The Star/Asia News Network
Typical canal side cityscape of Amsterdam, opposite from the 17th century HQ of the Dutch East India Company, now used by the University of Amsterdam. (Shutterstock/File)
A holiday is more than just about fun experiences, breathtaking views and great room service. For some single folks out there, it is also an opportunity to meet new people, and who knows, maybe even find love.
The bestselling memoir Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert detailed how the American author fell in love with a Brazilian businessman while holidaying in Bali, Indonesia. That book, which was then adapted into a Hollywood movie starring Julia Roberts, was so popular that it became something of a cultural phenomenon. How many times have you heard your friends refer their singles holiday as an “eat, pray, love” trip?
In an interview with The Telegraph, Stony Brook University research professor and psychologist Dr Arthur Aron said there’s a reason why people fall in love more easily while abroad.
“Many years ago, we did a study that showed if you were to meet someone on a scary suspension bridge, you were more likely to have an attraction to that person than if you were to meet that same person on a safer, less scarier bridge.
“In some cases, it could be obvious that you’re stirred by the circumstances. But if there is any level of ambiguity, such as when you’re travelling with someone, and that person is reasonably appropriate and attractive to you, you could also misattribute this romantic attraction,” he said.
No matter what you’re looking for while on holiday, traveling as a single person can be a wonderful experience. Here are some wonderful destinations that are perfect for singles.
There’s always fun in the sun (or under the moon) for visitors to Thailand. The Land Of The Smiles holds many youthful festivities such as Songkran (the country’s new year festival) and full moon parties. You will need to travel to the island of Koh Pha Ngan to experience the latter all-night beach party, but Songkran is celebrated with much fanfare in April in the capital.
Bangkok is also home to a thriving nightlife scene which has enjoyed renewed reputation for safety. Crime rate in the city has drastically reduced in recent years and violent crimes against tourists are rare. A night out will unveil live music in jazz clubs, exciting cabaret shows and world-renowned restaurants – all prime places to meet friendly locals and curious travellers alike.
The city has a thriving cafe culture, too, which attracts younger crowds and working professionals. For drinkers, try going on a craft beer or whiskey trail as Bangkok has a good number of quirky speakeasies.
Of course, Thai food are best sampled from the street vendors. Go on a gastronomical adventure with traditional favourites such as tom yum or more unique fares like fried tarantula spiders.
It may be the city of love and romance, but Paris need not necessarily be a destination just for couples. If anything, a romantic encounter on chic Parisian streets does sound like the stuff of romantic comedies after all.
A recent survey found that 43% of adults living in the capital are single – and if you know where to look, there’s certainly opportunities for a friendly meet up.
Two of Paris’ arrondissements (districts) – the 10th and 11th – are less touristy and populated by the city’s young crowd. Rent an apartment in the neighbourhood and explore the surroundings like a local. Parisians are more likely to hang out in parks like Belleville’s Buttes-Chaumont instead of the usual tourist traps (ahem, Eiffel Tower).
The bulk of the city’s nightlife is concentrated around Canal Saint-Martin and Strasbourg Saint-Denis. There are ample wine and dine options at many trendy cocktail bars and hip restaurants. But for a truly Parisian encounter, catch the opera at the opulent Palais Garnier
Perhaps some divine blessing is what one needs for romance luck, and where better to seek love than the birthplace of the Greek goddess of love Aphrodite herself? More specifically, head to the glamorous island of Mykonos where the party never stops.
Think of it as a not-so-distant cousin of Ibiza. Mykonos may not attract as many glitzy A-list guests, but the island’s nightlife scene is the stuff of legends. Dance the night away as DJs drop the beat, or spend quieter evenings at relaxing bars.
There’s also the glistening sun and beaches that attract travelers from all over the world.
After you’re all partied out, take a stroll around town with its white houses and vibrant bougainvilleas. For more “me” time, take a boat trip to the important archaeological site of Delos. Lastly, don’t leave Mykonos without visiting the island’s iconic windmills.
White sandy beaches and sparkling blue waters make Aruba a hot destination for travellers of all ages. But if you’re single and on holiday, the Caribbean destination beckons with many adults-only resorts. These properties only cater to visitors 18 and above, and include their own private beaches and spas.
Get away from your room and you will find plenty of things to do at the beach. In the daytime, rent a motorbike and explore the picturesque island. If you’d like to meet other travelers, consider going on a guided tour. After the tour, go to the beach for some seaside activities or just relax.
Once the sun sets, Aruba comes to life with a glittering nightlife. Chances are you will find the young and fabulous on board party buses on a bar-hopping tour. If that’s not your scene, then perhaps you would have better luck at a casino.
When night falls, Amsterdam’s landscape comes alive with colorful streets, vibrant squares and vivacious night clubs. The city’s nightlife is a great setting for both locals and travelers to mingle. A fantastic entertainment area would be the Leidseplein, where one can find the the city’s busiest night clubs. Then there’s the Rembrandtplein Square which is home to pubs, dance clubs and restaurants.
Of course, one can’t mention Amsterdam without bringing up its popular Red Light Districts. Although these venues are mostly frequented by men, it’s not uncommon to see women there, too. It’s a very popular tourist attraction, so you’re likely to see curious travelers outside the brothels, adult theaters and cannabis shops.
But to reduce Amsterdam to its seedier side would be a great injustice. Adults-only entertainment aside, the historic metropolis hosts a range of cultural attractions. Take a tour to over 50 museums and Holland’s oldest zoo. Walk or cycle across a few of Amsterdam’s many bridges to get to places like Van Gogh Museum and Artis Zoo.
Read also: France, the top travel destination of 2017
Melbourne has been hailed as one of the world’s most livable cities. Naturally, that translates to it being a great destination for singles too. Seamless public transportation? Check. Thriving culture? Check. Great coffee? You bet!
As the cultural capital of Australia, Melbourne’s singles crowd reportedly visits the museums and exhibits at least once a month. If anything, the National Gallery of Victoria and Melbourne Museum are great places for travelers to strike up conversations about art with other like-minded locals. Go on a photography tour along one of the city’s many alleys to discover brilliant murals and graffiti.
Melbourne may not quite be the city that never sleeps, but it has been improving in recent years. For starters, there’s the Night Network which lets commuters explore the city’s vibrant nightlife safely and conveniently with public transport running all-night on weekends. The CBD (central business district) has many great watering holes where you can meet some friendly locals.