Solo travel can be daunting at first, but it can also be transformational, liberating, and even therapeutic. Whether you’re looking for adventure, hunting down that Michelin-star foodie experience, or seeking peace and tranquility, we have some recommendations for that first plunge.
History buffs: Greece
Known as the birthplace of western civilisation and democracy, Greece is home to numerous sun-bleached historical sites and ruins such as the Acropolis of Athens, Delphi, Meteora Monasteries, and the Archaeological Site of Olympia, many of which date back thousands of years. Aside from the actual sites, Greece is also home to over 95 museums brimming with artefacts and sculptures recovered from archaeological digs. Travelling alone, you can take your time to immerse yourself in the history and spend as much time as you like lingering over beautiful artworks.
A land steeped in legends and myths, the country is also home to hundreds of beautiful islands, which you can spend a few nights at after all that clambering over ruins. Head for the island of Mykonos, where you can unwind at trendy nightclubs, beach bars, and gorgeous beaches.
Adventure junkies: Mongolia
If unchartered regions and vast open spaces are your thing, step away from the humdrum of daily life and opt for rugged Mongolia to experience the nomadic way of life, and untouched landscapes. Beyond Expeditions is a Singapore-based small group tour company which welcomes solo travellers to explore the Mongolian steppes with them, while allowing you to meet like-minded people. They offer itineraries that include meeting with the Tsaatan reindeer herders in northern Mongolia, or staying in a traditional ger with Gobi’s roaming camel nomads in Southern Mongolia.
Theme park lovers: Japan
One of the later destinations to open to travellers after the pandemic, Japan is home to no less than 100 amusement parks such as the world-famous Tokyo Disneyland, as well as Japan-only samurai-themed Edo Wonderland Nikko Edomura, and Solaniwa Onsen Osaka Bay Tower, an entertainment-style hot spring facility.
The latest two theme parks to open are the Super Nintendo World (as part of Universal Studios Japan) in Osaka, and the first Ghibli Park in the world. Travellers can fully immerse themselves in iconic elements straight from Mario’s Mushroom Kingdom, while fans of Studio Ghibli should allow themselves to be Spirited Away to Nagoya to revel in real-life settings based on the studio’s famous flicks. Don’t forget to pre-purchase express passes to skip the queues, although travelling alone to theme parks can have its perks – you can squeeze into that last seat on the roller coaster, or take your favourite rides multiple times to your heart’s content!
Wellness escapees: Thailand
Yearning for a quiet solo getaway to reflect and rejuvenate? Dubbed Asia’s spa capital, Thailand is a popular destination for self-care because of its excellent standards of care and affordability amid sandy beaches and beautiful natural landscapes.
There are many options on the market such as English-speaking meditation and coaching packages at iRETREAT Thong Chai near Khao Yai; an extensive list of wellness programmes – such as Resilience & Immunity and Sleep Enhancement – at Kamalaya in Koh Samui; and RAKxa Wellness Retreat in Bangkok that combines modern medicine with traditional Thai therapies to help with weight loss or detox remedies.
But if you want to push your physical endurance limits, check into Thanyapura in Phuket. Targeting those that seek a lifestyle change and healthy living, this resort offers impressive sports training facilities including Olympic-sized pools, a full-size football field, plant-based restaurant, and daily classes.
Discover delicious cuisine in every corner of Spain, in cities such as San Sebastian (the city has more Michelin stars per capita than any other city), Valencia, and Barcelona.
Waltz through San Sebastian’s Old Town to find a thriving pintxos (Spanish tapas) scene – the casual bar setting is the perfect way for a solo diner to graze – as well as quaint restaurants and interesting galleries lining the busy streets. If you have the cash, splash for an unforgettable meal at three-Michelin-star Arzak, one of the top restaurants in the world.
Over in bustling Barcelona, join Food Lover Tour’s Tapas Crawl Tour to traditional neighbourhoods with five tapas stops, away from the madding tourist crowds at Mercado de La Boqueria. Then walk off the calories by visiting iconic Antoni Gaudi landmarks La Sagrada Familia, Casa Batllo, and Park Güell.
Also make time to drop by the quieter Valencia, for it is the birthplace of paella (rice stew), and even hosts a World Paella Day every September.
Tips for solo travellers
- Always stay connected with family and friends by sharing with them your itinerary and movement plans. Prepaid travel data SIM card AIRSIM will help with that – SAFRA members get 15% off.
- Remember to purchase travel insurance – SAFRA members get 20% discount with AIG Travel Guard.
- Do prior research on your destination, which includes being aware of potential scams and having the right inoculations.
- Invest in a hidden wallet to keep your valuables close.
- Trust your gut; it is better to be safe than sorry.
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