National Geographic came out with a book last year called "Journeys of a Lifetime, 500 of the World's Greatest Trips." The entry called "Thailand Cuisine Tour" was written by yours truly.
Taking a Thai cooking class or going on a culinary tour would be a good way for a solo traveler to go to Thailand alone and feel at ease. You will be cooking side by side with others. Talking, laughing, chopping, cutting, bleeding. It's downright social!
Gourmet on Tour offers lodgings and cooking classes in Bangkok, Chang Mai and Phuket. You can find cooking classes on cruises, in rural areas, outdoors and on farms. The Chiang Mai Thai Cookery School opened in 1993, and is run by an international Thai chef. Move over, Rachael Ray, if you're not whipping up some Pad Thai.
I have at least two friends who learned the art of mixing rice or noodles with fish sauce, lime, oil, chopped peanuts, cilantro, egg, and more in Thailand. They came home enamored of their Asian culinary skills.
Of course, cooking classes are just one of the things that draws visitors to the land of wats and rice fields, mountains and night markets, bamboo huts and a beloved monarchy.
But for solo travelers, it's a good entree to it all and a way to socialize and sit down and eat with others for a few days at some point during a vacation to Thailand.
1. By Goab, a friend who visited a Thai festival in Washington, DC, that included fruit carving.
2. By Ellen Perlman. A scene from rural Thailand.