Solo Travel: Best Places To Travel Alone in Asia and Beyond
If you’ve always thought travelling alone but never actually done it, go for it! Yes, there are lots of things to consider, such as safety, where to go, how to actually do it and more. But these are considerations, not reasons to avoid going entirely.
There are, however, some places are inherently riskier than others. This means careful planning, consideration, and preparation is more important than ever. But, your solo trip can be the adventure of the lifetime. Here are some of the best places in the world to travel alone if you ever dare to take that leap.
Tips for travelling alone:
- Opportunities to meet other travellers abound. People are more willing to talk with strangers when they are travelling alone so it is a great chance to make new friends.
- Choose solo-friendly accommodations with multiple good ratings and free wifi. This way you will be always connected. And, hostels are a great inexpensive way of staying in a place comfortable and with plenty of like-minded travellers.
- Pack light so you don’t get burdened by your own luggage.
- Get travel insurance so you are prepared for any eventuality. Safety first!
- Plan ahead: get acquainted with the places you are visiting, its culture and learn a few basic words in the local language. Also, don’t be shy to reach out to the locals for travel recommendations. They will tell you all the about the hidden gems that might not be on the travel guides.
- Start your days early to make the most of your holiday. Also, if you are not comfortable roaming around alone after dark, getting up early ensures you get the most done during the day.
Travel Within Asia
Despite the fact that you likely live in Southeast Asia if you are reading this, Asia is actually one of the best regions in the world to travel alone. Many countries are developed, safe and consistently recommended by veteran solo travellers as among the safest in the world. Each country has its own culture, heritage, history and of course, food making each country you visit a whole new experience. So, let’s begin with the best countries in Asia for solo travel.
Being one of the safest countries in the world, Japan is a fantastic choice for solo travelling. The rich history, culture, vibrant cities and some of the best food in the world have tourists flocking to Japan each year. One excellent way to experience Japan on a solo trip is to buy a Shinkansen rail pass and visit the many towns that you stop at. Here are some great towns and destinations for you to visit.
- Kyoto is gorgeous, has great shopping and their Kaiseki is both a work of art and an incredible meal. Ancient temples, the bamboo forest, Toei Kyoto Studios where many Japanese films are made and excellent restaurants.
- Osaka is the second largest city in Japan. With various shopping districts, the world famous Kuromon Ichiba market for fresh seafood, beef and more. The Osaka Aquarium where you can view whale sharks in an innovative display and of course, Universal Studios with the world’s only other Harry Potter World other than the one in Orlando.
- Hokkaido, the northernmost island of Japan is famous for its harsh winters and amazing seafood. You can look forward to onsens, unspoiled breathtaking natural vistas, skiing and more. Hokkaido is seriously beautiful and many travel to Hokkaido just because of how damned gorgeous it is.
- Best Time to Visit: March to May and September to November are great timings just because there is less chance of rain. But, to be true, all seasons are good to visit Japan. If you love Winter destinations, then Hokkaido in December to February would be your pick.
While Vietnam may seem like the “trendy” location for many solo travellers, it is actually a thrilling destination that has vastly different experiences based on which part you visit. Ho Chi Minh, the capital city is an emerging metropolis with a neverending sea of scooters on the streets. Various attractions near the capital include the Củ Chi tunnels, a tour of the tunnel networks that the Vietnamese fighters used in the war against the United States, Ben Tanh market, the Mekong delta tour and its vibrant and somewhat seedy nightlife.
Pho, the most famous Vietnamese dish in the world, has many different variations based on different Vietnamese regions and you can take an eating tour of the different types of Pho. You can also visit floating markets, historical locations such as Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum or the famous Ha Long Bay for some nature immersion and island hopping.
- Best Time to Visit: Visit Spring (February to April) and Autumn (August to September) to avoid the monsoons.
Korea has been in the news a lot recently, but I’m obviously not talking about North-Korea (though technically, you can visit as a tourist). South-Korea’s pop culture is world famous and its capital Seoul is a constant hive of activity and energy.
Busan, a town in the southern region of South Korea, has been growing in popularity for tourists. My friend who travelled there described it as “Seoul, but without the crowds and the frenetic pace”. The many beaches, ports, hot springs and spas will make Busan an interesting off-beat choice for travellers.
- Best Time to Visit: April to June or September to November.
4. What about the rest of Southeast Asia?
While these few countries only comprise of a small part of Asia, we cannot possibly cover them all so before we get to countries beyond Asia, here are a few other places for you to consider.
- Thailand – Well known for being a tourist destination, Thailand is a perennial favourite for travellers year in and year out with its many attractions and warm populace. Venture to Krabi, Phuket, Bangkok or Chiang Mai.
- Laos – An unconventional choice, Laos has a primarily Buddhist population that is shy and polite. Laos is still a developing country with a rich culture and multiple UNESCO sites. This makes Laos a great country to visit to drop off the grid for awhile. Head to Vientiane or Luang Prabang.
- The Philippines – While many tourists choose to travel internationally sometimes the best places are right at home. I highly recommend Cebu during the Sinulog festival. It is absolutely wild and I had a fantastic time there as the entire city celebrates with a massive parade, street food stalls, and activities. Cebu has some of the best diving in the world as well and if you are lucky, you may actually see an elusive whale shark.
So, what if you’ve been to all these places. Or, you simply want to venture further away from home or something different? The following is a list of countries and experiences that have been highly recommended by experienced solo travellers.
5. The Trans-Siberian Railway
While some people have an unfair impression of Russia as unsafe, the Trans-Siberian Railway has been experienced by many travellers in small groups or alone. Spanning across Russia into China, the railway is an incredible experience that many have described as “once in a lifetime”. If you like your privacy, spring for first-class train tickets. Otherwise, be prepared to share your train car with random strangers. The communal cars are actually a great way to meet other fellow travellers, however, so you’d have to weight the risk/rewards yourselves.
- Best Time to Visit: March to September.
6. Costa Rica
Yes, Costa-Rica may be the home to the fictional Isla Nubla in the “Jurrasic Park” series, but it is also a fantastic travel destination in reality. Surfing, farm to table restaurants, a thriving flora and fauna due to having one of the worlds most diverse and dense ecosystem, Costa-Rica is a laid-back paradise that you should definitely consider.
- Best Time to Visit: During the dry season from December to April.
The frozen, wild majesty of Antarctica cannot be fully expressed in words and has to be experienced in person. There are cruises that tour the frozen continent but, they only travel at certain times of the year and allowing for weather conditions. Climate change also poses a real threat and some regions are actually melting away. So, if you are keen to venture to the frozen south, try to do so before some regions vanish forever.
- Best Time to Visit: February to March.
Is there more to solo travel?
This is obviously not the exhaustive list of everywhere you can go alone. I personally loved London and would heartily recommend it as a solo adventure. The USA itself can be one giant adventure if you visit many different states on a solo-road trip and a great way to meet new people and friends.
Mongolia and China can be of interest if you want to go a little further but not too far away, and most of Europe is very travel-friendly as well. But no matter where you go, be sure to use ShopBack’s travel deals to ensure you get the most bang for your buck as you depart on your solo travel adventures.