I am backing throughout Asia (mostly southeast Asia) in February for 6 months solo. The places I am really wanting to see are Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, India, Nepal, and possibly Indonesia. Of course I will be on a budget that will allow me to travel for 5-6 months not counting the money I will save couchsurfing, volunteering, wooffing, or working. I need advice on how to visit each place, where should I start and where should I end?? Advice on other places I should go to? Is 5-6 months enough time?
I would recommend connecting with other female travellers and work out an itinerary. Solo backpacking for a female is not safe if you aren't very familiar with the areas you'll be visiting. Get in touch with an organization for female travellers, and see about connecting with others to share the trip. about 5 years ago
It sounds like a fantastic trip! You could easily give yourself 1 month in each place and not get bored. I'd probably start in India, (Mumbai, south to Goa for a week then head north toward Lumbini and into Nepal), then Thailand (south for a week and then north towards Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai and Udon Ratchitani, across to Laos, down to Cambodia. Spend a week north, then head down the Mekong, and if you get a chance, end with a week in Kep. Finish it all off with Indonesia (Bali, Nusa Lembongan, Lombok and Flores).
Couch surfing in these areas can be quite tricky, so really do your homework where you plan to stay. There is no doubting your ability to look after yourself, sadly we see too many horror stories with travellers in particular areas. The last thing you want to happen is an event to end such an amazing holiday like the one you're planning.
Spiking drinks, ethanol-poisoning and horrendous sexual assaults are very very common throughout South East Asia. This can happen for both female and male travellers.
Have fun planning your trip! about 5 years ago
Many women have traveled alone before and yes there are some risks but that shouldn't stop anyone from doing it. This is my first trip to Asia and I have read a lot on it and taken many people's advice to heart that have already been there...and I assure you it was never to find a partner to travel with. I know areas in which to stay away from and I know not to be out alone at night...that being said I will be staying in hostels 90% of the time and will meet fellow backpackers that I may buddy up with later. My age and sex really is not a factor in if I should travel or not!! about 5 years ago
I absolutely agree with you; travel is the lolly of my life and I'm not about to stop because of the risks involved. Being informed of the risks (to both women AND men) is key. It sounds like you've done your research.
I'm really jealous of your trip, South East Asia is a favourite of mine, you will have a ball!
Lisa about 5 years ago
Crystal, what you say is true, in principle. It is absolutely unacceptable that women should have to behave differently because the world treats them differently, but I wouldn't risk rape to prove that point. Having always wanted to rebel against the inequality, I learned this through several close calls.
As another poster commented, there are risks to solo travel for men as well, but those risks increase when something makes you a target. If your appearance and manner marks you as a foreigner, or your enthusiasm is mistaken for promiscuity, you may find yourself in a bad situation very quickly. There are wonderful people and bad people in all nations of the world, and the way to avoid the bad is to not appear to them as a stray lamb.
As I say, this is not just speculation on my part. In Thailand alone, I was groped, offered money for sex, followed to my hotel, enveloped by a group of nine guys who wanted to embrace and be "friends" (rescued by my brother), and a man offered to pay my father to leave me behind to live with him. Once, while I was travelling, two guys actually picked me up and tried to carry me, when I wouldn't go with them.
That being said, I would love to go back to Thailand, and do myself intend to one day do a trip quite similar to the one you describe. But I prepare for this by doing a LOT of research, and reading a variety of books on the places I'd like to visit. It is from this that I have heard the advice to connect with other female travellers.
At least consider doing research with your mind open to accepting the unfairness of it, for the sake of your own safety. Lonely Planet has a great book called Southeast Asia on a Shoestring, and also a couple books on travel safety. Bon Voyage! about 5 years ago