Thinking about solo female travel in Thailand? I’ve been living here since 2014, I moved here alone and often travel solo around Thailand and I think it’s a fantastic place for female solo travel. I think South East Asia generally feels safe as a solo traveller and I felt much safer travelling alone in South East Asia than other countries like Sri Lanka and India.
People’s initial shock of finding out that I love travelling alone is often replaced with either a look of awe, confusion or pity. I feel that travelling alone as a female should warrant none of these reactions, but there we are. Maybe, slowly, we are changing these norms. So read on for my solo travel tips, particularly geared towards single travellers coming to Thailand and/or South East Asia.
First Solo Trip in Thailand
If it’s your first solo trip, then I can’t recommend Thailand strongly enough. I think Thailand is one of the best destinations for solo female travel, especially for first timers going it alone. Thailand welcomes millions of travellers every year and so things are well set up for travelling around that it feels very easy and convenient. I did my first solo trip to Koh Chang in Thailand 3 years ago and since then I have visited many Thailand destinations and other places in Asia solo as well, such as Indonesia, Sri Lanka and India.
Is it safe for single female travellers in Thailand?
I cannot speak for everyone but I have always felt confident enough travelling solo here. Thai people are extremely helpful, crime is not common and there are so many backpackers around that it is easy to meet people. I have had unpleasant incidents here, all of which could have happened and have happened in other countries as well. I feel the main concerns that we worry about when travelling solo are crime, scams, feeling lost or not in control and for me personally, sexual harassment, assault and rape.
Solo Female Safety: Accommodation
For me this is one of the most important factors of making sure I feel safe when travelling solo. When in a group or with a partner, I have been very relaxed about accommodation and not always booked in advance. I love the feeling of just showing up somewhere, negotiating a price, and finding a place to sleep for that night. However, when I travel alone, I always book in advance. I always choose accommodation that is in the main area/street so that I won’t be walking alone at night time. I prefer staying in hostels as it’s so easy to meet people but have also booked beach bungalows for myself before and made sure that these are along the main beach area. I book using Agoda or Booking and read reviews to see people’s comments about location and how convenient it is for other places. I always take a card from the hotel so that I can show it to people or taxis to help me get home.
Solo Female Backpacker: Transport – Trains
Night trains were one of my big concerns when travelling alone as you hear horror stories and I wanted night train travel in Thailand to be a good experience and not feel too worried or scared to sleep. Luckily, I always feel really safe on night trains in Thailand. Book a top bunk as I feel these are harder to access and always go second class, that way you are in a compartment with lots of other people – not just 3 people in your own cabin. I always feel there is safety in numbers. I normally chat to the people near me and get to know them and I sleep with my little backpack with my valuables near my head. I love ones about this size and think they are great for travel, you check them out on Amazon.
Read here for my 20 travelling essentials for Thailand.
Single Female Safety: Transport – Taxis
Unfortunately Thailand has a terrible record for road safety, but not much we can do about that. If you’re lucky, your taxi will have a seatbelt. If there is nothing to plug the seatbelt in to then just loop it around your body. My top tips for taking taxis in Bangkok would be to always ensure they go on the meter. It’s illegal for them not to but they will try anyway. Always sit in the back seat, never in the front. If you’re travelling alone in Bangkok then taxis can be very convenient but keep your guard up. I’ve been harassed by two taxis drivers in three years here and when I told people everyone asked me if I was sitting in the front. I wasn’t but apparently if I had I would have been asking for it. People’s attitudes suck and so do some taxi drivers but don’t let that stop you from living your life or enjoying your holiday. In Bangkok, many taxi drivers don’t always know where they are going so keep your phone out to check where they are going via GPS. Sometimes they are trying to scam you, but more often than not, I find they just don’t know the quickest route. Have your money ready so you can get out the moment the taxis pulls up. Some people feel safer using Uber but I have my doubts of whether that is really safer given recent news articles.
Travelling Thailand Solo Tip: Don’t be too polite. If you feel like a guy is being over-friendly, close down the conversation, avoid looking at him and get out of the taxi at the nearest busiest place. 7/11 convenient stores can be good as there are many of them and they are open 24 hours a day.
Solo Backpacker Safety: Transport – Night Buses
Super cheap and super cold, night buses are a very useful way of backpacking around Thailand. I frequently take them alone and have rarely encountered any problems. I keep my valuables nearby and try and get a seat downstairs. Large backpacks will often be stowed under the bus so keep all your valuables with you. I often loop an arm or a leg through my small backpack so that I might wake up if someone tried to steal it. Night buses can arrive in the early hours of the morning to random destinations so make sure you get off at your stop (the conductor can tell you) and know where you’re going if you are off the beaten track a little bit. You can book buses here for discounts. These buses are the tourist ones which depart from Khao San Road.
Solo Traveller Tips: Transport – Boats and Ferries
Generally speaking, Thailand has a good reputation for sea safety and I have rarely felt scared. That said, some ferries depart early in the morning which has left me with needing to be at a pier at 4am when it’s still dark. In these situations I try to make sure I’m staying near the pier so I can get there easily.
Travelling Solo: Walking
Walking around at night time in Thailand I have rarely felt afraid. I think there are often many people around, even late at night and I live on a main road in Bangkok. I always use a crossbody bag with a zip like this one to make it harder for someone to grab it. I feel that walking confidently can give you the appearance of knowing where you are going (even if you don’t) and can make you less of an easy target (just a personal feeling).
Single Female Traveller: Money & Documents
Thailand is a developing country and the minimum wage here is 300 baht a day. I have found Thai people to be extremely honest and I have friends who have even had expensive smart phones returned to them. However, I still think it wise to not flash around a lot of cash. I keep cash in various different places when I’m travelling and separate it into different purses or bags.
You should always carry a copy of your passport with you in Thailand. Many people don’t, but if you ever had a run in with the police then this is useful to have on you.
Safety in Thailand Information:
Emergency Police Number 191
Tourist Police (eg for scams) 1155
For more useful information for travelling Thailand, read this post
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