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Getting around Vietnam

Aug 27, 2021 · 9 mins read

If you are going to Vietnam soon, you might already know what a tourist heaven the country is! But if you’re still in the consideration stage, what are you waiting for?! Vietnam is blessed with both cultural and natural beauty. The sceneries that somehow squeeze in jagged peaks to lush green paddy fields to beaches will quench all that holiday thirst, and you’ll still crave for more.

But while you’re in Vietnam, how will you travel? That is a question often asked by tourists, no matter the place they’re visiting. After all, your trip pretty much depends on how you’ll undertake it. And with Vietnam, you have nothing to worry about, as this article will take away all your doubts and confusions about getting around Vietnam. Let’s get into it.

Long Distance Travel


HANOI, VIETNAM, APR 19 2019, The plane of Vietnam Airlines company stands at the tunnel on the Noi Bai International Airport. @ milkovasa / Adobe stock

Vietnam is pretty big. So getting around the country can take up a lot of time that you’d rather spend next to Vietnamese water or standing in a street food stall. Therefore, domestic air travel is a great way to reach your destinations in no time. There are several airlines that offer domestic flights within Vietnam, and here’s a list-down:

Airlines that Offer Domestic Flights

Airports in Vietnam

  1. Noi Bai International Airport, Northern Vietnam, Vinh Phuc
  2. Cat Bi International Airport, Northern Vietnam, Hai Phong
  3. Da Nang International Airport, Central Veitnam, Da Nang
  4. Phu Bai International Airport, Central Vietnam, Hue
  5. Lien Khuong Airport, Central Vietnam, Dalat
  6. Cam Ranh International Airport, Central Vietnam, Khanh Hoa
  7. Vinh International Airport, Central Vietnam, Nghe An
  8. Tan Son Nhat International Airport, Southern Vietnam,
  9. Con Dao Airport, Southern Vietnam, Ba Ria-Vung Tau
  10. Phu Quoc International Airport, Southern Vietnam, Klen Giang

Prices & Operating Times

The prices of different airlines can be found on their official websites. The operating times for the different airports vary, however, most of them remain open for long hours.


ベトナム 鉄道 @ ndk100 / Adobe Stock

Are you thinking “what’s the most popular form of transportation in Vietnam?” Well you’ve just stumbled upon the answer! Trains are taken by countless Vietnamese locals as well as tourists to get around the vast country. Such is their popularity that there are 2 different types of trains that run on Vietnamese tracks, each one just as popular.

Here are the 2 types of Vietnamese trains

The trains can either be SE (new and fast) or TN (old and slow). SE trains have some modern amenities such as Wi-Fi and air-conditioning, while TN trains lack them.

The trains are further divided into 4 classes. Each classes definitely has different train tickets price and may reach to different train station.

The Reunification Express

The Reunification Express is a cultural locomotive that strides through Vietnam’s heart and gives views that are to-die-for. The rice paddies, jungles, fishing villages and even residential neighbourhoods, you get to see it all aboard The Reunification Express.

But why is it called that? The Reunification Express was completed under French rule in 1936. 40 years of war later, though, it was in shambles. But the Hanoi government took matters into its own hands and restored 1334 bridges, 158 stations and 27 tunnels within a two-year period. The express thus represents the reunification of Vietnam as a country.

Culture enthusiasts should definitely consider riding The Reunification Express.

Prices & Operating Times

Websites such as 12Go.Asia offer ticket booking services with the prices clearly mentioned. You may also visit this website for further information bou timings and prices.

Interprovincial Bus

VUNG TAU, VIETNAM - DECEMBER 23, 2016 Intercity buses at the bus station of the city of Vungtau @ sikaraha / Adobe Stock

Interprovincial buses are where the comfort begins in Vietnam’s road transport. These ‘deluxe buses’ are larger, fast and efficient. They have many amenities such as air-conditioning, Wi-Fi, toilets and TVs.

These buses have destinations in most major cities and also some famous tourist spots. They don’t stop as frequently as local bus services and are even faster for this reason.

Sleeper Bus

reportage shot of man watching TV in long distance sleeper bus i @ Robert Podlaski / Adobe Stock

Sleeper buses are like berth trains, except in bus form. They’re a more comfortable way of travelling longer distances. You get to sleep in this overnight bus!

Sleeper buses have long berth-like seats that let you stretch your legs. There are 3 such in each row. They are more comfortable for taller people too.

Prices & Operating Times

The prices for deluxe bus tickets vary according to the distance as well as the type of bus. Sleeper buses are more expensive than regular buses due to the increased level of comfort

Travelling Within a City

Local Bus

City buses in the parking lot at the bus station @ Hanoi Photography / Adobe Stock

Local buses are a highly popular transport mode in Vietnam. These buses operate in the main cities like Hanoi, Nha Trang, Ho Chi Minh and you can travel conveniently (although kind of uncomfortably). The major routes would cover the main toursit destination for your day trips. Local buses are great if you want to save up on that trip to the souvenir shop in a Vietnamese city. However, they’re quite overcrowded and it can get stuffy inside.

Hanoi buses are white and green, while Ho Chi Minh City buses are white, yellow and red.

Prices & Operating Times

The prices of local Vietnamese buses lie in between 5000-10000 VND. You should carry loose cash if you plan on travelling by bus, as that’s the only form bus drivers accept.

These buses operate throughout the day, making them easily accessible.

Cab & Taxi

CAM RANH, VIETNAM - NOVEMBER 21, 2015 The Cam Ranh International Airport @ Andrey Burmakin / Adobe Stock

Taxis are another reliable form of Vietnamese transport you can take to travel locally. Metered taxis calculate fares as you make the journey. It is important that you choose a trusted taxi brand so that you’re charged a fair amount!

Here are the top Vietnamese taxi brands

Prices & Operating Times

Typically, taxi fares in Vietnam lie in between 12000-15000 VND. This mainly depends on the meter of your chosen cab. If the meter is manipulated, it could show higher fares than what’s normal. So be informed especially about the brands of taxis to use in Vietnam.

The apps for taxis in Vietnam state the timings for taxis, specifically when they’ll arrive.


Hanoi on a Busy Day @ EugeneF / Adobe Stock

Xe Om, which literally means ‘hug the driver’, is a form of motorbike taxis that are common in Vietnam. Xe Om drivers can be easily spotted in tourist-rich areas, offering transport services for unbelievably low rates. Even if riding a motorbike is something you wouldn’t usually do, the Vietnamese experience is incomplete without a ride of the Xe Om.

The best part about Xe Oms is probably how sneaky and quick they are, especially in the rush hour. They can always find their way through the cramped roads with their narrow bodies.

Prices & Operating Times

The usual costs of Xe Om are about 10000-15000 VND per kilometre. However, these can vary according to the area and time of day. They also travel throughout the day, making them quite reliable.


Tourist couple riding bicycle in the Mekong Delta region, Ben Tre, South Vietnam. Woman and man having fun cycling on trail among green tropical woodland and coconut palm trees. Rear view @ fabio lamanna / Adobe Stock

Bicycles are another great tourist-friendly way of travelling in Vietnam. Although they aren’t practical for longer distances, you can definitely cover shorter distances on them, allowing you to travel without feeling guilty of environmental damage.

Expect cheerful locals as you make your way through a Vietnamese street, who might be pleased to see a tourist like yourself!

You can also take your bicycle with you on other vehicles such as trains and buses for a small additional cost.

Prices & Operating Times

The price of renting a bicycle is usually very low ($1-$3 for a day). You can always buy a bicycle too, though it might be difficult to carry it around with you. As with taking your bicycle into other vehicles, you may be charged $1-$2 for short trips by buses.

There are no set operating times for bicycles (as you’re the rider), but you should ride during the day for safety.


Traditional cyclo ride down the streets of Hanoi, Vietnam. The cyclo is a three-wheel bicycle taxi that appeared in Vietnam during the French colonial period. @ studiolaska / Adobe Stock

Cyclos are three-wheeled cycle taxis. These are the most common in tourist destinations and aren’t as popular among locals.

You should take the Cyclo if you want a look at life in Vietnam. Cyclo drivers drive very slowly, and through streets instead of roads. This way, you get to see that aspect of Vietnam. It is perfect for clicking pictures of the locals, stalls and much more because of the speed.

Prices & Operating Times

Cyclo drivers are notorious for quoting hefty sums as prices. The rule-of-thumb is to ask for a price, directly offer one-third of it, and then gradually come to about half of it as your final offer. You should also agree on a price before the journey to avoid any fuss later on.

Cyclos operate throughout the day but are considered safer during the daytime. This is because of many instances of mugging in the past.

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