Travelling solo can be a daunting concept for women but it can also be an exhilarating experience, check out these destinations and tips before setting off on an adventure of a lifetime
With the chance to eat freshly made pad thai, tom young gang or Thai green curry every day – which foodie wouldn’t fall in love with Thailand?
For a luxury dining experience in Bangkok, treat yourself by heading to Bo.Lan (24 Soi Sukhumvit 53). This Michelin-star restaurant is a 15-minute walk from Prompong Station. The food here offers an unforgettable sensory experience whether you choose from the à la carte menu or the fixed balanced meal option.
For some street food extravaganza with a good hygiene standard, we recommend the food court (Pier 21) in Terminal 21 which is just around the corner from Sukhumvit metro station. From roast duck to mango sticky rice, the food here is varied, delicious and extremely affordable.
From tortellini to balsamic vinegar to Parma ham, the list of foods that originated in Bologna is endless. Surrounded by popular tourist destinations like Milan, Florence and Venice, Bologna is often skipped out, which makes it a great alternative to the tourist hotspots. If a completely splurge-worthy experience is what you’re after, head to A Balus (Via del Borgo di San Pietro 9/2A) where the creative dishes are paired with fine wine.
You can’t visit Bologna and not indulge in some good old gelato. The lines outside Gelateria Gianni (via Monte Grappa 11) will make it incredibly easy to spot this well-known ice-cream parlour. Give yourself enough time to choose from the multitudinous flavours, from traditional favourites like strawberry or chocolate to unique combinations with equally unique names like Samurai (mascarpone di Guglielmo, ricotta and cacao in polvere).
Insider tips: Nothing ruins a solo food adventure that like an upset stomach when you’re by yourself. Before you go, research the location of a clinic or hospital nearest to where you’re staying as well as what foods are safe to eat. Also, pack some medications for upset stomach in your luggage.
Find inner peace
The Himalayas, India
The Himalayas in India are the perfect getaway for any spiritualist traveller looking for tranquillity. The Himalayas have a variety of ashrams (rustic retreats), yoga retreats and world-class spas. Ananda Spa is a 5-star retreat in the midst of nature with world-class facilities, classes and private lessons. Its massive spa offers over 80 body and beauty treatments including Ayurveda.
For those on a different quest and looking to do some volunteering, there are several ashrams in the Himalayas that welcome volunteers with open arms like Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Centre and Aum Pranava Ashram.
The Way of St James, France and Spain
More and more travellers now choose to seek refuge from the demands of modern life by going on a pilgrimage. The Way of St James, or Camino de Santiago, is a 780km (485 miles) journey from southern France to Santiago de Compostela in Spain and takes about four weeks to complete on foot. This route is safe and well-liked by solo travellers – males and females alike. At the end of each day, you can choose to share stories with your fellow pilgrims at the family-run hostels or continue to contemplate about life.
Insider tips: Before you embark on a potentially life-changing journey, research is a must. For those after a calming getaway, do not immediately assume that a yoga retreat or a walking pilgrimage is the solution. While they both have relaxing and calming effects, they can also be very physically straining – you may have to wake up very early, or stretch/ walk more than you’re used to.
Eat, sleep, rave, repeat
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Think carnivals, sequins, and plenty of drinking and dancing the night away. Clubs open all night long in Rio de Janeiro and the Cariocas (Rio locals) love a good party so join the fun. Top samba venues include Rio Scenarium and Clube dos Democráticos (Democratic Club), while Forsfobox in the heart of Copacabana plays anything from glam rock to EDM. For more recommendations, check the Rio de Janeiro nightlife guide. While partying is good fun, venturing into any favelas (shanty towns) on your own isn’t – join an organised tour if you’d like to visit one.
The crowd in Ios, Greece, is young (mostly in their mid-20s) and the parties can be ridiculously crazy. Ios is a small island with no great ruins or extravagant monuments to visit, so other than daytime water-sports, the only other thing on your itinerary should be to party. The party season runs from mid-June to early September but you’ll have to book hotel rooms in advance. For solo travellers, Francescos is a great option as the hostel is located close to a few clubs and not too far from the beach.
Alternatively, Far Out Village offers a wide variety of accommodation options and is bang on the beach, but as the name suggests is a tad far out. However, their on-site beach club with daily parties and celebrations makes up for its location.
Insider tips: Drink to enjoy but know your limits, also keep a close eye on your drink. Get to know other women in your hotel or hostel so you can head out and back together. If you’re unable to go back to your accommodation with a person you trust, call a cab from a reputable company or seek help from the manager of the club.
Be one with nature
Northern Islands, Fiji
Vanau Levu and other islands of northern Fiji are a nature lover’s nirvana, and you will definitely love the variety of flora and fauna-oriented trips on offer. There is also diving, surfing, skydiving, hiking or blissfully relaxing in lush green-blue surroundings. Divers will love Rainbow Reef in the Somosomo Strait between Taveuni and Vanau Levu, while the Bouma National Heritage Park on Taveuni has some wonderful hiking trails and waterfalls for explorers. The region’s outstanding mountains, rainforests and waterfalls are all relatively accessible, with several tours and trails catering to novice and experienced hikers. Stay at the Koro Sun Resort for adventure sports and activities with knowledgeable guides.
Wadi Rum, Jordan
An appealing destination in the Middle East, Jordan is a relatively safe country to travel in, even for females travelling alone. The people are extremely friendly, and exploring the deserts of Wadi Rum and lying under its blanket of sparkling stars could possibly be one of the best experiences of your life.
Travelling through the deserts of Jordan is an experience all adventurers will love, and there are several exciting ways to do it, from hiking tours to camel or jeep safaris. The trip can range from one to three days. For the full desert tour experience, consider spending a night in a Bedouin tent with like-minded explorers and enjoy the delicious Bedouin meals cooked for you.
The deserts in Jordan are easily accessible from any of the major cities and several reliable local tour operators run great tours. Wadi Rum Bedouin Camp offers desert activities and tour programs that vary in length of stay.
Insider tips: As a woman, camping or hiking alone in the middle of nowhere is not always the easiest task, so pack a survival bag – sanitary supplies, toilet paper, insect repellent, sunscreen, signal mirror, JetScream whistle and a mini torch are among the essential items.
If you’re going to remote destinations, always tell someone where you are. Whether it’s a family member back home or a friend you’ve made on holiday, you can keep friends and family updated via social media – however, only share your location to social media after you’ve left that location, you never know who could be watching you.
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- The 10 best pilgrimages for modern travellers
This article was last updated on 18/09/2018