I’ve been travelling solo around Asia as a single woman for the past two years. If you don’t know what I do for a living, I travel around Southeast Asia reviewing hotels and writing travel articles for the AsiaRooms Community, an online travel community.
My job has taken me from the bustling markets of Bangkok to the quiet temples of Borobudur in central Java. So what have I learnt from my somewhat extensive experience of being a solo female traveller in the past two years?
· Not everyone is out to rob and cheat you. One of the things I love most about travelling is breaking misconceptions and stereotypes. Most of the time we arrive at a place with pre-conceived notions about a place and its people, developed from hearsay by friends or material we read online. Every traveller’s experience is different, but by far the safest and friendliest place I’ve visited is Yogyakarta in Indonesia, where taxis are metered and a member of the public even returned my iPhone which I left at the seat of an outdoor theatre.
· You can be friends with the taxi touts. This happened to me while I was travelling alone in Bintan, a wonderful island in the Riau archipelago of Indonesia. I visited a touristy market called Pasar Oleh Oleh, and as soon as I arrived, a group of young men were ready to drag me into the spa salon or restaurant where they will earn their commission. What appeared to be a nuisance ended up with me buying them a bottle of mineral water each, having a chat with them under the shade and getting to know their lives. Such is the joy of travelling!
· It’s alright to eat alone. Before, I used to think that eating on my own while travelling was extremely scary. However, I’ve come to embrace and love this “private time” of mine. I remember once eating alfresco at the Paris Deli in Ho Chi Minh City. This was where I spent a leisurely morning overlooking the busy streets of Dong Khoi, developing my first impressions of the city, planning my itinerary for the day and observing the everyday lives of the locals, from the shoe-shine boys to the FedEx men to the elderly women trading selling fruits on bicycles.
So there you have it, the three lessons I’ve learnt from travelling solo in Asia. Above all, remember to step out of your comfort zone, talk to as many people as possible and make the most of your travels!
About the author: Wan Phing is the Online Editor at AsiaRooms.com. Born and raised in Penang, Malaysia, she has lived in Beijing, London, Benevento, Kuala Lumpur, Manchester and currently resides in Singapore. She loves travel, photography and discovering new trends.
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