Vietnam Solo Travel Guide
Vietnam is an incredible destination for solo travelers to visit. It offers beautiful landscapes, historic temples, rich culture, and vibrant scenery.
As you make your way through the country, you’ll witness the contrasting landscapes, local customs, and traditional architecture. There’s the bustling center of Ho Chi Minh City, the beaches of Da Nang, the Imperial palaces in Hue, the famous limestone cliffs in Ha Long Bay, and the rice terraces in Sapa.
Embrace the local culture, visit the colorful markets, ancient temples, and try authentic dishes as you travel across the country.
If you’re planning to travel alone to this diverse country, keep reading below for our solo travel guide to Vietnam.
Ho Chi Minh City
A common starting point for a solo vacation to Vietnam often starts in Ho Chi Minh City. In this economic center, you’ll find plenty of exciting streets, tasty restaurants, and interesting shops. The streets are filled with energy and traffic as the scooters maneuver in all directions.
Stop by the busy Ben Thanh Market to discover rows of vendors selling food, clothing, handicrafts and more. This indoor market is a lively hub for shopping.
As you navigate through the city, you’ll encounter fascinating architecture, such as the historic Independence Palace, as well as modern skyscrapers like the Bitexco Financial Tower.
When the sun begins to set, stroll through Nguyen Hue street, a large pedestrian boulevard optimal for admiring the sights and sounds of the city. Take in the lively atmosphere and grab a late-night snack.
Located in central Vietnam, Da Nang is a coastal city known for its laid-back atmosphere and sandy beaches. Solo travelers looking to relax or cool down might appreciate the popular My Khe beach. Take in dip in the refreshing waters or go for a walk down the the palm tree-lined coast.
Da Nang is also home to several fascinating bridges. Right in the center lies the dazzling Dragon Bridge, with features the body of a dragon spanning the entire length of the 666m long bridge. Don’t miss seeing the display of colors when the bridge is lit up at night.
Stop by the Marble Mountains, an enthralling group of five marble and limestone formations. Get a workout in as you climb up all the stairs, and step into the wondrous caves, where you’ll see fascinating temples and statues.
Ha Long Bay
Perhaps one of Vietnam’s most well-known sites, this natural wonder showcases 1600 limestone islands and islets amongst emerald waters.
Located about 100 miles from the city of Hanoi, there are many tour companies that offer day trips for exploring this spectacular destination. There are also many accommodation options right in the city of Ha Long for solo travelers who wish to spend a bit more time exploring the area.
One of the best ways to really see the bay up-close, is via a cruise ship. These can be part of an organized day tour from Hanoi, or booked separately for those staying in the city of Ha Long.
In addition to the beautiful scenery, in the center of the bay lies the Sung Sot Cave. Wander through the lit-up pathways and admire the fascinating details of the rock formations.
This quaint town in central Vietnam is a beautiful historic spot for solo female travelers to stop by for a few days.
The highlight of the city is the ancient Old Town, filled with charming architecture, cozy cafes, and boutiques selling arts, crafts, traditional clothing, leather goods and more. As you weave through the streets, you’ll come across the historic Cau Temple bridge, which dates back to the 1700’s.
Don’t miss the Old Town in the evening, where the thousands of colorful lanterns that are strung about the center, are beautifully lit up. At the Hoi An Night Market, the town becomes full of energy and showcases local merchants selling food, crafts, and gifts.
Hoi An also offers some great beaches worth stopping by, such as the An Bang Beach which is located about 2.5 miles away from the Old Town.
Located in central Vietnam, Hue is best known for the Imperial City, a royal palace that was founded in 1802. The former Imperial capital of Vietnam has plenty of history to showcase, with the palace being a must-see during a visit to the city. Step into this massive complex consisting of ornate gates, ancient temples, majestic gardens, and historic pavilions.
In the city of Hue, you’ll also find impressive pagodas and royal tombs, both of which display their elaborate detailing.
Running along the center of the city is Perfume River, a good spot for taking a peaceful stroll along the river banks. Historically noted to be fragrant during the autumn months, Perfume River derives its name after flowers from the nearby orchards had fallen into the water during Fall season, creating an uplifting aroma.
The capital city of Vietnam is located in the Northern region of the country. While Hanoi’s city center is lively, it is quieter compared to the bustling streets of Ho Chi Minh City in the South.
The Old Quarter is a lively area for solo women to browse through. This district features over 40 streets of vendors selling gifts, silk, stationary, local delicacies, and more.
You won’t miss the Hoan Kiem Lake situated in the heart of the city. This peaceful retreat is great for morning walks, people-watching, strolling across the historic red bridge, and admiring the view of the nearby ancient temple.
Hanoi features a variety of interesting attractions to choose from. At the Vietnamese Women’s Museum, visitors will learn about contributions that were made by women to the country’s history and culture. The Temple of Literature which dates back to the year 1070, is a stunning complex showcasing traditional architecture, beautiful grounds, and serene courtyards.
This remote and mountainous region in Northern Vietnam is a popular stop due to its pristine terraced rice fields and lush scenery.
While this town is a bit out of the way, solo female travelers looking for a bit of a trek will be greeted with the sheer beauty of the vast rice fields and awe-inspiring scenery.
Try the mountain cable car which takes visitors seemingly up into the clouds through the Fansipan mountains, showcasing the beautiful backdrop, vast valleys, and terraced hills below.
From Hanoi, Sapa can be reached via an 8 hour-ride on a sleeper train, or a 6-7 hour bus ride.
What To Eat in Vietnam
Vietnam offers many traditional delicacies, some of which are more prominent in certain regions. One of their most popular dishes nationwide, is Pho. This classic soup dish consists of flavorful broth, soft rice noodles, and thinly-sliced beef.
For a tasty item to eat while on-the-go, grab a Banh Mi. This crispy baguette is often filled with savory ingredients such as cold cut meats, grilled pork or chicken, and topped with cucumber, pickled carrots and daikon.
Don’t forget to try the savory Banh Xeo, a crispy fried pancake typically stuffed with bean sprouts, mung beans, shrimp, and pork.
While traveling by yourself across the country, you’ll encounter other specialty dishes that have originated in specific cities, such as Bun Bo Hue (lemongrass beef noodle soup) in Hue and Bun Cha (grilled pork with vermicelli noodles) in Hanoi.
There are a variety of dining options forwomen traveling alone, ranging from street vendors to casual eateries to a few upscale restaurants. In select cities, there’s a solid selection of vegetarian dishes to choose from as well. These are often at restaurants that create meatless versions of well-known dishes.
Street food tours are also quite popular in Ho Chi Minh City, and are a great option for single travelers looking to sample a bit of everything.
Getting Around Vietnam as a Solo Traveler
Traveling alone through Vietnam can often include a a combination of transportation modes depending on the cities you wish to visit.
If you’re traveling between medium-sized or larger cities, flying might be a good option to quickly navigate between destinations. Flights are serviced by a few different airlines, and are reasonably-priced. The cities with major airports include Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, and Da Nang.
The flight time from Northern Vietnam (Hanoi) to Southern Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh City) is about 2 hours and 15 minutes. Flights to cities that are in-between can be as short as 1 hour and 20 minutes.
Trains are also another option for a solo trip across the country, keeping in mind that it does take a longer amount of time compared to flying.
Vietnam’s main train line includes the North-South route which connects the Northern capital of Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City in the South. During the route, stops are made in popular cities including Hue, Da Nang, and Nha Trang.
Through the train window, see the changing landscape as you make your way through urban cities and the rural countryside. Sleeper beds and economy seats are available options.
The train system also includes the Northwest Route which connects the capital of Hanoi to the mountainous region of Sapa.
You’ll have likely noticed the abundance of motorbikes whizzing around the cities. Motorbikes are a common method of transportation for locals. Single travelers can find motorbikes tours, which are suitable for short-distance transfers between cities.
On a tour, hop on the back of a motorbike as a local guide transports you to the next city, all while highlighting the beautiful scenery along the way. Traveling by motorbike gives you the opportunity to see the magnificent landscape along the journey.