One of the best ethical animal experiences you can have with marine life in Thailand is to go whale watching. Wild Encounter Thailand run amazing boat trips to experience whales just an hour from Bangkok. This makes it one of the top day trips to do from Bangkok and a must do for anyone who loves the ocean and seeing marine life in Thailand.
Information about seeing whales in Asia – Thailand
Where to see whales in Thailand?
You can see Bryde whales in the Upper Gulf of Thailand. The boat leaves from Samut Sakorn province, approximately one hour from Bangkok, making this one of the best day trips from Bangkok to experience.
When to see whales in Thailand?
The best time of year to go whale watching is between the months of August-October when the whales are feeding regularly in the Gulf of Thailand. They come here for the anchovies and mackerel.
What kind of whales can I see in Thailand?
Bryde whales are some of the biggest marine mammals in Thailand and can be seen here every year. Bryde (pronounced Bru-da) whales can reach up to 16metres long and live up to 60-70 years old. They are generally solitary animals but may come together for mass feeding events. Mothers and calves are seen together fairly often.
Why are they called Bryde whales?
They are named after a Norwegian man who used to hunt them. No comment on why he gets a whole species named after him.
What are the whales doing so near Bangkok?
The Bryde whales are often feeding, which is an awesome sight to see. You can also see these Thai whales swimming and on both my trips I was lucky enough to experience mothers and calves.
Where is the pick up spot?
Pre-covid Wild Encounter Thailand would run minivans from Bangkok to Samut Sakorn but during covid times we took a taxi there independently.
Who runs the trip?
Khun Jirayu with Wild Encounter Thailand. He is extremely knowledgeable about the whales and many other animals and birds too. I am looking forward to my next trip after December to see Irawaddy dolphins!
Practical Questions about Whale Watching in Thailand
What is the boat like?
At the time of writing, Wild Encounter Thailand use a medium size boat. It has an air conditioned cabin in the middle with seats and coffee and water facilities. Two toilets at the back of the boat and viewing areas from the front and on the upper deck in front of the captain’s cabin.
What are the timings of the trip?
Our day trip to see the Bryde whales started from 8am in the morning and we arrived back at the pier at 3.30pm approximately. This did not include getting from Bangkok to the pier in Samut Sakorn.
The whale watching day trip includes lunch on the boat, we were offered various choices a few days before our trip, including vegetarian and vegan options.
Is the whale watching in Thailand child friendly?
Yes, there were families on our boat.
Are life jackets provided during the boat trip?
Yes we were informed during the boat briefing where life jackets were stored, including for children.
Can I swim with whales in Thailand?
Short answer, no. The whales are some distance from the boat and the visibility in the water is extremely poor so there would be no point in swimming with the whales as you would not see them!
Might I get seasick on the boat?
While I personally did not feel seasick, one of my friends did when it was a little choppy. The water generally is calm but if you are prone to seasickness then this could affect you. The boat often stops to observe the whales so can rock during this time. Seasick pills were provided on board.
How much does whale watching cost?
At the time of writing we paid 2500 baht per person with a discount for being vaccinated. We also took an antigen covid test before boarding which was 200 baht. It was a DIY kit and we had the option to do before arriving if we wished to source our own test.
What to wear to go whale watching?
The boat is comfortable and does have AC if needed. I would wear appropriate clothes for hot, tropical weather and take a light jumper as it can get windy. It can also be very sunny and hot so I recommend a cap and suncream.
I think whale watching is the best activity to do in Thailand and encourage others to experience the whales too!
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.
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
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Koh Life website this is actually a friend’s transport agency that he started last year and it’s going really well so far! They have tons of buses and ferry links on the decent VIP buses (think proper reclining seats and no TV blasting at you all night like some other buses I’ve been on!). They will be adding trains soon. You can get discounts for multiple bookings and group tickets.
www.thaiticketmajor.com also has bus ticket bookings for all of Thailand. I find the website is not that navigable and buses leave from different areas around Bangkok so make sure you know where the departure station is.
Thailand Useful Links: Transport- Flights
I usually find a great deal for domestic flights with either Air Asia or Nok Air. I always use Skyscanner to compare prices.
Thailand Useful Links: Transport- Taxis
I always just use meter taxis but I know some people are a fan of Uber and Grabtaxi. I’ve found both of these to usually be more expensive, but the benefits are taxi drivers with a GPS who will know where they are going!
Thailand Useful Links: Accommodation
I usually compare Agoda and Booking.com to find the best deal for accommodation.
Thailand Useful Links: Events Information
Facebook is a really useful tool for finding events happening in the area and various bars and clubs advertise special events on here.
If you’re looking for cycling tour then I definitely recommend https://www.covankessel.com/ as I have done several of their bicycle tours around Bangkok. I think they are good value for money and the guide provided has always been very knowledgeable.
For other tours I recommend using local tour agencies around Khao San area or through your hotel, Ask around to make sure you are getting the best deal.
None! I honestly find weather forecasts to be extremely inaccurate as the weather here is very unpredictable! The best advice I can give is to keep your options open and your travel plan flexible so you can move around if the weather turns bad.
Thailand Useful Links: What to Pack
People often ask me what they should bring out to Thailand so I wrote these two blog posts, aimed at backpackers or flashpackers.
As always the Bible for travellers is often Lonely Planet or a similar brand. I have find the Thailand one extremely useful and also Southeast Asia on Shoestring. Buy your own copy on Amazon here. I don’t recommend Kindle versions and this is one book where I would rather have a real, paper edition!
I always try and buy the latest version but old versions are dirt cheap and can still be useful for the planning stages of your trip.
Learn some Thai with a Thai phrasebook. I have this and it was very useful when I first arrived here. Definitely get a phrasebook with a CD or MP3 version as Thai is a tonal language and so you need to be able to hear the word to reproduce it. Buy your copy here.
Thailand Useful Links: This Blog!
I’ve got tons of information from itineraries to transport, from wildlife to diving and the top islands to visit. Click the links below.