Home » Bangkok travelling alone: what to do, what to see and where to stay

Bangkok travelling alone: what to do, what to see and where to stay

by Paola Bertoni
0 comment

Travelling alone can be a great experience, and Bangkok is an ideal destination for women planning a solo trip. Thailand’s capital is a safe destination, with numerous temples, museums, and many activities to keep you engaged. You’ll undoubtedly appreciate countless markets and temples, must-visit attractions such as the Grand Royal Palace and the Jim Thompson House, tasty street food, and traditional massages. In this article, I will share my amazing experience and give you some tips on planning your solo trip to Bangkok.

Discover Bangkok on your own: tips and tricks

Exploring Bangkok alone can be exciting and challenging, especially if it is your first solo trip far from home. To feel more confident during your trip, plan every detail in advance. Bangkok offers various options for accommodation, and you will never run out of choices. However, it would be better to book your room and activities to focus more on sightseeing beforehand.

Get ready to enjoy your trip to Bangkok with the Bangkok Go City All-Inclusive Pass with 30+ attractions, including a guided tour of the famous Grand Palace and even a Thai cooking class.
To stay connected during your trip to Thailand, save on data coverage with an Airalo eSim while in Bangkok. And don’t forget to purchase Heymondo travel insurance to cover your trip against unexpected events like medical emergencies, trip cancellations, or lost luggage.

When I visited Bangkok alone for the first time, I had only booked the first night in a hostel and improvised the whole trip for two weeks. However, I already knew Thailand quite well. You can do that, too, if you are an experienced solo traveller, but it may not be suitable for everyone. For example, if I were to travel with my son, I would book the whole trip in advance.

Fun activities to do alone

When it comes to activities to do, Bangkok offers many fun options for women travelling alone. I love gastronomy, so I enjoyed trying street food at all the street stalls. If you like shopping, you can visit a floating market or the Chatuchak weekend market, one of the largest in Thailand.

A visit to the most famous temples, such as Wat Phra Kaew and Wat Arun, is a must to discover the local culture and spirituality. Finally, if you like massages and are curious about traditional Thai culture, take advantage of a traditional massage at the Wat Pho school inside the monastery complex.

Getting around Bangkok

Getting around Bangkok is very easy, and you can choose from various options depending on your preferences and budget. The cheapest option to get into the city from the airport is the Airport Rail Link train. Alternatively, taxis are very convenient, but remember to check if they have the meter to avoid scams.

Once in the city, the most popular option for tourists to get around is the characteristic tuk-tuk, a typical Thai transport. These vehicles are widely used in Bangkok, but you should agree on the price before boarding.

An inexpensive alternative is public transport, such as buses, metros, and Skytrains. The bus is cheap, but it may not be as comfortable or fast as the train. The Skytrain is an elevated railway line that runs through the city and covers many tourist attractions. At the same time, the metro has two lines that connect various points in the Thai capital.

If you want to explore the city independently, renting a bicycle or scooter would be a good option. However, remember that Bangkok’s traffic can be chaotic and dangerous, so you should be careful. Finally, there is also the option of using ride-sharing services such as Grab, the counterpart of Uber in Thailand and South East Asia.

To cross the Chao Phraya River, on the other hand, there are several ferry berths along the shore. You can choose from inexpensive boats that go back and forth between the two banks, such as the Wat Arun temple service, or rely on water taxis to reach a particular destination by the river.

Wat Arun temple in Bangkok
Wat Arun temple in Bangkok

What to see in Bangkok: must-see temples and museums

Bangkok is a city rich in history, culture and art, with many temples and museums. Popular attractions include the Grand Royal Palace, the Jim Thompson House Museum, and the Wat Pho, Wat Phra Kaew, and Wat Arun temples, to name but a few.

The Grand Royal Palace

The Grand Royal Palace is one of Bangkok’s most popular tourist attractions. It’s an exceptional architectural masterpiece that contains various places of interest within its premises.

The complex is home to Wat Phra Kaew, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, and the official residence of the King of Thailand. The grandeur and magnificence of the building are truly remarkable. You can explore gardens and historical buildings and appreciate the art and architecture of the past era.

Bangkok’s most famous temples

In Bangkok, there are at least four must-see temples. The first one is Wat Phra Kaew, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, considered Thailand’s holiest temple. Inside, you can see the famous Emerald Buddha, a sacred Buddha statue that dates back to the 14th century.

The second temple is Wat Arun, the Temple of Dawn, located on the western bank of the Chao Phraya River. You can reach it by boat. It has a magnificent central tower shaped like a stupa and covered in Chinese porcelain tiles. You can enjoy a spectacular view of Bangkok city and the river from the temple.

The third temple is Wat Pho, which is most famous for its 46-meter-long statue of the reclining Buddha. Additionally, it has a school of massage and traditional Thai medicine where you can get a massage.

Lastly, there’s Wat Saket, the Golden Mountain Temple. It’s a large religious complex situated on a scenic hill artificially created from the debris of an ancient destroyed temple. The climb to the top can be tiring on hot days, but the view is breathtaking, and you can also see a series of Buddhist bells lined up in a row.

The bells of Bangkok's Wat Saket temple, the Golden Mountain
The bells of Bangkok’s Wat Saket temple, the Golden Mountain

Jim Thompson House Museum

Bangkok has a lot to offer for art and culture enthusiasts. The Jim Thompson House is a must-visit attraction. This museum was once the home of Jim Thompson, an American entrepreneur and former secret agent who revolutionised the silk industry in Thailand before disappearing under mysterious circumstances. The house displays antiques and traditional art objects, and it’s one of the rare opportunities to see a Thai-style wooden house in Bangkok.

Exterior of the Jim Thompson House Museum built of wood in the traditional Thai style
Exterior of the Jim Thompson House Museum built of wood in the traditional Thai style

Bangkok monuments

Besides the temples and museums, Bangkok houses numerous awe-inspiring art and architectural masterpieces. The temples and public buildings offer an opportunity to learn about Thailand’s rich history and culture, making a trip to Bangkok worthwhile.

One of the most popular attractions is the Giant Swing. This colossal red teak wooden structure was used as a swing for a Hindu ritual from the 1700s until the early 1900s. Lightning damaged the original swing, prompting its reconstruction in 1920 using teak wood.

Another important public work in Bangkok is the Democracy Monument in the city centre, designed by the Italian sculptor Corrado Feroci, known in Thailand under the name of Silpa Bhirasri. The monument is a 50-metre-high dome encircled by four stone sails, representing the four branches of Thai government: executive, legislative, judicial, and constitutional. The monument was built in 1939 to commemorate the coup d’état that transformed the Kingdom of Siam into a constitutional monarchy.

The Bangkok Democracy Monument
The Bangkok Democracy Monument

What to do in Bangkok: the best activities for a solo trip

Bangkok is a city that offers numerous opportunities to explore and enjoy on your own. Among the best activities are those related to food and local culture. One of the most authentic experiences you can enjoy is street food from street stalls and tiny restaurants, sampling traditional dishes such as Pad Thai, green curry, and Som Tum.

Street vendors can be found everywhere, from the main street to hidden alleys, offering delicious food for just a few dollars. If you want to learn how to replicate these recipes, you can sign up for a cooking class with a market tour.

The city has several markets, but the most famous is the Damnoen Saduak floating market, which is about two hours away from the city. You can buy fresh produce such as fruits, vegetables, and fish. However, the unique feature is seeing the stalls set up directly from boats floating on the canal. It is a unique experience that allows you to get in touch with the local culture and tradition of floating markets in Southeast Asia.

Finally, a cruise on the Chao Phraya River is another enjoyable activity to do alone in Bangkok. The river runs through the city and offers panoramic views of the main attractions, such as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and the Royal Palace. Several cruise options are available, from the convenient hop-on hop-off boat to the customised private long-tail boat tour with a guide. All of them allow you to enjoy a relaxing time contemplating the city from the water.

Boats on the Chao Phraya River in front of Wat Arun Temple, Bangkok
Boats on the Chao Phraya River in front of Wat Arun Temple, Bangkok

Where to experience the authentic traditional Thai massage

Traditional Thai massage is very popular in Bangkok. Known for its intense style, it aims to reduce muscle tension and stimulate circulation and the lymphatic system. However, finding an authentic traditional Thai massage can be challenging due to the vast number of spas and wellness centres in Bangkok, some of which might not provide authentic services.

To try a traditional Thai massage, I recommend avoiding the cheapest places you find along the streets and relying on experienced professionals. You can start by visiting the Wat Pho Thai Traditional Massage School, one of the most authentic places to try Thai massage. In one day, you can combine a visit to the Grand Royal Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and try an authentic massage performed by experienced and qualified professionals who follow traditional techniques.

Alternatively, you can opt for a hotel or independent spas with qualified masseurs. It’s a good idea to rely on your intuition, having first tried some traditional Thai massage in the Wat Pho school. Massage parlours in Thailand may look basic, but the services are usually excellent. Getting a massage is something you can enjoy when travelling alone because you don’t have to adjust to the schedules of your fellow travellers.

View of the Wat Arun temple complex in Bangkok
View of the Wat Arun temple complex in Bangkok

Where to buy the best souvenirs in Bangkok

Bangkok is a great place to get inexpensive souvenirs to take home. However, not all shops and market stalls offer authentic, high-quality products. For instance, popular among Western backpackers, Khao San Road offers classic souvenirs like elephant trousers and Thai beer T-shirts.

I recommend visiting the markets or the Chinatown district to find the best souvenirs in Bangkok. The Chatuchak weekend market is one of the largest covered markets in the world. It has a wide range of products, including clothing, jewellery, beauty products, and textiles. Although it has recently become very touristy, it still offers unique and original items.

Another option is the Pratunam market, located in the district of the same name. It has many shops offering traditional clothing, such as trousers to wear during traditional massages, Buddha amulets, and other souvenirs. Finally, the Chinatown district in Bangkok is another great place to find interesting and original souvenirs.

Chinatown is also a great area to stay in while travelling alone. It has many different shops, some specialised in herbal medicine, art, and antiques. In particular, I recommend the Moshi Moshi and Pan Pan gift shops in the Chinese district. They have mugs, stationery, dining sets, and kawaii-style travel items. You can use Google Maps to find them, but watch out for homonyms, as they don’t have a website.

Chinatown district in Bangkok, photo Uwe Schwarzbach
Chinatown district in Bangkok, photo Uwe Schwarzbach

Where to sleep in Bangkok when travelling alone

Bangkok offers many different choices of where to stay when travelling alone. In general, hostels are a good option if you are looking for a cheap place to stay and make new friends, while hotels offer luxury and comfort at great prices. You can have a great experience in a nice hotel for just a few dollars more, so I advise you not to go for savings at all costs.

Khao San Road: neighbourhood to avoid when travelling alone

Many backpacker blogs and guidebooks recommend staying in Khao San Road to find a cheap room and stay in a lively neighbourhood. However, in my opinion, Khao San Road is the worst choice for solo travellers, especially solo female travellers like me. Even if the reviews seem promising, you might end up in questionable, unsafe facilities with dirty dorm beds in guest houses. 

If you still want to try staying in Khao San Road, compare reviews on multiple sites and not book more than one night before seeing the room. Many budget accommodations in this area lack windows, and this detail is often not mentioned on booking portals. Most hotels, guest houses, and hostels in Khao San Road are noisy and uncomfortable.

Despite the positive online reviews, my worst travel experience was here, at the AT Guesthouse (now closed). The shared bathroom had no proper shower, just a cold water tap next to the toilet bowl. My private room, without a window, was so small that it fitted only a single bed, without other space. Still, at night, it was incredibly noisy because all the drunks were returning to their beds in the dormitory.  

Many backpackers pass through Khao San Road but often prioritise a cheap holiday. As a result, the neighbourhood transforms at night with bars open until late, concerts, and a souvenir market where you can try fried insects (which may not be the freshest).

Boutique hostels

Hostels are not all spartan facilities for young travellers with no money. Today, some hostels are boutique hostels located in historical buildings or modern facilities and fully equipped.

For instance, Niras Bankoc Cultural Hostel is a hostel in a historical building from 1869, once owned by a royal family member and now tastefully renovated. The dorms are furnished in a modern style and come with personal lockers. At the same time, each bed has electrical and USB sockets for charging mobile phones. The ground floor houses the Peyton Café, which serves breakfast and light meals.

Vivit Hostel is another boutique hostel located in a period building that once housed the tailor’s shop of the Vivit Busagar royal house. It features private rooms and dormitories furnished in a modern style, with lockers and electrical outlets for each bed. It also has a computer work area with laundry and coffee for guests.

Vivit Hostel in Bangkok
Vivit Hostel in Bangkok


During my stay in Bangkok, I tried out a few luxury hotels in the city. The first was the Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok, in front of the Chao Phraya River, with a fantastic river view and boat service rental. This hotel has an infinity pool, a spa, a restaurant, and a water taxi service. I highly recommend this property to anyone planning a trip to Bangkok.

Another hotel I enjoyed staying at was the Shanghai Mansion Bangkok, located in the Chinatown district. The hotel is designed inspired by 1930s Shanghai and is truly a unique experience. Their Chinese restaurant is one of the best I have tried, offering a variety of sophisticated dishes that are hard to find outside China.

The Amara Bangkok Hotel is another luxury hotel that I highly recommend. They have an infinity pool and fantastic fusion restaurants. If you want a more exclusive experience, consider upgrading to the club room, which includes daily drinks on a private terrace with panoramic views of Bangkok. I had a fantastic time staying here, especially as a solo traveller.

Infinity pool on the roof of the Amara Bangkok hotel in Thailand
Infinity pool on the roof of the Amara Bangkok hotel in Thailand

Safety tips when travelling alone

Travelling alone can be a wonderful experience, but it’s essential to take a few precautions to ensure that you always stay safe, whether you’re in Bangkok or Europe. Firstly, it’s wise to check for any restrictions or limitations related to public events and the pandemic before you depart so you can stay informed about the current situation.

Another important safety tip is to avoid walking alone at night, particularly in outlying or poorly lit areas, especially if you’re a woman travelling solo. Instead, opt for official public transport with other people on board, such as buses or metros. If you take a tuk-tuk or taxi, ensure they are legit.

While I’ve never experienced any issues while travelling alone, it’s generally wise to avoid excessive partying when you’re on your own. If you want to drink and dance, joining a group of other people you’ve met in the hostel is better than clubbing alone. It is a golden rule to follow no matter where you are in the world.

Conclusion: why Bangkok is a great idea for a solo trip

Bangkok is one of the world’s most exciting and fascinating cities, where you can have a unique and unforgettable experience travelling alone. With its vibrant culture, delicious cuisine, ancient temples and bustling city markets, Bangkok has everything you could want in a city. Feel free to comment if you have already visited Bangkok alone or if this article has enticed you to have a solo travel experience.

You may also like

Leave a Comment

* By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website.