Safest Destinations in Asia: 9 Countries for Solo Travellers

Seoul, South Korea
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Asia is the land of diverse experiences. Otherworldly landmarks, tantalizing sights, and breathtaking natural beauty, it’s all waiting to be discovered. The vast continent is popular with travelers of all kinds from backpackers and honeymooners to digital nomads and adventurous families, but is it suitable for solo travelers? And where are the safest destinations in Asia? 

Asia is the Earth’s largest and most populous continent, occupying 30 percent of our planet. So it’s no surprise that you’ll find a real mix of cultures, religions, and political values from the deserts of Oman to the snowy mountains of Japan. Southeast Asia might be the most well-trodden path on the backpacker trail, but wealthy economies in the north pacific and thriving trade can also make for safe travel destinations.  

With so many countries to choose from for your next Asian adventure, we’ve made the decision that little bit easier with our list of the safest places. From the modern megacities to the hippie islands, solo travel in Asia has never been simpler. Let’s get into it. 

Singapore 

safest destinations in Asia
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Heading our list, and the Global Peace Index for Asia, is the island city-state of Singapore. A major financial hub and center for shipping and trade, Singapore has an affluent economy and is one of the safest places to visit in the world, let alone Asia. Singapore benefits from consistently low crime rates, a dependable police force, and a transparent judicial system making it a generally hassle-free place for tourists.

Situated on the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula in the Indian Ocean, Singapore is a city, a nation, and a state in one. Big for a capital, but small for a country, Singapore is home to 5.7 million people and such low criminality is put down to the cooperative population, where crime and civilian revolt is not worth it. It has the world’s highest concentration of millionaires and the government has utilized the strategic location as a port city to grow its GDP. 

The lack of self-sufficient and untrodden rural regions could be a contributing factor to Singapore’s successful policing and share of wealth. Still, Singapore has no shortage of incredible sights to gawk at from the Botanical Gardens, and man-made beaches, to the towering high-rises and solar-powered Supertrees. If safety is your priority, Singapore secures the top spot and the city is especially magical, and safe, at night. 

Japan   

safest destinations in Japan
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Japan is one of the most magical and mythical lands in the world, where modern and traditional culture interweaves across its great string of islands. Japan frequents lists of the safest countries in the world and reports of crime are so low that visitors are often left stunned by the values and honesty that the Japanese hold so dear. 

Japan has a legacy of traditional arts, heritage, and cuisine, but it was also one of the first Asian countries to climb the manufacturing chain, with cheap textiles and services coming out of the country at record rates and that which still account for most of the country’s employment and GDP.

Japan is the world’s third-largest economy and one reason for its high safety ratings is the government’s prioritizing of crime prevention methods and efforts of tackling unemployment with enough funding to do so. Like Singapore, years of successful policing and crowd initiatives have resulted in a cooperative and respectful society that is now characteristic of the country at large. 

It’s a common point of discussion among tourists that you can, and the Japanese often do, leave valuables unattended in public spaces with no consequences. We don’t recommend testing this theory anywhere you travel, but in Japan, there’s a high chance your expensive laptop and mobile phone will still be at your café table even if you disappear for ten minutes. 

Solo travelers can travel from each of Japan’s dozen UNESCO World Heritage Sites with little concern, you just might need a bigger budget to do so. Urban metropolises like Tokyo and Kyoto where helpful young locals speak fantastic English are also a plus.

Taiwan

destinations in Asia
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It might not be the first place that comes to mind for solo Asian travel, but despite a troubled history, Taiwan demonstrates some of the lowest global crime rates which are relatively meager compared to much of the developed world too. 

Taiwan is considered especially safe for female travelers visiting alone, as you are unlikely to garner any extra attention than other tourists. Politics and terrorism, as well as natural disasters like earthquakes and typhoons, are still a risk, but poverty in Taiwan has almost been completely eradicated and human threats are unlikely to affect tourists. 

Sitting at the junction of the East and the South China Sea in the northwestern Pacific, Taiwan is a gateway into central Asia but there are plenty of amazing sights to explore in the nation itself. Taipei City, the capital of Taiwan, is an important center for overseas trade and is much safer than cities like London, New York, and even Paris. 

Taipei is well-known for its sumptuous street food, night markets, sky lantern festivals, and friendly locals. Taiwan is culturally diverse with an open-minded society. Travelers and ex-pats are welcomed by the Taiwanese and most people in the capital speak good English, although this won’t necessarily be the case for the rest of the country. 

Thailand

Thailand destination in Asia
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Thailand has long been a magnet for international tourists and budding backpackers and there is little you can’t do in this diverse nation. From the ultramodern cityscape of the capital to the rural north, Thailand is peppered with opulent royal palaces, sacred temples, tropical beaches, and ancient ruins. There is something for everyone. 

Thailand demonstrates low violent crime rates and good marks for personal safety, with citizens having limited weapon access. Thailand might still present high poverty rates and risk of petty crime like scams and theft, but one of the reasons it is considered so safe for holidaymakers is because the country has been on the backpacker radar since the 1960s. Developed tourist infrastructure, hassle-free travel routes, and great access to services from years of international popularity mean it is a great place for solo visitors.

Thailand is also known for being home to some of the friendliest people in the world who welcome tourists with open arms. Increased tourism is one of the biggest contributors to its once struggling economy, after all. There is also a thriving ex-pat community that live harmoniously with locals and helps make life easier for visitors. Stick to your limits and keep your wits about yourself and Thailand is a very safe destination.   

Malaysia  

Kuala Lumpur
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Safety hasn’t always been associated with Malaysia with a history of civil unrest and a greater risk of terrorism. But this Southeast Asian territory has climbed the Global Peace Index in recent years and boosted its economy, with predictions set on Malaysia becoming a high-income country before 2030.   

Visitors report very low crime rates and it is highly unlikely that you’ll encounter violence anywhere in Malaysia. Petty crime is also a risk, especially where tourists are concerned, but it’s very safe to live in most areas and Kuala Lumpur, the modern megacity, is among the safest capitals in the world. 

Kuala Lumpur is considered a great place for backpackers with a thriving nightlife and a good local food scene. Malaysia is a majoritively Muslim country. While females shouldn’t face any issues, make sure you have common sense and respect the cultural values. 

There is no reason that safety concerns should hold you back from visiting Malaysia, even as a solo traveler, as long as you familiarise yourself with the strict laws and cultural practices. 

Indonesia

Komodo, Indonesia
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The good news for fans of Bali, Indonesia has climbed as many as 14 spaces in worldwide safety ratings in recent years as the country looks to leave beyond its complex history of conflict. Despite still having its dangers from natural disasters and petty crime, Indonesia is a very safe country for travelers, especially if you’re headed to the Island of the Gods.   

From the rolling rice paddies to the ancient temples and the blessed surfing waves, Bali is Indonesia’s most popular holiday destination and one of Southeast Asia’s safest islands. With such well-trodden tourist paths, accommodating locals, and honest Hindu culture, you shouldn’t encounter any problems traveling the island alone. The Balinese hold strong values and most believe in Karma, this makes it unlikely that you’ll encounter violence or wrongdoing from a local. Rowdy tourists can be harder to navigate, but the trouble is easy to avoid if you take precautions.   

The country’s capital of Jakarta was once associated with high terrorism risk and violence. Still, it’s now a thriving metropole with sky bars to rival Bangkok’s and is considered much safer than many American cities of the same size.  

Mongolia

Mongolia
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Often overlooked because of its remote, land-locked location and nomadic culture, Mongolia is a fascinating nation in north-central Asia and one that is very safe for travelers. The country is dominated by vast, rugged territory and mountain plateaus, dotted with untrodden towns frozen in time. It’s been popular with mountain climbers and ramblers for years, but less associated with backpacker travel. Still, if you can get over the altitude and isolation it’s really worth the visit. Mongolia is one of the least crime-ridden Asian nations.

Mongolia demonstrates high poverty rates with as much as 30 percent of the country living below the poverty line. Yet, this hasn’t prevented the Mongolian people from being known for their kindness and generosity. Petty theft is your biggest concern and pickpocketing is common in busy market areas, especially because tourists can really stand out. Still, solo travelers are safe in Mongolia and females will receive as much as a few stares but this is usually harmless.

Mongolia was dominated for seven decades by a socialist one-party rule, closely aligned with the Soviet Union. But in the 1990s, the Mongolian people peacefully supported a move toward democratic revolution and this changed the outlook of politics within the country for good. There is no recent history of terrorism in Mongolia or active terrorist groups. You’re unlikely to encounter violence anywhere you go and neutral foreign policies have prevented conflict for years.

Check out Ulaanbaatar, the peaceful capital city, home to the National Museum of Mongolia and the restored Gandantegchinlen Monastery. Ulaanbaatar has the highest risk of petty crime in the whole country, but this risk is still half of that in London, Rome, and New York. Consider the Trans-Mongolian Railway for a real adventure and cultural awakening.   

Laos

safest destinations in Asia
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Once a lesser-known neighbor of Southeast Asia’s Thai and Vietnamese jewels, Laos is a breathtaking landlocked nation that has emerged on the backpacker route and safety index. Dominated by beautiful countryside where the Mekong River weaves and flows, you’ll also find mountain terrain, colonial towns, hill tribe settlements, and Buddhist monasteries all worth exploring.

Crime is still a concern due to widespread poverty. This means visitors should always be vigilant and take precautions wherever possible. But it is easy to avoid trouble and tourists are unlikely to be victims of violence. Pickpocketing and scams are annoying, but not dangerous and Laos remains one of the safest Asian countries for solo women. 

Laos is also vulnerable to natural disasters like floods and landslides, while droughts can also occur in some regions. With the country being so big on jungle adventures, trekking trips, and cycling tours, like the renowned trip through Vang Vieng, you might be wondering if natural threats will hold you back. It’s always advised to travel with a guide in Laos wherever you go, but this means you can easily prevent getting into trouble. Check out the Gibbon Experience to observe Laos’s decades-old Buddhist Alms Giving Ceremony in Luan Prabang.   

South Korea

South Korea
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With a reputation tainted by its northern neighbor, South Korea might not be the first destination on the mind of solo travelers – but it should be. Brimming with culture, attractions, natural wonders, and modern cities, South Korea is a once-in-a-lifetime destination and a very safe place. 

Crime rates are much lower here than in the US on the whole, and on par with most of Europe. Walking around, even at night, is perfectly safe, and violent crime is very rare. South Korea has a highly developed and mixed economy. One perk of this for travelers is its technological advantages as free Wi-Fi is available virtually everywhere, even at historical sights. This means some stress is taken off navigating this foreign land and you need not worry about getting too lost.

There is a long list of cultural etiquette that visitors should follow in order to avoid offending locals. But South Koreans are generally welcoming and fun people and there’s a reason Korean culture is so worshipped globally. Historically, South Korea has had a problematic relationship with the North, but the border between the two countries is the only real dangerous place for visitors. What’s more, recent years have seen major diplomatic breakthroughs between the two governments. 

From the streets of Seoul to Jeju Island and the Manjang Cave, South Korea is just waiting to be explored and personal safety concerns shouldn’t hold you back. 

What is the safest country in Asia to visit?

Singapore and Japan are the safest destinations to visit in Asia, both consistently leading the global safety index for the country on the whole. These two nations are also among the safest places in the world with low terrorism risk, low crimes rates, and low poverty. These factors, along with great policing, stable governments, and cooperative societies make them safe for all visitors. 

What should I avoid in Asia?

Many countries in Asia are very safe to visit and it’s easy to avoid trouble and have a hassle-free trip. Still, every country has a different set of cultural and religious values that visitors need to respect. Some things you should avoid in East Asia, on the whole, to prevent being disrespectful include touching a person’s head; disrespecting a religious God; talking (especially in a defamatory way) about the monarchy or government; being loud or rowdy in public; arguing with a local; bartering too much with vendors, and defaming local cuisine or customs.    

What is the scariest country in Asia?

The least safe countries in Asia are concentrated in the Middle East. Nations like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen are all considered largely unsafe for visitors due to political and civil unrest, and ongoing conflicts.  

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Esmé is an English literature graduate and freelance writer. Originally from London, Esmé is lucky enough to call Bali home. Her travels have taken her from the far corners of the East to the islands of the Caribbean. When she's not writing, you'll find her lying on a beach somewhere, lost in a crime novel.