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single man standing with arms out

The Ultimate Travel Guide for Singles Day

Sophie Georgalakis

So you think that only people in relationships get to celebrate all things love on Valentine’s day? Well, believe it or not, there is also Singles Day. Along with Chinese New Year, Singles Day is highly celebrated in China and is a day dedicated to all the lonely hearts out there!

At the time of writing this, I myself am single and feel Singles Day is a great way to celebrate the power of singledom instead of feeling that non-singles should be the only ones that get to celebrate. So I say all singles should treat themselves!

Women with arms out on a beach with the sun in the distance

But what is Singles Day?

Singles’ Day (Chinese: 光棍节), pronounced Guanggun Jie, was created by Chinese students in the 1990s as an ‘anti-Valentine’s Day’. By 2009, it became a large online shopping festival for Chinese people and has been held annually on 11th November ever since. Many ecommerce sites have followed this by having mass sales on this day. The day has actually become three times bigger than Black Friday and Cyber Monday in America! But it’s no longer just for the Chinese, Singles Day is spreading to Thailand, Singapore and New Zealand too.

Singles Day is specifically celebrated on 11th November (11/11) in China as this date displays the number ‘1’ , representing individuality or just being single. The digits also give it the name ‘bare sticks holiday’ ’in Chinese and Double-11. To give you a picture of how big this day is, in 2017, $25.4 billion USD in sales was recorded in just 24 hours!

When is Singles Day?

Singles Day in China is 11th November, National Singles Day in America (or Singles Awareness Day) is 22nd September and in the UK it falls on 15th February, which is the day after Valentine’s Day.

What do you eat on Singles Day?

Delicious and simple, the deep-fried breadstick is a common snack to eat on Singles Day in China. The deep-fried breadstick is shaped like a ‘1’ to represent singledom and because it represents the date ‘11/11’, you have a good excuse for eating two or even four of them!

bread sticks on a plate

What do you buy on Singles Day?

You can treat yourself to anything from fashion, to a fine dining experience to electricals. However, as I love travel, I personally prefer buying a plane ticket for a solo getaway flight to a place on my bucket list. A solo travel trip - what better to way to celebrate being single?

Alternative Airlines can give you a range of great prices and flight deals on many airlines to treat yourself (whether you’re single or not) and if you’re worried about venturing out into the big world on your own, our solo travel trips blog will give you some peace of mind. For Chinese travelers and expats, Alternative Airlines accepts payment methods including Alipay and PayPal, making it easier to buy flights to anywhere online.

What to do on Singles Day?

So the day itself has arrived, it’s 11th November and you are wanting to treat yourself. But what can a single person typically do on Singles Day? Here are a few suggestions if you are in China and wanting to get involved in the celebrations:

Visit Tianjin

A great place that Singles’ Day has to offer is Tianjin! Just 30 minutes by train from China’s capital Beijing, Tianjin (天津) is a large city full of history and European and Western inspired architecture. A trip down the Hai River will allow you to see the promenade's wonders. Take a 30 minute trip on the Tianjin Eye (the Yongle Bridge Tientsin Eye) which is a large ferris wheel overlooking the Hai River. You’ll be able to see 360 degree views of the city in the hanging gondola and plenty of space for up to 8 people. The Tianjin Eye also serves as a bridge over the river.

Observation wheel beisdes a river


Places to Visit in Tianjin

If you’re looking for places to site see in Tianjin, historical attractions include the Eastern Qing Tombs, which boast as the largest and finest tomb complexes in China and the Tianjin Ancient Cultural Street is a must see. The street dates back to 1404, is 680m in length (only 0.36 miles long!) and is divided into two segments, North Palace Street and South Palace Street. These areas are full of Chinese cultural arts such as ceramics, jewellery and tasty Chinese delicacies.

If you fancy seeing more of the natural outdoors of Tianjin, the Baxian Mountain National Nature Reserve is a beautiful mountain that spans over 5360 hectares, with 95% covered by trees. The breathtaking gullies, waterfalls, forests and animals hands itself the nickname ‘Green Kingdom’. Legend has it that eight fairies passed through the mountainous reserve and drank from the waterfalls. The mountain was then named Mt. Baxian (meaning eight fairies in Chinese).

Which airport do i need to fly to for Tianjin?

Tianjin Binhai International Aiport (TSN) is the closest airport to Tianijn.

Which airlines fly to Tianjin?

Tianjin Airlines is the national carrier and offers routes to and from London as well as regions around China. Other airlines include: Air ChinaHainan AirlinesChina SouthernJuneyao AirlinesShangdong Airlines and Shanghai Airlines. Flights from Europe to Tianjin include China EasternEva AirBritish Airways and Singapore Airlines. Check out all the domestic flights in China to help travel around the country.

Shop of course!

An alternative to treating yourself is to buy a flight somewhere and shop ‘til you drop. Europe? Find out the cheapest countries to visit in Europe. Or feel like local in Germany.

My personal favourite cheapest place to shop is Izmir in Turkey. Described as a bohemian Berlin, the city is laid-back with a less bustling vibe than Istanbul, Turkey’s capital, which is another great cultural place to shop when trying to save the pennies.

Izmir has a great assortment of European high street fashion stores, over 10 shopping malls as well as small bazaars and great cafes to go with it. The Turkish coffee is a must as an added self treat. Once you have shopped ‘til you dropped, you can walk down the promenade (kordon) that overlooks the Aegean sea. I remember being amazed by all the fisherman on the promenade at lunch time.

Fisherman fishing on the coast of Izmir in Turkey

 Photo Credit: Sophie Georgalakis

So if you’re single and want to treat yourself to retail therapy, Izmir is a good cheap shopping recommendation.

Which airport is closest to Izmir?

Izmir has it's own airport which is called Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport (ADB).

Which airlines fly to Izmir?

Turkish Airlines is the national airline carrier for Turkey. There is also flights by AtlasGlobal and Pegasus as other regional airlines within Turkey. Neighbouring Greece offers Aegean Airlines and Olympic Air to Izmir. German airlines that fly to Izmir include LufthansaSunExpress and direct from Istanbul are Onurair too.

Konak Square, Izmir, Turkey

Photo Credit: Sophie Georgalakis

Book your Singles’ Day flights

Don’t be gloomy when your coupley friends celebrate love. You deserve it too, so celebrate being single and treat yourself to get away with flights with Alternative Airlines. Save big with our great flight offers too!

Other big sale days to look out for flights!

Black Friday - Day after Thanksgiving
Cyber Monday - Monday after Thanksgiving
Boxing Day - 26th December

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