Why did I choose Vietnam?

  • For Rich Cultural Experience: Vietnam is one of the top destinations worth visiting in Southeast Asia alongside Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, etc. My journey focused on just 5 cities in Northern Vietnam, yet each place I visited offered captivating landscapes and intriguing local customs. 

  • Scenic Landscapes: The natural beauty of Vietnam is stunning. Taking the time to unwind and connect with nature was a priority for me. In Vietnam, I had a great time in the coastal splendor of Halong Bay, walking through picturesque limestone valleys, and trekking among the enchanting terraced fields.

  • Safety: Traveling in Vietnam is generally safe. The majority of Vietnamese locals are supportive and friendly towards tourists. Many Vietnamese can communicate well in English.

Solo Trip to Vietnam

Vietnam is a budget-friendly travel destination

  • Affordable Travel: As of now, 1 USD equals around 24,000 VND. The spending options in Vietnam are quite reasonable with excellent value for the experiences. I will discuss the budget details in the later section. 

  • Ease of Navigation: Getting around within cities or between tourist destinations is very convenient. I can easily book and pay for tickets online from anywhere.

  • Amazing Cuisine: Vietnamese cuisine is fascinating and worth trying, regardless of your preferred culinary style. Fast-food joints and local eateries line the streets everywhere you go.

Detailed Plans

In line with what I mentioned earlier, my solo adventure in Vietnam spanned 7 days, covering 4 cities. I chose the end of September for this journey (as suggested by many people). Here is a detailed account of each day during my solo trip to Vietnam:

Day 1: Hanoi Arrival

My flight touched down in Hanoi at 1 PM. I purchased a local SIM card and exchanged currency at the airport before taking a taxi to my dorm in the Old Quarter. The commute took approximately 45 minutes.

My check-in time was at 2 PM. I made the reservation at Hay Hostel online. The shared bed has privacy with individual curtains. As I had the lengthy 12-hour flight, I took the rest during the afternoon.

Solo Trip to Vietnam

Hanoi shared-dorm room

In the evening, I spent time strolling through the Old Quarter. I had a pre-researched list of recommended eateries, then I used Google Maps to reach them. Remember to always double-check the prices before settling in to dine. I tried some iconic Vietnamese dishes like Pho, Banh Mi, and Tao Pho (fresh tofu pudding).

Here are my pre-searched eateries:

Pho - Pho Bat Dan

40 Bat Dan, Hoan Kiem

Banh mi - Banh mi 25

25 Hang Ca, Hang Bo, Hoan Kiem

Tao Pho (Tofu pudding) - Vua tao pho

192 Hang Bong, Hoan Kiem

Spring rolls - Viet spring rolls

21 Nguyen Huu Huan, Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem

Banh Xeo - Banh xeo Sau Phuoc

74 Cau Dat, Chuong Duong Do, Hoan Kiem

Bun Cha - Bun Cha Dac Kim

1 Hang Manh, Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem


37 Quang Trung, Tran Hung Dao, Hoan Kiem

Che (Sweet soup dessert) - Che Dung 

95 Hang Bac, Hoan Kiem


Solo Trip to Vietnam

Hanoi signature Pho with tangy broth

Satiated from a delightful dinner, I wandered along the Hoa Kiem walking street in the evening. The atmosphere was cool with dynamic local activities. Roadside stalls offered tempting snacks and drinks, while groups of young individuals recorded dance videos. The street also showcased some exhibitions and pop-up displays.

Day 2: Hanoi City & Street Food

The hostel I stayed at offered a basic breakfast. After that, I set out to see the attractions in the Old Quarter on foot: Hoan Kiem Lake & Ngoc Son Temple, St. Joseph Cathedral, Temple of Literature, and Hoa Lo Prison.

I decided to experience the city from a different view by taking a double-decker bus tour. The ticket is 6 USD for about 70 mins riding. Most people prefer sitting on the 2nd open floor of the bus. Watching the busy cityscape and traffic offers a lot of fun and chill time. I also watched the traditional Water Puppet Performance just near the bus stop. 

Along the way, I picked up a Vietnam conical hat for some distinctive check-ins at locations I visited. It also served as sun protection while enjoying the top deck of the bus—preferred by many.

Solo Trip to Vietnam

Double-decker bus in Hanoi Old Quarter street

I installed a local ride-hailing app named Grab to book motorbike rides. It has an English version for foreign users too. I booked a ride to visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. The GrabBike cost me 15,000 VND for 3 km. And then I walked to Thang Long Imperial Citadel and later I returned to the dorm.

Today is another day with local street food. I had Spring Rolls, Banh Xeo, Vietnamese coffee, Bun Cha, and Che. In between, I also purchased some handmade souvenirs, local tea, and coffee.

Solo Trip to Vietnam

Having a flavorful sip of egg coffee

For the evening, I went to Ta Hien Beer Street for a refreshing beer and some tasty local bites. The street was alive with a lively night atmosphere and lights, attracting a mix of both locals and foreign tourists.

Day 3 - 4: Hanoi - Halong Bay 

My two days in Halong Bay were all about pure relaxation aboard a cruise in the mesmerizing bay. The La Regina cruise also provided transportation from the Old Quarter to Halong, taking around 2 hours to reach the port. 

I was greeted by cruise staff and a buffet lunch in the beautiful sunlight. After lunch, the cruise moved to Luon Cave for kayaking and Ti Top Islands for hiking and swimming. The evening included a sunset cocktail, a cooking class, and dinner.

Solo Trip to Vietnam

Sunset in Halong Bay

Early the next day, I woke up to partake in the Morning Tai Chi session. The morning agenda is Sung Sot cave-visiting. After brunch, a transfer boat ferried the customers on the cruise back to the pier. And finally, a min-van transported me back to Hanoi's Old Quarter.

Solo Trip to Vietnam

Kayaking in the bay

Day 5: Hanoi - Ninh Binh 

For the final three days, I booked tours to Ninh Binh and Sapa trekking with New Asia Tours. After reading their blogs on the website, I reached out and Sunny assisted me with advice for my solo trip to Vietnam.

Solo Trip to Vietnam

Boating in the serene landscape of Tam Coc

New Asia Tours arranged a minivan for the joined group to transfer from Hanoi to Ninh Binh. The trip took 2 hours. We stopped at the ancient capital of Hoa Lu, participated in a boat tour at Tam Coc, and had lunch at a local restaurant. The day concluded with a hike to Mua Cave to take a panoramic view of the limestone valley at sunset. My local guide, Tom, was very friendly and shared with us many valuable insights about the destinations and local culture.

Solo Trip to Vietnam

The overview from the peak of Mua Cave

The day tour wrapped up at the Old Quarter (this central location is so good for easy access to transportation to other cities in my itinerary). Following this, I arranged for a transfer to Hanoi train station to catch the 9 PM night train heading to Sapa. I shared the compartment with three other fellow travelers.

Day 6 -7: Hanoi - Sapa

I booked my ticket online on the website dsvn.vn. The night train ticket for one berth in a carriage of 4 berths is 17 USD. The train halted at Lao Cai station. From there, I took a taxi to the town of Sapa. I wanted to stay in downtown Sapa so I booked a room there. After dropping off my belongings at the hotel, I grabbed breakfast, explored the town's attractions, and did some shopping. 

Solo Trip to Vietnam

Sapa town amidst mountain ranges

After coming back and checking in the room, I had lunch, and in the afternoon, I started my trekking journey to Y Linh Ho, Lao Chai, and Ta Van route. In the evening, I decided to relieve my body after the trek with an herbal foot soak and a $6 body massage.

The next morning, I got Fansipan tickets early at 8 AM (Fanxipan is Indochina's highest peak). By 10:45 AM, I descended and had a buffet lunch. 

Following that, I returned to the hotel, packed up, and took the bus from Sapa to Noi Bai Airport for my journey back home.

Solo Trip to Vietnam

Morning view from Fansipan Peak

Budget & Tips

I exchanged 5,000,000 VND (206 USD) at the airport to cover expenses for transportation, meals, tips, tours, and shopping throughout the week. Hotel and flight tickets were prepaid.

Here is a breakdown of my travel expenses in Vietnam for a week:


25 USD

Sim card (internet and phone call for 1 week)


Airport taxi/ Lao Cai - Sapa Taxi

12 USD/1 round

Sapa Train Ticket (1-round sleeper berth )

17 USD

Hanoi tickets

11 USD

Double-decker bus ticket (more than 1 hour)


Water Puppet performance (about 45 mins)


Food & Drink

2 - 6 USD/meal


4 USD/day

Halong Bay 2 days cruise (full package)

From 123 USD/room

Ninh Binh Day tour (car & guide & lunch included)

37 USD

Dorm & Hotel Room

From 12 - 20 USD/night

Bus Sapa - Hanoi

12 USD

Sapa trekking tour

From 21 USD/ half day

Sapa Fansipan (cable car, mountain climbing train & buffet lunch included)

43 USD

Souvenir & Gift



For a week in Vietnam, my expenses ranged from 700 to 900 USD. Overall, travel costs in Vietnam tend to be slightly lower than in Thailand. This depends on the services you choose, situations, and individual spending preferences.

Solo Trip to Vietnam

Tips for a solo trip to Vietnam

Concluding my solo adventure in Vietnam, here are a few tips:

  • When choosing accommodations, you should prioritize places with positive reviews to ensure they meet your basic needs.

  • Weather in Northern Vietnam, especially in Sapa, can be quite unpredictable. Daytime temperatures may be hot, while nights can get very cold. And since dorms and trains have centralized air conditioning, you should bring a scarf, hat, and extra layers to stay warm.

  • For reading destination reviews, navigating directions, and seeing recommended bus routes within the city, Google Maps is a highly useful resource.

  • Communication with locals wasn't too challenging. The places I visited were tourist cities, so it was easy to interact and ask for simple information.

  • Handle your belongings with care, and remember to carry all your belongings when moving between places.

  • On the fifth day in Ninh Binh, if you prefer not to join a tour, you can consider renting a motorbike (the rental fee is about 6 USD/day). The journey by motorbike takes about 3 hours.

  • If you are traveling with a partner or as a group, you can share room expenses.

  • I opted for a mix of solo travel and booked tours, this is an exciting and budget-friendly blend. This worked well, especially in areas where solo navigation could be a bit challenging.

To continue this conversation, visit our article about Vietnam travel guide!

That concludes my reflections on a solo trip to Vietnam. I trust they provide value to you. If I were to offer advice, Vietnam solo travel is a remarkable experience and worth a try. While you will often find yourself navigating independently, uncovering the next adventure is never a challenge. It is a journey filled with numerous experiences and unforgettable moments of your own. And if you are looking for amazing Vietnam tours, please contact us for more details!