Traveling Thailand Solo - 4 weeks in Aug/Sept
Replies: 9 - Last Post: Jul 2, 2012 12:55 PM Last Post By: Kleo84
Jun 25, 2012 5:54 PM
Traveling Thailand Solo - 4 weeks in Aug/SeptI've decided to quit my job and embark on a solo vacation to Thailand! I'm a 26 year old female, well traveled but this is only my 2nd time in a non English-speaking country, and my first time traveling alone. I'd like to give myself 4 weeks, arriving in Bangkok approx Aug. 22nd.
If any fellow travelers had tips or ideas about the best itinerary and travel plan for Aug/Sept months, I'd love to have some expertise. Should I arrive Bangkok, head south immediately to enjoy beaches and diving, then make my way north, and coming back to Bangkok for a few days? Is it best to fly from Bangkok to Phuket? Any areas to avoid also would be great - I like to escape the tourist hordes whenever I can. I'm also concerned about the weather, so curious if there are places I should avoid because of heavy rain or flooding?
My favorite kind of travel leans toward hiking, nature, history and culture. I'm NOT a huge party person, I prefer dive bars over dance clubs. I'm receiving my open water diving certification next month so any tips on the best places to dive in Aug/Sept? Because I'll be solo I'm hoping to take classes to meet people etc - thinking a Thai cooking class (I love cooking) or even a surfing class too (I live in Los Angeles and have never surfed, so shameful!).
I prefer to stay in hostels, do things relatively cheap - not including my Los Angeles/Bangkok flight, is $900 a reasonable budget, given classes and travel within the country? Should I budget more, or less?
Jun 25, 2012 7:36 PM
1I think you ought to take a few days in Bangkok in the beginning and at the end of your holiday another 1 or 2 days. During your time in Bangkok in the beginning you can book transportation to Phuket or Chiang Mai if you want. Some tourists like to use the overnight train up to Chiang Mai too. The final visit to Bangkok will make it possible to do last minute souvenir shopping and be a short taxi ride to the airport for the flight home.
Many tourists who fly out immediately often ask if they have enough time for connections. Or they ask for a place to shower at or even a "hotel close to airport" for an early morning flight. Or they have too long a wait between flights and want to do something. If Phuket is a destination - Bangkok is cheaper for hotels and local transportation.
Once you leave Bangkok you don't have that many hostels available. Although you will find guest houses and cheap no-star hotels available. Work up a budget and see how much you can spend per night for a hotel and ask for suggestions in that price range. Transportation costs in Phuket can be expensive. Bangkok is much cheaper with rail service and even meter taxis. Are you saying your budget is $900 US for 28 days? If so that is too low unless you plan on sharing space with strangers or something. If it is $900 you will need more or stay for a shorter time.
Try not to waste your entire holiday only at beach locations!
Up to you.
Jun 25, 2012 8:23 PM
2Thanks CrazyAl - so incredibly helpful! I'll definitely allow for some days in Bangkok when I arrive. I want to spend ample time exploring other cities, getting into the jungle etc, so my beach/scuba time would be only about 1 week. Any thoughts on sights to see after I leave the beach?
Jun 25, 2012 9:22 PM
3OP I don't think you have nearly enough, especially if you plan to spend a week diving. For a qualified diver - which you will be - you're still looking at 1,000 baht a day to do a dive in the islands that have the infrastructure. That's slightly MORE than your daily budget, so no bed or food on those days! And how are you going to travel to the islands in the first place??
Either up your budget, shorten your trip, or cut out the dive plans!
Jun 26, 2012 12:20 AM
4If you want to dive in August or September, I recommend heading to the east side of Thailand, Koh Tao specifically, as it's monsoon season on the west coast until October, so diving conditions will be much better in the gulf. From Koh Tao (or on the way there) you could check out Khao Sok national park, which is great if you want to go hiking and have a jungle-y experience!
Fun dive prices are 1000 baht for one dive, but most dive operators want you to sign up for two dives at a time since the boat goes out to do two dives each trip. So, as others have suggested, it wouldn't be a bad idea to increase your budget a bit.
If you have any more questions feel free to let me know!
Jun 26, 2012 2:18 AM
5I like to escape the tourist hordes whenever I can
So check out the Lonely Planet etc and don't go where they talk about.
If you don't want to meet other tourists to travel with just head south straight away.
My favorite kind of travel leans toward hiking, nature, history and culture. I'm NOT a huge party person
So that's Northern Thailand, not the south.
Chiang Saen is great for history and culture.
even a surfing class too
I prefer to stay in hostels
No hostels where there aren't hordes of bagpackers.
Single accomodation is cheap if you aren't fussy.
is $900 a reasonable budget
No idea, they use baht in Thailand, but whatever $900 is worth here, it doesn't sound like enough.
Jun 26, 2012 4:39 AM
6"I like to escape the tourist hordes whenever I can."
Tourists go to some nice places that are worth a visit. Because there are many tourists heading for these places (like Chiang Mai for instance) transportation is reasonable, hotels are competitive in pricing, restaurants are used to foreigners and tours are easy to sign on to. You can go to some remote area to escape tourists but you may pay more for the transportation and your hotel too! Your budget is too little as it is.
Being the only foreigner on some lesser used beach also means you may be the richest person on that beach and you are all alone! Hate the "tourist hordes" if you want but generally speaking, my opinion, you are a little safer being just one more in groups of like tourists. Lions on the prowl in, Africa looking for something to eat, usually go for the single wildebeest who wandered away from the larger herd!
Jun 26, 2012 8:49 AM
7Thanks everyone! I think I'll probably double my budget (you just hear over and over how cheap Thailand is and get excited, but I'm sure diving and transpo adds up). I save all my money for travel, so I might as well make use of it!
Maybe I'll plan on arriving in Bangkok, heading north and possibly finding travel buddies, then ending my trip with about 5 days or so by the beach for relaxing and scuba, then back to Bangkok for a day or 2 before heading back home. Again, beaches are by no means a priority, I just want to do some diving since I'm about to get myself certified back home and want to take advantage of my new skills.
And Khao Sok looks amazing!
Jun 26, 2012 9:10 AM
8Sign up for the airline's frequent flier program. Flying to Asia from the US means you can get a lot of miles for your flight all at one time. Next time you fly anywhere long distance use the same airline. Ignore any small differences in prices because the possible free upgrades, extra weight allowance, first on with the Business Class passengers and even better seats comes with being a frequent flier with a minimum of a Silver (or equivalent) card on many airlines. Depending on airline of course what you can get for freebies. If you already have miles banked with an airline using the same airline adds to those miles.
Make your flight over a little easier to take by choosing your seats ahead of time. Don't wait until you get to the airport for your seat assignments. With a minimum of a Silver card you can often choose seats right away over the telephone.
Edited by: CrazyAl
Jul 2, 2012 12:55 PM
9Hey Tinyalot, I published a thread today, looks like you;re in thailand around the same dates. http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/thread.jspa?messageID=20035325#20035325
Let me know if you want to meet up? Also travelling solo, and first time there..send me a message if you're up for it!
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