This article was originally published in August 2017 and updated March 2019
1. Siem Reap, Cambodia
Looking for lost tombs to raid? Go all out—Lara Croft style—and explore the iconic temples of Angkor (which were a film site for the movies) in Siem Reap, Cambodia. The intricate carvings and the ancient architecture of the unofficial Eighth Wonder of the World, all produced by the Khmer people without modern technology, are truly a sight to behold, and are sure to transport you back to a mystical past.
Tip: Do take note of merchants touting their wares near the temples, as with any popular attraction. Bring your own shades, sunscreen, and water to avoid paying exorbitant prices for these basic items at the sites.
2. Bali, Indonesia
Bali is a great place to visit if you’re seeking a peaceful and rejuvenating getaway. The tranquility of breathtaking Bali is the perfect setting for a yoga retreat to revive your soul, spirit, and mind. Put away your electronic devices, surround yourself with the silence of the forests, and rediscover your spiritual side.
You can be as alone or as communal as you’d like, too, as Bali is teeming with other travellers also seeking their spirituality. Make friends with like-minded yogis and bond in this blissful tropical environemt, or retreat to your own nook in undisturbed solitude—the choice is yours!
3. Bangkok, Thailand
Bangkok has a reputation for being a shopaholic’s paradise, and for good reason. It doesn’t hurt either that a shopping trip begins with great deals on budget flights within Southeast Asia! Go mad in Platinum Mall, one of Bangkok’s (and Asia’s!) biggest and craziest megamalls. If you still haven’t shopped till you’ve dropped, continue your spree at the famous Chatuchak Weekend Market and go mad with its 8,000 stalls of fashion, food, and everything else in between.
Tip: Solo female travellers should exercise some basic caution when out and about on the streets, especially against petty crimes. Do keep your belongings close to you, ensure that any taxis you board have working meters, and beware of tuk-tuk drivers touting rates that are unbelievably low.
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4. Oslo, Norway
Scandinavia is the perfect nature-lover’s first getaway, especially with its picturesque scenery and low crime. If you’re an urbanite and love the comforts of the city, but also want to be close to nature, then Oslo, Norway’s capital, is a great place to travel to.
The city ranks near the top in Europe for quality of life, and it is the economic and political heartbeat of Norway. Amidst all that, it’s still close to nature as it’s surrounded by magnificent natural wonders such as Vøringsfossen, Norway’s highest waterfall; Hallingskarvet, an awe-inspiring mountain range; Hardangervidda, an expansive mountain plateau; pristine glaciers; and beautifully serene fjords. The combination of city life with its enveloping nature makes Oslo a choice getaway for nature-lovers to enjoy the comforts of a developed city as well as the great outdoors.
Tip: In the Summer, go hiking in the forests or mountains, or head to the fjords to kayak, sail, or fish. In the Winter, trade in your hiking boots for ski boots and try some cross-country or alpine skiing.
5. Seoul, South Korea
Can’t get enough of K-dramas and kimchi? Then why not travel to their source? Seoul, the capital of South Korea, is a wonderful and safe destination for women travelling solo. Full of great food (bulgogi and bonchon anyone?) and shopping at Myeongdong market, feel free to indulge in Seoul with no one to judge you! Take a visit to the Han river too, and take selfies at famous film locations of your favourite K-drama or take a gentle bike ride by the water if the weather is nice.
The best part? People in Seoul are really well-groomed and attractive; people-watching can pretty much be an activity on its own!
6. Auckland, New Zealand
Looking for beautiful scenery amidst a melting pot of cultures? Then Auckland is a great place to go on a solo trip. The largest city in New Zealand, Auckland boasts a diverse population consisting of the indigenous Polynesian Māori as well as generations of people who hail from China, India, and even Europe.
Auckland’s fantastic smattering of diversity means that anyone will feel welcome there. About half of Auckland’s population are of European descent, about 11% are indigenous Māori, 13% are Pacific Islanders, and there’s an increasing population of Asians at 10% and growing. With so much cosmopolitanism, you’re sure to meet new friends and new perspectives from all edges of the world.
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7. Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Following closely behind the Scandinavian countries, the Netherlands is also a safe and chic destination for solo trips in Europe. Once you’ve seen Amsterdam’s pretty windmills and interlocking canals, pack a Dutch picnic and head to the serene Vondelpark to chill out and watch the world go by.
Tip: Visit the Anne Frank Museum to get some feminine inspiration from a heroine to boost your spirits—because as Beyoncé would say: Who run the world? Girls.
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8. Cape Town, South Africa
Tell anyone that you’re going to travel to Africa alone, and you’ll probably be met with horror and admiration at this bold move. But amidst most peoples’ perceptions of Africa, the city of Cape Town in South Africa is quite unlike the rest of the continent. It’s a stunning city that retains the raw, unbridled wildlife that Africa is known for, but fused together with sophisticated amenities and friendly people.
If you’re a fan of wildlife, Cape Town has lots to offer. Share the water with great white sharks by observing them through a steel cage (you’re the one in the cage—not the sharks!), be awed by Southern Right whales nursing their new calves, or head to Boulders Beach to coo at thousands of the cutest African penguins!
9. Hawaii, USA
One mention of ‘Hawaii’ is sure to invoke the smell of piña coladas, the brush of a warm sea breeze, and the feeling of pure relaxation in the air. The Hawaiian islands have one of the lowest crime rates across the United States, and together with its amazing beaches and climate, makes it a favourite destination not just for honeymooners but for solo travellers too. Just remember to pack your swimsuit and sunglasses!
The state of Hawaii is made up of 8 islands: Hawai’i (aka the Big Island), Maui, Lana’i, Moloka’i, O’ahu, Kaua’i, Ni’ihau, and Kaho-olawe. Each of these islands has their own unique coastlines and geographic features. For example, Maui is well-known for its sandy beaches and friendly aquatic visitors—humpback whales—who frequently swim by the waters surrounding the island. So if you do visit Maui, do a whale-watching tour to experience these gentle giants up close and personal.
10. Stockholm, Sweden
Sweden ranks fifth in the world’s prosperity index and consistently wins awards for being the safest city in Europe, but that’s not the main reason to visit. If you are into fashion, Stockholm is quietly carving out a niche for itself with a wealth of homegrown designers stocking cool boutiques to major global chains such as H&M. Hang out in cafes or grab a Stockholm Pass and get access to more than 60 attractions! Photographers need to make a beeline for Gamla Stan for gorgeous cobblestone streets and brooding gothic churches.
11. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Now last but not least, who can forget our neighbours to the north? Kuala Lumpur has all the comforts of home, but at a fraction of the price and with a bit of unfamiliarity and adventure to keep things interesting. Be sure to visit KL’s happening _pasar malam_, or night markets, with enough tasty food to satisfy any glutton (go on and pig out, we won’t tell). If you’re looking for more upscale shopping, shop to your heart’s content at Suria KLCC, Mid Valley Megamall, or at Pavilion. At night, take a walk outside and marvel at the gleaming Petronas towers, or head to SkyBar at Traders Hotel for an even better view with a cocktail in hand.
Just like Singapore, KL is a safe place for women to travel alone. However, do take common sense precautions to ensure a worry-free vacation!
Originally published in July 2017 and updated in March 2019. Any prices are lowest estimated prices only at the time of publication and are subject to change and/or availability
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