Need advice on my first trip to Thailand

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Hi, I am a SWF, and am making my very first trip to Thailand (then onto Malaysia and Singapore) in the summer! I’m really excited but a little nervous. Need a bit of advice and reassurance, as well as tips on where to go?

Thank you all so much in advance.

Stephanie L 28/03/13    Budget travelThailand Link Report

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Hey Stephanie,

I live in Bangkok and have for a number of years. Thailand is a safe country, but don’t put yourself in a bad situation. No matter male or female if your from the West expect a 2 tier pricing system and taxi drivers who will take you for a tour and all your wanted was to go to the Temple.

I’m a male, but have had female friends come here for a visit and they all said they felt safe. It’s a bit overwhelming because of the size of a place like Bangkok, but when you go to the smaller cities it’s very manageable and safe. So have no worries, except beware of fellow Westerners in some of the bars who are drunk and that goes for Thai’s also.

OMG as for places to go. Bangkok for the sheer experience! Chaing Mai, Chaing Rai, Udon Thani for a taste of the north. Beaches on the many islands like Koh Samui, Koh Chang, Koh Samet are great islands to just hang out in and do nothing but enjoy the island life.

Now Pattaya is 2 hours from Bangkok and unique. For me it is a dirty, prostitute ridden, town with lot’s a drugs, sex and rock and roll. Not my cup of tea. Phuket can be fun, but lot’s of westerners and geared to the western wallet. It’s an island and can be the gateway to smaller islands like Phi Phi Island and more. Beautiful beaches and cleaner than Pattaya.

This is such and amazing country you will have a blast. Just stay away from trouble in the bars and don’t walk down a dark soi as you wouldn’t walk down a dark lane in the west.

You will be here in the rainy season, but that is usually just in the late afternoon. It’s a land of really friendly people, great food, cheap food, and a tropical paradise on the coasts and an amazing adventure in the hills of the north. You can shop till you drop in Bangkok with some of the largest malls in the world. Starbucks, McD’s, BK, and everything in between. So come, enjoy, take pictures and save the memories!

Time of my life 28/03/13    Link Report

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Hi, how long are you going for exactly? What are your interests? I can help you a little more if you let us know a bit more about yourself?

First of all (I am assuming here that SWF means single white female?) don’t worry. There are SO many women travelling alone all over SE Asia, particularly Thailand which is a popular stop on the traditional banana pancake trail. You really have no need to be nervous. It is perfectly safe to travel alone (and this applies to men and women equally) if reasonable common sense precautions are taken, basically no more than you would do at home. You will make friends and meet other travellers very easily, especially in hostels or on long distance travel (overnight coaches etc). Thailand is an amazing place, you will have an absolute blast!

As for where to go, that depends on your interests and how long you have really. Look at any top ten things to do list on RG or LP or any other guidebook or website and see which takes your fancy.

A generalised popular route is often Bangkok, Kanchanaburi (bridge over the river kwai, seven tiered waterfall), Ayyuthaya (ancient temples), Chiang Mai (laid back city and good for a base for jungle trekking), then head straight down south for a bit of island hopping.

I hope this helps, please feel free to ask if you need any clarification or specific advice, I’ll be glad to help.

Michael Huxley 28/03/13    Link Report

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Hi Michael,

You seem pretty knowledgable so perhaps you can help me because there is so much information but it doesn’t seem to be put together very well. I am flying into / out of Bangkok and have 14 nights. I thought I would spend the first 4 nights in Bangkok, I want to see the floating markets, some of the famous temples,and experience some of the atmosphere, eat street food, and maybe do a night market. perhaps see the monkeys and elephants,and experience some great beaches perhaps a waterfall. Definitely a massage or too, but not t some expensive spa something cheaper and more traditional would be great. So after Bangkok I am not certain it if it would be good to take an over night train or flights somewhere to see some of the wildlife before heading to the beaches,and which would be the best place to go? I thought about going then to Phuket but it seems every blog I have read says there are much nicer places to stay for beaches. As we are also on a budget of maximum £50 a night for hotel, which it seems can get you a decent hotel in Thailand, we also want to make certain we are not somewhere where there are no cheap food stalls and suddenly are charged fortune for food, if on some kind of beautiful deserted island, that is my worry as we won’t have loads of money. I like to go out I teach Latin Dance but I’m over 40 and not into the teenage clubbing scene or drugs or being around crazy alcoholics, did all my clubbing in my 20’s, although I think the other half is interested just to see the craziness in Bangkok but he wouldn’t like to be around it for long. Saying that I’m not a morning person and need some time to relax. Would like to spend some time just chilling on a beautiful beach with clear water pretty fish but not overly touristic.

Where would you recommend going I don’t want to feel rushed?
I am also researching hotels. My other half has 5 star tastes and we don’t have much money lol
As far as excursions go like temples floating markets etc can you pay when you get there, find boats to take you etc? Are they on certain days . I have never spent so much time getting confused about how to put a trip together

SalsaDancingAng 10/11/15    Link Report

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Thanks for the reassuarance guys, it really helps! I think I kinda knew that already it was just nerves I guess. (This is my first trip). Are there any specific tips for a girl travelling alone or is it really just general common sense?

Thanks for the hint on pataya timeofmylife. I had heard something similar on another forum and will definitely be giving that a miss! Definitely want to check out some of those islands! I have six weeks in Thailand altogether, with an option to add another two weeks if I want before I head into Malaysia, so I have allocated three weeks to explore a few islands, maybe 1 a week but that is quite flexible. Any fave islands?

Michael Huxley, thanks for the tips! kanchanburi and ayuttuya sound amazing! Is it easy to get there from Bangkok?

I also want to do some elephant trekking, and maybe a course in massage or something, is that possible?

Stephanie L 03/04/13    Link Report

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Hi Stephanie, you are very welcome. The safety tips for anyone, male and female, are all pretty much just common sense. Thailand is generally a very safe place.

Yes both Kanchanaburi and Ayutthaya are just a couple of hours away from Bangkok. Close enough that some have done them as day tours but I wouldn’t recommend this, it is much better to stay in each place for a few days at least.

Trains from Bangkoks Haulampong train station go to Ayutthaya (roughly 2 1/2 hours if memory serves) or you can get a public bus from the Northern bus terminal. First class air con buses leave regularly. You can simply turn up and buy tickets for both of these as needed.

The best way to get to Kanchanaburi is by getting an air con bus from the Southern bus terminal, they leave every half hour or so and are fairly cheap. It takes about two hours and is quite an easy journey, cheap too. There is also a train that goes there but only a local 3rd class service that takes up to 5 hours so unless you have a burning desire to ride a 3rd class Thai train for that long, it is better to take the bus.

As for the courses, yes there are so many courses you can do all over Thailand!

If you want to learn Thai massage, there is quite a well known and popular one at wat po in Bangkok, at the Thai traditional medical school. It is expensive, but very good. There are literally countless others though dotted all over the country, many places that offer massage also offer courses in it so just look around and ask until you find one that suits your tastes and budget. Personally I did my course in it on Koh Tao, but I’m sorry I can’t remember the name of the school.

There are also so many other courses you can do as well, try a Thai cooking course in Kanchanaburi for example.

Elephant trekking is a popular touristy thing to do and many places offer it, but please, please, please do some research beforehand and make sure that the place you go to is genuinely looking after the elephants and aren’t just in it for the profit. There are some great places doing some fantastic conservation work, but unfortunately there are also a vast number of places that do not have the animals interests at heart, and it is a shame that tourists money is supporting that.

Michael Huxley 03/04/13    Link Report

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Thankyou all so much for your help, it is really appreciated!

Stephanie L 08/04/13    Link Report

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If you would like to go beyond the backpacker/tourist experience I would recommend you check the following website. . They usually feature a few events/places every week that are worth checking out.

Bangkok is much much more than temples, markets for tourists and banana pancakes. A lot of the day/nightlife is still very affordable out of the tourist hangouts, and usually hassle free.

Enjoy your time in the City of Angels.

@bkk 08/04/13    Link Report

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hi , stephanie ,
am also getting ready for my first trip on my own in thailand next summer and a bit nervous like you !! maybe we could exchange ? having already gone there (but not alone and not totallly backpacking). so i know a few places …maybe we could share a bit of our experiences?
I am beginning to plan what to do where to go and having a look at the affordable ,mostly cheap accommodation )

cheers ! hope to hear from you !


theolen 10/04/13    Link Report

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