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Solo Travel Holiday Destination-SE Asia: Every summer I start thinking about Christmas and New Year’s looking for the best solo travel packages to avoid the dreaded “Home Alone for the Holidays”. I have found one of the best travel options for singles is via a river cruise abroad. It is ideal for having a set group of new friends to have meals with and go on daily tours while having the chance for private time alone.
One year I went upriver on the Amazon. The next I booked the Mekong Delta in combination with solo travel packages in Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand. To me, this is the best way to experience adventure vacations for singles with time spent independent and time with a group for dinner and sightseeing.
Why the Mekong Delta?
I was already excited about the prospect of spending New Year’s Eve in Phnom Penh when I made my way through the package to some little known (at least to me), facts about the Mekong Delta:
- One of the world’s most beautiful rivers, the Mekong is only river that changes direction twice a year. River cruise conditions also change with the seasons – the water level can rise significantly within just a few hours during the rainy Monsoon season and quickly drop during the dry season. The water level is often lower January-August and higher around September.
- The Mekong is a major trading route linking China’s southwestern province of Yunnan to Laos, Burma (Myanmar) and Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia.
- Glowing spheres of light are observable from time to time rising from the water’s surface in certain parts of the river. These are sometimes referred to as “Naga fireballs” or “Mekong lights.” The locals attribute the phenomenon to Phaya Naga, or “Mekong Dragons.”
- The Mekong is the world’s 12th-longest river at 2,600 miles. It is the largest river in Southeast Asia.
- The river forms the border between Laos and Burma (Myanmar) and most of the border between Laos and Thailand.
- The earliest known civilization along the Mekong dates to the 1st century A.D. The first European to explore the river was Portugal’s Antonio de Faria, in 1540.
- The name Mekong derives from Mae Nam in the Thai language, meaning “Mother of Water.”
- Previously 145 new species were identified in the Mekong region, including two new bird species, five mammals, 96 plants, six new amphibians, and 29 fish species previously unknown to science.
- The Mekong has more large fish than any other river, including the Mekong giant catfish, which can weigh up to 660 lbs. and grows to be almost 10 feet.”
Choosing this solo travel holiday destination-SE Asia was perfect for me. clearly was one of the best vacations of my lifetime and for singles, going alone but not having to “go it alone”.
For all the details on a Mekong River Cruise, check these out:
See our “River Cruises: Europe and Asia” for more great information on river cruise options in Asia and Europe.
Solo Trekker 4 U: Personal insights and recommendations from Founder, Elizabeth Avery:
For those of us in North America, our first thought is how really far away Asia is. Just thinking about the long, long flight can be daunting. Next, the diverse numbers of languages can give a solo traveler pause. The good news is that Asia is a warm and welcoming solo travel destination. English is widely spoken, and it felt safe for me as a solo female traveler. In any case, it is important, whether at home and in any location abroad, to use good judgment. This is true even though I love adventure, having explored the world alone, including navigating the swine flu and cholera epidemics and dodged feasting crocodiles. However, I always look for lodging with a full service restaurant to avoid foraging for dinner in unfamiliar places after dark, and book a reliable pick-up for my arrival.
Some more of our lessons learned:
- Connecting flights between counties require processing through passport control and/or customs. Allow for time lost. Worse yet connections even within the same carrier’s system may be at opposite ends of the airport.
- With the amount of flying time required, consider spending the night at an airport motel.
- Check visa requirements carefully. For example, if you are on a river cruise, you may cross a second international. This is true traveling between Cambodia and Vietnam.
- While the climate is generally warm, modest dress is appropriate for both men and women. In royal palaces, houses of worship and other certain public monuments, you may need to have head covering, a long skirt and/or shawl. In one case, my guide found my Capri pants at mid-calf too short. I went back and changed into blue jeans. That passed the test! Some locations will offer “loaners” for your visit. Do be prepared for real temperature drops either at night or en route. Coming from Southeast Asia, I almost froze traveling home through Beijing. Air China arrived on the tarmac in 40 plus degree weather with no Jetway and a plane full of tee shirt and flip-flop clad tourists shivering.
- I recommend packing socks. Why is that? If you need to remove your shoes going into certain buildings, the stones or other flooring can be hot. They are also a good way to dodge mosquitoes of other unwanted insects as needed.
- Watch out for wet markets and/or petting or getting too close to undomesticated animals. In addition, even many pets may not have had rabies vaccinations.
- Many of the authentic attractions may be hard to reach or require access from the water.
While all of SE Asia has great solo travel deals, for really cheap single travel deals, try enchanting Cambodia.
For our personal recommendations from past holiday trips, see: