There’s already a tonne of information online about travelling to Vietnam as a solo female but there are a few things I wish I had known before I went:
- Download the ‘Grab’ app
Vietnam’s answer to Uber (they actually bought it out there. Cheaper than a cab, the option to pay in cash or card (I linked my travel card) and super reliable as I never waited longer than 4 minutes for a car. Make sure you put in an accurate address as it’s not guaranteed that your driver speaks English!
- Don’t skip the cities/towns along the coast
One of my biggest regrets is not having enough time to travel up the coast, like many others I had met previously. While I loved seeing Saigon, Hanoi and Ha Long Bay, I know that places like Da Nang and Nha Trang have been some of my friends’ favourite places on their travels in Vietnam.
- Crossing the road
What a learning curve! Like many places in South-East Asia, traffic lights and signs are more like decorations. A green pedestrian light and zebra crossings don’t mean that you will be given right of way. To get more confident, I always walked closely to other people (strangers of friends) as we walked together. When alone, I said a little prayer and walked with confidence, never stopping!
- Try all the Pho
This is the main reason I wanted to go to Vietnam, with the Pho tasting differently as you travel through the country. I loved it all, but it’s still a cool feeling to notice the differences.
- Try a cooking class
One of the best ways to go to a local food market, try local food and have a good time for a good price. I used Tripadvisor to choose Rose Kitchen in Hanoi on my last night, which had great reviews. Rightfully so, I got to walk through a local market, learn some cooking skills and have a three course meal and leftovers for days!
- Think before hiring a bike
Before you opt to get a grab ride on the back of a bike or hire one on your own, there are two things to think about. Firstly, are you confident in riding in the Vietnamese traffic? While not always serious, I certainly saw a lot of crashes along the roads, and chaos. You could not pay me enough!
The second thing to think about is your insurance. Most require an addition to your policy to cover you on a motorbike.