Vietnam travel, with its rich cultural heritage, stunning landscapes, and vibrant cities, beckons travelers from all corners of the globe. To fully immerse yourself in this captivating country, mastering Vietnam transport options is essential. From bustling metropolises to serene waterways, here is a comprehensive guide on how to travel in Vietnam, ensuring you make the most of your adventure.
1. How to travel in Vietnam by air?
When asked how to travel in Vietnam, air travel stands out as the most practical option for time-constrained adventurers. While a train journey from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City might consume a whopping 30 hours, a mere 1 to 2-hour flight opens up invaluable extra time for exploration.
Domestic flight fares prove surprisingly budget-friendly, with a wealth of daily flights connecting top destinations. As you embark on your airborne adventure, a bouquet of airlines in Vietnam awaits your selection. Vietnam Airlines, the flagship carrier, leads the way, but affordable alternatives like VietJet, Bamboo Airways, Vietravel Airlines, and Pacific Airlines also whisk travelers across the nation’s skies.
You will find connectivity to various locations, including flights to Nha Trang, flights from Hanoi to Hue, flights from Ho Chi Minh City to Da Nang, and flights from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City. Dotted across Vietnam are numerous Vietnam airports, poised to whisk you away to captivating destinations.
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2. How to travel in Vietnam by land?
2.1. By train
Train travel is synonymous with relaxation and picturesque vistas. This type of transportation is considered by many to be the best way to travel in Vietnam. A sprawling 2,600-kilometer track seamlessly links the North and South, revealing the nation’s unfolding beauty.
From Ho Chi Minh City’s southern charm to the Chinese border’s northern allure, the train journey mainly offers four seating options: soft, hard, and sleeper classes. Procuring tickets can be done at the station or online, accommodating a range of travel plans. Young travelers also reap benefits, with children under 6 traveling free and those aged 6 to 10 enjoying a 25% discount.
Embrace the coastal charm as Vietnam’s main railway unwinds between the bustling Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, offering myriad stopovers en route. Other popular train routes include the Ho Chi Minh City to Nha Trang train and the Hanoi to Ninh Binh train.
2.2. By bus
If asked how to travel in Vietnam on a budget, the answer would absolutely be buses. Buses are among the most popular modes of transportation in Vietnam and have gained traction as a pocket-friendly choice for budget-conscious voyagers. With operations starting early in the day and extending until the night’s curtain falls, buses offer unparalleled flexibility.
Capitalizing on the economy, public bus fares are astonishingly low: a meager VND 7,000 ($0.3) grants access to inner-city excursions, while a day of sightseeing seldom demands more than VND 50,000 ($2). The practicality of this cost-effective mode of transportation is evident in both bustling urban areas and rural locations.
There are also a variety of bus routes catering to travel between different cities. Some notable routes include the Hanoi to Ha Long Bay bus and the Hoi An to Hue bus. It’s important to note that the prices for these routes will be higher than traveling within the city, starting from VND 150,000 ($6.5) as these buses are operated by private enterprises rather than being part of the public bus service.
2.3. By car
Car rentals are gaining popularity among travel enthusiasts in Vietnam. This mode of transport offers unparalleled comfort and flexibility, allowing you to navigate without constraints. Adjust your itinerary on the fly to match weather conditions or your interests.
Numerous Vietnam car rental options await. To make the right choice, consider your travel needs. Once decided, reach out to rental shops and carefully review both the contract and the vehicle. Tourist hubs also offer car-and-driver packages or customized itineraries. Costs range from US$60 to US$150 per day plus fuel and often include the driver’s food and accommodation. Sharing the journey with fellow travelers can help lower expenses. The tip for how to drive in Vietnam is to opt for a 2WD car for lowland areas and upgrade to a 4WD for the mountainous north.
2.4. By motorbike
Motorbikes take the lead as Vietnam’s preferred mode of transport. For adventurous souls who seek long-distance rides and panoramic views, consider taking a Vietnam motorbike tour. However, newcomers should exercise caution on Vietnamese roads and adapt to local driving norms.
Rental shops for motorbikes are abundant in most cities. Prices vary based on vehicle type and quality, ranging from VND 150,000 to 300,000/day (approximately $6.5 – $13). Extended rentals may require a deposit or passport submission. Safety Vietnam travel tips for riding a motorbike include avoiding unguarded parking areas, always wearing a helmet, and parking your vehicle in guarded parking lots when necessary.
2.5. By taxi
Compared to plane or train travel, taxis offer greater control over time and safety. Entrust your journey to experienced drivers who steer clear of the road’s challenges. This transport option is particularly suitable for those who delight in sightseeing from the comfort of a window seat.
Before you hail a taxi, remember:
- Choose reputable taxi companies you have verified online.
- Research and compare prices for your chosen route.
- Capture the license plate details or save the driver’s number to later contact them in case you leave your belongings behind.
2.6. By cyclo
Cyclos made their debut in 1939 as a cherished mode of transport in Vietnam’s past. Once a luxury for the elite, these quaint vehicles were prominent in major cities like Saigon, Hanoi, and Hue. Cyclos stand apart from motorbikes and taxis, offering a slower, swaying journey that captivates passengers. The gentle sway, along with street views, appeals to international tourists, often evoking relaxation and joy. Some even find themselves dozing off during the tranquil ride.
2.7. By bicycle
Cycling proves to be a delightful means to explore Vietnam, provided you stick to quiet rural roads and avoid the bustling highways. The flat terrain, warm welcomes from locals, and accessible bike workshops enhance the experience. Rental options are available at hotels and travel agencies, catering to local exploration. For longer expeditions, consider a Vietnam bike tour or upscale bike rentals from companies like Vietnam Cycling or Indochina Bike Tours. Bikes can even accompany you on buses or trains, making long-distance travel a breeze.
3. How to travel in Vietnam by water?
3.1. By cruise
Cruises in Vietnam present an ideal blend of relaxation and exploration, catering to those who yearn for nature’s beauty. Across various locales like Ha Long Bay, Lan Ha Bay, Nha Trang, and Phu Quoc, an array of yachts await, offering different packages in terms of duration and cost. Mekong Delta cruise and Ha Long Bay overnight cruise are among the most sought-after cruises. These cruises promise captivating experiences, from kayaking and cave tours to serene tai chi sessions and stunning sunset views. It’s a chance to unwind while indulging in Vietnam’s natural marvels.
3.2. By boat
Numerous of Vietnam’s winding rivers are suitable for navigation, but the most significant waterway for boats remains the formidable Mekong River. As it converges with the East Sea, this mighty river fans out into a labyrinth of narrower channels. Local inhabitants employ passenger boats for transportation throughout the nation, while tourists often favor organized day cruises departing from Ho Chi Minh City, Nha Trang, Danang, Hue, and Tam Coc in Trang An Ninh Binh. Besides these destinations, a Hoi An boat ride is also an experience loved by both locals and tourists.
Boats are also in service to outlying islands, encompassing the tropical haven of Phu Quoc in the south, the scattered islets adorning Nha Trang Bay, the Cham Islands in proximity to Hoi An within central Vietnam, and, naturally, the multitude of islands and rocky formations of Halong Bay alongside its neighboring Bai Tu Long Bay. For those venturing to Con Dao Islands, boat routes can be taken from Soc Trang, Vung Tau, or Can Tho on the mainland.
Take note that maritime travel might be influenced during the typhoon season from May to December, particularly in the months of August and September. Staying abreast of weather updates and maintaining a readiness to adapt travel arrangements in response to approaching storms is essential.
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This comprehensive guide on how to travel in Vietnam unveils a dynamic tapestry of experiences that span from bustling urban centers to tranquil natural wonders. The country’s diverse transportation options, encompassing air travel, train journeys, bus routes, water cruises, and more, make navigating Vietnam accessible and enriching. Whether you are soaring above iconic landscapes, gliding along waterways, or traversing scenic roads, Vietnam’s cultural vibrancy, breathtaking scenery, and warm hospitality promise an indelible adventure.