Thinking about solo travel, but can’t figure out where you should go? That is the dilemma of many a traveler. After all, the world is a big place. Those of us who have trouble choosing just one dish off a restaurant menu have an even harder time narrowing down travel choices when the world is like an all-you-can-eat buffet. If there’s one thing I’ve picked up over the past few years of reading other travel blogs, it’s that most budget travelers make Thailand a stop on their world tour. Today’s guest blogger, Catherine Bodry, explains why.
If you’re contemplating your first solo travels and need a country that will help you ease into it, consider Thailand.
There are many reasons why Thailand is a great country for solo travelers, especially those who haven’t traveled on their own before. Here are a few.
It’s set up for travelers
That means you can catch a bus directly from Bangkok’s main airport to many of Thailand’s hot tourist destinations. Travel desks are set up with destinations listed, and you can walk right up and buy a ticket. For me, sometimes the biggest stress of traveling alone is the frustration of trying to figure things out. I hate feeling like an idiot, trying to communicate with someone through a plexi-glass ticket window at a public bus station while others hover in line behind me. In Thailand, you can take out that embarrassment factor simply with the ease of travel.
Though I never recommend taking buses from the backpacker neighborhood that surrounds Bangkok’s Khao San Road, taking buses that leave from other tourist destinations (such as the airport, the train station, or booked through your hotel’s concierge) almost guarantee that you’ll find folks who are on a similar itinerary as you. In fact, sometimes when I’m on a tourist bus I feel like I’m part of an all-adult summer camp, one that takes place on incredible beaches.
Accommodation is cheap
Low prices mean that if you want to be alone, you don’t have to break your bank to get your own room. There’s nothing worse than a sweaty dorm room when all you want is to have some solo time. Furthermore, if you’re looking for a social atmosphere, plenty of hostels are around; you can even book a private room at one and enjoy the social benefits of hosteling without the dorm room.
Activities are aplenty, and also cheap
I’m one of those people who likes to be alone without being alone. I prefer to write in a coffee shop instead of my home, simply to be around people. Thailand caters to me with a myriad of activities and cheap classes and tours, which means that I can spend an afternoon or entire day being around other people without committing to travel together or even be friends. Cooking classes, yoga classes, massage training, elephant riding, jungle trekking – really, your options are almost limitless.
Thailand is safe
Of course you should always use common sense, particularly if you’re a solo female traveler. But I’ve never felt threatened or seen any acts of aggression against tourists in Thailand. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen, and (nonviolent) theft can be quite common in heavily touristed areas, but in general you’ll be left alone. This will come as a breath of fresh air to any woman who has traveled solo in, say, India.
Thailand is an excellent way to ease your way into solo travel in Asia. It’s forgiving, gentle and easy, allowing you to get off the beaten track as much or as little as you like. Happy trails!
Catherine Bodry is the writer at WhyGoThailand, where you can book your trip and get tips for traveling by bus in Thailand. Almost all of her trips to the Land of Smiles have been solo, and she wouldn’t have it any other way.
Photo credit: Catherine Bodry.