I was in Vietnam for New Years a couple of years ago! I was travelling solo and while I have done MANY solo trips, I was worried about this one because I really wanted to make friends so I could celebrate on NYE with a group. Fortunately, I met some really cool people and we got to celebrate together and it was an absolutely crazy time! Vietnam is also incredibly beautiful and has such an interesting culture and a little bit for everyone. It is also incredibly cheap so plan a nice long vacation once the world opens up!
Where to stay:
One of the great things about travelling Vietnam is that you can find accommodation for everyone at a variety of budgets! I think the most important thing when looking for hostels is location! I wanted to be walking distance from all the action and somewhere that caters to solo travelers by providing activities and a big common space. This isn’t for everyone and you can also find some really nice places in quieter areas.
What to do:
I mentioned I was in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh) for NYE so I spent a lot of nights on Phạm Ngũ Lão, a famous backpacker street. This is home to loads of bars and restaurants and if you are looking to party and meet people, this is the place to go!
One of the hardest things I have ever done was visit the War Remnants Museum. It is about everything Vietnam war from the crimes against humanity committed, to first hand stories, to agent orange, and all the atrocities in between. I am placing a trigger warning for visiting this museum because it is fairly graphic and I was only able to get through about half of it thoroughly before it got to be to much emotionally for me. Now you are probably wondering, why should I visit then? It is so important that we know this history and the impacts our actions have on a nation, please take a chance to visit.
On a lighter note, check out the Ben Thanh Market for amazing food and some shopping! Be sure to practice your haggling skills and trust me when I say, you really don’t need all those knockoffs you are planning on buying haha.
Saigon is also home to some really cool architecture including a Notre Dame Cathedral (yes, really), The Opera House, The Post Office (go inside, so cool!), and the Independence Palace.
Also check out the Cu Chi Tunnels. You are going to have to either book an excursion or a tour of some kind for this, but it is totally worth it! Cu Chi Tunnels are the tunnels that Vietnamese fighters lived and hid in during the Vietnam War.
If you love a good nature walk and just having a relaxing afternoon people watching or reading, check out Saigon Botanical Gardens, Công viên Văn hóa Đầm Sen or Tao Dan Park.
If you are as big as a book lover as me, you have to check out Saigon’s Book Street! It is exactly what it sounds like and located right near some of the main architecture attractions. Have a coffee at a local shop and get your browse on!
Vietnam, having a large Buddhist following has many beautiful temples and pagodas you can visit including Vĩnh Nghiêm, Bửu Long, Thien Hau Temple, and more.
There is so much more to explore. Saigon is absolutley massive and you can spend a month there and no see everything. One of my favorite things to do when I was in Vietnam (besides bar hopping lol) was eating local food! I feel in love with Banh Mi Sandwiches! I literally would eat one everyday with a beer for like $2 USD and they’re often vegetarian, yay! You also have to check out Vietnamese Coffee which is made with condensed milk, oh goodness it was so good!
Just a quick tip, taxis will 100% rip you off! To avoid that situation all together, I recommend getting the app Grab, which is essentially Uber for South East Asia.