Running solo is a great way to instill self-discipline and to tune in to your mind and soul without distractions. If you’ve been enjoying running solo in your home city, try running solo in a foreign country. You’ll reap so much benefit than you could be running at familiar places.
Firstly, you will finish the run feeling empowered, for you have successfully navigated the foreign land all by yourself. Secondly, you will grow to be that confident and brave runner who dares to take on any challenges life will throw at you.
To enrich your solo running experience in Asia, here are 7 Asian cities solo runners like you will fall head over heels with.
1. Hong Kong, China
From road running or trail running, you’ll be amazed at what Hong Kong can offer. Need a quick early morning run before stuffing yourself with mouth-watering Hong Kong delicacies? Try Peak Circle Walk, a 3.5km paved route that starts and ends at The Peak Tower. You’ll enjoy the scenic view of skyscrapers and waterfalls along your run.
For adventure seekers, challenge yourself to scale Lantau Peak (Stage 3 of Lantau Trail). The 934m high Lantau Peak is the second highest peak in Hong Kong. Standing at the summit, you’ll feel like you’re on top of the world. The 4.5km trail starts at Pak Kung Au and ends at Ngong Ping (the Big Buddha), or vice versa.
2. Bali, Indonesia
Not really a city but rather an island, beach runners can satisfy your running hunger in Bali by running along Kuta Beach all the way north to Seminyak. Should you be hungry or thirsty along the 5km route, there countless warung or restaurants for you to refuel along the main road.
On the other hand, if you’re enthralled at the thoughts of running along lush greeneries, you should go to Campuhan Ridge Walk. This 2km trail starts from Warwick Ibah and ends at Karsa Kafe. Run back from Karsa Kafe to Warwick Ibah and you’ll clock 4km run in total!
If you decide you want some social time, join Bali Hash One or Bali Hash House Harriers 2. At the end of your run, you would’ve seen part of Bali that other travellers won’t ever see, satisfied your beer craving and you will the place with new-found friends.
3. Penang, Malaysia
It is indisputable that Penang is a food heaven. But, after all the indulgence, what better way to burn off your calories than running? Head to Penang Botanic Gardens where you can run the 1km small loop or 2km big loop amidst tropical rainforest.
Need a tougher route? From Penang Botanic Gardens’ Moon Gate, make your way to Penang Hill through a steep and demanding route, and be rewarded with a sense of achievement and spectacular views of George Town.
4. Tokyo, Japan
Imperial Palace is the perfect place for runners to sweat it out while sightseeing at the same time. Enjoy the scenery of beautiful garden and historical architecture when running along this popular 5km loop. There are locker and shower services around the area, so you can head out for more sightseeing after your run!
Ultramarathon runners, get your training run along Tama River where you can get an uninterrupted running route of 48km. The route starts at Hamura station in the west of Tokyo and continues eastwards to Shinjuku in central Tokyo. In the spring, you’ll get to see cherry blossoms on your run.
5. Seoul, South Korea
Han River (Han-Gang) is one of the most iconic running places in Seoul. If you only have time for 5km run, start your run on the south side of the river, from Dongjak Bridge to Dongho Bridge. If you want a longer route, mix your route between north and south side of the river.
If you need hill training, the best place to get one is at South Mountain (Namsan Park). Despite the short distance of 2.6km, the route from Sungnyemun Gate to the summit of South Mountain is a real test of one’s determination.
6. Bangkok, Thailand
Named after the Buddha’s birthplace, Lumpini Park is a public open space in the heart of Bangkok with a lake which provides relief from the hectic city life. Here, you can run laps on the 2.5km running path with distance markers. Lockers and showers facilities are available.
Escape the bustling city of Bangkok by taking a boat to Bang Kachao, an island in the north of Bangkok where you can run on elevated walkways amidst the untouched forest. Bang Kachao is the green lung of Bangkok with minimum development. A loop around the northern part of the island is about 15km long. You can shorten it by running only half loop, or lengthen it by running to the southern part of the island.
7. Taipei, Taiwan
Touted as the Central Park of Taipei, Da’an Park is a 26-hectare public park located in Da’an District that provides respite to park-goers. Running a loop around the perimeter of the park will earn you 2.5km mileage. Da’an Park is easily accessible by public transportation.
If you haven’t known yet, Taipei has more than 200km of riverside paths where you can run or bike. One of the possible routes is to run from Ximen or Taipei Train Station all the way north to Danshui, passing through Danshuihepan Park in Sanchong and Luzhou districts. This route allows you to run along the west side of Tamsui River and has a total length of approximately 21km.
8. Siem Reap, Cambodia
If you stay at downtown Siem Reap and are looking for short workouts, run along Siem Reap river and combine your run with a couple of laps in Royal Gardens.
The most interesting running routes in Siem Reap that you don’t want to miss are Temple Runs. The easiest temple run route is 7.5km long from Angkor Wat to Ta Phrom. You can also add 5.5km to the said route by continuing your run to Ta Keo and ending it at Angkor Thom. A longer route of 18km brings you from Angkor Wat to Srah Srang, Pre Rup, Neak Prean and ends at Preah Khan.
9. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
To avoid the busy streets of Ho Chi Minh City, head to HCMC Trail at Thao Dien where you can between 5km to 10km, depending on how you customize your route, along flat and quiet roads accompanied with cool breezes from Song Sai Gon river.
Another popular running route is the HCMC Canal. You can start from Dien Bien Phu bridge and run along the Nhieu Loc – Thi Nghe canal towards the west until the end of the canal. The length of this route is 7km. Run back to the starting point and you’ll clock 14km.
10. Bagan, Myanmar
Be transported back to the past when you run amongst the beautiful ancient temples in Bagan, the land of pagodas. A word of caution: start early in the morning to avoid the heat.
To enjoy the scenery of the most famous Bagan temples on your run, we recommend a 10km running route starting from Ananda temple. The route then continues to Shwegu Gyi, That Bin Nyu, Shwesandaw, Dhammayan Gyi, Sulamani and eventually ends at Htilominlo temple.
Do you travel and run solo? Share with us your favourite running destination!