Weekend Getaways for Solo Travellers
1) Chiang Mai, ThailandAverage travel time from Singapore: 3 h 5 min What’s shiok: Beautiful ancient temples, breathtaking landscapes, markets and bazaars, exquisite Thai food, diverse nomad communities Volunteer at the Elephant Nature Park For a memorable and rewarding experience, head on over to Elephant Nature Park, an elephant sanctuary and rescue centre. You can spend the whole day interacting with elephants. You’re not allowed to ride them though! Visit Old City temples Chiang Mai plays host to several ancient temples, with most of them located in Old City. Some must-see temples include Wat Chedi Luang, Wat Phra Singh, and Wat Sri Suphan. Buy some souvenirs at Bo Sang Handicraft Village Located in San Kamphaeng, Bo Sang Handicraft Village is home to street-side shops and an umbrella factory where you can watch craftsmen and women create umbrellas from scratch.
Khao soi / CC BY-NC 2.0 / Axel Drainville
Best areas to stay
Chiang Mai Old City – Old City is Chiang Mai’s most popular tourist area and is the city’s historical centre. Here, you’ll find the most popular tourist attractions as well as affordable hotels and restaurants.
Nimman Road – The trendy part of town, Nimman Road is where you’ll find a young and lively atmosphere as well as several shopping options and affordable hotels.
Chiang Mai Night Bazaar – For those looking to shop, the Night Bazaar area is a great place to stay at. As far as hotel accommodations go, this area has an eclectic selection of boutique and luxury hotels.
2) Hanoi, VietnamAverage travel time from Singapore: 3 h 25 min What’s shiok: Delicious Vietnamese street food, historical sites and museums, vibrant nightlife Spend the night on Halong Bay Cruise Halong Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and, as such, is a must-see for all first-time visitors. For an unforgettable stay, book a room on Halong Bay Cruise. Attend a cooking class There are several cooking classes available in Hanoi. If you’re a fan of Vietnamese food and want to learn how to cook them up yourself, attending a Hanoi cooking class is your best bet. Marvel at the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long nother UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Hanoi and is definitely a sight to behold.
Must-eatsOne of the best things about Vietnam is definitely its food. Hanoi’s most popular dishes include bun rieu cua (vermicelli soup with crab, tomatoes, pork, and tofu), banh cuon (steamed rice rolls), and banh goi (crispy dumplings).
Bun Rieu Cua / Flickr / Thanh-Tung Nguyen
Best areas to stay
Hanoi Old Quarter – Old Quarter is easily Hanoi’s most popular and lively area. It’s where all the action is, with a vibrant nightlife scene, affordable hotels, and great food choices.
West Lake – West Lake is Hanoi’s quieter part of town and is home to many expats. There are several restaurants to choose from as well as a few attractions and Buddhist temples.
Ba Dinh – If you want to still be close to the attractions of Hanoi without having to stay in busy Old Quarter, make a beeline for Ba Dinh. It’s a quieter area but with several tourist attractions to visit.
3) Bali, IndonesiaAverage travel time from Singapore: 2 h 40 min What’s shiok: Beautiful beaches, affordable backpacker hostels, diverse nomad communities, delicious street food, vibrant nightlife Attend a yoga class and socialize Bali is the premier location for yoga retreats, so what better way to spend your trip than to attend a yoga class? Participating in a yoga class is not only healthy, but also gives you the opportunity to socialize with other solo-travellers in the area. Visit the Monkey Forest Located in Ubud, the Monkey Forest is a popular area to see some wild monkeys. However, they can be very aggressive so don’t interact with them unless you have bananas! Hang out at any of the beach clubs There are several beach clubs in Bali for you to choose from. They’re a great place to meet some cool people, have some drinks, take a dip in the pool, and listen to some live music.
Pisang Goreng / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 / Choo Yut Shing
Must-EatsBali has a diverse mix of both luxurious and affordable eats. If you’re looking for more local flavours, head straight for the street food stalls and sample some pisang goreng (fried banana), sate ayam (barbecued chicken), and mie goreng (stir-fried noodles).
Best areas to stayUbud – If you’re looking to get away from the crowds at Bali, escape to Ubud, Bali’s cultural centre. Here, you’ll find the best yoga retreats as well as a noticeably steadier and laid-back island vibe. Seminyak – Seminyak is a great place to get a taste of Bali’s nightlife and offers a wide selection of mid-range to upscale hotel accommodations. Canggu – Canggu is where all the surfer dudes convene and where you’ll find a much more relaxed atmosphere. There are several cafes, restaurants, hotels, and beaches to choose from.
4) Krabi, ThailandAverage travel time from Singapore: 1 h 45 min What’s shiok: Stunning beaches, clear waters, several diving spots, lush jungles, several islands to explore Chill out on Railay Beach Railay Beach is easily Krabi’s most beautiful and most visited beach. You’ll find fine white sand, amazing views of the sea, and fantastic limestone cliffs. If you’re up to it, you can go on a half-day rock-climbing tour! Visit the Tiger Cave Temple The Tiger Cave Temple located in Wat Tham Sua is one of Krabi’s natural wonders. Legend has it a tiger used to live there, thus the name. Be prepared to climb up the temple’s 1,237 steps to get a breathtaking view of the surrounding islands. Go on an island-hopping tour Krabi is home to so many beautiful islands, it would be a shame to not be able to visit them all. Go on the many island-hopping tours Krabi has to offer.
Khao man kai / CC BY-NC 2.0 / Junko Matsuo
Best areas to stay
Railay – Only reachable by boat, Railay is something of a secluded peninsula featuring great beaches and a number of good resorts. Shopping, dining, and entertainment venues here have a very laid-back, Bohemian vibe.
Krabi Town – Krabi Town is a good place to stay for those on a shoestring budget. It’s the top destination for backpackers and offers visitors a quaint, provincial vibe.
Nopparat Thara – This area has a strong local feel and is generally very peaceful. There are a number of budget-friendly hotels, shops, and restaurants.
5) Luang Prabang, LaosAverage travel time from Singapore: 3 h 10 min What’s shiok: UNESCO World Heritage Site, Buddhist temples and monasteries, strong Laotian culture Visit the Elephant Village Sanctuary The Elephant Village Sanctuary is a great place for you to get personal with one of the world’s most magnificent animals. Proceeds from your visit will help support the sanctuary and the people working there. Visit the Pak Ou Caves These caves are where locals burn incense and offer their prayers. There are two caves to visit: Tham Ting and Tham Theung which both serve as shrines dedicated to the river spirit and Buddha. Participate in the alms giving ceremony This daily Laotian tradition dates back to the 14th century and is a way for the locals to give alms to the monks. Bear in mind that there are a number of unspoken rules with regards to etiquette when attending the ceremony.
Must-EatsLuang Prabang has a rich culinary history and several traditional dishes still remain very popular to this day. Some must-eats in Luang Prabang include the ever-popular or lam (traditional stew), sou oa (seasoned fatty pork sausage), and khao piak (rice flour noodle soup).
Best areas to stay
Old Town – Old Town is Luang Prabang’s most popular area and is where most tourists flock to as it’s close to a lot of the popular tourist attractions in the area. There are a number of boutique hotels available as well.
Mekong Riverfront – In this area, you’ll find a lot of affordable guesthouses to check in to. It offers a more peaceful atmosphere as opposed to Old Town.
Nam Khan Riverfront – Along the Nam Khan river, you’ll find an area catering to backpacking tourists with a number of bars, restaurants serving Western food, and a lot of cheap hostels.
6) Yangon, MyanmarAverage travel time from Singapore: 3 h What’s shiok: Stunning pagodas and temples, exquisite local dishes, relaxed vibes Visit all the amazing pagodas Yangon is home to several beautiful pagodas and you’d be missing out if you didn’t get to visit at least a couple of them. The most popular ones are Shwedagon Pagoda, Sule Pagoda, Swal Taw Pagoda, and Chauk Htet Kyi Pagoda. Spend the day at Bogyoke Park Bogyoke Park is one of Yangon’s more popular areas and is a good place to just sit back and admire the surrounding greenery. Sample some street food in Chinatown Yangon Chinatown is one of Yangon’s busiest areas, especially at night when the food stalls start getting really busy. There’s a wide selection of affordable but tasty dishes.
Mohinga / CC BY-SA 2.0 / Charles Haynes
Must-EatsThe most popular dishes in Yangon include mohinga (rice noodle and fish soup), laphet thote (tea leaf salad), and kyay-oh (vermicelli soup with chicken or pork).
Best areas to stay
Downtown Yangon – If you want to stay where all the action is, base yourself in Downtown Yangon where you’ll find an abundance of hotels, museums, pagodas, and other tourist attractions.
East Yangon – East Yangon is a relatively large area and there are a number of places to choose from. However, if you don’t want to stay in the city centre but still want to be close to some tourist attractions, East Yangon is the place to be.
South Yangon – South Yangon is the least busy of the three and is a relatively peaceful area. Sure, there are fewer things to see and do here, but you’ll still get to see St. Francis’ Catholic Church and the Mogaung pagoda.