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I’ll admit, there are times being a solo traveler at night can feel like… well, a single gal alone on a Friday night!
All the world is aglow with friends and drunken laughter. Meanwhile, you’re either standing outside in the cold envying the social fun indoors or in your guesthouse painting your toenails the color of ‘wishful thinking’! Times like this, it’s hard not to occasionally feel… lame.
Well, it doesn’t have to be this way.
In fact, would you believe that when I travel alone, I often don’t return to my pad until midnight? That’s right.
You see, while I love being a solo traveler most of the time, I have my moments when it doesn’t feel easy and I can occasionally feel like I have a gimp leg. The last thing I want is to envy others’ fun, feel pathetic or like I’m missing out on “living”! As such, I’m challenged to be more creative and resourceful with my leisure time. I shoot for fun experiences, unique adventures and local variety, which will let me experience a lot of what the culture has to offer.
14 ways to enjoy nights as a solo traveler
1. Take a romantic stroll through the city
Maybe it’s not always the safest venture, but at night I like to romance the city and fall in love.
Whether shops are open or closed, a place takes on a magical face in the evening, as it’s veiled in light and shadow. Explore streets lined with lights and crowded sidewalk cafes, observe how locals come out to play, let crickets be your background music and unwind through the smells wafting from restaurants and homes.
Romance isn’t only for couples, but are for soloists too. Go ahead, make a date with the city!
2. Make your own city bus tour at night
Some tour agencies and cities offer city bus tours at night and these tours are like cheap all inclusive holidays, taking you around the city to all the major landmarks lit by light. But if you can’t find one, go ahead and make your own! I’m a big fan of D.I.Y. (aka do-it-yourself) tours.
Public transportation services such as city buses, ferries and monorails make perfect and cheap way to see the city lights at a slow pace. (Read my post on Bangkok’s transit options to get an idea of ways to see a city through its transportation)
3. Sightsee, sightsee, sightsee!
When I lived in New York City, I used to hate walking. Friends often suggested walking to places (vs taking the bus, cab or subway); meanwhile, I’d respond with a look saying- “Why don’t you jump off the Brooklyn Bridge!”
Somehow, travel changed me and my shoes developed a mind of their own. It could be because when I travel, I like to make the most of my sightseeing time.
Who says everything closes when the sun goes down? Museums, theme parks and government attractions typically clock out when it hits sunset, but temples, churches, shopping malls, night markets and shops are open.
As long as there are things to see, these shoes will go until it closes the town down.
4. Explore night markets and indulge in street fairs
These are by far my favorite evening pastimes! Night market, night bazaar, walking streets, block parties, street fairs… they’re all pretty much the same fun. Haggle for cool local craftwork and souvenirs or dive into the local foods and snacks, watch street performers jangling for change or fuel up with local cuisine at an outdoor restaurant.
Night markets for local folk can get a little more gritty, less sparkly with a feeling more foreign. Foods are authentically made for local taste and shopper’s items are aimed at more practical and household variety. Interesting nonetheless!
Watch your money though, it’s sure to drain fast.