Pros and Cons of Traveling Alone in South East Asia

Turquoise waters, gorgeous beaches, and landscapes embedded with lush tropical rainforests, bustling multinational cities, rustic temples and quaint refreshing countryside… experience all this and much more on a trip to South East Asia. With an eclectic mix of multiethnic countries such as Thailand, Laos, Malaysia, Cambodia, to name of few, South East Asia provides an assortment of experiences of incredible sights, flavors, and sounds.

For a solo traveler in South East Asia, these countries offer amazing experiences to be enjoyed all by yourself. However, there are certain advantages and disadvantages of taking a vacation alone to any destination. Here are a few pros and cons for solo travelers in South East Asia.

Pros – Here’s Why It’s Worth Traveling Alone

  • Be in-charge of making all the decisions
    Wish to go scuba diving in Sipadan Islands or exploring the mural-covered streets of Penang? Make your travel decisions without a care in the world while solo traveling. You don’t need to discuss topics with anyone and can decide where to go, stay at places as per your expectation and eat what you wish.  You don’t have to tag along to places that don’t interest you or wait to see if your friends are free to plan a holiday. You are in command. Just create a holiday plan, pack your bags and head for an adventure.
  • Make your own budget choices
    South East Asian countries offer you a wide range of choices for accommodations. From vacation rental homes, beach villas to world-renowned luxury resorts and heritage villas – you can decide on the type of stay options that suits your mood and budget while solo traveling. Those who don’t mind splurging can opt for luxury choices but most solo travelers search for backpacking options so that they can experience more of the destination than focusing on leisure stays.
  • Explore different nations on one trip
    On your South East Asia solo travel experience, you can personalize your trip and even consider journeying through different countries. Thailand, Laos, Cambodia are some of the places to visit in South East Asia that share common borders. Malaysia and Singapore have always been a combined destination choice for globetrotters. These destinations can be easily clubbed up for an exhilarating Asian tour for solo travelers.
  • Get out of your comfort zone
    When you travel solo in South Asian countries, you try new experiences and even opt for off beaten routes. Wandering through new unknown places, asking locals for directions, learning tidbits of a new language, and using the local transport modes in an unfamiliar country is a challenging thrill that gets you out of your comfort zone. The experience gives you a surge of self-confidence and courage to meet people and make new friends in your life. It is a life-changing experience.
  • Make new friends
    Traveling alone to Asian destinations lets you mingle with locals, chat with people at different places and find new friends who share your same passion and interests. Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia and Philippines’s faraway countryside is an enriching multi-ethnic experience quite popular among wanderlusts. These quaint places have limited stay options, mostly home stays and vacation rentals which are a great way to experience the host’s hospitality and friendliness. During the journey, you will get acquainted with new people and build new friendships.

Cons – the Downside of Solo Traveling

  • Feeling lonely
    Solo traveling is for the wayfarers and wanderlusts. People who like the comfort of near and dear ones or have an introvert nature may not find solo traveling appealing. While the golden pagodas of Thailand, serene beaches of Bali and buzzing cities of Vietnam may keep you captivated, there will be times when you want to share an experience with your family, best buddy or your significant other. You may get homesick if your experience doesn’t unfold as per your expectation.
  • Expensive trips
    Solo Traveling in South East Asian countries is more expensive than group travel. While booking accommodations, single passenger rates are higher than group pricing. Staying with a group of friends can let you opt for a dormitory type accommodation and negotiate overnight prices lowering the cost of your accommodation. Similarly, a taxi or rental car for a single traveler will cost you the total price of the service. If you are taking a tour with friends, the transportation cost can be split among everyone in the group and you will have to shell out less from your pocket.
  • Handle travel mishaps all by yourself
    Most solo travelers have to depend on themselves for travel related concerns. Since you are traveling alone, you have to totally rely on yourself. You might take a wrong route, miss a connecting flight or have to deal with a botched up hotel reservation. While a tour operator may help out with airline tickets, hotel, and transfer bookings, the rest of the journey has to be managed by the traveler on their own.
  • Safety concerns
    This is the biggest concern of solo traveling in Asian countries. Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia are notoriously known for mugging and scamming travelers. A person traveling alone is an easy target for getting robbed. Solo travelers need to be extra vigilant to check their routes, walking unaided on lonely alleys and during taking lifts from strangers. If something goes wrong, there is no one to immediately help you or save you from the worst.
  • Temporary friends
    On your solo Asian travel journey, you will certainly meet friendly locals and new people. You may even make new friends, exchange contact numbers and feel certain that you will remain in touch forever. However, it is a bit disappointing to realize that many such friendships are hard to maintain when you are not in the same place anymore. While you will meet many wonderful souls on your South East Asian travel, only a few of them will make efforts to remain in your life for a long time.
  • Language problems
    Language issues are another obstacle for solo travelers in Asia. South East Asian countries have a diverse and rich cultural population. The language varies from one Asian country to another. While cities like Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok have English speaking population, off beaten destinations such as interior rural regions and surrounding islands of Philippines, Indonesia, and Thailand prefer their native language. A short language tutorial such as simple greetings and travel phrases will help you cross a big hurdle and make your journey smoother.

A solo travel experience in South East Asian countries feels like a tough job but with a few simple tips, you can make it quite easy to handle. Firstly, pack light and carry fewer luggages so that you can manage it on your own. Plan in advance and get all necessary requirements ready so that you don’t have to hustle at the last minute. Ensure you get your travel visas done on time.  You can apply for Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand visas online. Always keep someone near to you informed about your travel plans and carry essentials with you such as emergency contacts, a travel dictionary, first aid box which may come handy when you need it. Lastly wherever you go, always trust your instincts.

Priya is an avid travel writer who specializes in adventurous travel writing. Her blogs and articles give deep insight about various tourist places and act as a perfect travel guide for someone who is traveling to a place for the first time. Priya has exemplary research, writing, and editing skills which make her easily match the reader’s intellect and interest. She has blogged extensively about her travel experience while traveling to several places like Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Europe, Dubai, USA, Canada, etc.

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