makes solo travel in Thailand easy and safe. However, if you prefer to travel on an organised, guided tour with a reputable travel agency who will organise everything for you, there are several tours that cater for solo holidays to Thailand.
Solo tours are a great way to travel to an overseas country. Not only does it take away the hassle of planning and organising your Thailand trip, you can rest assured that you are travelling in the safety and comfort of a group of like-minded travellers just like yourself.
For a list of solo holidays to Thailand, head to Thailand tours for solo travellers.
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