Solo Travel in Asia: The BEST Places To Go & Tips!

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After many years of travelling alone as a woman, I’m here to help you discover the best places in Asia to travel solo. 

When I first began my solo travel journey, I felt confused by the many lists of ‘best solo female travel destinations in Asia’ that already existed. It seemed like they were written by people who had travelled to those countries with partners – which is a very different experience from solo travel – or were big companies who hadn’t visited the countries they listed at all!

Solo travel asia vietnam
Travelling solo in Southeast Asia – my beloved Vietnam!

Read next: 30 best places for solo travel – world edition!

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I’ve also seen very experienced solo travellers recommend difficult countries for solo female travel in Asia (perhaps forgetting what it’s like to be a first-timer) for example, countries or islands that require tours to get around or have few budget hostel options. 

Because, frankly, you can go most places in Asia solo (well, if you can get the correct visa). But there are a few destinations that are definitely easier for solo travellers in Asia than others.

I’ve been travelling solo for almost 10 years from easy solo mini breaks in Europe like Portugal and Croatia to harder places like Mexico, Cuba, India and South Africa. Every destination on this list below has been visited solo by myself, with a couple of added suggestions from my friend Cassie, who’s been solo travelling in Asia for 5 years.

South korea where to travel solo southeast asia
Eating my way through South Korea

What makes a good solo travel destination in Asia? 

Before I began travelling alone in Asia, Japan kept hitting the top spot of ‘places to solo travel in Asia’ again and again. However, after I visited Japan I realised that – although it was super safe, it was also lonely, expensive and had a tricky language barrier.

Safety is only one element of solo female travel in Asia. What about ease of meeting people? You shouldn’t have to be an extrovert to make friends while solo travelling! 

Affordability is also a very important aspect when considering the pros and cons of travelling alone. If a country is significantly more expensive to get around on your own – or depends on luck over whether you meet other travellers to split costs with – then it’s probably not the best place for solo travellers.

That’s why I’ve created this list to reflect what truly matters to solo travellers in Asia: ease of getting around, affordability (specifically for solo travellers), meeting people, and solo travel-friendly attractions. Along with solo female travel safety of course, because it IS important. It’s just not the only element.

Read next: 101 solo travel tips

Best places in Asia to travel solo

You probably won’t be surprised to learn many countries in Southeast Asia are easy destinations for solo travellers. Don’t knock them! 

Even these more commonly visited countries have their own unique day trips and authentic experiences to discover if you do prefer to avoid the crowds and do your own thing.

Read next: travel tips for Southeast Asia based on 2 years experience!

Thailand

Ayutthaya thailand

Solo travel rating: easy

For solo travel in Southeast Asia, it doesn’t get much better than Thailand. It’s safe, affordable and incredibly easy to meet other travellers. No matter what sort of activities you enjoy, you’re bound to find endless things to do in Thailand – from temple hopping and paradise islands to bustling cities and amazing street food.

Read next: guide to travelling solo in Thailand as a woman

Best places to travel solo in Thailand:

  • Chiang Mai explore the temples in the Old Town and eat your way around the picturesque cafes and delicious street food. Don’t miss side trips to Chiang Rai and Pai also in Northern Thailand.
  • Bangkok – look beyond the throngs of backpackers on Khao San Road and you’ll find an absorbing city with brilliant galleries, temples, museums and even peaceful parks if you need to escape the crowds.
  • Thai islands – My personal favourite is laid-back Koh Lanta, but you could head to Koh Phangan for partying, go diving in Koh Tao, or relax on the beautiful beaches of Koh Samui. 

Safety: Aside from petty theft and pickpocketing, there isn’t much crime in Thailand. It’s also an LGBT-friendly destination.

Meeting other travellers: Making travel friends when backpacking alone in Asia doesn’t get easier than in Thailand!

Cost: Very budget-friendly. 

Vietnam

ha long bay solo female travel asia
My top pick for solo female travel in Southeast Asia

Solo travel rating: easy

Vietnam is one of those countries where there’s always have more to see! While the long, thin shape of Vietnam makes it convenient to choose a backpacking route, there are endless mountains, beaches and cities to visit in all corners of the country.

Vietnamese food is excellent, the experiences are endless, and you’ll find plenty of other backpackers taking the same route as you. 

Best places to travel solo in Vietnam:

  • Sapafor trekking and staying with local communities in the foothills of the mountains. 
  • Hoi An – for laid-back days sipping coffee in charming cafes and marvelling at the stunning heritage buildings as you wind your way through beautiful alleyways.
  • Hue to explore the Imperial Palace, dazzling temples and ancient tombs.
  • Hanoi – my favourite city in Asia is chaotic and charming in equal parts with out-of-this-world street food!
  • Ha Long Bay – it might be touristy, but it’s breathtaking enough to warrant the crowds!

Safety: you can’t get much safer when it comes to solo female travel in Asia. There’s almost no violent crime and the one thing to worry about is having your belongings pinched, especially on the streets of Hoi An after the bars close.

Meeting other travellers: Easy. 

Cost: One of the cheapest countries in the world!

Read more: Solo travel in Vietnam: everything to know!

TIP: If you’re solo travelling in Southeast Asia, it’s easy to visit multiple countries by cross-country bus or train (and the odd flight) all of which are affordable. Use 12GoAsia to book transport.

In addition to the countries on this list, Cambodia and Laos are budget-friendly places for travelling alone in Asia where it’s easy to meet other backpackers. Read my complete Southeast Asia itinerary.

The Philippines

Philippines travel
Making friends with the locals

Solo travel rating: easy

With breathtaking beaches and the friendliest locals I’ve ever encountered, it’s safe to say solo backpacking in the Philippines is an experience I’ll never forget. 

The islands are so varied that there’s truly something for everyone, whether you’re looking to party, relax, or explore. 

Best islands in the Philippines for solo travellers:

  • El Nido (Palawan) – if you’re looking for paradise with a busy backpacker scene, El Nido is a popular spot, although experienced travellers will likely find it TOO busy and hectic. Take an excursion to Port Barton (also Palawan) if you want to avoid some of the crowds.
  • Surigao – for excellent surf, brilliant beaches and a more laid-back vibe.
  • Siquijor – this is one of my personal favourites and less touristic than Palawan, with plenty of stunning coastlines and inland waterfalls to visit. 

Safety: Manila feels sketchy and unsafe (in fact, I’d recommend skipping it entirely) but most islands popular on the tourist track are very safe.

Meeting other travellers: Very easy, especially if you’re staying in hostels or going on island-hopping group tours.

Cost: Generally budget-friendly, but if you choose to visit multiple islands then factor in the cost of multiple flights. 

Malaysia

Malaysia solo female travel southeast asia
Street art in Ipoh

Solo travel rating: easy

For solo travel in Asia, Malaysia is a winner with its varied experiences and convenient travel routes.

From glamorous big cities and charming historic towns to luscious jungle scenery and mesmerising beaches, you really can do it all in Malaysia.

Best places to travel solo in Malaysia:

  • Penang – a colourful and diverse island where you’ll find some of Asia’s most impressive street art, world-famous street food and the coolest cafes in the capital, Georgetown. 
  • Melaka or Ipoh – take a day or overnight trip to one of these smaller cities for an authentic insight into Malaysia’s history and culture.
  • Cameron Highlands or Taman Negara – choose between drinking tea in the picturesque misty mountains or hiking and wildlife spotting in the jungle. Add at least one of these to your Malaysia itinerary!
  • Kuala Lumpur Malaysia’s flashy capital is more Westernised than other capitals so it’s an easy spot to spend a couple of days exploring the museums and temples via its world-class public transport. If you’re travelling solo in Southeast Asia and need a break, you’ll get your home comforts here.

Safety: Crime rarely affects travellers. Malaysia is not particularly progressive towards women and LGBT people although this seldom affects tourists.

Meeting other travellers: Easy, especially in backpacker hubs like KL and Penang. It’s one of my favourite places to travel alone in Southeast Asia!

Cost: Very budget-friendly. Hostels, budget hotels, public transport and food are all affordable for solo travellers.

Read next: Malaysia solo travel – is it safe?

Bali, Indonesia

Hiking Mount Batur Bali

Solo travel rating: medium 

With a vibrant social scene for anyone drawn to lazy beach days and busy nightlife, Bali is one of the best places for solo female travel in Asia. Party, explore beautiful scenery and eat amazing food!

However, if you’re more of an adventurous traveller craving culture, you may be disappointed by how touristic Bali is these days. You CAN break off the tourist track but it’s harder than in some countries.

Also, if you don’t drive a scooter, you’ll find that Bali is one of the most inconvenient places for solo travellers in Southeast Asia to get around. Due to a lack of public transport, the costs start adding up if you require booking a taxi or private car to get anywhere even vaguely remote.

Best places to travel solo during a Bali itinerary:

  • Canggu and Seminyak great food, surf and cafes. Just watch your cash if you’re a foodie – the Canggu restaurant scene is delectable (and often ‘Instagramable’) but also pricey. 
  • Uluwatu – for visiting some of Bali’s most beautiful beaches and getting stalked by monkeys at Uluwatu Temple. 
  • Nusa Islands take a day or overnight trip to see Bali’s most extraordinary coastal scenery and exceptional snorkelling
  • Ubud – if you ride a scooter, Ubud is great for visiting waterfalls and rice fields. If not, Ubud is an ideal destination for yogis and meditation retreats, and you’ll find some wonderful cafes and warungs many serving vegan food.

Safety: Generally very safe for solo female travel in Asia. 

Meeting other travellers: Easy for the average backpacker, especially if you’re looking to explore the bars or – on the opposite end of the spectrum – yoga retreats. However, some travellers report Bali as surprisingly lonely if they’re not into partying or yoga culture.

Cost: Very cheap to stay in hostels and eat at local warungs. Costs add up quickly if you either want to treat yourself to brunches and floating breakfasts or travel outside of tourist towns (especially if you don’t drive a scooter).

Read next: complete guide to solo travel in Bali

Java, Indonesia

Borobudur Java

Solo travel rating: medium

Depending on where you visit in Java, the solo travel rating shoots up from easy to advanced. While key cities like Yogyakarta are very tourist-friendly, I was often the only foreign traveller on board the local buses when journeying across the country.

If you’re looking for an adventure, East Java’s volcanic landscapes are out of this world. In fact, I’d rate it as my favourite solo backpacking experience to date, although it’s trickier than most countries in Southeast Asia for solo female travellers.

Best places to travel solo in Java, Indonesia:

  • Yogyakarta walk around the charming old city before taking a day trip to Borobudur at sunrise (the world’s largest Buddhist temple).
  • Malang – see the multicoloured villages and take a day trip to see the mighty Tumpak Sewu Waterfall 
  • Bromo and Ijen Volcanoes – if you’re daunted by the local transport, it’s possible to visit these phenomenal natural attractions on a day tour. Trek up for sunrise for an unforgettable experience!

I also loved visiting Karimunjawa Island, but it was a headache to get to so it’s not what I would consider the best destination for travelling alone in Asia unless you’re up for an adventure! 

Safety: Generally very safe, aside from petty crime. 

Meeting other travellers: Easy in Yogyakarta but fewer backpackers visit Java. However, I found the Javanese locals to be among the friendliest people in the world. 

Cost: Very cheap! The local buses in Java were even cheaper than those in Vietnam but it will be pricer if you take private transport and tours.

South Korea

South korea solo travel destination asia

Solo travel rating: medium

If you’re looking for an exciting and cultural solo travel destination in Asia, you should definitely consider South Korea. The inner city and cross-country transport is generally brilliant, so it’s convenient for a city break to Seoul or a longer vacation, for example a 2 week trip to South Korea.

I only gave Korea a medium solo travel rating because it’s a bit less affordable for solo travellers than other countries in Asia (although I do have plenty of tips to keep your Korea travel budget down). A few activities – like going for a Korean BBQ – aren’t usually accessible for solo travellers. Otherwise, it’s one of the best places for women to travel solo in Asia!

Best places to travel solo in South Korea:

  • Seoul – the world-class museums, stunning temples, thriving nightlife, excellent street food and beautiful hikes should be added to your Seoul itinerary!
  • Busan – there are lots of cultural experiences to enjoy in South Korea’s second-biggest city, but it’s best for day trips and outdoor activities like hiking or relaxing on city beaches. 
  • Jeonju – visit this historical small city for an insight into a more traditional South Korea. 

Safety: One of the safest countries for solo female travel in Asia.

Meeting other travellers: Easy to meet people travelling solo in hostels in Seoul or by joining tours in Busan or Jeonju. 

Cost: Expensive compared to Southeast Asia, but cheap if you’re used to travelling in the USA or Western Europe. 

Read next: my South Korea travel tips

Taiwan

solo travel taiwan
Colourful, cultural Taiwan

Solo travel rating: medium

If this list was only based on safety and ease of using public transport, Taiwan would definitely get an easy rating. However, I found it harder to meet people in Taiwan, so my experience was lonelier than when travelling alone in other Asian countries.

If you don’t mind some me-time, Taiwan has some fantastic cities and many stunning natural attractions to visit, and a Taiwan itinerary will likely to a highlight of your Asia travels!

Best places to travel solo in Taiwan:

  • Taipei and Kaohsiung – both are fun and modern cities with endless indoor and outdoor activities to enjoy – not to mention the brilliant Korean food!
  • Taroko superb hiking and perfect if you want some reflective me-time in the great outdoors
  • Kenting National Park – breathtaking and untouched beaches!

Safety: 10/10. Taiwan is a safe place for women travellers and LGBT+ travellers. It was the first country in Asia to recognise same-sex marriage and you can find ‘gay hostels’ and tours in the capital, Taipei. 

Meeting other travellers: Quite difficult. Although people were friendly, I didn’t meet many English-speaking travellers in hostels and spent a lot of time alone. 

Cost: Accommodation isn’t very budget-friendly, but activities, transport and food are affordable. Follow my Taiwan budget trip guide for more details.

Japan (outside the main tourist attractions)

Japan safest countries solo travel asia women

Solo travel rating: medium

I wouldn’t overly recommend Japan for solo female travel in Asia. However, if you’re looking for a specific sort of solo travel experience (such as hiking or foodie travel) and know what to expect, Japan might be the place for you.

If you’re only concerned about safety, then Japan would top this list. But, honestly, Japan is the hardest country I’ve visited alone in terms of meeting people. Kyoto is the only place I’ve had stares for eating alone.

Once I skipped the big cities – and made peace with the fact I wasn’t going to make friends on this journey – I had some very reflective and memorable experiences.

Best places to travel solo in Japan:

  • Hiroshima – if you’re prepared to experience some big emotions, travelling alone in this peaceful city is a very reflective way to look back on the atrocities that happened here. A day trip to Miyajima is also easy for solo travellers.
  • Kyushu see the best of Japan’s volcanic scenery with a trip around Beppu’s multicoloured hot pools and the active volcanoes at Aso and Kagoshima. 
  • Hiking if you’re an experienced hiker looking to undertake your first solo trek, Japan is a great option. The scenery is spectacular and solo hiking the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trail was a fulfilling and very cathartic experience. 

Safety: One of the safest places to travel in Asia – and the world!

Meeting other travellers: …but one of the hardest countries to meet other travellers.

Cost: Japan is not an especially affordable place for solo travel in Asia, especially if you have a long list of things you want to do. Hostel and food costs are reasonable but experiences and ‘touristy’ restaurants add up quickly.

Reduce costs when travelling in Japan by eating at local restaurants and opting for free activities like hiking and exploring Japan’s breathtaking landscapes.

India

Mcleod ganj india
In the Himalayas – India is so diverse!

Solo travel rating: advanced

India can be a fascinating country to explore, but it’s definitely more suited to experienced travellers rather than those embarking on first-time solo travel in Asia.

The best place for solo travel in India (in my opinion) is Rishikesh. However, once you’ve got comfortable with travelling alone in India, you’ll find plenty to do elsewhere too. 

Due to the attitudes towards women in India and many stares from men, it’s a harder place for solo female travellers in Asia than male travellers. But isn’t that the case everywhere!

Best places for solo female travel in India:

  • Rishikesh – known for yoga retreats and meditation experiences, this stunning northern city has been a popular backpacker hub for decades and has excellent hostels and food to show for it. 
  • Pushkar – a sleepy Rajasthani town with a peaceful holy lake and lots of vibrant hostels – perfect if you’re in need of some downtime. 
  • Pondicherry – this attractive ex-French town on the southeast coast has lovely cafes, colourful buildings and chilled vibes. Take a fascinating day trip to Auroville, an alternative society in the Indian countryside.
  • Goa – beach towns like Palolem, Agonda and Arambol are fantastic for yoga and beach chills with many cafes offering modern vegan fare and delicious South Indian delicacies like Goan fish curry. The only downside is there’s little transport between towns so taxi bills for one tend to rack up.

Safety: have your wits about you, research common scams, be assertive, and don’t walk alone at night.

Meeting other travellers: easy in hostels. I really valued having this community around me during solo India travel, especially when I was sick.

Cost: Literally the cheapest place ever!

solo travel india asia
Be sure to cover your legs and shoulders in India

Tips for solo female travel in Asia

  • Plan your Asia route well so you don’t spend extra time and money going back on yourself. For solo travel in Southeast Asia, I’d suggest going from Northern Thailand to Laos by slow boat, from southern Laos to Cambodia via Four Thousand Islands, from Phnom Penh (Cambodia) to Saigon (Vietnam) by bus or boat, and then up Vietnam to fly out of Hanoi.
  • Stay connected with an Airalo e-SIM covering 200+ regions. Either get a SIM for the specific Asian country you’re visiting or their Asialink SIM covering 18 countries. Download it before you arrive to get connected immediately.
  • Use 12GoAsia to compare prices and durations of buses, boats, trains and flights, and use the website to buy your tickets.
  • Use local taxi apps like Grab and GoJek to get around cities cheaply
  • Download Maps.me for offline maps
  • Avoid burning seasons (Northern Thailand is a no-go from Feb-April) and be aware of local holidays like Tet in Vietnam when everything is shut.
  • Don’t be shy of street food! It’s the best.
  • Pack period products if necessary because you can usually only buy pads in Asia.
  • Use GetYourGuide and Viator for food experiences, bar crawls and day trips to places difficult to reach by public transport.
  • Read more Asia travel tips here.

Travel insurance for travelling solo in Asia

Despite Southeast Asia and East Asia being safe destinations in Asia for solo travel, you should never travel without insurance. It’s just not worth it!

I use True Traveller (for UK & Europe residents) since it’s affordable but covers everything you’d need including various activities, valuables and pre-existing conditions. Unlike some companies, they insure you if you’re already travelling / don’t yet have your flight home booked. When I claimed, they paid out within 2 days! Get a free quote today.

For travel insurance for other nationalities, I recommend Hey Mundo and for long-term digital nomad travellers, I suggest Safety Wing.

Thanks for reading!

Solo Europe travel guides:

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SOLO TRAVEL ASIA RESOURCES

Getting around by air – I use Skyscanner to find the best-value flights, using the ‘search by month’ tool to find the cheapest dates. You can also use the ‘to anywhere’ feature if you’re flexible on where you’re going.

For Asia buses and trains, I use 12GoAsia. The search feature allows you to compare prices and durations.

To stay connected, buy an e-SIM with Airalo and connect as soon as you land. Browse packages for different Asian countries or get their Asialink SIM for 18 countries.

I use Booking.com for hotels, homestays and apartments. You can filter by review score and price to find the best-rated budget places. For hostels, I use Hostelworld.

To save money on accommodation, I use Trusted Housesitters, a website that connects homeowners going away and travellers who can sit their homes & pets.

For activities, I use GetYourGuide and Viator as they have a huge range of affordable tours.

Check out my resources page for more travel discounts and tips!

6 thoughts on “Solo Travel in Asia: The BEST Places To Go & Tips!

  1. don c says:

    funny that your goal is to meet people while you travel alone.

    best to be comfortable alone when traveling alone, and meeting new people should just be a bonus and not a priority.

    • Rose says:

      Well the beauty of solo travel is that you can do whatever you like

  2. Tammy says:

    One of the most sensible blogs on solo travelling aspects and factors to consider while planning a trip solo. Thank you for your insights and suggestions.

  3. Kim says:

    I am about to do my first solo trip. I live in Thailand and I want to explore the rest of it while I can. What is your advice ? I am someone who has always been scared to do things alone so I am unsettled but I know it will be fun! How do I meet people along the way as well ? I think that is what I am nervous about!

    • Rose says:

      Hi Kim, all I can say is go for it! I have a blog post about meeting people while travelling solo so take a look at that 🙂 have fun!

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