First Timer’s Guide for Thailand Solo Travel on a Budget
Are you frustrated doing your 9-5 job? Are you bored in your daily life? Do you want to refresh your mind with fresh air and scenic beauty? Get ready with your backpack and fly to Thailand, the Land of Smiles. No need to be worried about the Thailand expenses.
Here I will give you each and every detail of the solo trip in Thailand. From flight and hotel booking to Thailand itinerary, travel guides, and the detailed Thailand expenses are included in this blog.
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Overview of Thailand Solo Trip on Budget:
Best Time to Visit Thailand:
Choose the best time to travel in Thailand if you want to capture those clear blue sky Instagram pictures. Winter is the best season for a solo trip to Thailand. Try to avoid monsoon time from July to October. The best time to visit Thailand is from November to mid-April.
Thai Baht is the only currency you can use during your Thailand tour. 1 Thai Baht = 0.033 USD = 0.027 Pound = 2.34 INR
Thai is the one and only official language in Thailand. Most of the people in Thailand can speak and understand English pretty well.
Thailand SIM Card:
The Internet is a must when you are traveling to a new country because from booking a local cab to the online travel guide, you will need the internet to use your best Travel Apps.
There are several SIM card providers in Thailand like SimOptions, TrueMove, China Unicom, AIS, DTAC etc. I will recommend going with TrueMove traveler-friendly package which is the cheapest option among others.
What to Wear in Thailand:
Thailand is a tropical country with a hot and humid climate. Stuff your suitcase with enough modest, lightweight, flowy clothes. You are going to visit a new country, so dress properly and show respect for their culture.
Women should cover their shoulders and knees while visiting any Thai temple. Men shouldn’t wear a sleeveless shirt or shorts at temples. Female travelers can wear bikini or swimsuit at the beaches but try to cover up while returning to your hotel from the beach. For more details, you can check What to Wear in Thailand.
Visa and Passport:
There are two options to get a visa for the Thailand solo trip.
- Visa on Arrival: If you travel in Thailand for less than 16 days you get this. Documents needed: Airline boarding pass, a valid passport for at least the next 6 months of validation, visa application form, some passport size photographs, return flight and hotel booking documents and 20000 TBH. Here is the form.
- Apply for a visa before the journey: If you travel for more than 30 days you can apply for this before your journey starts. Documents required for this visa: valid passport, passport size photos, visa application form, flight and hotel tickets, last 3 months bank statement and cover letter from main applicant.
How to Reach Thailand:
By Air: It is the most convenient way to travel in Thailand. Bangkok, The capital city of Thailand has two international airports: Don Mueang International Airport and Suvarnabhumi Airport. Thailand is connected with most of the major cities around the world.
Maximum south Asian countries have direct flights to other international airports in Thailand. For Indian travelers, there are direct flights to Suvarnabhumi airport from Kolkata, New Delhi, Chennai, Bengaluru, and Mumbai. The cheapest flight you can book on the route from Kolkata to Bangkok.
By Train: Thailand’s international train service connects only two countries Malaysia and Singapore. Even you can travel to Bangkok, Phuket, Krabi which are interconnected by rail route. No rail route is there from India to Thailand.
By Road: Thailand is well connected by road with several countries like Malaysia, Singapore, and India. There are several daily bus services from Malaysia and Singapore. From India, you can do a road trip from India-Mayanmar-Thailand route but make sure you have an International Driving Permit and Valid Driving License.
Best Places to Visit in Thailand:
Pattaya is one of the most popular beach resorts in Thailand. Besides this, it is also famous for its nightlife. There are three parts in Pattaya: North, Central and South Pattaya. Naklua in North Pattaya and Jomtien in South Pattaya are the most visited beaches by the tourists for its quieter and relaxing experience.
How to reach Pattaya:
Suvarnabhumi Airport to Pattaya bus: You can book your bus ticket from Bell Bus Service’s ticket counter to travel to Pattaya that costs around 120 Baht and take around 2 hours to reach Pattaya.
Don Muang Airport to Pattaya bus: There is no direct bus from Don Muang Airport to Pattaya. First, you have to go to the first floor(level 1) of DMK Airport. There you can find an Airport bus that goes to Mo Chit Bus Station(last stoppage). It’s not a free bus and costs just 30 Baht. From Mo Chit Bus Station you will get the bus for Pattaya that leaves in every 30 minutes from 6 am to 10 pm.
Please note: There are two Mo Chit Stations: Mo Chit Train Station(BTS) and Mo Chit Bus Station. Don’t get off at Mo Chit Train Station(last stoppage), else you have to go another 2 km to get a bus for Pattaya.
- Suvarnabhumi Airport to Pattaya distance: 122 km.
- Don Muang Airport(DMK) to Pattaya distance: 162 km.
You have to pay extra 20 Baht if your luggage weight is more than 20 kg.
Cheap Accommodation in Pattaya:
Here are some budget accommodation in Pattaya which are really value for money
Are you searching for something different? Explore more options by entering your destination below:
You may also like the below-mentioned hostels if you are a backpacker.
Best Places to visit in Pattaya:
Coral Island/ Koh Larn Island:
It is a little paradise near Pattaya beyond the urban chaos and hustle-bustle. There is a total of 7 islands in Koh Larn.
How to reach Coral Island: It is 7.5 km west of Pattaya beach. You can take Tuktuk to reach Bali Hai Pier from where you will get an enchanting view of Pattaya. From there take a boat that takes around 30 minutes to reach to Coral Island. You can take a speed boat(300 Baht/person) or ferry(30 Baht/person) to reach Tawaen beach which is the most visited beach in Koh Larn.
Things to do in Coral Island: There are plenty of water adventure sports in Koh Larn island, like Parasailing behind a speed boat, Banana boat, Jetski, Sea walking, Snorkeling, Scuba diving etc. You can also rent a motorbike(200 Baht/day) and explore the islands with full freedom.
A hike will also be a great idea to explore Koh Lern. If you want to stay at the beach then take a sunbath on the beaches or you can swim in the tropical water on all the beaches in Coral Island.
This is the most exciting and attractive place in Pattaya between all age groups. Here you can touch, hug and even take a photo with the tigers. And the best part is that you get to sleep on them (if you dare).
Here tigers are not caged, but tiger trainers always there to make you feel safe. From big tigers to the small cub, every size of tigers is there with open chain. Go, see, feel, hear and have a lifetime thrilling experience.
Entry Fee: 550-650 Baht
Khao Pattaya View Point:
It is Pattaya’s most popular viewpoint from where you get the view of Pattaya’s crescent-shaped bay. Enjoy the great panoramic view of Pattaya city from the top of the Pratumnak hill. Click some amazing pictures from here for your Instagram gallery. The best time yo take great pictures is just before the sunset.
How to reach Khao Pattaya View Point:
It is located between South Pattaya and Jomtien beach and 3.5 km away from Central Pattaya. You can book a taxi or take a tuk-tuk to reach the viewpoint.
Timing: 7:30 am – 9:00 pm
Entry fee: Free
Big Buddha(Wat Phra Yai):
This Buddhist temple is located on Pratumnak Hill near Jomtien beach. The majestic temple complex depicts the rich culture and artistic view of Thailand. The 18 meter tall Buddha statue is the main highlight of Wat Phra Yai temple. One can get an amazing view of this Buddhist sacred place.
How to reach Wat Phra Yai:
Big Buddha of Pattaya is situated 2.5 km away from South Pattaya. You can book a taxi or take a tuk-tuk to reach the viewpoint of Pattaya. From there it is just 800 meters away.
Wat Phra Yai Timing:
7:00 am – 10.00 pm
Wat Phra Yai Entry Fee: Free
Pattaya Walking Street:
Pattaya Walking Street is no doubt Thailand’s most famous nightlife destination. It will be an incredible experience to be a part of the nightlife in Pattaya Walking Street. You will be amazed by the neon lights, color, music, noise and overall ambiance.
If you visit Thailand with family then try to avoid this place after 7 pm else you and your family might get into an embarrassing situation.
How to reach Pattaya Walking Street:
Pattaya Walking Street is just 1.2 km from Central Pattaya. You can walk along the beach to reach there or take a tuk-tuk that is all the time available there.
Things to do in Pattaya Walking Street:
Live Band Performance is very popular in Pattaya Walking Street. You can enjoy the great ambiance with a live band performance and a can of beer(approx. 100 Baht).
Walking Street in Pattaya has a variety of food options and for budget travelers, there are several options in Thailand if you want to eat on a budget. From open-air food stall to well decorated western restaurants, you can choose your favorite dish or can try special seafoods.
When it comes to nightlife, Pattaya Walking Street is the best in Thailand. The street has bars, nightclubs, gogo bars, all are advertising with flashy neon lights that make the street more colorful and vibrant. You will see girls inviting you to their bars holding a placard with the rates of beer.
Pro Tips( What not to do in Pattaya Walking Street):
- Most of the bars, restaurants open by 8 pm but Pattaya Walking Street comes alive after 10 pm.
- Don’t go for a sex show. Try to avoid eye contact with the girls and the touts. People often fall into the trap just for being curious.
- Be careful with your moneybag as there are some pickpockets in Walking Street.
- Stay away from drugs as it is illegal in Thailand.
- Always stay in your sense. Don’t get carried away with the ambiance and drink responsibly to avoid any disaster on your holiday.
Phuket is Thailand’s largest and most popular island among travelers. More than 5 million tourists come to visit Phuket for its white sand beach, blue turquoise water, exotic resorts, adventure activities, relaxing Thai spa and vibrant nightlife. It is one of the most romantic places in Thailand that every couple would like to visit in their honeymoon.
How to reach Phuket:
Pattaya to Bangkok bus: Book a bus from Pattaya to Mo chit(for DMK airport) or Suvarnabhumi airport that costs around 120 Baht.
Bangkok airport to Phuket: Take a flight from Suvarnabhumi or DMK airport to Phuket. We booked a round trip from DMK airport to Phuket airport(HKT) 4 months before the journey and that costs around 1500 Baht/person.
There are bus services also from Bangkok to Phuket which costs around 700-800 Baht and takes 9-10 hours to reach Phuket.
Phuket airport to Patong(approx 39 km): Book a shared minivan from outside of Phuket airport that costs around 180-200 Baht and reaches to Patong within 2 hours.
Cheap Accommodation in Phuket:
Here is some budget-friendly hotel in Phuket:
Have a look for some budget hostel:
Best Places to Visit in Phuket:
Phi Phi Island and Maya Bay:
Your solo trip in Thailand is incomplete without Koh Phi Phi. Some travelers come to Thailand only to visit Phi Phi Island for its scenic location, turquoise water, lush greenery and adventure activities. Phi Phi Don is the only inhabited island among the other six islands.
How to Reach Phi Phi island:
I will recommend booking Phi Phi island and Maya Bay day tour from Klook. They provide the best service at a reasonable price. You can book yourself the speedboat or ferry ticket to Phi Phi island that costs 1150 Baht and 310 Baht respectively. But it will be quite hectic and difficult to book all the communication from island to island.
Things to do in Phi Phi island:
Here Klook provides a great service from hotel pick up to whole day tour, buffet lunch, snorkeling everything they do in a great professional way.
In the early morning, a minivan will pick you up from your hotel, then depart to private CoCo Beach by a premium Catamaran or a speedboat and enjoy the sunbath and swimming in the private beach with other water activities.
After that cruising along multiple islands depart to Phi Phi island and have a Thai buffet lunch included in the tour cost. Later go to the first snorkeling spot and swim in crystal clear water.
Next sightseeing in Maiton Island where you might have a chance to spot some dolphins. Here also you can do snorkeling and enjoy the underwater world.
Phi Phi Island one day tour cost: 1200-1600 Baht
Phang Nga Bay and James Bond Island:
It is another popular beach destination among travelers. While traveling in Thailand you must keep James Bond Island in your Phuket itinerary. The main attraction of Phang Nga Bay is the iconic James Bond Island which is named for its appearance in the 1974 James Bond film ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’.
How to Reach Phang Nga Bay:
You can hire a long tail boat from Klong Khier Pier and explore all the tourist attractions that cost 1000 Baht/ person. Alternatively, you can book a day tour to Phang Nga Bay and James Bond Island from Klook.
Things to do in Phang Nga Bay:
Tour operators provide a hotel pick up in the early morning. You will be taken to Pang Nga Bay by speedboat. Visit Panak Island where you can swim in a lagoon.
After that visit James Bond Island where you can take some amazing snaps of vertical karst in emerald green water. Later visit Panyee, Hong and Naka Noi island where you can relax on the beach or swim in the sea.
Phang Nga Bay and James Bond Island Day Tour Cost: 1200-1500 Baht
Discover Beautiful Beaches:
Reserve your last day to explore some of the best beaches in Phuket. The most popular beach in Phuket is Patong beach, so it is natural that you find it to be crowded all the time, but there are a lot of other beaches nearby that are less crowded and more beautiful. Some other beautiful beaches:
It is located in the south of Patong beach where you will get a family-friendly atmosphere and a long uncrowded beach.
It is located to the south of Karon beach which offers some of the clearest water than any Phuket’s major beaches. Kata beach mainly attracts solo travelers and families to enjoy a relaxing holiday without any hustle and bustle.
You can find Kamala beach to the north of Patong beach. It is quite close to Patong beach, still, you find it comparatively less noisy than Patong beach.
Bangkok is a city that has so much to offer from luxurious shopping malls to beautiful temples, rooftop bars, and vibrant nightlife. Before ending your solo trip to Thailand it can be your favorite destination for shopping after spending some quality days in Phuket. 2 days in Bangkok is enough to explore the capital city of Thailand.
How to Reach Bangkok:
Two major international airports in Bangkok is Suvarnabhumi Airport and Dong Mueang Airport which are connected from almost all major airports in the world.
If you come from Phuket to Bangkok:
Patong to Phuket Airport: Take a minivan that costs around 200 Baht to reach to Phuket airport from Patong.
Phuket Airport to Bangkok: There are several flights from Phuket to Bangkok(Suvarnabhumi and DMK airport). Phuket to Bangkok round trip costs around 1500 Baht/person which is mostly preferred rather than bus service.
Bangkok Airport to Bangkok City: There are Airport bus services that leave frequently for the main city. Else you can use BTS(Thailand metro) service or book a taxi.
Cheap Accommodation in Bangkok:
Book your Bangkok budget hotel:
If you are a backpacker then you can go for these hostels:
Best Places to Visit in Bangkok:
Get up early and head straight to Grand Palace, the most popular tourist attraction in Bangkok. It is a huge complex of Thai temples and historical buildings. To have a royal experience one should visit this Grand Palace which was built in 1782. You will find the Temple of Emerald Buddha here which is considered the most important and beautiful temple in Thailand.
How to Reach Grand Palace: By taxi, tuk-tuk or Grab Taxi.
Opening Hours of Grand Palace: 08:30 am to 03:30 pm
Entry Fee: 500 Baht
Wat Pho is just 10 minutes walking distance from Grand Palace. Thai word ‘Wat’ means Temple. Here you will be amazed by the incredible 160 feet reclining golden Buddha statue. There you will also find the first Thai massage school in Thailand.
Like the Grand Palace or any other religious temple here also you should be properly dressed.
How to Reach Wat Pho: By taxi, tuk-tuk or Grab Taxi
Opening Hours of Wat Pho: 08:00 am – 06:30 pm
Entry Fee of Wat Pho: 100 Baht
Wat Arun or the Temple of Dawn is another most photographed and impressive temple in Thailand. You will get a beautiful Bangkok city view from here. The white exterior of Wat Arun is covered with several layers of mosaics that make it more impressive when you look closely at it.
How to Reach Wat Arun: Take a ferry ride from Tha Tien Pier near Wat Pho to reach to Wat Arun, which costs around 3 Baht.
Opening Hours of Wat Arun: 08:30 am – 05:30 pm
Entry Fee of Wat Arun: 100 Baht/person
Bangkok Safari World and Marine Park:
Safari World is one of the most popular day tours among family travelers, especially if you are with kids. This place has 2 parts: You can ride with the park bus through the Safari World. You can the animals like giraffes, lions, tigers, deer, zebra at close proximity, strutting around in their natural habitats. Overall it is a perfect destination for Thailand Family Holidays.
Safari World Entry Fee: 1000 Baht
Safari World Timing: 09:15 am – 04:30 pm
In Marine Park, you can find animals like crocodiles, kangaroos, orangutans, monkeys, walrus, tapirs, and some kind of tropical birds. Aside from zoo animals, there are some animal shows in Marine Park: Sea Lion, Dolphin Show, Bird Show, Orang-Utan Boxing, Water Ski etc.
The most amazing part of Marine Park is Giraffe Feeding where you can have a close encounter with them. You can feed the giraffes too and the food can be bought for 100 Baht.
Marine Park Timing: 10:40 am – 04:10 pm
Marine Park Entry Fee: 1000 Baht
You can buy the combo package of Safari World and Marine Park ticket with a lesser price from Klook.
Total Cost Breakup of Thailand Solo Travel:
Accommodation: 360-450 Baht/Night in Hostelworld
Food: 300-350 Baht/Day
Local Transport: 200-300 Baht/Day
Bangkok to Phuket Round Trip Flight: 3000 Baht
Day Tour and Sightseeing Entry Fees: 7000-8000 Baht
Find Your Cheap Hotels in Thailand Below:
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Flight fare from your country’s airport to Bangkok airport varies from airport to airport.
USA to Thailand Cheap Flight: If you travel from USA to Thailand then round trip flight fare would be around $900-$950.
India to Thailand Cheap Flight: The cheapest flight you will get from Kolkata airport if you travel from India. The round trip flight fare would be approx. 9000-10000 INR or $125-$140.
Australia to Thailand Cheap Flight: The cheapest round trip flight you can avail from Perth Airport that costs around 570-600 AUD.
Pro Travel Tips for Thailand Trip:
- Beware of Scams: Stay alert for any scams in Thailand as it is quite frequent in Thailand, especially in Local Taxi. Never book any taxi if the driver tells you that the meter is broken or not working. Else the taxi drivers will charge a lot of money.
- Use Grab: Grab App is just like Uber in Thailand. If you don’t want to travel by bus, train or BTS then you can use a Grab taxi where you have to pay for what the trip is actually worth.
- Travel Insurance: Though travel insurance is not mandatory to travel in Thailand, I will highly recommend you to buy travel insurance for your solo trip to Thailand because medicine cost is very expensive in Thailand. Apart from this, to travel freely and without any worry from being scammed or losing any luggage or any financial risk, having World Nomads Travel Insurance will be the best and cheapest option.
- Try Thai food: Include Thai food in your lunch and dinner to save food costs. Thai food is much cheaper than any Indian dish or any western restaurant. 7 Eleven is another option to buy cheap food. You can buy dry fruit packets as Thailand souvenir at cheap price from 7-Eleven.
- Bargain prices: Thailand is a comparatively cheaper country only when you have the skill for bargaining. You can pretty much bargain the price of clothing, souvenirs and can save a lot of money on your solo trip in Thailand.
- Keep enough cash(Baht): Before your travel in Thailand exchange your country currency to Thai currency(Baht) and keep enough Baht with you. The exchange rate in Thailand airport is very very bad and in ATM you have to pay a good amount of exchange fees while withdrawing money using credit/debit cards.
- Sunscreen: Bring your sunscreen and hand sanitizer from home which are must in Thailand.
- Say no to Drugs: Drugs are totally illegal in Thailand. Enjoy your trip but stay away from drugs in Thailand, else the consequences might be fatal.
- Dress properly: Thailand is a religious country and they are very sensitive about their culture. Always dress properly while visiting any temple or religious place. Keep your shoulder and legs covered during any temple visit.
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I hope you have enjoyed the blog. If you have any queries regarding Thailand solo travel feel free to comment.
Happy Traveling… 🙂
That’s a fantastic detailed guide for a first time visitor to Thailand. I visited exactly these cities on my first trip as well and I absolutely loved Phuket, Phi Phi Islands and Krabi. The James Bond Island was part of an island hopping tour and that was a really cool one because we went to 4 islands which were quite amazing. I would love to go back to Thailand some day, but visit entirely different cities this time. The food there is outta the world!
Hi Medha, it is really nice to hear from you.
A great extensive Thailand guide that I do love. I was one to be trapped into the Tiger hugging “craze” however I know that it’s not good for the animals – they are wild and need to be in their environment.
I love Thailand because of the culture and the multiple things that can be done- all different too
OMG… :O That was really dangerous. It might turn into fatal consequences.
Thailand is such a beautiful and diverse destination! I went with a close friend but would love to go back and experience it as a solo traveler. I think I would feel entirely safe there!
Sure Shane, Thailand is safe for female solo travelers. Still, you should be careful like any other foreign country.
What an amazing guide for first timers! When I eventually take my other we’ll have to use this guide for all the places I’ve not been to. Good to know about the Grab app for taxis too. I got ripped off in Bangkok years ago! Thai food has to be some of my favourite in the world and I’d love to go back to visit Krabi and see more beaches!
Yes Jenni, Thai food is really awesome and the best part is you can save a lot of money if you spend money for Thai food instead of Western food.
Always love spending time in Thailand, especially for the amazing food. It’s nice to spend time in Bangkok and the beaches when you only have a week. You’ll need to plan another trip to see the north.
Yes, that’s correct. Total 15 days are not enough to explore all the places in Thailand.
This is a really detailed guide for newcomers to Thailand, I wish I knew it when I was going there. Great job with putting everything together.
I have been to Thailand a number of times, but I never actually made it to Pattaya. Perhaps I should circle back and check it out on my next visit!
Thailand is one of the places, where I consider moving. I can work remotely a lot of the time and I consider moving from Finland to somewhere warmer.
Great post! I have been to Bangkok twice and will be checking out Samut Prakan in a few weeks on the outskirts of the capital. I love the country and the people there are so friendly. I’d love to make it to some of the other places you mention here, and I agree with basically all of your tips for a smooth journey.
That’s a nice plan. Let me know about your experience in Thailand after the trip.
Pretty nice post. I stumbled upon your post and wished to say that I’ve really enjoyed browsing your article. After all I’ll be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again soon!