This hodgepodge of cultures and time periods translates into a wide array of things to do, sights to see, things to eat and places to explore. Travel alone through Hanoi and take in the old charm, the chaos and go back to your home country with new experiences. There won’t really be any limitations as to how far or how many places you can explore in a day. What’s more, Vietnam is one of the safest countries in Southeast Asia, so it’s not hard to see why Hanoi is one of the most popular destinations for solo travellers.
Rich Vietnamese Culture and History
You’ll be surprised at how much of the post-war and colonial infrastructure still exists here. Hanoi’s rustic and quaint character comes from these old buildings, which transport you back in time.
Immerse yourself in Vietnamese culture and visit historical places such as the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum or get acquainted with Vietnam’s colonial past at the French Quarter. You’ll appreciate your solitude when you can freely roam into the quiet corners of the Old Quarter — a visceral experience.
There are plenty of hidden stalls and curious alleyways in the Old Quarter. So don’t be afraid to take a detour off your itinerary to explore something that draws your attention. If you plan to do some shopping be sure to haggle and only engage with the merchant if you really have intent on purchasing the item. If you haggle and walk away, there’s a likelihood of causing a scene and that’s something you may not want to experience especially when you’re travelling solo.
Another reason to love Hanoi is its bustling nightlife. Slip on some comfortable shoes and stroll along the 3km stretch of the Hanoi Night Market. You’re sure to be drawn to the sounds of beckoning local vendors and their curious array of knick-knacks and souvenirs. You might also be able to catch some local folk performances on the market trail.
End your night with a taste of the world’s cheapest beer, Vietnam’s own Bia Hoi at Bia Hoi Corner. Shimmy your way into the crowded street stalls, plop yourself on the short stools and chug your beer down like a true local. Make new friends with locals and tourists alike over a pint (or probably two) of Bia Hoi to make your solo trip truly exhilarating!
The beer usually sells out by 8pm, so we recommend going early, in fact as early as 5pm to enjoy your Bia Hoi. Though Hanoi is generally safe, it is always wise to exercise caution if you are inebriated and alone in a foreign country. Never leave your drink unintended and always drink responsibly and, be sure to keep your valuables close to you at all times.
If alcoholic beverages aren’t your drink of choice, Vietnam is also known for its coffee. There’s nothing like a quiet afternoon to yourself, chilling with a book in a quaint coffee shop. Sample the many variations of coffee that are exclusive to Hanoi, like coconut coffee, egg coffee and even yoghurt coffee! Get your coffee fix from the traditional coffee shops such as Cafe Giang, or modern cafes like The Hanoi Social Club, or make full use of your time alone and hop around to all of them!
It’s hard not to love Hanoi, especially with its delicious Vietnamese cuisine and street food. Whilst it may be a feat for a solo traveller to sample all of the food this country has to offer, it may not be much of a stretch in Hanoi. Vietnamese cuisine is known to be light, refreshing and with flavours borrowed from the French and neighbouring Asian countries. So it won’t be surprising if you can down a few bowls of phở and bánh mi, all by yourself!
Take caution when eating out and if you feel that your uncomfortable at the eatery, trust your instinct and leave. The last thing you want is to travel alone and fall ill. For peace of mind, get travel insurance and some medication handy for when you’re feeling under the weather.
The Tranquil Scenery
If the rustic charm of Hanoi isn’t enough for you, you can take a 3-hour trip to Ha Long Bay and soak in the beauty of the limestone peaks. Astound yourself with the blue waters, serenity and lush greenery. For a reflective and serene holiday, book an overnight ride on a junk boat or cruise and enjoy a night of introspection over the tranquil waters and with the wind coursing through your hair.
If you’re in a need of an Eat Pray Love-inspired journey of self-reflection or simply an impromptu getaway from the stresses of life, Hanoi is bound to deliver. You can be guaranteed to leave with a heart content, and a tummy satisfied as well!
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