What are the activities that I can do at night when I am traveling alone? When I started traveling, that’s one of the many questions I have. I would love to just stay at the hotel and rest after a long day of sightseeing and taking photos and memories. But I know, that there would be some nights that I would like to go out and do something else aside from grabbing dinner or have an early night.
I’ve always been pretty independent and never had an issue eating in a restaurant or watching a movie in a movie theater on my own. But traveling alone definitely pushed me outside of my comfort zone. It took me a while before I become comfortable exploring places or tourist spots alone. It also took me a while to do an activity in the evening except looking for a place where I can eat my dinner and make my way back to my hotel room to sleep or to work.
Sleep and work was my way to make myself better about not doing anything fun at night when I am traveling alone in a new country or city. Anyways, work is work. It’s the reason why I can travel continuously. Also, there’s unlimited free wifi! As someone who almost does everything online, I can say no to that.
But I know it’s not good, and when I look back in the years to come, I’m sure I’ll regret it. The mere fact that I got some client work done in a new country without experiencing the nightlife the country can offer, I’ll think it’s a waste.
Below are some activities that I usually do in the evening when I am traveling alone.
GO FOR A WALK
There are some cities or countries that are great for walking at night. Of course, you have to be careful of where you walk to. Do not go for a walk in a small and dark alley and always be conscious of your surroundings. Though from my experience, I feel more safer in another country than in my own country. Haha!
Hong Kong and Singapore are one of the countries where I love to go for a walk at night. Just seeing the city lit up, enjoying the energy of the people out and about, is a great way to spend an evening. In Hong Kong, I usually stayed in a hostel just a few steps away from the Ladies Market. Just walking around the Ladies Market, and window shopping is a great way to spend an evening, although it’s kind of tiring at some point.
CONNECT WITH A LOCAL
I first discover Voulez Vous Diner when I was in Singapore, but there are many sites where you can connect with locals to meet up or buy dinner at their house or simple making friends for an evening.
You can also book a free walking tour with locals where your guide is usually a university student. One of the sites that I usually use when I want to join a (free) walking tour is freetour.com. They offer free tours with local guides to 120+ countries.
If you’re in Hanoi Vietnam, I recommend Hanoi Free Tours by Foot. And if you ever get to meet Roxan as your guide, please say “Hi” to her for me. She’s a great one!
ENJOY A COFFEE OR A DRINK WITH A VIEW
One of the most things I love doing at night is enjoying a cup of iced coffee in a coffee shop. In Hanoi Vietnam, I love hanging out in one of the coffee shops in front of the Hoàn Kiếm Lake. I got to enjoy my cup of iced coffee, and at the same time, I got to enjoy the view of the lake. Most of the coffee shops along the lake can be full at night with a group of people, that’s why I usually go there late afternoon where I can have a secluded and quiet space.
If you’re not a fan of coffee or you want to do something else outside of a coffee shop, you can go to a bar and have a drink or two. I know going to a bar in a new country, where you can’t speak their language can be terrifying, but at the same time exciting. Been there. Done that. Do not be afraid to challenge yourself to do something new but at the same time, always be conscious of your surrounding. Your safety always comes first. And find a bar where travelers or expats usually go so you wouldn’t feel out of place or awkward.
Either way, may you be in a coffee shop or a bar, enjoy the moment. Because most probably, you won’t do this at home. Also, try to get a seat where you think you can be comfortable. Have your phone with you or bring a book to read or your notebook where you can write to give yourself something else to do with your hands.
JOIN A NIGHT TOUR
I love having a city tour in Hong Kong at night. If you’re in Hong Kong, there are a lot of travel and tour agencies that offer city night tour that gives you a glimpse of the city at night. Hong Kong city lights at night are stunning!
Sometimes, the best time to see the city is at night. Never be afraid to book yourself onto an evening tour and join a few other tourists in discovering what’s often a totally different side of your destination. Night tours are often more unique than your standard day tours. Whether you want to find out the best places to eat or have a drink, learn the history of the city, enjoy the city lights or even listen to ghost stories.
VISIT A MUSEUM
During the day, I like to be outside walking and taking photos. So, I try to do my museum visits for a late afternoon or early evening if it is possible. Oftentimes, city museums are open until 8 PM at least one day in a week which leaves me enough time afterward to eat in the restaurant that was recommended to me by the hostel receptionist or go to the night market if there’s available, before another day of sightseeing in the morning.
EXPLORE NIGHT (FOOD) MARKET
If going for dinner feels a little formal, a night food market is a good backup option. Nowadays, night markets seem to be popping up in cities across the world, and it’s not difficult to see why they are so popular. Unlike in restaurants where you are normally restricted to what’s the restaurant is offering, in night food market, you have a lot of an option to choose from. And it catered to everyone with a relax and chill ambiance.
GO TO A CONCERT
If you love going to see concerts or live music at home, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to enjoy it in another country. Okay, you usually go to concerts or gigs with your friends, but no one really notices you’re at a gig on your own once you’re standing in a crowd.
Also, going to a concert or gig in a new country is a great opportunity to know new bands, artist or musicians that you wouldn’t necessarily have come across otherwise.
TAKE A STOP
Do you know that sometimes it’s okay to just stay in your hostel to read a book or to watch the new episode of Terius Behind Me (an on-going Korean drama show) or just sleep? It’s okay if you don’t do something fun every night. It’s your solo trip, and you’ve no one else to please except yourself.
If you’ve been traveling for a long period already, always make sure to take a stop. Spend a day or two just doing nothing. Go to a coffee shop, work on your passion project or just people watch. Forget about visiting tourist spot and focus on unwinding.
Lastly, if you’re traveling as a digital nomad like me (traveling while working or working while traveling), always make sure to balance work and experience. And always remember, that there will be a moment that it is better to choose experience over work.
Are you a solo traveler? Do you go out at night even though you’re alone? What activities do you usually do? Share your thoughts and experience in the comment section below. I’d love to hear about it!
This post might be helpful when you’re looking for tips and advise on what to do at night as a solo traveler. Hover the image on the left and pin it for later!