Since I’m born and bred in Singapore, I have plenty of opportunities to explore Asia, what with super affordable airfares to the neighbouring countries and the low cost of living here. Sure, I’ve been to Batu Caves, Malaysia, snorkelled in Boracay, Philippines and sailed in the Flores island of Indonesia, but I never really saw the appeal of spending an extended amount of time travelling around Asia.
It was thus eye-opening to hear the story of the man behind Independent Wolf, Karlis, about his experience travelling solo around Asia.
Born in Latvia, the first time Karlis ever traveled solo was about three years ago. It wasn’t really planned to be a solo trip but some things changed at the very last moment and he had to make a decision. Obviously, he chose to go alone.
That one week trip changed his perspective on travelling, which ultimately led him to spending three months in Asia on his own.
I think it is fair to say that it still was a challenge because he doesn’t consider myself of being a true solo travel veteran yet.
That’s right, this is a question he can’t answer that simply.
The shortest version would be this: It seemed like the ultimate adventure for the experience I have so far and at first I doubted if I could do it. It was a challenge I made up for myself.
Let’s hear about some of the experiences Karlis came across while spending three months in Asia!
I started my journey by arriving in Manila, Philippines, where a car was suppose to pick me up at the airport and take me to the hotel. It didn’t take long for me to realise that things don’t always turn out the way you want me to – there wasn’t a car in sight.
And of course, a good life lesson to everyone here. Keep your money safe, because I got robbed on my second day in Manila. I mean, it was the second day of a planned three month trip and I got robbed. That’s a good way to start off your adventures isn’t it…
However, I have to say that the Philippines is amazing for solo travellers who are looking for adventures that would take them far away.
A good example would be the Malapascua Island in Cebu that I visited for a couple of days. I could say that this was the ultimate getaway even when looking at three months spent alone. On top of that, I got stuck on the island for longer than planned. The reason? Well, just a freaking storm that hit the island.
I always make the most out of every situation in life so I decided to enjoy the fact that not everyone has the chance to experience a storm hitting a remote island while you are on it.
And that was the moment when I realized that if I ever decide to travel in order to see stunning beaches, I have to visit the Philippines again.
Whenever I hear the word Malaysia now, there are two things that come to my mind – Kuala Lumpur, which is the capital of Malaysia and the small moped that I used to get around some ridiculously beautiful places.
Okay, I know this might not seem like anything special for some travellers with greater experience or those who get to see things like this back home.
I come from a place where one does not get to see skyscrapers every day. So visiting the Petronas Towers and seeing the panoramic view of the city was absolutely breathtaking. Kuala Lumpur is a perfect mix of modern and cultural, so there is good reason to visit this fantastic city.
Even if you are trying to get away from places popular among tourists, you have to make the exception and visit Batu Caves. There is something magical about this place.
If you plan on visiting, be ready to take 272 steps up a steep flight. However the spectacular caves are more than worth to make the journey.
This was also one of those places where I got to meet there solo travellers, which is always a nice thing considering how I’d been alone for a while. A quick chit chat with fellow travellers and the journey continued.
Looking back at Malaysia, I can say it’s a great place to visit for everyone, and this does not apply only to solo travellers. There is something to do and see for everyone who enjoys adventures and blending in a different culture.
It’s also pretty cheap but you have to keep in mind that you are a traveler and the locals know that very well. So be aware of tourist traps and ridiculously exorbitant prices for simple essentials. Don’t fall for that!
For me Thailand was all about taking small trips out of the city and enjoying hiking. Again, a great chance to meet other solo travellers, which make for good company for short hiking adventures.
One thing to keep in mind when thinking about visiting Thailand is your visa. That’s something you should take care of some time before.
I have to say it’s hard to pick a specific place I visited or a day I spent in Thailand. For me, the time I spent there was all amazing and it sort of blended all together into one exciting journey of nature, culture and adventures.
This is why, Asia!
It would take me a week of writing to describe the whole trip, places I visited and things I enjoyed. But to give you a feeling of what Asia is like, I think the best thing to mention is just how rich the culture in these countries are.
What’s more, by traveling from one place to another, you can see some stark differences in the way locals are living even if it seems like there is no great distance between the two places!
Generally, locals are truly friendly and helpful. Also, you will not have to worry about finding places to visit, things to see and adventures to join. You could literally spend every single day visiting new paces, going on smaller trips, hiking, climbing mountains, enjoying the sun on new beaches and more. Everything you can possibly think of is there. At least, that is the feeling that I got after experiencing some of the most amazing moment of my life.
This is why I think you too should spend at least three months in Asia. I am not merely talking about solo travellers – it is the ultimate designation for everyone!