Asia is a diverse, beautiful and charm packed continent that truly provides something for everyone. Be it the night markets of Thailand or the breathtakingly beautiful beaches of Sri Lanka, Asia is a remarkable destination, perfect for solo travelers. Asia is home to mesmerizing landscapes, mouth-watering cuisine and great hospitality that paves the way for the most unforgettable solo journeys. Read on if you are ready for solo travel Asia.
Benefits Of Solo Travel in Asia
The combination of scenery, historical or cultural sites and excellent value for money make Asia extremely popular with backpackers. Here are the top benefits of solo travel to Asia and why you should try it:
1. Time & Inspiration To Work On Creative Projects
If you’ve been dying to delve into a creative project to reawaken your brain, Asia will inspire you. Whether it’s writing poetry, developing a new business plan, creating a poster or simply becoming an idea machine, traveling solo will nurture your creativity. Digital Nomad hubs with cowering spaces exist in cities such as Ubud (Bali) and Chiang Mai (Thailand).
2. Learn a New Language
By traveling alone, you can fully immerse yourself in a foreign culture and tongue and perhaps this is the best way to reduce the language barriers. The most popular languages spoken in Asia are Chinese, Hindi, Indonesian and Arabic. You can learn these languages in the best way by traveling solo as when you’re alone, you have constant opportunities to practice your target language. However, if learning languages is not your thing, don’t worry – many people in Asia do speak English, especially those in the hospitality industry.
Traveling in a group might not be as budget-friendly as we sometimes hope it to be, as everyone has different needs, which leads to different expenses. However, being a solo traveler, you can easily allocate your money to what you want out of your trip. The great thing about Asia is that it is so cheap to eat out! When I was in Chiang Rai, I was frequently getting my evening Pad Thai for around $1.50 at the night market. My beautiful pristine dorm room at Connect Hostel was just £5 a night, which is around $6! So it’s easy to live and travel on a budget of $10-$20 a day in Asia, food and hostel accommodation included!
4. It’s so Easy and Fun!
One thing that really surprised me about South East Asia was how easy it was to travel. Thailand has excellent air-conditioned long-distance buses and straight tarmacked roads. You can book accommodation and transport online and via apps, such as the Green Bus. Of course, there are parts of Asia that may be more challenging, such as parts of India and China – particularly the big cities such as Delhi and Bombay. However, the challenges and unexpected occurrences will make it fun and interesting, and develop you as a person.
5. Asian Hospitality
In many parts of Asia, don’t be surprised if you are invited to family meals and helped along on your journey. In many parts of Asia, life is centred around the family, and visitors are welcomed in. Of course, Asia is a massive continent with diversity and difference within countries as well as across borders. Although you do need to be aware of scams and con artists, local families are more often than not likely to help you out and offer to look after you.
6. Culturally and Religiously Rich
Asia is such a diverse continent, and it’s inhabitants consist of every main world religion, along with other lesser-known denominations. From the Taj Mahal to the temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, the religious and historical architecture will astound any culture vulture.
7. It’s Sociable!
Solo travel Asia can be thought of as socially isolating. Many people ask me – won’t you get lonely? Absolutely not! In fact, you are highly likely to connect with other travellers if you go solo. Checking into youth hostels or hanging out in digital nomad cafes or bars gets you mixing with people who are as inquisitive and open-minded as you are. I have actually made some of my best friends while solo travelling.
Read this article if you are travelling alone for the first time.
7 Safest Destinations for Solo Travel Asia
So, now you know the reasons why you should totally travel Asia solo, let’s look at the best and safest countries in Asia.
Thailand is a vibrant and dynamic travel destination with bustling streets and markets, sparkling nightlife, calming temples and monasteries. The capital city of Thailand is the pilgrimage of enthusiast travelers. Situated in the Chao Phraya River delta, Bangkok has been rated as one of the ‘Best Travel Destinations of the world.’
Thailand also has some fantastic beach destinations including Koh Phi Phi and Phuket, and also some brilliant digital nomad havens such as Chiang Mai and Pai.
Filled with amazing landscapes, skyscrapers, bright neon technology, gracious folks, and delicious food, Japan is one of the best countries in Asia. Japan has 17 world heritage sites and some marvellous shrines and temples, which makes it a must-visit place. Japanese people are very friendly towards tourists, which makes it the best destination for solo travel. The only downside to solo travel in Japan is that it is pricier than the other popular Asian destinations.
Taiwan is one of the easiest places to travel solo. It’s the perfect blend of city and nature, with lots of hiking opportunities, and mountain and ocean views. The food is cheap and delicious and available during the nights as well. Above all, the people are proactively kind and helpful, due to which the solo travelers can feel completely safe, even during the night. Don’t miss the National Palace Museum of Taipei and the Dragon and Tiger Pagodas in Kaohsiung.
Indonesia has the largest number of historically active volcanoes with the current count at 76 and 17,000 islands. Indonesia has a vast variety of landscapes and backpacking Indonesia is a great way to meet fellow solo travelers. The transport options are easy and there’s a stunning range to adventure activities to experience. Highlights of Indonesia include Borobudur and Komodo National Park.
5. Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka may be a small island, but it has a lot to offer by way of UNESCO World Heritage sites, historic forts and temples, beautiful beaches, expansive national parks, and lush rainforests. Sri Lanka is home to incredible wildlife, including elephants, leopards, and the blue whale. Yala National Park has the highest concentration of leopards anywhere in the world. If you are interested in religious sites, visit the temple of the Buddha’s tooth (Sri Dalada Maligawa) in Kandy. A few reasons to go to Sri Lanka on solo are – English is widely spoken, picturesque landscapes and cheap transportation.
Cambodia has a rich ancient history, untouched beaches, and generous hospitable people. The monument of Angkor, the intricate ruins of painful yet enriching history and comforting food make Cambodia a journey worth looking forward to. Famous attractions include – the magnificent Angkor Wat Temple complex, the upper Cambodian Mekong area, the Silver Pagoda and The Royal Palace.
The Philippines is an archipelago of over 7500 islands and home to some of the best beaches in the world. The Philippines is an easy country to travel as a solo Westerner, because of GRAB taxis and most people speaking English. The cultural is very Westernised in terms of fashion and music. Manilla itself is extremely busy and polluted and can be a bit of a shock to the system (read my article about arriving in Manila), but it’s got some interesting places to explore before heading off to some of the scenic destinations. Make sure that you explore the historical centre of Intramuros before you take an internal flight to one of the islands. Palawan, Cebu and Iloilo are good places to head off to after Manilla.
10 Tips For Solo Travel To Asia
1. First things first, make that first step and book your flight; don’t wait, you’re traveling solo remember, the longer you put this off the more doubt will set in.
2. Narrow down your trip. Asia is huge and you won’t see it all in one go unless you are off traveling for years.
3. Stay in hostels, which is a perfect way to meet other solo travelers.
4. Do not fear the street food. If you’re budget conservative, skip touristy restaurants and do as the locals do – save money by eating from street vendors.
5. Use apps such as iTranslate Voice and Air Asia to make your journey easier (list of recommended apps below).
6. Be smart about your safety. To avoid losing everything, split up your money into two-three different locations. You can put some money under a travel security belt and the rest on a couple to concealed places on your body.
7. Check local rules and customs. Always travel with the Internet and make sure to read up before you go so you can avoid any awkward scenarios on your solo travel adventure in Asia.
8. Go with the flow! It’s possible to overplay. But with Asia, you might arrive in a city, hate it and want to get out. Or you might find an inspiring place and want to extend your stay. I recommend having a rough plan in mind, but not a day by day account of your journey.
9. Check Visa Requirements. Remember that some countries allow you to get a 30-day tourist visa on arrival at the airport, but not all. Where possible, get your visas in advance to reduce visa stress on your journey.
10. Buy a local SIM Card! This will help particularly with Internet Data on the road. I usually get a local SIM if I am staying in a country for 4 weeks or longer.
10 Best Apps For Solo Travel Asia
1. iTranslate Voice
iTranslate Voice as it will translate, type out and speak the word or phrase in another language of your choice. This works extremely well in countries such as Vietnam or China.
2. Air Asia
Use Air Asia to make it easier to search for flights on your smartphone or tablet. I used it in the Philippines. Flights in my experience were reasonably priced and reliable.
If you are looking for an app that will shop the flight market for you, Skyscanner is the one that I always recommend. You can set to direct flights only to filter.
MAPS.me is an awesome maps app that lets you download map data for a country or region so you can use it even when you have no data connection. I always try to download the map of my main destination before I arrive in case I don’t have WIFI.
Use the Agoda app for booking the best deals on your accommodation. You can search over hotels, villas, bnbs, and every kind of vacation rental in your own language and currency of choice.
6. XE Currency
The best way to avoid getting overcharged abroad is to have the latest exchange rates with you all the time. XE Currency doesn’t need to be connected to the Internet to work.
Pocket lets you save any webpage for later reading. Just hit the share icon and select the Pocket icon, and you’ll be able to pull up this article or blog post from the Pocket app later. This is absolutely brilliant for stocking up on reading material before a long flight or bus journey.
8. Green Bus App
If you are travelling in Thailand, download the Green Bus app. You can book your bus tickets through the app in advance, such as journeys from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai and pay on your credit or debit card.
‘Grab’ taxis is Asia’s version of Uber. This is a brilliant app to have because you will know exactly what you are paying for your taxi journey in advance, and pay on your card. You get to rate the driver and no chance of being ripped off!
Hostelworld is one of the best apps for booking hostels. I have used it in many countries in Asia including the Philippines and Thailand. I usually book 2-3 days in advance and that seems to be in plenty of time.
Need some travel quotes for inspiration?
Are you ready to embark on your solo-trip to Asia? With these tips, I hope that some of your worries are gone! Leave me a comment for further assistance, I would be extremely happy to help 🙂