Going to Thailand on a a whim? Crazy?
June 30, 2013 9:56 AM   Subscribe

I am writing my PhD thesis and this is my final year. I am worn out and it's winter where I am so I saw a nice holiday package for a beach resort in Phuket, 6 nights. I am single and can just take off. Is it crazy to consider this?

I am also working so I have enough money saved up. I have also never been on a solo trip. I was thinking of going in a week or 2.
posted by sabina_r to Travel & Transportation around Phuket Island, Thailand (20 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Um, no you are not crazy. Self-care is part of the equation, along with hard work and discipline, that equals a degree.

Do it.
posted by mrfuga0 at 10:00 AM on June 30, 2013 [8 favorites]

Go! Have fun on your trip! And then plan another one for after you complete your defense.
posted by florencetnoa at 10:01 AM on June 30, 2013

Why would it be crazy? The only thing crazy about it would be if you dislike dining alone. (My guess is you'll meet people who invite you to join them anyway, but just in case.) Also, there are some ocean sports you don't really want to do alone. But otherwise, why not? It sounds wonderful and restorative to me.
posted by fingersandtoes at 10:01 AM on June 30, 2013

Do it. If you feel you're in a good place with your dissertation and can truly leave it for a week the by all means. Take the time to recharge.
posted by absquatulate at 10:06 AM on June 30, 2013

My parents just went there (they are visiting my sister for 3 months in Adelaide and the winter weather was getting to them). If they can handle it, anyone can.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:10 AM on June 30, 2013

Best answer: Sure. I've never traveled alone but I've gone to the movies alone and gone to sporting events alone, so why not a vacation? It's just a nice chance to leave work and other life tension behind. Maybe ask some friends who have traveled alone before, or making some MeFites who have done it can tell you what's it's like or offer some tips.

If it were me, I might look for maybe a tour guide or group for one or two of the days, if you want to go see some historical stuff or go into areas where not knowing the language would be difficult, or if you are a woman and are wanting to go to certain areas at night that might be better with others.

I don't know what Thailand is like, but one other thing. My sister went to Paris alone for a little vacation while she had to travel to Europe for work. The one thing she did find was she was a magnet for scam artists because she was a female traveling alone who spoke English, which really put a damper on the trip because she literally couldn't go anywhere without begger children or scam artist adults pestering her and not taking her polite refusals. She thought maybe she should've pretended to speak some other language, or been more forceful with ignoring/denying the scammers. I suppose if you're staying at a resort in Thailand and hanging out on beaches, that probably won't ever come up.

Getting to see Thailand and staying at a resort sounds pretty stress-free and relaxing to me though.
posted by AppleTurnover at 10:16 AM on June 30, 2013

Best answer: I think you should travel whenever the opportunity presents itself. It sounds like it has in this case, and you have the money saved up. Go and enjoy and relax!
posted by Pademelon at 10:20 AM on June 30, 2013

That sounds amazing. You have the money and the time, you would be crazy not to!
posted by maryrussell at 10:47 AM on June 30, 2013

As long as you have your passport up to date, it seems perfectly reasonable. Thailand is super easy to travel in - solo or otherwise.

Have fun!
posted by backwards guitar at 11:02 AM on June 30, 2013

Best answer: Do it! I actually wrote this comment a few weeks ago about why Thailand is the perfect place for a first solo trip.
posted by lunasol at 11:07 AM on June 30, 2013

Response by poster: I am a solo woman in early 30s! Just a quick question: how much am I likely to spend a day on food and transport? Any ideas? I am wondering how much money to budget for a week's stay (apart from airfare and accommodation).
posted by sabina_r at 11:14 AM on June 30, 2013

Sounds like a brilliant time. I might be tempted to look beyond Phuket, as it (used to) be quite touristy/partyville and not as inherently interesting as some other places on the coast. n.b. it's been a depressingly long time since I was in Thailand, so I may be operating with expired advice.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 11:31 AM on June 30, 2013

Re: costs. Thailand is seriously the most amazing value for your dollar (or whatever your currency is). If you're ok with eating in markets, street stalls, and open-air restaurants (and you should consider it, since that's where you'll find a lot of the best food), you can eat deliciously for under $10/day. Meals in restaurants are more expensive, because they cater to tourists (since most Thais eat at the cheaper places) but still significantly less expensive than you'll find in first-world countries.

Can't help too much with transport, since it's been a while since I've been in Thailand (friends who have been there more recently confirmed that the food costs are still insanely low). But there's a wide variety in transport options (from tuk-tuks and local intercity buses to air-conditioned cabs and flights/sleeper trains) and most are pretty cheap.
posted by lunasol at 12:34 PM on June 30, 2013

Oh, and seconding the advice to look beyond Phuket. Might be a good idea to do a resort somewhere for your first few days if you're nervous, then branch out to a less-touristy island. Since you're traveling alone, a better bet may be one of the quieter backpacker locations, which tend to be better for meeting other people than a resort, which tend to be mostly couples and famlies. I was surprised at the number people in their thirties I met in places like this, and when I was there a decade ago (too long!), you could get an air-conditioned small cabana on the beach for about $20 in those types of places.

A decade ago, the place for a more relaxed (ie, non-all-night-dance-party) beach scene was Koh Phangan, on the opposite side of the island from the beach where the full moon parties are. Again, it was a decade ago, so it's probably gotten a lot less laid-back, but I'm sure a little research could help turn up a similar place these days.

I personally had my favorite Thai beach time on Koh Samet, which was a bit off the beaten path, but it's not that close to Phuket.
posted by lunasol at 12:42 PM on June 30, 2013

Why would it be crazy?

What else would you need to do? Who's permission do you think you need?

If you can afford to go to Thailand, and you have the time to go to Thailand, of course you should go and enjoy yourself.

You deserve it.
posted by Sara C. at 2:56 PM on June 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

Thailand is fabulous! Eat cheap street food, spend a couple of days just doing nothing on the beach, wander around amused and amazed at the variety of nightlife, and enjoy meeting other single travelers that abound. Just perfect your steely eyed silent gaze for panhandlers and scammy tourist leechy peddlers. Have a wonderful time and come back refreshed!
posted by shazzam! at 7:17 PM on June 30, 2013

Enjoy, and you will. Just don't rent any jet skis.
posted by Kruger5 at 7:28 AM on July 1, 2013

Flicking through my phone where I made a few budget notes whilst eating/drinking in the beach restaurants in Nai Yang, Phuket in Dec '12/Jan '13

1x medium pizza - 220b
Lunch - one dish, sometimes two, came out around 150-200b
Dinner - two dishes, meat and rice or noodles usually 200-250b
1x bottle soda water - 20b
Cafe Latte - 60-80b
posted by Ness at 8:29 AM on July 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

And other Phuket tips:

Probably the least pushy hawkers in the world. Smile and say no thank you and they'll likely just pass on by or they may stop and have a chat, they'll ask you how long you're here for and your name. They'll remember your name and say hi on the next pass.

Kids tend to run a beach service for drinks and ice creams, they get a cut. They love to chat too.

Massage ladies - you can get an hour long massage for around 400b. It's a super experience. If you agree to having a massage take note of your lady, she is now yours for life (or at least for the rest of your holiday should you never return). If you decide to have another massage during your stay, be sure to go back to your lady, she will find you and ask you if you want more of her services anyway. Be upfront with her about what you would purchase and when you want it, don't fob her off with 'maybe later' - this makes planning her day difficult and this is her livelihood. If you can't afford a massage every day then let her know how many and when - every other day, in the mornings.

Sun loungers - each section of the beach is run by someone different, don't rent a lounger in the morning and then move to another spot in the afternoon and then get annoyed if you get asked to rent another - chances are you moved into someone elses patch.

These marvelous folks on the beaches absolutely will look out for you. Relax and enjoy your holiday.
posted by Ness at 9:04 AM on July 1, 2013

Just a little first hand advice on Phuket (I went there late last year).
If you are planning on swimming in the ocean, keep in mind that during the monsoon season (May-Nov) there is often a powerful undertow that makes it dangerous to go too far out in the water. Tens of tourists die every year from drowning in the ocean in Phuket.

Here's one from just last week - the article says it's the fourth drowning in four days!

When I was there last October, there were red flags flying at all the beaches warning people not to swim. Some people did it anyway, and I saw a few people nearly drown (they certainly would have died had not a local guy renting surfboards swam out to rescue them -- there are very few lifeguards on the beaches).
That said, most of the beaches are pretty shallow until about a hundred yards out, so you can certainly wade into about waist deep water in safety -- just be very cautious of the waves.
posted by banishedimmortal at 9:32 AM on July 1, 2013

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