Just like other traveling ways, traveling solo in Vietnam can bring rewarding yet equally challenging experiences because you pretty only have yourself to rely on. Safety issues understandably are often a concern for solo travelers, especially female solo travelers in Vietnam.
But don’t worry too much. This handy guide is here to help you release all concerns! Whether it’s your first or fifth time in this awe-inspiring country, a great solo trip in Vietnam is guaranteed.
I. Safety in Vietnam
Vietnam is a safe country. Its popularity as a backpackers-haven in South East Asia itself is a testament of the fact. Small petty crimes do occasionally happen but visitors in general will not face any serious danger. As long as you use common sense when you are any place in Vietnam, getting around the country safely is not a hard task.
1. Theft and Other Crimes
Violent crimes rarely occur and the main safety concern for solo female travelers in Vietnam is petty crimes such as pickpocket, theft and bag snatching. These crimes usually appear in crowded areas and on public transport when travelers are distracted. However, good news is that the rate of petty crimes is still relatively low.
2. Getting around the Cities
Navigating around the chaotic traffic in Vietnam can be intimidating. Travelers often prefer to get around by taxis in Vietnam to lessen the stress. It’s advised that you stick to reliable brands like Mai Linh, VinaSun and Taxi Group as taxi scams whereby drivers take passengers on unnecessarily long routes or sneakily give back the wrong change do notoriously happen.
You may also be better off booking car rides (and even motorbikes if you dare) on ride-hailing apps such as Grab, Be or Go Viet, which are the equivalent of Uber in Vietnam.
3. Female Safety in Vietnam
Women will generally feel comfortable when traveling alone in Vietnam. Harassment and assault are rare incidents but to avoid drawing unwanted attention, solo female travelers in Vietnam are advised to leave tight and revealing clothes such as shorts and tank tops at home.
Remove yourself from uncomfortable situations with confidence and head to public spaces to make people around aware that you’re feeling unsafe.
II. 7 Tips for Solo Female Travelers in Vietnam
If you’re still anxious about traveling solo in Vietnam as a woman, here’re a few more tips to take note for a safe and comfortable trip around Vietnam.
1. Stay Connected with Your Relatives and Friends
Even if you want to enjoy the complete freedom of solitude, it’s important to keep in touch with friends and family. Make sure to inform someone of your location and where you’re heading to. It helps you have a support system in case of emergency.
It’s smart to purchase a sim card with access to mobile data when you arrive at the Vietnam airport to be connected wherever you are in Vietnam. Be sure to get them from kiosks of reliable providers like Viettel, Mobiphone and Vinaphone, many of which offer affordable tourist packages.
2. Be Aware of the Local Culture
Traditional values still play a big part in Vietnamese culture. To avoid the judging eyes, it’s best to avoid flashing excessive wealth. Same goes with your clothing in Vietnam, even if the heat and humidity may prompt you to dress otherwise. Keep in mind many pagodas and temples will require arms and legs to be covered up. Dressing modestly therefore is always a good idea to avoid disrespecting the local culture.
Some cultural differences might also surprise solo female travelers in Vietnam such as how Vietnamese frequently ask personal questions about their age, income level or marital status. These questions are not intended to offend. It’s because Vietnamese believe they help to become closer with someone. If you feel uncomfortable answering, don’t worry, they won’t press on!
3. Prepare Means of Protection
Research is always a good protection method. Learn about the neighborhoods around your accommodation in Vietnam. Do some research about where you’re heading next as such preparation will prove to be helpful in case of a taxi scam.
It’ll also help to note down emergency contacts if you ever need assistance such as the police (113), ambulance (115) and your embassy’s phone number.
It’s your prerogative if you wish to equip yourself with a Swiss army knife or some non-irritant spray. Note that pepper spray and possession of guns are illegal in Vietnam however.
4. Copy Your Identification and Vital Official Documents
Losing travel documents can be extremely troublesome if not an unpleasant experience altogether. Do yourself a favor by keeping copies of identification and important documents with you in both print and digital forms.
It may be better to keep the originals in a safe box at the hotel if there’s one. If not, always check for them when you leave the room.
5. Watch Your Belongings
To avoid falling victim to petty crimes, keep valuables such as jewelries or smart phones and cameras away from eyesight. Don’t make yourself stand out as a target!
Carry little cash. Lock your bags using padlocks even if they’re in your hotel room. Take extra precaution when going up and down public transport, taxis and cyclos as bag snatching thieves often take advantage of these moments to grab your belongings and run away. Keep your hands on your bag at all times, in a secure position, especially in crowded areas.
6. Research Your Accommodations
It may be tempting to go on a whim when traveling solo in Vietnam but it’s best to research your accommodation options carefully beforehand. Avoid last minute booking. It can be risky to ignore guests’ reviews as you become more vulnerable when you don’t know what to expect.
If you’re up for it, check out popular dormitory hostels among backpackers and solo female travelers in Vietnam. It’s a great chance to bond with like-minded people. It also doesn’t hurt anyone to share some stories and solo travel tips with your fellow travelers.
7. Drink Responsibly
The buzzing nightlife of big cities like Bia Hoi Corner Hanoi (Ta Hien street) and Bui Vien Street in Ho Chi Minh City will let you loosen up and have some fun. However, as a solo female traveler in Vietnam, only you are responsible for yourself.
Drink in moderation and be sure to know illegal possession of drugs (including marijuana) can bring serious consequences in Vietnam. Alcohol poisoning do happen occasionally because of the presence fake alcohols so it’s best to be wary of some branded liquor with a too-good-to-be-true price tag.
III. Tours & Activities for Solo Female Travelers in Vietnam
1. Soak up the Sun on the Beach
Your trip wouldn’t be completed without a day at the beach in Vietnam.
Visit My Khe beach in Danang for a quick dip into the water. Enjoy the adrenaline rush of water sports like parasailing and jet-skiing, all while being just minutes away from the convenient city life. For luxury-lovers, the Intercontinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort, multiple-times winner of Asia’s Leading Luxury Resort, is also a 30-minute ride away.
Phu Quoc, Vietnam’s largest island is another great choice for beachgoers. This island gateway is home to exquisite beaches like Star Beach, Long Beach and Khem Beach. Revel in the picturesque sceneries of powdery white sand and swaying palm trees as you snorkel in the warm pristine waters of this Vietnamese crown jewel.
2. Immerse in Vietnam’s History and Heritage
A good way to immerse in the vibrant Vietnamese culture and history is checking out the 8 UNESCO Heritage Sites in Vietnam. Add unique experiences to your bucket list from kayaking through fishing villages in the beloved Halong Bay to visiting a tailor shop in Hoi An for a one-of-a-kind traditional Ao Dai.
Food-lovers can satisfy their big appetite with the diverse selection of street food at night markets in Ho Chi Minh City. Take yourself out on an excursion the next day by touring the nearby Mekong Delta. Make sure to stop by the colorful floating markets in Mekong Delta, including Cai Rang floating market, Phong Dien floating market, etc.
3. Join in Female-only Retreats in Vietnam
Traveling solo in Vietnam can be stressful. Why not take some time to off in total relaxation to improve your mindfulness and achieve a balance between the mind and body?
Hoi An and Phu Quoc are the most popular destinations for mini yoga retreat tours which last 4-7 days in average.
Visitors can also treat themselves with luxurious spa packages to free the mind and calm the soul. Services offered varies anywhere from guided meditations and yoga, to healing massage sessions and acupressure treatments.
Check out notable names such as Amanoi boutique resort in Nha Trang, Six Senses in Con Dao Island or Emeralda in Ninh Binh. If you choose to have a weekend getaway in Nha Trang, also consider visiting some mud baths and mineral hot springs.
4. Volunteer with Social Enterprises and Non-profits
Volunteering can enrich the travel experience in unimaginable ways. Make your trip extra meaningful by creating real impacts wherever you go!
There’re various volunteering opportunities available for solo female traveler in Vietnam and most can be easily found online. The range of activities is limitless. You’re more than welcome to teach English to children in Hanoi, rescuing animals in Hoi An, tea leavf picking in Ha Giang as well as joining in a medical volunteer program in Ho Chi Minh City.
5. Join Small-scale Tours for Solo Female Travelers
Signing up for a small scale tour is a nice way to have the security of an organized group without the extended commitment of multi-day tours. As solo female travelers in Vietnam continue to increase in numbers, it’s not difficult to find short female-only tours.
Consider joining some female-guided tours on motorbike in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Hoi An. Aside from the usual sightseeing tour, these tours also let you opt in on a food or photography tour.