The ultimate solo travel guide to Vietnam: Everything you need to know

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Known as the ‘Land of the Ascending Dragon’ due to its distinctive shape, Vietnam is a great solo travel destination for lovers of adventure and the great outdoors. Brimming with energy and optimism, this is a place where you’ll come face-to-face with dramatic landscapes, dynamic street food and friendly people.

From the bustling Old Quarter of Hanoi to the islands of Unesco-listed Ha Long Bay and the evocative Cu Chi Tunnels, much of Vietnam is a storybook waiting to unfold. Explore rice paddies in the Sa Pa hills and feast on steaming bowls of streetside phở in Hanoi, home to Hoan Kiem Lake and the Temple of Literature. 

Further south, you’ll find gilded pagodas in Hue, silk tailors and storytellers in scenic Hoi An, and Ho Chi Minh’s headline attractions – including Notre Dame Cathedral, the War Remnants Museum and buzzing rooftop bars. 

From cooking classes to bucket list train rides and the wild beauty of the Mekong Delta, Vietnam is best viewed from a local’s perspective. Travelling solo with a group, you can dive headfirst into the country’s rich tapestry of food, scenery and experiences as told by the people of Vietnam. Want in? Here’s everything you need to know about taking a group solo trip in Vietnam.

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Vietnam travel facts

The Socialist Republic of Vietnam is a narrow Southeast Asian country that stretches down the shore of the South China Sea. It’s a land full of contrasts, from the leafy charm of the capital Hanoi in the north to the easygoing romance of lantern-lit Hoi An and modern, futuristic Ho Chi Minh way down south. 

Indelibly linked to the 30-year-long Vietnam War, which finally ended in 1975, the nation bears scars – but like the fast-paced scooters of its cities, it’s not idling or dwelling in the past. Nowadays, Vietnam blends regal Nguyen Dynasty temples with a reputation for world-class street food, famous Unesco sights and viridian mountain and wetlands scenery. From island-hopping to ricefield cycling and effusive nightlife (karaoke, anyone?), Vietnam has it all.

Is Vietnam good for solo travel?

With top-notch hospitality, easy transport, affordable prices and relatively low crime rates, Vietnam is a textbook case for solo travel. Many of its headline acts capture the kind of serene reflection that goes hand-in-hand with travelling alone: sunrise tai chi in Hanoi parks, a sampan boat ride down the Mekong Delta or hiking in the Pu Luong Nature Reserve. 

Joining a Flash Pack group of solo travellers in Vietnam means you can dig deeper with authentic cultural encounters; for example, by visiting the home of a family in Hanoi, or sharing lunch on a Mekong Delta farm. By having all the details of a trip arranged for you by Vietnamese experts, you can enjoy the best, most unique activities with hassle-free immersion. Learn more about solo travel with Flash Pack.

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Best places to visit in Vietnam

What should you do on a solo trip to Vietnam? From the temples and pavilions of Imperial City of Hue to Ha Long Bay, with its astonishing maze of 2,000 ancient limestone karsts and islands, Flash Pack has all the highlights – with a few fun twists en route. Kayak through the Dark and Light Cave in off-radar Lan Ha Bay or share lunch with Buddhist nuns at Dong Thien Pagoda in Hue. Hop onboard for one of the world’s scenic overnight train rides to irresistible Hoi An, where noodle workshops, beaches and an internationally renowned bamboo circus awaits. 

Above all, savour the flavours of incredible Vietnamese cuisine: think French-accented bánh mì sandwiches, spicy spring rolls, nước chấm dipping sauce and punchy hủ tiếu broth. You can taste the best of these, including regional varieties, with cooking classes and a vintage Vespa food safari in Ho Chi Minh.

Where to stay as a solo traveller in Vietnam

Vietnamese tourism has developed rapidly in the past decade, creating a new class of boutique hotels. Solo travellers can now choose from an impressive line-up of retreats in most destinations, including French Quarter mansions in Hanoi, state-of-the-art spas in Hue and balmy retreats with rooftop pools in Ho Chi Minh. Cát Bà and Phú Quốc islands specialise in luxury escapes, while Vietnam’s national parks and reserves are home to a growing breed of stylish eco stays. 

With Flash Pack’s group solo trips to Vietnam, we arrange all accommodation for you; which means you can take advantage of top-range hotels by sharing a room, skipping the single supplement that normally puts these kinds of places out of reach to solo travellers. If you prefer to pay a little extra to have your own room, that’s fine, too.

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How to get to Vietnam

Air travel is the quickest and easiest way to get to Vietnam: the main three international airports are Noi Bai International Airport for in Hanoi for the north; Tan Son Nhat International Airport for Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam’s largest city, in the south; and Da Nang International Airport for travel to Da Nang, Hoi An and nearby central coast regions. 

If you’re already in Southeast Asia, you can catch a bus from Savannakhet or Vientiane in neighboring Laos, with various routes leading to Hanoi, historic Hue, the city of Vinh in north-central Vietnam, or Da Nang. Travelling by boat from the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh on a Mekong Delta cruise is another beautiful entry option if you have time on your hands (between two and four days).

How to get around Vietnam

The north and south of Vietnam are connected by a single, 2,600km Vietnam Railways track, making trains a relaxing and easy way to get from city to city down the S-shaped coast. Choose from soft seats or four-berth cabins, but remember to book in advance during busy periods. For those on a budget, there are plenty of sleeper buses that follow a similar, well-established route. 

On the clock? Vietnam’s reliable domestic flights connect between all major destinations, with flight times of one to two hours. Private minibus transfers are included in the price of Flash Pack’s group solo trips to Vietnam to make getting around as seamless as possible. Boat and overnight railway journeys also feature to showcase Vietnam at its best.

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Best time to visit Vietnam

Vietnam weather varies a lot depending on where you are. While the north, including Hanoi, has a temperate climate (it’s only hot June to August, and can get chilly in winter months), the central region is rainy during winter (November to February) and warm/hot the rest of the time. Southern destinations such as Ho Chi Minh and Phú Quốc are nearly always hot – and often humid. Monsoon season, meanwhile, runs from May to October in north and south Vietnam, and September to December in the central areas. 

What this means is that the dry-yet-warmer March to May period is a prime time for countrywide solo travel in Vietnam: but really, you’ll find some blue-sky sunshine at any time of year. Tet, Vietnam’s colourful lunar new year celebration, usually falls in January and is great for spotting dragon processions, parades and markets heaped with luck-bestowing peach blossoms.

Vietnam travel itineraries

Flash Pack’s Secret Vietnam trip takes solo travellers on a whirlwind ride from eclectic Hanoi to luxury junk boat sailing in Ha Long Bay and the spectacular jungle scenery of Cat Ba National Park. The sprawling citadel of Unesco-listed city Hue is up next, followed by an upper-class train journey to Hoi An, a town packed with culture, cooking and picturesque bike trails. Round off with a Vespa tour of Ho Chi Minh’s secret foodie hotspots and a boat ride along the tropical Mekong. 

Want more? Make it a double-whammy holiday, with Flash Pack’s Vietnam and Cambodia adventure. Including many of the delights on its shorter sister trip, this getaway also features hiking in Pu Luong Nature Reserve, war history in the mysterious Cu Chi Tunnel, time in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh and the temples of Angkor Wat, too.

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What to pack for solo travel in Vietnam

First thing’s first: for a solo trip to Vietnam you’ll need your passport, visa, insurance, debit/credit cards and cash currency (mostly Vietnamese dong, but US dollars are also widely accepted). Add in a secure backpack, money belt and adapters for plug types A, C and F, along with sunscreen and Deet-based mosquito repellent. 

Outside of the cities, Vietnam is quite conservative – particularly around temples and pagodas – so opt for loose, long-layered clothing made from breathable cotton. You’ll also want a warmer jacket if you’re traveling north during winter months and a raincoat for monsoon season (easily bought in Vietnam). Beach gear is helpful as you travel from the central to southern areas. Remember lightweight, breathable hiking shoes/trainers for hillside treks.

Solo travel advice for Vietnam

In a nation that’s friendly and welcoming, with easy transport links, travelling solo in Vietnam is a joy. Indeed, the north-south route from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh is something of a pilgrimage for solo travellers, taking in Hue, Hoi An and party town Nha Trang along the way; along with regional highlights such as Sa Pa and Phú Quốc island. If you do want the support of a group, Flash Pack’s solo group trips provide an effortless way to get beneath the skin of Vietnam with unique experiences, a local guide and small crew of like-minded travellers for company. You could even choose to top and tail a solo group trip with your own solo extension. Beach time, anyone?

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Is it safe to travel solo in Vietnam?

Thousands of visitors travel to Vietnam every year and most trips are trouble-free. However, do check out the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (UK), the Department of State Travel Advisories (US) or your country’s local government guidelines for the latest advice before travelling. 

Once there, follow local advice and be aware of your surroundings at all times. Keep a watch on your belongings in crowded areas (leave valuables at home) and be wary about walking alone after dark in tourist hubs. For a jackpot of comfort, safety and fun, a group solo trip to Vietnam does all the logistical legwork for you, with glorious hotels to local guides and fellow travellers to cheer you on. 

Ready for your next adventure? Try group solo travel to Vietnam with Flash Pack – designed exclusively for people in their 30s and 40s, seeking the independence of solo travel within the safety of a group.

A cool 98% of Flashpackers arrive solo to join our group adventures. So, you’ll be in good company – whether a first time solo traveller or a seasoned pro looking for like-minded new friends.

Images: Flash Pack

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