Vietnam has been on my mind for awhile and I finally had the chance to visit this year. Traveling to Vietnam was a little different than my other travels namely because I went…alone.
I’ve traveled alone to China, South Korea, and Singapore, but those were always just one or two days trips, either on the way to meet friends or going to/from home in the U.S. It’s been one of my goals to travel in a new country alone for a longer time, and when my friends and I went separate ways from Bali I had the chance.
WHY SOLO TRAVEL?
A lot of people have asked why I went alone, or why I would want to. “Isn’t it lonely?” some friends asked, “And is it safe?”
Solo traveling gives you the chance to be totally independent! You can choose where to go, what to do, and how long to stay somewhere, without having to consider other people or factors. You’re flexible and totally free, and I love this.
Of course, this also means you don’t have set friends to grab food with or someone always there to take your photo somewhere. But this opens the door for new – you meet so many more new people! Being alone pushes you out of your comfort zone. In a group of friends you can definitely meet new people too, but you don’t always have to. When you’re by yourself and you want to talk to people, you actually have to get out. And I’m so glad I tried it.
Here’s a little of what I did and saw alone (and with new friends!) in Hanoi:
VIETNAMESE STREET FOOD
Pho. Bahn Mi. Grilled meat. Spring rolls. There are so many things for a cheap price!
A cool narrow street in Hanoi – a train really runs through at 3:30pm so you’re pretty much hugging the walls of the nearest home to avoid being hit.
I’m in love with the coffee here! This honestly deserves it’s own post so for now I’ll leave you with a few pics.
I really wanted to go on a bike ride in Hanoi so I rented a bicycle one day. People warned me before and said it wouldn’t be easy, but I still went for it anyways.
I rode it to West Lake and it was one of the most difficult bike rides ever. Hanoi is not a bike friendly city – you’re constantly in fear of being hit by a car or motorcycle! The streets are crazy crowded and people also don’t drive normally. If you come to Hanoi rent a motor bike like a normal person, don’t try a bicycle like I did.
West Lake was still nice to see (once I finally arrived).
OTHER PLACES AROUND HANOI
Hanoi is a great city because there’s so much to see that’s all in walking distance. The Old Quarter alone offers a lot of great food and sites, and the more random streets you wander down the more you’ll find.
NEW YEAR’S EVE
On Tet New Year’s Eve I went out with some friends I met at my hostel. Crowds of people were gathered nearby the lake, motorcycles and people crammed so closely together it was hard to walk through. We made it just in time to catch the start of the fireworks. Everyone was yelling and cheering and it was fun to be a part of the whole city’s celebration.
TRY SOLO TRAVEL
I’m glad I was alone – every day I had the chance to meet new people, and that became kind of addicting to me! Hanoi was a great place to be solo for awhile as it was super easy to meet other travelers and expats living in the area.
I also went to Halong Bay by myself and will write more about that later!
*Disclaimer* My friend Rachel did join me in Hanoi after a week alone 😉
Traveling alone opened me up to new experiences I never would have had if I’d been with friends. I would love to try solo traveling again for a longer time and with more cities and countries involved!
Here’s a video of some things I did while in Vietnam!
I’d love to go back to Vietnam again and see more – I didn’t get to Hoi An or Hoi Chi Minh like I’d wanted to. Until the next solo travel time!