Looking at backpacking through Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand later this year; I've travelled alone before through eastern Europe so can handle independant travel, just wondering if there are any region specific issues. Any pointers appreciated!
Hi Yael, I've only tried travelling northern Thailand on my own and I can tell you that around Chiang Mai is very safe. It is also very urban, so I can't really speak for conditions in rural areas.
As you know, it's prudent to take the usual precautions when travelling around - I usually make sure I have somewhere good to stay as soon as I arrive in a new area and take the opportunity to talk to the locals about the places they would/wouldn't go. I found that when backpacking on my own in the Philippines, the locals were very courteous, so hopefully you will have the same good fortune.
All the best with your travels in SEA - make sure you keep in touch with friends/family, so they know where you are! almost 10 years ago
Most of Asia is extremely safe for women and I've been all over. Having said that, I think you do have to be careful and be very aware of how you appear, particularly in largely Muslim countries like Indonesia although Western behaviour does commonly cause offense in Buddhist countries and in Bali which is Hindu.
Where you are going it would be wise to be cautious, say in dark lonely streets at night or alone on the beach, but nothing more than in Western counties.
Happy travelling almost 10 years ago
I have travelled in Thailand on my own, as have some of my girl friends. We have always found it to be okay - some places are much easier and much better for lone travelling, and some are not. I tend to stay in a fairly decent guesthouse, preferably where there are some other solos travellers, and am always cautious.
Its a sign of the times, to be honest, and we have to be aware that solo travelling for women has changed. I found recently on Koh Samet that there was quite a lot of hassle from both locals and other travellers and was pleased when I moved to a nicer (and more expensive) guesthouse as the staff there kind of protected me and the resort was well run and felt very safe. The rooms all had good locks on the doors - although I have taken my own padlock in some places for the door, but this isnt really recommended due to the risks of fire.
In Cambodia I met quite a few solo women travellers who had all said that it was easy and fine and they had met positive reactions and not too many problems.
With any kind of solo travelling, I would suggest and recommend that you have a sort of plan of where you are going and where you want to stay, so that when you arrive at a ferry/bus station, you appear to have a clear idea rather than look vague or lost which can and does attract touts. I usually have the first night planned out if nothing else, so I can go directly there without needing any assistance.
I agree with Simon that you need to be culturally aware of what is and is not acceptable, and this is especially necessary when on your own. I am always fairly alert and am respectful of the different cultures and what would or wouldnt be acceptable normally. I am always amazed that I meet people who wear bikinis/sarongs to bars, get absolutely hammered and then wonder why they have received unwanted attention!
Have fun. Safe travels. almost 10 years ago