Vietnam is slowly crawling to the world as a great backpacking destination. Vietnam has a terrible past with various group creating a ruckus during 70's & 80's & the scar of those terrible times are still visible all over the country. The country has done well in terms of tourism. The cities like Ho Chi Minh & Hanoi are able to stamp authority on the world map. Many tourists chose to start the journey from one end & complete it on the far end of the country the long journey is worthy as there are so many places to visit & so many experiences to cherish. So, here is the ultimate Vietnam Travel Guide for solo travelers.
How To Reach Vietnam:The major part of the entry to Vietnam is either Ho Chi Minh or Hanoi. Apart from these two megacities, there are few more entry points like Da Nang, Nha Trang etc. But, the best would be to enter either from Ho Chi Minh or Hanoi. The number of flights to these two places are very high & one can start the journey to the other end with ease. If traveling from India, the best would be to book a flight to Ho Chi Minh city. There are numerous budget flights available. The best would be Air Asia (the food charges are not included hence the rates are pretty cheaper compared to other carriers).
Best Things To Do In Vietnam:Vietnam is full of surprises, there are so many things to do here. Most people travel for a month to cover everything. Here are the places to cover during the trip.
Ho Chi Minh City:Probably one of the biggest cities in Vietnam. The city is named after a famous personality Ho Chi Minh. Before that, the place was known as Saigon. The city is pretty close to the famous Cu Chi Tunnel which is a famous tourist destination.
Due to a shortage of time, I was not able to cover central Vietnam to North Vietnam which has the place like Hanoi. Also, there are few more places like My Son Sanctuary, Ninh Binh, Son Doong cave which is the world's largest cave.
Expenses In Vietnam:
Accommodation In Vietnam:There are plenty of hostels available & a price of one-bed dorm in a non-ac room will start from INR 250. Further, all the coastal cities in Vietnam offers a flurry of luxurious hotels & a 3-star hotel starts from INR 1500 - INR 2000. Most of the hostels will provide free beer & free breakfast. So, always choose the hostels with best rating. I stayed at the following hostels during my trip. One can check the list of hostels from Booking.com & hotels from Agoda.
The Hideout in Ho Chi Minh City.
Mjozo dorm in Nha Trang
Backpackers village in Mui Ne
Barneys backpacker hostel in Da Nang
Food:Vietnamese food is quite famous among travelers. One can sense its popularity by the fact that the number of tourists applies for the Vietnamese food classes. The street food is highly famous among travelers & a bun with the egg can be bought for 18,000 VND. Also, during happy hours the beer is very cheap. So, if you want to keep the price low drink beer during the happy hour. Like Bangkok, supermarkets are all over Vietnam which offers reasonable prices for beers.
Commutation:Grab is the prime application to be used by travelers for booking a ride. It is very handy & can be an uber for Vietnam. If one is not willing to use Grab. It will be better to rent a motorbike. The rentals are pretty cheap i.e INR 300 to 400 per day. But, the only problem is the driving skills of people. The traffic sense is pretty bad & if you are not comfortable driving in haphazard conditions. It is better to switch to public transports.
Wifi:Most of the shops will have wifi access for free. So, it doesn't make sense to buy a sim here.
How To Do Vietnam On A Budget?Stay local or hostel: Hostels dorm room or Couchsurfing will help you to minimize the rate. If you are able to find a host nothing beats that. Even if you are not able to find one book cheap hostel bed which will help you keep the rate pretty low.
Eat street food: Street food in Vietnam is cheap & tasty. So, eating street will not only keep the cost low but will also give you a taste of local food. A great technique to enjoy some local favorites. A plate of noodles or rice will cost you approx INR 50.
Don't do everything: One is often forced to do all the activity which doesn't even interest you. So, if you are short on time & interested in only a few activities. So only those.
Use public transport: Public transport like buses, trains etc are pretty cheap. So, while commuting inside the city or intercity try using public transport. This will help you to keep the price on a lower side.
Buy beers from the supermarket: Supermarkets are fantastic place to buy some cheap beers & the great thing is that the store is available at all the places. It is the best place to buy some beer at cheap pretty low price.Also, there are many places which offer happy hours & most of the hostels have this offering. Make use of such offers & enjoy your time in Vietnam.
Is Vietnam Safe For Solo Travel?All the big cities are safe to travel solo. However, in some places, one can face problem while dealing with locals. As some people will try to con you to pay more. During my trip, I had one bad experience where a motorbike driver tried to seize more money. However overall traveling solo was without any issues.
What To Pack For Vietnam?Vietnam has only two seasons dry & wet. So, if you are traveling during the dry season do carry summer clothes & if you are traveling during the wet season do pack an extra pair of everything & a raincoat to help you during the rain.
Handy Resources:Below are the few resources you should check before making an itinerary.
Agoda: Best place to book hotels of your liking. Agoda provides the best solution & great offer while booking a hotel.
Skyscanner: Skyscanner compares various sites & sort the flights based on the rates. A great way to check flight cost. Although the only drawback is that rates are flexible. Hence, the cost might change while you are making the payment.
Jetradar: Jetradar is a comparing site which is just like Skyscanner. But, is much more accurate & much more handy in use.
Booking: Best place to book hostel rooms. There are plenty of options available & with so many properties booking becomes much easier.
Couchsurfing: Best place to find free accommodation. It is as easy as filtering people & messaging. If you will get lucky you will find free accommodation in local resident house.
Travel Insurance: There are numerous options available to get one. So, you can choose anything which suits your requirement. Make sure you read the terms & conditions before buying one.
A trip is incomplete without the pics.Buy an iphone to click some breath taking pics. Apart from a phone camera, I use GoPro an adventure camera to shoot video & click high definition photos. The product is pretty handy & captures mind blogging videos. GoPro is easy & handy to use, which makes it a must buy. So, these are my trip essentials.