Brutally Honest Safetywing Nomad Review

I started using Safetywing Nomad travel insurance in 2023. I’m going to share everything you need to know about Safetywing insurance, so you can decide if it’s the right travel insurance for you or not.

Deciding on the right travel insurance isn’t a fun task. It’s a bit annoying honestly, but it’s one of the most important things you need to do before your trip.

And, yes, before you even think about asking, you need travel insurance. You need to make sure you’re covered for any health emergencies you have while travelling.

You may think you’ll never need to use it (and I hope you never have to), but you need to have it just in case.

If you can’t afford travel insurance, you should really reconsider whether or not you can afford to take your trip.

You can’t risk getting sick or having an accident abroad and then being stuck with the cost of it. Even in countries that have a lower cost of healthcare than your home countries, you can still rack up a huge bill.

I know someone from a Facebook group who was injured in a motorcycle accident in Thailand. She had to spend a month in the hospital and have surgery. Even though medical coverage in Thailand is affordable, she would never have been able to pay for the treatment she received out-of-pocket.

She would have been in serious debt if she didn’t have travel insurance to cover the cost of her treatment.

Digital Nomad

What is Safetywing Nomad Insurance?

I’m guessing that if you found this article, you have an idea of what Safetywing travel insurance is and what they offer.

Safetywing is a company that specialized in insurance for travellers, digital nomads, and remote teams. They’re experts in providing insurance for people who travel a lot or relocate to another country and don’t have insurance in that country.

Safety Wing Digital Nomad Insurance

Nomad Insurance

Nomad Insurance is the type of insurance most people will purchase. It’s for travellers and digital nomads.

I’m not going to talk about their other types of insurance in this article because you likely won’t need them, and I don’t have experience using them.

The thing that I like most about Safetywing insurance is that they only do insurance for remote workers/travellers. They know what they’re doing, and they do it better than any other company in my opinion.

You have a peace of mind that you’ll be covered for pretty much anything that comes up while abroad and will never have to stress about high medical fees if you need to access them abroad.

They’re the only company that I know of that doesn’t require you to be insured in your home country. This means they may be a tiny bit more expensive, but you don’t have to deal with the headache of your travel insurance coordinating with your local medical insurance and passing along medical records between the two companies.

My dad had to do that when he got injured in Dubai. He became so frustrated with the process that he just ended up cancelling his claim and paying his medical costs out-of-pocket.

You don’t have that headache with Safetywing. They take care of the whole claim. It’s a stress-free process. Well as stress-free as being sick in a foreign country and having to make an insurance claim can be.

Who is Safetywing Nomad Insurance Best For?

I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that everybody should get Safetywing is for everybody.

It isn’t, and that’s okay.

If you don’t travel often or for less than a month at a time, Safetywing Nomad isn’t the right travel insurance choice for you.

You likely already have travel insurance with your employer (assuming you’re not self-employed or not working) that included short-term travel insurance. That’s good enough for short trips. You don’t need to purchase anything in addition to that.

If you have employer-provided travel insurance that only covers 14 days of travel, and you’re gone for 21 days, you can purchase a separate travel insurance policy for the last few days of your trip.

You can purchase it through your bank, house/car insurance company, etc. A lot of places will sell you short-term travel insurance for a fairly low price.

But be sure to check to make sure that it covers all the activities and locations you’re visiting.

Disadvantages of Travelling

If you travel for more than a month at a time, are self-employed, or a digital nomad, Safetywing Nomad is a great option for you.

I think Safetywing is a no brainer for people who travel for long periods of time. It’s truly the most comprehensive and affordable (for what you get) long-term travel insurance I’ve been able to find.

I used to purchase a one-time plan through the AMA (think AAA) when I travelled for months. It was very expensive, didn’t cover as much as Safetywing does, and it would have been a headache if I needed to make a claim.

I wish I found Safetywing earlier in my travel journey.

It takes a lot of the stress out of travel insurance as a digital nomad who is on the road more often than not. You can travel and explore the world without worrying about your travel insurance.

Plus you can cancel at any time if you decide to go home. You’re also covered for a month in your home country if you’ve been outside your home country for more than 90 days.

That gives you time to find a new insurance provider or job with insurance benefits when you’re back home without stressing about not having coverage. Or you can be like me and use it when I stop home a couple of times a year to visit my family.

I’ve never heard of another travel insurance company providing me coverage for a month when I’m home and not travelling.

Bottom line: if you’re travelling long-term or are a digital nomad, you should really consider getting Safetywing Nomad insurance.

I spent a lot of hours researching different travel insurance companies during the pandemic, and Safetywing is the clear winner in my opinion.

solo travel in Europe

Making a Claim with Safetywing

A lot of travel insurance companies make it difficult to file a claim. My dad hurt himself sand surfing in Dubai (and yes it was quite the sight to watch my 68-year old try to sand surf) and had to go to a medical centre. His travel insurance provider required that he call and get permission before going for medical treatment. If he didn’t call and get permission beforehand, they had the right not to provide him coverage because he didn’t follow the rules of his policy.

Thankfully, Safetywing isn’t like that.

You don’t have to notify them before getting medical treatment, and you’re allowed to go to any licensed medical clinic, hospital, or doctor of your choosing.

If you’re in a foreign country and don’t know how to choose what medical clinic to go to, you can contact Safetywing for help. They have a list of medical clinics that are known for providing excellent care (especially to foreigners), and Safetywing can help you find a medical clinic/doctor you’ll feel comfortable using.

You have no idea how much of a help that is until you’re stressed out in a foreign country trying to figure out a doctor to go to. You don’t know the medical system or how to choose a doctor. Having Safetywing to help out makes a stressful situation a little bit less stressful.

Filing a Claim

Okay. I’ve talked a bit about how nice Safeywing is to make claims with, so I guess I should tell you how to make a claim.

The easiest way to file a claim is directly on the Safetwing website. You have to sign up for Safetywing insurance before you can view the claim form, so I can’t link it here for you.

The form is really easy to find though. Once you’re signed up for Safetywing insurance, go to the profile tab of the website, and then there is a large button that says “Make a Claim”. Click that button and follow the steps.

You’ll be asked to provide receipts for the care you received as well as answer some questions about the claim you’re making.

If you have any trouble making the claim, the customer support team at Safetywing is amazing. They’re super responsive and always go above and beyond.

The easiest way to reach customer support is through the chat feature on their website. You normally instantly get a response, and the longest you ever have to wait if it is super busy is about 30 seconds!

You can also email them at [email protected] or call them at +1 844 531 0151 (international toll free)/ +1 415 707 8606 (within the USA).

I recommend trying the chat first.

How Long Does a Claim Take to be Approved by Safetywing?

Safetywing typically settles claims within 30-45 days of submission.

I say typically because there are always outliers. Sometimes there is a complicated claim that requires more information, and it takes longer to settle. Sometimes there is an easy claim that can be settled quicker than 30 days.

If you have a pretty straightforward claim, you should see your claim settled within 4-6 weeks. That’s pretty quick in the travel insurance world.

Travel Planning

Pros of Safetywing Nomad Insurance

There are a lot of pros that come with Safetywing insurance. It’s a unique travel insurance company that offers things that no other company offers. Here are some of the biggest (and most unqiue) pros of Safetywing Nomad Insurance.

  • You can purchase travel insurance when you’re already abroad (most companies don’t let you do this)!
  • You pay monthly, so you can cancel at any time. If you pre-purchased a year’s worth of insurance through another company and decided to go home early, you wouldn’t get a refund for the time you weren’t using the insurance. You don’t have that issue with Safetywing.
  • You’re covered in your home country for 30 days upon return as long as you were out of the country for at least 90 days before returning.
  • Travel insurances like lost baggage and cancelled flights are included.
  • Dental and ambulance coverage.
  • Incredible customer support.

Cons of Safetywing Nomad Insurance

Just like anything in life, Safetywing isn’t perfect. There are some downsides to it, and I’m going to tell you about them now.

  • It isn’t a great option for short-term travellers.
  • It is charged in USD, so you’ll see a currency conversion on your credit card statement if your home currency isn’t USD.
  • Safetywing Nomad has a $250,000 coverage limit for most things. This is lower than some other travel insurance providers, but most other travel providers work with your health insurance in your home country to cover the majority of the costs.
  • There is a $250 deductible. This isn’t a big deal if you’re making a larger claim, but it can be a bit annoying for smaller claims. You only need to pay the deductible once during your entire coverage with Safetywing though. If you cancel and renew your policy, it will reset, and you’ll need to pay the deductible on your next claim with your new policy.
Eating alone

Why I Choose to Use Safetywing Travel Insurance

The reasons I choose and love Safetywing and pretty much the same as the pros in this section.

I often find myself signing up for Safetywing while I’m abroad when a coverage I purchased to cover me while I’m the USA expires. I can easily sign up for Safetywing and know I’m covered even though I’m already abroad.

Side note: I don’t think getting coverage through Safetywing for trips to the USA is the best use of money. It costs twice as much as normal to get coverage that covers the USA. I just get a short-term policy through the AMA (think AAA if you’re from the USA) and use that for the one or two times I go to the USA every year.

I also love that I can cancel my policy and then sign up again any time. I often go back to Canada to spend time with my parents for a few months every year, and I don’t need coverage during that time. I just cancel my policy and then sign up again when I start travelling again.

The excellent coverage and top notch customer service is the cherry on top of the reasons I already love and choose to use Safetywing.

It more or less comes down to convenience and trust. I know Safetywing will have my back if anything goes wrong when I travel, and I love how flexible and convenient it is to get, use, and cancel my policy.

Is Oaxaca Safe? The Answer May Surprise You

Oaxaca was always the number one city I wanted to visit in Mexico. It’s a vibrant city full of colour, personality, and is known for amazing food and artisan goods. When I finally got to go to Oaxaca, the number one question I got asked was is Oaxaca safe?

Mexico, especially in Canada and the US, has a bit of a reputation of being unsafe. The news used to be filled with stories about tourists being murdered and Mexico being super unsafe and somewhere you shouldn’t travel.

That, of course, is just fear mongering. Sure there are parts of Mexico that aren’t the safest place to live or travel to, but that can be said of any country.

This article is going to answer the question is Oaxaca safe, so you can decide if it’s the right destination for you in Mexico.

Spoiler, you should definitely add Oaxaca to your list of places you want to travel before you die!

Oh, before we get too deep into this post, I want to tell you that you should definitely visit the botanical garden in Oaxaca. You can only visit if you take a tour, and there is only one English tour a day. The tour begins at 11am but is often sold out before then. I suggest getting to the garden at 10:30 at the latest. The tour (at the time of writing) costs 100 pesos per person but is 100% worth it!

Santo Domingo cathedral behind agave palnts in Oaxaca,Mexico

Is Oaxaca Safe for Solo Female Travellers?

As I’m a solo female traveller, I’m going to start by answering the question is Oaxaca safe for solo female travellers?

I’m very happy to say that Oaxaca is very safe for solo female travellers. There wasn’t a single moment I didn’t feel safe in Oaxaca.

Even when walking alone at night or having a few drinks alone.

Everybody I met in Oaxaca was super kind. Nobody besides street sellers approached me, and it was all around good vibes as a solo traveller.

You’ll be spending the majority of your time in the old city of Oaxaca. It’s completely walkable, so you don’t have to worry about navigating public transportation or anything like that.

Oaxaca is one of the best introduction cities to Mexico in my opinion. It’s more laid back that Mexico City, has amazing shopping, great food, and Monte Alban is one of the best pyramids in Mexico.

So, if you want to visit Oaxaca but aren’t sure if you’ll be safe as a female traveller, you don’t have to worry about that. You can book the trip and know that you’ll have a great trip and see some fantastic sights.

Is Oaxaca Safe for LBGTQIA+ Travellers?

Oaxaca (and Mexico in general) is super safe for LBGTQIA+ travellers. Same-sex marriage is recognized and transgender people are allowed to legally change their name and gender.

Just because a country has a policy of being LBGTQIA+ friendly doesn’t always mean that it translates to being safe for members of the LBGTQIA+ community.

Mexico’s government and people are very welcoming to the LBGTQIA+ community. I saw a lot of same-sex couples walking around in public holding hands and showing affection during my two weeks in Mexico. Probably more than I’ve seen anywhere else in the world.

Nobody seemed to give them a second look or care. Whether they were locals or tourists.

There are, unfortunately, still some hate crimes that happen in Mexico towards the LBGTQIA+ community. Sadly, there are bigots everywhere in the world.

But you shouldn’t have any issues being a same-sex couple or a transgender person in Oaxaca or any large city in Mexico. Some smaller, rural areas may not be as open, but those aren’t typically the places you tend to visit as a tourist.

Oaxaca is one of the most welcoming and friendly cities I’ve visited. It may be one of the best cities in Mexico to visit if you’re new to travelling as a same-sex couple and want to go somewhere you know you won’t have any issues while still experiencing a unique culture.

Colourful statues in Oaxaca, Mexico

Is Oaxaca Safe for BIPOC Travellers?

Oaxaca (and a lot of Mexico) has a rich Indigenous population that is still connected with their pre-colonial traditions and cultures. It’s so interesting and special to see.

There is diversity of skin tones all throughout Mexico.

I was talking to the guide on the Monte Alban tour I went on. His family can actually be traced back to the people who built Monte Alban. He said that there are still some prejudices internally against Indigenous people, but that Mexicans don’t really care about Black, Asian, white tourists who visit Mexico.

I’m obviously white and can’t personally speak to how safe or unsafe it is to travel in Mexico as a BIPOC person, but I do know many fellow travel creators who aren’t white who love Mexico and feel nothing but love and safety when they visit the country.

When you visit Mexico, you very quickly realize that it’s a very welcoming and friendly place for tourists. People always want to chat with you, share their culture with you, and want to make sure you’re having a good time.

It’s hard to describe the vibe, but once you’re in Oaxaca, you’ll understand.

Is Oaxaca Safe for Family Travellers?

Next up is answering the question is Oaxaca safe for family travellers? I know parents want to make sure they’re not putting their kids in danger when choosing a vacation destination.

I would say that Oaxaca is definitely safe for family travellers for a number of reasons.

  • There is low crime
  • It’s not super crowded, so you won’t struggle keeping track of your kids
  • Drivers are super cautious and looking out for pedestrians
  • The food is delicious and not too “out there” that your picky eaters won’t want to try anything

The only part of Oaxaca that may be a little more challenging for family travellers is Monte Alban. There are steps that you need to climb up. They’re quite steep so can be dangerous for smaller children.

But, other than that, there isn’t anything that will make Oaxaca any less safe than where you live.

Plus it’s such a vibrant and colourful city that your children will love it.

Oaxaca, Mexico, Scenic old city streets and colorful colonial buildings in historic city center.

Is Oaxaca Safe for People with Disabilities?

This section is going to be a bit different than the other sections because nobody is going to harass you for being disabled, but there are things that can make a city less safe for disabled people than able bodied people.

Oaxaca has a huge walking street that covers the majority of the historic centre. It goes on for blocks and blocks and no cars are allowed on the street.

That makes getting around in a wheelchair or mobility aid easier.

That being said, the areas outside the walking street have quite narrow sidewalks that are sometimes not level. This can make mobility more difficult. Especially if you rely on a wheelchair.

There are definitely ways you can still experience Oaxaca with limited mobility though thanks to the walking street. You’ll be able to go into shops, restaurants, and some tourist attractions without any issues.

The museum does have stairs you have to go up just to get inside, which makes it difficult. I didn’t see an elevator, but I didn’t ask if they had one either.

The other issue would be getting to Monte Alban. It’s an archeological site and not very accessible at all. There is lots of uneven terrain and stairs you have to climb.

There is an accessibility ramp from the top of the site to the bottom of the site. But you have to go up and down a few steps to get to the ramp, so I’m not really sure what the point of it is.

So, is Oaxaca safe for tourists who have disabilities and mobility impairments? I’d say compared to a lot of other tourist destinations, it is fairly accessible. It’s not nearly as accessible as Japan but not nearly as unaccessible as most of Europe (especially London).

Most Common Scams in Oaxaca

Unlike other cities in Mexico, there aren’t a lot of scams you have to look out for in Oaxaca as a tourist. You would think in such a touristy city, there would be tons of scams, but there really aren’t.

Most people want to make an honest buck. There’s a strong hustle culture, but very few people are trying to scam you.

It’s really nice to be able to put down your guard and relax and enjoy Oaxaca without wondering whether or not you’re being scammed.

Oaxaca Botanic Garden with tall cactus

Taxis

Most taxis in Mexico don’t have meters, and Uber doesn’t operate in Oaxaca. That doesn’t mean you’re going to be scammed by drivers though (thankfully).

There is a flat rate charged to go from Oaxaca airport to the heart of the city. You pay for your ticket at the airport before you get in a car.

You can either purchase a car all to yourself or purchase a seat in a colectivo. If you choose a colectivo, you’ll be in a car with strangers, and the driver will drop everybody off wherever they’re staying. It may take a little longer to get to your hotel if you’re one of the last people dropped off, but it’s way cheaper than getting a private car.

To get back to the airport, you need to take a private taxi. Ask your hotel to arrange for a taxi to pick you up and have them quote you a price. It should be between 250 and 300 pesos. It will depend on traffic and where your hotel is located.

Taxi drivers rely on tourist dollars and are known for not scamming people. You don’t have to worry or stress about there not being a meter in the car.

In terms of getting around the city, you can walk everywhere except for Monte Alban. You’ll likely take a guided tour of Monte Alban anyways, so your transportation will be included in the cost of your tour.

Anyways, I guess what I’m trying to say is that you won’t be scammed if you take a taxi in Oaxaca. I’m adding it in this section because most of the time you need to be cautious of taxi scams, but you don’t need to be in Oaxaca!

The Begging Parent and Child

This is a pretty common scam everywhere in the world sadly. An adult will beg for money on the street holding a baby or a young child.

They sit near popular tourist destinations and use the child to make people donate more money to them than they would if it was just an adult.

I really, really hate this scam because it prevents kids from being kids. Whether it’s going to school or playing with other kids, they’re missing out because they have to beg on the streets.

Most of the time, these adults make enough money to support their families by begging with a child and keep doing it to make more and more money at the detriment to the child.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. How are you sure that this is a scam?

Firstly, it’s a very well known scam all over the world. It’s common because it works.

Secondly, people who are scamming tend to set up near popular tourist destinations. That’s a telltale sign that the person is more likely than not setting up as a scam rather than genuinely needing help.

I’m not suggesting you never help people who are on the streets needing money. There are legitimate people who do this.

I’m just saying be cautious. I avoid giving money to people right near main tourist attractions and help people who are sitting further away or on my walk to and from wherever I’m staying.

Safety Wing Digital Nomad Insurance

Drink Scams

Okay. This one I have no hard evidence on, but I suggest you stay away from places in the zocola that zócalo that have two for the price of one or highly discounted prices on margaritas.

I went to one of those places my first day in Oaxaca, and I’m pretty sure there wasn’t any alcohol in my drink. If there was, it was such a small amount that you couldn’t taste it.

It’s well worth it to pay full price for a margarita or other mixed drink. They’ll be much stronger and better tasting.

Now, if the two for one is a beer, go ahead and enjoy that, but I’d stay away from drink specials that seem too good to be true. You’re definitely overpaying for something that doesn’t have much (or any) alcohol in it.

Panoramic view of Monte Alban

The Importance of Interest Safety

One of the least talked about travel safety tips is the need to be internet safe. I don’t know why more people don’t talk about it, but I’m going to remind you why you need to be safe online when travelling.

You rely on public wifi networks when you travel. Whether it’s at the hotel, airport, or restaurant, there will be times when you go on an unsecured wifi network.

Even if the network has a password, it isn’t secure. Anybody who knows the password can access the network and hack into your personal information if they want to.

So, whenever you travel, you’re at a much higher risk of having your personal and private online information stolen.

Trust me when I say you don’t want to go through the headache of having your bank cards stolen while you’re on vacation. It’s a nightmare I don’t wish on anybody.

The only way to stay safe online when using a public wifi network when you travel is by installing a VPN on your devices.

A VPN essentially puts an invisible forcefield around your devices that makes it impossible for prying eyes to access your personal online information. It makes using public wifi networks as safe and secure as using your home wifi where you’re the only person who knows the password.

Installing a VPN is truly one of the easiest ways you can stay safe when travelling.

NordVPN

My Favourite VPN

I’ve used a lot of different VPNs over my many years of travel and hated most of them. VPNs are notorious for slowing down your internet speed, and you can really feel the slow down with most VPNs.

I used to turn off my VPN and put my online data at risk of being stolen just because my VPN was so slow and frustrating.

That all changed when I started using NordVPN.

It’s the fastest VPN on the market, and you can tell the difference between it and other VPNs. I’ve never once felt a slow down on internet speed when using NordVPN. I’ve been using NordVPN since 2019 and have no intention of ever changing to a different VPN provider.

The best part is that you can protect up to six devices with a single NordVPN subscription. You can protect all your devices with one account.

Okay. The actual best part is the price. The price of a two-year subscription is less per month than a single Starbuck’s latte! At those prices, you can’t afford not to protect your personal online information.

I always say that if you can afford to travel, you can afford to protect your private online information.

Learn More About NordVPN

Make Sure to Install an Esim

Esims are my favourite recent invention. They’ve completely changed the way I travel, and I’ll never go back to not using one again!

If you’re not travelling with an esim, you’re seriously missing out!

You install a virtual sim card onto your phone and then can access data in whatever country you’re travelling in. Unlike traditional sims you get when travelling, you don’t have remove your “home” sim and get to keep your “home” number.

Your phone works exactly like it does when you’re at home, but you now have access to local data that isn’t going to cost you an arm and a leg like roaming fees do.

The best part about esims is that you’re able to install it on your phone before you leave on your trip, and it activates as soon as you turn on your data in the country you’re visiting.

I normally install my esim when I’m at the airport lounge, so it’s ready to go as soon as I land in a new country. That was I can aimlessly scroll while waiting in the immigration line and not get bored if it’s long.

I highly, highly recommend you check out esims before you trip to Oaxaca. You won’t regret getting one. I make everybody I know install esims before their trips. Parents, friends, even my accountant are now using esims because I won’t shut up about them!

Learn More About Airalo Esims

Ancient artwork

Conclusion

I hope this article helped you answer the question is Oaxaca safe? It is a super safe city in my opinion. It’s laid back, chill, and has a real community vibe.

I don’t think there is a single type of traveller that wouldn’t feel safe in Oaxaca. It’s the perfect city to visit if you want an introduction to Mexico. It has some of the best food and artisans in the country, and I would suggest everybody add it to their Mexico itinerary!

Planning a Trip to Thailand? Avoid These Mistakes!

Thailand is one of the most popular tourist destinations on the planet. Especially for budget travellers, but that doesn’t mean planning a trip to Thailand is always easy.

I made my fair share of mistakes when planning my first trip to Thailand. I could have made a lot more if I hadn’t done my research ahead of time though.

I’m going to share with you all the major mistakes you need to avoid when planning a vacation to Thailand.

White Temple, Chiang Rai

Mistake 1: Not Downloading Grab Before You Leave

Grab is the Uber of Southeast Asia. You’ll become very familiar with Grab and will learn to love it.

Seriously. It’s probably the most important app you need on your phone for your Southeast Asian trip.

Taxis can be a bit of a wild card in Southeast Asia. Especially in Thailand. There are a lot of taxi scams and a lot of drivers will refuse to turn on the meter and try to get you to agree to an inflated set price.

This is especially true if you’re taking the taxi from the airport.

Using Grab is the best way around this. You pay a set price in the app and don’t have to worry about being scammed. You do have to pay for any tolls your car passes on your drive so be aware of that.

The Most Important Thing You Need to Know About Grab

There is one catch with Grab.

You have to download Grab and input your credit card details while you’re in your home country. You cannot download and input your credit card details into Grab when you’re already in Southeast Asia.

I have no idea why this is, but it causes a lot of problems for tourists who learn about Grab when they’re already in Thailand.

If you do happen to read this article when you’re already abroad and aren’t able to add your credit card details to your account, there is a work around. It’s a bit annoying, but it’s better than nothing.

You can ask a friend or family member in your home country to create a Grab account with your email address for you and give them your credit card details to input into the account.

Then they log out of the account on their phone, and you log into your account on your phone.

It can be a pain (especially with the time zones), but it’s worth the effort. Grab will save you a lot of time and money on your trip to Thailand.

But you can avoid the headache of it all and just make sure you have Grab downloaded and ready to go before you arrive in Thailand.

Statue of Three Gods in Chiang Mai

Mistake 2: Not Using an Esim

Esims are my new favourite travel technology. I learned about them for my 2022 trip to the UAE and Turkey and have used them on every single trip since them.

I’ve also rather aggressively insisted that every single person I know who goes on a trip downloads an esim. Even my accountant.

Esims are cheap, affordable, and convenient.

You install it onto your phone by scanning a QR code after purchasing a package for your travel destination (in this case Thailand or a regional esim for Southeast Asia) and then it automatically activates when you turn it on in Thailand.

My favourite part about esims is that you can install them before you arrive in a country.

You can turn on your data as soon as you arrive and don’t have to worry about finding wifi in the airport and downloading an esim when you arrive in Thailand.

This is especially nice since the immigration lines in Thailand are always super long, so you can scroll on your phone and pass the time quickly.

An esim is also soooooo much better than getting a physical esim at the airport when you land. Most people get physical esims in Thailand, and the line to get the esim can be very, very long.

If you do want a physical sim, be sure to order it online in advance to cut down on some of the wait time.

But it’s better just to get an esim and install it on your phone before you arrive in Thailand. Trust me on this. It’s 100% worth it and not having an esim is in my opinion one of the biggest mistakes you can make when planning a trip to Thailand.

That’s how much I love them and swear by them.

Airalo is the best esim on the market and the one I recommend to everybody. I’ve used it in dozens of countries (including China) and have never had an issue with it.

You can even top up and add extra data to your esim directly in the app without having to reinstall a new esim.

Okay. I’ll stop gushing about esims now and move onto the next mistake you don’t want to make on your trip to Thailand.

Get Airalo Esim

Mistake 3: Not Dressing Modestly

Normally when I have to talk about dressing modestly, it only applies to women/female-presenting people, but that’s not the case in Thailand.

Everybody is expected to dress modestly when visiting temples.

Shoulders and knees need to be covered by everybody no matter your gender.

I can’t tell you how many people I saw getting turned away from temples because they didn’t have the appropriate clothing.

That’s why you see so many people in the famous elephant pants. They had to buy them from a nearby vendor to get into the temple.

I’m on team dress modestly every where you go because it’s respectful of the culture in Thailand. You won’t get stopped or scolded if you wear shorts and a tank top outside a temple, but modesty is always appreciated by locals.

If you do want to wear shorts and a tank top, here are a few ways to make sure you stay modest while visiting temples.

Learning Buddha Bangkok

Modesty Tips

I know Thailand is hot. Very hot. But you still need to make sure you’re dressed according to their standards.

Covering your shoulders is easy if they aren’t already covered. Just keep a small scarf in your bag and throw it on whenever you want to go into a temple.

The knees are a little bit more challenging. I always suggest just wearing a skirt or pair of shorts that covers your knees, but some people don’t want to do that.

So either buy some elephant pants or carry a second long scarf around that you can wrap around your waist when you’re in the temple.

Also be aware that the majority of temples require you to take off your shoes. You’ll be walking around in bare feet if you’re wearing sandals.

If you’re like me and hate the feeling of your bare feet touching anything but socks or slippers, throw an extra pair of socks in your day bag/purse just in case you stumble on a temple and want to go in but are wearing sandals.

That saved me a few times in Bangkok. There are temples everywhere. Even on days when you aren’t planning on visiting a temple, there’s a solid chance you’ll stumble on one anyway.

Mistake 4: Thinking You Can Bus/Train Everywhere

Thailand is a huge country. If you’re used to primarily travelling in Europe, you’re used to overlanding everywhere and never thinking about flying to another city in the same country.

I was definitely under the impression that I could bus or train everywhere when I was in the early stages of planning a trip to Thailand.

I was quickly humbled and realized that sometimes it’s just easier to fly.

Technically, you can bus or train from Bangkok to pretty much anywhere in Thailand, but it takes a long time.

Trust me when I tell you that unless you’re on a super tight budget, flying is the best way to cover long distances. Then you can take the bus within the region you’re visiting.

For example, I flew from Bangkok to Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand and then took the bus everywhere else in Northern Thailand that I visited.

I recommend flying between the different regions of Thailand (north, south, central) and then overlanding within the regions.

Trust me. Overnight trains that you see a bunch of travel content creators make videos about are not as cool or fun as they make them seem. If you have the budget, fly.

Buying Bus and Train Tickets in Thailand

While we’re on the top of transportation in Thailand, I want to quickly touch on the best place to buy bus and train tickets.

When I was planning my first trip to Thailand, I read blog after blog after blog that said I didn’t have to buy bus tickets ahead of time. That I could just show up at the bus station and get a ticket for the next bus for wherever I was going.

I showed up at the bus station in Chiang Mai half an hour before the bus I wanted to take to Chiang Rai was due to leave, tried to buy a ticket, and the lady at the counter said all the buses were sold out, and the next available bus was four hours later.

So, I learnt my lesson that you do need to purchase your bus tickets in advance, and now I’m sharing that information with you to save you from the pain of having to sit in an uncomfortable bus station for four hours before your bus leaves.

The best place to buy your bus tickets in advance is through 12Go.

It’s the most reputable and reliable place to purchase tickets online in Southeast Asia. I’ve used it tons of times and have never had an issue with it. It saves you having to go all the way to the bus station (which often isn’t walking distance to the touristy areas) and purchase a ticket in person.

Buddha in the Blue Temple in Chiang Rai

Thailand Transportation Guides

I’ve written a few guides to help you figure out how to easily travel within popular cities in Thailand. Hopefully reading these will help you with planning a trip to Thailand!

Mistake 5: Staying in the Wrong Area (Especially in Bangkok)

Bangkok is one of the few cities in Southeast Asia that has a metro system (Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, and Manila also have a metro system). Unfortunately, the metro system isn’t great.

The metro system in Bangkok is very limited. It doesn’t go everywhere you want to go as a tourist. It is expanding and will become more robust in the future, but, for now, there are definitely places where there isn’t a metro station within a reasonable walking distance.

Specifically, there isn’t a metro station within a decent walking distance of the Royal Palace.

There is one that’s about a 30 minute walk away, but it’s a brutal walk in the Bangkok heat and humidity. You’ll definitely be super sweaty if you try to walk it.

The first time I visited Bangkok, I decided to stay in the Khao San Road area rather than the Sukhumvit Road area. It didn’t take long before I really regretted that decision.

I thought it’d be nice to be able to walk to the Royal Palace and the nearby temples. I didn’t realize when planning my trip to Thailand that you could do everything in that area in a day.

The nearest metro station was a 20 minute walk from my hotel. I either had to walk to the metro station, take a bus, or call a Grab/TukTuk.

Without a doubt, the best place to stay in Bangkok is in the Sukhumvit area. It makes getting around so much more convenient. Trust me. Not staying in that area was the worst mistake I made while planning a trip to Thailand.

I guess the moral of my story is to stay along a metro line anywhere you travel if you can. This applies to anywhere you travel. Being able to get around quickly and easily is going to make your trip so much better.

Mistake 6: Only Visiting Bangkok

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when planning a trip to Thailand is only visiting Bangkok.

In my opinion, Bangkok is the least exciting place in Thailand. I know some people adore the city and want to keep going back over and over again, but it fell flat for me.

I left Bangkok wanting more, and I found what I was looking for elsewhere in Thailand.

Thailand has so much to offer outside of Bangkok.

There are stunning beaches, amazing nature, wildlife, and the best temples are outside of Bangkok.

You’re really doing yourself a disservice if you only visit Bangkok.

I know a lot of people don’t have a lot of time off work to travel and want to see as much of Southeast Asia as possible, but it’s worthwhile to slow down and really get a taste of Thailand outside of Bangkok.

It’ll elevate your entire vacation and make you want to go back to Thailand to explore more.

I know there are a lot of other really interesting places to visit in the region, but they’re all so diverse and special. It’s definitely worth the time and effort to stick to one or two countries in Southeast Asia if you don’t have much time then come back and explore more at another time.

I think you absolutely need between 10-14 days in Thailand at a minimum. That’s still only going to dip your toe in the water of Thailand, but it’s better than just visiting Bangkok for a few days then moving on.

I think the perfect two week trip to Southeast Asia (with Thailand as the main focus) is to spend 10 days in Thailand then 3 days in Siem Reap to visit Angkor Wat.

Doi Suthep Mountain Scenery Chiang Mai Thailand

Mistake 7: Getting Carried Away with Haggling

Haggling for souvenirs and clothing is a common practice in Thailand. In a lot of places it’s expected.

A lot of tourists take it too far though. They’ll keep pushing and pushing and demand a lower price then get upset if they don’t get the price they think they should get. Normally based on some outdated information on the internet that is giving them the wrong target price to hit.

I personally despise haggling so avoid it all costs, but if you do want to haggle, remember the situation.

You have enough money that you’re able to go on a trip to Thailand and buy souvenirs. The person who is selling you the souvenir may not have a ton of money and is trying to feed their family.

The amount you’re haggling over isn’t that much. Maybe a dollar or two.

Is it really worth getting upset and aggressively haggling with someone over a couple of dollars?

Probably not. And if it is, you may want to rethink whether you can afford to go to Thailand and buy that souvenir.

Haggling is fine but don’t be super aggressive about it. Treat everybody you haggle with with respect, and don’t come back to them and get angry if you find out that someone got a cheaper price at a different vendor.

It’s not that serious.

Find something you like, agree to a price you’re comfortable paying, and if you can’t come to an agreement, move on politely.

And please do not haggle over the price of street food.

Mistake 8: Trying to do Too Much

It’s easy to want to see and do everything Thailand has to offer. One of the biggest mistakes I see people make when planning a trip to Thailand is trying to cram way too much into their itinerary.

They’ll spend one or two nights in a ton of cities and constantly be on the move without really seeing much of Thailand.

You’ll probably fly into Bangkok. Spend three or four days there then choose one other region of Thailand to visit.

Stick to that region and don’t try to do every region of Thailand in one trip. You’ll be exhausted by the end of your trip and leave feeling like you didn’t really see anything.

I love Northern Thailand, but most people will probably enjoy Southern Thailand or going to one of Thailand’s many beaches and islands.

There are lots of possibilities.

They key is to identify what’s important to you to see on your trip to Thailand and then build out your itinerary from there.

You can’t do it all and don’t try to. Take your time. You’ll enjoy what you see far more than if you rush around the country trying to see everything in two weeks.

Silver Temple, Chiang Mai

Conclusion

I hope this article helped with your Thailand trip planning.

And hopefully you learned something new. I tried not to include information that always comes up when you research planning a trip to Thailand.

Thailand wasn’t high on my list of places to visit, but it should have been. I loved my time in Thailand (especially the food) and think it’s the perfect country to introduce you to Southeast Asia.

It’s a relatively easy country to travel in (even as a solo traveller), has amazing tourist attractions with a variety of things to do, and it won’t break the bank.

Planning a trip to Thailand may feel daunting at first. There’s so much to see and do, but once you narrow down where you want to go and what you want to see, it becomes way easier.

What I Wish I Knew Before Travelling Malaysia Solo

Malaysia is my favourite country in Southeast Asia. I spent three weeks there the first time I visited Malaysia solo and absolutely feel in love with the country.

Three weeks wasn’t enough for me, and I knew before I even left Malaysia that I would be back.

Even though my solo trip to Malaysia was amazing, there are still a few things I wish I knew before visiting Malaysia solo that would have made my trip go a little bit smoother.

I’m going to share everything I wish I knew before visiting Malaysia alone as well as some of the things I’m so glad I did on my solo trip to Malaysia.

Hopefully by the end of this article you’ll have a better idea on what to expect from your solo trip to Malaysia and that you’ll be excited to explore one of my favourite countries I’ve ever been to.

Ipoh Cave Temple Elephant Statue

Kuala Lumpur has an Amazing Metro System

If you’ve done any travelling in Southeast Asia, you know that most cities don’t have a metro system. Some cities like Manila and Bangkok have a small metro system, but it’s not nearly developed enough to get you everywhere you want to go.

Kuala Lumpur has the best metro system in all of Southeast Asia. Yes it’s even better than the one in Singapore!

You’re able to get everywhere you need to go easily, quickly, and cheaply.

I was blown away by the metro system in Kuala Lumpur. I honestly didn’t expect it to be as good as it was. Without looking into the metro system and how robust it was, I took a Grab from the airport because I thought taking the metro would be a long, tedious process.

It wouldn’t have been, and I spent a lot of money on a Grab that I didn’t need to spend. There is a fast train that goes from the airport directly to KL Sentral and the main bus terminal.

It’s quick, affordable, and truly the best way to get from the airport to wherever you’re staying in Kuala Lumpur.

I didn’t need to take a Grab anywhere during my week in Kuala Lumpur. I got everywhere I needed to go using the metro. That doesn’t sound like a huge accomplishment, but it is in Southeast Asia where metros aren’t a common thing. You normally have to walk, take a Grab, or a public bus.

I loved being able to jump on the metro whenever I wanted and go wherever I needed to go. It was so convenient. I’m a sucker for a good metro ride.

Book your KLIA Ekspres Airport Train ticket in advance to save time and money

Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur

Install an Esim Before You Arrive in Malaysia

I swear by esims. I use an esim everywhere I travel and can’t imagine travelling without one. They’re so convenient and easy to use. Plus it saves you time picking up a physical sim card at the airport.

I used an esim when in Malaysia, and it made my trip so much easier. I was able to Google the best restaurants in the area when I was hungry, use GoogleMaps, and keep in touch with my friends and family back home.

Plus it made finding my way out of the metro station to wherever I wanted to go easier. Many metro stations in Kuala Lumpur open up into a mall, and it can be tricky to figure out exactly where you want to go.

What I didn’t know at the time of my trip to Malaysia is that you can install an esim on your phone before you arrive in that country.

Installing Your Esim Before Entering Malaysia

I was pretty new to using esims at the time, so I’d find wifi at the airport and install an esim in the airport. It was quite the process, and there were times (like in Bangkok) where I couldn’t connect to wifi in the airport and wasn’t able to install an esim to call a Grab from the airport to my hotel.

If you’re using an esim for your solo trip to Malaysia (which I highly recommend you do), be sure to install it on your phone before you arrive in Malaysia.

I normally install my esim when I’m in the airport lounge before I board my flight to the new country I’m visiting. That way I’m able to use the esim for the country I’m already in for as long as possible.

Once you have the esim installed, it will automatically connect when you arrive in Malaysia and turn on your data. You’ll be able to use it while you’re in line at immigration waiting to get into the country. That’s always nice since the immigration lines can be long, and you have nobody to talk to and pass the time with when visiting Malaysia solo.

So, to recap:

  • An esim is the best way to get data when travelling abroad
  • Install your esim before you arrive in Malaysia
Get Esim

Ipoh Cave Temple Garden

Get Outside Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur is the most famous city in Malaysia because of the PETRONAS Towers. They’re Malaysia’s most recognizable landmark and one of the big draws for people visiting Malaysia.

The PETRONAS Towers are absolutely breathtaking and blew me away. Same with everything else in Kuala Lumpur, but there is more to see in Malaysia than just the PETRONAS Towers and Kuala Lumpur.

What I liked most about Malaysia is that every city I visited was so different from the rest. They all had their own unique personality and offered something a bit different.

I visited four cities on my first solo trip to Malaysia, and they were all super unique.

  • Kuala Lumpur is a modern, bustling city that never seems to sleep
  • Malacca was one of the most important port cities in the region for many years and is loaded with history and charm
  • Ipoh is home to Malaysia’s famous cave temples. It’s a quiet city, but it packs a punch when it comes to natural attractions
  • Georgetown is in Northern Malaysia. It still feels highly British and same of the most interesting historical, colonial sites in Malaysia. It’s also home to some of the best street art in the world

Oftentimes when you visit multiple cities in the same country, they start to feel similar. That isn’t the case in Malaysia.

Each city feels like a completely new adventure. I only went to four cities on my first time travelling Malaysia alone, but I was able to get a taste of different sides and personalities of the country.

If you’re planning a trip to Malaysia, promise me you will get outside Kuala Lumpur and explore different parts of Malaysia. Even if it’s just a day trip to Malacca.

top tip

Get the best view of the PETRONAS Towers by taking the KL Night Bus Tour.

Petronas Towers at Night

Consider Visiting Borneo

My biggest regret when travelling Malaysia solo the first time was not visiting Borneo. I felt like it was too complicated to get to and that it wasn’t worth the effort.

I think since I was travelling overland everywhere else in Malaysia, I felt like flying to Borneo was too out of the way and inconvenient.

In Ipoh, a met a couple at one of the cave temples, and they started telling me about their time in Borneo and how amazing it was.

I really regretted not visiting Borneo and knew that next time I was in Malaysia that I had to visit the island.

The main draw of Borneo is being able to see the orangutans. There is a reserve on Borneo that takes care of the primates, and you’re able to view the animals during their feeding times. The orangutans live freely, and it isn’t a zoo. It’s their natural habitat that has been preserved, and the feeding helps them get enough food and helps with rehabilitating injured animals.

If you’re visiting Malaysia, don’t be intimidated by having to fly to Borneo. If seeing primates in the wild is a dream of yours, it’s worth the effort. That’s the biggest thing I wish I knew before visiting Malaysia solo and my only regret from my trip to Malaysia.

Malaysia is Safe

The most common question I got when telling friends and family that I was travelling to Malaysia alone was is Malaysia safe.

Everybody seemed worried that Malaysia wasn’t a safe country. I’m not sure if it’s because they didn’t know anybody else who had visited Malaysia or because of preconceived ideas about what travelling in a Muslim-majority country as a solo female traveller is like.

I’m very happy to report that Malaysia is an incredibly safe country.

There was not a single moment I felt unsafe during my time in Malaysia. I felt completely comfortable walking alone at night and taking public transportation.

That being said, I have heard many black women say that they experienced racism while travelling in Malaysia. If you’re a person of colour, my experience as a white woman of always feeling safe may not be the same for you.

Here is a list of the most prominent and respected black travel bloggers. Hopefully you’ll find better information about whether travelling Malaysia as a black solo traveller is a safe and positive experience.

The importance of gap year travel insurance

Melacca Straight

Malaysia is Affordable

Malaysia is one of the richest and highly developed countries in Southeast Asia. I thought this would mean that Malaysia was significantly more expensive than other countries in the region.

That wasn’t the case in my experience. Malaysia was extremely affordable. Especially when you get outside Kuala Lumpur.

Food, transportation, and tourist attractions were all very affordable. I honestly found that Malaysia was way more affordable than Cambodia, which really surprised me.

If you’re thinking of maybe not visiting Malaysia solo because you’re worried about the expense, you don’t have to be. It’s very easy to travel Malaysia on a budget. I found it to be similar prices to Thailand.

The tourist attractions are what surprised me. I thought they would be super expensive, but they weren’t.

Major tourist attractions like KL Tower and the PETRONAS Towers were surprisingly affordable. Way more affordable than similar activities anywhere else in the world.

Many tourist attractions outside of Kuala Lumpur were actually free. I was shocked that there wasn’t an entry fee to visit the cave temples in Ipoh. It was one of the best experiences of my life and was completely free!

Book your Hop On Hop Off bus tour in advance to save money

Malaysia Doesn’t Feel like a Muslim-Majority Country

Malaysia is predominately a Muslim country. I highly recommend you visit the National Museum of Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur if you want to learn how Malaysia became a Muslim country. It’s a very interesting story.

Even though Malaysia is a Muslim-majority country, it doesn’t feel like one. Sometimes when you travel to a Muslim-majority country as a solo female traveller, you feel a little out of place.

That isn’t the case in Malaysia. Everybody is just going about your business, and you don’t feel like you’re intruding in any spaces you shouldn’t be.

In fact, if I didn’t know that Malaysia was a Muslim-majority country before I visited Malaysia solo, I wouldn’t have been able to guess.

If you’re worried about visiting Malaysia as a solo female traveller because you’re not Muslim and don’t know if you’ll be welcome, don’t be. There aren’t any strict unwritten cultural rules you need to be aware of.

Just be kind, respectful, and go about your normal business. Travelling Malaysia alone is like travelling anywhere else in the world alone.

Cat street art Georgetown Malaysia

Internet Safety is Important

You rely on public wifi networks when you travel. Even if you use an esim or get a physical sim, you still use public wifi at your hotel or in the airport. This puts you at high risk of having your private online data stolen.

Even if the wifi network has a password, that doesn’t mean it’s safe. Anybody with access to that password can access your public information if they want to. Including your banking information.

Trust me when I tell you that you don’t want to go through the hassle of cancelling banking cards while abroad because you didn’t use a public wifi network safely.

The only way to stay safe while using public wifi networks is by installing a VPN on your devices.

A VPN essentially puts an invisible forcefield around your devices that makes using public wifi networks as safe as using your home wifi where you’re the only person who knows the password.

It is one of the easiest ways you can stay safe while travelling. I always say that if you can afford to travel, you can afford to protect your personal online information with a VPN.

NordVPN

My Favourite VPN

I’ve used a lot of different VPNs over my many years of travel. Most of them are awful to be honest.

VPNs are notorious for slowing down your internet speed, and you can really feel it with most VPNs. I used to turn off my VPN and put my online information at risk of being stolen just because the VPN was slowing down my internet speed so much.

All that changed when I started using NordVPN.

NordVPN is the fastest VPN on the market, and you can really feel the difference between it and other VPN providers.

I’ve been using NordVPN since 2018 and have never once felt a slowdown in my internet speed. It’s been so nice to know that I can rely on NordVPN to keep my online information safe while not slowing me down when I’m trying to write blogs or edit videos.

The best part about NordVPN is how affordable it is. A two-year subscription costs less per month than a single Starbuck’s latte.

It’s a super small price to pay of piece of mind you get knowing your personal and private online information is safe and secure from prying eyes.

Learn More About NordVPN

The Food in Malaysia is Amazing

Malaysia is home to three ethnic groups: Malay, Chinese, and Indian. The three ethnic groups have a long history of working together.

This not only means you can find delicious authentic food from each of the three ethnic groups but also that there is amazing fusion food.

Make sure to try Malaysian food (like their national dish nasi lemak) even if you have no idea what it is and have never heard of it before. You won’t regret it!

If you want to experience Malaysian food that you know will be good, consider taking a food tour in Kuala Lumpur. They take you to all the best spots and give you a sample of the best Malaysian food.

Also, even if you don’t love Indian food, make sure to try it in Malaysia. Especially when you get outside Kuala Lumpur. It’s amazing and some of the best Indian food I’ve ever had in my life.

Ipoh Cave Temple golden Buddha

Conclusion

Travelling Malaysia solo was one of the best travel experiences of my life. I absolutely adore Malaysia and hope it will become a more popular tourist destination in the future.

Malaysia is one of the easiest countries to travel in. It has an amazing public transportation system, English is widely spoken, there are unique tourist attractions, and it’s affordable.

There is no reason not to travel to Malaysia alone. It’s an unforgettable experience you won’t forget.

If you were looking for a sign to pull the trigger and book your solo trip to Malaysia, this is it!

How to Easily Travel from Chiang Rai to Bangkok

Chiang Rai is my favourite city in Northern Thailand, but it’s very far away from Bangkok. That begs the question what is the best way to travel from Chiang Rai to Bangkok?

The two cities are also 800km apart, so it isn’t as easy as travelling between two cities in the same region (like between Chiang Mai and Pai).

There are two ways you can travel from Chiang Mai to Bangkok: flying or taking the bus. Even though it’s more expensive, flying is the best way to travel to Bangkok from Chiang Rai. It’s way quicker and more reliable.

But just because I think flying is the best way to travel to Bangkok doesn’t mean you will. This post will break down the pros and cons of both flying and taking the bus to Bangkok.

You’ll have all the information you need to decide what the best way to travel from Chiang Rai to Bangkok is for you and your travel needs.

But for me, it’s 100% flying. Taking the bus isn’t worth the time and potential delays. I’ll spend a little extra money and fly to Bangkok.

The importance of gap year travel insurance

Taking the Bus from Chiang Rai to Bangkok

The first method we’ll talk about is taking the bus to Bangkok. It’s first on the list mainly because there is a lot more information you need to know compared to flying.

Buddha in the Blue Temple in Chiang Rai

How Long Does the Bus from Chiang Rai to Bangkok Take?

The bus to Bangkok from Chiang Rai takes about 12.5 hours.

Yup. It takes more than half a day to travel to Bangkok by bus from Chiang Rai. That’s a lot of time being stuck on a bus that may or may not have a bathroom.

Buses are often delayed because of traffic or longer than scheduled stops. Especially very long bus rides. Your 12.5 hour bus ride may stretch to be closer to 14 hours when it’s all said and done.

It isn’t guaranteed that your bus ride will be longer than 12.5 hours, but I wouldn’t make any plans for the first few hours you’re supposed to be in Bangkok just in case it is delayed.

The worst part is that it’s an overnight bus, so you have to try to get some sleep on the bus.

Luckily, buses in Asia have very large and comfortable seats. It’s easier to fall asleep on the buses in Asia than the buses in Europe, but it still won’t be a very comfortable sleep.

How Much Does the Bus Cost?

The price of a bus ticket varies, but you can expect to pay between 700 Baht and 900 Baht for your bus ticket to Bangkok from Chiang Rai. That’s approximately $19 USD to $23 USD.

That’s a pretty decent price for a 12.5 hour bus ride. It’s definitely less expensive than a flight to Bangkok is, so it’s a good option for people on a very tight budget.

Do You Need to Purchase Bus Tickets in Advance?

Yes! You absolutely do need to purchase your bus ticket from Chiang Ria to Bangkok in advance.

A lot of the blogs I read before my first trip to Thailand said that you didn’t need to book your tickets in advance. That you could just show up at the bus station the day of your departure and get a ticket for the next bus.

I discovered that was very outdated information when I tried to take the bus from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai and had to wait 4 hours to get on a bus because everything was sold out.

Now I recommend to everybody that they purchase their bus tickets for travel within Thailand in advance.

This is especially important for trips that don’t have many departures each day (like the bus from Chiang Rai to Bangkok). You don’t want to show up at the station to buy a ticket to learn that all the buses for that day are sold out and that you have to try again tomorrow.

That’s a headache if you’ve already planned on being in Bangkok the next morning and have a hotel booked in Bangkok.

Temple in Bangkok

Where to Buy Tickets in Advance

There are two places you can buy tickets in advance: online or at the bus station.

Normally I recommend that people buy their tickets online in advance through 12Go (the most reputable bus ticket seller in Southeast Asia) because it isn’t worth the hassle going to the station to purchase tickets in advance.

My advice when it comes to travelling from Chiang Rai to Bangkok is a bit different.

The bus station in Chiang Rai is super central. Most tourists stay within a 5 minute walk of the bus station, and you’ll need to go to the bus station to get to the White Temple.

Since the bus station is so close to where most tourists stay, it’s easy to purchase your bus ticket at the station either when you arrive in Chiang Rai or a few days before your journey to Bangkok

If you’re not staying within walking distance of the bus station, then it’s probably in your best interest to purchase your ticket online in advance. It’s way more convenient.

Learning Buddha Bangkok

Where Does the Bus Depart from in Chiang Rai?

The bus departs from Chiang Rai Bus Terminal.

It’s right in the heart of the city and is likely walking distance to your hotel. It’s a super convenient location and easy to get to!

Where Does the Bus Arrive at in Bangkok?

The bus arrives at either Nakhonchaiair Station or Mochit Station.

From there, you’ll likely use Grab or a bus to get to wherever you’re staying.

Staying Entertained on Your Long Bus Ride

12.5 hours on a bus is a long time. You need a plan on how you’re going to entertain yourself.

I highly, highly recommend you install an esim on your phone. I think esims are way better than getting a physical sim at the airport. You can install it ahead of time, avoid long lines to get your a physical sim, and you keep using your home number while you use your esim.

You’ll be able to scroll the internet and stay entertained while on the bus. 12 hours may not sound like a long time, but I’ve been on bus rides that are 12 hours, and you get very restless the last few hours.

I also want to remind you that you need to install a VPN on your phone to stay safe while using the internet when you travel. Public wifi networks put you at high risk of having your online information stolen, and you don’t want to deal with the hassle of cancelling bank cards just because you were careless and someone looked at and stole your private information. Trust me. I know from experience.

So, install an esim and get yourself a VPN.

Also make sure that your chargers are handy, your wireless earbuds are charged, and that you pre-download an audiobook or have a book (or two) to read if you’re a reader.

Flying from Chiang Rai to Bangkok

I think flying is the best way to travel to Bangkok from Chiang Rai. It is a bit more expensive, but it’s so much more convenient.

The flight from Chiang Rai to Bangkok takes less than 1.5 hours and is a direct flight.

There are normally 5 departures a day and cost on average $60 USD. Of course, flight prices vary a lot, so you could pay more or pay less. Flights tend to be less expensive the further in advance you book them so book as early as your travel plans allow it.

The flights to Bangkok from Chiang Rai are about three times as expensive as the bus, but they’re also way quicker. Even when you factor in travel time to the airport, being at the airport early, flying time, deplaning, and getting to your hotel in Bangkok, it’s still way quicker to fly than take the bus.

Safetywing vs World Nomads

White Temple, Chiang Rai

Conclusion

I like to overland when I can. I much prefer the bus to flying, but there are times when even I choose to fly over taking the bus or train.

Travelling from Chiang Rai to Bangkok is one of those times.

Convenience outweighs cost in this situation for me.

Thailand is a way bigger country than a lot of people realize. I personally like to take the bus within different regions of Thailand (like taking the bus from Bangkok to Hua Hin in Central Thailand) and fly to different regions in Thailand (like flying from Bangkok in Central Thailand to Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand).

It just makes travel within Thailand so much easier.

So, I recommend flying from Chiang Rai to Bangkok. You only have so much time in Thailand, and you don’t really want to be spending the better part of a day on a bus if you can fly.

Is Busan Worth Visiting? (My Surprising Answer)

Busan is the second largest city in South Korea, but does that mean Busan is worth visiting?

This is a hard question to answer. You may think that Busan is like Seoul because it’s the second largest city in the country.

It’s not. Busan has a very distinct feel to it, and it feels very different from Seoul.

Some of that has to do with the landscape. Busan is built between the mountains and the sea. It has a very small amount of space it can take up, and it’s basically one long city. It can take a couple hours on public transportation to travel from one end of Busan to another.

It’s hard to describe it, but Busan also has a different vibe to it. You can really only know what I’m trying to say if you’ve been to both Seoul and Busan.

Even though it’s the capital city, Seoul has a more laid-back, chill vibe to it. Busan definitely has a more big city vibe with lots of hustle and bustle and people trying to get where they need to go in a hurry.

But that comparison between Seoul and Busan doesn’t really help you decide the answer to the question is Busan worth visiting.

I think visiting Busan is worth it if you have a few weeks to tour around Korea. I wouldn’t suggest you visit Busan instead of Seoul, and if you only have time to visit Seoul and one other city, I’d probably recommend you choose a different city over Busan.

In this article, I’m going to help you answer that question. I’ll give you all the pros and cons of visiting Busan. You’ll have all the information you need to know to decide whether visiting Busan needs to be added to your Korean itinerary or whether you can skip it and visit a different city.

How to easily travel from Seoul to Busan

Reasons Busan is Worth Visiting

We’ll start with the good stuff. There is a lot to like about Busan. Don’t let my introduction to this article make you think that Busan isn’t a good city.

There are lots of positives about Busan that may make the answer to the question is Busan worth visiting a yes.

You have learn about them and decide for yourself!

Gamcheon Culture Village
top tip

It’s cheaper to rent pocket wifi at the airport than it is to install an esim on your phone in Korea.

Busan is Home to Some of Korea’s Best Attractions

Busan has some amazing tourist attractions. I think it has two of the best tourist attractions in all of South Korea.

Gamcheon Culture Village is one of my favourite places in South Korea. It’s a small community built into a hill. You walk around the neighbourhood. It’s bright, colourful, fun, and one of the most unique places in Korea. No trip to Busan is complete without visiting Gamcheon Culture Village.

I also think Busan is home to one of the best museums in South Korea. It’s called the Busan Museum. It covers the history of the region and the city’s modernization. The layout is superb, and you learn a lot about Busan. I visit the Busan museum every time I visit Busan. That’s how good of a museum it is.

The last outstanding attraction Busan has in my opinion is Beomeosa Temple. It’s located on the base of a mountain and is the most beautiful temple in Busan (in my opinion). It’s often an overlooked tourist attraction, but you should add it to your Busan itinerary.

Wait! What About  Haedong Yonggungsa Temple and Haeundae Beach?!

You may have read my list of the top attractions in Busan and been shocked that I didn’t include Haedong Yonggungsa Temple or Haeundae Beach.

Those are two of the most commonly known tourist attractions in Busan, but they’re not my favourite.

In fact, I think both of them are overrated.

Excuse me while I hide and avoid have tomatoes thrown at me after saying that.

I have an entire article about visiting Haedong Yonggungsa Temple as a tourist and whether or not it is worth visiting. To spoil it, Haedong Yonggungsa Temple is gorgeous, but it’s so crowded that a lot of the charm of the temple is lost.

Haeundae Beach is without a doubt the most well known tourist attraction in Busan. Anybody who has watched TikTok or Googled Busan has seen the famous sky capsules.

They definitely make you want to visit Haeundae Beach.

The issue is that they’re so hard to book, and they’re very overpriced. I cannot believe how much they charge to ride the sky capsule and the fact that it sells out quickly every day.

I just don’t get the hype.

The beach itself if beautiful and worth visiting the area, but if you’re going just to experience what you see online, it won’t be exactly what you’re hoping for.

Busan is Very Different from Seoul

One of the things that makes Busan worth visiting is how different it is from Seoul. I was honestly surprised how different the two cities are. I expected them both to be similar because they’re the two largest cities in the country, but they aren’t.

You get to experience a different side of South Korea in Busan while still enjoying the perks of a big city like reliable public transportation, nightlife, and the convenience of having everything you want within walking distance.

Busan has more of a big city, always on the go vibe than Seoul does.

Seoul is home to Korea’s royal history. It’s filled with palaces and traditional, old architecture. It’s also a much more spread out city. It has more room to grow, and that’s given different areas of Seoul the ability to grow their own distinctive personality.

Busan, on the other hand, is basically the exact opposite. Yes Busan played a major role in South Korea’s history. Especially during times of occupation and war. It’s a port city and was the most important city in the country for a long time. It was even the temporary capital at one point. Learn more about that at the Busan Museum!

But, it doesn’t have the long, historical, and royal history like Seoul.

It’s also more crowded. There is only so much room Busan has to grow. Even as it grows out, the major hub areas of Busan are already defined, and people continue to flock to them. It’s harder for new areas to define themselves.

This means that there are a lot of people are going to the same areas in Busan.

This gives the city a busier feel. It’s more crowded, the metros are fuller, and you rarely find yourself walking on an empty sidewalk like you do in Seoul.

So, even though Busan is South Korea’s second largest city, it feels very different from Seoul. And that’s a good thing! Especially for tourists who want to experience different sides of the country.

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple

It’s Right on the Water

Korea is an island, and a lot of people want to experience the water when they visit. That’s not the easiest thing to do in Seoul, but it’s super easy to do in Busan.

That’s definitely one of the reasons Busan is worth visiting for a lot of people.

I’m not a water girlie, so Busan being on the water isn’t the reason I chose to visit the city for the first time. But it is a reason a lot of my friends add Busan to their South Korea itinerary.

Gangneung is another great city to check out if you want to visit the beach but get away from the big city.

Reasons Busan Isn’t Worth Visiting

Now that you’ve read all the positives about Busan, you may be thinking the answer to the question is Busan worth visiting is obviously yes.

Don’t start booking your trip just yet. We also need to talk about why you may not want to visit Busan.

Safetywing vs World Nomads

Busan Doesn’t Have Much of a Personality

I know I’ve talked about how Busan is different from Seoul and that it has a different vibe. What I haven’t mentioned is that the vibe Busan has is just that of another big city.

It lacks the lustre and star power in my opinion.

I think other than the few amazing attractions Busan has (mentioned in the pros section of this post), Busan doesn’t really have much going for it.

It doesn’t have anything that wows you. Seoul, on the other hand, has so much personality that Busan feels flat after visiting Seoul.

This may not make you not want to visit Busan, but it’s something to consider. I took my parents on a three-week tour through Korea in 2023, and they felt the same way. They loved everywhere we went, but they felt Busan was just meh. It didn’t have the same charm as the rest of the country.

Busan is More Crowded and Harder to Get Around

As I mentioned earlier, there isn’t a lot of space in Busan. This means everybody is going to the same few areas.

This makes everything feel way more crowded and overwhelming. Even though Busan has a significantly smaller population than Seoul, it feels more crowded and congested.

No matter where you go in Busan, there are crowds. It’s hard to find space for yourself.

In terms of getting around, it’s also more difficult. Busan has an excellent metro system, but it isn’t as robust as the one in Seoul. There are only 4 lines on Busan’s metro compared to 22 in Seoul.

This means the trains are always crowded. I got on the train at 8am on a Saturday thinking it would be quiet, but it was absolutely packed. There was barely enough room for me to stand.

Only having 4 metro lines also means you have to rely on the bus more often. You can’t get to all of Busan’s top tourist attractions just with the metro. You’ll be taking the bus at some point. That’s not so bad, but the bus is also very busy, so you’ll probably have to stand on the bus as well.

Busan, South Korea

Busan’s Tourist Attractions

I bet you’re wondering how can Busan’s tourist attractions be both a positive and negative? That doesn’t help answer the question is Busan worth visiting!

I already talked about the best things to do in Busan and the things that are overhyped in Busan. What I want to talk about now is the overall choice of things to do in Busan.

Overall, even though Busan has some of the best things to do in all of Korea, I think it lacks the history, architecture, and charm most people are looking for when they visit Korea.

You don’t have the palaces like Seoul. There isn’t the historical significance like Gyeongju. And Busan doesn’t have the natural beauty of Jeju Island.

What Busan has to offer is really good, but is it enough to make Busan a priority on your trip to Korea? I can’t answer that question for you. Only you can.

What I will say is that you shouldn’t add Busan to your Korean itinerary just because it’s the second largest city in Korea. Do your research and decide if what Busan has to offer is what you’re looking for out of your trip to Korea.

You also need to consider how long you want to stay in Busan. It isn’t like Seoul where you can spend 7 to 10 days in the city and never run out of things to do. I suggest you plan to spend 2 to 3 days in Busan. That’ll give you time to experience the city without getting bored.

Smiling Gold Buddha

Is Busan Worth Visiting? My Final Opinion

I’ve given you quite a bit of information in this article, but I haven’t given you my honest opinion about whether Busan is worth visiting.

I wanted you to know the pros and cons of visiting Busan, so you could decide if you wanted to visit Busan on your own before I weighed in.

But here we go. Here is my honest (and slightly controversial) answer to the question is Busan worth visiting.

I think Busan shouldn’t be your top priority when planning your trip to South Korea. Korea has so many amazing cities that offer more history and culture than Busan. If you only have time to visit Seoul and one other city, you should prioritize a different city to experience a different side of the country. If you have two or three weeks to tour Korea, then Busan should definitely be on your itinerary. It all comes down to how long you have in the country in my opinion. For short trips, I would skip Busan. For longer trips, you should definitely visit Busan.

Is Singapore Worth Visiting? (My Surprising Answer)

Singapore is unlike any other country in Southeast Asia. It doesn’t really fit in with the rest of the region, and that makes people wonder is Singapore worth visiting?

Unfortunately, it’s hard for me to tell you the answer to the question is Singapore worth visiting. There are so many factors that go into answering that question.

A lot of them are personal and vary person to person. What I can do is give you all the information you need to help you decide whether Singapore is worth visiting or not.

But, if you’re here for a cut and dry answer, I’ll give you my honest opinion.

Singapore is worth visiting if you’re already in Southeast Asia and aren’t on a tight budget. It’s a super unique place, and I’m glad I visited it. However, I don’t think it’s worth planning a special visit to Singapore if you’re not already travelling in Southeast Asia.

Singapore is special enough of a city that it’s worth visiting if you’re already touring a nearby country like Thailand or Malaysia.

I don’t think it’s special enough for you to plan a trip to Southeast Asia just to visit Singapore and nowhere else.

Those are just my honest opinions of Singapore. You may think that Singapore is the best place you’ve every visited and that everybody should visit it.

But, if I were helping someone plan their first trip to Asia, it wouldn’t be high on the list of places I would tell someone they need to go.

To me, it’s just another large, modern city that you can see anywhere else in the world. It doesn’t have the same cultural charm as other major Asian cities like Seoul, Tokyo, or Taipei.

top tip

Most esims don’t work in Singapore. The best esim choice for Singapore is Drimsim.

Why Singapore is Worth Visiting

There is a reason Singapore is a popular tourist destination. It has lots of things going for it.

But are all the positives about Singapore able to make the answer to the question is Singapore worth visiting a yes?

We’ll find out!

Gardens by the Bay Singapore

Singapore is Super Safe

Before we get into what makes Singapore an amazing city, we need to get the practical stuff out of the way.

Everybody wants to know if Singapore is safe.

The answer to that question is very easy. Singapore is a very, very safe country. It has an extremely low crime rate, lower rates of discrimination, and basically no political turmoil.

Safety is not something you need to take into consideration when planning your trip to Singapore. You can visit Singapore and rest easy knowing you’re in one of the safest cities in the world.

For a complete breakdown of Singapore’s safety for tourists (including if it’s safe for members of the LBGTQIA+ community), check out my full discussion about it here.

Singapore has Some Incredibly Unique Tourist Attractions

One thing that definitely sways the answer to the question is Singapore worth visiting to the yes side is all the unique attractions it has.

There is one attraction in particular that makes me want to say that everybody should visit Singapore.

That’s Gardens by the Bay.

Even if you nothing about Singapore, you’ve probably seen pictures of Gardens by the Bay. It’s a massive indoor greenhouse, but that description doesn’t do it justice.

It’s actually two huge greenhouses and a number of smaller greenhouses. The two main greenhouses are the star of the attraction.

The first greenhouse displays plants that grow on the ground and in mild climates. The special feature of the greenhouse changes every few weeks, so you never know what you’ll see.

The second greenhouse displays plants that are found in mountains and rainforests. It also features a 35 meter tall waterfall at the entrance.

If you go to Singapore, Gardens by the Bay is a must-do attraction. You haven’t visited Singapore if you haven’t visited Gardens by the Bay.

Save Money and Buy Tickets Online in Advance

Other Must-Do Tourist Attractions in Singapore

Of course, Singapore is more than just Gardens by the Bay. Here are the other tourist attractions that I think everybody who visits Singapore will love.

Important Note: Buying tickets online in advance through Klook saves you money on almost every tourist attraction in Singapore. Be sure to check out Klook before purchasing any tickets. Not only do you save money, but you also save a lot of time waiting in line to buy your ticket.

It’s Easy to Travel in Singapore

Southeast Asia isn’t always the easiest part of the world to travel around. Most cities don’t have metros, and you have to rely on public buses or taking taxis.

Singapore has an fantastic public transportation system. The metro is able to get you pretty much anywhere you need to go. If the metro doesn’t go where you need to go, there are air conditioned double-decker buses you can use.

The ease in which you can travel around Singapore really helps. If you’re new to travel, have mobility issues, or haven’t experienced Southeast Asia before, the ease you can travel around Singapore is a huge plus.

But, does the good public transportation sway the answer to the question is Singapore worth visiting to the side of yes?

I’m not so sure.

Reliable public transportation and having a metro system is great, but I don’t think anybody is choosing where to go on their vacation based on that alone.

Marina Bay Sands Singapore

Most People Won’t Experience Culture Shock

As I mentioned at the start of this post, Singapore is basically just another big metropolis. It’s got huge buildings, lots of modern architecture, and is full of shops and malls.

If it’s your first time in Asia, and you’re worried about culture shock, Singapore is a great place to start. If you’ve done any sort of travel before or live in a big city, it won’t feel that different.

You won’t be overwhelmed by the sights, sounds, and culture.

That being said, Singapore does have some things that set it out from other major cities. You’ll feel comfortable and not experience culture shock while still feeling like you experienced something new.

Singapore has a long and diverse history. There are four official languages (Malay, Mandarin, Tamil, and English) and three major ethnic groups (Malay, Chinese, and Indian).

Each of the main ethnic groups have their own area of Singapore with a long history. That’s where you’ll find the charm of Singapore. Especially in Little India.

There are a lot of cultural places and historical places in Singapore, but most tourists don’t experience them. They’re not on the super well paved tourist trail, and you kind of need to know where to look.

But when you find them, you’ll fall a little bit more in love with Singapore.

The Food is Delicious

I can’t finish out the section arguing why Singapore is worth visiting without mentioning the food.

The food everywhere in Asia is delicious in my opinion. I’ve spent a lot of time in Asia and don’t think I’ve ever had a bad meal.

Singapore is no exception.

Singapore is famous for it’s Hawker Centres. They’re basically outdoor dining centres where you walk up to booths, order food, and find a table to eat at. You can order from tons of different booths and try a variety of foods.

Plus the food is known for being very affordable, which is a nice change to the rest of Singapore.

The history of the three different ethnic groups being in Singapore has created a delicious food culture. Not only can you try food from Chinese, Malay, and Indian culture, but you can try some fusion food that combines elements from all three cultures.

Don’t be afraid to try the food. You may not have experienced it or recognize the name, but it’s worth trying. You have nothing to lose at a Hawker Centre. If you try something and don’t care for it, it was only a few dollars, so you can try something else without breaking the bank.

Why Singapore Isn’t Worth Visiting

Now that we’ve talked about all the reasons you may want to visit Singapore, it’s time to talk about the cons of visiting Singapore. No city is perfect, and Singapore is no exception.

You can’t answer the question is Singapore worth visiting without looking at the downsides of visiting Singapore as well.

You need a well-rounded idea of what visiting Singapore is like, so you can make an informed choice on whether or not visiting Singapore is right for you and your travel style.

Universal Studios Singapore Puss in Boots Ride

Singapore is Expensive

There is no way around it, you’ll be spending a lot of money when you visit Singapore. It’s a major metropolis with very limited land space.

Let me warn you that it’s nearly impossible to find an affordable hotel. I’m not a super budget traveller, but even I had trouble finding a place to stay in Singapore that didn’t break the bank.

One way around this is to use hotel points. You can often find a good deal on using points to book a hotel room. I purchased IHG points during one of their buy x amount of points and get 100% bonus points events and used them to book my hotel in Singapore. It saved me a lot of money compared to paying a cash rate for the hotel.

Even after you get your hotel sorted, you’re not out of the woods for expenses in Singapore.

Food can be quite expensive if you eat outside of Hawker Centres, and most tourist attractions will cost you a pretty penny.

Singapore definitely isn’t the place you want to go if you’re looking for a budget holiday. Even the most affordable trip to Singapore still ends up being expensive. Especially compared to other countries in the region.

The only things that are affordable in Singapore are public transportation, Hawker Centres, and a few tourist attractions like the Marina Bay Sand Observation Deck and river cruise.

Singapore is Just a Big, Modern City

I know I’ve mentioned this a few times already in this post, but I couldn’t talk about why Singapore may not be worth visiting without mentioning it again.

Because, to me, this is really the major downfall of Singapore.

Singapore lacks the charm and personality of other major cities in Southeast Asia like Bangkok, Manila, and Hanoi.

I’m not against cities modernizing and updating to modern architecture, but I think Singapore has gone a little too far.

It’s taken most of the personality out of the city and seems to be going the way of Dubai where tourists are coming just to see the big buildings and how modern the city is.

There isn’t anything wrong with that, but it’s just not the right fit for a lot of travellers. Most travellers want to experience something new, learn about a city’s history, and see something they can’t see anywhere else in the world.

I think Bangkok has done a great job of modernizing without losing it’s history and culture. Singapore not so much.

All of Singapore’s major tourist attractions are centred around how modern Singapore is. The attractions were built into the modernization process.

Again, nothing wrong with that, but it isn’t the experience that most people are looking for when they travel.

You don’t really feel like you’re in Asia when you visit Singapore. It feels a bit generic.

I know that’s harsh, but I did warn you I was going to be honest in this article!

Gardens by the Bay Waterfall

There Isn’t Much to do

There are some pretty famous tourist attractions in Singapore (namely Gardens by the Bay and The Jewel), but all things considered, there isn’t a ton of things to do in Singapore.

But other than the top tourist attractions, there isn’t much to do in Singapore.

It isn’t the type of city you can visit for a week and never get bored. Most people visit for two or three days and then run out of things to do.

That’s one of the reasons it’s hard to recommend a trip to Singapore if Singapore is the only place you’re visiting on your holiday.

A trip to Singapore normally entails a long flight and a lot of expenses. It’s hard to recommend that you go through all of that to just visit Singapore and nothing else.

It’s, of course, different if you’re visiting other countries in Southeast Asia. But if you just want to go to Singapore, the lack of things to do is a major reason you may want to rethink you’re plans.

Singapore is Kind of Out of the Way

Singapore isn’t really near anything other than other countries in Southeast Asia. I know that sounds like a really obvious thing to say, but it factors into whether or not Singapore is worth visiting.

It’s not the easiest city to get to. Pretty much everybody has to endure a long flight to get to Singapore. My flight from Tokyo to Singapore was 7 hours!

When you take a long flight, you want to know that it’s worth it. That doesn’t mean that you’re guaranteed to love the place you visit, but it does mean that you have a reasonable expectation that you will.

If you’re flying 5+ hours to visit Singapore and no other country in Southeast Asia, I personally don’t think it’s worth it.

That’s a long way to fly to visit a small city that doesn’t have a ton of things to do.

Gardens by the Bay at Night

Is Singapore Worth Visiting? My Final Opinion

Now that we have a list of the reasons you should visit Singapore and reasons you shouldn’t visit Singapore, I’m going to lay out my final (biased) opinion.

If you’re planning to tour through Southeast Asia, it’s worth spending a few days in Singapore (assuming you’re not on a super tight budget). If you’re only planning to visit Singapore and nowhere else, it’s not worth it. Choose somewhere else to go.

There are lots of cities in Asia that have the modern architecture that Singapore has that also have more cultural things to experience.

My favourite is Kuala Lumpur. All of Malaysia is amazing, but Kuala Lumpur is very similar to Singapore culturally, has fantastic architecture, and offers more cultural and historical tourist attractions. It also have a more robust public transportation system than Singapore.

If I had to choose between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, I would go to and recommend Kuala Lumpur every single time.

Bangkok is another city in Southeast Asia that mixes modern architecture and historical and cultural attractions. It’s also has a metro system. It’s not as robust as Singapore or Kuala Lumpur, but it’s better than nothing.

If you don’t necessarily need to visit Southeast Asia but want to visit an Asian city that is both modern yet cultural, then Tokyo, Taipei, Busan, Hong Kong, or Shanghai will be your best options in my opinion.

Singapore is fine. It’s nothing super special in my opinion. It has a few tourist attractions that are amazing, but I don’t think it’s worth a special trip just to Singapore.

18 Essential Tips for Solo Travel in Thailand

Solo travel in Thailand is one of the best experiences many solo travellers have.

Thailand is one of the best countries for new solo travellers and one of the best countries to start your trip around Southeast Asia. It’s super easy to travel through Thailand, the tourist attractions are unique, and the food is incredible.

Plus there isn’t a language barrier in major cities, so you won’t have communication issues if you only speak English and don’t speak Thai.

The only other country in Southeast Asia that I think is as easy to travel through and has the same charm is Malaysia, but it’s more expensive.

Thailand is a super popular tourist destination and has amazing tourism infrastructure. It makes solo travel in Thailand super easy.

Even though it’s easy to travel through Thailand and the country has amazing sites, there are some things I need you to know about solo travel in Thailand before you arrive in Thailand.

Some of these are mistakes I made on my first solo trip to Thailand. Some of them are things I’m so glad I did, and I want to make sure they’re on your radar too.

I don’t know anybody who has visited Thailand who regrets going there.

I never really had the urge to visit Thailand, but after I went, I started to understand why it’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.

Falling in love with Thailand isn’t something I planned to do, but I did, and I’m already planning my next trip.

Wat Rong Suea Ten Temple

1. Install an Esim Before Arriving in Thailand

This may seem like a weird tip to start with, but it’s one of the biggest tips I can people who plan to travel solo in Thailand.

It’s so convenient and saves you a lot of time. Two things that are so important when you’re travelling alone.

A lot of people who want access to phone data while in Thailand get a physical sim at the airport. I’m here to tell you that’s not what you should do.

I highly recommend you install an esim on your phone before you arrive in Thailand.

It’s the easiest and most convenient way you can get phone data in Thailand. This is especially important for people travelling alone in Thailand.

You install the esim on your phone before you leave for Thailand then turn it off as soon as you land. This is so convenient when standing in the long immigration line. You can scroll on your phone and let your loved ones at home know you land safely.

With your esim already installed on your phone, you also don’t have to worry about finding wifi in the airport to purchase and install an esim when you land in Thailand.

I used an esim while in Thailand. It was one of my first times using an esim, and I didn’t realize I was able to install it on my phone in advance. I wasn’t able to get my computer or phone to connect to wifi in the airport for some reason, so I wasn’t able to install an esim on my phone at the airport.

This meant I couldn’t request a Grab and had to argue with a taxi driving who was trying to scam me. That could have been avoided if I had installed my esim ahead of time. I also would have saved money by using Grab instead of a taxi.

Live and learn. Now I always install my esims before I arrive in a new country.

Get My Favourite Esim

Esim vs Physical Sim

Esims are a newer technology and not everybody knows about them just yet. I have no doubt they’ll become more and more popular as more people learn about them.

An esim is an electronic sim that you can install on your phone. It gives you access to the local network’s data without having to take out your home country’s sim card and install a sim card for the country you’re travelling in.

You get to keep your home phone number. You still receive texts, iMessages, and WhatApp messages that are sent to your home country’s phone number.

They make getting data in foreign countries so convenient. I don’t think I’ll ever travel without an esim again.

If you want to get a physical sim in Thailand, most people get their sim when you land in Bangkok.

That’s the most convenient place to get it, but it is often very busy. Everybody is trying to get their sim at the airport.

To avoid waiting in long lines, pre-order your Thailand sim card online. You’ll pre-pay for your sim card, so all you have to do is pick it up at the airport.

Plus you save a bit of money when you purchase your sim online in advance versus buying it directly at the airport.

Who doesn’t love more convenience and saving money?

Pre-Order Your Thailand Sim Card

2. Install Grab Before Arriving in Thailand

Grab is the Uber of Southeast Asia. It’s a ride hailing service, and I recommend everybody who visits Thailand use Grab. This is even more true for people who are travelling alone in Thailand.

There are two great things about Grab:

1. It saves you money. Grab is more affordable than taxis. We love to save some money!

2. It’s safer. Especially for solo female travellers. You pay a set price, so you don’t have to worry about being scammed by taxi drivers. It also have in-app tracking. The driver knows they can’t go off course or abduct you because of the in-app tracking. You can even share you location with a third-party (like a family member back home) if you want to. If you have an esim or physical sim, and you’re not feeling safe, you can also chat with someone at Grab or report the driver in real time.

Grab also has food delivery through the app. That may not sound like something you need, but it’s nice to have in case you get in late one night or don’t have the energy to go out for dinner after resting in the hotel after an early morning.

Travelling in Southeast Asia is so much easier when you have Grab. You don’t want to travel without it.

Why You Need to Install Grab Before You Leave

Now that I’ve convinced you that you need Grab in order to solo travel in Thailand effectively, you’re probably wonder why you need to install it in advance.

And trust me when I say you need to install it in advance.

You need to be in your home country when you install Grab. If you try to install Grab when you land in Southeast Asia, you won’t be able to.

The app doesn’t accept a foreign credit card while you’re located in Southeast Asia. And changing your VPN to your home country won’t help you either.

I have no idea why the app will accept your credit card while you’re in your home country then won’t accept the exact same credit card if you’re already in Southeast Asia. But it won’t.

If you find yourself in Thailand without Grab installed on your account, you may be able to have someone at home create an account for you and add your credit card to your account. Then you just have to download the app and log into your account on your phone.

I’ve heard quite a few people have success with that, but I’ve also heard of the odd person where that didn’t work for them. Plus you have to deal with time zones and time changes and arranging a convenient time for the person back home to help you.

Now that you know about Grab, stop reading this article, install it on your phone, and then start reading the article again.

This isn’t something you want to accidentally forget about!

Royal Palace Bangkok

3. Get Outside Bangkok

Bangkok is the most popular tourist destination in the world. Over 22 million tourists visit the city every year.

Too many people go to Thailand, visit Bangkok, and then go back home. They don’t take the time to see any other part of the country.

When you take a solo trip to Thailand, you have the flexibility to plan the trip exactly as you want it. You don’t have to worry about what anybody else wants to do and see. You have complete control of what your Thailand trip looks like.

This means you have no excuse to just visit Bangkok and then leave.

Honestly, Bangkok was my least favourite part of my solo trip to Thailand.

Please don’t cancel me for saying that!

Thailand has so much more to offer than just Bangkok. There is beautiful nature, hiking, beaches, laid-back small towns, rich historical centres, and the best temples are outside Bangkok.

I know it’s tempting to spend all your time in Bangkok. Especially if you don’t have much time to solo travel in Thailand.

But trust me when I tell you it’s 100% worth it to get outside Bangkok and experience another part of Thailand.

4. Have the Right Travel Insurance

You need travel insurance. More importantly, you need the right travel insurance.

I spent far too many years travelling with the wrong travel insurance, and I want you to do better than I did.

If you’re going on a short trip to Thailand and have a job, you probably don’t have to worry about travel insurance. Most companies include short-term travel insurance in their medical benefits package.

However, that doesn’t work for everybody.

Thailand is a hugely popular destination for young backpackers, digital nomads, and people taking a gap year.

If you fall into one of those categories, you need to think about what travel insurance to get. It’s not always an easy choice.

There are lots of things to consider including price, coverage, and reliability of the insurance you’re getting.

It’s not always best to go with the cheapest option. It’s cheap for a reason, and lots of times there are tons of exclusions or it’s nearly impossible to make a claim.

My dad got injured sand boarding in Dubai and had to go to a clinic. He tried to make a claim, was told he was able to make a claim, and then had to submit his entire medical history and fill out dozens of pages of paperwork to get reimbursed for the treatment. He ended up not completing the claims process because it was too much work and too invasive.

So, having the right travel insurance matters.

Safetywing vs World Nomads

Safety Wing Digital Nomad Insurance

Travel Insurance I Use

I personally use Safetywing as my long-term travel insurance.

There are a few reasons I love Safetywing and recommend it as the best digital nomad travel insurance.

  • You can start your coverage even while abraod.
  • You pay monthly and can cancel at anytime. This sets Safetywing apart from a lot of other digital nomad travel insurance companies.
  • Your policy includes coverage in your home country for 30 days after you’ve been out of the country for at least 90 days.

Safetywing is the most comprehensive, flexible, and reliable travel insurance company for long-term travellers.

Learn More About Safetywing Nomad Insurance

5. Be Careful Crossing the Street

You’ve probably seen at least one video or picture of the streets in Thailand when planning your solo trip to Thailand.

They’re chaotic and busy. There are scooters everywhere, and they don’t always stop even when pedestrians have the right of way.

I just want to remind you to be extra safe when crossing the streets in Thailand.

A lot of streets don’t have pedestrian crossing areas, so you just walk across when you can. You need to walk quickly and keep your eyes on a swivel. In every direction.

Cars and scooters won’t run you over when you’re walking across the street. But they will honk and drive closer to you than you may feel comfortable with.

Of course, if there is a dedicated area for pedestrians to cross, use it. But even then, be aware. Keep your head on a swivel and be aware of your surroundings. Scooters have the right of way, and you need to be aware as a pedestrian.

I’m not trying to scare you. You get used to crossing the street very quickly, but it can be intimidating the first few times you try it.

You’ll have to cross the street at some point while you solo travel in Thailand. Just be careful and alert when doing it!

6. Pack Appropriate Clothing

Thailand is hot, and you’ll be tempted to pack shorts, tank tops, and dresses. Those aren’t the right clothing options when travelling to Thailand.

Thailand is a fairly conservative country, and they dress modestly. It would be very rare to see a Thai woman wearing an outfit that showed off her shoulders.

Even though you’re a tourist, it’s important to respect local customs as much as possible. I like to wear skirts that fall past my knees and t-shirts that cover my shoulders when travelling through Southeast Asia.

You’ll see a lot of tourists that aren’t dressed as modestly as that, so it’s completely your choice what you wear.

Just know that there will be places you’re not allowed to visit if you’re not dressed appropriately.

This is mainly temples but also includes other tourist attractions like the Grand Palace.

There are signs outside temples and sites that warn you that you won’t be allowed to enter if you’re not dressed appropriately.

There will also be lots of street vendors yelling at you that you’re not dressed properly and then try to sell you proper clothing.

To enter temples, you need to have your knees and shoulders covered. The rules apply to everybody no matter your gender.

Sometimes they are more lenient with men and allow them in if their shorts aren’t completely covering their knees, but they’re not lenient with women.

So, if you’re planning on doing some solo travel in Thailand, make sure you pack appropriately.

Have at least a few outfit options that follow the modesty guidelines for temples. Something that will cover your knees and shoulders. You can put a shawl around your shoulders to cover them, but it makes walking around the temple and taking photos a little more difficult.

Also be aware that you have to take you shoes off to go inside the temples. If you’re like me and hate the feeling of having your feet touch the ground, make sure you always carry around an extra pair of socks if you wear sandals.

It’s also probably better for hygiene purposes to always have socks and not walk barefoot through the temples.

White Temple, Chiang Rai

7. Don’t Underestimate Northern Thailand

Northern Thailand is my favourite part of Thailand.

Chiang Mai is the most popular city to visit in Northern Thailand, but there are so many other places to see. My favourite is Chiang Rai.

I know a lot of people who visit Northern Thailand only visit Chiang Mai, but it’s worth it to visit some of the smaller towns.

There is a lot of nature in Northern Thailand. Not so much beaches like you see in Central and Southern Thailand, but lots of mountains and green nature.

It’s a nice contrast to other parts of Thailand and gives you a different taste of what the country has to offer.

Even if you just visit Chiang Mai and do a day trip to Chiang Rai or Pai, you’ll get to experience a different part of Thailand you wouldn’t have experienced otherwise.

8. Flying is Just Easier

Thailand is a huge country. It takes a lot longer to travel from one region to another than you might think.

For example, it takes almost 11 hours by train to travel from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. That’s a long journey.

That’s a long time to sit on a train and stay entertained, but it’s even worse when you solo travel in Thailand because you don’t have anybody to talk to and pass the time.

I like to take public transportation and overland when I travel as much as possible, but I have my limits. There is never any guarantee that public transportation will run on time, and I’ve been in far too many scenarios where a bus or train ride said it would be 6 hours and ended up being 10.

I have a basic rule of thumb that if overlanding with public transportation is scheduled to take more than 6 or 7 hours, I’ll fly.

It’s so much more convenient and easier.

Flights within Thailand are very affordable and fly multiple times a day. It’s worth it in a lot of instances to fly to a different part of the country and then overland to other cities that are within a reasonable distance.

9. Be Aware of Local Scams

Just like anywhere else in the world, you need to be aware of local scams in Thailand. You’re at a higher risk of being scammed when you solo travel in Thailand.

You’re an easier target, and you’re more likely to be approached by scammers. You need to be aware of what scams to watch out for and try not to fall for any of them.

Easier said than done sometimes.

Below is a short (but not exhaustive) list of the most common scams in Thailand.

Statue of Three Gods in Chiang Mai

Taxi Scam

It seems like everywhere in the world some taxi drivers give the rest of taxi drivers a bad reputation because they try to scam people. Thailand is no different. Especially at the airport.

You have to take a number to get into a taxi at the airport in Bangkok, but that doesn’t mean the taxi driver won’t try to scam you. I don’t really know why they make people take a number, but they do.

The best way to avoid being scammed by taxi drivers is by taking Grab. You know the price before you get into the car, and it doesn’t change unless you go through a toll booth.

If you do take taxis, be sure that the driver turns on the meter. Most taxi drivers don’t and try to get you to pay a flat fee of their choosing.

They always charge you more with their flat fee than it would cost to use the meter. They won’t want to turn on the meter, but if you keep insisting, they will eventually turn it on.

Grande Palace Scam

There is an increasingly popular scam in Bangkok that happens around the Grande Palace.

You’ll be walking towards the palace, and someone will come up to you and tell you that the palace is closed. It’s either closed for lunch or for a local Thai prayer ceremony.

They say you won’t be able to enter the palace and that instead you should take their tour of other temples in Thailand.

Don’t listen to them. Go to the palace. If it is closed, there will be signs and officials will tell you. Most of the time it isn’t closed.

If you get in their Tuk Tuk and go on their temple tour, you’ll be driven around the city, likely never see anything, and then be told that the tour is actually three or four times more expensive than the personally originally told you it would be.

It’s a very profitable scam, and lots and lots and lots of tourists fall for it every day.

Fake Officer Scam

Sadly, there is a fairly common scam in Thailand where someone will dress up like a government official, stop tourists, ask to see their passport or ID, and then tell them they’re in the country illegally.

Not surprisingly, the charges against the tourist are dropped when the tourist gives the “officer” some cash.

It’s a scary scam for tourists. They think they’ve done something wrong and get nervous about being put into Thai jail.

You’re especially at risk for this scam when you solo travel in Thailand. You basically have a giant arrow pointing at you that you’re an easy target.

You don’t have a travel companion who can step in and suggest that something doesn’t seem right. And you’re more vulnerable as a solo traveller. Especially if you’re a solo female traveller.

If you’re stopped by someone dressed as an official, always ask to see their ID before you get too far in your engagement with them. If they refuse to show you their ID, there is a strong chance that they’re scamming you.

You also want to be cautious on who you give your ID or passport to. You don’t want to give it to just anybody. It’s important to make sure that if you give your ID or passport to someone, it’s someone who has a right to ask to see them.

If you are stopped by a legitimate police officer or government official and have to show them your ID or passport, be sure you don’t let them walk away with your ID or passport. That’s never a good idea. Your passport is one of the most important things you have, and you don’t want to let it out of your sight.

The Gemstone Scam

This is one of the most common scams in Thailand. A lot of tourists want to bring gemstones home as a souvenir from Thailand, and 99% of the time, they’re bringing home fake gemstones.

Sellers will swear that the gemstones you’re buying are authentic and real, but they likely aren’t. They’re worthless fakes the majority of the time. Especially if you purchase them in Bangkok or Chiang Mai.

If you want to purchase gemstones in Thailand, make sure you do your research first. Google who sells authentic gemstones in Thailand and look at reviews. You want to make sure you’re buying an authentic gemstone, and it’s worth taking the time to research where to buy them ahead of time rather than making a purchase in the spur of the moment.

Khao Takiab Temple in Hua Hin Thailand.

10. Pack Cash

There is a misconception that you have to use cash in Thailand. That isn’t true. A lot of places accept foreign cards, but it’s important to have cash on hand as well.

Especially if you’re travelling Thailand alone. You won’t have a friend to bum money off of if you don’t have cash and need to buy something.

You need cash to buy street food, small trinkets at markets, and entrance fees for tourist attractions.

If you eat at small, local restaurants (I highly recommend you do), you’ll also likely need cash there as well. Some of the more popular restaurants with tourists accept credit cards but lots don’t.

You also need cash to pay for public transportation or Tuk Tuk drivers if you don’t use Grab.

There are ATMs you can take cash out of, but it’s best to have some cash on hand before you arrive in Thailand. If you use an ATM, be sure it’s attached to a reputable bank and that nobody is hovering too closely to you when you make your withdrawal.

That’ll give you the best chance of not being scammed, getting a fair exchange rate, and being given legitimate cash and not counterfeit money.

Never, ever exchange your money with someone on the street. I know that sounds pretty obvious, but you’d be surprised by the number of people who do that.

11. Be Weary of Strangers who Approach You

Thai people are very friendly. When you travel solo in Thailand, it’s likely that at least a few locals will approach you and start a conversation.

Most of the time the people who approach you are kind and genuine people who just want to get to know a little bit about you.

Sometimes there is a more sinister reason they’re approaching you. Solo travel in Thailand is generally safe, but talking to strangers who randomly approach you is one way to make it less safe.

I’m not saying not to chat with people who approach you. I’m just telling you to be cautious.

Never give out personal information. Never tell them where you’re staying. And never tell them any detailed plans for the rest of your day or trip.

That’s all information that they can use to target you in the future.

You should also be weary about telling them that you’re travelling alone. This is something you can feel out during the conversation.

It’s often easy to determine who is being genuine in their conversation with you and who is just prying for infomation.

Use your gut instinct to figure out whether it’s safe to be honest and tell them you’re travelling alone or if you should lie and tell them your friend is waiting for you at a nearby cafe.

12. The Food is Better than You Think It’ll be

I love Thai food and was so excited to try it. In fact, it’s what I was most looking forward to on my solo trip to Thailand.

Let me tell you that the food did not disappoint. It blew my mind.

Every single thing I ate in Thailand was amazing. If there is something you want to try, get it. You won’t be disappointed.

And don’t skip out on street food or food at the night markets. The food at the night markets is the best street food. You know it’s made fresh because so many people are buying it, and it doesn’t have time to sit out and get a little questionable.

And please promise me you’ll try mango sticky rice.

I waited until a few days before I left Thailand to try it. I don’t really like mango, so it wasn’t a top priority for me to try. That was a mistake. I wish I ate it every day I was in Thailand.

Bring your appetite and don’t be afraid to try something you’ve never heard of before. All my favourite dishes were dishes I hadn’t heard of or tried at my local Thai restaurant before.

Buddha in the Blue Temple in Chiang Rai

13. You Don’t Have to Stay in Hostels

A lot of the information and videos you see about Thailand highlight how affordable it is and how you can get a hostel for just a few dollars a night.

That’s very true, but it also paints a picture that hostels are the best places to stay in Thailand.

As someone who has stayed in one too many hostels as a solo female traveller, I can assure you that they aren’t as glamorous and enticing as people on the internet make them seem.

I’m happy to tell you that if you’re planning to solo travel in Thailand, its completely valid to stay in a hotel if you want to.

The best part is that hotels are very affordable as well, which is great for people on a tight budget. I stayed in pretty decent (and clean) hotels all throughout Thailand. The most expensive hotel was about $45/night in Bangkok. Most of them were about $25-$30/night in the rest of Thailand.

So it’s completely possible to stay in a nice, private, hotel in Thailand without breaking the bank.

You have the flexibility to stay where you want and where you feel safest as a solo traveller because the prices are so affordable. Not every region in the world is a s affordable as Southeast Asia so take advantage of it while you can!

14. Party within Reason

Thailand is known as a party country. Especially Bangkok.

I think this is due to a combination of the younger tourists who tend to visit Thailand, how affordable it is to drink, and the amazing rooftop bars and clubs Thailand has.

I’m not telling you not to drink when you solo travel in Thailand. I’m just telling you to be responsible about it.

You’re alone in a foreign country. Alcohol never makes anybody make better decisions than when they’re sober. Being drunk and alone in a foreign country can be extremely dangerous.

You need to be able to get yourself home safe and sound at the end of your night out. I never have more than one or two drinks when I travel alone.

If I want to drink more, I buy a couple beers from a store and drink in my hotel room or on the hotel rooftop if there is one. It may not be as fun, but it is safer.

The Safe Way to Party in Bangkok

The best way to enjoy Bangkok’s famous nightlife safely as a solo traveller is by joining a bar hopping tour.

The tour takes you to three or four different bars in Bangkok including one of Asia’s most famous bars. It includes transportation and a guide. This means you can drink a little more than you normally would but still be in a safe environment.

You also get to skip any lines there are to get into the bar, which is a huge plus.

Taking a nightclub tour is also a great way to meet other people travelling through Thailand. You can make friends, get travel tips, and potentially find someone to go to a few tourist attractions with the next day.

I highly recommend a nightclub tour for anybody travelling alone in Thailand who wants to get a taste for the nightlife but also be in a very safe situation and environment.

It’s truly the best of both worlds. Being able to drink and have a good time without putting yourself at risk.

Learn More About the Nightclub Tour

15. Internet Safety is Key

You rely on public wifi networks when you travel. Even if you have an esim or physical sim, you’ll be using the hotel wifi at a minimum.

Using public wifi puts you at higher risk of having your personal wifi information stolen. Even if the wifi network has a password, it isn’t safe. Anybody with that password can access and steal your private online information (like your banking information) if they want to,

Trust me when I tell you it’s no fun having to deal with cancelling bank cards while abroad because someone stole your credit card.

The only way to stay safe online when using public wifi networks is by installing a VPN on your devices.

A VPN essentially puts an invisible forcefield around your devices that makes it impossible for prying eyes to access your online information. It makes using public wifi networks just as safe as using your home wifi network where you’re the only person who knows the password.

I always safe that if you can afford to travel, you can afford to protect your online information with a VPN.

NordVPN

My Favourite VPN

I’ve used a lot of different VPNs over my many years of travel. Most of them are awful to be honest. VPNs are notorious for slowing down your internet speed, and you can really feel the slow down with most VPNs.

I used to get so frustrated with how slow my internet was that I’d turn off my VPN and put my private online information at risk of being stolen.

All that changed when I started using NordVPN.

NordVPN is the fastest VPN on the market, and you can really feel the difference compared to other VPN providers.

I’ve been using NordVPN since 2018 and have never once noticed a slow down of my internet speed.

I’m able to keep my online information secure without compromising my internet needs. I put my VPN and internet through a lot of tests with blogging and video editing. It’s nice to be able to rely on NordVPN to keep me safe without sacrificing internet speed.

The best part is that NordVPN is super affordable. A two-year subscription costs less per month than a Starbuck’s latte.

It’s a super small price to pay for the peace of mind you get knowing your personal online information is safe from prying eyes, and you don’t need to worry about your personal information being stolen while you enjoy your time in Thailand.

Learn More About NordVPN

16. Don’t be Afraid to Join a Tour

I’m not the biggest fan of joining tours when I travel alone. I normally find them a bit awkward and oftentimes overpriced. That isn’t the case when you solo travel in Thailand.

Thailand is one of the best places to join a group tour. They’re affordable, and they take you places that are often more difficult to travel to alone.

They’re a great way to learn more about Thailand and Thai culture, see something that would be difficult to experience on your own, and learn insider secrets about the best food to try and things to buy.

Tours are also a great way to meet people and make new friends. The people who travel in Thailand tend to be laidback, younger, and eager for new experiences.

I know it can be scary to join a tour as a solo traveller, but there is really no downside to joining on in Thailand. If you don’t enjoy it, you didn’t spend too much money, and now you know for the future.

Top Tours to Join in Bangkok

Top pick

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market Half-Day Tour

Nature lovers

Khao Yai National Park Tour

beack town

Hua Hin Day Tour

city lovers

Ayutthaya Day Tour

Top Tours to Join in Chiang Mai

top pick

Explore Chiang Rai’s Temples

nature lovers

Tour Pai’s Natural Beauty

evening tour

Tour Chiang Mai’s Top Attractions at Night

Top Tours to Join in Phuket

top pick

Phi Phi, Maya, Khai and Bamboo Island Tour

nature lovers

Phang Nga Bay Tour

17. Expect Crowds- Especially in Bangkok

Bangkok is the most popular tourist destination in the world. I was surprised when I heard that. I always assumed it would be Paris or Italy, but it’s Bangkok.

Bangkok is a huge city, but it doesn’t have a ton of tourist attractions. Especially compared to other capital cities like London or Seoul.

This means there are a lot of tourists trying to see the same attractions every day. There aren’t enough attractions in Bangkok that people are going to different places and no single place is overly busy.

Every tourist attraction is busy in Bangkok (and Chiang Mai).

That doesn’t mean that the tourist attractions aren’t worth visiting. There is a reason Thailand is so popular.

It just means that you have to be patient and expect to deal with crowds.

If you know there will be crowds before you arrive somewhere, you can mentally prepare for it. You won’t be caught off guard.

I get anxious is crowds, so it always helps me better prepare for crowds if I know I’ll encounter them. The crowds is something I wish I was more prepared for on my first solo trip to Thailand.

Hopefully you’ll be better prepared for them than I was now that you know to expect them!

Silver Temple, Chiang Mai

18. Enjoy the Freedom

One of the best things about solo travel in Thailand is the freedom you get. You’re alone, so you get to make every choice on what you see, do, and eat.

It can lead to some decision fatigue, but if you’re tired of making decisions, you can just go back to the hotel and rest for a few hours. Easy as that.

The reason I love travelling alone so much is the freedom you get. It’s one of the few times in life where you get to do whatever you want without considering anybody else’s preferences or needs.

It’s one of the most freeing things you can do in your life. It also helps you grow a lot as a person.

I know that travelling alone can be scary at first, but it’s so worth it.

Thailand is one of the best countries in Asia to travel alone for the first time. It’s very easy to travel in Thailand, and there are tons of other tourists around if you want to be social and meet new people.

So, enjoy the experience. Take full advantage of the freedom you get when travelling alone in Thailand.

It’ll be an experience you’ll never forget.

Conclusion

I had no idea I had so much to say about solo travel in Thailand until I started writing this article. I hope I didn’t overwhelm you too much!

Thailand is a beautiful country. It’s diverse in natural beauty, tourist attractions, and food. No two cities are too similar, and you get a new experience everywhere you go.

That’s one of the things I love about solo travel in Thailand. It’s almost like you get multiple different types of vacations and experiences by just going to one country. It has a little bit of something for everybody no matter what your interests are.

I know this article was long, but I hope it helped you plan your solo trip to Thailand and helped you understand what to expect when on your trip to Thailand.

You now know everything I wish I knew before taking a solo trip to Thailand. You’re better prepared than I was, and that’ll help you have an amazing solo travel experience in Thailand.

Be sure to eat some mango stick rice for me while you’re there!

Tourist’s Guide to Haedong Yonggungsa Temple in Busan

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple is one of Busan’s most popular tourist attractions. It’s a gorgeous temple located right along the seaside.

It has breathtaking views and is regarded as one of the most beautiful temples in all of South Korea.

This post is going to give you all the information you need as a tourist to plan your trip to Haedong Yonggungsa Temple. We’ll talk about how to get there, the best time to get there, what to do at Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, and how to decide if it’s the right tourist attraction for you to visit.

A lot of people only spend one or two days in Busan, so you really need to decide what attractions are the most important to you to see. And what ones you can skip.

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple may be one of the attractions you can skip depending on where else you’re visiting in Busan. It’s not like Gamcheon Culture Village, which I think is the number one must do activity in Busan.

But by the end of this article, you’ll have a much better idea whether Haedong Yonggungsa Temple should be added to your itinerary or if you can give it a skip.

top tip

Renting pocket wifi in Korea is cheaper than installing an esim.

Smiling Gold Buddha

History of Haedong Yonggungsa Temple

There is some debate around the history of Haedong Yonggungsa Temple and when it was built.

Most people say that it was built in 1376, but there is growing evidence to suggest that that isn’t true. Unfortunately, the people who claim that the temple wasn’t built in 1376 haven’t come out with a new suggested date of building just yet. So we don’t quite know it’s origin story for sure right now.

What we do know is that during Japan’s occupation of Korea from 1592-1598, the temple was destroyed.

The temple was left in ruins for hundreds of years until it was rebuilt in the 1930s.

The temple has remained relatively unchanged since the rebuilding in the early 1930s with only maintenance being performed.

So, when you visit Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, you’re not visiting a very old temple. You’re visiting a reconstruction of a very old temple. The temple you’re visiting is less than 100 years old.

Not that that matters. It’s a beautiful temple with an interesting history and perfect backdrop. But it’s something to keep in mind. You don’t realize you’re visiting a fairly new temple when you’re there. It feels like you’re visiting the original temple that was built hundreds of years ago.

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple

What to do at Haedong Yonggungsa Temple

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple is first and foremost a place of worship. A lot of the people you see at the temple are there to worship.

It’s important for you as a tourist try to stay out of the way as much as possible and respect the people who are there for religious reasons.

I’m not saying don’t explore the temple and have an amazing time. I’m just saying be respectful of the people around you.

Don’t walk in front of anybody worshipping, don’t take photos of people you don’t have permission to take photos of, and if there are spots that say no photos, respect that.

No that we have the basic respect ground rules out of the way, let’s talk about what you can expect to see and do at Haedong Yonggungsa Temple.

There are three different sections to Haedong Yonggungsa Temple

  • The main temple area
  • The Great Goddess Buddha (up a small set of stairs)
  • Golden Jijang Buddha

All three parts of the temple are worth visiting.

The most famous part of the temple is the Laughing Golden Buddha in the main temple area. It’s a huge golden Buddha with an amazing laughing facial feature. It’s not a super common facial feature to see on Buddha, which is why it’s so famous.

You shouldn’t miss visiting the Golden Jijang Buddha. It’s separated from the rest of the temple. It’s partway up back up the staircase to the exit (we’ll talk about the staircase in the accessibility portion of this article).

The section of the temple that holds the Golden Jijang Buddha gives you the best view of the main temple. You’re able to see how it looks right against the seaside.

It’s the viewpoint that gives you the breathtaking photos that come up when you search for Haedong Yonggungsa Temple.

When to Visit Haedong Yonggungsa Temple

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple is very busy. It’s busy all day every day.

There won’t be a time you visit Haedong Yonggungsa Temple that you’re not fighting the crowds. That’s the major downside of the temple.

That being said, the earlier you get there the less crowds you have to deal with.

I got there around 9am. It was already quite busy, but it was a lot quieter than it was when I left at around 11am.

When I left, there were lines of people at the entrance to the temple waiting to be allowed to go down the stairs to get to the main temple.

I suggest getting to Haedong Yonggungsa Temple between 8am and 9am to avoid as much of the crowds as possible.

You can go earlier, but it would require a very early start to your day unless you’re staying in the Haeundae Beach area.

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple

How Long Should I Spend at Haedong Yonggungsa Temple?

I suggest planning to spend between 60 and 90 minutes at Haedong Yonggungsa Temple.

This gives you time to see everything the temple has to offer without feeling rushed. Some people may get frustrated with the crowds and want to get in and out as quickly as possible, but most people will want to experience everything the temple has to offer.

What I wish I knew before backpacking Korea alone

How to Get to Haedong Yonggungsa Temple

It’s always a bit tough for my to give you directions on how to get somewhere specific because I don’t know where you’re staying.

For the purposes of this article, I’m going to assume you’re staying in either Seomyeon or near Haeundae Beach.

Those are two of the most popular areas to stay in Busan. Even if you’re not staying in one of those areas, just pop Haedong Yonggungsa Temple into your Google Maps, and you’ll find the best route.

Note: I know Naver Maps is the best option for people walking around Korea, but Google Maps works perfectly for public transportation. I don’t love Naver Maps and the interface, so I prefer to use Google Maps where I can in South Korea.

Travelling to Haedong Yonggungsa Temple from Seomyeon

There are two ways you can travel to Haedong Yonggungsa Temple from Seomyeon (my preferred area to stay in Busan).

  • Train
  • Taxi

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple is only 18km from Seomyeong, but that doesn’t mean it’s quick to get to.

It definitely isn’t. It took me close to two hours to get there because of how long the transfer from the first train to the second train took.

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple

Train

The first thing you’re going to do is jump on subway Line 1 at Seomyeong Station. Ride that all the way to Bujeon Station.

Get off the train at Bujeon Station and transfer to Donghae Line. Ride that all the way to OSIRIA Station.

When you get off the train, you’ll have to walk about 30 minutes to get to Haedong Yonggungsa Temple.

Follow the crowd of people because everybody is walking in the same direction.

You’ll walk past Lotte World Busan. Keep walking straight for quite a while. You’ll get to a point where you’ll be facing a bunch of stores/cafes.

Turn left there. Walk for quite a while. Then turn right when you see the sign for Haedong Yonggungsa Temple.

Follow the sidewalk you turn right onto, and you’ll walk directly to the entrance of Haedong Yonggungsa Temple.

Google Maps suggests it takes about 1.5 hours to travel from Seomyeong to Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, but that is only if you’re able to transfer immediately to your second train.

If you just miss it like I did, you’ll have to wait another 28 minutes for the next train to show up.

You can take bus 1001 from OSIRIA Station to just outside Haedong Yonggungsa Temple. If you do that, you’ll just have to walk down the last sidewalk path to the temple, which takes about 10 minutes.

Top Tip

Get a T-Money card at the start of your Korean trip to save time and money on public transportation.

Taxi

The quickest way to travel to Haedong Yonggungsa Temple is by taking a taxi. Taxis rides are very affordable in Korea, and it saves you a lot of time.

I honestly wish I took a taxi instead of the train. The train was not worth the hassle.

A taxi will take about 20 minutes and cost about $25 to $31 depending on the amount of traffic and lights you hit.

Trust me when I say it’s worth the convenience!

Travelling to Haedong Yonggungsa Temple from Haeundae Beach

Haeundae Beach is only 7km from Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, so it’s much easier to travel between the two.

You can either take a bus or a taxi.

Bus

The bus is the most affordable way to travel from Haeundae Beach to Haedong Yonggungsa Temple.

You need to get on bus 1003 at Songjeong Beach Station then ride it all the way to Haedong Yonggungsa Temple. No transfer required. You will to walk the last little way to the temple on foot, but it only takes about 10 minutes.

The downside to taking the bus is that it’s about a 30 minute walk to the bus station from wherever you’re staying in the Haeundae Beach area.

It’s a bit annoying, but at least it’s a beautiful walk!

Once you get tot he bus stop, it’s only a 10 minute bus ride to the temple. Buses tend to run every 15 minutes, so you shouldn’t have to wait long to catch a bus.

Taxi

Taking a taxi is going to be the quickest and most convenient way to travel to Haedong Yonggungsa Temple from Haeundae Beach.

It takes less than 10 minutes and will cost you about $15.

That’s very affordable. It’s worth the convenience of not having to take a long walk to and from the bus station in my opinion.

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple

What Else is Around Haedong Yonggungsa Temple

Haeundae Beach

The temple is only 7km from Haeundae Beach, which is arguably Busan’s most famous tourist attraction.

There are countless things to do at Haeundae Beach. The most popular ones are:

  • Haeundae Sky Capsule
  • Haeundae Beach Train
  • Tons and tons of delicious food
  • Beach and water activities

If you want to take the sky capsule, you have to make your reservation online in advance. It sells out super quickly.

You can purchase your ticket at the ticket booth on the same day you want to ride it. You have to get there early in the morning if you do that though. Otherwise it’ll be sold out if you show up in the afternoon.

Lotte World Busan

Lotte World Busan is within walking distance of Haedong Yonggungsa Temple. So, if you’re planning on visiting Lotte World while in Busan, you should lump the two together and do them on the same day.

Unlike Lotte World in Seoul, Lotte World Busan is outdoors instead of indoors.

There are more rides in Busan than there are in Seoul, and the rides tend to be more thrilling. There are still plenty of rides for children as well.

You save money by purchasing your ticket online in advance. You don’t have to book it very far in advance. The night before you plan to visit or even the morning of your visit is good enough.

How to easily travel from Incheon Airport to Seoul

Is Haedong Yonggungsa Temple Worth Visiting?

This is a bit tough for me to answer because I have conflicting feelings.

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple is beautiful. It’s one of the most beautiful temples I’ve every seen.

However, it’s also super busy.

Being shoulder to shoulder with countless people and having to shuffle along to find a spot to admire the temple takes a bit of the fun out of it.

I left Haedong Yonggungsa Temple with very conflicting feelings. I was glad I saw the temple, but I knew I’d never be back. Solely due to the crowds. You can’t get away from them no matter when you visit the temple.

My Honest Opinion

So, here are my honest thoughts on whether you should visit Haedong Yonggungsa Temple.

If you’re visiting Haeundae Beach or Lotte World Busan, it’s 100% worth the time to visit Haedong Yonggungsa Temple.

If you’re not visiting that part of Busan, I don’t think making the trek just to visit Haedong Yonggungsa Temple is worth it. Beomeosa Temple is easier to get to and less busy. It’s not quite as beautiful as Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, but I think it’s the best temple in Busan.

Now, just because I don’t think Haedong Yonggungsa Temple is worth the effort of going all the way there just to see it and nothing else in the region doesn’t mean you’ll feel the same way.

The tough part about telling you whether or not something is worth visiting is that it’s a completely personal choice.

Everybody has certain things they like doing and certain things they prioritize over everything else. Visiting Haedong Yonggungsa Temple may be the most important part of your trip to Busan even if you know there will be tons of people there.

The important thing is you know what to expect. Knowing that you’ll be surrounded by lots of people and not have a calm and relaxing experience helps you prepare.

It’s definitely something I wish I knew before visiting Haedong Yonggungsa Temple. I may have left my visit less stressed and with a more positive experience if I knew what I was getting into.

You’re already way ahead of me in that regard!

I knew there were going to be people at Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, but I had no idea it was going to be as crowded as it was.

Knowing what to expect helps a lot when it comes to enjoyment levels, so you may find you love Haedong Yonggungsa Temple more than I did simply because you knew what to expect out of your visit.

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple
Crowds at 9am walking down the 108 stairs to Haedong Yonggungsa Temple

Is Haedong Yonggungsa Temple Accessible?

No. Unfortunately, Haedong Yonggungsa Templee is not accessible.

You have to walk down 108 stairs from the entrance to the temple to get to the main temple. Then you have to walk back up those 108 stairs to leave the temple.

There is no way around walking up and down the stairs. There is no elevator and no ramp to make it more accessible.

It’s unfortunate that the temple isn’t accessible and not everybody can enjoy it.

There are plenty of older people with mobility issues who visit Haedong Yonggung Temple. They stay to the side of the stairs and take their time walk up and down them.

So, if you’re slower, you’re still able to visit the temple.

But if you have no ability to walk up and down 108 stairs, then you won’t be able to enjoy Haedong Yonggungsa Temple.

When is Haedong Yonggungsa Temple Open?

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple is open every day from 5am to 8pm.

Sometimes the hours change slightly on national or religious holidays, but the temple will still be open.

You can pretty much guarantee that if you show up between 5am and 8pm, you’ll be able to visit the temple. It’ll just be quite a bit busier on weekends and holidays.

Is there an Entrance Fee?

Nope! Haedong Yonggungsa Temple is completely free to visit.

There are places where you’re able to make a donation to the temple. It isn’t required, and nobody will pressure you to make a donation.

There are lots of souvenir stalls and food stalls at the entrance to the temple. Bring a little cash in case you want to grab a quick snack or drink after you visit the temple.

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple

Can I Take a Tour to Haedong Yonggungsa Temple?

Yes! There is a fabulous Busan day tour that includes a trip to Haedong Yonggungsa Temple.

It’s a very busy tour, so you’ll be tired at the end of the day. But it’s a great way for people who don’t have much time in Busan to experience the city’s highlights.

The tour takes you to:

  • Haedong Yonggungsa Temple
  • Haeundae Beach
  • Gamcheon Culture Village

You even get a ride in a sky capsule included in your tour!

As I said, it’s a very busy day, but it’s worth it if you only have one day to explore Busan. Plus the tour is super affordable and makes getting around Busan way more convenient. Because Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, Haeundae Beach, and Gamcheon Culture Village aren’t in the most convenient locations.

The Importance of Internet Safety

You rely on public wifi when you travel, and that puts you at a higher risk of having your personal online information stolen.

Even if you’re using a wifi egg or esim, you rely on public wifi at night at the hotel at a minimum. You’re leaving your online information at risk of being stolen, and this includes your banking information.

Trust me when I tell you that you don’t want the headache of cancelling bank cards while abroad because someone stole your banking information.

The only way to keep your online information safe when using public wifi is by installing a VPN on your devices.

A VPN essentially puts an invisible forcefield around your devices that makes it impossible for prying eyes to see your personal information. It makes using public wifi just as safe as using your home wifi where you’re the only person who knows the password.

I always say that if you can afford to travel, you can afford to protect your private online data with a VPN.

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple

My Favourite VPN

I’ve used a lot of different VPNs over my many years of travel. I hated most of them.

VPNs are notorious for slowing down your internet speed a lot. Most of the time I would get so frustrated with how slow my internet was and turn off my VPN. This put my at risk of having my information stolen, but I didn’t care because I wanted a decent internet speed.

That all changed when I started using NordVPN.

NordVPN is the fastest VPN on the market, and you can really feel the difference compared to other VPN providers.

I’ve been using NordVPN since 2018 and have never once felt a slowdown in the internet speed. And I put my internet through a lot of tests with blogging and video editing.

You can protect up to six devices with a single NordVPN subscription, so you can secure all your devices with one account.

The best part is how affordable NordVPN is. A two-year subscription costs less per month than a single Starbuck’s latte!

That’s a super small price to pay for the peace of mind you get knowing all your personal and private online information is safe and secure from prying eyes.

Learn More About NordVPN

Conclusion

Holy moly. This article was way longer than I intended it to be. I guess there is a lot you need to know about visiting Haedong Yonggungsa Temple.

Hopefully I didn’t overwhelm you and you now have a better idea whether you want to visit Haedong Yonggungsa Temple. And if you do, how to best plan your visit.

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple is one of the most unique and beautiful temples in all of South Korea.

That’s why it’s so busy, which is also part of it’s downfall. If there weren’t shoulder to shoulder crowds all day every day, I’d have no problem wholeheartedly suggesting you visit Haedong Yonggungsa Temple.

It’s the crowds that make it harder to recommend that you must add Haedong Yonggungsa Temple to your Busan itinerary.

The crowds and how difficult and time consuming it is to get to the temple with public transportation.

I’m normally a really positive person, but I’m also honest.

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple wasn’t everything I wanted it to be. I don’t want you to trek all the way out there and be disappointed with your experience like I was.

However, now that you know to expect the crowds, you’re better able to prepare for your visit. You’ll have a realistic idea of what to expect, and you can go into your visit with your patience fully loaded and ready to use.

I think if I had been more prepared for the crowds, I would have enjoyed my time at Haedong Yonggungsa Temple way more than I did.

How to Easily Travel from Bangkok to Hua Hin

Hua Hin is one of Thailand’s most popular and laid back beach resorts. Approximately 3.8 million tourists visit Hua Hin every year. Luckily, if you want to visit Hua Hin, it’s very easy to travel from Bangkok to Hua Hin.

There are 5 ways you can travel from Bangkok to Hua Hin. You can take the bus, a train, a private transfer, a guided tour, or drive yourself. I think the bus is the best option. It’s quicker than the train and easier to purchase tickets online in advance.

Even though I think the bus is the best way to travel to Hua Hin from Bangkok, that doesn’t mean it’s the best option for you.

This post will cover all the different ways you can travel from Bangkok to Hua Hin, so you can choose the best option for you. Your budget, travel needs, and time constraints will all play a part in you deciding what transportation option is best for you.

All five ways to travel to Hua Hin from Bangkok have their pros and cons. You need to weigh the pros and cons and decide what the best option is for you. I’m here to help guide you in making the best decision for you and your travel needs.

Looking to explore Northern Thailand? Check out my transportation guides on how to travel from Chiang Mai to Pai and to Chiang Rai. Also check out this post on the Blue Temple in Chiang Rai.

Royal Palace Bangkok

Taking the Bus from Bangkok to Hua Hin

I think the bus is the best way to travel from Bangkok to Hua Hin. It’s reliable, comfortable, and there are 27 different departures from Bangkok each day. You can find a departure time that works perfectly with your travel plans.

When I talk about taking the bus to Hua Hin, I’m referring to both limousine buses and smaller vans. Whether you take a bus or a van depends on where you choose to depart from in Bangkok. We’ll talk about your options later on in this section.

Both the buses and the vans are comfortable. The buses are more comfortable. They have wider seats, and you’ll never be in squished in a middle seat.

The vans are slightly less comfortable. They have three seats in a row, so there will be one person per row who has to sit in the middle.

In the whole big scheme of things, it doesn’t really matter whether you take a bus or a van. You’ll get to Hua Hin safely and in relative comfort no matter what you ride in.

The only times where it really matters whether you take a bus vs a van is if you suffer from motion sickness or have a body shape or impairment that would make it more comfortable to sit in a larger seat on a bus rather than in a van.

The importance of gap year travel insurance

How Long Does the Bus from Bangkok to Hua Hin Take?

The bus from Bangkok to Hua Hin takes between 3.5 hours and 4 hours.

The difference in driving time depends on the traffic and number of stops you make along the way. Half hour isn’t a huge time difference, so it shouldn’t be the deciding factor on what bus/van you choose to take.

Choose a departure/arrival time that suits your needs the most.

How Much Does the Bus Cost?

The price of the bus to Hua Hin depends on a few factors. What time of day you’re leaving, whether you’re taking a bus or a van, and where in the bus you sit. Tickets in the first two rows of the bus are more expensive than seats in the back of the bus.

You can expect to pay between 200 Baht and 400 Baht for your bus ticket from Bangkok to Hua Hin. That’s between $6 USD and $11 USD.

That’s a little bit more expensive than the bus prices in Northern Thailand, but everything near Bangkok tends to cost a little bit more than the rest of the country.

Overall, that’s a pretty fair price to pay for a 3.5 to 4 hour bus ride.

Do You Need to Purchase Bus Tickets in Advance?

Yes! I highly recommend you purchase your tickets in advance. When I was preparing for my first trip to Thailand, all the blogs I read said you didn’t need to purchase tickets in advance. You could just show up at the station and get a seat on the next bus out.

That may have worked in the past, but that doesn’t work anymore.

Hua Hin is quickly becoming more and more popular with tourists. Both domestic and foreign.

The buses are selling out quickly, and if you show up at the station the day you want to travel, there’s a very good chance you won’t be able to get on the bus you wanted to.

Especially if you’re taking a van that has significantly fewer seats than the bus.

Learning Buddha Bangkok

Where to Purchase Bus Tickets in Advance

There are two places you can purchase bus tickets in advance. You can purchase them online or you can go to the bus station and purchase them.

Both options have their pros and cons.

You waste a lot of your precious time in Bangkok physically going to the bus station before your departure date and buying a ticket in advance. This costs not only extra money (you need to get there somehow- most likely by Grab) but also time.

The pro of purchasing your ticket in advance at the station is that it is slightly cheaper to purchase your ticket directly at the station with the bus operator.

I think purchasing your ticket online in advance is the best option.

You have to use a third-party website, and it costs a little bit more than purchasing your ticket at the station.

But the convenience outweighs the small fee for purchasing your ticket online. Plus when you consider the time and cost of going to the bus station to buy your ticket in person, it probably ends up being less expensive to purchase your ticket online.

12Go is the most reputable and reliable website to purchase bus and train tickets in Southeast Asia. If you’re purchasing tickets online, you should always use them.

They’re safe to use, sell legitimate tickets, and can help you if you run into any issues. I’ve used them lots of times during my time in Southeast Asia and have never had an issue with them.

If another website offers tickets at a much lower rate, there is a good chance they’re not selling legitimate tickets. It’s better to pay a small amount more and use a legitimate website than try to save a buck and likely get scammed.

Purchase Bus Tickets

Where Does the Bus Depart from in Bangkok?

Bangkok is a huge city, and there are multiple locations where the bus from Bangkok to Hua Hin departs from. They are:

  • Ekkamai (van)
  • Khao San Mama (van)
  • Mochit New Van Terminal (van)
  • Southern Terminal (bus)
  • Khao San Tara (bus)
  • Suvarnabhumi Airport (bus)

Be sure to look at where the bus/van is departing from before you purchase your ticket. Make sure you’re choosing a departure location that is convenient and easy for you to get to.

You don’t want to buy a ticket and then discover that it’s going to take you an hour on public transportation just to get to where your bus/van is departing from.

Where Does the Bus Arrive at in Hua Hin?

Just like where it departs from, there are a few different places that the bus/van arrives at in Hua Hin. They are:

  • Hua Hin Minivan Station (van)
  • Hua Hin Market Village (van)
  • Hua Hin Alley 51 (van)
  • New Hua Hin Bus Station (bus)
  • Hua Hin Bus Station (bus)

Be sure to check where your bus/van is arriving at in Hua Hin, so you have an idea on where you’ll arrive in Hua Hin and plan how you’ll get to your hotel.

It’s more important to choose a convenient departure location in Bangkok than arrival location in Hua Hin in my opinion. Hua Hin is much smaller than Bangkok. No matter where you’re dropped off, it won’t be too difficult to get to wherever you’re staying.

Safetywing vs World Nomads

Temple in Bangkok

Taking the Train from Bangkok to Hua Hin

The next best option is to take the train from Bangkok to Hua Hin. Trains in Thailand are comfortable, but they’re slow. They’re not the high-speed trains you’re used to in Europe or East Asia.

But they’re comfortable and reliable.

The train is a good option if you’re a train lover or staying super close to the train station in Bangkok.

How Long Does the Train from Bangkok to Hua Hin Take?

The train from Bangkok to Hua Hin takes 4.5 hours on average.

It may take longer if there is traffic on the railway line, but it shouldn’t take more than 5 hours.

The train is slightly slower than the bus, which is one of the reasons I prefer taking the bus over the train.

How Much Does the Train Cost?

The price of your train ticket depends on what seat you purchase. You can purchase a first-class sleeper seat or a second-class seat. The first-class seat is much larger, and you get a bed to sit or lie down on. The second-class seat is a normal train seat.

I find it a bit awkward to use a first-class sleeper seat when taking a daytime journey. I opt for a second-class seat if I’m travelling during daylight and don’t want to try to get some rest on the train.

If you’re travelling at night, it’s 100% in your best interest to purchase a first-class sleeper seat.

You can expect to pay 300 Baht for a first-class sleeper seat and 150 Baht for a second-class seat. That’s approximately $8 USD for first-class and $4 USD for second-class.

As you can see, the train prices are pretty similar to the bus prices. You’re not saving money by taking the train, but it takes longer.

The price of your ticket may not be exactly as listed above. Prices tend to change depending on the time of departure, time of year, and whenever the company decides to raise prices.

But it gives you a pretty good idea on how much you should budget for your train ticket from Bangkok to Hua Hin.

Khao Takiab Temple in Hua Hin Thailand.

Do You Need to Purchase Train Tickets in Advance?

It’s a little bit more difficult to know whether or not you need to purchase your train ticket in advance.

Trains seat more people than the bus, and it’s less likely to sell out, but that doesn’t mean it won’t.

There have been multiple times when I’ve gone to purchase a same-day train ticket and not had any luck because it was already sold out.

That’s not necessarily the norm, but it happens more than you think. Especially on weekends and holidays.

I think it’s in your best interest to purchase your train ticket in advance, but it’s not always 100% necessary.

Where to Purchase Train Tickets in Advance

The best place to purchase your train tickets in advance is at the train station.

You used to be able to purchase train tickets to Hua Hin from Bangkok on 12Go, but it currently isn’t offered.

They may start offering train tickets again the future so be sure to check 12Go for tickets before you go all the way to the train station to purchase your ticket in advance.

Another thing to note about purchasing train tickets in advance with 12Go is that they apply a higher fee for train tickets than they do for bus tickets.

Bus tickets with 12Go are very similar to buying a ticket at the station. A train ticket on 12Go can have a fee that’s between 1/3 and 1/2 of the ticket price. I’m not sure why there is the difference in fees associated with the bus vs train tickets, but it’s something to keep in mind.

Where Does the Train Depart from in Bangkok?

All the trains from Bangkok to Hua Hin depart from Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal Station.

That makes it easy to make sure you know where you’re going and not accidentally go to the wrong departure station.

Where Does the Train Arrive at in Hua Hin?

All trains arrive in Hua Hin at the Hua Hin Railway Station.

The railway station is conveniently located less than 1km from the beach, so you’ll likely be able to walk to your hotel from the train station.

Taking a Private Transfer from Bangkok to Hua Hin

Your next option is to take a private transfer from Bangkok to Hua Hin.

This is definitely the most expensive option on this list, but it is also the most flexible. A private transfer picks you up directly at your hotel in Bangkok and drops you off at your hotel in Hua Hin.

You also have the ability to customize your trip. You can choose to stop along the way to Hua Hin and see things you’d never be able to see if you used public transportation.

If you have a larger group of people you’re travelling with, it might be the right decision to take a private transfer rather than the bus or train.

It can also be a great option for people with mobility issues or who tend to get motion sick. You can ask your driver to pull over and stop anytime you need. If you’re uncomfortable and need to stretch your feet or need some fresh air, your driver will happily pull over for you.

That’s a luxury you don’t get with public transportation.

While taking a private transfer isn’t for everybody, it’s definitely a great option for some people.

When I travelled through Vietnam for a month with my parents, they insisted on the convenience of having a private transfer between every city. It’s a luxury I wouldn’t indulge in as a solo traveller, but I’ll admit it was a very nice luxury when I was with them.

Royal Palace Bangkok
Book Private Transfer

Taking a Guided Tour from Bangkok to Hua Hin

If you’re on a tight itinerary and don’t have multiple days to spend in Hua Hin, taking a guided tour is your best option.

It’s a one day tour from Bangkok. It picks you up at/near your hotel, shows you the highlight tourist attractions in Hua Hin, and drops you back in Bangkok in the evening.

It’s a very long day, but it’s the best way to see Hua Hin if you only have one day to explore the area.

You get a taste of Hua Hin, and you can decide if you want to spend more time in the area if you ever come back to Thailand.

The thing I love about the Hua Hin guided tour is that you have the option to join a guided tour or go on a private guided tour. You can save some money by spending the day exploring Hua Hin with strangers or you can spend a little bit more money and explore Hua Hin with just your group and a guide.

I love the flexibility. One of my least favourite things about guided tours is having to make small talk with strangers, and I love that you can opt out of that by taking a private guided tour to Hua Hin.

Even though it’s a long day, it’s worthwhile taking a day trip to Hua Hin. It’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in Thailand for a reason and worth seeing even if it’s just for one day.

Book a Guided Tour

Driving from Bangkok to Hua Hin

Your last option is to drive from Bangkok to Hua Hin.

I don’t recommend this option.

Most people who visit Southeast Asia say something along the lines that there are no rules of the road in the region. That’s false. There are definitely rules of the road. You just don’t know them as a tourist visiting the region.

And because you don’t know the unspoken rules of the road, you put yourself and everybody else on the road with you in danger when you drive as a foreigner.

Unless you’ve driven in Southeast Asia a lot and are very confident, I don’t think you should drive from Bangkok to Hua Hin.

Take public transportation or pay for a private transfer.

It’ll be safer and less stressful.

Is Kuala Lumpur safe for solo female travellers?

The Importance of Internet Safety

One of the most overlooked travel safety tips is to be internet safe. You rely on public wifi when you travel, and that puts you at a higher risk of having your personal and private online information stolen.

Even if you install an esim on your phone, you still rely on public wifi some of the time (like in your hotel). Even if the wifi network has a password associated with it, you’re still not safe. Anybody who has access to that password (e.g. everybody staying in the hotel) is able to access your private online information if they choose to. Including your banking information.

Trust me when I say that it’s no fun having to deal with your bank and cancel your bank cards while on holiday because you weren’t being internet safe.

The only way to stay safe when using public wifi is by installing a VPN on your devices.

A VPN essentially puts an invisible forcefield around your devices that keeps prying eyes out. It makes using public wifi just as safe as using your home wifi where you’re the only person who knows the password.

It’s one of the easiest ways to stay safe while travelling. I always say that if you can afford to travel, you can afford to install a VPN on your devices.

Nord VPN

My Favourite VPN

I’ve used a lot of different VPNs over my many years of travel. I honestly hated most of them.

VPNs are notorious for slowing down your internet speed, and you can really feel it with most VPNs. I used to turn off my VPN and put myself at risk just because I was annoyed at how slow my internet was with my VPN on.

All that changed when I started using NordVPN.

It’s the fastest VPN on the market, and you can really feel the difference compared to other VPNs. I’ve been using NordVPN since 2018 and have never once felt a slow down of my internet speed.

I love NordVPN and have no plans of ever switching to another VPN provider.

You can protect up to six devices with a single NordVPN subscription, so you can keep all your devices safe with one account. It’s super easy and convenient.

The best part is that NordVPN is super affordable. A two-year subscription costs less per month than a single Starbuck’s latte.

It’s a small price to pay for the peace of mind you get knowing your personal online information is safe and secure from prying eyes when using a public wifi network.

Learn More About NordVPN

Conclusion

As you can see, it’s super easy to travel from Bangkok to Hua Hin. You have lots of different transportation options, so you can choose the best one for you and your travel needs.

I personally prefer the bus, but you may prefer the train or a private transfer. If you’re short on time, a guided tour is probably the best option for you.

I love that there is a transportation method that suits everybody’s needs. No matter how you prefer to travel or what your budget it, you’ll have no trouble getting from Bangkok to Hua Hin.

And no matter how you choose to get there, you won’t regret going to Hua Hin. It’s one of the most beautiful and laid back areas of Thailand. Everybody who goes loves it, and it’s a nice break from the hustle and bustle of Bangkok.