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Traveling on your own is nothing to be afraid of, but some places are better suited to going it alone. Our experts pick their top destinations for a solo adventure…

Australia by Haley

Australia is renowned for the warmth of its people, making it an ideal location for solo adventurers looking to explore its manifold natural highlights. The Great Barrier Reef, situated off the coast of Queensland, is one such highlight. Base yourself in the relaxed, coastal town of Port Douglas for easy access to the reef and its top snorkeling and diving spots.

If you’re looking to avoid the crowds, you may wish to embark on an afternoon cruise to the Low Isles. Sailing over by luxury catamaran, you’ll have opportunities to snorkel, enjoy a glass bottom boat cruise, and relax on the white sands of an island cay, before heading back to town for canapes at sunset.

 Great Barrier Reef, Australia
The Great Barrier Reef
Daintree & Cape Tribulation, Queensland
Daintree Forest

The Shantara Resort & Spa is a convenient stay for those going it alone, since it’s just a few minutes’ walk off Macrossan Street, the town’s main drag. Here, you’ll have access to shops, restaurants, and bars, along with the marina. You’re also close to the golden sands of Four Mile Beach.

To the northwest, Port Douglas borders the ancient ecosystems of the Daintree Rainforest, which has been home to the Kuku Yulanji people for millennia. I suggest taking a small group tour here to learn about how the culture and landscapes of the region. It is also a great way to make friends.

Aiming to get off the beaten track? Head to the Kimberley in northwest Australia, a region where Outback meets coastline. You’ll fly into the station town of Kununurra, though I recommend staying at El Questro Wilderness Park, which has hiking and 4x4 trips. Make sure to spend a day exploring the Bungle Bungles in Purnululu National Park, as these tessellated rock formations are truly beguiling.

South Africa by Alec

The diversity and modernity of Cape Town make it a fantastic experience for anyone exploring alone. As well as being home to landmarks such as Table Mountain and Robben Island, it’s fast becoming one of the world’s trendiest cities. Markets run by young entrepreneurs are on the rise, and the culinary scene is bursting with new talent. A private walking tour with a local guide gives you a chance to meet local vendors while they prepare customary dishes such as vetkoek (fried dough bread filled with Cape Malay curry) for you to enjoy.

I also recommend a visit to the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa in Cape Town’s newly developed Silo District. You can browse its collection of contemporary African art at your leisure, and it features the work of some of the continent’s best artists.

Residential streets of Bo-Kaap, Cape Town
Residential streets of Bo-Kaap, Cape Town
Leopard in Sabi Sand Wildtuin
Leopard, Sabi Sands Game Reserve

After a few days in Cape Town, I suggest spending some time in the bush. A safari offers the opportunity to meet other guests over shared meal times and wildlife drives, but you can also enjoy some time to yourself during the day. Sabi Sands Game Reserve, a private reserve located within Kruger National Park, is home to all of the Big Five. It also features some of the best safd tari lodges and guides in Africa. I like Notten’s Bush Camp, an owner-run property that offers an authentic and rustic African bush experience, alongside excellent hospitality.

During your stay, you’ll head out on twice-daily wildlife drives. But you can also see animals from camp: the waterhole close to the property’s deck is known for attracting large herds of elephants. Dinners are another highlight — you join other guests around a communal table, sharing tales from your drives and comparing wildlife sightings while enjoying local dishes and wines.

Colombia by Rachel

Colombia is back on many people’s radars, and Colombians themselves are as hospitable as ever. This means that, in this part of South America, a solo explorer will never truly be alone — unless they purposely seek out their own quiet moments. I recommend the Caribbean coast, where you can divide your time between vibrant fiestas and quieter nights spent under the stars.

Head first to Tayrona National Park, where the snow-blanched Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountain range slopes toward a carpet of jungle abutting the sea. On jungle and beach walks here, you might see cotton-top tamarins and blue-tailed skinks. Just outside of Tayrona National Park are the Cayena Beach Villas, staying here allows for easy access to the park and rugged coastline, plus a pool, yoga studio, and shaded hammocks.

Tayrona National Park, Colombia
Tayrona National Park
Palenquera lady in Cartagena
Palenquera lady in Cartagena

After a few days of rejuvenation, I suggest heading to Cartagena. This Spanish colonial walled city is a bewilderment of cobbled streets — sporadically overtaken by a spontaneous salsa party — and buildings with façades painted in acid-bright shades. Make like the locals and sit with a cold Aguila beer in hand, perched on the old city walls overlooking the sea. Snorkeling trips to the Rosario Islands leave daily from the city, or take a Caribbean cooking class at one of the best restaurants in the city.

Thailand by Mary

Thailand’s appeal not only derives from the beauty of its beaches and the richness in culture, but also its uncanny ability to appeal to a wide variety of people. Chiang Mai, Thailand’s second-largest city, is one of the areas I like to visit most.

At the heart of the city is a 16th-century old quarter, marked by a chunky city wall. Here, I joined the locals and spent time strolling around the steaming street food stalls and handicraft bazars.

Within Chiang Mai’s Old Town lies Tamarind Village hotel, an oasis for any solo explorer looking for a prime location, great value, and welcoming staff.

Full Moon restaurant, Anantara Bophut Koh Samui Resort
Anantara BoPhut, Koh Samui
Big Buddha at Koh Samui, Thailand
Big Buddha Temple, Koh Samui

Depending on the time of year, I suggest catching a flight onward to Koh Samui. From rum distilleries to the Big Buddha Temple, there’s a lot to do on this beach-fringed island. You can also take a small-group boat trip to nearby Koh Tao to dive among barracudas and turtles.

The Anantara BoPhut is located on BoPhut Beach and has a relaxed ambiance suited to those exploring on their own. You’re also a short walk from Fisherman’s Village, which comes to life each Friday evening with a popular market that sells everything from street-food snacks to one-of-a-kind handicrafts.

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