A Solo Traveler's Guide to Thailand

1st Nov 2013

Bangkok, Thailand

Photo of A Solo Traveler's Guide to Thailand by Pamela Macnaughtan

Phra Phai Luang in Sukhothai

Photo of A Solo Traveler's Guide to Thailand by Pamela Macnaughtan

Wat Chedi Luang, Chiang Mai

Photo of A Solo Traveler's Guide to Thailand by Pamela Macnaughtan

Phuket, Thailand

Photo of A Solo Traveler's Guide to Thailand by Pamela Macnaughtan

Temple at Chiang Mai

Photo of A Solo Traveler's Guide to Thailand by Pamela Macnaughtan

Calypso, Bangkok

Photo of A Solo Traveler's Guide to Thailand by Pamela Macnaughtan

Asia is the new Europe for tourists. And, Thailand is at the heart of it. So many backpackers from the west and elsewhere are choosing this South-East Asian country over other mainstream exotic locations like Greece or Venice. Why? Well, for one it has a lot of "new" things to offer. The Asian culture is intriguing at the very least and has largely remained unraveled, until now. For me, I have fallen in love with Asia and especially Thailand. After already spending months in Thailand I was compelled to return to the magnificence of this country. What pulled me here again? The list is long.

Food, glorious food!  When I first arrived, I was blown away by the spicy foods. My mouth was on fire, like all the time. My insides were just as hot as my outsides and let me tell you, if you’re not prepared for it, it is not fun!

Thailand is cheap. Compared to most other countries that I have travelled to, I found living in Thailand much more easier on my pocket. This is also one of the reasons young travellers come here seeking adventure. It fits your budget but ends up giving you a rich experience.

And, lastly Thailand is all about being surprised as you go along. My trip to Thailand was mostly spontaneous. Sometimes the best experiences are ones that come from out of nowhere. There was no plan, no expectations or ideas. It’s spontaneity. Pure and simple. Being open to spontaneity is something I live by. I don’t want to close myself off to an experience because my schedule won’t allow it. I want to be able to move freely and change plans if need be. So I did in Thailand. I landed in Bangkok, the lovely capital of Thailand. From there I took off to Chiang Mai, Phuket and Suko Thai, making some smaller stops on the way.

You know a place has touched you as a traveller when you can't forget it long after you have come back home. Whenever I sit down at home in Canada and look through photos taken in Bangkok or video shot by friends, it’s like I never left the city. I can lay in bed at night, close my eyes and remember my days there. I also volunteered there in the Immigration Detention Center, which further enriched my experience there.

Thailand surely deserves more than just one visit!

The Capital of Thailand is very fast emerging as the party destination of the world. It can easily be termed as the Vegas of Asia. Apart from the nightlife, Bangkok's natural beauty is equally thrilling. From the Flower markets to the Parks, it makes for an amazing trip to experience the best of nature. It is a multifaceted city. While many travellers decide to skip Bangkok, or only spend a day or two in the city, I like to stay awhile. Why? Because it is awesome, and there are still so many things I want to see/do/experience there.
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Pamela Macnaughtan
The Chao Phraya (Me Nam) is a major (and important) river in Thailand, which flows through Bangkok, before emptying into the Gulf of Thailand – making the river one of the busiest in Thailand. There are so many boats and ferries on this river that you can't evade hopping on one. The tickets are a bit expensive but the cruise ensures not just the beauty of the river, but also some great stops along the bank. As for the high prices, why spend time and money sitting in traffic in Bangkok, when you can explore the various stops along the Chao Phraya River? My advise is stay on the boat to witness the amazing sun set on the horizon and then watch the city light up! An unforgettable view!
Photo of Chao Phraya Bangkok Thailand by Pamela Macnaughtan
It is not only the largest market in Thailand; in fact it is the World's largest weekend market. Around 200,000 visitors come here everyday (although most stalls remain open only on Saturday and Sunday). You can find local handicrafts, delicacies (even live animals!), to clothes etc. on its 15,000 stalls located here. A shopper's dream, you can literally send hours here! This markets sells pretty much everything. No really, you can find pretty much anything here. Chatuchak is a massive maze of stalls, so you may want to avoid splitting up; unless you’re with someone who knows the market well. I’ve been utterly lost in this market before.
Photo of Chatuchak Weekend Market Chatuchak Thailand by Pamela Macnaughtan
What is Bangkok if not a bit eccentric and unique? The Ladyboy Bar and Gay bar are quite a common sighting here. The Calypso Cabernet Show is quite the hit among the tourists here. Oh yeah, it’s a cabaret show that is all ladyboys! Oh, and you can eat dinner there too if you like. It is quite a once in a lifetime experience and totally worth the time.
Photo of Calypso Bangkok Bangkok Thailand by Pamela Macnaughtan
Also known as the "Green Lung" of Bangkok, Lumphini Park is returning to the serenity of nature. Away from the noise and haste of the city, this place does the trick by providing you some peace. More than often, this place works as a therapy from the hustle bustle of the city. It is open from 10 am to 3 pm. I suggest you go here as early as possible. As the day progresses, this place too gets a bit stuffed with tourists hence beating the purpose of the visit. There is an artificial lake in the middle of the park, where you can lie back and relax. Lumphini Park is a lush oasis in the middle of Bangkok. It’s a great place to go for a picnic, relax, jog, yoga, or collect your thoughts.
Photo of Lumphini Park Sukhumvit Road Bangkok Thailand by Pamela Macnaughtan
One of the most majestic and beautiful structures in Thailand, this is a must-see. It is also a one time only type of site. There are several Wats that should be visited during your trip in Bangkok, but I highly recommend this one. It is situated in the heart of Thailand and was the official residence for the Kings of Thailand. Although, the present monarch no longer lives there, it is still very much used for official ceremonies. It is an architectural beauty with a hint of the history of the land.
Photo of The Grand Palace, Bangkok, Thailand by Pamela Macnaughtan
Phuket is a quiet island off the southwest coast of Thailand. It seems nice and sunny just like other beach towns, with dozens of clamshell bikini-clad ladies emerging from the glass-clear waters. Stacks of jagged rock stand-alone in the shallows, each one a miniature islet covered with jungle-green foliage; they’re pretty much perfect for any intrepid free-climbers out there. But all the calmness only exists till the sunsets. Phuket's nightlife attracts party animals form all around the world with its high-end nightclubs and bars. It's night clubs are as busy as it's beaches. You could easily spend more than a day (probably 2-3 days also) here. It is a huge island and there is a lot to do here.
Photo of Phuket Thailand by Pamela Macnaughtan
From the Urban Bangkok, to the party capital Phuket and now Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai is the cultural hub of Thailand. It consists of beautiful monuments, Wats and Buddha sculptures that will leave you in awe. Chiang Mai is the more relaxed and laid back city that takes its own time to grown on you. After visiting Bangkok, it feels that time passes much slower here, but that is actually the beauty of this place. I told a stroll through the place the next morning. My walk took me to several Wats. I realize that Thailand is full of Wats, but there are some that are so beautiful, it’s hard for me to resist them. I especially LOVE the ones made of wood. They seem to have more character. Chiang Mai is also about fine dining, with candle lit dinners along the beautiful flowing river. It is a place to indulge. And, more ways than one it is actually a stepsister to Bangkok.
Photo of Chiang Mai Thailand by Pamela Macnaughtan
Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep is located about 15 km north of Chiang Mai. The roads are winding, but driving through the hills is beautiful. I love how lush and green everything is. The original temple was founded in 1383, however over the years there have been many additions to the original site. Each more beautiful and ornate. I had to climb up 305 stairs but it was worth the pain. I could have stayed here all day. Wandering around Wats is always so peaceful and relaxing. I love admiring the statues and relics. Everything is so bright and colorful, especially on a sunny day (most days here are sunny days).
Photo of Doi Suthep Su Thep Chiang Mai Thailand by Pamela Macnaughtan
Sukhothai is a walk into the interiors of the country. This place has very little development compared to the other parts of Thailand and poverty here is very evident. But, on the plus side, Sukhothai has a historic feel to it. The best place to visit here is the Sukhothai Historical Park. The first truly independent Siamese Kingdom, Sukhothai was founded in the mid-13th century. In 1991, the parks surrounding many ancient ruins become a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Sukhothai’s ruins are a sight to behold. They’re stunning and shocking, peaceful and disturbing, beautiful and decaying. As with most things in Thailand, the ruins of Sukhothai offer visitors a yin and yang that captures the heart. The various monuments in this park are fascinating and on the whole Sukhothai is a much different experience than Bangkok or Phuket.
Photo of Sukhothai Historical Park Mueang Kao Sukhothai Thailand by Pamela Macnaughtan
12 Comment(s)
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Could u plz share ur tour plan and expenses? Like cost, no of days, how u travelled in Thailand,ur lodging,etc?
Tue 07 24 18, 09:33 · Reply · Report
Mon 04 24 17, 05:49 · Reply · Report
Your Thailand solo travel expedition is very motivating for many of us women looking to travel solo ourselves. With so much crime happening in the world these days it's difficult to feel safe but kudos to you for your gutsiness.
Sun 01 10 16, 18:34 · Reply · Report
Hi Pamela I just love this bit on your solo travel in Thailand. This country is amazing that's for sure. I've been here myself and have experienced the same kind of richness that your experience brought about.
Sun 01 10 16, 17:33 · Reply · Report
Hi, is it safe for women to go on a Thailand solo travel journey. In India not many women are used to travelling solo because it is not considered safe so I just wanted to know from a solo traveller like yourself.
Sun 01 10 16, 15:46 · Reply · Report
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