Thailand Travel Safety Tips for Women

While Thailand is generally very safe for women, you should always be aware of your surroundings. Here are a few tips for solo female travelers.

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While Thailand is a relatively safe country, women travelers from western countries are often stereotyped, and the social freedoms you may be used to at home could be taboo in Thailand.

Choose Safe Accommodation

One of the simplest ways to keep yourself safe while staying in Thailand is by choosing appropriate accommodation. if you're traveling on a tight budget, the $5 a night dormitory room might be tempting, but paying a bit extra for a room which has a lock on the door, 24hr reception, clean facilities and linen, can mean the difference between getting your valuables pinched, and being bitten by bed bugs, and getting a comfortable, undisturbed night's sleep. Many hostels in Thailand have female-only dorms.

Drive-by Bag-Snatching in Thailand

Violent crimes against foreigners; including murder and mugging, are rare, but petty crime is common.

Alarmingly, ride-by bag-snatching is increasingly common. A motorbike zooms by very close, the passenger on the back grabs your bag from your shoulder, and you‘ve lost everything. Slipping one arm through the bag loop and the other over your head is not much of a deterrent, and could result in injury. The thief will drag you and the bag, until the handle breaks, or they'll slash the handle with a blade. Either way, the risk of getting hurt is high.

But there are a few simple precautions you can take to protect yourself and your valuables.

  • Walk as far as far away as you can from the roadside, keeping your bag on the side of your body away from the traffic.
  • Only take what you need for the day and keep your valuables in a safe at the hotel.
  • Keep your phone out of sight, not in the bag.
  • Don't get your camera out until you want to use it.
  • Remember, if there's nothing of value in your bag, it'll be easy to let the thieves have it and avoid confrontation or injury.

Street Safety at Night

Thailand's unlit alleys, dark streets and back lanes are as sketchy as the ones in your hometown - except here you don‘t necessarily know the bad areas. Don‘t walk alone on a beach at night, and that includes Sunrise Beach where the Full Moon Party is held on Koh Phangan.

What to Wear in Thailand

Just because there are thousands of scantily-clad bar girls, doesn't mean you should dress the same. For all its openness and acceptance, Thailand is still pretty conservative. So cover up appropriately - men and women. Women shouldn't go topless on the beach, and don't stray too far from the beach in your bikini. It's handy to always carry a loose-fitting dress in your beach bag, just in case you want to duck off to the markets.

When entering temples and royal buildings, always make sure your shoulders and knees are covered. That means no singlets for guys or gals. Keep a sarong in your bag should you need a quick wardrobe change, and don't forget to remove your shoes and socks when entering a temple.

Do Women Get Harassed in Thailand?

Thai society is hierarchical, and feminism hasn't cemented itself in society.. yet.

You know those western men who think all Thai girls are “up for it“? Some Thai men have the same mistaken belief about western women.

Thai men can often misread signals from the way western women dress. If you're sexually assaulted, although it's illegal, the old "she was asking for it" argument is bound to surface.

However, it's highly unlikely you will be wolf whistled or sexually harassed while out and about on the street. Being Buddhists, Thai people are generally shy and respectful of women.

But, if you do get harassed while traveling alone, ignore the comments and carry on walking. Walk confidently and always remain calm. Getting into an argument with a local who is rude to you will never end well.

Did You Know Women Shouldn't Touch Monks?

Don't touch or give anything directly to a monk; instead, set it on the ground in front of them or give it to a man to hand over.

Also, don't sit next to monks on public transport, and look out for monk-only areas in waiting rooms. Women are not welcome in some temples, so always check the signs.

If you pass a monk on the street, let him pass by you first.

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8 Comments

  • V said

    I wish more western females would dress appropriately when they visit the temples, I've seen so many just wearing skimpy shorts and tops, so disrespectful

  • Ben Novick said

    As a P.I. I've had just a few cases in Thailand of American young ladies disappearing and winding up in brothels. Dressing conservatively is very important, even if heavyset. Being modest, soft spoken and polite is good. Many Thai men, and especially (Muslims) already view Western Women as prostitutes, so don't further this belief. Do not go to bars alone. Do not act giggly and goofy around men. Law enforcement in Thailand considers rapes of foreigners one of their lowest priorities. Of course they say differently but look at their record. There were (something like) 300K rapes reported there last year for which 20-30 were solved.

  • Albert said

    I can't believe that a blog that look serious at first could write something like this.
    It is sexist and even claiming feminist as something good.
    Generalise about men, no wonder why the concept women safe is the theme in the first place.

    • Jo said

      Feminism is good. Just look at your mother and/or your sisters. If we treat women better, we will all be better off.

      • Michael Anderson said

        LMFAO!?!?! Feminism is good, that a good one. Look at the way it's destabilizing society.

  • Lou said

    The world will be safer when women claim their equal rights everywhere. The only thing men have ever had to fear is themselves... how ridiculous to be worried about women if you consider them less equal than yourself.

  • Eve said

    @Albert @Michael Anderson You do realize that feminism is the belief that a woman should be held to the same standard as man. As an equal not above or below. You can't say we need to stop generalizing men when they are clearly not the target. The target is the men who are abusing women. If you aren't one of them why are you so offended by the post? This post is for the safety of women, stop making it about your self.

  • Pam said

    @Lou Well said. If all men were as secure as you- what a world this would be.

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