No matter who you are, it’s important that you plan ahead before you travel Asia so that you can avoid putting yourself in unnecessary danger.
The fact is, this applies more to women than it does to men. It’s unfortunate but there is a number of places in Asia that are still pretty far behind when it comes to women’s rights.
Things have gotten a lot better over the last several years, but there’s still a long way to go and women have to keep that in mind when they travel. Especially if they’re travelling alone.
There is a lot of different measures that you can take to stay safe in dangerous places, but if you’re unfamiliar with Asia, the best course of action may just be to stay in safer countries.
There is definitely a lot of countries in Asia that are very safe for women travellers and have a rich culture for you to experience.
Here’s some of those places you could travel too to stay out of danger.
Despite what can best be described as a rather tragic history, Vietnam today is one of the most welcoming places on the planet.
For the most part, there is very rarely reports of any kind of mugging or sexual assault because the police force in the country is strict and thorough.
In major metropolitan areas such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, you should be careful of scams. While this isn’t necessarily dangerous, there’s scams everywhere in these cities.
So familiarize yourself with that before you go and make sure that you’re constantly aware of where your money is and who you’re giving it too.
It’s also worth noting that the road situation in Vietnam can be very problematic. While the people are friendly, they are not good drivers.
Traffic accidents are very frequent, and are often serious. Be extremely careful when using the roads.
As I’m sure you can tell, these problems are not really huge cause for concern for women specifically.
If road accidents and scams are the most you have to worry about, it’s a good indication of how safe and welcoming this country is for female travellers.
When people think about travelling to Asia, Bhutan is not usually one of the first countries that comes to mind.
In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was many people out there who were unaware that this country even existed.
It’s a discreet mountainous nation lodged in the Himalayas between China and India and for many years that was exactly the way the people of Bhutan liked it.
In truth, it was never a particularly dangerous place, with the risk of assault being extremely low, but nowadays it’s a better place to visit than ever before.
Every year, Bhutan is allowing more and more tourists into the country so it’s easy to access now. But because of its remoteness, the country still remains quiet.
This is probably a contributing factor to Bhutan having an accolade that no other country has, and that’s something known as Gross National Happiness, or GNH.
Studies have reflected that the majority of the citizens of Bhutan would consider themselves to be deeply happy, and it’s become known as the ‘happiest country in the world’.
If that’s not a good indicator of safety I don’t know what is. Happiness is directly linked to peace, women travelling to Bhutan are in virtually no danger.
Most people would probably assume that Indonesia is not a particularly safe country on account of the fact that it’s one of the most populated place in the world.
Usually countries that have a high concentration of people tend to lend themselves more towards a lack of peace, but that’s not the case with Indonesia.
Indonesia is massively respectful towards women, with very little reports of assault or violence towards native women or tourists.
It’s possible that this is because is made up of thousands and thousands of different islands. Each one having its own unique people and culture.
There is of course a couple of these islands where things are a little different and there might be more danger for certain groups, however it’s easy to avoid these if you stay on the main islands.
Regardless, you will still find yourself having to travel quite a bit to experience as much of the culture as you can, so I’d recommend you go with minimalist backpacking.
Visit the likes of Borneo, Java and Sumatra and you will see a lot of amazing sights and meet a lot of interesting people, all while being completely safe.
Nepal isn’t a very big country, but there is tons of stuff to do there. It’s a beautiful, mountainous country and that makes up a lot of the sights.
Being the home of Mount Everest, there is a constant stream of mountain climbers coming into the country ready for the big climb.
But it’s not the only peak there. There’s a total of eighteen peaks that are open to the public and there’s daily guided trekking groups for each one.
And while you’re probably not going to be climbing Everest without a lot of preparation beforehand, visiting the basecamp is a very interesting experience.
There’s also quite a few national parks there with some incredible sights. You can take jungle safaris in several of them and see a lot of local wildlife.
As far as safety goes, you don’t need to worry a whole lot in Nepal but one thing you should be careful about is what you wear.
Many of the natives are unimpressed by the type of revealing clothes that Western women wear, and so you should make sure that you’re fairly well covered up.
Don’t wear anything that will keep your legs and shoulders exposed. Pay attention to the other women to get a sense of how to dress.
I’d also advise you don’t go anywhere alone with a male guide. Sexual harassment is somewhat common but you can avoid it by seeing out female guides.
Thailand has a little bit of a reputation for being one of the more dangerous countries in the world, but these days that’s an exaggeration.
As long as you stay in metropolitan areas such as Bangkok and Chiang Mai, you shouldn’t encounter any more danger than you would in your own hometown.
The best things to do in Thailand aren’t things that are not going to leave you in a position where you’ll face any significant danger.
Bangkok is known for having a busy and exuberant street life. You can experience a nightlife like nowhere else in the world on the streets of Bangkok.
And in addition to that, both Bangkok and Chiang Mai are full of some really incredible temples and shrines.
Most of these are sacred religious sites, some of them are still intact and some are in ruins, but no matter which you visit, make sure that you are respectful there.
This applies to the rest of the country too. Like in Nepal, we’d advise you dress modestly, and try not to be alone with male guides.
Other than that, you really just need to keep an eye on your belongings and not venture too far out of the cities to stay safe.
Malaysia is actually one of the safer places in Asia overall and a lot of that has to do with the fact that it’s also spread out over a group of islands.
Much like Indonesia, the different cultures are spread out around these islands and each one has its own customs and sights.
It’s one of the more varied countries in Asia too. You have some very metropolitan areas like Kuala Lumpur where you can see the Petronas Towers, and some more rural areas too.
There’s some beautiful temples to see outside of the cities as well as the stunning Batu Caves. And there’s some beautiful forestry too, especially on Borneo.
Also, you absolutely cannot visit Malaysia without taking a ride on the Langkawi SkyCab. Unless you’re scared of heights of course.
The view from up there is amazing though and well worth the trip. The biggest issues women will face in Malaysia are easily avoidable.
Just dress modestly like you would in Nepal and Thailand to avoid any confrontation with some of the more traditionalist natives.
The biggest crime issue in Malaysia is probably thievery, so make sure you keep all of your belongings close and always be on the lookout for pickpockets.
With a total of almost 50 countries in Asia, there is more than just these three that are not dangerous to visit, but you can definitely count on safety in the countries that we discussed.
And of course, you can visit places that come with more of a risk like India, Turkey and Iran if you know what you’re doing, but if safety is your concern, it’s probably best to pick other places.
But that’s okay, there’s plenty of awesome things women can see and do in Asia without putting themselves in danger.