7 things you should know before solo travel to Vietnam

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Welcome to the vibrant world of solo travel in Vietnam! As you embark on this enriching journey, here’s a guide to equip you with essential insights before stepping in to Vietnam solo travel tour. Get ready to immerse yourself in the captivating beauty of Vietnam, where every step is an opportunity for self-discovery.

Visa Requirements

Visa requirements for Vietnam vary depending on your nationality and the purpose of your travel. However, some general requirements apply to all travelers, including:

  • A valid passport: Your passport must have at least six months’ validity beyond your intended departure date from Vietnam.
  • Two blank passport pages: You will need two blank pages in your passport for visa stamps. 
  • Visa (if required): Citizens of most countries, including the United States, Canada, and Australia, do not require a visa for tourist stays of 15 days or less. However, if you plan to stay in Vietnam for longer than 15 days or if you are traveling for a business purpose, you will need to obtain a visa. 

E-Visa is an electronic visa issued by the Vietnamese Immigration Department to foreigners who want to enter Vietnam. It is a convenient and efficient way to obtain a visa, as it can be applied online and processed quickly. There are two types of e-Visas available:

  • Single-entry e-Visa: This visa allows you to enter Vietnam once and stay for up to 30 days.
  • Multiple-entry e-Visa: This visa allows you to enter Vietnam multiple times and stay for up to 90 days.

If you encounter any challenges or difficulties related to visa documentation, feel free to reach out to the visa consulting services provided by Ftrip Vietnam. The dedicated team of professionals is well-equipped to assist you in navigating any issues and ensuring a smooth visa application process.

Visa Consultant Service (source: FTrip)

Currency exchange

The official currency of Vietnam is the Vietnamese dong. It is subdivided into 100 xu (also known as cents) or 1,000 hào. The Vietnamese dong is a relatively weak currency, with an exchange rate of approximately 23,600 dong to 1 US dollar as of November 2023. As a result, Vietnam solo travel tourists will need to exchange their currency for dong before they can make purchases in the country.

There are several places where you can exchange currency in Vietnam, including: 

  • Banks 
  • Currency exchange booths 
  • Hotels 
  • Some shops

The best exchange rate will typically be found at banks, but currency exchange booths are also convenient options. Hotels and shops may offer lower exchange rates, but they may be more convenient if you are already staying at a hotel or shopping in a particular area.

Money in Vietnam, exchange, tipping and ATM’s (source: Local Vietnam)

When exchanging currency, be sure to compare rates from different providers before making a decision. You should also avoid exchanging currency on the street, as this is risky and may not be legal.

Accommodation Choices

Vietnam offers a diverse range of accommodation options to suit various preferences and budgets, making it an appealing destination for all types of travelers.

  • Hotels: Vietnam offers a range of hotels, from budget to luxury, with international chains and boutique options in major cities. Amenities often include restaurants, spas, and tour services.
  • Hostels: Ideal for budget travelers, hostels provide dormitory-style accommodations and private rooms in popular tourist destinations. They offer a communal atmosphere, making it easy to meet fellow travelers.
  • Guesthouses: Common in smaller towns and rural areas, guesthouses are family-run and provide a more personalized experience. Facilities and services vary, offering an intimate alternative to larger hotels.
  • Homestays: For an immersive cultural experience, homestays allow you to live with local families, particularly in rural settings. It’s a unique opportunity to learn about daily life and traditions firsthand.
  • Resorts: Coastal areas feature luxurious beach resorts with amenities like private beaches, pools, and spas. Perfect for a relaxing and pampering retreat. Airbnb: In cities and tourist destinations,
  • Airbnb offers apartments and homes for rent. Ideal for those who prefer self-catering or a longer stay, providing a more independent, home-like experience.

Local Customs and Etiquette

Vietnam solo travel will offer you a vibrant culture. The Vietnamese people are known for their hospitality and friendliness. However, there are some local customs and etiquette that visitors should be aware of in order to avoid offending anyone.

Greetings: When greeting a Vietnamese person, it is customary to shake hands or bow slightly. If you are greeting someone who is older or in a position of authority, you should bow with your hands together in front of your chest.

Clothing: Vietnamese people are generally modest in their dress. It is best to avoid wearing revealing clothing, such as shorts, tank tops, or sleeveless shirts. When visiting temples or other religious sites, it is important to cover your shoulders and knees.

Customs and Etiquette in Vietnam (source: Vietnam Travel)

Eating: Meals in Vietnam are typically served family-style, with all the dishes placed on a large round tray in the center of the table. Chopsticks are the traditional utensils used for eating in Vietnam. When using chopsticks, it is important to avoid pointing them at people or sticking them upright in a bowl of rice.

Gifts: If you are invited into someone’s home, it is customary to bring a gift. A small gift of fruit, flowers, or sweets is always appreciated.

Public Displays of Affection: Public displays of affection are not as common in Vietnam as they are in some Western countries. It is best to avoid kissing or hugging in public.

By following these simple tips, you can ensure that you have a pleasant and respectful experience when visiting Vietnam.

Vietnamese Phrase

Navigating Vietnam becomes more enjoyable with a few essential phrases. “Xin chào” (Hello) and “Cảm ơn” (Thank you) are fundamental greetings to express politeness. If you need assistance or want to grab someone’s attention, saying “Xin lỗi” (Excuse me/I’m sorry) is handy. 

When exploring markets or making purchases, knowing “Bao nhiêu tiền” (How much does it cost?) is crucial. For polite interactions, “Tôi không hiểu” (I don’t understand) can be useful, allowing you to seek clarification when needed. “Tôi muốn” (I want) followed by the item’s name helps in getting what you desire. Remembering “Có” (Yes) and “Không” (No) will simplify your communication.

Asking for directions or inquiring about locations is common for tourists. “Ở đâu?” (Where?) is beneficial when seeking a particular place, and “Tôi đi đâu” (Where am I going?) may come in handy if you find yourself a bit disoriented. “Làm ơn” (Please) adds a polite touch to your requests, and “Chúc bạn ngon miệng” (Enjoy your meal) is a friendly phrase to use when indulging in the delectable Vietnamese cuisine.

Basic Vietnamese Phrases (source: Vietnam Motorbike Tours Club)

The locals appreciate it when visitors make an effort to speak their language, even if it’s just basic phrases. Mastering these phrases enhances your travel experience and fosters positive interactions with the locals.

Local Cuisine & Dining Experiences

Vietnamese cuisine is a vibrant mix of flavors and textures, showcasing the country’s culinary diversity. Pho, a popular noodle soup, and banh mi, a French-inspired sandwich, are iconic street food options. Markets and streetside stalls offer an authentic taste of Vietnam’s culinary tapestry, featuring dishes like goi cuon (rice paper rolls) and banh xeo (Vietnamese pancakes).

Traditional Vietnamese Foods (source: Vinpearl)

Dining in Vietnam solo travel spans casual street food to upscale restaurants. Family-style sharing is common, fostering a communal dining experience. Coastal areas offer fresh seafood, while central regions are known for spicy dishes. Cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City feature trendy bistros and fine dining venues reinventing classic Vietnamese dishes.

Vietnamese dining ambiance adds to the experience. Local eateries often have charming, traditional decor, with outdoor markets creating vibrant atmospheres. Seating on low stools is common for an authentic touch. Enjoying Vietnamese coffee is a ritual, providing a perfect conclusion to a flavorful meal.

Vietnamese Street Food (source: Vietnam Timeless Charm)

Final Thoughts

These are guidelines about Vietnam solo travel for you. Also, remember to acquaint yourself with local customs, be weather-ready for diverse climates, and stay cautious yet open to the rich cultural experiences awaiting you.

Reviewed by

Diep Van

Phone: +84901166884

Email: diep.van@ftripvietnam.com

Diep Van

Founder & Photography Guide

Specialties: Culture, landscape, portrait, hiking, active and adventurous tour

Besides my unlimited passion for traveling, a professional tour guide for over a decade, I have been taking photographs since sitting at Hanoi of the University of Culture in the early 2000s. Photography started as a hobby but it was seriously taken due to my work relations and my significant passion for the beauty of our world, especially in Southeast Asian parts such as Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar.

Within a few years of taking photographs, my works began to be recognized by many reliable international publications such as AFAR Travel, The Times, and The Daily Telegraph newspaper. In addition, I continuously add to my growing profile by winning numerous major awards: 3rd Position of The Independent Photographer 2018, 1st Position of Amateur Photographer of the year 2018, Grand Prize Winner of the AFAR Travel Photography 2019, and a Gold Award of San Francisco Bay International Photography 2020.

I photograph a wide variety of subjects, from travel to landscapes to street scenes. I enjoy documenting the East’s rich cultural heritage and its land soaked in glorious sunrise or sunset light in remote and secluded spots. And, I am very happy to share my knowledge and experience with you. You can visit Luminousvietnamtour to explore tour!

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