Solo travel is becoming quite common among travelers aged between 18 and 30 years. This is because many people have found freedom in themselves and have eliminated procrastination in the name of waiting for a travel partner. It may be quite intimidating when you start off but when you start the thrill, the freedom, the joy, the possibilities are all endless and and I can’t think of a better place to take your first solo trip than Southeast Asia. For me starting with South East Asia was both choice and convenient. I did my undergrad in Malaysia putting me in the right place at the right time. I however did not make any solo trip until the year after graduation where I did my S. E Asia trip. I still have not completed it as I am to return later this year to explore Vietnam and maybe Laos.
Here are some key reason why to choose South East Asia:-
It’s budget friendly.
This is a no brainier, if you are just stating off travel you do not want to do a trip that will shock you account to never traveling again. The one downfall for solo travel is that if you like to stay in your luxury hotel – single supplements will apply and this will rack up the cost pretty fast. As a female start of with female dorm room.
WHY YOU ASK? 1. instant friends who are not the creepy old guy asking for a cuddle 2. The female dorm rooms often have an ensuite bathroom that is more or less nicer than the common bathrooms
Compared to almost anywhere on this planet, Southeast Asia is cheap! Depending on your travel style you should be able to live off of $20-30 USD per day. On some of my cheapest days in SE Asia, I spent just $10 USD for lodging and food. Well if you travel preference is hotel style accommodation and still get very well priced hotels.
It’s easy to get around.
This could be quite hard and expensive in places like Europe or Africa. In South East Asia you can take public transportation to pretty much any destination. I found that it was not widely available, but also fairly comfortable as well. Most buses are air-conditioned, and if you’re taking an overnight bus, there are sleeper buses available. I found that for longer travel the train with the sleeper night option worked well as it catered for a nights accommodation while not missing any of the precious day time. The long train rides also allow for plenty of time to make friends with other travelers going to similar destination, I remember a train ride I took from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and met a Spanish girl and ended up spending the next week with her.
It is also quite common for buses to provide a service where they pick you right from your accommodation making it perfect – skip the taxi ride and dragging your heavy backpack with you.
It is uncommon for a 1st time solo traveler to look for the unbeaten path or venture into a town that’s unheard of hence most of the places you opt to visit will most likely have other tourists everywhere. This could be a big turn off for well seasoned travelers but I consider this a definite plus for a first-time solo trip. You will most definitely meet other travelers in guesthouses or around town. I remember there times where I bumped into people who we were together in Phuket and parted ways then reconnected on Pub Street Siem Reap.
No one wants to make conversion with the brick all month long hence the ease of making friends in S. E Asia is a awesome. It also doubles up as company for sightseeing and reducing the thousands of perfected selfies with temples but also lets you meet people to enjoy a drink in the evening with. You may have heard of the stereotypical S. E Asia traveler who is the “travel hard, party harder” and this comes in handy for all the travelers go alone to SE Asia, but they want to meet others quickly:)
OK before you go all dramatic on me, YES there is crime, but there is crime pretty much everywhere in the world. For the many times I have traveled and lived, I feel extremely safe when I’m in Southeast Asia. I take standard precautions but I’m not afraid to walk around by myself or take public transport. I go out in the evenings and don’t hesitate to interact with the locals. As a female traveler, safety is key and I feel just as safe here as I do back home. If you run into any sort of theft, I’d venture to say it’s most often by a fellow traveler in your guesthouse. As long as you aren’t wandering drunk at 3am in the seedy area of Phuket, you will be alright. Simply take normal, common sense precautions
There are friendly locals & a unique cultures
If you’re looking to really dive into a place that’s completely different, Southeast Asia will not disappoint. Mouth-watering street food and some of the friendliest locals in the world are probably my favorite things about this part of the world. It doesn’t matter if you come into contact with a local who knows zero English (as I did on a 10 hour train ride). They will generally still want to communicate with you. While I was in a village in Laos, I told a restaurant owner that I wanted to participate in the alms ceremony for monks. She invited me to her home at 5:30 the next morning, made rice for me to give to the monks, and showed me proper etiquette for this Buddhist ceremony. Most locals in Southeast Asia treated me like a member of the family. You won’t have to try hard here if your goal is to dive into the culture, and if you ask a local about some ceremony or event, you’ll most likely be invited to participate (even in weddings).
If this is not self explanatory there is something major missing your life 🙂 It could be a total new style of food but one everyone ought to try at least once. The appeal of less than US$1 for Pad Thai as fresh as it comes or some Pho or Tom Yum Soup.
If you are considering a solo trip for the first time, Southeast Asia is a great place to start. As a female backpacker, I like that I feel safe here, can get by on a budget, and meet other people. It’s a great combination when I can achieve all of these things and discover an amazing culture in Southeast Asia.
S. E Asia Forever,