It was my first backpacking trip, my first trip to South East Asia and a lot of other firsts. It was very scary at first but thanks to the warm welcome of all the other travellers that vanished soon. I learned a lot of new things during those two weeks. First of all that two weeks is way too short. It’s more like a sneak peek than an actual trip.
My least favorite thing about traveling is packing. And since this was my first backpacking trip I really wanted to pack right and not pack too much stuff because I’d have to carry it with me all the time. The thing you’re probably packing too much of is clothes. You don’t really need a lot of clothes, no matter how long you’re on the road. You can do laundry in many places or even let someone else do it for very little money. I took 4 shirts and two shorts, 1 jeans with me, a bit of underwear, shoes and flip flops. Of all I never wore my jeans, never wore my shoes and also never had socks on. Obviously, on my short trip I mainly visited the south so I might have found use for my jeans in the north where it might not have been warm all the time. And for some reason I also didn’t bring any rain coat or jacket although it was the rainy season in Thailand. Maybe I just got lucky, because I never missed it. And if you happen to need something you can always buy it there and most likely it will be a lot cheaper there than to buy it at home.
Stay in hostels. This might be the most important tip of them all. Not only is it a great budget tip to stay in hostels but it’s also a great place to meet other travellers and like minded people. If you still want a little more privacy you can get a private room which many hostels offer. You have your privacy but still get to use the communal areas of the hostel.
Transportation is very cheap on the land or water. Take buses, taxis, trains or boats. Even flights are cheap compared to Europe or North America but compared to buses it’s still expensive. A one-way ticket from Bangkok to Koh Tao which includes bus and ferry was 1’100 Baht. That’s around $30. I took the overnight bus so I wouldn’t “waste” a day by sitting on the bus and I could also save a night in a hostel. Financially it was a good idea but I didn’t sleep a minute on that bus. I’m 1.85m tall which is not very helpful if you’re trying to sleep on a bus ride that takes 8 hours.
If you want to explore Bangkok you can take a Tuk-Tuk. But you have to be careful with Tuk-Tuks as some will try to rip you off or just drop you off at some store that you’re then supposed to buy something at.
If you go to Thailand you will probably fly to Bangkok. Make sure to stay a few days in the city. It’s an amazing mix between new and old, between skyscrapers and temples. The cheapest and maybe even the best food can be found on the streets. Street food is everywhere in Bangkok and it is so tasty! My dinner would usually cost me around $2-$5.
I never personally ran into a situation where I felt unsafe or such but you have to be careful. Don’t take too much money with you when you go out. Leave your passport and phone at the hostel. Pickpocketing happens often in crowded areas as it does in every city. The other travellers are usually very helpful and will help you if you run into any problems.
Unfortunately travelling solo can be a bit more dangerous for women. Alex Quint wrote an article over at Go! Girl Guides about women specific problems. I recommend you take a look if you’re a woman.