Is Thailand a good solo travel destination, especially for women? What can you do in Bangkok as a solo traveler? What are the best tips for solo travel in Bangkok? All these questions, and more, will be answered in this post!
Thailand attracts millions of visitors every year. People just love how convenient it is to travel in the country. With its rich heritage and culture, not to mention the great food and the variety of things to do there, it’s no wonder millions of tourists visit it every year.
Like any other capital, Bangkok has lots of pollution and scams awaiting the clueless tourist. You will find the same in Manila or Saigon. However, I loved Bangkok; I went there before in 2011 and 2012, and in 2014, I lived there for four months, when restrictions on visa runs had yet to be implemented. I loved the city — its people, its attractions, and of course, the food.
Readers have recently asked me about my solo travel tips to Bangkok so I decided once and for all to write this post. While this is targeted to solo female travelers, it can apply to other tourists as well.
Arriving in Bangkok
Bangkok has two airports: Suvarnabhumi, the main international airport, and Don Mueang, the old airport now used by AirAsia. When you arrive via Suvarnabhumi and don’t have a lot of bags, skip the taxi and go by train instead.
Go down to the lowest floor of the airport, and you’ll find the Airport Rail Link which goes to Phaya Thai, one of the BTS stations in the city. Once in Phaya Thai, find the nearest BTS station to your hotel and you’re all set. You don’t even have to go down to street level.
If you have an AirAsia flight and find yourself in Don Mueang, there are shuttle buses right outside the airport. Turn right once you exit from the arrival area. You will be dropped off at Mo Chit station, and from there, you can go to wherever your hotel is.
Accommodation in Bangkok: Hotel or Hostel?
As a solo traveler, you need not worry about accommodations in Bangkok. There are lots! Prices vary, of course. In choosing where to stay, ask yourself: what’s most important for you? Is it location? Price? Facilities? Wifi? For safety purposes, prioritize location. If your accommodation is cheap but is far from the city or is in a bad neighborhood, it’s not worth it.
When I lived in Bangkok, I stayed mostly in hostels rather than hotels for budget reasons. At prices ranging from THB280 to THB350 ($8-10), they were a good deal. The location was excellent (I usually stayed along Silom Road), and of course, Wifi was also very good. More importantly, the variety of travelers staying there made sure I had company whenever I wanted to.
I have yet to write reviews about the hostels I’ve stayed in, but the ones I can recommend are We Bangkok (I know it sounds weird LOL) and Silom Art Hostel.
We Bangkok is best for those who want to meet other travelers. There are 8-bed dorms as well as 4-bed ones and it was almost always fully booked when I was there. It’s a 5-minute walk to the Chong Nonsi station and there’s a 7-11 right across the hostel. There are gyms and a spa nearby too.
Silom Art, however, is best for those who want a beautifully decorated hostel which is not crowded. It never gets full (I don’t think they even fill half of their capacity) and there will be times when you will find yourself alone in the 5-bed dorm room. Food-wise, it isn’t so convenient. The nearest 7-11 is a 10-minute walk and street food is a 15-minute walk going to the Sala Daeng station. The nearest BTS station is Chong Nonsi (a 10-minute or so walk).
I’ve made a lot of friends from my stay at HQ Hostel (10 minutes walk to Sala Daeng station) but the staff is not so friendly especially if you stay longer than a week (I don’t know why). Wifi connection wasn’t so good, and I had my credit cards stolen there as well, the only time it happened in my travels.
I loved it for its lobby though; it encourages interactions with others. I also liked its location and it had the best beds of all hostels I’ve stayed in.
The only hotel I ever used in Bangkok was the Kingston Suites Hotel along Sukhumvit Road (around THB2,000/$61). I loved it; my room was huge, the buffet breakfast was very good, and they also have a gym and a pool, although these were located next door, in their sister hotel’s property. It’s around 5 minutes from Nana station, but they also have a shuttle that can take you there.
Check out other Bangkok hotels via Agoda.
What to Do in Bangkok
Whether you only have a day or a month in Bangkok, there’s always plenty to see. Get the basics over and done with in the early part of your trip; go visit the Grand Palace, Wat Pho, and Wat Arun during sunset. There are over 400 temples in the city, so if you’re into temples, you’d definitely get your fill. Here are seven of the best temples in Bangkok, according to CNN.
If you’re into shopping, of course, check out Chatuchak Market. It has thousands of stalls selling everything from clothes and shoes to paintings, books, home wares, and absolutely anything you can think of. They’re open only on weekends, so make sure to go there early (like 8am) as it gets hot and crowded later in the day. If you’re buying wholesale, there are couriers inside the market that can take care of shipping for you.
Want something more interesting? Head to Phloen Chit station where you can walk for 7 minutes to the Chao Mae Tuptim shrine, aka the Fertility Shrine (aka the Penis Shrine) where you will see hundreds of phallic objects.
If you’re into Thai food (and who isn’t?), you can take the Taste of Thailand food tour, which is a guided tour of Bangkok’s street food. Sure, you can just go and buy street food anytime (as I did), but it’s nice to hear of some background and see locals’ places as well.
You can also take cooking classes, if you’re really into food (I took a cooking class in Sangkhlaburi though), or use a site that connects you with locals and share a meal with them. Whatever you decide to do, it would be worth it. Thai food is the best for me, and I could never have enough of it!
If you’re into fitness, you would love Bangkok. There’s just so many options there, from lots of gyms to yoga, CrossFit, and other fitness classes. I used the CrossFit10500 box near Silom (5 minutes to Chong Nonsi station) for three months and loved it. It started my love affair with CrossFit.
I also went a lot to Lumpini Park to run and join aerobic classes (for free). The outdoor workout stations at the park are also either free or charge very minimal rates (something like THB20).
Want to watch the latest English movies at half of the usual cost? Head to Terminal 21 or Siam Paragon on Wednesdays, it’s only THB150 ($4) then. On other days, the cheapest would be from THB250. Wednesday movie days were my favorite time in Bangkok.
Day Trips From Bangkok
If you’re staying for some time in Bangkok (say, more than 4 days), I highly recommend you take a day trip to Ayutthaya Historical Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. I went there twice, once on my own in 2012, and the second time with a group in 2016. Check out my post!
Go to the Hua Lamphong station in Bangkok, and from there, you will find trains going to Ayutthaya which can take around 2 hours. Once outside the station, follow the people going down to the river and cross to the other side. From there, rent a bicycle for the day and just go from one temple to another.
There are LOTS of temples in Ayutthaya, so just choose where you want to go. (A must, of course, is Wat Mahathat.) Pick up a brochure/travel guide beforehand from any major BTS station in Bangkok, it’s free.
Some tips: bring sunscreen, water, and a cap or a hat as it can get VERY HOT in Ayutthaya. When I was there, I had to stop at a 7-11 to buy sunscreen. Also, rent the bicycle on the other side of the river, not at the train station’s side. I did that, and I had to lug the fugg’n bike down to the boat and up again.
Scams to Look Out for in Bangkok
Sure, there are scams, but they’re easy to avoid if you do advanced reading beforehand. A common one is going to the Grand Palace where a tuktuk driver will tell you that it’s closed. It happened to me when I went there in 2011, but having read of it beforehand, I wasn’t victimized. I highly recommend just walking to the Grand Palace from the river, it’s not that far.
Male travelers, I think, are more at risk from scammers, especially those who are taken in by the beauty of Thai women and ladyboys. The Ping Pong show in Patpong Road is very well known. You go in a bar wanting to see women play ping-pong with their private parts, and get charged thousands of baht instead of just THB250 as you were made to believe. Best to avoid if you don’t want the hassle.
Or, how about this. Someone I know got picked up by a Thai woman and they had an affair for a week or so, the farang so flattered that this lovely girl told him she loved him. They separated at the airport with more professions of love and lots of tears.
Months later, the Thai woman contacted him and told him she was pregnant with his baby. Despite warnings from friends, he sent her money for the baby for 2 years and even decided he wanted to marry her and bring her to Europe. His embassy — very wise move! — required a paternity test, and lo and behold, the baby he had been supporting for years was not his after all!
Okay, so the guy was just particularly stupid. I mean, who would get taken in by a pregnancy scam?? And who wouldn’t use protection if they were picked up by a prostitute in a foreign country? Still, this scam has also been noted before. Here’s another one: smiling Thais and dumb tourists.
Safety Considerations for Solo Travelers in Bangkok
Whenever readers ask me which city I recommend for international travel, I always say Bangkok. For me, it’s safer than most cities I’d been to. Of course, I can’t say that it’s extremely safe there; after all, it’s the capital, it has its shares of scams and minor thieves roaming the streets on the lookout for clueless travelers.
You can avoid being victimized by scammers if you read up on the common scams mentioned above. Practice common sense as well when you’re going around. That is, keep your purse close to you, lock up your valuable stuff in the hostel, make sure the taxi turns on the meter, agree on a price with the tuktuk driver beforehand if you don’t want a surprise later, and choose a good neighborhood for your hostel.
Here are more things you should and shouldn’t do in Bangkok.
For first time international solo travelers, there’s no other city I would recommend. In Bangkok, everyone’s free to do their own thing. Locals won’t blink at same-sex couples, and if you want to wear your yoga pants while out and about, you won’t get a second look. (Still, of course, you’d have to know what to pack for Thailand!) I would love to go back there again and again, and I’m sure you will, too.
Of course, Thailand is more than just Bangkok, but for solo travelers just learning their way, I would recommend Bangkok for their first international destination.
Do you have other solo travel tips to Bangkok? Do share in the comments!
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What a comprehensive article! Totally adding Bangkok to my bucket list 🙂 The pregnancy scam is a real shocker though.
Great tips. Thanks. Anyone there between 21 Oct to 28 – ? 🙂
Great post, thanks for the tips! I’m thinking of visiting Thailand in November and glad to hear a recommendation from someone who’s been there solo!
Hey! thanks for sharing, Thailand is one of the most beautiful and calm places I have ever been, I probably go back next year and thanks to this post I could make a great itinerary (last time I stayed for 5 days only) so I will plan to stay more days and I will try to go to some Islands too.
Thank you for this! I’m planning to go to Bkk this September for the first time.
Anyone travelling by may 2- onwards? 🙂
traveling on the 30th of may 2017
Hi. Planning to go first time solo travel in BKK this coming July. Any suggestions anyone? or anyone who will go there too?
the date is on July 25-28
Im planning to go there too this coming July. Anyway where you from ?
hi anne here’s my email please do contact me if your planning to go to thailand this coming july 🙂 Thank you ( email@example.com )
We’re planning an Indochina trip soon and entering BKK from MLA then exiting in HCM to MLA. Was wondering if BKK immigration officers have an issue with this setup? We plan on doing an overland exit and is this an issue? Have you tried?
anyone here who is going there by September 9?
Hi thank you for this! I’ll be travelling to Bangkok in January 19, 2017 to January 24. I would like to ask if I can join some group tours or if there are other travellers here who would like to join or accompany me?
Hi Jacob! I’ll be going too just over the weekend. I don’t have any plans so I can probably join. What do you think? (Haha. Talking about safety, it’s funny how we are looking for travel companions over blog comments)
But I’m serious though. I’ll be arriving on January 21st.
Hello! I’m going to Bangkok in mid February. Any suggestions on a tour I should take? You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!
Hi. Planning to go first time solo travel in BKK. Ano po requirements sa immi nila? Ano kailangan jo dalhin? Thank you.
hi amz.. may i know when u plan to go to bangkok.. planning din ako.. mag isa lng..email me at email@example.com
helpfull info.. I’m going 21 January 2017 ..
This is very helpful..planning to go to Thailand next year and your blog helps me a lot especially in my planning stage. I take down your tips so I wont be a victim of scam.
Hey I really enjoyed reading your blog! I am going to be going to Bangkok the first week of December. I planned on seeing the city for 2 days then going to pattaya and doing a diving course. Reading everything you wrote not sure what else to spend my time doing , there’s so much !!! Wanted to go to an island but they seem so far away. I can stay for 6 or 7 days. Any advice on an elephant place to volunteer? Or swim with them I know you can’t ride them anymore. My family is worried and doesnt want me to go by myself! But im doing it. Cheap hostels are my thing. My dad said women get kidnapped in the taxis .. loved your blog!!
I’ll be in BKK too. Female solo traveler, I’ll be there until December 11,2016. Hope we could travel together I am looking for a companion too! haha..
the blog is really informative thank you @solitarywanderer.
Hi, all-in-all how much is your recommended budget for 4days 3 nights stay in Bangkok – Phuket tour in Php??
great site and very informative. Planning my first round the world trip beginning of sept from the u.k. Solo and will be in Bangkok after I’ve been in Phuket for 8 nights, got 7 nights in BK before either getting overnight train to Chiang Mai or flying for convenience. I’m looking forward to visiting temples, markets, experiences authentic Thai massages. I see cherry mentioned festivals in November? I’ll be there 19th – 25th. Gotta say I was a little nervous about safety and i cancelled my south beach Miami part of my trip in favour of staying in the safety of universal studios Florida but I’ve realised I have to be brave and push ahead. Staying at Rose hotel which looks very close to Lumphini park and bus 45 depot. I have reservations about mosquitos and am taking lots of repellent as I don’t want to catch malaria or dengue fever. The hostels you listed look lovely, I’m yet to take that plunge away from hotels. My trip was due to finish in Nepal at a hostel for two weeks but I just cancelled in favour of a more time in Thailand as I had fears over getting sick in Nepal and safety of solo travel. Hope I didn’t make mistake but there are plenty of temples and sights to see in Thailand and I won’t be so lonely perhaps.
Hi Simon. You would love it in Bangkok and Thailand in general. There are so many international travelers there. As always, though, you should read up about scams, esp the ones involving women and ladyboys. They target white men 😀 Nepal is also very beautiful. I hope you can go there someday!
Thanks for the solo travel tips! It will be my first time in BKK and I find this very helpful. Although it worries me that your credit card was stolen at the hostel… I should be careful in choosing hostels.
Kim, just make sure to lock up your valuables. I was surprised it happened too, but I was careless.
Hi Aleah! I’ll be visiting Thailand for a week this November and its my first solo travel outside PH.
I’ll be staying in Bangkok for just 3 days, what places would you recommend?
I’m actually also planning to see Loi Krathong/Yi Peng festival, do you happen to know how to get to Chiang Mai from Bangkok via public transpo?
Thank you! 🙂
Your blog is very inspiring and informative btw.
For just 3 days, I would recommend going around the city, hitting the major temples. If you’re there on a weekend, hit Chatuchak Market as well. From BKK, you can easily take the bus to Chiang Mai. It’s an overnight trip. You can also book a flight if you’re in a rush. If you need suggestions for hotels or hostels, click this link: http://www.agoda.com/city/bangkok-th.html?cid=1652756
This is really encouraging. I’ve never travelled solo outside of the country before, and I’ve been hesitant about visiting Bangkok alone because of it’s bad rep. But the Bangkok you describe excites me. Thank you. ?
Oh Bangkok is great for solo travelers. I really love it!
This a very decent and informative review. Excellent!
Oh thank you for this. Will be Bangkok on October and if my college friends won’t make it, I ‘ll be alone haha I will contact you before my flight. I’ll be needing some expert advice hahaha
Hi Nica! If you need suggestions on where to stay, you can find some affordable ones here: http://www.agoda.com/city/bangkok-th.html?cid=1652756
Hi Aleah, thanks for this information…. my friend is telling me not to go to Thailand because of the August bombing in the middle of the city and the political situation there, good thing i saw your blog and now i am planning my itinerary… My target date is April 20, 2016
it’s going to be my first trip abroad and i am travelling alone, my first stop is Kuala Lumpur for 3 days, then take a train to Penang island for another 3 days (they say that Penang is worth a visit too) then from Penang’s Butterworth train station directly to Bangkok and planning to stay there for atleast 5 days…
maybe i’ll just pick a tourist map there and roam around the city, i want to try street food but not a fan of super spicy food.. i’m also planning to go straight to Siem Reap if my budget allow me. I hope i can find solo/group traveler than i can talk to or even share a boat ride or cab.
is there a good and safe hotel for a 1,400 Baht?
I been looking for this information, thank you…
I be going to Thailand on Feb 14, 2016 after i come from Philippines on Jan 12, 2016, it be my first time coming to both country & i be coming all by my self, looking forward to it hehe 🙂
How should i dress when i visit both country? will i be target for scam if i wear my hip hop clothes or is it best to dress like the locals?
If I stay at the Kingston Suite, is it easy to go to tourist attractions like the floating market, temples, etc?
Kingston is near the BTS, so you can easily go anywhere from there. Note that at night, you may have to take a tuktuk or a taxi if you don’t want to walk back to the hotel from the station.
Hi Aleah ! I found myself booking BKK for my first ever solo travel 2 days ago !:) I will be going mid August already for 3 days 🙂 It was such a spur of the moment thing as I have always wanted to try traveling alone. Your post eased my nervousness :)) thank you for all the helpful tips :)) I will also be staying in Silom Art Hostel 🙂 Btw, how much is the estmated budget for a 3 day trip? on a tight budget 🙂 thank youu
Sorry for the late reply. 🙁 Hope you enjoyed your BKK trip?
Thank you so much for this. I have a plan of traveling to Bangkok and I have just acquired my tourist visa from a visa consulting firm. Honestly, I was really terrified before reading your post. Bottom line is, common sense is the key. I hope I would enjoy my visit there as much as you did. Keep safe always! 🙂
Hope you enjoyed your Bangkok trip! If you get the chance to read this, let me know how it went. 🙂
I am so damn happy you recommended this article to me! Wonderful tips throughout. Will have to write down all the scams plus OMG, the free fitness classes! that’s one of the things I’m looking the most forward to is that weird LOL. I guess after a month of traveling, I’ll be happy to properly exercise.
So glad you found this post helpful. Feel free to share!
This is very comprehensive guide to BKK. Sad to say we’re been victimized by the TukTuk scam 2 years back. But of course it didn’t turn us down to love Bangkok.
Our favorite place in BKK? Chatuchak Market! Hahaha
Lots of people get victimized by tuktuk drivers so you were not alone haha
Hi Aleah, thanks for your informative post on Bangkok. BKK is my favourite city in the world, I love the vibrant atmosphere and have lived there for 18 months on and off over the last 5 years. Hopefully I’ll be going back there oon.
Thanks for dropping by. I miss my time in BKK. It’s such a dynamic city.
Once you get past the bad points, there’s lots to love about BKK … can’t wait for my next visit!
Same here, David. Same here.
Bangkok was my first out of the country trip. Enjoyed it and I want to go back their and do a solo travel. And this post is what I needed. Thanks for sharing Aleah.
Also read some scams in Bangkok but this is my first to read about the pregnancy scam. Oh my!
I also miss Bangkok and will definitely go back soon. I’ll start again in Bangkok then travel to Chiang Mai. 🙂
I don’t know when I can go back to Bangkok huhu Enjoy!
I had a trainer on my job early in my career who became a great friend of mine. He went to Thailand a couple times a year and was trying and trying to get me to go with him to experience it and especially Bangkok. Another one of those…I wish would gone…moments. Pad Thai is by far my favorite food and I could eat it all day long! Your room looks amazing, Aleah! Great post and I hope you are doing fantastic! 🙂
These are really helpful. I am going on my first trip to Bangkok soon.
Have fun! You’ll love Bangkok.
Love the pictures in this post. I’ve never been to Bangkok but definitely want to go one day.
P.S. The pregnancy scam sounds crazy!
It IS crazy. I wonder how stupid one can get to be victimized by it?
Great article. I love BKK visit twice a year and always find something new to do
Me too. I lived there four months and I still kept getting surprised at what I found I could do there.
I love Bangkok, It is amazing for solo travellers. I definitely agree you rarely need a taxi when the BTS and buses are so good! If you do need a taxi, make sure it is on the meter, not an agreed price or you will get hugely overcharged!
I agree. BKK is lovely, but it’s like any other mega-city. You will be taken advantage of if you’re not careful.
Hi. I also travel and write about my travels. I went solo backpacking in Cagayan and Batanes and found it rewarding which I told myself a prelude to solo travel in Thailand and Vietnam at the end of this year and early parts of Jan. next year as my 1st int’l travel. A close friend warned me though abt solo travel. I found your blog helpful and I hope you can do a Thailand and Vietnam too, it will be really helpful. One question, is mobile internet possible?
Ven, sorry for the late response. You won’t have to worry about internet in Thailand. It’s really fast there. Mobile is possible, yes. Just buy a local SIM card and make sure to buy their data package. Someday I will do a post like this on Vietnam. Someday haha
I think Bangkok is a great city! It’s getting a bit hot now though. And locals have said this isn’t even hot. I love the diversity. Mixture of expats locals and travellers.
Allowing yourself extra time to travel is a must and make sure you carry water! Being stuck in rush hour traffic in a bus isn’t great fun.
I usually just take the BTS, the traffic there is almost as bad as in Manila haha
This is a very helpful and comprehensive guide — not just for solo travel. I haven’t yet been to Bangkok, but have never had anyone I know say they didn’t like it. So I hope it won’t be much longer before I go. It’s interesting that you recommend Bangkok for 1st time solo international travelers. Good to know!
Hi Cathy. I think Bangkok is for all ages and all kinds of travelers. The city is big enough to provide everything that one needs and wants. That’s why it’s one of the most popular cities in Asia, if it isn’t the number one.
This is such a handy guide! I’d love to go to Bangkok but feel a bit nervous about the prospect of going alone, so this was quite reassuring. The food tour sounds especially appealing; like you said, who DOESN’T like Thai food?
There are lots and lots of solo travelers (male and female) in BKK, Jessica. You definitely won’t be alone for long if you stay at a hostel!
Our favoured method of getting around Bangkok would definitely be walking. Especially as we won’t be able to resist the delicious food. Our bodies will definitely appreciate the exercise.
I also walked a lot in Bangkok, Matthew. From the hostel, for example, it’s only around 20 minutes by foot to Lumpini Park, and around 5-10 minutes to the nearest station. There are so many interesting things to see along Silom Road that you won’t feel tired at all!
I would definitely be interested in doing a food tour and taking a cooking class. It’s been a very long time since I visited Bangkok, but I still have such great memories of exploring Ayutthaya. I always recommend it to anyone who is visiting Bangkok. Great tips about avoiding scams and the best location for renting a bike at Ayutthaya.
My most distinct memory of Ayutthaya was how hot it was LOL I agree, the food in Thailand is just superb!
These are all great, Aleah and now I really want to go to Bangkok! We made it as far as the airport last summer. My husband was paranoid and cancelled our 4 day stopover because of the political situation. One of the biggest regrets of my travel life. That Kingston Suites hotel looks so glamorous and what a deal. That other Bangkok street food looks like our Filipino empanada, doesn’t it?
Hi Mary! My mother also wanted to cancel her trip to Bangkok. Good thing I was there and I told her that everything was safe. I guess your husband was just worried about the kids? There was no need. Anyway, you’ll find another chance to get there!
hello im carlo and my sister want to go thailand ,but the requirements is we need a bank account ,and my question is how much money that i will deposit? if i already have a bank account ,,,and how much the plane ticket?thank you and sorry for my english
Hi Carl. You don’t need much in Thailand, it’s a very affordable country. Costs would depend on when you go and how long and what you will do there. For flights, check out Skyscanner.com. When are you going?
Great suggestions Aleah. It’s always handy to know how to get to the city centre without using the taxis. I like to splurge the first night or two in a new city until I get my bearings, especially if I’m suffering from jet lag.
Hi Leigh. I prefer to take public transport when I’m traveling. Taxis take too much out of my budget and won’t teach me how to go around the city.
Seems like you found your “home away from home” destination. You’re right every city has its own brand of scams and scammers. Just heads up and trust your gut. Idk if I’m able to visit Bangkok in the future, but somehow I’m still waiting for the one thing would make me wanna go to Bangkok. It does not help that Thai food is not my fave cuisine 🙁
Aww, I can eat Thai food any time. Too bad you don’t like it. I admit the taste is pretty strong. When I was there, there were times I sought “bland” food, so I went to fastfood restaurants LOL