Full Moon Party Koh Phangan – Thailand

Where is the Full Moon party?

While many Thai islands claim to have a Full Moon party, the original Full Moon party location is on Haad Rin beach in Koh Phangan. Koh Phangan is one of my favourite Thai islands and not only because it is home to the famous or infamous Full Moon beach party. The North of Koh Phangan has a wild and rugged beauty and you can stay in both budget, mid-range or luxury accommodation on this island.

When is the Full Moon Party in Thailand?

Once a month during the Full Moon. For details for the Full Moon party 2019 and 2020, see this website for updated Full Moon dates and schedule http://www.fullmoonparty-thailand.com/schedules.html. The Full Moon is not the only party that Koh Phangan has to offer so if your holiday dates do not coincide you can consider joining a Black Moon, Half Moon, Waterfall party and many more party options.

The best places to stay for the Full Moon party on Koh Phangan

I have now been to 6 Full Moon parties and stayed in various budget to luxury accommodation in Koh Phangan. It’s possible to stay on Koh Samui and take a boat to Haad Rin for the Full Moon party but personally I love Koh Phangan more than Koh Samui so I’d rather stay on the party island!

Where to stay for the Full Moon on a budget

The cheap hotels in Koh Phangan tend to be in the North of the island, approximately 40 minutes drive to Haad Rin beach, where the Full Moon Party is held. If you want to be away from the action and in a quieter area, I definitely recommend staying somewhere like SeaBoard bungalows, where I stayed with friends on a previous trip. It’s cheap, the bungalows are spacious and beach is lovely and inviting. Unfortunately there is no swimming pool but we spent all our time in the sea anyway! Check out Agoda for more prices and availability.

Lucky Resort – click for prices

My sister and I stayed here a while back. It has incredibly cheap, basic bungalows (approximately 300 baht/9USD/8GBP) for two people, a pool and a small rocky beach. I definitely recommend this budget accommodation for the party if you are a backpacker but want somewhere as cheap as a hostel but your own room! It’s in the North so factor in a 200 baht songtaew (Thai style truck with two rows of seats) ride to and from the party.

Where to stay for the Full Moon Party – mid-range to luxury hotel on Koh Phangan

My new favourite accommodation on Koh Phangan is the amazing Divine Comedie. Located 20 minutes from Haad Rin by song taew (Thai truck), you are able to walk to the Challenge Koh Phangan, Infinity Hostel for a pool party and drinks and is a short 10 minute ride from the main jetty – Thong Sala pier.
This boutique hotel has unique designs inside, a rooftop hammock, pool with views of Koh Samui, a bar inside the pool, amazing food, a long beach outside (not ideal for swimming though as it is like a small lagoon area with lots of sea urchins!). Click here for more reviews, pictures and prices
Views from the hotel
This place has all the views

How much does the Full Moon Party cost?

Be wary of Full Moon Party ticket scams. I have seen many websites advertising Full Moon Party tickets costing 1000+ baht! This is just not true. The Full Moon party in recent years has started charging 100 baht for a ticket and will give you a band upon entrance. Drinks are mainly in buckets and cost around 150-300 baht depending on your alcohol of choice. There are food stands along the beach and down the roads to help you pace yourself with your partying!

What to expect at the party?

Up to 30,000 people partying on a beach, fire shows – dancers and fire jumping ropes, a lot of dirty backpackers, neon paint everywhere, drunk people everyone, people having sex in the sea, people pissing in the sea, alcohol and food stands, dancing from 10pm-6am, roped off sleep areas for those who can’t quite make it until sunrise, a giant slide from the top of one of the bars, magic mushroom mountain at the end of the beach, a range of music from different stands along the beach and a night you may or may not remember!

What to wear to the Full Moon Party?

Most party-goers believe less is more at the party and I can’t say I disagree. I love painting and being painted in neon paint because you don’t get many opportunities to behave like an idiot in other areas of life. Last Full Moon I attended, I aimed for a sea theme…check out my drunkenly painted whale shark? I usually wear closed shoes because my friend stood on glass once during the party and almost ended up with blood poisoning! Many party-goers do go barefoot but it’s a personal choice of whether to risk it or not! Looking for more advice on what to wear and what to bring to Thailand – read this post.
Body painting at full moon party
Drunken shenanigans and marine life art…

Should I take my phone to the Full Moon Party?

I know what I am like and therefore I always leave mine at home and cheekily rely on others for photos.

Staying safe at the Full Moon party

Keep your valuables in a locked safe in your accommodation. It’s a night that thieves know everyone is out so hotels/hostels are more likely to get broken into.
Check the seal on all spirit bottles before the bartender opens the bottle to make sure it is legit alcohol and not a backyard brew!
No sex or any other shenanigans in the sea… people are pissing right next to you and I don’t even wanna contemplate what STIs you could catch from that!
Don’t swim in the sea if it’s rough. There was a very sad incident in which a tourist drowned in recent years so please avoid the sea if there are big waves.
My friends and I always arrange a meeting place when we arrive in Haad Rin as it’s very easy to become separated.
Full Moon party has always been linked with taking drugs. I’m more a fan of the Thai rum!
Do not ride scooters drunk and be aware other people will be drunk driving so I would never personally get on a scooter on Full Moon party night. There are always many accidents, including fatalities.

Do I have to stay a minimum of 4 days for accommodation booking?

Absolutely not. This is one of the hostel/hotel scams where they try to insist tourists stay and pay for a minimum of 4 nights. I have been many times to the Full Moon party staying in Koh Phangan on my weekends off from working in Bangkok so I can assure you this is not true. Most places in Haad Rin will try and insist on this. I know that Fellini Home does not insist on staying a minimum number of nights and it is possible to book in for one night. Therefore I think this is one of the best hostels to stay at for the Full Moon party – check out dates and availability here. Any accommodation outside of Haad Rin should not insist on this so make sure you are not being taken advantage of if you do not have the time to stay longer!

How to get to the Full Moon Party from Koh Phangan?

To travel to Haad Rin from other areas of Koh Phangan, your hostel or hotel can arrange a group songtaew (truck). It will cost between 100-200 baht one way depending on where on the island you are staying. For returning after the party, songtaews will wait until they are full before setting off so patience is often needed as you wait for party-goers to join.

How to get to the Full Moon Party and Koh Phangan from Bangkok?

To get to Koh Phangan from Bangkok I recommend flying to Surathani, bus and then the ferry. Alternatively take a night bus and then the ferry which can get you on the earliest boat and arriving by approximately 10am. You can book tickets for the faster Lomprayah bus + catamaran here, and on this travel Thailand website and alternatively you can use this Thai website. Bear in mind buses booked on the last website depart from different places in Bangkok as these are not tourist-only buses. Do not expect buses or ferries to arrive exactly on time – This is Thailand!
Koh Phangan also boasts the dive site of Sail Rock – check out here for more information about diving in Thailand
Koh Phangan is one of the best islands in Thailand for parties and for nature and beaches. Read my reviews of other Thai islands to help you decide where to go and where to visit- here.
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Best cheap diving in the Maldives – Fuvahmulah Island

Cheap Diving in the Maldives – Fuvahmulah

Having relocated to a tropical Maldivian island in 2018, I couldn’t wait to experience diving in the Maldives. I had heard many amazing stories about the best dive sites in the Maldives and I was so excited to explore local islands, instead of diving on a resort island where I live. 

My first diving trip was in April of this year to the Southern island of Fuvahmulah (pronounced a bit like Formula with stress on the ‘la’!). I was diving with marine biologists, dive instructors and divemasters, some of whom have over 800+ dives to their name and we all agreed it was the best diving we had ever done! Fuvahmulah is nicknamed the ‘Galapagos of the Maldives” and it is not without reason. In three days of diving, we dived with oceanic manta rays, whale sharks, tiger sharks and thresher sharks, staying in budget accommodation and paying a cheap price for diving the Maldives. It is no surprise that Fuvahmulah and neighbouring island Addu are being considered by the government as future biosphere reserves. Read more about that here. 

pin on pinterest scuba diving the maldives

Fuvahmulah – best island in the Maldives for cheap diving?

Fuvahmulah is an island and its own atoll, located in the South of the Maldives. The population is approximately 15,000 people and it is known as the only atoll to have one island. It is a local island, not a resort island and therefore Maldivian laws and customs are more applicable here than in resort islands. As on all local islands, alcohol is prohibited and you cannot wear bikinis on the local beaches. However, I did feel Fuvahmulah was one of the more relaxed places I have visited and I felt comfortable wearing whatever I wanted and wearing bikinis on the dive boat was not an issue.  Fuvahmulah is not a well known tourist destination in the Maldives, although it is becoming increasingly popular for its dive sites and marine life.  

Marine Life in the Maldives, particularly in Fuvahmulah

Fuvahmulah is host to a huge range of marine life. In season, you can scuba dive with oceanic manta rays, thresher sharks, tiger sharks and whale sharks. It is also possible to see hammerhead sharks as well as other sharks like oceanic white tips and silver tips at different times of the year and depending how lucky you are! I feel we saw more megafauna in 3 days of diving than most people see in a lifetime!

 

Cheap diving in the Maldives with tiger sharks
Cheap diving in the Maldives with tiger sharks in Fuvahmulah

How to travel to Fuvahmulah from Male, Maldives

Fuvahmulah island is located in the deep South of the Maldives, so you can fly to Fuvahmulah from Male, the capital. The journey takes approximately 45 minutes. At the time of writing, two airlines with a few flights a day fly from Male to Fuvahmulah. While the diving can be cheap, the flights aren’t always so compare different airlines to find a better rate, try Maldivian airline and Fly Me. Manta Air are a new airline with more connections likely to come soon.


Where to stay in Fuvahmulah

Because it is not a well developed tourist destination, Fuvahmulah budget accommodation is limited to a few options. We stayed in a fairly cheap guesthouse Calyx Grand (click here to view) that I would definitely recommend. It was lovely – clean and spacious and the staff were helpful. Much better than I had been expecting considering it was one of the cheaper hotel options! We had a work permit discount for hotels in the Maldives but for a tourist rate please check with the individual hotels. We asked our Maldives dive centre for a morning pick up as it was a short truck ride to the harbour. I would also suggest staying near the harbour as a good option so that you can be close to the dive centres and dive boats.

Booking.com

 

What dive school to choose in Fuvahmulah

There is a well known dive centre called Fuvahmulah Dive School (FDS) who we considering going with as we had many good recommendations. However, we chose Fuvahmulah Tiger Dive  as we booked through a friend and got very cheap dives because of this. One thing I recommend is asking if the dive school gets big group bookings. Some of the diving can be with big groups of Chinese or Indian divers and you may be expected to join dives with one of these large groups. We travelled as a group of 6 divers and therefore requested our own dive guide which was perfect for us. 


Cost of Diving in Fuvahmulah

Fuvahmulah is one of the cheapest places for budget diving in the Maldives – which makes no sense because the diving is so incredible! Expect to pay upwards from $40 per dive depending on how many dives you are planning to do and if you have your own equipment. As usual with diving packages, the more dives you book, the cheaper the cost of diving.  It is also possible to book Maldives diving package deals, with flights, accommodation and diving all organised for you. However, it is cheaper to book flights, accommodation and diving separately. It is also cheap to dive and travel to Fuvahmulah if you have a Maldives work permit as there are big discounts available.

Cheap diving in the Maldives with oceanic manta rays
Me admiring an oceanic manta ray while scuba diving on a budget in the Maldives


Best Dive Site in the Maldives

We spent most of our 8 dives on the same plateau, a dive site called Farikede, about 15 minutes from the harbour by dive boat. In terms of the marine life, I think it must be one of the top dive sites in the Maldives! We had approximately 30 oceanic manta ray sightings, 26 of which the amazing Manta Trust team managed to ID for us and we added 22 new mantas to their database. Read here for more about Manta Trust and the work they do. We also saw 3 whale sharks, one of whom was new to the Maldives Whaleshark Research Programme and we got to give her a name. On our last day we scuba dived with the biggest whale shark I have ever seen (approx 8-10m) and 2 thresher sharks. The dive site depth ranges down to about 40m and we saw oceanic manta rays near the surface from the moment we jumped from the boat, all the way down to 40m.  The marine life here seemed extremely curious and many of these sightings I would deem encounters, as the mantas and whale sharks seemed just as interested in us as we were in them. Many of the mantas and 1 curious whale shark circled us several times, looking and trying to work out who we were. We wonder if we may be the first humans they had ever seen? 

Cheap diving in the Maldives with whale sharks
A curious whale sharks circles us during one of our dives in Fuvahmulah


Maldives Diving Boat

We scuba dived from a slow traditional boat, Maldivians call a ‘Dhoni’. We were very happy with this as I don’t enjoy diving from speedboats. The boat returned to the harbour after every dive so you can have breaks on land in between dives. Personally we preferred staying on the boat as long as possible and requested to do so after we had ordered snacks from the local cafe near the harbour. Not paying for a liveaboard or an expensive speedboat also kept the diving cheap.  Click here for my recommendations of what to take on a dive boat. 

Cheap diving in the Maldives with tiger sharks
Big fans of our dive boat


The best time to dive the Maldives – when to dive in Fuvahmulah

Diving is possible year round in Fuvahmulah. However, most people agree that diving between November and April is the best season for diving because of the chances of oceanic manta rays, whale sharks, thresher sharks and hammerheads. In rainy season, from June onwards the sea gets rough but the chance of hammerheads increases. The tiger shark dive is available year round because they are fed. More on that to come.


Restaurants and Places to eat in Fuvahmulah

We loved Real Breez restaurant because of the large balcony and good food. Everyone enjoyed the local food and also the Indian cuisine. The cafe by the harbour we also ate at and it serves good local food. We all got obsessed with Kottu Roshi – I definitely recommend trying this Maldivian twist on the traditional Sri Lankan dish. If you’re vegetarian make sure you say so and make it very clear that being vegetarian includes no meat and no fish as vegetarians are still a relatively new concept to the fish-heavy Maldivian diet. 

Maldives Local Island Travel Tip: Be prepared to wait a LONG time for food. This is not a resort island and we often had to wait over an hour (occasionally 2 hours!) for our food to appear. I recommend adapting to the slower pace of island life and also don’t wait until you are hungry to find a restaurant!


Things to Do in Fuvahmulah

  • Visit Thondee – a large pebble beach on the island which includes a nearby restaurant
  • Visit the lakes – Fuvahmulah is unusual because it has freshwater lakes. You can visit and kayak or pedalo one of the lakes as part of Fuvahmulah Nature Park.
  • Go to Addu – take the boat to Addu – somewhere I would like to go in the future as we didn’t have time.
  • Hot Spring with Mud Baths – near one of the lakes

Maldives Liveaboard Diving

It is possible to dive on a liveaboard around Fuvahmulah. As I haven’t dived on a liveaboard I cannot comment on the experience. I will say that we loved being on the island and as the dive sites are all located near the shoreline, it was not necessary to pay for a luxury liveaboard when we could stay in a cheap guesthouse and do budget dives. 

Night Diving in the Maldives

Most dive centres do not offer night diving for safety reasons. The currents can be strong and I’d rather not meet a tiger shark at night time!

Have you visited Fuvahmulah yet? How was your experience? Have you found any other islands for cheap diving in the Maldives? I welcome any recommendations for future affordable dives here in the Maldives!

Interested in diving in South East Asia? I spent 4 years living in Thailand diving all around South East Asia so click here for my list of the best dive sites!

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Best Diving in South East Asia

 

Having been scuba diving in various countries around Asia, I am often asked where is the best place to scuba dive in South East Asia. Taking into account countries like Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines, here are my top scuba dive sites and the marine life you can spot during the dives such as sharks, manta rays, whale sharks and turtles. The following places are the best dive sites in my personal experience and I can’t wait to add more to the list. Consider these top diving destinations when booking your next scuba diving trip for some impressive underwater adventures.

Best Diving in South East Asia: Indonesia – Scuba Diving in Komodo National Park

scuba diving with frogfish komodo national park

To this date, Komodo remains the most exciting and awesome place to scuba dive that I have been so far. Healthy, brightly coloured corals and a whole range of marine life from manta rays, to sharks to turtles and macro life, Komodo has such an incredible underwater world. After a holiday trip here, I decided to do my divemaster course here and enjoyed every dive. There are strong currents so it’s a great place to improve your skills. You will be expected to pay extra national park fees whenever you enter Komodo National Park whether it’s for scuba diving or snorkelling trips.  The most impressive dive sites are probably Batu Balong which is always a clear favourite, and you will see why once you jump in the water, but also the North of Komodo for crazy currents and lots of sharks.

Best Diving in South East Asia – Best place to dive with Manta Rays in Nusa Lembongan

manta ray in nusa lembongan indonesia scuba diving

Indonesia is one of the best countries to scuba dive in, both for learning to dive, like doing the Open Water course and also for the diversity of marine life you can see there. Nusa Lembongan boasts manta rays all year round and you would be extremely unlucky not to experience a dive or even a snorkel with a manta ray there. It also has some enjoyable drift dives and some dive sites with fairly healthy coral and a lot of frogfish!

Best diving in the Philippines – Thresher Sharks in Malapascua, Cebu

scuba diver waiting for thresher sharks in malapascua cebu philippines

If, like me, you are a shark addict then definitely head to Malapascua, Cebu in the Philippines to dive with the thresher sharks. There’s an extremely high chance of seeing these 3 metre long sharks at around 25 metres so this is aimed for Advanced divers or those who have completed a deep dive speciality. The tails are so impressive and I’ll never forget the early morning experience of kneeling in the sand at the bottom of the sea being circled by these amazing thresher sharks.

Best place to see whale sharks in Thailand – Richelieu Rock and Koh Bon, Thailand

Whale shark at richelieu rock in Thailand

Scuba diving Richelieu Rock is arguably one of the best places to dive in Thailand. Not far from the Similan Islands or Koh Similan off the west coast of Thailand, it has lovely purple corals and a fairly good chance of whale sharks when in season. You can only visit during dry season, approximately October to May as this area and the Similan Islands are closed over the monsoon period.

For more Thailand Scuba Diving tips check out this blog post

Best diving in the Gili Islands, Indonesia – “Turtle city”

scuba diving with green turtle in the gili islands Indonesia

For those seeking turtles, head to the Gili islands off of Bali and the dive site they nickname ‘turtle city’. I was told by my dive instructor that if I only saw 10 that was considered unlucky!

Scuba diving in Tulamben, Bali – World War 2 Wreck Dive – The Liberty Bell

angel fish diving wreck dive in tulamben liberty bell

One of the best wreck dives that I did in Bali is the Liberty Bell in Tulumben, close to Amed and the jumping off point to the Gili Islands. The wreck is a shore dive so I strongly recommend diving at sunrise as there were no other divers around when I did and these huge bumphead/humphead parrotfish circle around the wreck in a school.

Next up, I’m exploring the Maldives so read more here about the best diving in the Maldives/EVER!

For ideas and suggestions of what you should take on a dive boat click here

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Travelling Thailand: Your Health

Many travellers and backpackers can be concerned about their health when travelling to Thailand.  Having lived here for 3 and a half years I thought I would pass on some of my knowledge. Here is an assortment of health advice, travel tips and things to be careful about in Thailand.

Mosquitos in Thailand

Generally speaking Thailand is not a malaria area and there are risks only around the borders of Thailand with other countries. Most people do not need to take malaria tablets when visiting. However, dengue fever has been on the rise in recent years so I recommend covering up in the evening and using a strong DEET repellent. Buy before you travel here as it is hard to find strong DEET. I recommend this 50% one from Amazon.

Eating Street Food in Thailand

Street food is one of Thailand’s pleasures and I have never been sick from eating street food. It is cooked hot and fresh right in front of you. There are some stalls where cooked food sits around for a hours and I would definitely avoid these places, particularly if eating meat. If you get a bad stomach in Thailand, before reaching for the Immodium, I recommend trying charcoal pills from 7/11. They are not as strong and I find work much more effectively. I think it feels more natural and is less likely to bung you up for 3 days and then you continue to have the same problem later on. This is what the packet looks like and you can usually find them near the till in any 7/11. If you contract diarrhea in Thailand you will most likely become very dehydrated so I always use electrolytes from 7/11 and I swear by coconut water too. (Also useful for hangovers from buckets…see below!)

Having Ice in your Drinks in Thailand

I never had an issue for this, until it came to drinking 50 baht mojitos in Phuket…and then I was pretty ill for a week afterwards. Lesson learnt: if the alcohol is unreasonably cheap, so is the ice! Avoid things like this in Phuket. That said, I have been sick once from ice in 3 years here so I don’t think it is something to go fretting over.

Drinking Buckets in Thailand

From Khaosan Road to the Islands you will always find a cheap bucket of alcohol to drink. While some people might recommend avoiding drinking buckets in Thailand, if you want to lesson the hangover, stick with a spirit and a mixer in the bucket rather than any of the mysterious cocktail mixes that end up with you and your sister vomiting on the journey back to Bangkok (true story.)

Drinking Tap Water in Thailand

The tap water in Thailand is not drinkable. You can buy plastic bottles from 7/11 and refill them at drinking water stations for 1 baht. You can often find these on streets and in residential areas. That said, I always use the tap water to brush my teeth in Thailand and elsewhere and have never had any problems because of this. I’m probably wrong but I feel maybe it builds up some immunity??

Travel Sick in Thailand

If you are unfortunate enough to get travel sick like me, then I cannot recommend strongly enough these travel bands. I am not even sure how they work, I think they have a bead that presses on a  pressure point that is linked with nausea, but they really work. Whether travel sick in mountain roads like from Chiang Mai to Pai or seasick on a boat, these have really helped me. It might just be psychological but who cares if they stop you from vomiting right? Buy yours here. You can also buy seasick pills from most pharmacies in Thailand very cheaply as an extra back up.
Travel Thailand Tip: Ask to sit in the front of the minivan on long journeys. I also find I tend to get less travel sick on the big buses so I try to book them instead of a minivan if possible. You can book travel tickets using this website.

Colds in Thailand

Due to various establishments that blast the AC freezing cold in Thailand, I often find myself with a cold after staying in hostels or sleeping on night buses. Normally this isn’t a problem unless you want to go scuba diving and you cannot dive with a cold because you’ll be unable to equalize properly. Enter TIFFY tablets you can buy from any pharmacy or some 7/11s. They cost around 7 baht for 4 tablets and as these are not a strong tablet it’s no problem to combine with diving.
Night bus travel tip: Bring warm clothes. They really crank up the air-con over night and if you feel the cold easily you may feel freezing like me. For a complete packing list, follow this link here.

Vaccinations for Thailand

Do you need vaccinations to travel in Thailand? Before I came here, I was recommended to get Hep A, Hep B and typhoid. Every clinic seems to recommend different things but these are the ones that I got. I decided not to bother with the expensive rabies vaccine because if you get bitten you still have to go to the hospital, it just gives you more time and I figured I was never going to be that far away from an available clinic. I usually use the NHS website for advice about vaccinations in Asia.

Animals in Thailand

Stray dogs can cause alarm in Thailand and my best advice is to just stay calm and steer clear. Most dogs here I have found extremely chilled out and not remotely interested in humans. However, you always hear a few stories. I read it is best to not look threatening, to yawn and look relaxed and calmly walk past them. If you do get bitten by a stray dog, rabies is a concern here so immediately find a clinic. Even small islands like Koh Lan or Koh Lipe have doctor’s clinics who can administer the first round of PEP injections. After that you will need 5 more injections over the course of 6 weeks.

lopburi bangkok day trip
Monkeys in one of Lopburi’s temples. Watch out for monkeys as well. Some bite!

Pharmacies in Thailand

I have found many pharmacies in Thailand to be full of helpful, English speaking staff. You can generally find what you need and for very cheap prices. You can also buy antibiotics over the counter in Thailand but this is obviously a fairly controversial thing to do so read up about it first.

Hospitals and Healthcare in Thailand

Thailand has some fantastic international hospitals…and some less fantastic hospitals. As long as you have health insurance, I would always use an expensive international hospital. The staff there speak English (or will find you a translator) and have always dealt with me efficiently and swiftly.
Disclaimer 1: I’m a teacher, not a doctor.
Disclaimer 2: This page may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase I may receive commission at no extra cost to you.

Solo Female Travel to Thailand

Thinking about solo female travel in Thailand? I lived in Thailand for 3.5 years, I moved to Thailand alone and I often travel solo around Thailand.  Is it safe to travel Thailand alone? I think it’s a fantastic place for solo travel, particularly as a woman. 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.

Is Thailand good for solo travel?

Yes, absolutely. If it’s your first solo trip, then Thailand is a great place for first time solo travellers. 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, sexual harassment, assault and rape. While these incidents occur everywhere, I feel that there are some steps we can take to feel safe in Thailand.

Is Thailand Safe for Single Female Travellers – Where to stay when travelling solo in Thailand

For me this is one of the most important factors of making sure I feel safe when travelling solo particularly as I always do independent travel in Thailand rather than a package tour.  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 Travel in Thailand: Bangkok

Bangkok has been my home for 3.5 years and I can say it is one of the safest cities that I have visited. It’s a city that never sleeps so even if I come home at 4am from clubbing and enjoying Bangkok’s nightlife, there are always people around, streets are busy and the bustle of city life continues. The exception to this is down quiet “sois” or alleys in Bangkok. I therefore recommend staying in accommodation on main roads in Khao San backpacker area, or Sukhumvit road near crossroads where there are always people around.

photo of me alone in Bangkok

The Best Places for Solo Travel in Thailand

The the best solo travel destinations in Thailand (particularly for solo female travel) are Bangkok and Chiang Mai for city lovers. The best islands for solo travel are Koh Phangan, Koh Tao, Koh Phi Phi, Phuket and Krabi – Ao Nang because these are the main tourist destinations. They will always be busy with backpackers and tourists on holiday, they are easy to get to with multiple ways of travel. If you visit quiet islands, or smaller towns there will be less people around, they can be harder to get to and not so easy to find accommodation. I recommend meeting people in hostels and travelling with them to the quieter islands or smaller towns.

solo female travel picture on Thailand beach
Best islands for solo female travel

Is Thailand Safe for Female Travellers: 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.

Is Thailand safe for female tourists: 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 Advice: 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.

Is Thailand safe for tourists: 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 Travel to Thailand: 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.

Picture of an island from a boat in Thailand

How safe is Thailand for tourists: 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 from Amazon 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).

How to stay safe in Thailand: 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 my advice about your health in Thailand, read more here.

For more useful information for travelling Thailand, read this post

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Travel Blog about Thailand, South East Asia & the Maldives