Great Destinations to go Solo
By Alexius Chua
December 15, 2014
Singles, why wallow in loneliness when freedom is on your side? Solo travelling can be the ultimate self-indulgence treat you could ever give yourself. Imagine waking up from the hotel bed only when you desire and partying through the night if you’re in the mood. Unlike travelling with friends or partners, there’s no need to compromise; the day is your whiteboard and you got your own marker to draw up a trip of your own fancy.
Of course, certain aspects such as safety, language barriers, friendliness to tourists and cultural differences need to be taken into consideration. So check out the top 5 single-friendly destinations and begin your adventure!
1. Taipei - Taiwan
It’s not all surprising that Taipei is ranked as one of the best cities to live in. With swanky artisan cafes, unique shopping experiences, safe streets, kind citizens, comfortable transportation, active nightlife, cool climate, amazing sights and cool convenience stores that sell almost everything, this fascinating megalopolis has everything a solo traveller could ever dream of. Xi Men Ding – a must visit open-air street shopping area filled with little shops and cafes where the local youths hang out. If you’re a hipster keen on designer crafts, you are sure to enjoy the Eslite Spectrum shopping mall, home to the famous 24-hour Eslite Bookstore. Wind down the day at Shi Lin Night Market, one of Taipei’s famous night markets just opposite Jian Tan MRT, for some delicious street food.
2. Bangkok - Thailand
Shopaholics – brace yourself for the ultimate getaway. From the hundreds of gleaming and modern, air-conditioned malls, to the hustle and bustle of street markets, Bangkok houses a wide array of shopping experience to blow your baht away. Onz for a cheap and good deal? Take the Sky Train to Chatuchak Weekend Market, the largest open-air market in Asia. If you’re in for a no-sweat, modern shopping experience, ride along Siam and Phloen Chit BTS station, which is Bangkok’s equivalent of the Orchard Road shopping district. Top the night with a cruise ride to Asiatique the Riverfront, a romantic modern night market located along Chao Phraya River.
Don’t worry if language is a barrier – most of the hotel concierges are proficient with English and have no problems helping you navigate through this amazing city.
3. Tokyo - Japan
With the drop in the Japanese Yen, Japan has recently emerged as a desirable destination for cost-conscious single travellers. The giant city of Tokyo is a centre of remarkable confluence between East and West, the conservative and the playful. This is especially apparent in the Shinjuku district. Besides the bustling street of bars and shopping malls, you would be bound to chance upon some funky passer-by wearing either the traditional Kimono or a cosplayer with the elaborate anime costume. If you’re in for cheap eats and some Asahi Dry, ride on to Takadanobaba station. Takadanobaba: a popular student district located near the world-renowned Waseda University, features some anime-centric boutique shops and meals that are affordable and lip-smacking delicious.
For those intending to stay away from city life and immerse in a Zen lifestyle you might consider taking the train to Hakone at Hakone-Yumoto Station. Famous for its hot springs, natural beauty and a beautiful view of Mt. Fuji, you can rest in the communal hot spring bath, meditate in lush garden surroundings and indulge at the counter of a sushi restaurant.
4. Melbourne - Australia
Dubbed the world’s most liveable city, Melbourne is the perfect location for solo travellers. The first stop in this European-centric city must be the Federation Square. Long considered Melbourne’s heart and soul, this modern piazza is home to major cultural attractions and events, and a wide array of chic restaurants, bars and specialty stores. Looking for some interesting trinkets to take home? Check out Degraves Street, one of the most famous streets in Melbourne offering quirky boutiques, street art, patisseries and quaint cafes. And best of all, these two attractions are within reached from Flinders Street Station, a touristy destination by itself.
Fancy a shopping spree? Take the free Fashion shuttle from the city to Chadstone Shopping Centre. You would sure be amazed by the extensive skylight ceiling, providing ample sunlight to give warmth to the Southern Hemisphere’s largest shopping centre.
5. Hanoi - Vietnam
You are sure to get enchanted by Hanoi’s quaint streets, slow pace of life and a piping hot bowl of pho. For a great bargain, visit Dong Xuan Market, the largest covered wholesale market where you can find everything from clothes, household goods to food. Don’t miss the Hoan Kiem Lake, one of the major scenic spots in the city, offering an idyllic scene of greenery amidst the city life.
Hanoi is considered as the homeland of pho, try the pho at its finest at Pho Gia Truyen but be prepared to queue for approximately half an hour. If you prefer something crunchy and less on carbs, try Nem restaurant, polled by CNN in 2012 for serving the best fried spring roll in Hanoi.
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