Hoping to travel to Thailand at the end of February (for UK).. Am thinking of booking onto a 'gap year company' tour for a month but it is so much cheaper to travel alone (bit anxious at the prospect). Any advice on heading out alone/on the gap year trips or anyone planning to go around the same time?
Thailand is a great country to tour, either on your own or on tour. I have done both, I now have no hesitation in going it alone.
Hope you have a great time in Thailand
Ill be in thailand around that time ... Im in the same boat but from what ive been told is that you make friends no problems in hostels.
Anyway i fly to hong kong for two weeks come monday then ill be in bang kok, ill keep you posted
".....Any advice on heading out alone?"
Millions of tourists have visited Thailand on their own. Do a forum search on this travel forum, even other forums, and read some of the many posts for "solo" traveler to Thailand or similar wording. Many solo travelers are women.
You do need a passport. If you need a visa you pay for or you can enter free depends on the passport you enter with and how long you plan on staying. For 30 days or less, with most Western passports, you can enter free with a stamp in your passport at the airport. For this you need a flight out of Thailand within 30 days. Over 30 days you must buy a tourist visa.
You can not legally work in Thailand without a work permit. This means the money you leave home with has to pay for everything. You need to figure out how much money you have available after paying for your plane tickets. If visiting from long distance round trip to Bangkok may be cheaper than buying two one way flights. (Assuming you are returning home.)
Bangkok is cheaper than many beach areas. Bangkok has some pretty good city transportation; buses, cheap meter taxis and good city rail service. (Skytrain, Airport Rail Link and a subway system.) A hotel not far from a Skytrain stop can be helpful. But Bangkok is a big city and no single location is best for everything. You will have to use taxis eventually. (There are some posts on how to use taxis in Bangkok, do a search. From Suvarnabhumi there is rail service to the city and meter taxis are available 24 hours a day.)
Figure out how much you have available each day for hotel rooms. Then choose hotels that fit your budget. For Thailand - Bangkok, beach area and a visit to Northern Thailand (often Chiang Mai area) with a few days back in Bangkok fills out the places to visit. Google search and can narrow down how to get from city to city. Also Google up scams to avoid and "things to see and do" for Thailand. Some posts have hotel recommendations. Perhaps some are in your price range.
The end of February is cheaper than the Christmas holiday period. But some hotels may be booked because when it is cold in N. America and Northern Europe warm destinations get more tourists! Have a hotel to head for the first few days. Afterwards you may be able to call ahead and reserve rooms.
Read some of the posts for how to handle money. If bringing UK currency you won't have any difficulty changing that money in Thailand. (No old money, no dirty or torn bills, no writing, etc. My advice is to bring larger denominations.) You get a better exchange rate in Thailand than another country if taking UK pounds.
Have a credit card available for emergencies that may come up. A debit card can be useful too. There is a fee to take money out of a Thai ATM, when you make withdrawals from an ATM take out the maximum you can so you don't pay big fees for small withdrawals. For day to day cheap purchases my advice is to use cash. I never use my debit card for any cheap purchases in restaurants, stores and bars. Notify your bank that you will be using their cards in Thailand BEFORE you leave home. When they see ATM withdrawals in a foreign country they may suspect fraud.
Might be good idea to have some medical insurance in case you get in an accident.
Thailand has some good transportation with train available from top of Thailand to bottom of Thailand. Long distance buses go just about everywhere. There is discount airlines available in Thailand too. Bangkok has 2 airports by the way. Suvarnabhumi is the newer airport and gets most of the long distance flights. These airports are not close together when planning on flights.
In Thailand it is easy to sign on to shared tours in person. Your hotel may have a tour desk if not in major cities local travel agencies can book tours for you. Normally choose tour one day and leave the following morning. Pick up at your hotel and return to same at end of trip.
Don''t know if you are male or female from your name.
If you are female always think safety! When you get requests from random people who want to meet you do not give out your hotel name and room number. Meet your "friend" in a neutral location (McDonalds, supermarket, etc.) and screen these new "friends!" Some cultures see a woman traveling alone as a person looking for a date! (No problem with this but at least screen out the ones who want YOU to pay for everything!)
having been there before, dont waste money on a month long tour, just stay in hostels and you will meet many in the same boat as you
like others have said, your hotel should be able arrange any tours you want to do, or just go with the flow of the ppl you meet there and see what they are doing, unless you have set places you want to see. Still easy enough do though, so dont worry
Hi, i'm in the exact same position! I am planning on arriving in the last week of February and staying for about 3 weeks then going onto Australia.. I don't know whether to book a tour with Gadventures or backpackersworld for some of or all the time I'm in Thailand or do it all solo, because it does make it more expensive! But I worry about being unsafe or not meeting people to travel with if I don't use a tour