I have traveled Southeast Asia extensively and solo travel to Thailand was one of my unforgettable experiences. In this post, I will share with you everything you need to know about solo female travel in Thailand.
📮 Reader Mail: Hi Trisha, thank you for allowing us to send you a message and leave comments on your blog. I love all your solo travel tips and stories. I hope you’ll allow me to ask one more question.
I am planning to do a solo travel in Thailand this winter. I’ve seen on your Instagram that you have been there a lot. Can you just give me an idea on what to expect? Tips? Tricks? What do I need to know before I go? I love how you are so honest about safety so I would like to know that about Thailand, too.
Thank you so much for all the work you do and I hope to come across you in this lifetime. I really want to just hug you and say thank you in person for inspiring women like me to travel alone.
– Charlotte Wilson, Australia
Thank you for following this journey. And I am glad you are taking the steps to travel on your own. Although my solo travel blog is NOT only for women, I particularly love it when girls decide to take a leap and travel on their own. This is amazing news and you should be proud of yourself!
Yes, I have done solo female travel Thailand many times and at different stages of my life. My first time there was when I was still a University student (probably not even 19 years old!) and I’ve also had some shares of my adult life there.
I will try my best to tell you everything about solo travel to Thailand but note that if you need anything else that concerns trip planning, please feel free to look at all my Thailand articles and see what is relevant for your trip.
For now, let’s focus on the important things and the basics: what do you need to know when planning a solo travel to Thailand? Good luck and may the force be with you!
- 10 of my favorite authentic Thai food places in Bangkok
- The digital nomad guide to Koh Phangan, Thailand
- Living in Surat Thani, Thailand: life as an expat in the city of good people
- Cheapest destinations to travel solo in the month of September
- Top 20 destinations for solo travel in Asia
- 32 solo trip ideas recommended by the female pros
🙋♀️ What’s solo female travel Thailand like
Let’s start with a story. Having spent 19 years of my life in the Philippines, solo female travel Thailand was not strange to me. I had zero fear as it was a familiar terrain.
I never had to worry and my parents also approve of me traveling by myself to Thailand. They did not have any issues (but they would have issues in other countries I traveled solo to).
I already knew Thailand was safe, even for solo female travelers so I went on a journey and went backpacking in Thailand. And the best part is, you don’t even have to go with a plan.
You landed on this blog because you probably need help in planning your solo travel to Thailand and don’t know where to start. But the first thing I need to tell you is even if you arrive in Thailand alone, you’ll never be alone!
I remember the first day I arrived at a hostel in Bangkok. I paid US$12 for the night and had very minimal experiences on staying in hostels. I am not a picky person but what matters most for me is knowing people from different walks of life and that’s pretty easy when you are traveling alone.
After checking-in, a group in my hostel room was going to have drinks. At first, I thought they were all traveling together (because it looked like that) but I found out they just met in the hostel!
I immediately connected with these people and I went out for drinks with them. From there, one thing led to another and I ended up so drunk that night because I did not have dinner. I literally left the hostel with them after I checked in.
I still have many more stories about Thailand because I stayed for many months. I stayed with local families and did volunteering to cut on travel costs.
You will find many resources on how I did those in Thailand but first, I want to continue by giving you a few things that you need to know about solo female travel Thailand:
Catcalling in Thailand is different for male and female
Okay, solo male travelers reading this, do not skip this because this concerns you as well. But let us start with the gay culture in Thailand, aka, the Thailand ladyboys.
Gay tourism in Thailand is so prevalent and many travelers are going to Thailand specifically for this. If it’s your first-time in Thailand, you may not be able to identify who are the ladyboys or not.
But bear in mind that if you are a straight guy, you will be catcalled by the ladyboys. They’re trying to make a living but they meant no ham.
Kathoey or katoey is a Thai term used by the transgenders and ladyboys in Thailand as their gender. It can be an effeminate gay men or a transgender woman. In Thailand, Kathoey is considered a separate sex.
There are many incidents in Thailand where straight men get into fights with ladyboys because they are pretty aggressive. They can casually grope you in the balls or just do something inappropriate.
I always tell male travelers I meet on the road to just ignore the Thailand ladyboys or simply just don’t make eye contact. Just pretend they do not exist instead of engaging with them. It is tiring and can be annoying.
Ladyboys can get a different signal and they would be so much interested in bugging you when you do as little as smile at them. I know as a solo traveler, you want to be polite in a country that isn’t yours but with ladyboys, do not engage at all costs if you don’t want them to go after you.
But if ladyboys are your interest, please, by all means, do whatever you want an engage! Ladyboys is a big part of the Thai culture and lucky for me, as a woman, even if I interview them or take pictures with them, they won’t really bug me because I am a woman.
Now let’s move on to the ladies: catcalling is almost non-existent in Thailand. At least in my experience, I was never catcalled in this country.
I know this because there are so many countries where you can feel catcalling so much that it ruins your trip (i.e. Egypt, Morocco hustlers, etc). In Thailand, I never had this experience.
🗒️ Editor’s Note: Trisha traveled to Thailand solo pretty often from 2012 so expect the photos in this post to be from different times. Some pics are really old but our editorial team decided to share with you those times in Trisha’s life so you’ll fully understand why she keeps traveling to Thailand on her own.
Women need to cover themselves when visiting temples
Covering is not an issue for me since I have traveled to countries where it is pretty mandatory even if you’re not going in a temple (i.e. Iran). But despite tourism boom in Thailand, it is still a religious country.
Thailand is a tropical country so when I traveled there, I did not really consider this. I did not pack anything with sleeves and forgot that I have to bring at least one long skirt.
The good thing is shopping in Thailand is cheap and the heaven of Chatuchak Market saved me from this. If you find yourself visiting a temple and you didn’t read about proper clothing beforehand, there are sarong rentals within the temples.
Women cannot touch monks in Thailand
When I first heard about this, I was like, “who would plan to touch a monk?! Why would one do that?! More so, why would you be interested in doing that?”
A friend of mine reminded me that I still grew up in Asia where touching is so weird so I will never think about it. Asians have space issues – we won’t really do it even with our families.
But little did I know that many tourists do it and I was really shocked! Actually, this religious rule is more for the monks. However, as many tourists touch monks or want to have a close encounter, it has looked like it’s a rule for tourists more than the monks.
There are also some temples in Thailand that don’t allow women to enter and they literally put a “no lady” sign outside.
Anyway, it’s a basic respect for their culture so as visitors, we women should not touch monks (not even as little as shaking their hands or half an inch close to them).
Tampons, condoms and products for women
When I first wrote this post years ago, tampons were pretty hard to find in Thailand. As I was young, I didn’t want to go through it and explore tampons in a foreign country I didn’t know.
I also wasn’t sure if tampons or condoms are offensive words to them, as it is in most conservative Asian households. I grew up in Southeast Asia so I know these things about culture.
Many Asian countries have difficulties in buying condoms or tampons because they are already very uncomfortable with saying it. Back then, these things have not been normalized.
But now, you can buy tampons and condoms everywhere without particularly going to Tesco. Normal convenience stores sell them and it is not easily accessible.
FYI, contraceptives are super cheap and Thailand is known for it. Many Asians travel to Thailand just to hoard birth control pills because they are so expensive (and semi-banned) in some Asian countries.
Locals can speak English
This is only true if you are doing the touristic spots but if you are to go off-the-beaten path (i.e. stay with a local family in a non-touristic area, they do not speak English.
If you are only in Bangkok or Phuket, there isn’t a lot of language barrier and you will be able to navigate your solo travel without knowing the Thai language.
Thai people are warm and welcoming
… and are particularly very helpful and friendly to Western travelers. Despite the language barrier, I’ve observed how the Thai people try their best to explain things to me.
Even if we’d both end up with hands in the air in frustration, they will not stop until they are able to help you. The Thai people are amazing and one of the warmest cultures in the world even though they are still conservative and religious.
💃🏽 Why solo travel to Thailand?
Everyone loves to travel to Thailand and in all my solo travel writings in this blog, I always recommend it as the top destination, especially for first-time solo travelers. Here are some of the few reasons to visit Thailand alone:
Massages are super cheap!
The first thing you will recognize when you land in Bangkok is the crazy rows of massage chairs on the street. Sukhumvit Soi 22 is one of the most famous areas of massages in the city.
You can get a massage here for as low as US$7. Thai massages are strong and the ladies who will do your massage might be tiny but they are very powerful!
For me who gets regular massages at home, this is such a treat especially since I travel solo to Thailand all the time. I can even do massages every day if I want – it is such a privilege!
Street food carts with Michelin stars
The Michelin star status is an award given to the best restaurants in the world but it is not very easy to get. Many fancy restaurants around the world strive hard to get just one star but in Bangkok, there are many street food stalls with Michelin stars!
Food is the top important thing for me when traveling and Thailand has such a unique culinary culture, you won’t run out of options! Here are some of the worthwhile Michelin star street food to visit in Bangkok:
- Jay Fai (1 Michelin star): for the best pad thai in your life (from US$14)
- Go-Ang Pratunam Chicken Rice (Michelin’s Bib Gournmand): best chicken rice in Bangkok (from US$3)
- Guay Tiew Mu Rung Rueang Tung (Michelin’s Bib Gournmand): Guay Tiew is a hot Thai chicken dish and this restaurant serves different types (from US$3)
It’s an easy terrain
Most solo travelers and backpackers in Thailand do the same route in traveling around the country. The bus system of Thailand is designed to travel all over the country with ease.
It will be easy to get to points A to B since Thailand has an improved transportation system for travelers, especially those who are traveling the country continuously.
Even if you have no idea how to get to where you are in another place, there will always be a traveler in your hostel or someone you meet on the way that will go the same route as you.
I’ve made so many friends by taking busses in Thailand alone. It is safe, fun, efficient, and cheap!
So many things to do
I have many itineraries on this blog about Thailand but let me tell you about my travel style: I volunteered and slowly traveled to Thailand so I did not really have a timeframe for my solo travel in Thailand.
I went whenever I feel like it and visited tourist attractions without pressure. Now, if you are traveling solo to Thailand with a time restriction, here are some of the best Thailand tours to take:
- Khao Sok Safari (3 days): departs from Phuket, Surat Thani, or Krabi (from US$545)
- Bangkok to Angkor Wat Cambodia (3 days): go cross-country from Bangkok to Cambodia (from US$400)
- Chiang Mai Mea Wang Adventure (3 days): bamboo rafting including a stay in the local Karen Village where you will spend one night with the tribe people (from US$136)
- Tuktuk adventure through Northern Thailand (11 days): visit all the most beautiful spots of Northern Thailand on a tuktuk! A tuktuk is an auto rickshaw and is the main mode of transportation in Thailand. You will love this tour and you can even drive the tuktuk! (from US$1,680)
- Thailand Highlights (18 days): visit Thailand on a guided tour for 18 days! This is the best of the Thailand tours where you don’t need to think about anything! (from US$1,700)
- Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai (4 days): travel the two most iconic destinations in Thailand where you will see a rich temple culture (from US$441)
💰 Solo Travel to Thailand: is it expensive?
Well, as solo travelers, we always have to pay the full price (compared to splitting hotel costs when you’re with a partner). The good thing about Thailand is that it is cheap!
Below are some of the basic costs in Thailand for solo travelers:
- Bed in a dorm: from US$12
- Hotel room: from US$35
- Street food: from U$2
- Meal in a restaurant: US$5
- Fastfood (Mcdonald’s or similar): US$6
- Beer in a pub: US$3
- Cocktail in a downtown club: US$9
- 11-day expedition trips (all in): from US$1,700
- Monthly ticket public transport: US$28
For a full view of costs, ATMs, money exchanges, or if you can use USD/EUR in Thailand, see my Thailand travel budget guide.
✨ Solo travel to Thailand safety tips
Thailand is safe but…
There are still some areas, for example, in Bangkok where you shouldn’t wander alone. What are these areas, you might ask? Think of dark alleys and neighborhoods that are not frequently visited by tourists.
Avoid areas that you do not know, especially if you are on your own.
Don’t take drinks from strangers
There are many incidents in Southeast Asia where drinks are spiked with bad elements and I really can’t enumerate what those “elements” are. It could be anything.
Even if you don’t take drinks from strangers, also watch your cup/beer bottle whenever you are drinking and don’t let it out of your sight.
Don’t surrender your passport
If you are renting a motorbike in Thailand, many will ask for your passport as collateral but tell them you don’t have it and give them your driver’s license instead.
Do not bring your passport when going out and make sure you have a locker/safe in your accommodation to keep your passport. You will only need your passport in Thailand if you are flying.
Do not take drugs at all costs
You can enjoy your solo trip to Thailand without drugs. It is unnecessary. Focus on doing adventures instead of wandering around trying to buy drugs.
Thailand (and most of Southeast Asia) has a very notorious penalty if you are caught with drugs. You can be imprisoned in Thailand for up to 10-20 years, and pay a fine of US$2,000 – US$133,000 depending on your situation or the substance you are caught with.
✈️ Ready for your solo trip to Thailand? This blog thrives on reader questions so if you need more information about solo travel in Thailand, leave a comment below and I will try my best to answer them for you!
🇹🇭 Thailand Travel Resources
- ✈️ Cheap flights to Thailand: Use the code PSIMONMYWAY to get a 10% discount upon checkout on WayAway! This is what I use to find cheap flights.
- 🚑 Thailand Travel Insurance: SafetyWing is the best. I only pay US$40 per month and this is very convenient for those who are traveling to Thailand for an indefinite time.
- 🚗 Thailand Rental Cars: Rent a car and go around Thailand for only US$35 per day (credit card required for car deposit). Check prices at Rental Cars Thailand.
- 🚌 Thailand bus transportation: traveling to Thailand by bus is pretty common. Use BusBud Thailand to find the best routes and prices online.
- 🧭 Thailand Tours: find 100+ things to do in Thailand, day trips, and tours on Viator Thailand. Tour prices start from US$15.
- 🛏️ Thailand Hostels: backpackers and young travelers, you can stay in a dorm bed in Thailand for as low as US$25! Check Hostelworld Thailand for the best rates.
- 🏨 Thailand Hotels: there are many nice hotels in Thailand for as low as US$35 per night (private room). Check Booking.com Thailand for the best deals!
- 🏖️ Thailand Resorts: many islands in Thailand have resorts. You can find an all-inclusive stay from US$125 on Expedia Thailand.
- 🏠 Thailand Airbnb: planning to stay in Thailand for a longer term? There are many Airbnbs, apartment rentals, and vacation homes available on Agoda Thailand.
- 📧 Thailand Updates: subscribe to our newsletter and get honest and transparent updates about Thailand. NO SPAM. NEVER.
Trisha is one of those people who left their comfortable life to travel the world and learn about life. Her style is to stay in one place she likes for 3 months (or more) to know what it feels like to eat, cook, speak, and sleep in another culture that isn’t hers. She’d like to believe she’s not traditionally traveling but she just chooses to be somewhere else all the time. In no particular order, her favorite cities in the world are Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong, Mexico City, and Tel Aviv.