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Seeing the world on your own – on your own terms, on your own time, at your own pace – is a joy every traveler should experience at least once. For women ready to set out on an adventure by themselves, we have recommendations for solo-friendly destinations where you can expect perks like welcoming locals, few language barriers, and a good chance of meeting up with like-minded travelers. Of course, with any trip, no matter the destination or whether you’re alone or with a group of 10, it’s important to do prior research, exercise caution, and respect your own comfort levels. With that in mind plus our list of great destinations around the world, you are two steps closer to embarking upon that bucket-list trip you have always dreamed of.

Singapore

Image of the Marina Bay Sands hotel at the marina bay area in Singapore.

This tiny island city-state makes a fantastic case for quality over quantity. Unlike other Asian metropolises that sprawl on for an eternity, Singapore is manageable and convenient to get around, courtesy of the remarkably clean and efficient SMRT (Singapore Mass Rapid Transit).

Explore Singapore’s pristine streets and meticulously groomed parks and gardens (Gardens by the BaySingapore Botanic Gardens, and Cloud Forest are all not to be missed) with virtually no worry. Extremely low crime rates make Singapore an exceptionally safe destination.

Native Californian and Singapore transplant Alison Ozawa Sanders (co-author of The Expats’ Guide to Singapore) told the BBC in 2019: “As a woman, I can go out at night in any neighborhood and not worry about my personal safety ever.” 

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Istanbul

East, west. Ancient, cosmopolitan. Sprawling, intimate. The wondrous city of Istanbul – the heart of the Byzantine Empire for a millennium – is a study in contrasts, and a galaxy of vibrant and distinct mahalles (neighborhoods). 

Dominating the skyline are the magnificent Hagia Sophia, completed in the 6th century, and the splendid Topkapi Palace, the one-time home to Ottoman sultans. The Grand Bazaar and neighboring markets pull you in like a trance; when you are ready to decompress, centuries-old Turkish baths (strictly separated by gender) are portals to serenity.

Turkey’s legendary hospitality is on display throughout Istanbul, including the city’s women-only hotels and hostels, which can be a great route for connecting with other female travelers.

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Rwanda

Home to a warm, welcoming people and a safe, friendly capital, Rwanda is a fantastically hospitable travel destination. Combine this with natural scenery and flourishing wildlife that are nothing short of profound: mountain gorillas, golden monkeys, elephants, lions, zebras, and other extraordinary creatures dwell in the country’s misty mountains, forests, and plains. Learn Rwanda’s recent history at the Kigali Memorial Centre, which commemorates the 1994 genocide of Rwanda’s ethnic Tutsi community.

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Thailand

If you are looking for an epic Asian trip, but are unsure where to start, Thailand can be a perfect solution. “The Land of Smiles” has a well-developed and largely affordable tourism industry that cheerfully welcomes solo travelers into the fold.

An enormous range of accommodation options (from high-rise towers to thatch-roofed treehouses to secluded luxury resorts) are one benefit of the country’s well-established tourism infrastructure, as well as low-cost regional flights and on-the-ground transit – everything from Grab on-demand car service to colorful tuktuks.

Women traveling alone might be more comfortable staying in a lively areas, such as Chiang Mai’s historic Old Town or near the main drags of Ao Nang or Koh Phi Phi, versus a remote beach or jungle property. 

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Namibia

Nestled between Botswana and the Atlantic Ocean, Namibia offers surreal landscapes teeming with wildlife. The country provides many opportunities for safaris and game drives, with several specifically designed to accommodate and bring together solo travelers. High on any travelers list should be a day or overnight visit to the Cheetah Conservation Fund, where you will see not just spectacular cheetah runs but also species preservation at work.

Explore the desert on a 4X4 tour, shop for traditional crafts and local art, and see golden dunes meet the sea at lunar-like Sandwich Harbor, home to seals, jackals, springbucks, ostriches, oryxes, pelicans, and thousands of pink flamingoes.

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Tokyo

Tokyo is a dream for solo travelers. Despite its size and sprawl, the Japanese capital is easy to navigate, thanks to its state-of-the-art train and subway network, with abundant English signage. (Many trains even have women-only cars for extra peace of mind.) The vibrant city is prime for solitary exploration: visit 17th-century parks and stunning temples and shrines, partake in top-notch shopping in tony Ginza, soak in gender-divided onsens (hot springs and bathhouses), drink up youth culture on Takeshita Street and surrounding Harajuku.

One of the more awkward aspects of solo travel is dining, but Tokyoites will never bat an eye at someone enjoying a meal alone. In fact, when you grab a spot at one of Tokyo’s hundreds of ramen or sushi counters, you will likely be joining a line of fellow solo diners. Tokyo has many affordable hotels with tiny rooms perfect for single travelers; some have women-only floors or are all women-only. 

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Greece

Awe-inspiring ruins from the ancient world, gorgeous islands shooting out of the sparkling Aegean Sea, and a tradition of hospitality going back to the time of Homer make Greece an eternally beloved travel destination. The age-old Greek custom of showing kindness to strangers is a blessing for modern-day solo travelers, who can benefit from happy-to-help locals.

The country’s steadfast tourism means easy, well-connected travel throughout the country via its network of roads, buses, trains, ferries, and regional flights.

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Vietnam

Terraced rice field landscape stretching across the mountainside, near Sapa in Vietnam.

Adventurous types, get ready for the trip of a lifetime in Vietnam. It is easy to communicate and get around the Southeast Asian country, where a well-trodden backpacking trail means that meeting like-spirited travelers requires little to no effort. Trekking is hugely popular here, with countless operators offering guided tours through national parks and rural districts that are a challenge to see on your own. (A wonderful option is joining a small group for a multi-day village tour in and around Sapa.)

On the flip side, head to delightful Hanoi in the north and dazzling Ho Chi Minh City in the south, where urban energy is balanced by poignant reminders of an ancient, colonial, and war-torn past.

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Botswana

Elephants in Botswana

Along with English as the official language, a long-established democracy, and one of Africa’s best safety rankings, Botswana offers dozens of group excursions perfect for meeting other travelers. Many Botswana safaris don’t charge a solo supplement fee, instead gearing themselves toward connecting independent travelers on group expeditions. Just one transformative Botswana experience is journeying through the Okavanga Delta in a mokoro, a traditional canoe made from a single tree, and seeing elephants, hippos, leopards, buffaloes, giraffes, crocodiles, and more at home in the majestic waters and grasslands. 

 

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Cambodia

The truly spectacular ruins of Angkor put Cambodia on the map. The one-time heart of the Khmer Empire and largest single religious monument on the planet is firmly at the top of countless travelers’ bucket lists. The gateway town to the ruins, Siem Reap, is a haven for backpackers and other travelers, as is the frenetic capital of Phnom Penh.

To get off the beaten path, visit the lesser-known (but also monumental) Prasat Preah Vihear complex atop a dramatic cliff in the Dangrek Mountains; the gorgeous island of Koh Rong for pristine, white-sand beaches; and the remote Ratanakiri province for trekking adventures (keep an eye out for gibbons, elephants, sun bears – even tigers).

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The Philippines

With a tropical climate and more than 7,000 islands, the Philippines is a destination with more variety than you could possibly hope to see in one trip. Many travelers start in Manila, the historic capital brimming with museums, parks, cathedrals, markets, and Spanish colonial architecture. There, it is easy to hop onto a brightly painted jeepney (a Jeep/bus combo) or order a Grab taxi from your phone to get from point to point.

Consider group tours for exploration further afield: diving enthusiasts should make sure Coron Island has a spot on their itinerary; the paradise-like island has beautiful neon blue waters and several shipwrecks. Take a boat tour past dramatic limestone caves at Subterranean River National Park, swim with sea turtles off Apo Island, or simply marvel at the electric blue waters of White Beach in Boracay

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Seychelles

A remote island archipelago may sound like better stomping ground for families and honeymooners than solo travelers, but the stunning Seychelles has immense appeal for visitors of all stripes. Instead of the string of hermetically sealed mega-resorts found on many popular tropical islands, Seychellois accommodations include intimate beach resorts and guesthouses, where striking up conversation with fellow guests is nothing out of the ordinary. Take an island tour with a small group, explore lush forests, and hike the Copolia Trail for 360-degree views of the capital of Victoria and the Indian Ocean. 

Consider staying near the main village on La Digue, a car-free island waiting to be explored by bike or foot – use one of those modes to see famous Anse Source d’Argent (often described as the most photographed beach in the world). There may be no better place on earth for setting the reset button and reclaiming personal equilibrium. 

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Are you ready to start exploring again?

Whether you want to enjoy pure and total escapism in Thailand or the wild splendor of Botswana, let Qatar Airways to take you there safely and seamlessly.

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