Solo Travel in Thailand
Can there ever be an easier country to travel around? If you’ve never experienced solo travel in Thailand before then this country should be your first port of call. The people are incredibly friendly (it’s not called ‘The Land of Smiles’ for nothing) and there are so many travellers here following the same routes that you’ll be looking for those hidden gems to escape the crowds.
Solo travel in Thailand is so easy as the country is geared up for tourism and because of its reputation for great beaches and partying, the country tends to attract a younger crowd of traveller. It's so easy that we've given it 4 out of 5 stars.
However, there is Thai Mafia on the islands, and places such as: Koh Samui, Phuket, Pattaya and Chiang Mai have rip off industries protected by the police so don't argue with a local if you get overcharged. If you respect the culture, don't dress provocatively and avoid the beaches at night – you'll have an amazingly cheap time.
Below is our guide to how to travel solo in Thailand as well as lots of practical information such as where to stay, which tour company to use and how to get around. Find out how to get from the airports and what to do in each place. All companies included have been recommended by solo female travellers and come with our Solo Female Friendly endorsement. Just choose the relevant section or read the full article.
- Places To Visit in Thailand
- Accommodation in Thailand
- Thailand Tours
- Travelling Around Thailand
- Thailand Itinerary
- Best Time To Go To Thailand
- Travel Insurance For Thailand
- From Thailand Airports
- Thailand Border Crossings
- Frequently Asked Questions About Thailand
- Map of Thailand
- Plan a Trip To Thailand
Places to Visit in Thailand
Service with a smile, delicious cuisine and white pristine beaches, this country literally has it all, whether you’re into your sun-worshipping, hill tribes or Buddhist culture, the Land of Smiles will definitely not disappoint. The country is no stranger to tourism and is continuously evolving. With the cost of living so low you are guaranteed to be treated like a queen.
The capital, Bangkok is one of Asia’s most exciting and culture shocking cities. It’s busy, polluted and incredibly humid but it does have the Temple of the Golden Buddha, the River Kwai and markets galore from night bazaars to the floating kind (Wat Sai). Tuk tuks whizz around the streets and are a cheap mode of transport but make sure you hold on tight. You can also hire them as a guide to take you around the city.
Khao San Road is a mecca for travellers and if you’re in need of some company head for this well-known street with everything you need from guest houses, tour operators, bars and restaurants. When the crowds get too much treat yourself to a famous Thai massage (which isn’t as relaxing as you may think) or a treatment from one of the many beauty parlours.
Head south from Bangkok and you’ll find the undisputed sex-tourism capital of the world, Pattaya known for tacky neon bars and Go Go girls. As women travelling alone we prefer the more luxurious hideaways of Hua Hin or Koh Kood to escape the crowds.
The beaches in southern Thailand are every cliche under the sun and there are so many to choose from especially along the Andaman Coast. If you only go to one beach in Thailand make it Railay Bay a stunning part of the peninsular with a turquoise blue lagoon that is only reachable by boat.
Patpong in Phuket is probably the liveliest area but if you want somewhere quieter choose Karon Beach which is close enough to venture into the hot spots at night. You can take a tour from here to James Bond Island in Phang Nga Bay and visit a Gypsy Fisherman Village on the way.
From one movie set to another; Maya Bay just off Ko Phi Phi was the setting for the film The Beach and is as stunning as it is in the movie (if not a little different). Ko Phi Phi itself is a bustling little island with cafes serving western food as well as Thai and has movies playing all day long. You definitely won’t be short of company here.
Travelling solo in Thailand means you can island hop to your heart's content making the most of the stunning Thailand beaches, although the overnight boats leave a lot to be desired. Surrathani is the gateway to two of the most popular islands, Ko Samui and Koh Phangan.
If you’re into the party scene, Koh Phangan holds regular full or black moon parties at Koh Som where you can dance barefoot in the sand to hedonistic beats. Haadrin beach is full of travellers and you’ll find many solos here.
Just a boat ride away is Koh Samui, the largest of the islands with palm-fringed beaches and a lively party scene. There are quieter parts of the island which cater for couples and singles. Bo Phut is great for those wishing to escape from it all in a beach bungalow with waves lapping at your door.
Chaweng beach is the most touristy with Thai kickboxing, party dwellers and a beach that stretches for miles. You can do a day trip from here to Koh Tao, one of Thailand’s favourite dive spots.
Best Places in Thailand for Culture
There’s more to Thailand than its beaches, nightlife and fresh barracuda. The country is drenched in Buddhist culture and is dotted with stunning temples and palaces. Nakhon Pathom is the oldest city in Thailand and has the tallest Buddhist monument in the world but the most stunning has to be the White Temple of Chiang Rai in the north which borders neighbouring Burma.
Ayutthaya was once the nations’ capital and was ranked as the most magnificent city in the Orient. Nowadays it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with cultural shows and too many temples and palaces to count.
There really is no better way to meet Thailand’s indigenous people than on a hill tribe trek, staying overnight with the tribes. Head north to Chiang Mai, the largest city in the north and the gateway to tribal treks, and bamboo rafting.
It is Thailand’s second largest city with its own night bazaar and Sunday market and is home to the Crystal Buddha and the underground Tunnel Temple. (Don’t forget to try Thai cuisine from the street vendors, it’s just as good as the restaurants and much cheaper). Chiang Mai does get smoky in March each year due to the farmers burning their fields to get ready for the crops.
Avoid The Tourist Places in Thailand
Many travellers come to Thailand each year and stick to a particular route. To avoid the masses, head to the north for rural tranquility in Surin, Ancient Khmer ruins in Buri Ram or Nong Khai for great river views of the Mekong (opposite Laos). The East has idyllic, isolated beaches but get there quick before they are properly discovered.
Sustainable and eco tourism are growing in Thailand especially in Chiang Mai and Koh Chang and the country has numerous national parks, waterfalls and heritage sites. See the Thi Lo Su waterfall for its beauty or the seven tiers of Erawan and take a dip in its freshwater pools. Visit the National Parks of Doi Inthanon, home to Thailand’s highest peak or Khao Sok National Park, one of the best in Thailand.
Visit Koh Chang for solitude or Rayong with its coastline of quieter less developed beaches. In the south a quiet escape can be found on the long coastline of Chumphon or visit Trang for the Emerald Cave and waterfalls in a peaceful forest setting.
Adventure in Thailand
Thailand also caters for the adventurous traveller with watersports, trekking, rafting (in the North), cycling, rock climbing (Krabi is the best spot) and even bungee jumping in Pattaya, Phuket, Ko Samui and Mae Rim. There’s a reason it’s called ‘Amazing Thailand’ because it literally is.
If you visit on a government holiday, tuk tuk drivers may try and take you to government shops in exchange for free fuel. Just be firm on where you want to go.
Thais don’t seem to know the meaning of health and safety and boats can get very overcrowded.
Be careful with your drinks in the tourist areas as drinks have been known to be spiked.
Accommodation in Thailand
From huts on the beach to staying in a hotel fit for Thai royalty, whichever accommodation you are looking for you will find in true Thai style. You won’t find many houses on stilts in paddy fields or cheap beach huts bookable on the internet but you will be able to book lavish hotels in Bangkok and spa resorts on the beach.
There aren’t many hostels in the beach areas but you’ll find them in Bangkok, Surat Thani, Phuket, Hua Hin and Chiang Mai on Booking.com. Plus there’s Airbnb which connects you to unique travel experiences and isn’t just limited to staying in a local’s spare room. You can save $20 off your first stay with this Airbnb link.
Homestay is an alternative to Airbnb. They connect you to hosts in over 160 countries and give a real home stay experience instead of just handing over keys. In Thailand they offer a unique mix of stays offering a real taste of Thailand such as staying in a riverside traditional Thai house, or home stays in the forest and nature of Chiang Mai. You can even video call your host family before you go to find the perfect host. Check homestays and prices here
All of the accommodation below have been recommended by solo female travellers from our Girls about the Globe community and come with a Solo Female Friendly endorsement.
Just a 15 minute walk to Koh Sang Road, and 20 minutes to the temples, this super stylish hostel is on a quiet street with a nice rooftop. They offer daily activities as well as bike hire and have a 24 hour reception so you can arrive into Bangkok on a late flight and still be able to check in. The rooms are clean with comfy beds with your own personal curtain for more privacy. All of the rooms have balconies with a view. Choose from the 8 bed female-only dorm or a mixed 4, 6, 8 or 12 bed dorm room.
- Prices start from £10 for a 12 bed dorm per night
- To book, check prices or availability for Once Again Hostel
Cheap, bright and impeccably clean, D-Well Hostel is a great choice for solo females. There are large lockers to store your bags, air-conditioning within the rooms, and also an ATM onsite. Breakfast is included but there’s a cafe next door too if you get peckish later. Choose from a 4 or 6 bed mixed dorm, a 6 bed female-only dorm.
“The people are super nice, the prices are good and there's female only dorms etc. They were also very happy to help me book in for different activities. It's clean and modern and 10/10 would recommend!” – Kelsey Nineham, a 19 year old solo traveller from South Africa.
- Prices start from £9 for a 6 bed dorm per night
- To book, check prices or availability for D-Well Hostel
Chiang Mai – Mad Monkey Hostels
This hostel is great for solo female travellers. It’s really sociable and ideal for party GatGs with regular parties and events so it’s easy to meet others. There’s a swimming pool, a bar, gym, and even a yoga room to unwind after a night out. It’s close to the temples and main attractions and the hostel arranges tours and activities to ensure that you make the most of your time in Chiang Mai. Choose from a 6 bed female-only dorm: a 6, 8 or 12 bed dorm, or a double room with your own bathroom.
- Prices start from £6 for a bed in a 12 bed mixed dorm room
- To book, check prices or availability for Mad Monkeys Hostel
Clean, comfortable and close to the pier, Casa Luna is on the island of Koh Samui, away from Chaweng Beach. The lounge is oh so Thai with comfortable cushions and good food. Run by an English couple, the hostel has a great atmosphere with lovely staff to match. Accommodation is within a 10 bed mixed dorm room.
- Prices from £7 for a 10 bed room per night
- To book, check prices or availability for Casa Luna Hostel
Literally just one minute walk from the beach, Slumber Party hostel is the place to stay if you want to socialise. The staff are really helpful and they organise activities and tours every night so you can do as much or little as you choose. They do have two hostels so if you want to party they take you to Slumber Party 1 where the bar is. Choose Slumber Party 2 for the beach. Stay in a 6, 8, or 10 bed mixed dorm room, all with air conditioning and fans.
- Prices start from £10 for a 10 bed dorm per night
- To book, check prices or availability for Slumber Party Ao Nang Beach
This hostel will make you feel right at home. The location is good and it’s close to the street food but they do have a hostel cafe with tasty desserts and coffee. The owner is really friendly and accommodating (and prepares a great breakfast). There’s a peaceful garden to chill out in and because the hostel isn’t too big, it’s easy to meet other guests. Choose from a 6 bed dorm or a private deluxe room with your own bathroom.
“I can fully endorse Carrot on the Moon hostel. The service was great and the free breakfast was amazing.” Ashley Christensen – a 34 year old solo traveller from the U.S.
- Prices start from £6 for a 6 bed dorm
- To book, check prices or availability for Carrot on The Moon Hostel
Solo travel in Thailand is really easy with many tour companies in the country but if you feel more comfortable in a group for either part of your trip or the whole duration, G Adventures is a responsible tour company which mainly caters towards budget travellers. Most tours have an average of 10 people and there is no upper age limit.
Once you book your trip you pay extra for any excursions you want to do when you’re there. Adventures range from a 4 sailing trip from Phuket to Koh Phi Phi to a 24 day Thailand encompassed trip. There’s even a 41 day trip through Malaysia and Indonesia. I have personally used G Adventures and recommend them as a solo female friendly company.
Intrepid Travel is similar to G Adventures with an average of 12 people on each tour. Over 50% of people using their trips are solo travellers. They tend to use hotels instead of hostels and have a more comfortable style of accommodation hence the trips can appear a bit more costly than G Adventures. Their tours range from a 2 day Bite-Size Break Bangkok to a 35 day Indochina Unplugged trip through Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.
With both tour companies you share a room with someone of the same gender or you can pay extra for your own room.
For local tour companies, the following have been recommended by solo female travellers.
Viator – If you prefer day tours, Viator has a plethora to choose from. As a TripAdvisor company each tour is handpicked and pre-vetted to make such you get the best experience. From exploring Bangkok by bike to sightseeing temples or exploring the River of Kings or explore Bangkok by bike you find something for any kind of solo.
Other recommended day tour companies:
- Chai Lai Sisters is a women-led trekking company which offers ethical tours such as hilltribe treks and cultural immersions.
- Elephant Nature Park – This elephant park in Chiang Mai saves elephants from back-damaging tourist rides, circuses, and those who have been injured by land mines. Enjoy a forest walk with the elephants whilst learning about their behaviour.
- Asia Scenic Thai Cooking School Chiang Mai – This cooking school teaches you not only how to cook amazing Thai cuisine but also to learn about Thai culture.
- Visit.org offer sustainable tours whilst giving back. Choose from caring for puppies and kittens, to a walking tour of Bangkok, or cacao farming, knowing that your tour proceeds will go towards helping cacao farmers, animals welfare or the local community.
Travelling Around Thailand
Travelling in Thailand is very easy. Local tour operators are everywhere to book your travel through the country and any onward tickets. Head north on overnight trains (from Bangkok to Chiang Mai takes 13 hours), and south on air-conditioned buses (journeys are up to 8 hours).
Ferries and overnight boats take you to the islands; motorcycles, taxis, tuk tuks and overland trucks pick you up in towns and cities. In Bangkok use the skytrain or even a boat. You can fly to some of the islands if you don’t have time to travel overland. Read here for domestic airports.
If you want to try driving, to hire a car we recommend pre-booking car hire with Avis so you can collect your car when you arrive at the airport.
To see the major destinations or travel overland to Malaysia you’ll need around a month but experiencing the country as a holiday can be done in less depending on which areas you visit. In 12 days you can visit Bangkok, Chiang Mai and the southern beaches. These recommended itineraries include our favourite islands where you are guaranteed to meet others.
One week itinerary (heading north)
Bangkok – 3 nights, Ayutthaya – 1 night, Chiang Mai – overnight train or fly – 2 nights (plus overnight train), Pai – 1 night. Back to Chiang Mai, then Bangkok.
One week itinerary (heading south)
Bangkok – 3 nights, Koh Pha Ngan (from Surat Thani) – 2 nights, Ko Samui – 2 nights, Ko Tao – Day trip, Fly back to Bangkok from Ko Samui.
10 day itinerary
Bangkok – 3 nights, Krabi – 3 nights, Railay Bay – 2 nights, Koh Lanta – 2 nights.
Two week itinerary
Bangkok – 3 nights, fly to Phuket – 3 nights, Koh Phi Phi – 2 nights, ferry to Koh Lanta – 2 nights, ferry to Krabi – 2 nights, fly to Chiang Mai – 2 nights, fly back to Bangkok.
Best Time To Go To Thailand
Thailand does have rainy seasons where it can rain for hours. The monsoons technically start from May to October but you can still find a few hours of sunshine. If you are hoping to catch some rays it’s better to avoid these months but that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy yourself if this is the only time that you can go. The seasons can change slightly and it may rain in the evenings so you can squeeze half a day on a beach.
As a rough idea, The best time to go to Thailand is March to May for the south, and November to December for the north.
Thailand is very humid and the capital is always hot and humid. The best time to go to Bangkok is January. Below is the weather chart for Bangkok from January to December. Click this link to find the weather for the destinations you are travelling to.
Travel Insurance For Thailand
Thailand is a great country to explore but the health and safety isn’t up to the standard that you may expect at home. If you are planning a trip to Thailand, travel insurance is definitely recommended especially if you are planning on taking a hill-tribe hike, long tail boat rides or snorkelling and diving.
I recommend True Traveller for UK and European residents, and World Nomads for U.S. and worldwide citizens. Both companies allow you to buy insurance when you are already on the road, and offer different plans depending on your coverage needs including additional adventure packs.
Bangkok: Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) – It takes 30 minutes to the city by airport rail link which leaves every 30 minutes and takes you to Phaya Thai for the Skytrain. There’s also a commuter line which stops at all stations. Trains cost £1.00. Buses operate from the airport to Ratchadamnoen Avenue and take one hour, costing £1.00. Taxis are really reasonable and can be booked on the first floor. The desk will ask your destination and write the name in Thai to hand to the driver. Public buses run from the second floor but there is no direct service to Khao San Road.
Bangkok: Don Mueang Airport (DMK) – Buses run between DMK and the MRT/BTS station and take up to 55 minutes. Trains also run and cost £3 for the hour journey instead of £2 for the bus. A taxi will cost £8. * There is also a free shuttle between BKK and DMK airport.
Chiang Mai – From Chiang Mai Airport you can take a bus which takes 11 minutes to the Chiang Mai City Art & Cultural Centre and costs £1.00. A taxi is quicker and costs £5.
Phuket – The bus from Phuket Airport takes 1 hour to Central Big C and costs £2.00. Taxis only take 30 minutes but cost at least £20 for the journey. If you are on a budget take the bus option.
* Check Rome2Rio for your airport journeys.
Feel more confident with someone waiting for you at the airport when you pre-book a transfer with Hoppa, a reliable and safe service for solo females.
Thailand Border Crossings (check visas before you travel)
If you’re travelling on a round the world ticket, Bangkok can be used for the neighbouring countries of Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Burma which can be reached overland. Thailand can also be twinned with: Korea, Middle East and the Maldives with Thai Airways, Bangkok Airways or Air Asia.
Thailand To Malaysia – Hat Yin is just a few hours from the border where you get a minibus to Penang. Krabi is a good last stop as minibuses go from here to Hai Yin, or catch a boat from Satun to the island of Langkawi.
Thailand To Myanmar – Cross from Mae Sai at the northern tip but check the latest advice before you go as border crossing information can change.
Thailand To Laos – There are several crossings but one of the most popular is Nong Khai, which crosses into Vientiane, the capital of Laos. You can travel from Bangkok to Nong Khai which takes approx 10 hours or cross at Chiang Khong into Huya Xai but you will need to pre-arrange your visa here.
Thailand To Cambodia – From Bangkok it’s 3 hours to the Aranyprathet border crossing to Poipet.
Where can I go from here?
Cambodia – 1 hour 25 minutes
Burma – 1 hour 30 minutes
Laos – 1 hour 30 minutes
Frequently asked questions about Thailand
- Can I drink the water? No.
- Is tipping expected? No but 10% is appreciated.
- Fixed price or barter? Barter.
- Any ATMs? Yes and lots of money exchanges.
- Which side of the road do they drive? Left.
- Good for vegetarians? Yes.
- Any seven wonders of the world? No.
Map of Thailand
Plan a Trip to Thailand
If you are ready to plan a trip to Thailand here are some useful links to help you plan your trip including airlines which fly there, where you can volunteer and eco accommodation.
Budget – £20 a day
Capital – Bangkok
Population – 63.5 million
Language Spoken – Thai. English is widely spoken.
Best Time to Go – March to May for the South. November to December for the North.
Did you know? Thailand has many homestays for authentic experiences with the local people
Soi Dog Foundation in Phuket rescue and rehabilitate street dogs and dogs from the illegal meat trade. It's an awesome facility with a great volunteer network and is very hands on. It doesn't cost any money to volunteer, you just need your own accommodation as they offer transport.
Mind Body & Soul
- Solo Travel in Cambodia
- Solo Travel in Laos
- Solo Travel in Malaysia
- Solo Travel in Asia
- 24 Hours in Bangkok
- Finding Myself in Thailand
- Volunteering With a Female Empowerment Non-Profit