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5 spots for solo travellers

These destinations fit the bill for those deciding to travel alone


The Straits Times


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NEW YORK • Solo travel, among other benefits, means never having to compromise on your plans.


However, some destinations, by virtue of language, ease of transport, expense or level of hospitality, are often easier-going than others.


Here are five spots that fit the bill.




For adventure travellers, Iceland offers rugged mountain hikes, thermal pools and whale-watching. "Iceland is one of my favourite countries for solo travellers," says Mr Matt Kepnes, who blogs about travel at Nomadic Matt, a website.


"The locals are friendly and welcoming to outsiders" and he adds that "it's the safest country in the world, so you don't have to worry about crime".




In about the same time it takes to fly from New York to Los Angeles, you could be drinking a Guinness in Ireland instead.


"Dublin is perfect for first-time solo travellers," says Mr Robert Firpo-Cappiello, editor-in-chief of Budget Travel, a digital magazine.


"It is a quick flight, English is spoken everywhere, the city is easily navigable and the locals are incredibly welcoming and helpful," he adds.


The Irish love their pubs and no one will look sideways at a single traveller at Davy Byrnes, where the fictional Leopold Bloom of James Joyce's Ulysses drank.


Tours abound. See the city the sporty way with Sight Jogging Dublin Tours.




Thailand bundles unique culture, beautiful beaches and great value.


In South-east Asia, Budget Travel magazine's Mr Firpo-Cappiello says "the travel infrastructure is solid and many of our readers have reported that they had an easy time getting around and meeting other solo travellers and that English was spoken widely".


Bangkok is a natural starting point and the gateway to the beaches to the south or hill country to the north. The nation's affordability is a big draw.


"It is inexpensive, so you can stay in luxury hotels for less than US$50 (S$71) a night as well as bungalows on the beach," said Ms Lisa Imogen Eldridge, who blogs about solo travel at GirlabouttheGlobe, a website.


"Street food is fantastic and costs less than US$2 for pad thai," she says.




With its relaxed West Coast vibe, diverse population, temperate climate and accessibility to natural attractions, Vancouver might be Canada's most solo-friendly city.


For sporty types, Vancouver has a temperate rainforest within city limits in Stanley Park.


Otherwise, you can hike up the Grouse Grind path near Grouse Mountain.


The city's food scene draws on the bounty of the Pacific Ocean and the province's eastern Okanagan wine country.


Do a progressive feast at Granville Island Public Market or hit trendy Yaletown and emerging Gastown for everything from oyster bars to a First Nations teahouse, serving herbal teas from Canada's indigenous people.




If you are looking for a beach adventure, look past the honeymoon- and family-focused all-inclusive resorts that line the Caribbean coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, also known as the Riviera Maya, and make your base the bustling town of Playa del Carmen. It has its own beach and also offers quick trips via ferry to Cozumel to snorkel the Mesoamerican Reef.


By night, Playa, as it is called, offers loads of entertainment, including open-air restaurants, beachfront dance clubs and shops lining the pedestrian-only Quinta Avenida that stay open late.


Types of accommodation run from thrifty off-the-beach inns to grand beachfront resorts. Travellers bound for the Riviera Maya fly through Cancun, where the average ticket from the United States is down 12 per cent from last year to US$310 (S$442) for a round-trip, according to airfare prediction app Hopper.




Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.


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