Women's Travel in India & Asia
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Women's Travel in India & Asia
Asia is one of those countries most women think will be a problem as a solo female traveler, but most find when they get there that it is one of the most comfortable places to visit. india ,Asia is home to some of the friendliest and most peaceful locals in the world, and although some women may not enjoy the same privileges as westerners, female travelers are usually welcomed with open arms.

Check out our list of top accomodation for women in india for a selection of great accomodation in popular destinations for female travelers.

Attitudes Towards Women Travelers

Asia is an extremely varied continent, and attitudes and levels of safety vary from place to place,so we have divided our guide into Central and South-East Asia:

South-East Asia

Attitudes towards women in some countries do differ - there are cultural differences in countries like China, where women are second-class citizens (and walk behind men), but it is unlikely you’ll feel singled out as a woman, more as a westerner. Do be aware that as a foreigner you will be charged more than locals, but bargaining is all part of the culture, so be prepared to barter, and use licensed taxis and public transport to avoid getting ripped off.

Many female solo travelers say that South-East Asia is one of the safest and least threatening places to visit as a woman. In Buddhist countries, there is a large emphasis on respect for females and a harmonious relationship between the sexes. In Thailand in particular, the locals are warm and welcoming, but also shy, and the deep fear of shame means that sexual harassment of women is rare.

Attitudes to Westerners in general are incredibly polite, friendly and helpful– you will be treated like a guest in most of South East Asia. In less touristy areas it is likely you may get stared at if you are a western woman, but this is out of a genuine curiosity rather than a leery or letchy man - staring is not considered impolite in many Asian countries India etc.

Central Asia

Generally speaking, India and other parts of Central Asia are not dangerous for women, and Indians are incredibly hospitable to all travelers, coining the phrase that ‘guests are gods’. But some women can feel uncomfortable travelling alone, as they often experience lots of hassle from men. Social Conservatism means women are regarded as lesser citizens, and in some situations you may find you are treated with disrespect or ignored if travelling with another man.

The main shock to western women is the harassment, known as ‘eve-teasing’, which is an accepted part of male behaviour. The worst this will ever be is suggestive comments, winks, and stares, but if you do feel uncomfortable, the best thing to do is ignore them, or to invent a husband (wearing a fake ring always works) if they continue to hassle you.

The close quarters on public transport means that sometimes men can get a little ‘friendly’ so keep your arms folded in front of you and don’t initiate any conversations that could be seen as personal or flirtatious.

Remember that for the people of India, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan, the idea of a single woman traveling for pleasure is strange - most women there would not dream of traveling further than the local market without an escort. This is why you might feel like you stick out and are treated differently. But in general people are friendly – striking up conversations with strangers is a natural part of life, and usually not improper or threatening. In Sri Lanka especially, the influence of Buddhism means that the people here are gentle and tolerant.

Whilst the constant hassling in some places can be annoying, it often comes from a genuine curiosity rather than anything else. Don’t just assume everyone who talks to you is a threat, just use your common sense. In public places, Indian women may want to touch your skin, ask lots of questions, and ask for your autograph or photo. These are innocent requests that are all part of the experience of travelling to such a different country!

Safety Advice for Women Travelers

The main problem is both Central and South-East Asia tends to be theft rather than sexual harassment, although as a solo female traveler you should be cautious about your personal safety, and being left alone with strange men.

Here are some tips on staying safe...

  • Avoid situations where you may find yourself alone with a man. Join up with other travelers to share a taxi ride or tour and never let a man (including hotel staff) into your hotel room.
  • Don’t let people know you are a solo female traveler visiting somewhere for the first time – pretend to be married, and pretend to know where you are going. Avoid crowded buses, where it’s more likely you will get hassled. If you must travel on a busy bus, keep your arms folded in front of you, and try to sit close to the driver. Try to travel with a companion.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings and the people around you – so if you are out at night, stay in well-lit areas and among people. Walk close to the kerb, face oncoming traffic, and avoid alleys. Keep your keys ready for arriving at your room.
  • The main thing to worry about is theft – many of the countries in Asia are extremely poor, and the sight of some expensive jewelry or bag of belongings will be too much of a temptation.
  • Bag snatching is the main form of street crime, so carry you bag close to your body, wear a secure day bag or backpack around your body, over your head and shoulder, or thread a strap through your belt loop.
  • Lock zips together and wear money on a money belt or neck pouch underneath your clothes. Never allow any jewelry or electrical equipment like ipods to be on show.
  • As a foreigner, there’s a small chance people might try to rip you off or overcharge – so check all bills to check you haven’t been charged for anything extra, and be clear what the cost of any service (e.g. taxis, tours) will be before accepting. Only use licensed cabs with meters, and check with your hostel for advice on how much journeys should cost.
said that plenty of women travel to India alone every year and fall in love with the place, stating that once you get used to the hassle, it’s just part of everyday life.

Most of the problems you will experience - harassment, hawkers, or theft, happen in the really touristy areas in Asia rather than off the beaten track, where people in general are welcoming and not looking to make money from western tourists.

As in all countries, avoid unlit places after dark, especially if you are alone.

Best Places for Female Travelers

Off beaten track, like Bikaner ,bundi,,in rajasthan where people in general are welcoming and not looking to make money from western tourists. As in all countries, avoid unlit places after dark, especially if you are alone.

South-East Asia in general is a great place to travel as a woman alone, but the major cities like Japan, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong and Singapore are great places to start off if you are nervous. Women in these destinations are treated well and with respect, there’s little to no hassle, lots of tourists and English speakers, and the cities are clean and pretty safe.

Although, you should always be on your guard in any new destination, and don't just venture out alone at night because a city 'feels' safe. Luckily, South-East Asia has become far more popular as a backpacking destination in recent years, so it's easy to meet other travelers at your hostel for your first jaunt out into an unknown place.
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