Vietnam Solo Travel Guide: Tips for Visiting

I traveled to Vietnam for a whole month solo! I’m letting you know what I thought of the experience in this post. As an experienced solo traveler, I’ve visited 25+ countries alone. I’m sharing my top tips for visiting Vietnam alone in this Vietnam solo travel guide. First off, it’s the perfect place for solo travel. Why? Because Vietnam is so CHEAP, the locals are friendly, and it’s very safe. I absolutely loved my time visiting! I hope that after reading this post you will feel inspired to travel to this amazing country and not be afraid to do so alone.

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Quick Facts before visiting Vietnam:
💱Currency: Vietnamese Dong (VND)
💶 Budget for a trip to Vietnam: The average daily cost for a trip to Vietnam is around 1.5M VND ($61 USD), which covers food, accommodation, and transportation.
💜 Is tipping required in Vietnam? Tipping is not mandatory in Vietnam, but it is appreciated for exceptional service, typically rounding up the bill or leaving small change.
☀️Best time to Visit: The best time to visit Vietnam is from November to April when the weather is generally dry and cool in the north and warm and sunny in the south.
🏥 Travel Insurance in Vietnam: I recommend SafetyWing which will cover you in case of trip cancellations or any accidents during your travels.

Is Vietnam safe for solo travel?

Yes! I can attest to the fact that Vietnam is safe for solo travelers. Everyone is super friendly and welcoming. I never had a moment where I didn’t feel safe and I even walked at night on my own comfortably. 

Timeout, Lonely Planet, and Travel & Leisure have all listed Vietnam as one of the best solo travel destinations.

The only thing that is unsafe is crossing the road in Hanoi! 

Only joking but you’ll see what I mean as soon as you arrive. The streets are so busy and you literally have to step into oncoming traffic to cross! 

If you’re a first-time solo traveler wondering if Vietnam is good for solo travelers, I’d say yes! It was easy to get around, people were friendly, and there was so much to do.

English is widely spoken in tourist areas, which can make communication easier for travelers who don’t speak Vietnamese.

As with any destination, it’s essential to stay aware of your surroundings and take common-sense precautions. Just remember to research, plan ahead, stay open-minded, and be prepared for the adventures that solo travel often brings!

Scams to Be Aware of in Vietnam

Every country has its scams. Here are some common ones to be aware of and really these can happen anywhere, not just Vietnam.

  • ATM Scams: Make sure you go to trusted ATMs from reputable banks. There can be scams where a device is attached to the area you insert your card and they can steal your card details.
  • Taxi Scams: Always stick to Grab (the equivalent of Uber) for tracked rides and for set prices. Don’t ever trust someone who approaches you saying they can match the price on Grab and drive you.
  • Shortchanging Scam: When you make a purchase and pay with a larger denomination bill, the vendor or cashier will often return your change in smaller notes. I often got confused as a 20K VND looked so similar to a 200k VND so count your change carefully. Vendors may intentionally give you less change than you’re owed, hoping that you won’t notice the discrepancy.
  • Phone Snatching: This can happen in bigger cities like Ho Chi Minh City. Be sure to keep your phone close to you and be aware of your surroundings.
  • Price discrepancies: Alaways ask for the price before committing to purchasing anything, especially if no price is displayed.

How to Dress in Vietnam

I found that I could dress normally in Vietnam as I would in my home country. It can be hot so stick to lightweight and breathable fabrics like cotton and linen (shop my picks here). Loose-fitting clothing is also preferable to allow airflow.

You only need to dress conservatively in temples. I wore dresses and skirts mostly and it was totally fine. If you’re traveling to places like Sapa you’ll need to dress warmer as the temperature is a bit cooler up North.

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Budget for a Solo Travel Trip to Vietnam 

Vietnam is possibly the cheapest place in the world to visit! 

This is reason enough it’s the best place to travel solo especially if you’re on a budget. You can find accommodation from $10 and no I’m not even talking about hostels. I’m talking about your own cozy room in a home stay or hotel. 

For hostels, prices can start at around $5.

I traveled to Vietnam and only spent USD $1,680 (without flights) for nearly a month.

That’s $65 a day including hotels, food, transportation within Vietnam, and sightseeing.

Before traveling to Asia, I moved all my belongings into storage and guess what, I SAVED money by traveling rent free. I was paying $2,500 on rent in London alone!

Best cities in Vietnam for Solo Travel:

1. Ninh Binh

Ninh Binh was one of my favorite places in Vietnam. So don’t rush your visit here and definitely don’t skip it. It’s more of a hidden gem that’s not high on the radar for most tourists.  The hotels here are so nice and so cheap. You can find places for as little as $10 a night

Read my full blog post to find out what 2 days in Ninh Binh looks like. 

The top highlights include visiting the Mua Caves, riding bikes to sites like Bich Dong Pagoda, and enjoying the lights at night at Pho Co Hoa Lu. 

Best Solo Travel Activity in Ninh BinhHanoi to Ninh Binh Tour
Where to stay in Ninh Binh: Tam Coc Lion Kings Hotel | Hang Mua Village Homestay

2. Hoi An 

Hoi An has to be at the top of your list for solo travel in Vietnam. It’s one of the safest cities and it’s got so much charm. 

The town is known as the Lantern City and its name translates to “the peaceful meeting place.”

The Ancient Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage site. You’ll find charming old buildings in yellow shades of color. 

I felt especially welcome in Hoi An as solo traveler because there were so many fun things to do. I went to a lantern-making class (book here) and the whole table I was sitting at were solo travelers. In fact, most the room were and I was able to exchange info with some of the girls there. 

Other nice activities to do solo include shopping in the Ancient Town (you can get dresses like mine pictured for only $4), taking a boat tour and releasing a lantern with your wish, as well as cafe hopping. Vietnam has some of the best coffee I’ve ever had! If you don’t have any one to take photos of you as a solo traveler, you can hire someone for only $25 (Book a photographer here)!

Best Solo Travel Activity in Hoi AnLantern Making Class
Where to stay in Hoi An: Alsahar Boutique Villa | Rockmouse Centre River Villa
Read my full blog post on where to stay in Hoi An & what to do in Hoi An

3. Hue

I didn’t know what to expect from visiting Hue because I didn’t see a ton about it. I didn’t think I’d like it too much but I ended up loving it too! 

There are many different tombs and palaces to visit in Hue. 

The Imperial City blew me away. It was much larger and more beautiful than I ever expected.  You’ll need a good 3 hours or more to explore it. 

More of a hidden gem was the An Dinh Palace. The interiors were so pretty and it was a little more quiet than the other tourists spots. 

Check out my full blog post on the best things to do in Hue

Best Solo Travel Activity in HueWalking Tour to Imperial Citadel
Where to stay in Hue: Pisces Hotel

4. Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi are the two places to go if you love city life. They are both busy and bustling cities with so much going on. 

In Ho Chi Minh City, you will have a lot to explore. If you wanted to spend the ideal day here, you can start by passing by the pink church (Tan Dinh Church). It was my true obsession and I couldn’t get over admiring the views from the coffee shop directly across called Cong Caphe. 

From here you can continue your day by sending a postcard at the Saigon Central Post Office, the largest post office in Vietnam ornate with French colonial-style architecture.

Right nearby you’ll find the quaint Book Street. Don’t miss the Cafe Apartments which is many stories high and full of all different kinds of coffee shops. In the evening you can head to Landmark 81 for a view.  

From Ho Chi Minh City, you can also visit the Mekong River Delta and go to the famous Cai Rang Floating Market,

Best Solo Travel Activity in Ho Chi Minh CityStreet Food + Sightseeing Tour
Where to stay in Ho Chi Minh City: La Memoria Hotel 

5. Hanoi 

Hanoi is the capital city of Vietnam. The most popular thing to do here is go to the train street where you will find a train pass inches away from you. 

It’s also one of the best foodie cities in the world. I joined a street food tour which took me to both the train street and many amazing eateries across town. It was a great way to learn about the different food Hanoi has to offer and as a solo traveler it was good to go with others to the train street so I knew what to expect and could stay safe!

The other thing you’ll want to try is the amazing coffee including egg coffee and my obsession, iced salt coffee. You can find out what my favorite cafes in Hanoi are here.

Best Solo Travel Activity in HanoiHanoi Food Tour with Train Street Visit
Where to stay in Hanoi: Sunline Hotel

6. Sapa 

I didn’t actually get the chance to visit Sapa as I came in March and the weather looked iffy. It’s one of those places you need to check ahead or visit during ideal times as it’s way up north and can get super cloudy. This makes the sky not very visible and not worth the trek. I have heard great things about Sapa. You will be surrounded by nature here and even can spot some rice terraces and Mountain views. There’s a really cool cable car you can take for views. 

Best Solo Travel Activity in SapaMuong Hoa Valley Trek and Local Villages Tour
Where to stay in Sapa: Sapa Vista Hotel

Vitenam Solo Travel: Top tips for visiting

  • Check if you are required to have a visa to visit. If you’re American or Australian you will have to. Apply for your visa a minimum of one week ahead of your trip. I made this mistake and thought you could get a visa on arrival. It wasn’t til the day before that I realized it had to be ahead of time. I had to sadly delay my trip until it came. It took 3-4 business days and could be even longer. The correct place to apply for the visa is linked here.
  • Not all of Vietnam is warm! The North offers cooler climates than the South. When visiting places like Sapa, Ha Giang Loop, or Ha Long Bay, the weather can be really variable. You might want to check ahead because these places can get super foggy and views may be completely blocked.
  • Download Grab (the equivalent of Uber) to get around. It’s so cheap! You can even travel for less than $1. 
  • Carry cash. Vietnam is very much a cash only culture. Be sure to use an ATM at a local bank and decline conversion when prompted for the best rates. 
  • Join the Vietnam Travel Guide group on Facebook. It was extremely helpful in planning my trip to Vietnam. 

How to meet friends in Vietnam

  1. My top tip for this and for any country is to join a group tour. You can find great tours via GetYourGuide or Viator
  2. Join FB groups like mine, Girls Who Wander Solo or Girls Love Travel
  3. Get on Bumble! It’s not just for dating there’s a friend section where you can meet friends of the same sex. Or go on a date in their dating platform if you fancy. 
  4. Stay in hostels. Many have communal areas or events to connect you with other travelers. 
  5. Say hello to the person next to you at the cafe. Start by complimenting them or asking them what their favorite thing they’ve done in Vietnam has been. As scary as it sounds, they might be in the same situation as you! Or just talk to the locals working the cafe or restaurant for example. 

What to pack for your solo trip to Vietnam

Here are some essentials for traveling solo in London.

  • This super cool scarf has a hidden zipper that allows you to hide important things like your passport or money. A useful thing to have for a solo traveler.
  • keychain flashlight is handy to have in case you’re ever walking alone at night and it’s too dark to see your surroundings.
  • I always carry a mini first aid kit in case of any accidents and I can be a clumsy person!
  • One thing I never leave home when traveling is a portable compact mobile phone charger like this one. I have run into a few situations where I was stuck in a tiny village in Italy and no one knew English. Sadly my phone died and I felt crippled without my phone. I was unable to use Google Translate to conversate or navigate anywhere. This one is great because it’s fast charging, and can charge wirelessly using a lightning connector or USB-C. The trick to finding long-lasting portable chargers is looking for a 10,000mAh or above power bank. It means the charger will charge the phone at least 3x.
  • My favorite tripod is this compact tripod for mobile phones – people constantly ask me how I take solo photos and this is how!

Travel Insurance for Vietnam Solo Travel

It’s definitely worth getting travel insurance whether you’re traveling alone or with others and I recommend SafetyWing which will cover you in case of any accidents or hospital visits. While it’s unlikely to happen, better safe than sorry!

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