It’s the time of the year again for self-love in Asia. Make November 11 even more memorable by travelling to these 11 places that are perfect for a refreshing solo trip on this Singles’ Day.
First started in China, November 11 is observed as a pride day for people to celebrate lives without commitment and lovers. This singlehood festival is celebrated on the eleventh month due to its date that consists of 4 “ones” that symbolises an individual being single. Presently, Singles’ Day is popularized all across Asia to allow people to be proud of staying out of romantic relationships and overthrowing the “being single” stigma.
While it is commonly perceived as a shopping holiday, try kick it up a notch by going on a solo retreat. The many wonders of Asia gather places that are good for group travelling as well as gems that are enjoyable by an individual. Be it in a museum or cruising down a river, you will be undeterred by having no companions in doing these activities that are ideal for a single traveller around Asia.
The calm coastal city of Taiwan lies as a district in the east of the island. Located 2 hours away from the main city of Taipei, Hualien county is accessible via train from Taipei HSR Train Station. The serene town is packed with wondrous sights of nature at Taroko Gorge. This national park at Hualien is landscaped with cliffs, canyons, jungle and a gushing green river for you to bask in nature. Sign up for tours to join the whale watching activity or scenic journey around the east coast that will bring you around to Fanshuliao Valley and see the Pacific coastline. At night, visit Dongdamen Night Market for lip-smacking Taiwan food and souvenir shopping.
Gili Air, Indonesia
Out in the Indian Ocean are Gili Islands for one to take an incredibly peaceful island getaway in Indonesia. Also a part of Lombok, Gili Islands are made up of three smaller islands and are accessible via boat from Lombok or Bali. Gili Air is one to look out for as the absence of motor vehicles and big parties in the island creates a quiet and calm beach life. Get around with rental bicycles and one may set out on their own to see fishes and corals that are close to the coastline by renting snorkelling gears. For a self-improvement retreat, diving classes are popular here as well as a yoga and meditation center.
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
The bustling capital of Cambodia entered the solo traveller’s list with their historical relations to the Khmer Empire and French colonialists. A day trip to Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum will stir emotions and enlighten visitors on one of history’s most atrocious regime here in Asia. Most will continue the journey to Choeung Ek Killing Fields where over 1 million people were executed during the Khmer Rouge. At both destinations, there are personal audio earphone tours in various languages for visitors to go around the sites at their own pace. One may also go for an architectural tour around the city to see iconic buildings of French influences. To get around, tuktuk is readily available everywhere and is perfect for a single traveller.
Known as the surfing capital of Philippines, Siargao attracts major surfers from August till November for their good waves at Cloud 9. However, non-surfers can opt for an island hopping trip that charges by head and not by boat. The tour will take you to other small islands surrounding Siargao and the Sugba Lagoon. Visitors would stand-up paddle, jump on the diving board, snorkel in the clear waters at Sugba Lagoon. On the next day, take a boat ride to Sohoton Cove in Bucas Grande, navigate the turquoise waterways and caves while swimming with stingless jellyfishes. To dine, you may even buy raw seafood from their marketplace and request the chefs at restaurants or resorts to cook it for you.
Hong Kong is always described as a unique East Asia country with Chinese values instilled in Western lifestyle. Therefore, this safe country has many to offer for all kinds of budget and activities from oriental dining to high-end retail. One of the reasons to love Hong Kong is their fast-paced lifestyle that doesn’t dawdle so travelling alone let you to act on your own heed. November is one of the best months to visit the country for one to stop at Victoria Peak, discovering Causeway Bay and hike at Hong Kong’s hilly landscapes for picturesque views. Stay over at Victoria Harbour at night to catch the Symphony of Lights skyscraper show at the waterfront.
As the locals claim, Guilin has the finest landscape under heaven. Catch the beauty of China down at the southern state at the Li River waterway that runs from Guilin to Yangshuo. Embark on the scenic cruise in motorised bamboo rafts to enjoy the decorated river with karst mountains, mist and incredible caves. The ride takes 4 to 5 hours to Yangshuo and there, cycling is the perfect mode to get around the laidback countryside. Ride to Liugong village alongside rice paddies and water buffalos. A must-try is their local rice in bamboo tube. The aromatic sticky rice is cooked with peanuts and herbs in an open fire in the tube.
If taking bath with someone you know makes you anxious, you may do so in ease while travelling solo on the southern island of Kyushu. Tucked in the foot of Mount Yufu, the small quaint town in the valley is known their hot spring. You may go for an onsen hopping from indoor to outdoor baths and ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) to bath houses. Unlike other traditional onsen resorts, the dashing town has more to offer with art galleries, museums, themed cafes and boutiques. Find the string of shops surrounding Lake Kinrinko, a natural attraction in Yufuin. Also close to Beppu, you may get to Yufuin via trains from other major cities.
The coastal city of Malaysia is rich with the historical landmarks from colonial troops that were once here. There are the prized A’Famosa by Portugese, the Stadthuys from Dutch and remnants from the British forces that adds to this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Rent a bicycle for sightseeing to fall in love with diversely rich cultural town. Besides, Malacca is a budget-friendly option for single travellers with an abundance of yummy local fare and budget hotels. Opt for a scenic stay at the Malacca riverfront with mural laden buildings and take a stroll at Jonker Walk’s night market to find a trail of local street food.
It is only fitting to highlight India’s Pink City for a female traveller to navigate through the shopping streets and historic centers. The entire city of Jaipur is a candy to eyes with the hues of pastel pink and architectural symmetry in town. Be amazed with the honeycomb structure of Hawa Mahal, the extravagant Jaipur City Palace and climb the centurion old Amer Fort. While you unearth the beauty this city in Rajasthan, remember to be cautious of your surroundings as you may get lost in the unending alleys of bazaars, shops and savoury local food.
Ko Pha-ngan, Thailand
Although labeled as Thailand’s party center, Koh Pha-ngan has an ideal balance of festivity and serenity in the island. The main beach Haad Rin is the jolly spot for crowds but there are plenty of secluded beaches to be explored for beach-bums. For other rejuvenative activities, try your hand in Muay Thai martial art, yoga by the sea or body detox in their herbal sauna. Be spoilt for choice at Thong Sala night market that produces plenty of local trinkets and food at a good value. For an upbeat experience, join the full moon party this November 22 to make some new friends in your travel.
Medan is a place that fits a food adventurer; especially when you’re travelling alone, these fares are the best companions. Known for their manifold of heritage cuisines, the restless city in North Sumatra is home for various ethnicities across the country. Some food to consider are bihun bebek (duck noodles), Sate Padang (skewered meat and gravy) and Medan’s tofu. Desserts to try is definitely Bika Ambon (tapioca cake) and Bolu Meranti (swiss roll). Before all that food coma, visit the deepest lake in the world in Lake Toba and sightsee their royal residence at Maimoon Palace. Get around the city in ease with car or bike hailing apps.
Text by Jessy Wong