This month we talk Vietnam with Jessica Schmit, founder of The Watchful Wanderer, a blog about travelling and giving back.

Jessica has lived in Vietnam for the last four years and knows a thing or two about volunteering and working in the country. Jessica is passionate about showing how you can volunteer in a smart and ethical way when you travel.

Gorgeous Sapa - Vietnam with Jessica

Gorgeous Sapa

Getting Around Vietnam

It’s not as easy to travel in Vietnam as it is in Thailand for example, and there are a lot of places which are still relatively untouched. It has so much natural beauty with mountains for trekking, the ocean, caves and the Delta, mangrove forests.

Three to four weeks is recommended to see the whole country. The roads aren’t that great but you can now get internal flights really cheap. You can hire motorbikes with drivers who will take you around on their bikes – a very cool alternative of getting around.

Jessica recommends visiting Hoi An, an old French colonial town with an interesting mix (her favourite place in the country), and also Sapa where you can stay with locals and watch their traditional weaving techniques.

Dalat - Vietnam with Jessica

Dalat's countryside

Ho Chi Minh

Enough people speak English in Ho Chi Minh city for you to get by. The tourism industry is quite new so sometimes you need a bit of patience. There has been a huge growth in social businesses in Vietnam as well as a growing art scene with local artists and musicians which has been changing the perception of Ho Chi Minh city. The capital does have some petty crime, pickpocketing and bag snatching where motorbikes will ride past and snatch your bag so you need to be careful in the tourist areas.

She also shares her tips on being a woman in Vietnam and what to expect, as well as hidden gems that you shouldn’t miss including the perfect itinerary as a solo female.

Find out more about Jessica on her website The Watchful Wanderer, and read her fab article on GatG about how to be a socially responsible tourist in Vietnam.

Vietnam with Jessica


Jessica recommends Viet Jet Air as a cheap way of getting around the country. Air Asia also operate in Vietnam.

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