In recent years, the number of women embarking on solo adventures has skyrocketed -- a fact corroborated by the data of many travel companies -- and in many cases, to less-frequented destinations. Indeed, navigating new cities and learning to handle hustlers without a companion or 'safety in numbers' can be incredibly empowering for women. Right off the bat, travelling alone is the ultimate confidence boost and the freedom to plan ones own travel itinerary without having to accommodate anyone else is liberating.
For first-timers, travelling alone can seem like a daunting prospect, but with some research, planning and common sense, it could become a life-changing experience. While the most popular destinations for solo female travellers are in Europe, there are quite a number of destinations in Asia that are especially ideal for women travellers given that you're properly prepared. Here are top picks by ONYX Hospitality Group of unique destinations in Asia for women to explore solo.
Colombo and Kandy, Sri Lanka
Spend a few days in Colombo, a busy and vibrant port city, to experience the laid-back charm of the historical era combined with the liveliness of a modern city. Those looking for a more peaceful environment can head for Kandy. Once the capital of the ancient kings, Kandy remains the country's most significant cultural and religious centre. Visit the tea plantations, pray at the Temple of the Sacred Tooth relic and go trekking into the misty hills where you can take a deep breath and reconnect with yourself and nature.
Famously dubbed as the island of contrasts, Phuket is a great destination for solo female travellers looking to have the best of both worlds. From relaxing, feet-in-the-sand detox and laid-back beachside cafes, to adrenaline-fuelled activities and vibrant nightlife, this tropical paradise has it all. Start by exploring the spectacular stretch of gorgeous beaches along the island's West coast where the time goes slow and sunshine seems to last forever, before switching it up with a tuk-tuk ride to the east coast for some cafe-hopping and bar-crawling with the local crowds.
Travelling around Phuket is surprisingly easy. You can either hop on a tuk-tuk, grab a taxi or even rent a motorbike and helmet and zoom down the hills with the view of the turquoise sea stretching out before you.
Possibly one of the most beautiful beaches in Phuket, Kata is a paradise waiting for people to visit and fall in love. White sand, blue sea and endless activities are just a few of the things that make Kata beach so special. Meanwhile, a walk through the local area can add a lively touch of Thai culture to any holiday.
Known as the Pearl of the Orient, Penang is a truly fascinating destination with its colourful five-foot-ways, mouth-watering street food, lush hiking trails and sandy beaches. Declared a UNESCO world cultural heritage site, George Town, the island's cultural and urban hub, is brimming with architectural marvels from the British colonial period, timeworn shophouses, modern cafes and temples. Feast on local delicacies such as Assam Laksa or Char Kway Teow from hawker stands before walking the guilt off while exploring the world-famous mural trails.
Feeling overwhelmed by the paddling trishaws and fuming fragrant? One only needs to take a short bus ride away from town for a stroll along the beaches, a visit to the Tropical Spice Garden or the picturesque Penang Hill.