Krizia, originally from Italy, currently lives in Amsterdam. Read about her solo backpacking traveling experience in Thailand, from November to December 2014. The first interview for the Trevelers category of the blog.
1. The first thing that comes to your mind remembering this trip.
2. The places you visited during this trip.
Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Elephant Sanctuaty, Pai, Mae Hon Song, Chiang Rai, Trang, Koh Lipe, Koh Lanta, Petchaburi.
3. The best and the hardest part of being a solo traveler.
I don’t like planning that much and it seems strange because overall I am very organized in my daily chaos! I liked traveling alone because my plan was basically not to book anything in advance. The only plan was to live and to feel what I wanted to do and to experience every single coming day. A positive aspect of traveling alone is that you count on yourself only and being alone you open yourself to other people more easily. It’s also true that I chose Thailand for my first trip alone because by other friends I knew it was an easy country to start with, especially for a woman. I was lucky in Thailand and I didn’t have any hard time but the negative aspect I would say is when you want to share something with another person but next to you, you only have your… silent backpack.
4. Your favorite area or neighborhood.
The beach in Koh Lipe (super small Island) and the city of Chiang Rai in the north: a very cheap city with amazing street market as well as night life. Every Saturday night, there in the main square, people meet just to dance and it’s simply fun to join them! I also loved the White Temple outside Chiang Rai and… too many other things that come to my mind.
5. A view to remember.
Mae Hon Song Mountain in sunset time.
6. A café/bar to remember.
Route 66 in Bangkok, a bit classy but interesting to see local Thai having fun. Along that street there are many clubs. Dress code is appreciated: I remember that because I was looking like I was just came out from a jungle and people looked a me a bit weird. But everyone is welcome! Other than that, if you are alone a good place to meet other travelers is to go around the touristic famous street of Kao San Road. There you find shops that sell everything you need for your trip and during the night the street is full of party everywhere (too touristic though…). There was a bar with live music outside and a Thai guitarist, a blonde one, which was the most handsome Thai guy I’ve seen during my trip. On top of that, he was good playing music as well.
7. Your favorite local food.
In Chiang Rai the Hot Pot is a super good. The Pad Thai is everywhere super good (You say Pet-pet is you want it veeeery spicy but then be careful, I’m warning you!
8. The people of the city.
In general Thai people are very welcoming. They are used to tourists and they are kind with them. Thailand is a country that offers all types of facilities for travelers and overall everything is easy to find. Thai people will help you find things you need. But they will also try to sell you over-priced things or to address you to their friends, cousins, relatives etc… to buy stuff. No panic! It’s normal in Thailand you only need to know how to be clear with them and how negotiation works. After a few days of experience you will see yourself negotiating with Thai people everywhere and getting into the idea that it’s a standard procedure and can also be fun. But do not negotiate in shops: I experienced myself trying to negotiate the price for a haircut at a hairdresser’s, in a shopping center. They were not very happy…
9. Country’s culture in 3 key-words.
Culture, beaches, wellness.
10. Something you find unique about the culture of the country.
The majestic Buddha everywhere and so its Monks with the orange dress which I found very warming.
11. A couple of highlights.
Get a lot of Thai massages in Thailand! Why? Because it s cheap and relaxing. I was walking a lot during my trip and I remember enjoying the massages almost everywhere also in front of the beach for 1 hour for only 10 euros, for example. So as part of traveling you can also spoil yourself for a low price in this country!
12. Something you will keep forever.
The smile of the people.
13. Your tips for future visitors.
Keep passport in the hotel and go around with a copy only. Bring the basic clothes because there you will shop and everything is cheap. Check your PIN card before traveling; are international transactions activated? I also made a health insurance, just in case. Make a good trip respecting the people, the animals and the environment. Do not judge.