Luckily solo traveling in Southeast Asia in general is usually easy. It’s a great place to get started on the solo travel journey due to the cheapness of traveling there, the ease with which one can get around, and the friendly locals and fellow solo travelers.
Kuta Lombok, Indonesia
Kuta Lombok is nothing like its loud, seedy neighbor, Kuta, Bali. This laid back surfer town is super chill, and it’s the perfect jumping off point for some incredible beaches. Though still pretty quiet and laid back compared to Bali, which I find hectic, Kuta is the most popular hangout on Lombok which makes it great for solo travelers.
Meet people by taking a surf class, head to Mana Yoga for a yoga class, join a waterfall tour, or just hang out in one of the many cafes. For more on Kuta, check out my full guide here for the best beaches, hotels, and restaurants.
2) Siargao, Philippines
Like Kuta, Siargao is a surfer town and whenever a place attracts people for a sport or shared interest, it tends to bring in a lot of solo travelers. Even if you’re not into surfing, there are plenty of activities in Siargao from Sugba Lagoon, to the rock pools and the joy of just getting on a motorbike and going for a ride.
I met other solo travelers on day trips and we hung out thereafter, exploring different parts of the island and enjoying the endless coconut groves. Read more about the best things to do in Siargao here.
3) Phong Nha Ke Bang, Vietnam
This town is so small, there’s really only a few places to stay, and most visitors congregate in the evenings at Easy Tiger Hostel regardless of where they lay their heads. A group was easily formed the night I arrived to motorbike around the park the following day. We departed the next morning flying like a V in a gaggle eight strong.
What also really stood out to me was how many friendly waves, smiles, and peace signs we got from the locals as we drove by. It’s so nice to feel so welcomed somewhere you’ve never been before.
4) Pai, Thailand
One thing that makes me love Pai so much is how many interesting, spiritual, and fun-loving people I meet there. Jack Kerouac might call them Dharma Bums.
It’s hard not to love a place where local kids are jumping into the waterfalls right after you, where Thai Captain Jack Sparrow hangs out under a bridge, and the local beauty is still wild yet accessible. There’s reason why I have been back twice in the past two years – it’s just a nice place to be.
5) Gili Air, Indonesia
I’ve been to the Gilis off the coast of Lombok three times now and each time I have a blast. Gili Trawangan is the most popular and has a well-deserved reputation as a party island, but its neighbor Gili Air gives you a bit more room to breathe. It has a more chilled out vibe while still being social. This small island also has gorgeous beaches and vibrant under-water life. Though more of a tourist island that doesn’t offer much local interaction, it’s a nice stop to relax and have some fun between trekking in Java or climbing Rinjani in Lombok.