If you’ve never travelled on your own, the thought of an international solo trip can be pretty daunting. But solo travel can also be the most liberating and rewarding experience of a lifetime, and there are plenty of places that are perfect for taking the plunge. Asia is an especially great place for first-time backpackers with its affordability, popularity with other backpackers and solo travellers, and it’s unbelievable wealth of culture and nature waiting to be discovered.
Here are our top 9 Asian destinations for solo travellers:
Located in Northern Thailand, this beautiful ancient city is much smaller, calmer, and more accessible than loud & proud Bangkok. Chiang Mai is surrounded by incredible ancient temples and glorious untouched nature, perfect for day trips. The city itself is full of unparalleled street food, vibrant markets, and a huge expat community, making it a great place to get settled in and make friends, and one of the best asian destinations for solo travellers.
This stunning getaway on the island of Palawan is unbeatable for a trip to the tropics. You’ll fall in love with its white sand beaches, crystalline waters, coral reefs and easy access to the Bacuit archipelago, a group of islands with breathtaking karst cliffs. This destination is super affordable, super chill, and all-around a great, laid-back place for a first-time traveller.
It is impossible to be bored in Hong Kong. This bustling city has everything, from great museums to beautiful nature on its many charming islands and the more rural Kowloon Side. Get lost in Hong Kong’s iconic neon-lined streets, treat yourself to a dim sum lunch, and discover the city’s incredible international nightlife scene in Lan Kwai Fong.
Anyone with a travel bucket list worth it’s salt has Angkor Wat ranked somewhere near the top. Cambodia’s national treasure and one of the world’s biggest temple complexes, Angkor Wat draws many tourists to the little town of Siem Reap, making it the perfect place to connect with other solo travellers and have the day trip of a lifetime.
This breathtaking archipelago offers pristine beaches and untouched nature without the crowds of neighbouring Thailand. Soak up the sun and discover this paradise of UNESCO-protected nature reserves, amazing marine life, colourful culture, and spicy Malaysian cuisine.
Vietnam’s capital is a stunning and vibrant city, full of tiny winding streets packed with motorbikes, fruit vendors, street food stalls, and beautifully decaying french mansions from its days as a European colony. Hanoi is also the gateway to the stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site of Halong Bay and the verdant rice terraces of Sapa.
Japan may not be too friendly on the wallet, but it offers a richness of cultural heritage, stunning nature, enchanting temples, and amazing urban beauty that can be found nowhere else, making it one of the best asian destinations for solo travellers. Osaka and Kyoto, located just 43km apart, offer an incredible insight into the different facets of this incredible country. Kyoto is Japan’s cultural capital, where ancient traditions are still practiced and geishas can be glimpsed on the city streets,while Osaka is known for its vibrant nightlife, eccentric locals, and enchanting energy.
For culture buffs, there is no better place to lose yourself than on the streets of Seoul. Packed with unparalleled museums, hip shopping and restaurant districts, and unbelievably flavourful cuisine, Seoul is a backpackers paradise and undoubtedly one of the best asian destinations for solo travellers. Korean people are incredibly warm and friendly and even when travelling solo you’ll feel right at home.
India doesn’t always jump to mind as the most accessible place for a travel novice. Hot and chaotic, big cities like Delhi and Mumbai can be overwhelming and isolating for a solo traveller, but this country is also home to many smaller cities that are guaranteed to enchant you. One of the best is Rishikesh, a spiritual hub and yogi paradise located on the sacred Ganges. Learn about local culture in one of India’s most laid-back cities, go to yoga classes, learn to meditate, and get in touch with yourself like only a solo traveller can.