13 Asia solo getaways that belong on your bucket list
There are tons of amazing travel destinations around the globe, but when you are considering a solo getaway you are most probably looking for a destination that is easy to navigate, safe and one that won’t break the bank! Naturally, Europe is a great option for most. But if you are looking for something a bit more pocket-friendly, Asia is an excellent choice. Not only will you find that traveling in Asia is easy, safe and super cheap – here gastronomical eats, world-class activities and friendly people await every solo adventurer. But with so many awesome choices, it might be hard to choose exactly where to travel alone. For this reason, I recently got in touch with fellow travel bloggers to share their favourite Asia solo getaways.
We share the very best Asia solo getaways in this guide – as handpicked by solo travellers. Get firsthand tips and advice on where to go, what to do and see on your solo adventures. Whether you’re looking for bustling cities, serene escapes or nature at its very best, you’ll find plenty of amazing places to add to your solo bucket list after reading this!
In a rush? Pin these solo getaways in Asia for later.
The best Asia solo getaways
By Wendy Lee of Empty Nesters Hit The Road.
One of the first concerns expressed by women travelling solo is about safety. There are few cities around the world where I felt safer than Tokyo. I arrived in this city late at night and walked from the train station to my hotel. While I was a bit frustrated and tired after a long travel day, I felt safe the entire time. But to choose a city only because of safety would be a shame.
Like most major Asian cities, Tokyo also offers a public transportation system that is fast, efficient and safe. Getting around this city on the Metro to see all the sights is easy and affordable. You’ll also find great shops and restaurants in many of the major Metro stations.
But by far the best reason to visit this city are the amazing sights. A solo traveler will not be bored in Tokyo. I loved the temples, parks, and shopping districts. But I also appreciated the crazy themed restaurants and delicious street food. This city overloads the senses with lights, sounds and smells making every moment an experience.
I’ll admit this is not a cheap city, but there are plenty of budget options. I stayed in a very small, basic hotel, traveled only by Metro, and selected mostly free and low-cost attractions. With a bit of planning, Tokyo can be affordable and amazing.
By Mariza of Hoponworld.
If you are looking for one of the best Asia solo getaways, Taipei is the perfect choice. As the capital city of Taiwan, Taipei oozes with character and tons of awesome things to do. Most of which are actually free, making it really pocket-friendly for solo travellers. Whether you are a foodie, a history nerd, a thrill seeker, a photographer or even a shopaholic, Taipei has something for everyone!
Solo travellers will also enjoy the city’s cheap and very extensive transportation system, which includes a MRT system (subway), buses, taxis and even a Hop on Hop Off bus. Most signs in Taipei are in English and Chinese, making it pretty easy to navigate your way around the city. You’ll also find that most locals can speak some English, especially in the more touristy spots. But, learning a few basic Chinese phrases to get by in more remote areas will definitely come in handy.
Some of the most popular things to do in the city are checking out the world’s 8th highest building, Taipei 101 and watching the changing of the guards at Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall. History buffs can enjoy the impressive Chinese art collections and learn about Chinese dynasties at the National Palace Museum or visit Taipei’s most famous temple, Longshan Temple.
Those seeking nature, can head to Elephant Mountain for one of the best sunsets in the city or take a gondola ride to Maokong for scenic city views.
Snacking your way through the city is another favourite pastime of travellers in Taipei. So, be sure to head to one of the many night markets where you’ll find plenty of weird and wonderful local treats. More adventurous eaters should not leave Taipei without trying stinky tofu and bubble milk tea.
By Marie Boes of Be Marie Korea.
Seoul is probably the safest and easiest city to go on an exciting solo trip. The city itself has a very low crime rate, especially when it comes to street crime, like pick-pocketing and scamming tourists. Another great point is the excellent public transport system! At the airport, buy a top-up T Money card, which you can use on all buses and subways throughout the city and country. You can only buy and top up the card with cash. Convenience stores and tourist information offices all across the country sell these T Money Cards. On top of that, all transport announcements, maps and signs are both in Korean and English. Whilst popular lines also feature signs in Chinese and Japanese.
Two things that are a must when visiting Seoul are the National Museum of Korea and one of the five royal palaces. The National Museum is a beautiful modern looking building, which focuses on Korean and Asian art. Make sure to check out the impressive Buddhist sculpture hall when visiting. Around the museum is a small park and lake with traditional Korean features.
Stay in a hostel in the Itaewon area, these places offer many events and pub crawls. The best way to meet other solo travellers.
More info: Planning to explore more than just Seoul? Be sure to also check out Marie’s comprehensive South Korea 5 day itinerary for more insights.
By Noel Cabacungan of Ten Thousand Strangers.
Hangzhou is one of the top-ranking cities in Asia for digital nomads because of its high-speed internet, great food, low-cost of living, and vibrant night life. And being home to the West Lake, a top-ranked nature park in the country, solo travellers will find delight exploring the many tourist destinations in the city.
Which is why, during my expat years in China, I always made it a point to spend my long holidays here. If you happen to be around Shanghai, you can reach Hangzhou in just about 2.5 hours via high-speed trains.
From the Longxiangqiao train station in Hangzhou, take a taxi to Hubin road where your journey around the West Lake will be greeted by the Dancing Fountain. Afterwards, you could stroll around the vast lake and marvel at the many scenic spots which are just walking distance from each other. Or you could take a boat ride and enjoy the panoramic beauty of the lake amidst the verdant trees surrounding its waters.
Additionally, there are public buses plying around the lake which would take you to far-flung temples situated on high hills and mountains. The iconic Leifeng Tower at the southwestern side of the lake is a must visit, especially during the night when the multi-tiered pagoda is lit which makes a fascinating reflection on the surface of the lake.
The West Lake is such a vast nature park that you won’t be able to visit all even if you’re staying for a week or two. I’ve been there three times, each visit lasting for a week and I haven’t been to half of its infinite number of destinations.
More info: Head to Noel’s blog for more handy tips and advice on what to do in Hangzhou and the West Lake area.
By Chris W. from Chris Travel Blog (CTB Global).
Beijing is the capital of China and a great destination for a solo trip. The city has over 3000 years of history mixed with modern skyscrapers making Beijing a vibrant city. You can go explore the various temples, the Forbidden City, walk the Great Wall, visit a theme park, or just stroll through the old Hutongs. Restaurants are on every corner of the street and nightlife goes all night long in most bars. I love Beijing and I return every year for a few days when I’m travelling in China.
These few tips will make your solo trip in Beijing more pleasant:
- There are budget hotels that don’t cost more than your typical guesthouse, but might be more comfortable. You can stay from a few USD a night, but if you take a budget hotel it will be around 25 USD.
- Getting around Beijing is easy with the metro, taxi, Didi or public bikes. Transport will be a few USD a day but probably just over 10-15 USD if you want to do everything a bit quicker.
- One thing that I always find most difficult when travelling solo is dining. It’s the least fun thing to do solo. I always like to try as much local food as possible – which is affordable in Beijing. Most restaurants serve half portions, so you can order 3-4 dishes and taste more. A few USD will fill your belly but work on 20-25 USD if you want to try something a bit more exotic.
- Language might be a problem as many won’t speak English. So, have a few words ready on your phone to show them and have places you want to go to written by the staff of your accommodation. Make sure to also download ExpressVPN on your phone to connect to western social media.
By Jill Bowdery of Reading the Book Travel.
Hong Kong has to be one of the best cities in Asia for solo travel. This tiny autonomous region of China, a British colony until 1997, blends a rich Chinese culture with a largely English-speaking population and a high standard of living, making it a safe and easy place to get around on your own. It is not the cheapest destination, but one that rewards the visitor in spades.
A modern metro network whisks you quickly and easily from the airport to all the downtown areas. Take the tram up to Victoria Peak for stunning views across the city on a clear day; the walk down is surprisingly challenging as you descend through woodland into the concrete jungle below. Take the Star Ferry from Hong Kong Island to the district of Kowloon for a cheap cruise across the harbour. Check out the trendy stores before tucking into world-class cuisine or trying some of the world’s best street food at one of the many stalls or night markets.
For a trip a little further afield, check out Lantau Island with its Big Buddha statue, or head across on a day trip to neighbouring Macau with its casinos and Portuguese heritage. Or even hit up Disneyland for the perfect day of fun. Hong Kong is brimming with things to do as a solo traveller!
By Matilda Ge of The Travel Sisters.
Singapore is a great country to visit in Asia if you are a solo traveller. Singapore has a lot to offer including a beautiful skyline, interesting and unique attractions, diverse neighborhoods, great street food and warm weather.
Some of the best and free things to do in Singapore include walking on the waterfront promenade while enjoying the skyline views, watching the Supertree Grove sound and light show at the futuristic Gardens by the Bay, and enjoying the large and beautiful Singapore Botanic Gardens which are also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Singapore is one of the safest countries in the world and crime is rare. I always felt safe walking around alone even at night. English is one of its official languages and widely spoken so it is easy to communicate with locals.
More info: Check out Matilda’s comprehensive 3 days in Singapore itineraryfor great tips and other must do’s in the city.
By Ann Murphy of Eco Conscious Traveller.
Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi which is located in the north of the country, is a great place to visit as a solo traveller. One of the things that’s awesome about the city is the fact that it’s so easy to move around. Just download Grab on your phone and a motorbike taxi will come and pick you up within minutes and transport you anywhere for just a dollar or so.
There are loads of backpacker hostels in the Old Quarter. And, it’s really easy to meet people here if you’re travelling on your own. The food is delicious – make sure to try some pho or Vietnamese soup from a local Vietnamese restaurant, as well as Bahn mi which is a Vietnamese sandwich. Again these foods are super cheap and will set you back only a dollar or two.
From Hanoi it’s also easy to organize trips to one of the beautiful destinations in the north of the country such as Sapa or Halong Bay. You can also organize a day trip to magnificent Ninh Binh. The city is a bit crazy with all its traffic but you’ll still enjoy the vibes.
More info: Need some packing tips? Head to Ann’s blog to see what should be on your Vietnam packing list.
By Mary Charie of Move To Vietnam.
Mui Ne is located in the south of Vietnam four hours north of Ho Chi Minh City. Travelling solo here is not a problem – there are tons of budget-friendly hostels or other places to stay in Mui Ne to choose from where you can meet many travellers. There are many amazing things to do in Mui Ne and the best part is that most of the main attractions can be booked individually or explored in a group. Simply ask your hostel receptionist or walk around the town, you will see many travel offices that offer to take you around Mui Ne on a day trip at an affordable price.
The size of this town is pretty small, however, to make the best out of it, it’s best to either rent a motorbike and drive by yourself, or hail a motorbike taxi and hop on the back. If you are worried about communication, there are many locals who can speak and understand simple English phrases or you can make sure to have Google Translate ready whenever.
By Andra Padureanu of Our World to Wander.
Nepal attracts many visitors each year, people wanting to discover the Himalayas, or perhaps merely enjoying the friendliness which characterises the Nepali people so well. It has become a trendy destination for solo travellers, too – given its facilities and the easiness with which you can travel from one place to another.
Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital, is the starting point for most of the adventures. With its international airport, it’s the home base of travellers wanting to enjoy Nepal. And it’s the perfect place for solo travellers as well, given that it is a safe place, filled with friendly people.
Most locals in Kathmandu speak English reasonably well, so it’s not difficult to communicate and find your way. Furthermore, there are so many tourists during the high-seasons, autumn, and spring, that Nepalis are now more than used to foreigners. Simply go to Thamel, and you will be surprised by how many foreigners there are and how easy it is to have fun.
Explore the city on your own, visit the historical sites and try to immerse in the local culture. You will soon be infested with the Nepali positivity and friendliness.
By Miguel Muchacho of Travelsauro.
Pokhara, also known as “the getaway to the Himalayas,” is the adventure capital of Nepal. Surrounded by powerful rivers, deep canyons and some of the highest mountains in the world, Pokhara offers a variety of activities such as hiking, rafting, paragliding, mountain biking, horseback riding and many more.
For the most adventurous, don’t miss hiking the Annapurna Circuit or the Annapurna Base Camp. Both are considered among the best trails in the world.
If you are traveling solo, it’s a great place to meet other travelers. There are many hostels full of friendly fellow backpackers. It took me one hour to make a group of four people ready to hike the Annapurna.
There are other activities that you can do on your own, too. Such as walking around the beautiful Phewa Lake, visiting the nearby stupas, or trying some tasty food in the local market.
The roads in Nepal are not great, but there are many options to get there from Kathmandu. The most popular one is by bus which usually takes around 7 hours. If you prefer to fly, there are connections daily.
Also, it’s a pretty inexpensive destination. What else could you ask for?
More info: Interested in visiting Pokhara? Head to Miguel’s blog for more awesome tips on what to do in Pokhara.
By Mike Still of Live Travel Teach.
My absolute favourite place in Nepal was Bardia National Park and completely took me by surprise. I went to Nepal for 1 month to trek the Annapurna Circuit with my brother, but fell in love with the country and ended up renewing my visa twice to stay for 3.5 months because it was such a great place for solo travel.
All of Nepal is very affordable and ‘easy’ to get around as a solo traveller. Just be ready for long bus rides and delays. It’s best to plan an entire day for any travelling between destinations; the good news is once you get to Bardia National Park you won’t want to leave!
You can find an elephant conservation center, a couple locally owned homestays and adventure lodges in this little village. But, the real reason I am so drawn to Bardia was all the amazing wildlife! I saw countless rhinos, monkeys, birds, elephants and even a wild tiger on my jungle treks in this largely unheard of national park.
If you’re a solo traveller you won’t need to worry about booking any accommodation or tours ahead of time in Nepal. The locals here are very friendly and always willing to host a wanderer like you or me!
By Jillian Michelle from Adventure Dragon.
If you’re looking for a safe and stunning place for solo travel, I recommend you head to Boracay.
The seven-kilometer-long island can be fully explored by foot in one trip, and there’s an endless amount of activities for every type of traveler. For a panoramic view of all the beaches, you can climb a few staircases to the top of Mount Luho and be rewarded with a breathtaking glimpse of every spot in Boracay.
Solo travellers can snorkel on Tambisaan Beach, kite surf on Bulabog Beach, hunt for seashells on Puka Beach, or relax on the quiet shores of Diniwid. The most popular of all the beaches–White Beach–has gained fame worldwide for its milky white sand and gemstone blue water. It offers the most vibrant entertainment, and restaurants can be found at almost every corner. Most meals cost just two to five dollars, giving you the chance to experience authentic Filipino dishes for affordable prices.
The sunsets in Boracay are especially beautiful, and nighttime sailing tours have become one of the most popular activities on the island. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even opt to search for one of the island’s hidden beaches. My favorite offers dinner on a disappearing beach that only reveals itself during low tide. It’s an experience you won’t ever forget! I highly recommend Boracay to anyone looking for a cheap but beautiful place to visit for solo travel in Southeast Asia.
More info: For an in-depth look at other cool things to do on the island, check out Jillian’s must-do activities in Boracay.
Thinking of exploring more…
One last thing to consider…
Seeing that South East Asia (in particular) is so pocket-friendly, you might want to consider spending a bit more time exploring.
Check out this guide for great tips and advice on backpacking South East Asia.
Have we missed any of your favourite Asia solo getaways? Let us know in the comments below! We’d love to add to this list!
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