I'm a 25 year old woman traveling in Thailand for the first time. I will be traveling solo. After reading an article on this site, I'm getting a little nervous. It seems that the islands (at least) are not a safe place for women traveling alone. Is this true? And if so, are there islands that are safer vs. others? Will I be safe as long as I walk home with another female companion at night? I am also Asian, so I don't know if that makes it slightly safer, as I may not "stick out" as a Westerner.
I plan on visiting Chiang Mai, Bangkok, and Southwestern Thailand... If anyone has tips or is traveling in Thailand during this time and would like to join up, I would love to get in touch with you!
#1 emc has been a member since 12/11/2012. Posts: 11
Travelling alone shouldn't be an issue. You are hitting major backpacker areas (Chiang Mai, Bangkok, Andeman), and if you stay on the backpacker-trail (i.e. follow recommendation in Lonely Planet), you'll meet more backpackers than Thais, and many in a similar situation as yours. Many women travel alone. Finding someone to meet up with for safety and socialisation shouldn't normally be a problem. Stay on this trail, and you'll get advice from others, travel with them, and do activities together too. Book a popular backpacker hangout the first night. Take it from there. If you want more midrange accommodation you should find someone before you go.
Keep your wits about you of course. Scams aren't unheard of, and if you're into drinking, having someone to watch out for you would be very advisable. A lot of young people get very drunk in Thailand. Things can happen, boy or girl.This applies everywhere though.
Guessing here, but I doubt you'll be mistaken for Thai by locals, so I wouldn't factor that in at all.
#2 allofthelights has been a member since 10/11/2012. Posts: 9
Do you think that in December, it would be better to book all my accommodations in advance?
I'm worried that it might be so busy there that I wouldn't be able to find a comfortable place to stay.
Also, is it relatively safe to travel to Angkor Wat and throughout Vietnam as a single female? Just thinking of some options for some side trips in case 3 weeks is a bit too much time for just Thailand.
#3 emc has been a member since 12/11/2012. Posts: 11
Me and my friend will be traveling for our first times in December too will be great to meet up.
Were in Bangkok for a bit then going to Chaing Mai.
Add me on facebook Mica Morris Atkinson x
#4 mica_aka has been a member since 24/6/2012. Posts: 5
Book your first accommodation because you want a soft landing. If you know your schedule completely, you can book elsewhere too; you'll always find something if you're not too picky but I can't comment on the specifics. Often guesthouses can arrange something for you in the next city, which might reassure you while keeping flexibility.
Siam Reap gets 1 million tourists a year visiting Angkor Wat. It's safe. Vietnam too, very safe, little violent crime to speak of. Small scams, pickpockets, perhaps, no more than "safe" European cities though.
3 weeks isn't too much for Thailand, but that's very much up to you.
#5 allofthelights has been a member since 10/11/2012. Posts: 9
Safe in the way you mean, sure. Safe from crazy drivers and traffic? Not so much. Tourist minivan services are cheap, but you might not like the way they drive. Second, tourist transfers - while generally safe - might be half-scams, promising you e.g. a VIP bus and you end up in a local bus and so on. Read e.g. http://www.travelfish.org/feature/71.
But even if you should be scammed, keep calm and carry on as that is not the same as being in danger, and being scammed at least once is a mandatory experience IMO.
#7 allofthelights has been a member since 10/11/2012. Posts: 9
I am getting to Bangkok on Nov 30th and aim to travel around Thailand for 2 weeks before heading up to Laos. I have no concrete plans and will be travelling alone so let me me of your plans.
I am currently wondering where the best place is to stay in Bangkok to meet people? Anyone got any suggestions?
Chiming in with more reassurance - as long as you use common sense, you'll be fine.
I travelled around Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia on my own for 3 months and never had any real problems, and I met tonnes of other solo women who were also fine. You just have to use the same common sense you'd use at home: don't get drunk unless you've got someone you trust (ie., didn't meet 5 minutes earlier) to look after you. Don't take accept drinks from strangers. Don't wander down a dark alley alone in the middle of the night.
You'll have an amazing time, just so long as you remember to pack your brain.
With respect to accommodation, I second the opinion above that it's a good idea to pre-book your first night (as that's when you're going to feel the most shell-shocked and exhausted from the flight) but generally you don't need to prebook. Christmas is peak season, but even then you're likely to be able to find a room without prebooking, at least in the larger towns and tourist centres. I'd only recommend prebooking if there's somewhere very particular you want to stay, or if you're planning on staying in a small town/island with a very limited number of rooms.
Have a great time!
i won't say SEA is the safest place on earth, but certainly safer than New York City. As many fellas here have suggested, even a lone lady traveller would normally have no problem travelling in SEA.
Have you travelled overseas often? If not, would suggest you to stay in a popular backpackers guesthouse in Bangkok (assuming that's your first landing), Soi Rambutri would be a good area since it is near Khao San Road but much quieter and safer yet still convenient and near the major attractions of Bangkok. search sites like Agoda and Tripadvisor and Travelfish to find a guesthouse there that's got good comments from western travellers, they'll be great as your first base.
Interact with fellow backpackers that you'll meet in your guesthouse or in restaurants, I have often joined them for local day trips and trekking trips and it added to my fun and safety, as me too like to travel alone. Once you have had a good start, you'll be able to develop a good sense and bearing for the new place.
taking any public transport is generally safe, just make sure all your valuables are on or near your body. taking a tuk-tuk alone in any town areas should be no problem, but as a lone lady traveller, taking tuk-tuk for further out-of-town tours or for a day trip - it might be better to ask your guesthouse/hotel to charter one for you, and make sure they know who is the driver (and make the driver knows that he is known too), your target location and your scheduled time to come back. for added safety, buy a local sim card and store your guesthouse's phone number in your cell phone. If you like trekking, go for a reputable company. But, for guided trekking tours, isn't it more fun to join a group? For beaches, most are safe enough, but some cases do happen from time to time, please read carefully for the places yuo're planning to go in travelfish forums and watch out the highlighted risky areas.
other than that, stick to what the others have mentioned: do go out at night but avoid venturing into dark alleys, avoid alcohol unless you're experienced enough as a traveller, in the pubs, the most dangerous creature might be the smooth-talking cool western guy you just knew 10 minutes earlier. Try not to dress like Britney or GaGa (in pub or in town) unless you want added attraction.
Do let us know your rough itinerary if you want more specific ideas.
Well, it really isn't that dangerous. SEA is a fantastic place you'll definitely enjoy.
#10 chopin has been a member since 28/4/2007. Posts: 154
Wow, thanks to everyone who has replied and been so helpful!
Mostly I am worried about traveling on the overnight train alone, going to Angkor Wat from Bangkok via trains and buses, and trekking in Chiang Mai and Khao Sok. I realize that those aren't exactly non-touristy places, but they are removed from the city and more remote.
Any advice specific to these places would be much appreciated!
#11 emc has been a member since 12/11/2012. Posts: 11
You would be quite safe on public transport, in particular government run. Public places generally are. Don`t leave your bag unattended or unlocked, but that goes without saying.
I joined a trek in Chiang Mai a couple of years ago. Smallish group, and good company. I wouldn't do it with a private guide if I were by myself, primarily due to cost and having someone to socialize with. Even so, I wouldn't be concerned about it as long as I knew the company was reliable (I'm not female, but it's not like guys are immune from harm). I'll probably head up to Khao Sok by myself mid-December, and if I do I'm almost certainly joining a group. If you pick the right company/group you can get a pretty decent experience that doesn't feel generic. Safety doesn't really factor into my equation.
#12 allofthelights has been a member since 10/11/2012. Posts: 9
Hi Emily! I'm typIng this on my phone from Cambodia, so I can't type a lot - but I've seen a good number of solo female travelers while I've been here, and they seem to be more than fine. As a solo male traveler, I've had no problems apart from simple beggar scams. Easy peasy. This has been my first solo trip, and I've been surprIsed at how easy it is. Thailand will be a breeze.
I'll be heading to Thailand tomorrow (Chiang Mai, BKK, Krabi), would be glad to meet up!
Dayyanum@gmail.com (24, American)
#13 Dayyanum has been a member since 12/7/2012. Posts: 22
I'll be in Thailand mid-Dec until New Years, and then I'll be off to Cambodia and Vietnam. It's also my first time in SEA and I will be traveling solo for the most part. I'm 22, F, and Asian-American. If you're still looking for a travel companion or wouldn't mind me joining, please contact me=)
#14 oknori has been a member since 22/11/2012. Posts: 2
Solo female traveler here too. I'll be in Thailand at the end of March and beginning of April. Would be great to meet other travelers.
#17 GFGlobetrotter has been a member since 5/2/2013. Posts: 4
Hi, i'm a journalist looking to speak to women in their 40s and over who are going on a trip for a few months at least. I am writing an article on leaving family/friends behind for a while. If interested email firstname.lastname@example.org
#19 wjc has been a member since 14/5/2013. Posts: 1
I am also travel alone so i need good company ? anyone join me.
#20 Osho has been a member since 18/5/2013. Posts: 3
#22 arienneantonio has been a member since 1/7/2013. Posts: 6