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suggestions please! new traveller

Travel Forums General Talk suggestions please! new traveller

1. Posted by madi (Budding Member 2 posts) 7y

hi everyone

i have decided to go to vietnam and cambodia at the end of this year. i have posted a thread in travel companion to see if anyone would like to join me. i have never backpacked before and i have never travelled on my own before! so i am very nervous about doing this!

my father works for qantas airline- so cheap tix!!
only until im 26 so i want to get a move on with travelling and if i want to see more than i can afford i need to do it backpacking. im really keen on tour groups like intrepid and gecko but they r so expensive for a county like vietnam.

what im trying to get at is .... do u think it is safe for me to do this alone ?

i am thinking of flying into hanoi and travelling by train to sapa, halong bay, hue, hoi an, nha thrang, ho chiminh city. then bus into cambodia.

want to also go to chiang mai and laos if i go well with money !

any suggestions ?

2. Posted by 7055 (Budding Member 28 posts) 7y

Quoting madi

hi everyone

i have decided to go to vietnam and cambodia at the end of this year. i have posted a thread in travel companion to see if anyone would like to join me. i have never backpacked before and i have never travelled on my own before! so i am very nervous about doing this!

my father works for qantas airline- so cheap tix!!
only until im 26 so i want to get a move on with travelling and if i want to see more than i can afford i need to do it backpacking. im really keen on tour groups like intrepid and gecko but they r so expensive for a county like vietnam.

what im trying to get at is .... do u think it is safe for me to do this alone ?

i am thinking of flying into hanoi and travelling by train to sapa, halong bay, hue, hoi an, nha thrang, ho chiminh city. then bus into cambodia.

want to also go to chiang mai and laos if i go well with money !

any suggestions ?

No one can say for certain how 'safe' it is, it depends on a variety of different things from how intuitive you are to plain bad luck. As you probably know, risk in inherent in most things and traveling is no different. However, I can tell you that Vietnam and Cambodia are relatively safe places to travel, especially for female solo travelers. Violent attacks against tourists are extremely rare and the most likely experience of crime will be from other tourists. So long as you exercise the same caution you would in a large city at night, you should be fine.

There are a few things you can do to minimize your risk. For instance, don't travel in unmarked taxis alone, especially at night. Try to book flights that arrive in the morning, not late at night. Don't flash jewelry or expensive items around and so forth. Just basically exercise common sense and you'll be fine. Also I should say that traveling around SE-Asia is, for the most part, relatively stress free thanks to a relatively developed tourist industry. Just be reminded that the bus journey from Hanoi to Laos is around 24 hours and often quite unreliable. If you have the time, I would recommend Thailand/Chang Mai > Laos > Cambodia (via the boarder crossing in the south) Cambodia > Vietnam / Saigon to Hanoi. Then perhaps flying back from Hanoi.

3. Posted by Daawgon (Travel Guru 1992 posts) 7y

But you will not be alone! In a country as welcoming as Vietnam, there are hundreds/thousands of other young people doing exactly the same thing, and from all over the world to boot. You will meet up with others in the very same situation in the hostels and guesthouses you stay in. Vietnam is a great place for a first foreign trip in my opinion because the local people are almost as interested in you as you in them. Did I mention that both Saigon and Hanoi have free student guides who will happily show your their cities for English practice alone. (Saigonhotpot and Hanoikids)

I would not send you off to the States by yourself, but I would certainly do so to Vietnam! Will you ever have a ball!!!

4. Posted by Bryony (Full Member 7 posts) 7y

Hello there,

Sounds like a brilliant trip! Not sure how helpful this will be, but I kicked off a few months of travelling alone in South East Asia with an Intrepid trip a few years ago. The trip took me from Bangkok, through Cambodia and Vietnam. After that I just kind of wombled about SE Asia on my own. SE Asia is really easy to navigate and really traveller-friendly (I never felt remotely unsafe or even uncomfortable). There are loads of people travelling alone, so you don't need to worry at all. Having said that, I'm really glad that I chose to begin with an Intrepid trip. I met some really great people and saw some really great things. By the time it was over, I felt completely ready to travel alone. Yes, it's an easy way to travel but this doesn't mean it's a cop out - it just helps you to get to grips with being somewhere totally new. I then did the same thing in India - a two week Intrepid trip followed by 3 months of solo backpacking. I really believe that it's money well spent. :):)

Post 5 was removed by a moderator
6. Posted by canadiank (Budding Member 29 posts) 7y

I don't understand why these tours are so expensive. Vietnam (and SE Asia in general) should be a cheap country to visit. Food & transportation should be cheap and only the most central luxury hotels would be expensive.

I'm sure you would meet lots of people along the way, esp. if you stay in hostels. Vietnam is a very friendly country but financially, you can be taken advantage of - bargaining/bartering aggressively is a must in Vietnam. The traffic takes getting used to and crossing the street is a challenge most times. Violent crimes are unusual (very low, I think) but petty street crimes like pickpockets are common. Street beggars (and kids) is also something you may have to deal with which will take getting used to.

You know there is usually a first time for everything! Solo travel is actually quite fun if you are adventurous but you always have to watch out for yourself first. Is there any possibility of joining a short tour or maybe look around for a cheaper tour? I do agree that if it's your 1st trip, a tour to kick it off is not a bad idea.

[ Edit: Edited on 01-Apr-2009, at 23:37 by canadiank ]

7. Posted by monika72 (Budding Member 6 posts) 7y

I was in Cambodia a couple of years back and I was advised not to go out after dark on my own in Phnom Penh. I found it a pretty safe place during the day though. Siem Reap on the other hand is so touristy that I felt as safe as at home.