I’m more used to natural parks than huge cities like Bangkok. And it had been a while since I had traveled solo to a foreign country. Still, I managed to have an awesome time when I spent four days in Bangkok as a solo traveler.
Here are a few tips to help you plan your solo trip to visit the world’s most visited city.
1. Get a SIM card
It’s a good tip for any traveller, but it’s even more important for solo travelers. In big cities, people can be busy and hard to interact with. I admit I would have felt lonely without my phone as it was many time my only way to share my day.
It was also very helpful to search for information. Travelling solo in Bangkok wasn’t particularly hard, but it can be challenging to remember everything when you don’t have a travel buddy. There are also not-so-helpful strangers or taxi drivers that will give you information that you should always double-check.
You can purchase a SIM card online* and pick it up at the airport. I appreciated not wasting time comparing all the offers after a long flight. It gave me unlimited internet access, which is what I needed.
2. Join a tour
There are many tours to visit Bangkok* and its surroundings. You can easily check out the attractions in Bangkok by yourself using public transport. But if you’re travelling solo in Bangkok, you may want to consider joining a small group tour.
I was lucky to have a private tour with TakeMeTour*, and I loved it. It made me feel like I had a local friend taking me to places. It was nice to interact with someone and get commentaries on things that were happening. The guide could also act as an interpreter between me and the locals – who rarely spoke English – which enhanced the experience.
3. Go out for dinner
After a long day exploring the city in the heat, I didn’t always felt like going out for dinner. In Thai restaurants, food is often placed in the middle of the table for all the party to share. It can make a solo traveller feel lonely.
But I’m glad I fought back the laziness and initial weird feeling of going out at night alone. Every time, I tried delicious food – which is part of the experience of visiting Bangkok. Being a solo traveler was never a problem.
If you feel awkward not having a buddy with you, a book can be of really good company. Another option is to join a tour with a local. Check out this Tom Yum tour*, this seafood Chinatown tour*, this evening tour in Siam Square* or this nightlife tour*.
Go for a massage
That’s one of the rare must-do solo activities in Bangkok. If like me you are not used to getting massages and feel shy about it, you may want to start with a touristy spot. The famous Wat Pho, the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, is also known to be the birthplace of traditional massage. It’s relatively expensive to get a massage there, but they are used to deal with foreigners and can speak English. Then, as you know better what to expect and get more comfortable with the idea, you can choose a less touristy and cheaper place.
If you don’t want close contact, don’t go for the Thai massage. They also offer reflexology or shoulder and head massages that could even be a better option if your aim is to relax. It feels fantastic to get a foot massage when you’ve walked around the city all day. And it’s a fantastic way to fill up the evening when you’re traveling solo in Bangkok.
I’d recommend to always ask your hotel or other travellers for tips. I was staying at the Ibis Siam* and the massage shop next door was great.
Take public transport
Taxis aren’t expensive and tuk-tuk looks fun. However, when traveling solo in Bangkok, I recommend taking public transport. The price for one person won’t be more expensive than other means of transport, and it’s a lot more eco-friendly. The BTS train is brand new and very comfortable. The small boats along the canals are very fun. It’s way better to see the city from that angle than getting stuck in traffic.
Moreover, taxis don’t always use the meter. I found it could be annoying to negotiate a price as a solo traveller. I used a cab to go from and to the airport, and it was fairly easy to find how much it should cost online.
Another option is Grab (the local Uber). I‘m not comfortable using these when traveling solo. When travelling solo, safety is often a concern. I haven’t heard anything bad about Grab in Thailand – but I’ve heard too many things about Uber that make me uncomfortable with the service. Tuk-tuk and motorbike rides can give you a thrill but as they disrespect the traffic rules, they surely not are my first choice.
Choose accommodation in the city centre
As I recommend going out for dinner and massage in the evening, it’s important that you do not worry about going back late to your hotel.
I liked staying in Siam (I was at the Ibis Siam*). I was close to the train station, had a massage place nearby and I could walk to different places for food. It was lively during the day but also at night, which made going out easier as I was traveling solo.
Is it safe to travel solo to Bangkok?
I had no issue as a solo female traveller in Bangkok. Like in any big cities, you should be careful of pickpockets and use common sense to avoid certain areas or potential traps. You can learn more about safety in Thailand here*.
If it’s your first trip alone, you may be interested in reading more tips and benefit of solo travel to feel more confident.