TRAVELLING SOLO IN SOUTHEAST ASIA
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Alexis Jetsets first caught the travel bug when she attended a student exchange programme at Ostfalia University, Germany, in 2011. She’s since visited more than 25 countries – here are her top tips for travelling solo.
Solo travel is the best way to discover yourself, learn who you are, what you care about, and what you really like or want in life. Without any distractions, you’ll be able to immerse yourself in the culture, heritage and people of the places you are visiting.
That said, travelling solo can be daunting to begin with, requiring me to step outside my comfort zone. Very quickly, however, I found that travelling solo built up my confidence, made me a stronger person, and increased my tolerance of things outside my immediate experience. It’s ironic that nowadays, I find that the hardest part about travelling solo is not the traveling at all; it is coming home that’s difficult, especially when I’ve fallen in love with a destination.
If you’re thinking of dipping your toe in the waters of independent travel, here’s some advice that I hope will keep you safe and help you enjoy the experience:
1. Start local. If the prospect of travelling solo feels intimidating, why not start with places close to home? I used to think that I would have plenty of time in my later years to explore Asian countries, but then I started receiving many enquiries about solo travelling in Southeast Asia from my social media audience, and I realized how little I knew about these places. This piqued my curiosity of Southeast Asia, and I started to visit Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia, and discovered the charm of my home country.
2. If you feel uneasy exploring alone, you can always join day tours while you find your feet. It’s pretty tough to explore hidden gems in a new country unless you have local friends showing you around. If you’re visiting Singapore, I recommend using “WithLocals” for day tours. This travel company allows you to enlist the help of a local to bring you around for a completely local experience. For those of you who are travelling on a tight budget, why not join free walking tours operated by either Monster Day Tours or Indie Singapore?
3. Use your smart phone smartly. Don’t stare at your screen the whole time, or else you’ll miss out on everything that is going on around you. That said, social media allows you to record the things you have seen and done, and it’s a good way of sharing with family and friends so that they know you are safe. Save emergency numbers to your phone, and make sure that location tracking is enabled so that close family and friends can keep a remote eye on your whereabouts.
4. Never ever tell anyone, especially strangers, that you meet for the first time, where you’re staying. YOTEL Singapore is a great choice of accommodation to begin your adventures; the bustling shops on Orchard Road are on your doorstep while Yoshi and Yolanda, the hotel’s robots, enhance the guest experience in a unique way! If you’re travelling solo, KOMYUNITI at YOTEL is a place for you to meet and connect with other solo travellers.
5. Most importantly, enjoy the experience as a solo traveller! Open your eyes to the opportunities and make the most of each and every day.
Alexis loves travel, photography, and food. She left her career in accountancy in 2014 to become a globetrotter. Since then, she has travelled to over 25 countries and have checked many adventures off her bucket list.