Travelling solo in SE Asia....need some advice/suggestions

Travel Forums Asia Travelling solo in SE Asia....need some advice/suggestions

1. Posted by jjhunt (Budding Member 7 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Hi i am looking for some advice, if anyone can help i would be really grateful.

I am a 28 year old male and i am planning to go travelling solo aground Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos. I am a bit worried that i might find it hard to meet people, i know everyone says its easy but i know people that have spent weeks on their own....i don’t think this would be much fun so i have been looking at organised 2-4 week tours, as i am planning on travelling for 5 or 6 months i feel it would be a good way to meet people, ideally of the same age.

Does anyone have any suggestions or what do you think about it...has anyone been on any tours like this and have any recommendations?



2. Posted by Clanger (Full Member 201 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Don't book anything until you are there. You'll get ripped off. Meeting people is sooooooo easy. Other backpackers are everywhere, more especially in SEAsia. If you are smiley and friendly you will see others who congregate at the bars which show films on a regular basis, or the bars or places to eat, you will meet people.

I travelled through those exact same places for 5 months, and have lots of fantastic experiences and stories, have fun!!!
I know you will. :)

3. Posted by Daawgon (Travel Guru 2015 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Clanger is soooo right on! Best advice I can give is to stay in hostels and cheaper hotels* and you'll do fine. The locals are keen to talk to you, and especially in Indochina, very eager to practice English, and very outgoing too. In Hanoi and Saigon they have free student guides in exchange for English practice (Hanoikids and Saigonhotpot) - great way to meet people. Google for their websites and reserve ahead for one of their tours.

This is the easiest place in the world to meet others - one of the reasons this shy American goes there and loves it so much.

  • people who stay in more expensive hotels are insulating themselves from local people and other travelers as well
4. Posted by Degolasse (Travel Guru 824 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Don't worry about a thing. I know you've heard it before, but it is really that easy to meet people in South East Asia. There are so many travelers in the area, and the vast majority of them are there to have a good time and meet people as well.
It is true though that if you don't make an effort, you can go a long time without making many friends and might find yourself eating alone every night. Even if you do make an effort, there's always going to be a few days when you don't run into too many others and have to fly solo. Don't let that bother you though. For me, the days when I go off on my own, take long bus journeys alone, and wander around towns alone, are some of the best of my travels because it's then that I experience more of the place I'm visiting.
But seriously, you won't spend more than a few days solo unless you purposely avoid people. There is no need to take a pre-booked organized tour - they're expensive and not necessary. South East Asia is full of areas where backpackers gather and meeting people is easy. A good place to start is Kaoh San Road in Bangkok. It's an area loaded with hotels, restaurants, travel agents etc, and a meeting place for backpackers. Around the region there are also many other towns there travelers gather - Siem Reap, Nha Trang, Vang Vieng, Chaing Mai, Pai, and of course any of the Islands in Southern Thailand, just to name a few.
Many people dislike the backpacker buses that circle the region (and especially the ones out of Bangkok), but they are a great way of meeting people. I've taken countless rides on tourist buses and just about every time I've arrived at my destination with a new friend(s) to search for accommodation with, have a few drinks with, and maybe do some sightseeing with.
While I said there is no need for an all inclusive long tour, I do recommend taking some day, or short multi-day tours booked locally when you arrive. There are many of these, for example - Floating Markets in Bangkok; jungle/village treks in Chiang Mai, Sapa, or Kanchanaburi; boat/snorkelling trips on the Islands or Nha Trang; Mekong Delta; Halong Bay etc.... There are great ways to meet people just like you and usually lots of fun.
As for your age, it's perfect for traveling. Last year when I was 29 in Thailand solo I found it just as easy to meet people as I did when I was 22 and traveling solo.

Hope this helps. Don't worry about a thing, you'll have lots of fun.

5. Posted by jjhunt (Budding Member 7 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Thanks for your tips and really excited, think i just needed some reassurance from people who have done it. Thanks again.

6. Posted by pointless (Budding Member 33 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

You'll probably find yourself meeting and talking to backpackers like yourself who are also doing their own bit of adventure and end up travelling with them... and with more as you go on your way... So don't worry much about it... though I also suggest to take your time alone in a few of your travels so you can venture more on your own and familiarize yourself with the locals.... The whole point of travelling is experiencing a totally different kind of world right, so don't be afraid to be alone (without the company of any person who can speak your language), and find yourself socializing and singing a song with the local people! Karaoke is a very popular past time here! You'll find that out soon!

7. Posted by Jennyyore (Budding Member 66 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

I have found that when visiting SEA I get chatting to loads of travellers who are on their own.

Every time you meet someone you just seem to chat about your plans, where you have been etc. It is great.
In Vietnam we travelled the length of the country and so many times we bumped into travellers that we had met a few days ago doing the same as us.

We met some Australian girls on a boat trip to Halong Bay, a few days later we met up again in Hoi An about 350 miles away. That happened to loads of people we met.

Get to the hotel and book your trips, you meet people on the excurtions.


8. Posted by tanjaradet (Budding Member 10 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Don't worry, I am a female, just come back from Sumatra, been there 4 weeks and had wonerful time with local people. In february I was in Laos, also alone and it was great. Nothing bookeed in advance.
So, just go and enjoy!