Why Thailand Is The Perfect First Time Backpacking Destination

thailand longtail boats

Why Thailand is the perfect first time solo backpacking and digital nomad destination

Thailand, ‘the land of smiles’ is the place where many backpackers, independent travellers and digital nomads get their first taste of freedom and adventure and for good reason – Thailand is the perfect country for your first solo backpacking trip and is also one of the most popular destinations for digital nomads in the world!

Why? Thailand is a place that simply has it all, it’s an exotic paradise filled with natural beauty, golden glittering temples, an intriguing culture, fiery cuisine, vibrant nightlife and some of the best beaches and islands in the world.

And, compared to some other destinations, traveling independently and solo in Thailand is a much easier, smoother, safer, affordable and less stressful experience where it’s easy to meet like minded people.

me chiang mai temple
At a temple in Chiang Mai

My Ultimate Thailand Itinerary and Backpacking Route

Why Thailand is perfect for backpackers and digital nomads

The backpacker trail in Thailand is popular and well trodden but it means that backpacking Thailand is super easy, affordable and you’re likely to meet other like minded travellers. If you are a digital nomad or working remotely while you travel you will find all the modern comforts and fast internet you need to be productive as Thailand is a global hub for digital nomads.

Another thing that makes Thailand perfect for travellers and digital nomads is the people themselves, the Thais are tolerant, hospitable and polite and make backpacking Thailand a breeze, even for the inexperienced traveller.

I’ve been backpacking Thailand alone many times now and never had a problem, I’ve always felt safe, found it easy to get where I want to go and always made friends and travel buddies really effortlessly.

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Many travellers start their Thailand adventure on Khao San Road in Bangkok which is probably the biggest mecca for backpackers in the whole world! Bangkok is filled with exciting things to do and see and Khao San Road offers everything you could ever need for your travels, easy onward transport connections and is a great place to party and meet other backpackers.

Sometimes the hardest thing about traveling in Thailand is deciding where to do next!

Once you’re ready to leave Bangkok the only problem is deciding on your next destination, do you go North to experience the jungles, mountains, hill tribes, temples, history and culture of Northern Thailand and the digital nomad mecca of Chiang Mai.

Or do you head South and spend your days island hopping through picture postcard perfect tropical islands, spending your days lazing in a hammock, exploring under the water or partying all night under the full moon on paradisaical islands like Koh Phangan and Koh Lanta – both are also popular with digital nomads and remote workers. Check out my ideal 2 – 3 week Thailand itinerary to figure out how to fit it all in!

My advice is to go North first because if you go straight to the islands you might never want to leave and then you’d really be missing out on all the amazing adventures in North Thailand!

Read More: My Perfect Thailand Backpacking Route and Itinerary. 

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Thong Nai Pan Beach, Koh Phangan

The Ultimate guide to your first time backpacking Bangkok  and Where to Stay in Bangkok ( for all areas and all budgets)

Getting around, things to do and meeting new people in Thailand

Luckily, getting around this exciting and diverse country is easy due to the good tourist and backpacker facilities and affordable network of tuk tuks, buses, trains, boats and planes that criss-cross the country.

You can even make all your travel arrangements and pre book trains, buses and ferries online before your trip with Bookaway but it’s also easy to go with the flow and arrange transport as you go. Most hostels and hotels will help you with your onward travel plans often arranging combined tickets with mini bus pick ups directly from the hostel to transport hubs.

Visiting Thailand has so much more to offer than just temples, beach and bar hopping. Thailand also has a huge host of activities to keep you entertained from cooking classes, jungle trekking, Muay Thai training, yoga courses, Thai massage, scuba diving, the list is endless – there are so many things to do in Thailand.

Wat Rong Kong Temple near Chiang Rai. My favourite temple in Thailand!
Wat Rong Kong Temple near Chiang Rai. My favourite temple in Thailand!

Yes, Thailand is popular and quite touristy – its not off the beaten track but this is sometimes not really a bad thing especially if you are backpacking Thailand alone. Because of Thailand’s popularity you’ll find Thailand has a safe, easy, fun and well worn backpacker trail and a thriving digital nomad scene with plenty of affordable sleeping (check out the best backpacker hostels in Thailand as recommended by travel bloggers), eating and drinking options to choose from and even a taste of comfort food from home is possible if you’re feeling homesick.

The best place in Thailand for digital nomads

If you’re a digital nomad looking for an affordable place to settle for a while and get work done while also connecting with like-minded people and having fun things to do at the weekends then head to a digital nomad hub like Chiang Mai, in particular the Nimmanhaemin Road area.

Some say this city is where it the movement of traveling and working online all began with entrepreneurs from all over the world taking advantage of the low living costs and friendly, inspiring scene to build and launch their online businesses.

chiang mai temple me gold
Some of the most beautiful sights I’ve seen in my life have been in Thailand, especially the temples in Chiang Mai

In Chiang Mai you can rent an apartment for a month for as little as 3,500 (£85) to 8,000 baht (£195) a month. Most include wifi but you can also choose to work from one of the many coffee shops popular with digital nomads or coworking spaces. Bangkok, Pai, Koh Lanta and Koh Phangan also have thriving digital nomad scenes.

Often the people that you meet can make or break your trip and, due to Thailand’s popularity, it’s easy to meet other like-minded travellers or digital nomads to travel with and make memories and friendships that will probably last a lifetime. This is why Thailand is one of the best places to backpack alone – you’ll never be lonely for long here!

buddhas thailand ayutthaya
Buddhas at historical Ayutthaya

Cost of backpacking Thailand

Backpacking Thailand is also very affordable and great value for money. It’s not such a bargain as it used to be, but you can still enjoy Thailand even on a budget. I spent about 1,500 Baht per day on my trips, (that’s about £36/ $50) but you could easily spend a lot less or more. Click here for a breakdown of my average daily backpacker budget for Thailand.

It couldn’t be easier to see and enjoy this incredible country. Thailand is an easy, affordable, popular and yet still exotic destination packed with so many stunning sights and amazing experiences that is simply perfect for your first backpacking trip or your first foray into the exciting lifestyle of the digital nomad!

So many people visit Thailand every year for their first big overseas trip and then go onto discover the rest of Southeast Asia and beyond with their new found levels of self confidence and burgeoning sense of adventure once they have been bitten by the travel bug!

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Relaxing in Koh Phangan

This post was written in collaboration with Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). Get inspiration and advice for visiting Thailand on their new blog www.fanclubthailand.co.uk. and check out the latest entry requirements for Thailand here.   In July 2021 Thailand is expected to open to vaccinated travellers without quarantine. Phuket will be the first destination to open followed by Chiang Mai, Ko Samui, Krabi, Pattaya and Phang Nga. See more details here Those without the vaccine will need to have a negative test and quarantine for 10 days at an ASQ hotel in Bangkok.

Are you planning your first backpacking or digital nomad trip?

Let me know if you have any more questions about Thailand in the comments below.


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1 comment

My Pick of The Best Thailand Backpacking Tours for an Epic Thai Adventure - Global Gallivanting Travel Blog May 12, 2022 at 1:36 pm

[…] has been a haven for backpackers for decades. I’ve visited 6 times now and I think Thailand is the best country for a first time backpacking trip. There’s so much to see and do in the ‘Land of Smiles’ that planning a trip to Thailand can be […]


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