The Greatest Detours You Can Take On A Solo Trip

by Jack Cheng
Greatest detours solo travel

Forget about the straight and narrow, the well-trodden path, and toss that carefully planned itinerary out the window – it’s time for a detour. On your next solo adventure, why not branch out to a nearby destination from your place of travel? Take a chance, and follow your wanderlust to less explored locations and beyond.

Here are some ideas on where to start an epic side trip:  

Mae Hong Son Loop from Chiang Mai, Thailand

While in Chiang Mai, consider taking a motorcycle journey across Thailand’s scenic backyard on the Mae Hong Son Loop. This 600-km route circles both Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son provinces, travelling across rice paddy fields, mountains, limestone caves, forests, waterfalls and a series of national parks. The loop weaves through some of the most photogenic destinations in the country and visits authentic Thai towns like Mae Sariang, Pai, and Chiang Dao along the way.  

About This Trip: Start by renting a motorcycle or scooter from a reputable shop in Old Town Chiang Mai like Cat Motors and Tony’s Big Bikes. Then, head out from the city by taking either Route 108 (clockwise) or Route 107 (counterclockwise). The length of the trip can take anywhere from 3 days to a week, so plan which towns and nearby attractions you’d to visit accordingly. Some points of interest on the loop to check out include the picturesque Su Tong Pae Bamboo Bridge, Pang Tong Palace in Mae Hong Son, and the Pong Dueat Geyser just outside Pai.

Circumetnea Railway from Catania, Sicily

Sicily’s second largest city is gritty, rough around the edges, and a clash of identities manifested in its varying medieval and Baroque architectures. This historic city withstood both the test of time and its infamous volcanic neighbour, Mount Etna, along with its many periodic eruptions and tremors. Despite the challenges it has caused, the stratovolcano is a major attraction for those visiting the city, and you can experience the full magnitude of this natural landmark on the Circumetnea Railway that wraps around the base of the volcano starting from Catania to Riposto.

View this post on Instagram

Circumetnea and Randazzo

A post shared by courtneyannecombs (@courtneyannecombs) on

About This Trip: From Catania, board the Ferrovia Circumetnea line. Established in 1898, this route operates on vintage single car Fiat trains. On this journey, you’ll travel back in time and experience the unhurried pace of Sicily’s countryside in historic cities like Paterno, Ardano, and Bronte. The trains trundle past blooming meadows, farmlands, and craggy hills beneath the shadow of Mount Etna’s snow-capped peak. If you want to hike Mount Etna, you can get off at the village of Randazzo, around the midway point of the line. End the trip at Giarre or Riposto to explore the tranquil Sicilian coastline.

Travel to Morocco from Seville, Spain

While travelling in southern Spain, consider extending your trip to North Africa. Follow Andalucía’s Moorish culture across the Strait of Gibraltar and into timeless Moroccan cities like Tangier, Chefchaouen, and Fez. Discover spellbindingly ornate Islamic art, Mudéjar architecture, and medieval engineering marvels starting from the region’s cultural powerhouses, Cordoba and Seville. See up close the perfectly symmetrical arches of La Mezquita and the elaborate façades of Alcazar Palace. Then, travel to the southernmost reaches of the country, from Málaga to Tarifa, and take the ferry across to the sun-drenched coast of Tangier.

About This Trip: There are several ways to complete this trip, either by buses, flights or ferries. For self-guided road trips across Andalusian cities, head south from Seville to Málaga and Tarifa and map your tours around Islamic fortresses, monuments, and cathedrals. Stop by the gold sand Spanish coastline before taking the ferry to Tangier from Tarifa (also possible from Gibraltar and Algeciras). Once in Morocco, you can explore northern cities including Fez, Rabat, and a side trip to the blue-washed alleyways and townhouses of Chefchaouen.

Island Hopping in Okinawa from Nagasaki, Japan

Go from the culturally-rich cities of Southern Japan to the tropical islands of Okinawa. The Kyushu prefectures enjoy both diverse geology and a vibrant natural landscape. In Nagasaki, Kumamoto, Miyazaki, and Kagoshima, major urban centres are a stone’s throw from lush green mountains, distinctive volcanoes, slivers of quiet beaches and buzzing surf spots. But beyond the mainland’s many cultural hotspots lies a lesser known facet of the country, the Ryukyu Islands, where balmy weather, working on your tan in winter, and knocking back iced cold drinks are the daily norm.

About This Trip: You can get to Okinawa’s main island by flying from major city airports in Nagasaki or Kagoshima. Alternatively, you can take the A”Line Ferries from Kagoshima to Okinawa’s capital, Naha, but services are irregular, so you’ll need to book ahead. Before heading to the Ryukyu Islands, consider making pit stops at Kyushu’s many renowned hot springs in Oita, Nagasaki, and Kagoshima. Once you’ve crossed the ocean to Naha, you can begin a round of visiting cultural landmarks like Shuri Castle, Churaumi Aquarium, Himeyuri Memorial, and beach hop on nearby islands.

Madagascar from Johannesburg, South Africa

If you’ve come to South Africa, then you’ve come for the untamed wilderness, the raw, uncompromising landscape, the gleaming metropolises and everything else in-between. Just south from Johannesburg’s modern skyline, the vast savannah unfurls toward the jagged, rocky capes thrashed by two oceans. Beyond the country’s scores of soft-sand beaches claimed by unique wildlife, Madagascar entices with even more surreal natural wonders, otherworldly terrains, and rare flora and fauna.

About this Trip: With a short flight from Jo’burg to Tana (Antananarivo), Madagascar is yours to explore. But first, get the most out of South Africa by visiting its many natural parks and reserves. Go on a safari in Kgalagadi, Kruger, and Mokala National Parks. Conquer the great outdoors along Table Mountain’s rocky trails or trek across Karoo semi-desert and the red dunes of Kalahari. For a bit of history, culture, and modern South Africa, stop by cities like Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Durban.

Then, head out to Madagascar to uncover a land filled with unusual wildlife, natural phenomena, and incredible landscapes. Whether you’re venturing deep into the Red Island’s many rainforests, canyons and verdant hillsides on foot or driving along plains dotted by pillar-shaped baobabs, Madagascar promises the journey of a lifetime.


Can’t wait to go off script and take the road less travelled? Contact one of our Expert Travellers for more! Call 1877-977-5302, live chat, or visit us in-store today.