Why travelling solo can help you find yourself, and the destinations to get you started

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While solo travel can be extremely empowering, it is often more difficult for women, who find themselves hindered due to internal and external factors that may be beyond their control.

In conjunction with International Women’s Day on 8 March – a day dedicated to celebrating women and their accomplishments, online travel and lifestyle company Traveloka shares with Going Places and its readers some tips and tricks for women travelling solo, and the destinations to kickstart your journey.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
You don’t have to wander far for a solo adventure: sometimes it can be found right at your doorstep. As locals, we often overlook the “must-visits” that the world finds mesmerizing within our own country. Visit the world-famous Petronas Twin Towers for that spectacular view, jump onto the Kuala Lumpur Hop-on Hop-off Bus to cover a variety of landmarks within the city, and pop into a cosy cafe to experience the sights, sounds and smells of KL over a cup of coffee.

Hong Kong

From mountains to city parks and historical places, travellers to Hong Kong are spoilt for choice when it comes to safe and friendly attractions. Check out the world famous Madame Tussauds where you can hangout and take selfies with your favourite celebrities across 11 interactive zones; ride on Hong Kong’s first double-decker that combines sightseeing with gourmet dining on the Crystal Bus Sightseeing and Dining Tour; and of course, not to be missed – spending a day with Disney’s famous characters at Hong Kong Disneyland.

Tokyo, Japan

The Land of the Rising Sun is a favourite among tourists. Safe, cultural and respectful, Tokyo offers a unique experience to travellers, granting them the best of both worlds steeped in rich history and modern technology. Visit one of Japan’s best indoor theme parks, Sanrio Puroland and chill with famous characters such as Hello Kitty, Gudetama, Pom Pom Purin and more; immerse yourself in an authentic Sumo Practice Show and get up close and personal with real sumo wrestlers; or learn recipes from a professional chef through a hands-on cultural programmes such as the Japanese Home Cooking Experience in Shibuya.

Seoul, Korea

This city boasts a rich history of culture and endless sightseeing options such as trendy stores and boutiques. If you appreciate beautiful scenery, N Seoul Tower is a must-visit for its 360-degree view of Seoul. Don a hanbok, a traditional Korean attire dating back centuries, or plan your trip around one of South Korea’s many festivals such as the Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival, the Hampyeong Butterfly Festival and more.

Melbourne, Australia
Melbourne is considered one of the best and safest destinations for female solo travellers Down Under. Classy, artsy, scenic and vintage, the cultural capital of Australia dazzles with verdant gardens, large parks, galleries, museum, extensive shopping and architecture. Join a day-tour to The Twelve Apostles for its breathtaking view of the limestone stacks off the shores of the Great Ocean Road. In the mood for some sophistication? Visit the vineyards of Yarra Valley for a taste of Australia’s top of the crop wines.

Tips: When In Rome… Do as the Romans do.

Whatever the destination, it’s important to follow these dos and dont’s:

  • Research and understand the local culture and traditions prior to your visit.
  • Be wise and discerning with the choices you make.
  • Stay wary of your surroundings and avoid secluded areas.
  • Keep your valuables secured at all times.
  • Be extra vigilant of the people you meet.
  • Keep cash stashed in various places on you to avoid falling victim to pickpockets.
  • Research the area of your visit and familiarise yourself with key areas such as police stations, hospitals and your local embassy.
  • Be aware of the food and drinks you consume to ensure they have not been compromised.
  • Keep friends and family informed of your plans for the day and check-in with them as often as possible.
  • Check out reviews online and choose to go with trusted travel agencies instead of opting for the cheapest way out.Travelling is meant to be a joyous and edifying experience when done the right way. Avoid taking shortcuts and get short-changed.