Is Asia safe for women to solo travel?
Solo travel, in particular for women, is on the rise. Their most favourite destinations - Southeast Asia! More than 8 million solo travelers visit this beautiful bouquet of islands & heritage every year for both holiday or business.
Just for context - that's about 2xBalis or 1xBangkok hopping across the region all by themselves. Naturally, the travel bug compels them to connect with locals and fellow travelers to make their experience that much more special. We started Solopacker to make this connection more trusted & convenient.
But is there really a need for a more trusted way to find travel buddies? Isn't #Asia pretty safe for women to solo travel? The devil, literally, is in the details.
In April 2019, the body of 26-year-old German backpacker Miriam Beelte was found on Koh Si Chang, an island in the Gulf of Thailand - she had been raped and murdered. Same month, Malaysian newspaper the New Straits Times reported that two female Chinese tourists claimed to have been molested by their dive instructor last month while diving off the coast of Semporna, on the island of Borneo. Ahead of last year's Songkran celebrations in Thailand, the Women and Men Progressive Movement Foundation published the results of a survey it had conducted in which 60 per cent of female respondents said they had been groped during the annual three-day-long water fight, held to celebrate the Buddhist new year. There are questions being asked if services like CouchSurfing that allow anybody to find you & see your pictures without your consent are making this problem worse!
Ladies - the fact is, in the words of UN Women's Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka "women face risks that men don't face in public spaces [...] wherever they may be".
Don't get me wrong - Southeast Asia is a must for solotravel. But give yourself time to build trust with those who you have just met online or offline. Don't bother using filters like nationality, age, ethnicity or gender - those with ill intentions appear across the board no matter how rarely. Their words, their actions matter more. Of course, you should also have common travel interest!
So on your next solo adventure, remember to stay safe! =)