Vietnam is a charming country you should visit at least once in a lifetime. The nature, the local people, the food. Endless possibilities, endless surprises and endless joy! However, if you especially come from Western culture and generally cold country, be prepared to get knocked out by not only the amazing but alien food, the new culture but also the heat. In order to get the best out of this unique experience in Vietnam, here are a top 10 useful tips for you, solo-ers!
1. Take up good diet and workout for at least half a month before the trip for best endurance. Good health, good trip. Prepare yourself for the long walk in the sun finding the best food down town!
Needless to say, packing is very important. What gear to bring and how much is enough for the entire trip?! It’s a mind-bending question sometimes. Reflecting on many years of phượt-ing (“Phượt” – a recent surge of travelling/backpacking on private motorbikes in Vietnam), I’m gonna share with you a lift of essential and vital items to carry for a 3-5 days trip. Some of them might appear to be unnecessay but trust me, don’t skip them on yourlong motorbike trips in Vietnam.
1. The truth you should know: Airlines earn much money from understanding our shopping habits. Most of us buy airfares before trips just few days or few weeks. But you should know that:
According to research of economists Macoto Wanatabe: 8 weeks before departure is the best time to book airfares.
And according to report of airlines, 6 weeks is the best time to book.
So the tip for you: don’t buy tickets too close to departure time. Cheap tickets are usually sold at 4 months before flight departure (5 months with international flights). Also don’t book too soon because it’s difficult to arrange your works. Let’s book at the right time. When? 6 to 10 weeks is the best period!
2. Traveling on holidays. This is an exeption, let’s book as soon as possible.
3. Airfare always increases very fast before departure time 1 week. Specially, if you buy tickets on right day of departure, you may have to pay more 40% compared to regular fare.
As a guy having many experiences in Phuot (a rising way of travel on motorbike in Vietnam), I wish to share with our happy stories of passion.
Phuot (phượt) to me is simply travelling on motorbiketo a distant land. Many people consider travelling on other private vehicles is also a form of phuot (not me though, to me phuot translates to only motorbike), but motorbike is most popular and the best way to visit strange places whose roads are largely undeveloped.
So, why self-service travelling while tours are so cheap and easily accessed now!? You don’t have to worry about accomodation, about your going from place to place, or about what to eat!?. Easy answer because you can go to and stop for wherever you want and spend almost as much as you feel like without being rushed (quite aggressively) from place to place. With phuot trip, you can follow your own itinerary with no limited time, explore new places that haven’t even been on travel maps.
I have lived in Hanoi capital from 2011 and i still remember the first days in Hanoi, when crossing a street was my bigest nightmare. I used to stand on sidewalk very long to watch before stepping down the road.
Before 2011, i lived in Lao Cai, it’s a small city where is very little vehicles and i never fear when crossing street. So when arriving Hanoi, it was really a big challenge because there are thousands of vehicles intertwining on a street and look there is no any space for walkers. I had to take a quite long time to learn the crossing street way.
Now, i totally understand the anxiety of tourists when crossing in Vietnam and always help when see someone is confusing on the sidewalk.
So, how to cross the streets in Vietnam?
Really, you don’t have to worry about this in small cities, like Hue, Hoi An, Dalat,…, there are quite litte vehicles so the crossing is easy. But in big cities, like Sai Gon, Hanoi, Hai Phong, it’s a big trouble.
There is an easiest way to do this, find someone is free or a police and ask them for help, most of them will help you with the friendly (if they understand what are you wanting).
Another easy way, if you see someone is crossing the street, let’s cross with them. Just follow them, they step you step, they stop you stop and everything will be fine.