I'm off in a weeks time. I have 25 days & nights to fill from Hanoi to Saigon.
I've two nights in Hanoi booked and I want to see Halong Bay and then Ninh Binh before heading down the coast. I'd like to spend a good few days in the Mekong with perhaps a few more spent in Pho Quoc but as for the rest it looks like I will have to wing it. I'm concerned about wasting to much time travelling between locations and taking on too many destinations plus I'm feeling distinctly nervouse about the whole solo travelling thing at the moment. A bit vague but any suggestions about where best, Hue , Hoi An, Nha Trang, Mui Ne and Dalat. Any suggestions before I disappear up my own backside gratefully received. Thanks John
#1 John67 has been a member since 20/12/2009. Posts: 13
Going solo is the very best way - I've done it 3 times. Best advice I can give is not to try to do it all. Be sure to go up to Sapa - it's one of the most interesting places. Avoid those long distance buses as much as possible - take the train or fly. I would think Phu Quoc to be one of the worst places for a solo traveler to go - it's all couples with little chance to meet like-minded singles. I far prefer the north and central provinces the best. Read up on the current scams - don't let them intimidate you. Vietnam is a wonderful country - you'll have a great trip. Plenty of other singles in this country - try to meet as many locals as you can - everyone has a smile and says hello in Vietnam.
Traveling alone is best with an open itinerary anyway. That way if you run into some cool people you can just hitch-yer-wagon to theirs. That's how Laos went from fun to fantastic for me.
I agree that Phu Quoc may not be the best for a solo traveler - it was mostly couples when we were there in February - though if you stayed at Long Beach there are enough bars to hop around that you'd probably find some people to hang out with. That said, it may not be worth the flight/boat costs and the travel time. Instead, if you really want some beach lounging you can just get some advice about good beaches along the Delta from folks in Saigon. Cutting out Phu Quoc (though lovely) would give you a more leisurely time getting between the North and the Mekong Delta.
We loved Can Tho in the Mekong Delta, worth a couple days and you'll meet plenty of other travelers there that you may be able to hook up with for deeper exploration of the delta. (There is a thread in the Vietnam Forum to explain how to get to Can Tho - as it is a little confusing - about a 3 hr. bus ride with a 2 hr wait in a ferry line if the bridge is still closed).
Don't be nervous! When you get to Hanoi, head to Bia Hoi Corner, on the junction of Ta Hien and Luong Ngoc Quyen; the beer's cheap (though OK, not the best) and chances of meeting other travellers are high - you can pick their brains and get excited about the adventure ahead!
Thnaks for the replies. I think I'll drop Phu Quoc from the menu and then just make sure I have enough time in the delta and nearby beaches at the end, the middle can take care of itself.
#5 John67 has been a member since 20/12/2009. Posts: 13
Im in a similar situation to yourself. I am travelling on my own and have booked just a few key internal flights throughout the 7 weeks I am planning on being away. I definitely agree with the advice given here. Travelling alone is very rewarding, but it does require more flexibility because you never know what tomorrow will bring.
I have never been to SE Asia before (in fact i depart next week and cant wait!) but I did spend a lot of time in South America and I still recall advice from a hippy traveller who said 'You never know, you could fall in love. It might be a girl, or a sunset or even a happy hour'.
Having stayed in Buenos Aires for 3 months instead of the planned 6 days, I have to say the hippy was right. If you have ever tasted Argentine beer then you will know i didnt stick around for the happy hour...
Good luck with everything. Im sure you will have a blast.
#6 ms1892 has been a member since 23/12/2009. Posts: 38