See & Do

7 Anti-Valentine’s Day destinations for those who need to get away from all the lovey-dovey nonsense

Valentine’s Day often gets to hog the spotlight throughout February, and for many singletons (myself included), it can get pretty annoying. 🙄But hey, who needs flowers and chocolates and fancy dinners when you’d rather be traveling someplace exciting and different?

Embrace your singledom and celebrate Anti-Valentine’s Day at these exotic locations across Southeast Asia that are perfect for traveling solo or with a few like-minded friends:

1. Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Borobudur

Explore the temple complexes of Borodubur, Prambanan and Ratu Boko – these famous ancient structures are fascinating to wander around, as their vastness and antiquity make you feel tiny in comparison.

Taman Sari

Taman Sari is the site of a former royal garden of the Sultanate of Yogyakarta that’s been left to disrepair. However, its crumbling structures are part of its rundown charm. Nearby is Sumur Gumuling (Gumuling Well), a multi-chambered building that once functioned as a mosque.

Mangunan Pine Forest
Credit: amrlhlm / Instagram

Want to confuse your friends and family? Head to Mangunan Pine Forest, where its misty pines will have everyone thinking you’ve traveled to the forests of Europe or North America.

 

2. Ifugao Province, Philippines

Banaue Rice Terrace

Recognized as a World Heritage Site, the Banaue Rice Terraces in Ifugao are a man-made marvel carved into the Cordillera Mountains by ancestors of the indigenous people over 2,000 years ago. You can actually visit five different villages nestled in the mountains, but the most famous of them are the rice terraces of Batad Village, thanks to their amphitheater-like shape.

Tappiya Falls

If you’re up for a trek, test your endurance on the challenging hike up to Tappiya Falls. The trail to the roaring falls will take you through narrow dirt paths through the rice terraces, which are tricky to navigate, thanks to the slippery mud. But once you reach the falls, it’ll be worth it.

Native Ifugao Village
Credit: Tunatura / Shutterstock

Don’t just admire the rice terraces from afar – visit the native Ifugao villages and meet the descendants of those who built the rice terraces. Support the community and their livelihood by purchasing locally-made handicrafts like wood carving and hand-woven cloth.

 

3. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica

Tour the city’s well-preserved French colonial architecture. The Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica, Central Post Office and Opera House are some of the best examples.

Ben Thanh Market

Located in District 1, which is popular among backpackers and adjacent to the city’s Chinatown, Ben Thanh Market and its surrounding area is a must-visit attraction for its street food.

Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens

Take a break from the busy streets and taken in some fresh air at Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens.  Or better yet, venture further out to Vietnam’s countryside and check out the Chu Chi Tunnels, which are remnants from the Vietnam War. The Viet Cong used this extensive network of underground tunnels to carry out guerilla attacks and transport supplies.  

 

4. Siem Reap, Cambodia

Beng Mealea
A Banyan tree’s roots cover every nook and cranny at Beng Mealea.

Angkor Wat is undoubtedly the main attraction for many visitors, but if you can, do take the time to explore the temples at the fringes of the vast temple complex.

Banteay Srei, a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva, is a red-hued wonder and while the mysterious Beng Mealea appears to have been reclaimed by the forest, similar to Ta Prohm temple of Tomb Raider fame. If you want to avoid the crowds at Ta Prohm, head to Beng Mealea instead.

Angkor Night Market
Credit: cesc_assawin / Shutterstock

Siem Reap’s nightlife is as vibrant as the temples in the area are ancient. Have a wander around Angkor Night Market and pick up some knick-knacks before going to Pub Street for food, drinks and fun.

Kampong Phluk
Floating houses at Kampong Phluk floating village.

If you really want to see how the locals live, book a day trip that will take you to the nearby traditional fishing villages on the shores of Tonle Sap Lake. You’ll cruise past the stilted wooden homes of Kampong Phluk and Kampong Khleang in a motorized boat, many of which are painted in bright, festive colors.

Prek Toal Bird Sanctuary, a protected Ramsar site, is home to a wide variety of rare water birds, so if you’re an avid bird watcher or wildlife enthusiast, you’ll want to pay a visit.

 

5. Koh Chang, Thailand

Koh Chang View Point

Much of Koh Chang consists of dense tropical jungle, designated as Mu Ko Chang National Park. Its hiking trails and waterfalls are a favorite for nature lovers. After a day’s worth of hiking, splash in the cooling waters of Klong Plu Waterfall.

Chai Chet Cape

There are also many viewpoints scattered around the island that offer unparalleled panoramas of Koh Chang and the Gulf of Thailand. Chai Chet Cape on the west side of the island is where you want to be to catch the spectacular sunset.

Koh Chang – White Sand Beach

Koh Chang’s beaches are another attraction, and there’s plenty of them. White Sand Beach is the most picturesque, while Klong Prao Beach is for those looking for some peace and quiet. Lonely Beach is anything but, as it’s popular among the backpacking crowd and is known for its party scene.  

6. Yangon, Myanmar

Shwedagon Pagoda

Yangon’s gilded pagodas are its most iconic sights. Be sure to visit Shwedagon Pagoda and Sule Pagoda and be awed by its intricate designs.

The city’s Chinatown is one of the busiest areas in town, particularly in the evening when hawkers open up their food stalls for dinner time. Try the meat skewers, stir-fried dishes and grilled seafood.

Karaweik Palace
The enchanting Karaweik Palace at dusk.

Get a respite from the bustling city at Kandawgyi Park. Resting in the lake is the impressive Karaweik Palace, a replica of a classic Burmese royal barge located on the eastern side of the lake.

Yangon Circle Train
Credit: akedesign / Shutterstock

Love train rides? Then hop on board the Yangon Circle Train, where you’ll get a glimpse of the city’s outskirts and countryside alongside locals.

 

7. Luang Prabang, Laos

Luang Prabang Royal Palace
Credit: RPBaiao / Shutterstock

Built in 1904, the grand Royal Palace was once the residence of the Lao royal family. Currently, it houses the National Royal Palace Museum where you can learn more about the country’s history. Wat Xieng Thong is Luang Prabang’s most well-known Buddhist temple and is considered one of the best examples of traditional Lao architecture.

Rising above the city is Mount Phousi, a 100-meter high hill in the centre of the old town. The hill is considered a sacred site, and at the very top, you’ll get a breathtaking 360-degree view of Luang Prabang, Mekong River and Nam Khan River, as well as the surrounding hills.

Kuang Si Waterfall

No visit to Laos is complete without a trip to Kuang Si Waterfall. Its mesmerizing turquoise blue waters and staggered pools and cascades are every Instagrammer’s dream come true.

Tak Bat
Credit: Thierry Leclerc / Flickr

Laos is still very much a spiritually religious country, and nowhere is it more evident than in the daily Tak Bat ritual. Every morning, locals of the Buddhist faith will line the streets, waiting with rice, fruits or traditional snacks, which are then offered to the procession of monks that pass by.

Visitors are welcome to observe, but must remember to keep as quiet as possible and stand at a respectful distance to avoid disturbing the ritual. It’s also advisable to wear modest attire as a courtesy.


Ready to plan your escape? Quick, book your hotel and flights now on Traveloka to be blissfully free from the onslaught of PDA-ing couples!

A storyteller with an insatiable sense of curiosity. Travel junkie. Card-carrying member of many fandoms. Heavily dependent on caffeine. Loyal cat servant. Former journalist at the New Straits Times and Hybrid News.

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