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5 Risky Things to Do if you’re Solo in Vietnam

You don’t have skydive out of a plane to be a daredevil. You don’t have to eat strange bugs or worms to be an adventurist. You don’t have to act all crazy and shout Whoo-Haa! like a Geronimo madman, to invite a little devilish thrill into your life. Sometimes, adventure and danger can fit into the simplest and most ordinary things; and if you’re a solo traveler, occasionally it’s the simplest things that can feel the most dangerous!

5 Daredevil Things to Try in Vietnam:

 

1. Cross a Vietnamese street.


Ready for a death wish? Offhand, crossing a Vietnamese street can like a feat for daredevils, but I assure you there’s a simple trick to it. Just go slow and with caution. Use the lady in the photo and video as an example. Do it with a group first and then you know what? When no one’s looking, try it on your own! 

Old food vendor lady crossing the street

Video of an old lady crossing the street and then of me crossing the street


2. Rent a motorbike to sightsee the city or countryside.


In Vietnam what else is there to do? Motorcycle madness (read my experience here) is in full swing as the culture’s predominant mule. Streets in larger cities like Hanoi and Saigon can feel stressful and manic; unless you’re an advanced driver,  why not start small? Rent a bike in one of the smaller towns or villages where you can enjoy easy motoring. There’s nothing like exploring a town’s map or local countryside on your own terms via motorbike.  Moreover, you feel at one with nature, free and need I say, empowered?For advanced riders seeking a cross-country trip: why not book a tour with Easy Riders. 15 years in the service of handling motorbike tours, I hear they’re pretty incredible!

 

3. Ride a xylo

Hop aboard, take a one hour ride through the streets at the pace of Old Vietnam before the modern motorbike arrived. What’s so dangerous about riding in bike-pedaled pedicabs? Aside from breathing exhaust fumes, perhaps not much. But unfortunately, these age-old vehicles may be extinct soon. Due to the fact they add to the traffic problem in heavily touristy areas, Vietnam is closing in to ban them from operation.

 

4. Ride threesome on a motorbike taxi.


Motorcycles are Vietnam’s modern-day station wagon–  families toting babies and children (3-4 to a chair), two men moving a dresser bureau…! Why not experience what it’s like to be a Vietnamese family? Hire a motorbike taxi, step in  and have a laugh as you gain insight into what it’s like being a third wheel!


5. Eat the street food


“Avoid the  street food! ” people say; yet some travelers do it and live to tell its tale. Street food is a big part of local culture and the fast food preference of hungry Vietnamese. Cooked on the spot, you can cop a squat on a plastic foot stool and peruse through menus, ranging from a cardboard sign to a grease splattered one page carte du jour. While I can’t guarantee the food being better than restaurants or that practices are always sanitary, it offers front row ground-level seating to the popular local spectator sport of street watching!

 

What are some daring things you’d recommend for Vietnam?


Disclaimer: These activities all contain an element of danger to which this author and site claims no responsibility. If you attempt them, it is at your own risk.

Related Posts:

How to Find Great Budget Tours in Vietnam
5 Risky Things to Do if you’re Solo in Vietnam .
5 things to know about Vietnam before you go.
Trekking tips for Sapa on a muddy and crazy hot day (Sapa tour: Day 3) .
Video: How crazy is Motorcycle Mayhem in Vietnam?

 

19 Comments

  1. Feather Ives says:

    Hi, Christine, were you able to take trips outside of the country while you were in S. Korea?

  2. I have checked all five off! woot! I rented a motorbike for 5 months in Saigon while I taught English and yeah, it was pretty much insane. But I gotta say I saw surprisingly few amount of wrecks.
    I miss ‘Nam…

    • @joshywashington: Congrats, you’re a legitimate daredevil (though you’re already are a ninja so I guess that trumps a daredevil, huh?) I liked Saigon– the motorbiking didn’t seem anywhere near as crzzy as Hanoi, but it was still pretty insane. I get the Vietnamese really have a grip on their driving skills.

  3. Ekua says:

    I guess I was a daredevil in Vietnam, as I did most of these things. I rode motorcycles all the time, but I never rode one alone and never rode one with more than two people! Out of all of those activities, crossing the street in Saigon was the most “daredevil” thing I did in Vietnam 😛

    • @Laura: Wow– so drivers in Mexico are into pedestrian roadkill, huh?
      @Ekua: You truly are unstoppable! I admire that. Everyone has their comfort levels of what they’ll try solo when abroad. I know travelers who’ll try anything that’s considered new and risky & those who always stay mainstream safe. If I doubt my courage for even 2 seconds, then I consider doing it, “daring”. Crossing those Viet streets looks so intimidating at first, right? Thanks for stopping by. 😉

  4. Laura in Cancun says:

    Love it!!! In Mexico, some cars will speed up when they see you crossing the street. haha

    Yes, definitely eat the street food! It’s so delicious, and a few bugs won’t hurt ya 🙂

  5. Connie says:

    Great post! I’m in Vietnam now and you’re totally right. Every day it does feel like I’m putting my life on the line here. Oh well, the beauty of the country, the warm and friendly people and delicious food more than make up for it! =)

    • @Connie: Glad you’re having fun in Vietnam. Ha ha… I think traveling solo makes you question the safety of things all the time. Things could ultimately be safe and that’s what I gathered of Vietnam. The solo factor adds to the daringness… what happens if you get into an accident, get sick from the food, etc… you’re on your own. The payoff is exactly what you mentioned and the fact you survived. 😉
      @Catia: Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I’m glad I didn’t disappoint. ha ha

  6. Catia says:

    Hehehe! This is not at all what I expected when I clicked through the link, but you know what? It was way better. 🙂 Thanks for making me giggle!

  7. Gray says:

    LOL, this post wasn’t at all what I expected. But you know what? All of those things would be daring for me!

    • @Gray: Did you expect I’d be mentioning action-Jackson type of stunts? LOL. I think you’re more daring than you think (aside from eating bugs). Though yeah, those things are pretty daring for me too– I didn’t realize how some of them could feel so hard.

  8. Haven’t been to Vietnam yet…. but I’m trying to make some special things happen in the Philippines come December!

    • @QiRanger: Hmmm Phillippines- I’ve not been there yet, though my Filipino friends convince me I need to go. From past comments you sound like you have a strong connection with that country. Hope your special plans come through. 😉

  9. Jaim says:

    Cool. I’m going to Vietnam and Cambodia in February. Definitely looking forward to renting a scooter to get around.

    But I’ll probably take a bus to get from Hanoi to Hue to some beaches and then to HCMC.

    • @Jaim: Renting a scooter will definitely be fun and yeah, definitely do the buses too. I enjoy taking buses and local trains- you get a good vantage point of Viet’s culture from all of those things! Enjoy your trip!

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