Why Thailand Is The Ultimate First Time Backpacking Destination.

Backpacking in Thailand, Chiang Mai Temple

Thailand has been an established mecca on the backpacker trail for decades, and despite becoming increasingly touristy over the years there are still a lot of reasons why Thailand is still the ultimate first time backpacker destination on any gap year!

In the interests of full disclosure I have to open this article with the admission that I absolutely love Thailand. It was the first country that I visited at the start of my own backpacking adventures over twenty years ago, when Thailand’s backpacker scene was still how the Beach portrayed it, and the experience completely changed my life! Since then I have never quite been able to pull myself away completely from the land of smiles and have been back on many occassions, so okay, I’m a little bit biased!

But once you have been, you will be too! That is just what Thailand does to you.

Thailand, The Destination That Has It All.

What’s not to love about Thailand? Even the name conjures up images of an exotic paradise filled with celebrated pristine beaches and islands, ancient Buddhist temples, mind blowing food and hedonistic fun filled nights. Thailand is one of the major travel hubs of South East Asia with millions of visitors, backpackers and tourists flooding through its borders every year and more than that, it is an absolute backpacker cultural icon, the epicenter of the famous banana pancake trail, a popular and well worn backpacker destination for decades.

This enduring appeal has helped this amazing country cement it’s legendary status in the collective backpacker consciousness long ago, and although the last decade has seen it open up wide to the mass tourism market as package tourists cotton onto its endless charms, there is still plenty of room for the independent traveller to have the time of their lives.

Thailand Island Koh Chang

” Thailand is quite simply backpacking 101, an easy introduction to a way of travelling through a popular yet still exotic region.”

For all these reasons and more, Thailand is the first country many people dreaming of or planning a gap year or backpacking trip think of, and with very good reason. Thailand is quite simply the ultimate first time backpackers destination, and that reputation becomes reality once you arrive and you realise that yes, it is worth the hype!

The Ultimate Backpacker Destination.

In many ways it is almost like Thailand is a destination tailor made for inexperienced, first time backpackers. Amazing cultural sites, beautiful beaches, fun filled hedonistic nights and some of the best food on the planet. It has a very safe, well worn backpacker trail, with a strong traveller infrastructure and plenty of sleeping, eating and transport options to choose from that make it absolutely no effort to travel through at all.

Thailand is quite simply backpacking 101, an easy introduction to a way of travelling through a popular yet still exotic region. Eastern mystique plus a dash of adventure and mild culture shock with all the comforts of home to soften the blow. In a lot of ways it is the perfect decompression stop for backpackers who want to go on to discover the rest of South East Asia, providing just enough western comfort to ease travellers through the culture shock they inevitably experience.

Yet despite this  many inexperienced travellers are still apprehensive about heading to this amazing country for the first time. Part of this is simple nerves about independent travel in general which I can completely understand. Backpacking pushes you outside of your comfort zone and that is a little nerve racking. The good thing about Thailand is there are countless other backpackers you will meet who are in the same situation and will make you feel a lot less nervous, and Thailand itself will dispel any lingering nervousness the minute you arrive by embracing you and allowing you to discover the country on your own terms. Give it a week and you’ll wonder why you ever felt nervous in the first place! So if you were in the slightest bit nervous about choosing Thailand as a destination on your very first backpacking trip, then here are just a few reasons why you should think again.

Traveller Infrastructure.

Khao San Road Bangkok

Thailand is second to none in terms of backpacker infrastructure, from an extensive public and private bus, train, plane and ferry system and the infamous backpacker network on Khao San Road, to accommodation options ranging from the most basic hostel dorms to the most celebrated of luxurious spa hotels, first time backpackers will not have to worry about too much when they first arrive in the country. Thailand is an absolute expert at making you feel welcome with locals who rely on tourism for income so used to tourists and backpackers in particular that the country is just so easy to travel around independently. It is only a very slight exageration to say that the country almost holds your hand as you discover it’s secrets, allowing you to gain your independent spirit and confidence in your own time and preparing you softly for the often daunting world of independent travel.

Getting around is an absolute breeze with a huge variety of cheap public and private transport options available. Bartering fares with tuk tuk drivers is an experience in and of itself (just avoid all the taxi and tuk tuk scams) and taxi’s are easily available on any budget when used in moderation. Grab, Thailand’s version of Uber is another option that is often even cheaper than the taxis. Long distance overnight coaches ply the countries highways alongside an extensive rail network, and you don’t need an extensive grasp of the public transport system or the language to simply turn up at the station and buy a ticket to where you want to go as English is widely spoken and most signs have dual language. If for whatever reason you don’t want to travel overland or need to get somewhere in a hurry, the prevalence of budget airline routes means you can get pretty much anywhere within the country or beyond for less than the cost of a meal back home.

Finding accommodation is no problem either, and there is certainly no need to pre book beyond your first night or two. Simply knowing what area you want to stay in and then walking around to find a place you like, from a beach hut to a spa resort, is so easy. You can pre book on any aggregate site or the accomodations own website of course, but walking in and getting a room there and then is the absolute norm, so you will never have trouble finding a bed that suits your tastes, comfort levels and budget. Hostels are common, but private rooms are so cheap in guesthouses and beach huts that a little privacy is easily within your grasp if you feel like it from time to time, and if you want to flashpack for a while the level of luxury you can get is a bargain by western standards. The point is you have choice, and plenty of it.

Activities as varied as jungle trekking, Muay Thai training, Thai cookery classes and even courses in Thai massage are all readily available for anyone wanting to make their trip even more memorable, and just to make things a little more easier for the independent traveller than they already are, there are more tour agencies dotted around the country than there are touts trying to get you to watch a ping pong show, and that is saying a lot! So if you do fancy taking a class, joining in with a trek or activity or doing anything you wish, and you don’t want or don’t know how to organise it for yourself, then until you feel confident enough to do it on your own there are more than enough people who will sort it all out for you for a very reasonable fee, and doing things this way is a great way to meet other backpackers and travellers too.

Other Backpackers.

How to meet people and make friends when travelling solo

If all of this isn’t easy enough for you, there are even countless other backpackers – some solo, some in couples, some even in groups – who will be more than happy to point you in the right direction or offer assistance. It is not uncommon for solo backpackers to team up and travel together for a few days. I may be a little biased in my opinion but I think backpackers are among the best people in the world, and are great sources of advice, information and even assistance if necessary! Thailand is a backpacker Mecca and is full of them, and they are generally a pretty decent bunch! So don’t be afraid to say hello and ask questions!

The Cost.

Of course Thailand is no longer the bargain destination it once was, and the exchange rate nowhere near as favourable, but Thailand is still a pretty cheap destination by western standards, especially if you are smart with your money and avoid a lot of the tourist traps. Prices may have shot up in the last decade or so, but you are still guaranteed an absolute bargain, and unless you go a bit mental on the whisky buckets, first time backpackers wanting to stick to a tight budget will find that they can make their money stretch really well here, especially once they get outside of Bangkok and the main touristy islands.

The Food.

Bangkok Khao San Road food stall

If anything was going to sell you on Thailand, it would be the world famous Thai street food! Pad Thai, Tom Yum, Thai yellow curry, spring rolls with chilli sauce from a KSR street stall, do I really need to say more? My belly is rumbling just thinking about it! Thai food is famous around the world, but you haven’t experienced a fraction of the flavour until you have arrived here and tasted it for yourself! There is something for almost every palette in Thailand, from vegetarians and gourmands to fast food fiends and even fussy eaters, you will be assured of finding something you like here. It is also very accessible to first time backpackers too, you don’t have to j ump straight in to tasting fried crickets from a vendor in Chiang Mai! If you are perhaps one of the few people who aren’t wholly used to the spices, flavours and exotic ingredients of Asian food, Thailand offers a nice, easy introduction to the regions cuisine with a lot of things that Westerners will find familiar alongside plenty that they will not. Simply find a street stall or an eatery with some outside tables, point to something that looks good and try it! If on the rare occasion you find you don’t like the meal (I genuinely don’t think that has ever happened in the history of backpacking) then just order something else! You will have at least tried something new and it would have cost you less than a bottle of water back home!

The Culture.

There are so many layers to the Thai culture that it is impossible to see it all in just one visit, but that is part of what makes it such an easy and accessible destination for the first time backpacker. On the surface there is the nice, easy, laid back aspect to the Thai culture where everything and everyone is accepted with a smile. This is what independent travellers generally see at first as they ease themselves into the backpacker lifestyle of lazy hammock days, island hopping, diving and partying. There is a thin veneer of Westernised culture in the backpacker ghettos of Khao San Road and Sukhumvit that makes many first time backpackers feel at home when they first arrive, but once you are comfortable you can start to scratch beneath the surface and discover a rich and intensely vibrant culture that draws you in slowly. There is no rush or pressure for you to do this, you can take your time, Thailand will wait patiently and allow you to discover her in your own way, but once you do trust me you will be endlessly fascinated and besotted with Thai culture. Thailand holds a primarily Buddhist belief system that is based heavily on ancient ancestral worship, with deep connections to family and patriotism. With deep influences from surrounding states as far as China and India, Thailand is very welcoming of other cultures and makes no demands of you. That is the beauty of Thailand and part of the reason why it is so accessible to backpackers, it allows you to discover the wonder of its culture at your own pace, it allows you to find out more when you are ready, not before, and will open your eyes to new cultures and belief systems without you even realising it. The longer you spend in Thailand, the more effort you will want to put into discovering just how amazing this country is.

The People.

There are few places on Earth where the people make more of an effort to make you – as a traveller – feel at home. It is always said that the Thai people are amongst the friendliest in the world, and that is absolutely true! You just have to experience the famous Thai hospitality for yourself to realise it.

Of course there are always exceptions to that rule, and every country in the world has its fair share of miserable downers. Thailand is no exception to that fact and of course there are mercenary tuk tuk drivers and scam artists who will test your patience as they chase you down the road with ping pong show brochures, but they are in the minority. If you take the time to travel slowly and meet the Thai people beyond those that tourists would normally come across, you will discover a warm, welcoming, uber friendly people that will welcome you to their country with open arms and make you feel right at home! Spending any amount of time in the country will make you feel as if it is your new home, that is how welcoming it is! I once got severe sunburn after foolishly forgetting to apply suncream to my back when snorkelling, and I was taken into the home of a local who applied aloe vera wraps to my slowly boiling skin and refused to accept any payment or anything in return!

You may be in a strange, new exotic country and you may even technically be on your own if you travel solo, but you will never be lonely, and that is wholly down to the warmth and openness of the Thai people.

Views Like This.

Thai Island Beach Koh Tao, Thailand

Just look at it. This was the view from one of the beach huts I stayed at many years ago. It cost a couple of pounds a night. I walked up without a reservation, liked the room, bartered a price, dumped my kit and I was in the water 5 minutes later! If you still need convincing after this, then there is no hope for you!

These are just a few of the reasons why Thailand holds a legendary status amongst backpackers and why so many package tourists are now flocking to it’s warm, fragrant shores. They are certainly just a small part of the reason Thailand will always have a special place in my own heart. You will of course find your own individual reasons for loving Thailand once you arrive, but it is absolutely certain that this amazing country will work its way into your heart and soul just like it has for thousands of backpackers before you.

So what are you waiting for? Go and book that ticket! If you have any reservations about travelling the world independently – or even any worries about culture shock in Asia – then Thailand is your perfect jumping off point. Your perfect travel decompression chamber that will make you eager to discover the rest of what south east Asia has to offer and give you the self confidence and the ability to travel independently anywhere.

Did you enjoy this article? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below or on my Facebook or Twitter pages and please feel free to share it with any or all of the social media buttons. If you want to get more great backpacking tips, advice and inspiration, please subscribe to updates via email in the box to your right.

6 Best Day Trips From Bangkok

Exploring Bangkok’s Chinatown..

How To Avoid Taxi And Tuk Tuk Scams In Bangkok.

In Defence Of Bangkok, It’s Not Just About Sex And Drinking.


The Elephant In The Room: Why You Shouldn’t Go On An Elephant Trek In Thailand.

The Evolution Of Khao San Road.

The Quick Easy Guide To The Best Of Thailand’s Islands.

The Ultimate Packing List For Backpacking Thailand.

Three Days In Bangkok.

Where To Stay In Bangkok, The Insiders Guide To The Best Bangkok Neighbourhoods.

Michael Huxley is a published author, professional adventurer and founder of the travel website, Bemused Backpacker. He has spent the last twenty years travelling to over 100 countries on almost every continent, slowly building Bemused Backpacker into a successful business after leaving a former career in emergency nursing and travel medicine, and continues to travel the world on numerous adventures every year.

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Posted in Destinations
98 comments on “Why Thailand Is The Ultimate First Time Backpacking Destination.
  1. globalmouse says:

    Brilliant post! I absolutely love Thailand too – it really does have everything going for it.

    It’s definitely the best place to start out a feel for travelling – I can’t imagine anyone going to Thailand and not wanting to keep exploring the world. (*Ouch* to the sunburn though!!!)

    • Thank you so much! You are absolutely right, Thailand does inspire further independent travel once people see how easy it is. And the sunburn was painful (it was my own daft fault) but I have never forgotten the kindness shown to me by that family!

  2. John says:

    nice! heading solo in march, first backpacking trip! beach hut sounds amazing, where did you stay in one?

    • I’ve stayed in beach huts in a lot of places, mostly SE Asia and India, but you can find them in Central America too. The one in the picture above was Koh Chang in Thailand, but most Thai islands have similar huts. Thanks for commenting, I hope you enjoy your trip!

  3. surfingtheplanet says:

    I absolutely agree with this post Michael. Even though Thailand has become really touristic, and every time it is harder to get off the beaten path, but it’s still a lovely country, where you feel embraced by the people and the atmosphere! We traveled in South East Asia for almost a year, and every time we got back to Thailand, a smile appeared on our face. It was nice to read your post, made me feel nostalgic:)

  4. foreignsanctuary says:

    Great post! I absolutely love Thailand too and I agree that it is not as cheap as before! But, like you said, there is something about the place!!! I have been there 8 times and I never get sick of the place!!

    • Higher prices are the curse if popularity Im afraid. They’ve been creeping up for years ever since package tour companies started arriving en masse! You can still travel quite easily on a budget though. I can’t wait to go back!

  5. mytanfeet says:

    Great post and points! It really is – EVERY single traveler/backpacker I personally know goes to Thailand the first stop. Heard great things about it though and can’t wait to try the food! Looove Thai food.

  6. heather says:

    Thailand was our second-time backpacker experience many years ago, but has probably been our favourite…love the culture, the scenery, the people, the food…oh the food…there’s nowhere on earth quite like the land of smiles, our favourite spot was the floating raft houses on chieow laan lake in Khao Sok NP. Wish I was there right now!

  7. asturiah says:

    Totally agree with you: Thaïland is perfect if you go for a first backpack trip. With the years it just got easier and easier.
    It makes the country a bit more expensive than others but hey, it’s quite worth it!

    Good post! Might make people decide to try the backpacking experience a bit more!

  8. Paul says:

    Thailand occupies a lofty position on my wishlist at the moment. I don’t know about backpacking (my student days are behind me and I prefer a little more luxury nowadays) but I would certainly love to go, if only for the food…

    • Haha well there’s nothing wrong with a little bit of flashpacking! ;D Thailand will certainly live up to your expectations there. There are a lot of options for the budget traveller it’s true, but if you want to upgrade a little you will find you can very easily get a lot of luxury too. And it always seems to come back to that amazing food! ;D

  9. frankaboutcroatia says:

    I’m so sorry that I’ve missed visiting Thailand when I was a backpacker (makes me feel almost like I have never been a backpacker, unless I visited Thailand). I still want to visit it, though. Food itself is a good reason to put it on my bucket list.

    • It is almost a rite of passage to do the banana pancake trail isn’t it? Well there’s absolutely nothing stopping you from taking a backpacking trip there in the future? 😉 Thailand is the perfect introduction to backpacking and independent travel for first time travellers, but it has a lot to offer experienced travellers too! And yes, the food is just … wow!

  10. Raphael Alexander Zoren says:

    I agree with everything! Specially the infrastructure, everything is designed to be hassle-free as possible (provided you don’t veer off into the off-beaten path)

    • Thanks for the comment Raphael. That’s exactly the point though, there are still places in Thailand slightly off the well beaten trail for more adventurous first time travellers, Isaan for example, but even there Thailand eases backpackers into it without making it too difficult.

  11. The Caffeinated Day Tripper says:

    I’m convinced! Sounds amazing!

  12. A Brit and A Southerner says:

    Awesome post. We are considering going to Asia for the first time at the end of 2014 and at the moment Singapore is top of our wish list but after reading this, Thailand may be up there and may sway our vote. Really insightful post for anyone visiting the region for the first time.

    • Why not do both? Take a couple of months? Singapore is an AMAZING country too, in fact it is my favourite city in the world. It is so easy to combine the two. Thailand is an excellent introduction to the region to though. Check out my destination guides if you need any inspiration! ;D Thanks for stopping by.

    • ahubbard10 says:

      If you guys go, we must meet up there! 🙂

  13. Michele says:

    I agree Thailand is great place to see if being a backpacker is the right thing for you 🙂 We were there last week and the locals are still friendly and welcoming you just need to get away from the tourist areas a bit.

    • Thanks for commenting Michele. There’s something for everyone in Thailand, KSR for the first time backpackers, luxury spa hotels for flashpackers and holidaymakers, lush jungle and tropical islands, it doesn’t matter.

  14. Chasing the Donkey says:

    Man, I so need to get to this place. I wonder how kid friendy lt it is..hmmm

  15. ahubbard10 says:

    Soooo, if I was already going to Thailand in November, I would be after reading this. I’m no newbie to traveling, but I am to solo travel and backpacking and can’t wait! While I’ll be going through all of SEA, Thailand is my first stop and I can’t wait! 🙂 Great post!

    • Thank you, I’m really glad you liked it! Don’t get me wrong even if you are an experienced traveller Thailand has so much to offer everyone you will still have an amazing time. It’s just the fantastic infrastructure and other reasons outlined above make it perfect for first timers to get used to independent travel. Thanks for commenting. 🙂

  16. Sharon says:

    I love travelling in Thailand too and agree with everything you said. It is easy and the cheap price of everything means it is so easy to splurge as well. It was one of the first destinations we headed with kids too, and on a much cheaper budget than a trip at home, we were able to have a comfortable mid range trip and even take private transfers between cities. It is awesome and very family friendly. In huge part because of the hospitality of the people.

    • I completely agree! I splurged quite a few times on unexpected things during my trips there such as room upgrades from time to time, getting my PADI quals, excursions, because like you say it was so cheap. Thanks for commenting!

  17. Travelling Book Junkie says:

    Thailand has been a destination on our list for a couple of years now – it’s just a case of balancing the time off work with where would we like to travel to (think we would need longer than our normal annual leave quota). I think we would enjoy spending our days lazing around a beach hut or two after exploring the sights. 🙂

    • That’s what sickies were invented for! ;D Seriously though you could always couple your annual leave with a couple of weeks unpaid leave or even a sabbatical? People do it all the time, I do! Thailand is MORE than worth it, believe me!

      • Travelling Book Junkie says:

        Its something we are considering – however, first on the list is New Zealand and Australia next year! (…and that’s taking some unpaid leave rather than a sickie 🙂 ) Although Thailand will follow shortly after I am sure.

      • That should be a great trip! Hope you have a good one, let me know how it goes!

  18. Roma RoamingRequired says:

    I cant believe as an Aussie I’m yet to conquer Thailand. This just pushes me that little bit harder to go!

  19. Syd says:

    Ahhh I want those kebob things. I should know better than to read blogs when I’m starving. Seriously though, given the prices of eating out in NZ, I almost want to catch a plane to Bangkok for dinner.

  20. Gallivant Girl says:

    Well I can’t disagree with that. Thailand has it all for a first-timer… I still loved it as a third-timer! It’s cheap, easy and beautiful with a wealth of culture and great parties! Looking forward to my fourth.

  21. Kenneth Blankenship says:

    I’ve been thinking about going backpacking across the world for a year or two now and just recently got up the gonads to actually do it! Currently, I’m waiting for my taxes to come in to get a head start on a travel fund that might possibly last the rest of my life.

    It’s difficult when you are 22 with no schooling because you don’t want to pay for college and be in debt for the next 5 to 10 years (or more), to find something that pays well enough to generate income quickly. I’m saving as much as I possibly can even though I was only able to save up $100 this month. I make about $600 dollars a month and most of it goes to rent and other bills. I found it to be a great accomplishment and am very excited that I’m actually doing this.

    Anywho, sorry about the long comment here I’m just really talkative when it comes to anything traveling anymore because it’s what I want to do with the rest of my life. I originally started this comment to just tell you that I am planning to go to Thailand for my first place to visit and then the world! This post made me want to go there even more and I want to let you know it’s an excellent booster for my excitement to see what Thailand has in store for me!

    • Hi Kenneth, really glad i could provide a bit of excitement and inspiration fpr you! Don’t worry so much about a quick income boost, it is possible for anyone on any income to save and budget for round the world travel. It may take a bit of time and some sacrifices but it is possible believe me, I’ve done it myself! Good luck and keep at it!

  22. Sue says:

    Ive been toying with the idea of travelling to Thailand for a month or 2 next year, at first I was Scared to death because I will have to go alone but after reading this and other “Solo” travellers reviews I actually think I want to go alone! really enjoyed reading this its made me feel motivated and very excited, Thank you! I think you just convinced me to do it!! Sue

    • Thanks Sue, you are very welcome! I’m really glad the article has given you a little motivation! Travelling solo is amazing, you won’t regret it believe me. And Thailand is definitely worth going to, you really should try and get that extra month too if you can! Have a great time out there, and come back and let me know how it goes!

  23. @Shawn Cookson says:

    Great article! Definitely worth sharing. Thanks!

  24. Angela B says:

    Sounds amazing! I have never been to Asia but eating Pad Thai from the streets of Thailand has been on my bucket list. Going to give solo backpacking a try this winter. Excited! Thank you for the information.

  25. Ana Sana says:

    awesome post! costa rica was the place where i broke in my backpack, and i felt the same way. aside from the cost, i think it fits in your criteria very well! i came back confident to travel almost anywhere after that!

    • Excellent point, in many ways Costa Rica is great for first timers too. At the end of the day as long as we gain that confidence and carry on travelling then that’s the main thing. 😉

  26. Channtal says:

    I am considering a three week tour of Thailand from a tour operator, would you recommend it or should I attempt to do the trip independently?

    • Personally I wouldn’t recommend it Channtal, no. Thailand is so easy to travel through yourself, just see the points in this article to get my views on that. Make your own itinerary based on what you want to see, fly into Bangkok and then start exploring yourself! Easy! 🙂

  27. Satori says:

    I’m going this October. Your blog has come of use:).Great content.

  28. bonita bell says:

    I have backpacked
    a couple of times ,Europe and then Peru . I am interested in visiting Thailand now . We are young seniors now and my husband has never backpacked how difficult will it be for us , eg hostels ,jungle treks. Are there older backpacker to connect with?

    • Yes, absolutely there are! Don’t get me wrong, the core of young student age backpackers are still generally the norm, especially on the established banana pancake trails, but over the last 5 or so years there have been a huge increase in professionals in their 30s on a career break as well as people in their 40s, 50s and even upwards backpacking as well, and I have met so many people of all ages and backgrounds, so don’t worry about connecting with other people in your age group 🙂 As for how comfortable it will be that wholly depends on you and your comfort levels. Thailand like anywhere has a full range of comfort levels available, from basic budget to ultra luxury, and you don’t even have to stay in a hostel, private rooms aren’t all that much more expensive and are everywhere. As for activities, the same is true again. You can pretty much do anything tailored to your own style, comfort and fitness levels. If you can’t manage a three day jungle trek for example, how about a nice easy half day or 1 day hike? It’s all up to you. I hope this helped and I hope you have a great time! ;D Pop back and let us know how you got on!

  29. tiny says:

    well i will be there end of oct 2014… backpacking my way round, and diving. hope to meet many of you on my traveles….

  30. Jaimee says:

    I recently was in Thailand and liked it so much that I stayed for every one of the 60 days on my visa! Still glad I went to malaysia first though. Simply for the fact that I could type the words on signs into Google translate haha. The thai alphabet threw me a bit the first day. But that’s probably because I was started in Hat Yai which isn’t very touristy. It’s much easier when you get to more popular spots 🙂 There is heaps of tourism infrastructure there but there is still a challenge because of language barriers. Which makes it a great spot for us newbies to test the waters of backpacking without diving too deep 🙂

  31. andy says:

    Hi there, does anyone know how long I can stay in Thailand with a British passport without a visa. Thx

  32. Cosmosbob says:

    Awesome Post!! I am travelling to Thailand in April (hottest month of the year) by myself.
    Are there still backpackers from all over the world? I am a little scared to be alone all the time ^^

    • Thank you. 🙂 And yes of course there are, just head to any hostel or backpacker bar and you’ll have no trouble meeting tons of other backpackers, many of whom will be travelling solo too. Just go up and say hi!

  33. Julie says:

    I enjoyed reading your article, my daughter is leaving for Thailand soon and doing a 12 day tour and then she is on her own for a week – just her and her backpack – this is a first for her

    • Thank you so much Julie I’m glad you enjoyed it. Don’t worry about your daughter she’ll have the time of her life in Thailand and she has the tour to ease her into things. Thanks for commenting.

  34. Nicole says:

    Hi I’m planning on traveling to thailand backpacking in September till December myself and my partner ☺ roughly how much money would u need to be comfortable. It would be grate if u could give me a rough estimate thank you

    • Hi Nicole, as a very rough average I’d say between £1000 – 1200 per person. Obviously this can be much less with cheap accom, sharing transport etc, but can be much more if you go flashpacker. You’ll definitely be comfortable with that budget though. Have a great trip.

  35. Andy says:

    Hi guys love this site so I’m 52 and now am at that stage when I want to go and travel around thialand I’m on my own so a little apprehensive please help any advice thanks Andy

    • Thank you Andy. You’ll find plenty of advice on any question that you can think of on this site, just browse around or do a search. And don’t be apprehensive, you’ll have the time of your life! There are plenty of people your age travelling all over the world. 🙂

  36. Adam says:

    Decided to get a 2/12 solo trip to Thailand, exploring the North, the islands (Full Moon party is on when I am out there), Bangkok. At first I was hesitant about booking as going alone. I am well travelled and thought I’ve got nothing to lose. What tour groups would you recommend, or just wing it and go alone for the whole time. (My friend from Malaysia might join me for a few days too)


  37. Thomas says:

    what a cracking read! any comments on the weather in september/october? planning a trip at that time this year but have read multiple accounts on what the weather is like! thanks!

    • Thanks Thomas, September and October are awesome times to travel. The rainy season in general is my favourite time to travel SEAsia! Don’t worry about the weather, just go and enjoy it.

  38. Julie says:

    Hi, great read, just what I needed, as I’ve been hesitating about backpacking alone. You mention gap years etc for solos, I’m a young at heart 63 year old, kids are all grown up and I so much want to get out there and explore. Surely it’s not only gap year students who do this, please tell me there’s plenty of folk my age out there going solo. Cheers and thanks x

    • Hi Julie, thank you. 🙂 No it isn’t just students. You’ll be glad to hear you’ll be far from being on your own out there! There are so many retired people travelling both solo and as couples now that I’d say it has become completely normal. Go! You’ll have an awesome time, and please write back and let me know how you are enjoying your solo trip!

      • Julie says:

        Thanks so much for answering, can’t begin to tell you how reassuring your site has been for me. Will let you know how I get on, leaving sometime late December early January, bless ya ! 😀

  39. Adrian Baker says:

    I like this post very much, and agree with it totally. I’m not a backpacker, too old for that now, but I’ve been living in Thailand for 13 years, and it’s not a difficult place to be. I use it as a base for my travels around the rest of the region, and it really is excellent for that purpose too.

  40. Emma says:

    Hi, thanks for this great post! I’m a 24 year old female from London who is considering backpacking for the first time – and chose Thailand as a start point for the reasons that you mention above! I’m pretty scared about going solo, how much planning is necessary beforehand?

    • Hi Emma, don’t be scared about going solo, trust me you will have a great time! With planning, not so much is needed. You always need a solid idea of your budget, a rough idea of where you want to stay and what you want to see, but you also need to leave a lot of time open for spontaneity too. Have a look at my travel tips section and my posts on solo travel, those posts should give you a good idea of what to expect. 🙂

  41. John says:

    I agree with a lot of what you say here, but do you think that Thailand has become just too touristy now?

    • There are definitely parts that have been taken over with mass tourism, absolutely. Especially since the package tourists got their claws in. But there are still a lot of places you can go to get away from that.

  42. Kayla says:

    This is exactly what I wanted to hear! Thailand is my first stop on my upcoming gap year starting July 2016!!! Cannot wait!

  43. Paul says:

    I’m planning my first trip to Thailand now and I can’t wait! Reading this just confirms I made the right choice and is making me even more excited!

  44. Pink says:

    Love your article! 🙂

  45. Natalie Ijewsky says:

    Would you say this is still true now? I want to plan my trip to Thailand but hear so much about it being full of package tourists now.

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Hi, I'm Michael! I'm a former nurse turned published author and world travelling professional adventurer! I have spent over twenty years travelling over 100 countries and I want to inspire you to do the same! Want to know more about me? Just click here!

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