I am a 31-year-old blonde American traveling alone to Koh Samui and Bangkok. I've traveled alone in New Zealand and Peru and felt safe. Are there any areas to avoid? Housing suggestions? Fun activities to do solo? Or ways to meet new friends without putting myself in harm's way? Thank you!
I also recommend Khao San Road for your time in Bangkok. There are plenty of guesthouses and inexpensive hotels in the area. If you want to meet other travellers that's the place to do it. Be sure to visit the Grand Palace while you're in Bangkok. It's worth taking a day trip north to Ayutthaya as well.
You can reach Koh Samui by plane, or train/ferry. It's the most developed of the gulf islands and has all the comforts of home. You shouldn't have any problems while you're there. Personally, I would say skip Samui and head for Koh Phangan or Ko Tao instead. They're still on the tourist trail and easily accessible, but not quite so developed. It just depends what you're after though.
Thailand is a very friendly and safe country. I spent about three months there and never had any problems. Like anywhere, just keep your eyes open and use your common sense. You'll have a great time! :)
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I'm not sure how long you'll be in Bangkok and what's your budget, but I suggest staying in Khao San Road for your first night. Since the area has a high volume of other experience travelers, you'll have no problem making new friends. However, choose your hostel wisely by checking the rooms for bed bugs (gross!).
Bangkok is fairly safe, just avoid tuk-tuk drivers and make sure the taxi drivers have their service meters on.
Have fun =)
Bangkok is in quite a difficult situation lately but if I'm not mistaken, the government lifts the 'State of Emergency' effective today. That means, it's generally safer to travel there now.
Still, make sure to be safe. You should stay away from dark allies. It's not bad getting away from the typical but make sure that you have people around you to see if ever something unlucky happens. Also, don't flaunt your gadgets or money. Don't talk to suspicious strangers because some can be cons who can take your money away. Although riding tuktuks and songthaews are nice ways to experience the culture, I suggest that you don't ride them unless you have a local to guide you or it's your hotel concierge who helped you. The drivers usually charge foreigners with too much, and that's not a good thing, right?
As for accommodation, there are lots of hotels and serviced apartments in Bangkok. But I suggest that you find your guesthouse or dormitories. They're cheaper, although less spacious and less private. But still, safe. Choose wisely though.
Also, staying in dormitories would bring you to meet new people. It always happens to me. I met friends while sharing rooms with them. It's good!
Fun activities would include sightseeing of course. Make sure to drop by the floating markets and night markets because they'll be fun. Although I don't really suggest solo trips in Bangkok (security-wise), well just keep safe and you'll be fine. Eating is always a fun activity to me so make sure to try the local snacks!
I hope I am of help!
Ah! Thailand is a paradise for Solo travelers. Just travel with bit of commensence and local adaptibility and you will be fine. And love for the place starts from its food, so make sure you enjoy more of local foods. Cheers!