Traveling solo is a unique and fulfilling experience, and Hanoi is a great destination for solo travelers. The bustling city offers a vibrant mix of culture, history, and modernity, making it an ideal spot for anyone looking to explore and discover. However, traveling alone can be daunting, especially if you’re visiting a new place for the first time. But worry not, with a little preparation, Hanoi can be an incredibly enjoyable and safe place to explore on your own. In this blog post, we’ll discuss some tips and tricks to help you make the most of your solo trip to Hanoi.
Is Hanoi good for first-time solo travelers?
After welcoming thousands of travelers to Hanoi, many of whom are solo travelers (like the famous YouTuber Eli from Russia), most agree that Hanoi is safe if you know how to avoid common mistakes. On the positive side, Hanoi is a city with plenty of secrets to uncover. From hidden coffee shops to museums and amazing street food restaurants, Hanoi is a treasure trove just waiting to be discovered.
>>> Check out: A Free & Self-guided Hanoi French Quarter Tour 2023
How to Plan a Solo Trip in Hanoi: Key Considerations
When planning a solo trip, those of us who travel alone have a few more issues to consider.
- Will I be lonely in Hanoi? Solo travel may sound like a great idea, but traveling without a company poses certain challenges. If you are going to Hanoi – by yourself, don’t worry, you can still enjoy this unique city on your own without worrying about being lonely.
- Will I be safe? According to the magazine Tripzilla, while discussing the best solo trips for women, Vietnam’s capital is generally considered a safe place for travelers, although it is often overlooked. Violent crimes against tourists are rare, and most locals are friendly.
- What if I lose my money and credit cards? As you do not have anyone with access to money with you, it is important to manage your finances carefully. Additionally, it is recommended that you report to the nearest police station for assistance.
- What if I get sick? Being sick and alone can be miserable. However, there are things you can do to minimize the possibility and make a bad situation as good as possible. You should check with the local hospital, and if necessary, contact the embassy for help.
Solo Trip Planning: Design Your Itinerary in Hanoi
To focus on your travel itinerary:
- Do basic research:
- Start by deciding on the must-see attractions. In Hanoi, these would include places such as Hoa Lo Prison and the Temple of Literature. While tour companies usually cover the main highlights, reading blogs and websites can help you discover less well-known but equally interesting attractions, restaurants, and activities to add to your itinerary.
- Use TripAdvisor.com to determine transportation options.
- Study maps to develop a plan based on the time you have available.
- Plan an itinerary:
- Set your own pace and consider a hub and spoke itinerary.
- Integrate must-see sites into your itinerary.
- Take advantage of small walking tours to meet new friends and locals. The best way to do this is by joining our best local experiences run by experts.
- Logistics organization: When deciding on transportation options within Hanoi, consider how to get to and from the airport, as well as travel between different locations. One of the best options is to take bus number 86 to reach the city center from the airport. To get around the city, you can use affordable options such as Grab Bike, Gojek, BE Bike, and Xanh SM.
→ Read more: Hanoi Transportation: Getting In, Getting Around and Getting Out
- To pack appropriately for your destination, use a backpack and check the weather forecast. In Hanoi, the weather can be very hot and humid during the summer but very cold in the winter.
Connect with Locals
One of the best things about traveling solo is the opportunity to connect with locals. Hanoi is a friendly city, and the locals are welcoming and eager to share their culture with visitors. To make the most of your solo trip, try connecting with locals through social media groups, meetup groups, or language exchange programs. This will not only help you learn more about the local culture but also provide you with opportunities to explore the city with locals who know the best spots that are off the beaten path.
→ Join our best experiences in Hanoi for solo travelers here.
10+ Things to do in Hanoi as a solo traveler
Take a self-guided walking tour
Hanoi can seem very busy with many motorbikes and cars (in fact, there are almost 7 million scooters and over one million cars in Hanoi alone). However, if you know your way around, it is possible to discover the city with ease. A great way to explore the city at your own pace is to follow a self-guided tour. As a solo traveler, you have the freedom to discover things at your own pace, without having to follow anyone else. For the French Quarter, I recommend taking the French Quarter Self-guided Tour.
→ Read more: Hanoi French Quarter – 21 Best Things to Do
Enjoy Vietnamese Coffee at a coffee shop
Hanoi is famous for its coffee culture, so if you’re a solo traveler in the city, it’s a great idea to come and chill at a coffee shop. Here’s a list of the best coffee shops in the city. Personally, I love the Loading T cafe the most, as it’s a great place to meet lots of new friends. Vietnamese coffee shops have a warm and cozy atmosphere that you’re sure to enjoy.
→ Read more: Top 7 BEST coffee shops in Hanoi
Chill out at a green park or a zoo
Hanoi is a green city with many big and small parks. Some of them are located near tourist areas like Hoan Kiem Lake and Dien Hong Flower Garden, which you can easily visit on foot. I highly recommend Thong Nhat Park, which is about 15 minutes away from the French Quarter. If you have more time, Thu Le Zoo Park is also worth a visit. It takes around 30 minutes by taxi from the Old Quarter. As mentioned before, taking a Grab ride (or Be Bike and Gojek) is the safest way to get there. Avoid taking rides from male drivers on the street, as there is a chance of getting scammed.
Visit the train street
Visiting the famous Train Street is a great way to discover the city on your own. Here’s how to get there from Hanoi Old Quarter. However, please keep in mind that safety is crucial as trains may pass by while you’re there. Always heed the guidance of the coffee shop owner and avoid getting too close to the train to avoid accidents.
Visit a museum
Hanoi has many great museums, some of which are quite large, such as the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Ho Chi Minh Museum, which can take a full day to explore. Other museums are smaller, but they all provide detailed information in Vietnamese, French, and English, making it easy to learn about the history and culture of the country.
Discover the off-beaten path of the city.
As a solo traveler, this idea may seem a bit crazy. However, recommending you to visit dangerous areas can add a bit of adventure to your trip and make it a lot more fun. Cho Gioi is very close to the French Quarter, but it also has many interesting stories from the Vietnam War. If you are a history lover, it is definitely a must-see. With our company, you will always be safe. During the short 3-hour local walk, you will learn a great deal of knowledge and make friends with the host.
>>> Check out: Stories from Vietnam War at not-to-go-alone areas tour
Sending some time to get around Hanoi to buy your friends and family some small gifts is a great idea. The Sourvonir area is near Hang Gai and Hang Bong Street, so you need to remember to bargain with the seller. The most common gift is coffee from Vietnam or some clothes.
Visit the Dong Xuan Market
The Dong Xuan market area is a fascinating local market that offers a diverse range of goods. Personally, my favorite section is where local vendors sell various spices such as lemongrass, chilies, kamquat, and garlic. This area is lively and a bit chaotic. However, please be considerate and avoid blocking the shops, as it may inconvenience the shop owners. Since you are exploring this area alone, it’s a great opportunity to wander around at your own pace and fully immerse yourself in the vibrant market atmosphere.
Take a Street Food Tour
Hanoi is a food lover’s paradise, and the street food scene is a must-try. But navigating the food stalls on your own can be intimidating, especially if you’re not familiar with the local cuisine. Taking a street food tour can be an excellent way to try the local cuisine, meet other travelers, and learn more about the city’s food culture. Many tour companies offer group tours that are perfect for solo travelers, and they usually have a local guide who can provide you with insights into the city’s food scene.
→ Join our best Food Walking Tour in Hanoi designed for solo travelers. If you are vegan or vegetarian, joining our Vegetarian Street Food & Stories of Hanoi is the perfect way to discover the best vegan and vegetarian food in Hanoi.
Visit Phan Dinh Phung Street
Old trees along Phan Dinh Phung Street are shedding their leaves, signaling the arrival of autumn. This street is often considered one of the most beautiful and romantic in Hanoi. It’s a great place to take a leisurely walk and admire the lovely flowers sold by street vendors. Additionally, there are numerous coffee shops where you can relax and soak in the city’s atmosphere at your own pace.
Stay Safe and Be Mindful
While Hanoi is generally a safe city, it’s still essential to take precautions to ensure your safety as a solo traveler. Be mindful of your surroundings, especially at night, and try to avoid walking alone in poorly lit areas. When using public transportation, keep your belongings close to you, and be wary of pickpockets. It’s also a good idea to inform your hotel or hostel staff of your travel plans and itinerary, so they can keep track of your whereabouts and assist you if necessary.
Traveling solo to Hanoi can be an incredible adventure. With a little preparation, it can also be a safe and enjoyable experience. By connecting with locals, taking a street food tour, and being mindful of your safety, you can make the most of your solo trip to Hanoi. So pack your bags, book your ticket, and get ready to explore all that this vibrant city has to offer! Planning a solo trip can be almost as much fun as taking the trip itself. Put your heart into it for extraordinary results.
If you’re a food lover visiting Hanoi for the first time, we recommend taking the Hanoi food walking tour and The Hidden Hanoi Old Quarter Experience. For vegans and vegetarians, the Vegetarian Street Food & Stories of Hanoi is an excellent choice. If you’re a history buff or looking for a unique experience in Hanoi, consider the Stories from Vietnam War at not-to-go-alone areas tour. Note that 20% of the proceeds go to charity organizations.
For those who love coffee and history, the Coffee, History, and Architecture of the French Quarter tour is a must. Lastly, if you’re visiting Hanoi on a hot or rainy day, the Escape the Heat of Hanoi – Museum Experience is a great option.