I'm planning on going traveling this summer. I'm thinking of doing the following:
Thailand - 1 month
Australia - 6 weeks
New Zealand - 1 month
Fiji - 1 week
The only problem is that I'll be setting out on my own. I've heard that there's a lot of couples in Thailand and that it can be hard for backpackers on their own to meet people. I'd prefer to do it all the other way around and to go to Thailand last, as I know that it's very easy to meet other backpackers in Australia and New Zealand. However, I wanted to visit Fiji last for a week just to rest!! I can't really go to Australia, NZ, Thailand and then back to Fiji though!!! Any advice?
I've heard that there's a lot of couples in Thailand and that it can be hard for backpackers on their own to meet people.
Whoever told you this has either never been to Thailand or was stuck in a some bubble on an exclusive resort in Phuket where they never seen another backpacker. Thailand is probably the absolute easiest place on the planet to meet fellow travelers. I'm willing to say that it's easier than Australia and New Zealand. You really would have to be completely socially inapt not to make friends in Thailand.
But a couple tips on meeting people in Thailand, (or anywhere else for that matter):
First and foremost, and really obvious, is don't be shy. Sounds silly to even say, but you really have to make the effort to meet people or you won't. Just talk to people in restaurants, on buses, at your hotel etc... 2 minute small talk often leads to an invite (or you make the invite) for a beer and hanging out for a part of your trip.
And don't be scared of couples. I can tell you from experience that couples are often the most willing to make friends. Consider that alot of them in Thailand are there for a month or more, or its part of an extended year trip. They probably spend 24/7 with each other and would love to have someone new to talk to. I know when I travel solo, that it's often couples that I become good friends with. And I know from traveling as a couple, that we get frustrated because people assume we want to be left alone.
In Thailand, the places I meet people the easiest are on buses and on day tours. Though lots of people argue that tourist oriented buses isolate you from the real Thailand, they are a great way to meet people. Chatting to the people sitting around you makes the time go faster, and you usually get off the bus having someone to search for accommodation with, and have dinner with. And of course on day tours, you are stuck with a group of backpackers for the day and its inevitable that you will talk to them. Some ideas for day tours from Bangkok when you arrive are to the Floating Markets, and to Kanchanaburi. Also, when you get to Chiang Mai, the hill tribe treks and cooking courses are a great way to meet people.
So really, ease of meeting people is not a consideration for the order of your trip. Your only consideration should be flight availability and weather. I'm assuming that by summer you mean summer in the Northern Hemisphere. Remember that that's winter in Australia and New Zealand. Though Australia is generally a hot place, it isn't exactly beach weather in the south in July. You'll be surprised how cold it can get and if your image of traveling in Oz is sitting on Bondi Beach, then you may want to take the time of year into consideration. In the north however things are considerably warmer and you can have a beach holiday in the winter. In New Zealand things are much colder and its not really beach weather anywhere. But if skiing is a priority then you'll be alright.
Good response there!
I too have been worrying/thinking about whether i will meet many people when i go solo in July.
Spose the really answer is to talk to EVERYONE