Solo Travel is no longer a taboo. Some travel out of compulsion and some out of curiosity. Whatever may be the reason, the fact is solo travel is in vogue. Travel communities, groups, meet-ups, and the ocean of digital resources have made it easier than ever before to hit the road solo. From the Great Blue Hole of Belize to the stunning landscapes of Queenstown, many destinations are friendly to solo travel. And you’ll find tons of articles on Google. However, we Indians have many issues when it comes to solo travel:
- Safety because we have paranoid parents waiting back home
- Food because majority of us are vegetarians and love our spices
- Visa because we are still a third world country
- Currency because our Rupee is too weak in front of dollars, pounds, yens, and Euros
- Culture because in our culture, travel is still seen as an extravagance
- Leaves because our Bosses can’t fathom the idea of taking a long holiday break to travel
I am sure you’ll have a lot more to add to this list. In my last post, I wrote about how to plan your first solo travel. This post is dedicated to helping you choose your solo travel destination. The top solo travel-friendly destinations mentioned below have been handpicked on the basis of my personal experience, safety, food, cost, ease of travel, stay options, attractions, language and people you get to interact with. So Get Set Go!
TOP 5 INDIAN SOLO TRAVEL-FRIENDLY DESTINATIONS:
- Ladakh: My solo travel journey in India began with Ladakh, so it holds a special place in my heart. If I were to pick a destination to get lost I would always choose Ladakh. It’s never-ending mountain desert, rugged terrain, heavenly lakes, colourful festivals, serene monasteries and a wide variety of flora and fauna; was specially created by God when he must be in a very good mood. Probably it was a place hand-crafted by God for himself. And the people what do I say about them. They have a heart of gold. For more info do read 11 Soulful reasons to travel to Ladakh.
- Karnataka: After a horrible experience in Tamil Nadu I was pretty scared to explore Karnataka. But the experiences I had in Bangalore, Mysore, Gokarna, Hampi, Badami, Chikmagular, Coorg and other places were mind blowing. Karnataka has a memorable mix of nature, history, beach and spiritual destinations. I felt genuinely welcomed. People didn’t try to take advantage, were helpful and admired my solo travel spirit than looking with condescendence.
- Himachal: This is one of my favourite and most explored state. Though lately, it has become bit touristy but still has a charm like your first crush. Himachal is synonymous with scenic beauty, serene landscape and adventure sports besides preferred for spirituality too. I did my hitchhiking trip here. Strangers would invite you over lunch and share apples just like that. It is the best place to start your love affair with mountains. Plenty of options to choose from – Kullu Valley, Parvati valley, Teerthan Valley, Sangla Valley, Dalhousie–Khajjiar- Chamba belt, Dharamshala –Mcleodganj, Palampur among others. Well connected with roads and no accommodation issue, this place is hit among solo travelers from India and abroad. Though Lahaul-Spiti is my favourite in Himachal but perhaps not ideal for your first solo trip. Do check Explore the hidden beauty around Manali, Malana and Lahaul
- Rajasthan: A treasure trove for history buffs, Rajasthan is on the list of every foreign and Indian traveler. And, rightly so. The close proximity to the capital makes it an ideal weekend destination for history, architecture, heritage, culture, tradition, art and food lovers. But there is much to explore in Rajasthan then doing a weekend trip there. There is no place as culturally and historically rich as Rajasthan is. Whether you are taking a desert safari in Jaisalmer or doing a Chudail in Kuldhara or brunching at Neemrana or attending the world’s largest cattle fair at Pushkar or revisiting history in Chittorgarh; Rajasthan will colour you in its vibrant colours.
- North East: Contrary to the image seven sisters are the safest places for solo travelers. The matriarchal society means women are treated with utmost respect here. The unspoiled majestic beauty of the Himalayas makes it a breathtakingly beautiful place to travel to. The treks and home stays give you an authentic taste of the India often ignored. From the mysterious Mawsmai Caves to Double Decker Living Root Bridge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site to the vast expanse of greenery, forests and mountains; North East will mesmerize you beyond imagination.
TOP 5 INTERNATIONAL SOLO TRAVEL-FRIENDLY DESTINATIONS:
- Singapore: Voted as the best country to travel, Singapore is not only a multicultural city, always celebrating something but is also the safest island in the world. Beautiful like a dream and well managed like an orchestra, Singapore is poetry in motion. An ideal place to start your Solo Travel journey. From endless urban attractions to grand heritage buildings to chaotic hawker street centers to the serenity of green spaces to hip nightlife to glitzy high street malls to infinity pools to offbeat islands; Singapore has everything you would expect from a world-class city. Boasting of having one of the strictest laws, the crime rate is almost zero here. Thanks to MRT, moving around is a piece of a cakewalk. And the most defining pleasure of Singapore is its food. You’ll be spoiled for choice. Do check out the cool places in Singapore
- London: Highly commercial but very safe and comfortable for solo travelers, London has attractions of all kinds – Wimbledon, Lords, Wembley stadium for sports aficionados, British Library and Shakespeare Globe Centre for literature fanatics, London Eye, Buckingham Place, Big Ben, London Bridge and many other buildings for heritage admirers, Southall for authentic Indian food lovers, Harrods and Oxford Street for fashionistas, Design Museum and art galleries for art devotees among others. You name it and London has it. Also known as the birthplace of the Metro or London Tube as they call it, Public transport here is impeccable. Climate is slightly grey and cold but the warmth of people will melt your heart. Huge Indian diaspora presence makes you feel at home. Global cuisine restaurants and cafes are everywhere. Only thing that makes it slightly unattractive is the cost on your wallet.
- Sydney: If Singapore stands for efficiency, London for heritage, Sydney is the epitome of youthful exuberance. Perhaps, because half the population is not Australian and the average age of the citizens’ ranges between 20 and 40 years old. Sydney captivates you with its great variety of beaches, world famous monuments and building, eco friendly parks, enchanting landscapes and a never ending variety of restaurants and cafes to suit every pocket. From spending a day at Manly beach to Sydney Harbour Bridge climbing to partying till wee hours at Ivy to having a romantic dinner date at Darling Harbour; Sydney will ensure you have an action packed day with an equally alluring nightlife. On your night out, if you get too sloshed then there are special ‘Plan B Buses’ to drop you home safely and cheaply. Weather, language, travel, food are non-issues. Lastly, if you have not witnessed the world’s greatest New Year Party at Sydney Harbour then you have missed a lot in your life. If you are planning to go to Australia then do check out Practical Tips for your first trip to Australia.
- Dubai: The city of tall skyscrapers and the indoor ski range is probably the first place a solo traveller should go to. The language is familiar (more than 50% of the population is Indian), the food is familiar- you get idli-vada-sambar to Sanjeev Kapoor’s cooked Paneer Butter masala and it is very safe. The people out there are very helpful as most of them are migrants and there is a lot to do in the city/state. You can head out to Yas Marina that hosts the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, try the Torro Rosso-the fastest roller coaster in the world, get a glimpse of the world from the observation deck on the Burj Khalifa and enjoy dune bashing. All in all, a good starting point to get accustomed to solo travels and then move to some challenging ones. And don't forget to check Offbeat Dubai: Beyond Burj Khalifa and Desert Safari.
- Manila: This place would have never made it to my list had I not lived here. The most underrated city in South East Asia. The Makati part of the city is like any First World city. Intramurous is your gateway to the Spanish era. The glitzy Gloriatas, Greenbelts, Mall of Asia would confuse you if you were in USA or in Philippines. Unlike its South East Asian counterparts, everybody speaks English. Filipinos are the most humble and courteous people in the world. Music and basketball runs in the veins of Filipinos. The old part of Manila is chaotic like any other developing country city but the beauty of the place lies once you hit the highway. The close proximity to beaches and having over 7000 islands make it a must visit place. The only negatives about the city is its traffic and no direct flight from India. Do check out my articles on Philippines, Bohol, Fortune Island, Puerto Galera for more information.
Hope this top solo travel friendly destinations post inspires you to take that leap of faith and move on with your Solo Travel. Happy solo travels!