If you’re headed to Southeast Asia, chances are Thailand is on your destination checklist. With world-renowned beaches, famed cuisine, lush jungles and friendly people, it’s no wonder the backpacker’s trail is so well trodden here. Overall Thailand is a very safe country; if you’re new to being a solo female traveler, Thailand is a great place to start. However, like anywhere in the world, there are still a few precautions you should take. Here’s a sneak peak from our guidebook, Go! Girl Guides: A Woman’s Guide to Traveling in Thailand with a few tips to remember on your Thailand holidays.
Protect your belongings
Violent crimes against foreigners are rare, but pick pocketing and purse snatching are not. Use caution while walking around street markets, especially the Chatuchak Weekend Market in Bangkok where several travelers have reported theft. Consider carrying a Pacsafe, slash-proof mesh pack covers that make getting into your backpack virtually impossible. If you know you’ll be traveling with expensive electronics, be sure to insure them before the trip. World Nomads and Clements offer competitive rates.
Watch out for scams
Unfortunately, high numbers of tourists often results in high numbers of scams. One particularly common scam in Thailand is the ‘Gem Scam’. Tuk-tuk drivers, especially around the areas of Chinatown and Khao San Road in Bangkok, will often take you on a roundabout gem store tour, hoping to gain commission and charge you extortionate fees for the ride. If you make a purchase, you’ll soon find out your item is worth rubbish. Additionally, watch for the ‘Monk Scam’. Con artists have been known to dress up like monks to gain your trust and then ask for ‘donations’. Should a monk start to follow you or ask for money, politely walk away.
Keep it safe
Condoms are available throughout Thailand and oral contraceptives can be purchased over-the-counter at any pharmacy; however, your preferred brand may not be. If you’re on birth control pills, bring the packets of information that come with your medication and a pharmacist will attempt to match it with what they have in stock. If you can, ask your doctor to prescribe you medication to last the length of your trip. Over a half-million people in Thailand are living with HIV/AIDS, according to UNICEF. Always protect yourself and practice safe sex, in Thailand or anywhere in the world.
It’s quite safe and budget friendly to travel around Thailand using public transportation. Buses run the length of Thailand and are extremely affordable. Book long bus tickets at the bus station, or buy your ticket directly on the bus for shorter rides. Trains run north and south from Bangkok. Overnight trains can be quite comfortable, you choose from 1st or 2nd class, air-conditioned or fan. We recommend 2nd class air-conditioned. Be sure to close the windows or you may find yourself with a face full of soot! Within the cities, taxis and tuk-tuks are two popular transportation options. Always insist on using the meter in a taxi and be sure to confirm the price of your tuk-tuk before departure! I once had a driver attempt to charge me $200 for a 20-minute ride.
Looking for more tips on traveling solo in Thailand? Be sure to pick up our Go! Girl Guides: Thailand book, cram packed with everything a gal needs to know about traveling the country.
Have you visited Thailand? What tips would you add?