Twenty-first century women are more empowered than ever before. Yet for many, solo female travel remains a Rubicon that’s hard to cross. Sometimes it’s as though we’re living a Jane Austen novel, where a lady traveling without a husband, her mother or at the very least a trusty spinster could face any number of woeful fates.
Sure, a woman traveling along needs to be just a little bit more cautious starting a trip without a partner or a squad. But solo travel is a fantastic way to internalize singer Kacey Musgraves’ wise advice and “Follow Your Arrow.”
You’ll see places and people in a new light, enjoy experiences you might not have as half of a couple or part of a gang, and best of all, you’ll be able to do exactly what you want, when you want, no questions asked.
Here are six spots in Asia-Pacific where solo women will feel right at home.
Love the Skin You’re In
Korean skincare is taking the world by storm. And whether your personal facial regimen includes a full 17 steps or a more manageable five, Seoul hits the sweet spot for flawless skin, up-to-the-second makeup and cutting-edge fashion.
Whether you’re bargain-hunting at Dongdaemun Night Market or splurging at Rare Market, the Sheraton Seoul Palace Gangnam Hotel and Sheraton Seoul D Cube City Hotel put you in the heart of this safe and friendly city, while cute cafés make great places to meet other solo travelers.
Dive into the Big Blue
Sometimes a healthy dose of sun, sea, sand and being close to nothing else — OK, maybe a massage or ten! — is exactly what the doctor ordered. And if you’re looking to retreat to paradise with nothing but a stack of great books for company, allow us to introduce the heavenly over-water bungalows at the Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay.
Between the turtles and the Nemo fish, snorkeling is just divine. Fiji is generally safe, but exercise a little caution when exploring this particular paradise: Take taxis at night rather than walking alone and keep an eye on your drink in unfamiliar bars.
Answer the Call of the Wild
Between spectacular diving and epic mountain climbs, longhouses and floating villages, and orangutans and dolphins, Borneo is one of the world’s great adventure travel destinations.
Kota Kinabalu, your jump-off point for the charms of rural Sabah, is a modern, wealthy, friendly city — the perfect introduction to the world’s third-largest island. Look out for the Kota Kinabalu Marriott Hotel, right on the vibrant waterfront.
While there are few better places to meet new people than on a dive boat, be cautious about swimming solo — even calm-seeming seas can have strong currents.
Feast Your Face
Dollar for dollar and acre for acre, lil-ole Singapore punches above its weight when it comes to food. That’s partly because of its international heritage, with Malaysian, Indian and Chinese cultures all represented, and partly due to the demanding international crowd that lives and works here.
Couple that with one of the world’s best cocktail scenes and arguably the globe’s safest streets, and it’s a solo travel paradise. Base yourself at the central JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach, and find new friends over an ant-infused cocktail at Native.
Cozy Up to Culture
Ever dreamed of visiting Angkor Wat, still the world’s largest religious monument almost 1,000 years after it was built? Accommodations in Cambodia’s Siem Reap have come a long way in recent years, and traveling solo here no longer means sleeping in hostels.
Immerse yourself in Buddhist culture as you explore Angkor and the lost cities that surround it. Taking a photography tour won’t just improve your shots, but will also help you discover solo travel buddies.
Where to Stay: