Solo travel can be an enlightening and character-building experience. Nerves are common and uncertainty is all part of the fun, but having a few tricks up your sleeve will help ensure you make the most of your travels. Ho Chi Minh is an eclectic city, where everyone from budget backpackers to luxury seekers seem to find their place, making it one of Asia’s most enticing cities for solo travel.
Download travel apps.
Although not specific to travel in Ho Chi Minh, downloading a travel app that allows you to chat with other solo travellers before you arrive is a well-worn routine that might serve you well should you want to find like-minded company on your trip. There are plenty of amazing places to arrange a group hangout, such as one of Ho Chi Minh’s cosmopolitan coffee shops or vibrant rooftop bars. Even if you don’t make use of it this time round, it’s a handy backup to have and is a good place to get recommendations from fellow travellers in the know!
Image Source: Pexels
You can rely on yourself and nobody else
You might find you learn this the hard way. Travelling solo means that everything from remembering to pack your passport to sourcing directions from the airport falls into your remit of responsibility. When travelling through Asia, it can feel and look a million miles from home, so be smart when it comes to taking note of where exactly it is you are staying. Pick up a business card, pinpoint a landmark or even have your hotel’s address written on a bit of paper in your back pocket, as amid a sea of similar looking buildings in a city like Ho Chi Minh at 6am after a drink or two, becoming lost is a very real possibility! Also remember to keep your cash safe, as if you slip up – who is there to pick up the pieces?
Take a walk
One of the best ways to make friends when travelling solo is to simply take a walk, see what you stumble upon and who you meet. Being an incredibly friendly bunch of people, the locals of Ho Chi Minh are often intrigued by people who can be seen sipping Saigonese beer alone in a bar or people-watching from one of the city’s many chic coffee shops, and won’t be afraid to pull up a chair next you. In fact, why not pull up one of the tiny, red plastic chairs on Pham Ngu Lao and join the entourage of locals and tourists intermingling as they enjoy ice cold beers on the streets?
Image source: Flickr
Be Cash savvy
When travelling solo, gone is the luxury of splitting the bill or halving the cost of a room – thinking about ways to save cash without compromising on your time in Ho Chi Minh is high priority. The city is full of free activities for you to enjoy and that’s by no means a reflection of how good they are! Ogling the architecture of the Saigon Post Office or Notre Dam is a fantastic way to get your fix of culture, as well as the many temples scattered around the city that are nothing short of breathtaking. With free walking tours, bustling markets and parks all on offer, you’ll not be short of ways to spend your day when cash is tight.
Hire a bike
There’s only really one way to get around this city, and you guessed it – it’s by bike. With bikes far outnumbering cars to the tune of around 20, getting on board with the local way of life will not only make running around the city easier, it’ll prove to be an incredibly cheap option as a tank full of gas can easily see you through an entire day on the road. It’s not as difficult as you might first imagine and it also gives you the opportunity to go beyond the chaos of the city should you fancy a break.
Escape the city
Let’s face it – we travel solo to find solitude and challenge ourselves. And whilst Ho Chi Minh’s eccentric persona marries history, culture, urban chaos and modernisation together perfectly, you might find that you long for time away from the city, in search of the peace and quiet you came for. Activities like a Mekong day cruise or trip to the Cu Chi Tunnels are fantastic rural getaways and will give you the choice to see as many or as few fellow tourists as you like, as you have the option to go it alone or as part of a friendly group. The Reverie Saigon offers what is perhaps the ultimate in solo travel indulgence, with a river cruise accompanied by champagne followed by a tour of the city’s hidden streets and eateries on the back of a vintage Vespar.
Image source: The Reverie Saigon
Keep things central
District 1 is a fantastic location from which to explore the city and is where you’ll find a good amount of the city’s tourist attractions – it also just so happens to be where you’ll find the best hotels in Ho Chi Minh.