Vietnam is known for amazing food, diverse scenery and friendly locals. It is also known for the easiness and common backpacking routes taken by thousands of travellers each year. In another blog post I will go into detail with the exact route my friends and I did when we travelled throughout Vietnam but for now here are 8 reasons why I believe Vietnam is the best country to solo backpack:
- Transport- Although in some ways it doesn’t feel like Vietnam has the best transport or the most modern/ efficient forms of transport, what the country does offer is CHEAP and backpacker friendly transport routes. Most travellers will start at either end of the country, Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi. From either end, it is very common to then start your backpacking journey by either getting a bus or a train to your next location. Night buses are so easy to organise, most hostels can do it all for you!
- Hostels- I don’t think I have ever stayed in hostels like the ones in Vietnam! It’s as if there is something in the air and everyone staying are just friendly and social. Not only have I met some awesome travellers staying in hostels here, but most hostels also provide free breakfast and staff always have information on the best attractions to see in the area. The hostels are also ridiculously cheap ranging from about $2-$20 a night (average $10 a night). I have also stayed in the cheapest ones ($2 a night) and they were almost the same as any pricer hostel, so it really doesn’t make much difference where you stay because most of them are pretty similar.
- Inexpensive- Vietnam so far has been one of the cheapest countries I have travelled too. Food is anywhere from $1-$5 a meal and you can buy almost any non-alcoholic drink here for under $1. As I also said in point one and two, transport is super cheap (Night Bus from Point A to B $5-$15) and any sort of accommodation is $2 upwards (average $10 a night for a hostel, $25 a night for a hotel). The only thing I did find to be expensive as some of the day tours or weekend tours for travellers, but most were worth paying anyway.
- Tours- If you do decide to do a tour it’s a great opportunity to meet more people, as most will be solo as well. I found that most tours I did with my friends (we only did day ones though) everyone apart of the tour were easy going and friendly. I also noticed that on all tours there was a great range of ages and nationalities.
- Eating Out- Depending on where you are in the world, eating out alone can be the most daunting experience. This was something I personally struggled with in Australia. However in Vietnam, because it is such a massive part of the culture to eat in big groups and in the more touristy places for people to eat out, it really is an amazing experience. The main destinations for tourists will always have a lot of cafes and restaurants to eat at and because Vietnam is such a hot spot to travel so many solo backpackers will be doing the exact same thing as you.
- Safety- When I backpacked for 3 months around 8 different countries in Asia I felt the safest in Vietnam! Apart from some scamming and getting ripped off here and there, Vietnam has a very low amount of crime in general. In my opinion, the biggest safety issues would be motorbike driving and watching when you cross the road because although the motorbikes will dodge you, the cars won’t. Also just being aware of your surroundings and not being stupid like getting drunk and walking down a dark alley. Vietnamese people are very friendly and helpful so don’t be afraid to ask for help or directions.
- Culture is still very authentic- Due to Vietnam only opening up to tourism quite recently, it still has quite an authentic feeling whilst travelling around. The crazy part is so many Vietnamese can speak a little bit of English, so you won’t have many problems with communication.
- It’s all been done before- Many people have already backpacked up and down Vietnam, therefore you should have no worries about doing the same journey. There are plenty of YouTube videos, blogs and websites that have personal accounts and some great tips. As I previously said, in most hostels they will have information on backpacking routes and night buses to take. On this map below, it shows the most common route almost everyone takes whilst backing Vietnam. It just depends where you want to stop in-between.