By and large, travelers in Southeast Asia are seekers of some kind, so many prefer to go it alone. For independent travelers, solo journeys are opportunities to make friends and meet locals. There is also a certain camaraderie that develops on long bus rides or in the uncertainty and wonder shared with fellow travelers. A trip that starts out solo often ends in friendships that last a lifetime.
For advice about hopping off the track and finding your own path, check out Vagabonding (www.vagabonding.net), which has information both practical and spiritual about the ways of the wanderer. Another inspiration is The Art of Travel, by Alain de Botton (Penguin Press). For more practical information, check out Eleanor Berman's latest edition of Traveling Solo: Advice and Ideas for More Than 250 Great Vacations (Globe Pequot), which has advice on traveling alone, either solo or as part of a group tour.
If going by tour, it is important to know that single travelers are often hit with a "single supplement" to the base price. To avoid it, you can agree to room with other single travelers or find a compatible roommate before you go, from one of the many roommate-locator agencies.
Travel Buddies Singles Travel Club (tel. 800/998-9099; www.travelbuddiesworldwide.com), based in Canada, runs small, intimate, single-friendly group trips and will match you with a roommate free of charge. TravelChums (tel. 212/787-2621; www.travelchums.com) is an Internet-only travel-companion matching service with elements of a personals-type site, hosted by the respected New York-based Shaw Guides travel service.
Many reputable tour companies offer singles-only trips. Singles Travel International (tel. 877/765-6874; www.singlestravelintl.com) offers singles-only trips to places such as London, Fiji, and the Greek Islands. Backroads (tel. 800/462-2848; www.backroads.com) offers more than 160 active-travel trips to 30 destinations worldwide, including Bali, Morocco, and Costa Rica.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.