Exactly a month ago, I went on a quick two-day solo trip to Thailand. I booked tickets as early as August last year during a seat sale, and looked forward to traveling outside the country alone — for the first time in my life.
Being a solitary type of person who grew up as an only child, doing things by myself isn’t new to me. But to go outside the country alone is a prospect that’s both new and exciting, and something that I thoroughly enjoyed during my trip.
As a background, it’s not my first time in Bangkok — I’ve been there four years back for work. But since it was a work trip, I was only able to visit Patpong (of all places!) for a team dinner and that was it. The only things I remember about Bangkok during that trip were the colorful taxis and the roads that pretty much resembled Manila.
This time around, I went to Bangkok on a real “touristy” itinerary, by visiting all the famous temples along Chao Phraya. I stayed in a cheap yet chic hostel filled with blondes and tall men. I felt out of place, to be honest. 😛
I made a quick stroll in the evening around Siam Square and witnessed the youth of Thailand as they hanged out with family and friends. I almost got my tongue burned because of this real spicy dish I ordered and was lured into shopping for a few dresses which now call my closet their home.
The following day I set off for Ayutthaya, the ancient Thai city. This one was more interesting than Bangkok and the temple ruins offered a lovely look back to the past, during perhaps Thailand’s most glorious time in history. I’m glad I was able to enjoy a river cruise, even if it was only along a man-made river (I think), and some tasty treats from kind vendors.
Before going home I decided to go to the Rot Fai Market, Bangkok’s version of Cubao X if you may, while getting a bit lost along the way. It was bustling with people and wares I would’ve loved to splurge on. Definitely a spot I’d come back to given another chance to visit.
And while all those things made for a memorable first venture into solitary trips, here are some thoughts on what I learned and what I could do next time:
1. Two days are not enough. Seat sales give you limited options for flight schedules so I was only able to do two quick days. I believe solo trips are supposed to last for longer stretches to really give you that feeling of solitude and time to reflect. Aiming for (at least) five days next time.
2. Bring a better camera. I’ve never really tried to take better photos during trips but fantastic photos make for great travel memories just as the actual experience itself. It would also be nice to just situate myself in one place and shoot away. I only had my Sony point and shoot and my trusty iPhone (mounted on a selfie stick for those selfie shots) for the trip and looking at the photos afterwards made me wish I had an SLR. 🙂
3. It helps to always have snacks on hand. You don’t know exactly where you’ll get your next meal, especially when you’re so into the whole sightseeing thing (and in my case, doing it for a limited period of time). Since I didn’t have the luxury of time to look for cool places to eat (or simply places to eat for that matter), it helped that I had a bread or biscuit with me to get me through the hunger pangs.
4. People watching will always be fun. It’s something that I do here randomly, and it’s something that I definitely enjoyed during the trip. There’s something charming about the experience of just looking at people’s movements, quirks, and sometimes, even hearing their conversations. I couldn’t understand the words but their actions were enough to clue me in to who/what they are.
5. Be more adventurous. There was a party in my hostel one night and instead of joining, I stayed in my bed and slept. Hahaha. I’m a self-admitted 25-year-old grandma but it probably wouldn’t hurt to have a beer or two with strangers, right? When I think of it now, I imagine the wealth of insight and information I could’ve uncovered in conversations during that evening. So next time somebody invites me, I’d say yes already.
To sum it up, my Thailand Solo Trip was a great time and albeit short, it taught me a couple of new things. I can’t wait to embark on another journey alone in a stranger land (China, perhaps?) and discover more about the world and myself.
If you’re reading this and wondering if you should go on a solo trip, think no further. Book that flight and take in the world all by your awesome self! 🙂