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Posts Tagged ‘Bali’

10 destinations perfect for solo travel

america

The notion of travelling solo can be a daunting one for the first-timer, raising a number of unsettling questions: will I be safe? What route should I follow? Who will take photos of me staring off into the distance atop scenic vantage points?

A major factor in mastering the art of solo travel is selecting the right destination. Whether it be a multi-country trip or a city break, some regions are more suited to the solo-travel experience than others; but with a plethora of possibilities, it’s hard to know where to start.

Fortunately, we’ve compiled a list of 10 sure-fire destinations for lone travellers, categorised by interest. So whether you’re into raves, reiki, cycling or sightseeing, these spots are certain to ensure your solo-travel experience starts off on the right foot.

Editor’s note: Please check the latest travel restrictions before planning any trip and always follow government advice.

An epic solo adventure in South America

Best for adventure: South America

With mountains to climb, rivers to raft, ancient ruins to uncover and jungles to explore, South America is the ultimate adventure destination. Don’t let its size daunt you – South America is more conducive to solo travel than you may think.

The well-worn Gringo Trail, which encompasses the continent’s most popular destinations along a vertical path, promotes recurring rendezvous with fellow adventurers and, for those inclined, provides ample opportunities to buddy up with travellers heading in the same direction. This, paired with the general warmth of local people and the continent’s premium hostel network, makes travel relatively simple, leaving you to focus your anxieties on the likelihood of long-dormant El Misti erupting during your morning ascent.

Pura Taman Saraswati temple in Ubud, Bali. Ubud’s ubiquitous temples add to the town’s spiritual feel © Sytilin Pavel / Shutterstock

Best for self-reflection: Ubud, Indonesia

Whether you loved or loathed Elizabeth Gilbert’s seminal solo travel memoir Eat, Pray, Love, there’s no denying it: Bali’s artistic and spiritual centre – where the author found love (and presumably ate and prayed) – remains a wonderful place for solo travellers to relax, reflect and recharge.

Nestled among emerald rice fields ringed by mist-wrapped mountains, Ubud is a magical place. Solo travel is extremely common here, meaning no more probing glances upon arrival at a morning yoga class or when dining at one of the town’s salubrious vegetarian cafes. To really harness the healing power of Ubud (and for some serious solitude), check yourself into one of the many health retreats that dot the verdant hills surrounding the town.

Revellers congregating on the banks of the Spree River at dusk in Berlin Mitte districtBerlin’s diverse nightlife draws partygoers from around the world © canadastock / Shutterstock

Best for nightlife: Berlin, Germany

Some say you are more likely to get into Berghain, Berlin’s most famous nightclub, if you arrive alone. Whether or not that’s the case, the rumour typifies the German capital’s penchant for solo travellers, who are drawn by its deserved reputation as one of the friendliest, most inclusive cities in Europe.

Of course Berlin is currently the place to party, offering a collection of colossal clubs and graffiti-bespattered beer gardens, but the city’s attractions aren’t reserved for the hedonistic holidaymaker. The sense of history surrounds you, from the Brandenburg Gate to the Holocaust Memorial, while quirky cafes, cool boutiques, weekend flea markets and a growing food cart scene offer more leisurely delights; visit alone or as part of a walking tour.

A lion cub snoozes on a fallen tree trunk in the Serengeti National ParkA small group tour can really take the stress out of a trip to East Africa © Yury Birukov / Shutterstock

Best for a group tour: East Africa

Have you always dreamed of viewing gorillas in the jungles of Rwanda, meeting a Maasai chief in Kenya, or spotting the “Big Five” in Tanzania – but lack the confidence to tackle East Africa independently? A group tour can simplify the experience of visiting this vast, stunning, region of the world.

While East Africa’s tourism infrastructure is well developed and travelling solo in most countries here is perfectly achievable, opting for a group tour means you can bundle in a number of big animal-viewing experiences together in multiple countries, without getting hit by lone-traveller supplements – not to mention having the transport between them (often in energy-sapping temperatures) organised for you.

Encompassing a number of bucket-list destinations, the tours attract a diverse group of travellers, meaning you’re unlikely to be the only solo traveller sandwiched between canoodling couples.

View from the walkway on The Supertree Grove at Gardens by the Bay, SingaporeThe otherworldly Gardens by the Bay is one of many Singapore sights suited to solo exploration © FuuTaMin / Shutterstock

Best for a solo stopover: Singapore

With a plethora of cultural attractions to explore, a growing offering of city hostels and one of the world’s best public transport systems (including excellent airport links), there are few more stress-free solo travel experiences than finding yourself in Singapore on a sunny afternoon.

Whether you choose to amble with an audio guide through the Chinatown Heritage Centre, gawp at the otherworldly Gardens by the Bay or plunge into a lavish rooftop pool, the city feels well-suited to solo travel. And then there’s the food; the city is famed for its hawker stalls, where visitors and locals nudge elbows around rickety tables, bonding over bowls of steaming laksa (spicy noodle soup).

Interior of Rome's Colosseum with crowds of tourists Rome’s Colosseum draws approximately 14 million tourists to this cultural hub each year © Marco Rubino / Shutterstock

Best for culture: Rome, Italy

From ancient icons like the Colosseum and the Roman Forum to the towering masterpiece of Renaissance architecture that is St Peter’s Basilica, Rome’s cityscape is a kaleidoscopic canvas of artistic flair, architectural wonderment and historical marvels.

Whether you’re visiting for two days or two months, there’s so much to see that there’s little risk of becoming bored, and, though English is not by any means ubiquitous, it’s hard to feel lonely among the 14 million-odd other tourists that visit this cultural hub each year. But don’t spread your itinerary too finely, as Rome rewards relaxation; mingling with strangers over a glass of vino is an essential pastime in The Eternal City.

A young woman orders food from a food cart pod in Portland, Oregon.Portland’s numerous food carts offer a sociable dining experience © RyanJLane / Getty Images

Best for an all-round city break: Portland, Oregon

One of America’s coolest cities, Portland has all the cultural advantages of a major metropolis, but the intimacy of a small town. This sense of affability reverberates from the town’s urban wineries, microbreweries and coffee roasters, where conversation flows quicker than the drinks are poured.

But there’s plenty more to this bastion of counterculture than its love of a good chinwag, with a host of whimsical attractions highlighting its quirky streak, from a museum dedicated to vacuum cleaners to an urban herd of goats. It’s also a cinch to navigate, with good public transport and a bike-share initiative. And while the city is famous for its artisan restaurants, a more social – and undeniably more fun – way to dine is at one of the city’s 500 street food carts.

Epic solo travel experience: Exploring the Alberta Arts District; time your visit to coincide with the Last Thursday art walk.
Additional reading: Portland’s best summer festivals

Overhead view of street market in Can Tho, VietnamVietnam’s culinary pedigree is a major draw for foodie travellers © Alexander Frais / 500px

Best for food: Vietnam

Don’t tell Thailand, but if only one Southeast Asian food nation can be crowned the crème de la crème, it’s Vietnam. Subtle in its flavours and outstanding in its diversity, Vietnamese cooking is a huge draw for travellers, who’re lured into lingering at cramped tables swapping travel tales over a fifth plate of bánh cuốn (rice batter filled with ground pork, mushroom, and shallots).

Vietnam for solo travellers

All over the country, you can mingle with villagers, sample local dishes and sip rice wine in Vietnam’s many regional markets, while a myriad of street-food tours and cooking schools foster social environments in major cities. Those seeking respite from the crowds should make for the hill treks around Sapa (fear not, voracious voyagers – a pho is never far away).

Palm trees and colourful houses line one of Caye Caulker's sandy beachesCaye Caulker’s relaxed, backpacker vibe makes it perfect for solo sunseekers © Simon Velazquez / 500px

Best for a tropical island escape: Caye Caulker, Belize

Enchanting atolls aren’t reserved for honeymooners; pastel-hued, car-free Caye Caulker has always been a great place for solo travellers thanks to its compact size and easy-going, backpacker-friendly vibe, which draws a relaxed, international crowd in search of a slice of paradise.

It’s easy to lose days lounging at The Split, the island’s premier beach, but there are plenty of other activities on offer, from snorkelling and diving over variegated reefs, to kayaking to lesser-visited parts of the island – keeping a beady eye out for crocs! Join other travellers at local reggae bars during the afternoon happy hour before sampling Creole-style street food come nightfall; arguably the greatest blessing of solo travel? You don’t have to share your shrimps.

Action shot of car driving along a sandy beach on Fraser Island, Queensland, AustraliaExploring Australia’s East Coast on four wheels can help solo travellers get off the beaten path © Holger Mette / Getty Images

Best for road-tripping: East Coast Australia

It’s difficult to explore the East Coast of Australia alone; so many travellers plough the snaking stretch of road that runs from Sydney to Cairns – seduced, in part, by stories of late-night revelry – that solitude is often harder to find than companionship.

But it’s not just the good-time vibe that makes this stretch of coastline so spectacular. The classic road trip route is studded with bucket-list attractions, whether that be lolling on Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach, rambling through the ancient Daintree Rainforest or bobbing in the Great Barrier Reef. Though the most memorable moments will likely come from interactions with locals in coastal towns and windswept villages, or simply the cathartic sight of the single road stretching out ahead of you.

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This article was first published in November 2017 and last updated in December 2020.

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Best Places to Travel in Autumn

Alba

Autumn is one of my favorite times of year. The changing leaves, the chill in the air, and the promise of cozy evenings by the fire ease the transition from summer to winter. If you love the fall season and want to see it at its best, today I bring you my 9 best places to travel in autumn.

Best Places to Travel in Autumn

Best Places to Travel in Autumn

Best Places to Travel in Autumn

The world has no shortage of amazing places to see fall colors, sit by a fire, or indulge in the best of the year’s harvest. So if you’re wondering where to travel in autumn, read on.

Autumn in Hampstead Heath, London

Autumn in Hampstead Heath, London

1. New England, USA

New England is famous for its fall colors, and the leaves in this part of the world are hard to beat. It tops my list of the best places to travel in autumn for good reason.

One of my favorite things about going to university in Rhode Island was the abundance of fall foliage in New England. It was amazing to see the colors change on campus every September.

The drive from Providence to Boston was gorgeous, and a backpacking trip in the White Mountains of New Hampshire was one of my most memorable college travel experiences.

Autumn Leaves

Autumn Leaves

2. Burgundy, France

Across the Atlantic Ocean, France’s Burgundy is another great place to visit in fall. Why? Autumn means one thing in wine country: harvest.

It’s a great time to visit Burgundy to see the grapes coming off the vines and revel in the buzz of activity.

This part of France is also beautiful during the autumn season, so it’s an ideal time to hop in a car (or on a bike) and cruise through the vineyards.

Grapes in Burgundy, France

Grapes in Burgundy, France

3. San Francisco, California, USA

Don’t let San Francisco fool you. This Californian city may seem like the perfect summer travel destination, but locals know it’s at its best in fall.

As the summer fog burns off, San Francisco becomes one of the best places to travel in autumn. September and October tend to have the best weather of the year, not to mention fewer crowds.

That means autumn is the best time to hit the beach, bike across the Golden Gate Bridge, and do all the other fun outdoor activities San Francisco has to offer.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California

4. Patagonia, Chile

The Southern Hemisphere’s spring is a great time to visit Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park. It’s full of everything from mountain peaks to icy glaciers and adorable guanacos.

With fewer crowds than the peak summer season and better chances of seeing wildlife and avoiding harsh winds, November is a great time to visit Patagonia. There are good travel deals to be found at this time of year, too.

Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

5. New Forest, UK

England’s New Forest is another of the best places to travel in autumn. This area of pasture land, heath, and forest in Hampshire and Wiltshire is stunning when the leaves turn.

I’ll never forget my first trip to the New Forest in autumn. The colors on the leaves were so bright that I thought I had stepped into a dream.

Southern England’s gem of a wilderness is the perfect place to be ensconced in fall foliage, and easy to visit on an autumn day trip from London.

Autumn Leaves in the New Forest, England

Autumn Leaves in the New Forest, England

6. Alba, Italy

One of my best foodie trips in Europe was the one I took to the White Truffle Festival in Alba, Italy. Every autumn this pretty town in Piedmont comes alive with the scent of the season.

White truffles fill the air, the plates, and the shops as visitors from all over the world come to celebrate the delicacy. Make sure to arrive hungry!

Church in Alba, Italy

Church in Alba, Italy

7. Bali, Indonesia

Out in Asia, one of the best places to travel in autumn is Bali. September and October are great months to visit, as the peak summer crowds are gone and the climate is still friendly.

From the coastal beaches to the inland rice fields, the island is ripe for exploration in the fall. It’s also a great place to get one last dose of sun and sand before winter sets in back home.

Hotel Tugu, Bali, Indonesia

Hotel Tugu, Bali, Indonesia

8. Paso Robles, California, USA

If you prefer New World wines to old, Paso Robles is your ideal autumn travel destination. The fall colors are heavy on the vines, the harvest is in full swing, and California’s golden autumn sunshine is pretty much guaranteed.

Better yet, this wine region is less touristy than Napa so you won’t have to jostle for space in the tasting rooms. And don’t even get me started on how amazing Paso Robles winery weddings are in autumn.

Paso Robles Winery Sculpture

Paso Robles Winery Sculpture

9. South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

South Luangwa National Park in eastern Zambia is the perfect place for a safari in September or October. I went once in October and saw more wildlife than I’ve seen on any other safari in Africa (and I’ve done a few!).

The sheer volume and diversity of species blew me away, as did the fact that I could watch the elephants out the window of my room. This is truly a unique part of the world.

Zebras, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

Zebras, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

Places to Travel in Autumn

I hope you’ve enjoyed this guide to where to go in autumn. There are so many great places to travel in fall that I’m sure they’ll keep your schedule packed this season and for many more to come.

If you’re looking for inspiration for travel in Britain this season, you can take a look at my blog post about the best places to visit in the UK in autumn.

What about you? What do you think are the best places to travel in autumn?

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Best Places to Travel in Autumn

Best Places to Travel in Autumn

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The 10 trendiest destinations you should visit around the world in 2019

The 10 trendiest destinations you should visit around the world in 2019

It might be less than a week into 2019, but it’s never too early to start mapping out your travel plans for the new year. And don’t worry if you’re unsure of where to go.

Travel website Kayak recently shared its list of the top trending travel destinations for 2019. The search engine analyzed more than 1.5 billion annual travel searches to find its data, and then compiled everything from hotel prices to weather statistics for each location.

Spanning the globe from Mexico to Indonesia, these are the 10 trendiest travel spots of 2019, according to Kayak.

10. Munich, Germany, will trend among tourists who love to view historic sights in the daytime, and indulge in fast-paced nightlife in the evening.

Marienplatz, the city’s central square, is one of Munich’s most popular spots.

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Popular art galleries like SPERLING and Deborah Schamoni are likely to thank for the recent 34% increase in searches for Munich.

9. Known for its beautiful beaches and daring hiking trails, Maui, Hawaii, has something for every type of traveler.

Kaanapali Beach hosts a daily cliff diving ceremony on its Puu Kekaa cliffs.

dronepicr/Flickr

If you’re hoping to travel from the island’s resorts to its museums and beaches, Kayak recommends renting a car. Of course, the island is large, and seeing Maui in its entirety might be difficult, but doing so will help you understand why searches for the spot have increased by 35%.

8. Rome, Italy, has seen a 39% increase in searches, likely thanks to its rich history and opportunities for sightseeing.

Rome is abundant with historic churches and ancient ruins.

bennymarty/iStock

If you choose Rome as your destination of choice this year, don’t be surprised to find a “service tax” on your receipt when dining. Tipping is not customary in Italy, so the fee is added in its place, according to Kayak.

7. Paris, France, continues to be one of the most highly searched travel destinations.

Kayak recommends visiting the Eiffel Tower and the Palace of Versailles.

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The city is full of exceptional shopping, dining, and art, so it’s no surprise that Paris has recently garnered a 41% search increase from travelers.

5. With a 43% increase in searches, Guadalajara, Mexico is one of two Mexican cities to make Kayak’s list.

Hotels in Guadalajara are fairly inexpensive, sometimes costing as little as $72 per night.

Luis Alvarado Alvarado/Shutterstock

The family-friendly city is home to book stores, galleries, and cafes, all of which stock high-quality items for surprisingly low prices, according to Kayak.

4. The Bahamas may be known for its dolphins and pink beaches, but the country has seen a 45% search increase thanks to its more underrated spots.

The country’s beaches are perfect for a relaxing getaway.

byvalet / Shutterstock

Instead of paying the 15% gratuity that most restaurants will charge, Kayak recommends visiting the farmer’s markets found throughout Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas.

3. Coffee fanatics are responsible for Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, becoming a trendy vacation spot.

The Vietnamese city has some excellent street food options.

Prasit Rodphan / Shutterstock

At places like the Du Mien Garden Coffee shop, visitors sip their drinks while enjoying the location’s waterfalls and pools. The local business is one of many establishments that has boosted Ho Chi Minh’s searches by 49%.

2. Searches for Bali, Indonesia, have increased by 65% in recent months.

The trendy city is home to stunning nature views and high-end restaurants.

Thomas Depenbusch (Depi) / Flickr

Visitors of Bali have a lot of entertainment options, ranging from clubs, to resorts, and luxurious restaurants like Padi Fine Dining.

1. Mexico City, Mexico, tops the list with a 73% search increase, becoming the trendiest travel destination for 2019.

The city’s architecture is extremely colorful.

WitR/Shutterstock

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