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1. Bungy jump in Queenstown, New Zealand
Adrenaline rush in a Kiwi party town
Believe it or not, two-person bungy jumping does exist – but in our experience, it usually leads to bruised bodies and romantic discord. Better to experience the ridiculous thrill of jumping off a bridge with a piece of elastic tied around your feet as a solo endeavour. Bungy jumping originated in Queenstown, a gorgeous lakeside community on New Zealand’s south island, and the town is still the best place on earth to jump – there are a number of hair-raising locations, as well as plenty of accommodation geared to adrenaline junkies and party-seeking solo travellers.
2. Celebrate independence at The Jane, New York
Bargain rooms and avant garde history
Before the West Village became Manhattan’s most exclusive residential neighbourhood, this quirky enclave was a haven for the city’s free spirits: trailblazing musicians, misunderstood authors and gay activists. Surreal rents have may put the area out of reach of most 21st century New Yorkers, but visitors can get still a taste of residential Village life by checking in to The Jane, a nautically themed ‘micro hotel’ with dozens of cute and comfortable single rooms (called ‘cabins’). Communal bathrooms and basic amenities are a fair trade-off for the price – under $100 a night, with further discounts to be had in February.
3. Master the waves at the Australian Open of Surfing
Cut loose – or go head-to-head with the Pacific Ocean
Bronzed bodies, beachside parties, no responsibilities… It’s enough to make the most committed romantic reconsider. For a week in February, Sydney’s iconic Manly Beach becomes the site of a massive surf celebration, with a big-bucks international competition for the pros and live gigs, beach volleyball and endless BBQs for the rest of us. If watching the world’s best tear up the waves isn’t enough, book a lesson with an Aussie surfing legend and hone your skills.
4. Dine like an emperor in Kyoto, Japan
Sushi and solitude in Japan’s historical heartland
Japan needs your tourist dollars right now, and there’s no better place to spend them than the country’s most historic city, Kyoto – a chameleonic metropolis that’s a safe 400 kilometers from the Fukushima nuclear plant. The country’s former imperial capital seems custom-made for solo travellers, with over 2,000 religious places that invite quiet contemplation and a huge number of ‘pod’ hotels that accommodate the masses of business visitors who arrive from Tokyo. There are bargains to be had at Kyoto’s finest restaurants during low season – pull up a stool at the sushi bar and ask the chef to prepare you a tasting menu.
5. Kick ass at a Kung Fu academy in Xuzhou, China
Rigorous training from Shaolin masters
If the insipid romance of mid-February is setting your teeth on edge, hop on a plane to Jiangsu province in eastern China and partake in some good old-fashioned cathartic violence. The Maling Shaolin Kung Fu Academy – located in the countryside near the ancient city of Xuzhou – only accepts students who are willing to practice intensively for six hours a day, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to release that pent-up aggression. But the ancient art of Shaolin is about more than physical dominance – stay a while and you may just find yourself achieving some inner clarity, in spite of the bruised limbs.
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