PLAN SOLO: 5 Places to Travel Alone
There’s a feeling I get when I’m travelling. A buzz. A rush. An overwhelming sense of excitement. It’ll come up from the depth of my being and beam from my face in an unstoppable smile. I could be staggering down a mountain in the Himalayas, perched on a rock looking for dolphins in the Mekong River or cruising along a desert highway in Rajasthan. But I’m always alone, far from home and in a strange new place.
The sense of adventure and achievement is concentrated when you travel alone. And the feeling of solitude is one of life’s great pleasures. You don’t have to be on a mountain top in the middle of nowhere to achieve it. You can be alone in a crowded place. Just remove yourself from your comfort zone and head somewhere new and exciting where you know nobody, you can learn an awful lot about yourself.
Here are a few great destinations to travel alone.
From the rugged coastline of Big Sur to the giant trees of the Redwood National Park, northern California has more than enough spots for the solo traveller to wander among nature’s wonders. And the friendly bohemian vibe of the iconic city of San Francisco is a great place to meet people. Your drive beneath the famous red arches of the Golden Gate Bridge will be a moment to remember.
Most people that visit Thailand head straight south to the islands. A real shame. The 2nd city of Chiang Mai in the north is a relaxing experience compared to the metropolis of Bangkok. The locals are far less jaded by tourists in the north and are even friendlier. While the pleasant green mountains to the northwest have a calming effect on the soul. The route 1095 in the beautiful Mae Hong Son province, through fragrant valleys and sleepy hill tribe towns and villages is one of the most inspiring in all of South East Asia.
If it’s the solitude of mountains and unspoilt countryside you’re looking for you don’t even have to go far. The Highlands of Scotland are on your doorstep. Take a map, pick some scenic roads like the route from Ullapool to Durness or the A93 through the Cairngormes National Park and enjoy the ride.
To the south west of New Delhi, Rajasthan is India’s largest state. Covering large swathes of desert land, the normally chaotic Indian roads give way to lonely dust-covered highways. It can feel like stepping back in time to the age of the Rajputs, where impressive forts dominate the skylines of the colourful pink and blue painted cities and gypsy caravans still take to the desert roads. Sacred lakes and holy towns add a mystical feel to the land where Rudyard Kipling was inspired to write Kim.
Iceland’s 830-mile Route 1 ring road is worth taking your time with. Making a complete circuit of the island from Reykjavik and back again it takes in many of the country’s unique and spectacular scenic sites. Stop off to enjoy waterfalls, glaciers, thermal springs and lagoons. It’s a perfect place to immerse yourself in a strange and beautiful landscape.