fbpx
hatvacation dot com travel guide transportation flight - Transportation Guide

International Flight

There are currently many airlines operating flights to Vietnam. The main ports of entry for air travel are Tan Son Nhat airport (SGN) in Ho Chi Minh City or Noi Bai Airport (HAN) in Hanoi. The number of direct routes from Australia, Europe and North America to Vietnam are still very limited and most flights departing from these regions to Vietnam involve a transit in Hongkong, Bangkok, Seoul, Tokyo or Singapore.

Flights from Australia

Daily flights from Sydney, Canberra or Melbourne to Ho Chi Minh City connect in Taipei, Kuala Lumpur, Darwin or Bangkok.  Flights from Wellington or Auckland have stopovers in Kuala Lumpur.  Quantas and Vietnam Airlines operate direct flights between Ho Chi Minh City and Sydney though the price can be 30% higher compared with other routes. Other airlines that run the route between Vietnam and Oceania include Cathay Pacific, Thai Airways, China Southern, Singapore Airlines, to name a few.

Flights from North America

From the United States:  From New York, Korean Air, Cathay Pacific and American Airlines have daily flights to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, with connection in Seoul and Hongkong respectively. From the West coast, similar routes connect Los Angeles or San Francisco with Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City.

From Canada:  The most popular route from Toronto or Vancouver to Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City is one operated by Air Canada or Cathay Pacific, that involve a short transit in Hongkong. The wait time vary between 2 and 5 hours. Korean Air and Japan Airlines also connect Vietnam with major cities in Canada but the transit time can be tedious, between 6 and 12 hours. However, for those who are keen on seeing more of the world, this transit time can be ideal as there are plenty of tours to see Seoul or Tokyo available at the airport.

Flights from Europe

There are direct flights between Hanoi and Paris, Frankfurt, and London offered by Vietnam Airlines. Better deals between Europe and Vietnam, however, will involve at least one stop over in Hongkong or Singapore. The best way to search for a price deals is to shop around with both online and off-line travel agency. Read our discounted air travel for further information.

Flights from Asia

Vietnam is well connected to other countries in Asia with the support of a complex flight network. Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Hongkong are destinations with most flight deals. From Japan and Korea, there are direct flights to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City departing major ports such as Osaka, Tokyo, Fukuoka, Seoul, Busan.  In case of China, Vietnam Airlines operate flights from Beijing, Shanghai, Guanghou, Kunming to Hanoi. Direct flights from Ho Chi Minh City to China only land in Beijing or Guangzhou. For Taiwan, China Airlines, Eva Air and Vietnam Airlines have daily flight between Hanoi and Taipei or Kaohsiung.

Domestic Flight

Overview:

The airway market in Vietnam now has only seven domestic companies. The biggest and most influential one is Vietnam Airlines, a state – owned airway corporation, which makes up approximately 70% of domestic market share. Following it are the two private airlines named Jet Star Pacific and Air Mekong, which focus more on low-cost air market. Some other small and new airlines such as Blue Sky Air, Vasco and the latest licensed Vietjet Air are growing slowly in the Vietnam airways market.

Domestic flights in Vietnam are rising in both number of routes and frequency. The most frequent flights are between main cities, especially those with larger airports such as Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang. There are also many direct flights, though at fewer frequency to tourism destinations such as Dien Bien, Nha Trang, Hai Phong and Dalat.

Vasco and Air Mekong recently open new routes to Southern islands such as Con Dao and Phu Quoc.  You can find travel deals by visiting their websites frequently.

Vietnam popular domestic routes:

1 – Ho Chi Minh City- Hanoi: over 10 daily flights back and forth, operated by Vietnam Airlines, Jetstar Pacific and Air Mekong. One way ticket is around $100.

2 – Ho Chi Minh City- Da Nang: daily flights by Vietnam Airlines and Jetstar Pacific. One way ticket is around $70.

3 – Hanoi- Da Nang: daily flights by Vietnam Airlines and Jetstar Pacific. One way ticket is around $70.

4 – Hanoi- Phu Quoc: flights operated by Air Mekong. One way ticket is about $85.

5 – Ho Chi Minh City- Phu Quoc: flights operated by Vietnam Airlines and Air Mekong. One way ticket is about $50.

How to reserve and book your air ticket:

To book tickets for your flights, you can either book online on the airlines’ websites or contact a travel agency (www.vietnamairfare.com) as you arrive in Vietnam. Either online or by phone, you will be able to check the time and ticket price. Price for domestic flights do not have a wide range between the agencies; however, it matters how long in advance you get your tickets.

Most air tickets now take the electronic form, which will be sent to your email. Make sure that all the details on the ticket such as your name and flight date are correct to avoid any unwanted problems.

Domestic Airlines

At present there are 8 registered airlines in Vietnam: Vietnam Airlines, Jetstar Pacific, Air Mekong, VASCO, Indochina Airlines, VietJetSta, Bamboo Airways, and Viet Star Airlines.  The first 4 airlines are currently operating both domestic and international flights.

Vietnam Airlines is still the main operator on most routes both within Vietnam and from Vietnam to other international destinations. The company operates flights on most cities in Vietnam and offer quite good services for its size. Vietnam Airlines fleet is painted blue with a yellow lotus at its tail.

Apart from Vietnam Airlines, Jetstar Pacific also have frequent flights among Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang. While Jetstar is competitive to the national airline in terms of price and service, the frequently delayed departure time have cost them public trust. Jetstar Pacific is co-owned by the State Capital Investment Corporation, Saigontourist and Qantas. According to the Vietnam Tourism Report in 2011, Jetstar Pacific currently shares 23% of Vietnamese market.

Air Mekong is the latest addition to the small collection of airlines in Vietnam. Air Mekong is based in Phu Quoc and offers competitive ticket fare.  Its operating routes are denser in the South and Central Highland of Vietnam. There are flights connecting Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City with Phu Quoc and Con Dao Islands; and with Vietnam Central Highland area.

Airport

Travelling by air has never been made so simple and airplane is the most popular means of transportation that brings tourist to Vietnam. Similar things can be said for tourists who would like to move from one to another destinations within the country.

Vietnam is served by three main international airports: Noi Bai International Airport (HAN), Tan Son Nhat International Airport (SGN) and Da Nang International Airport (DAD) located in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang respectively. Besides, Phu Quoc has also started receiving international flights from countries such as Singapore and now serves as a fourth international airport airport.There are also provincial airports in major attractions such as Dalat Airport, Nha Trang Airport and Dien Bien Phu Airport.

The size of each airport is relatively small, except for airports in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, compared with other international and local airports in the region. The service is getting to the standard but there is still space for improvement, especially in terms of hygienic issues. Each airport is equipped with food services and dotted with souvenirs shop and money exchange stalls.

On the flip size, because of the manageable size, you will easily find your way around the airport without being afraid of getting lost or being late for your flight.

See List of Vietnam Airport below.

North:

Hanoi Airport (HAN)
Location: 40 minutes from Hanoi city center, 3.5 hours to Halong Bay, 4.5 hours to Sapa

Hai Phong Airport (HPH)
Location: 2.5 hours to/from Hanoi, 1.5 hours to Halong Bay

Center:

Danang Airport (DAD)
10 minutes to city center, 30 minutes to Hoi An, 2.5 hours to Hue

Hue Airport (HUI)
20 minutes to city center, 2.5 hours to Danang, 3 hours to Hoi An

Nha Trang Airport (CXR)
35 minutes to city center, 2.5 hours to Dalat

Dalat Airport (DLI)
45 minutes to city center, 3.5 hours to Nha Trang

Vinh Airport (VII)
15 minutes to city center

South:

Ho Chi Minh City Airport (SGN)
20 minutes to city center

Con Dao Airport (VCS)
10 minutes to city center

Phu Quoc Airport (PQC)
20 minutes to city center

hatvacation tour vietnam tour hanoi tour bus - Transportation Guide

Bus in Vietnam

In Vietnam, bus is the cheapest and most convenient means of transportation for foreign travellers, since the bus system has been well-developed and covered almost every part of the country. If you are stuck on the very first steps such as how to find a bus or which route to go, stay calm and read the following guide.

Interprovincial buses

Each province in Vietnam has its own major terminal, especially in big cities like Hanoi (My Dinh Bus station, Giap Bat Bus station), Ho Chi Minh City (Mien Tay, Mien Dong); you can find buses going to every tourism destination as well as other province in Vietnam. Typically, interprovincial buses are high quality ones with good services, large and comfortable seats. All you have to do is to buy tickets from registered ticket booths inside the terminal, and later show it to the conductor on the bus. There is no limitation for the size of baggage.

The price depends on the distance of the route and type of seats chosen. Tourists can ask their travel agencies to purchase ticket in advance, or even book ticket via phone or Internet by themselves. Notice that Internet booking bus ticket is not very popular, only applicable to a few large bus companies like Hoang Long. If you depart from minor provinces and there is no direct route to your intend destinations, it is advisable to catch a bus to major cities (Hanoi for northern provinces, Hue or Da Nang for central area, and Ho Chi Minh City for southern provinces) and then change the bus there.

Local buses

In Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and some major tourism destinations, there is public bus service for people both local and foreigners. Those buses also departure from major terminals before heading to other streets. In other provinces, we also have buses run by private companies. Passengers can catch bus at bus stops scattering around the province and buy ticket directly from the conductor. Although the ticket is very cheap (under VND 10000), the service is not very high (you may have to stand if the bus is too crowded, the bus may not have air conditioner, or the conductor cannot speak English). However, local bus is one interesting way to understand more or make friends with local people.

Bus travel tips

• Only buy bus tickets from registered booths of large companies inside the terminals. Some prestigious names to mention are Hoang Long, Viet Thanh, Sinh café, Hanh Café and Mai Linh. Avoid waiving bus along the way for your own safety reasons (those buses may run around the cities until it collects enough passengers, which may take hours)

• Ask the price before hopping on or you may be overcharged. Normally, ticket price is the same to everyone.

• Bring along with you a piece of paper and a pen to write down your destination or questions, as language barrier can cause difficulties.

• Keep strict eye on your luggage and wallet, especially if using public and local bus.

• Do not hesitate to ask the conductor, the driver or even your fellow passengers if there is anything making you confused. Vietnamese are very friendly; they will be more than willing to help you.

Bus Stations

Local bus stations or terminals are often packed with people and it may seem overwhelming at first to navigate your way around. This might even be more of a problem in larger cities like Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City where the volume of traffic is rather intimidating. Ignoring the call and wave of motor taxi men, you should always walk straight to the main building where you can find ticket booths and waiting area.

The destination points are often printed in front of each ticket booth. Check the name carefully to avoid getting to the wrong end point. Though almost all ticket sellers cannot speak English, you can always show them the name of the location you want to travel to just to make sure. Wait for a head nod or a shake, or some finger-pointing to the right booth.

Usually after you buy your ticket, there will be someone who shows you to the bus and has you seated. Avoid the back seat which can become really uncomfortable when the road is rough. The bus will be leaving on time, but many buses will run around to pick up more passengers until they are full.

Taking local bus is fun, for it gives you some real insight into local lives. Expect noise, unfamiliar odor, glances and accept it as part of the “local” experience. On top of that, the price is much cheaper compared with tourists’ bus.

Hanoi Bus

Travel by public bus has become popular in Hanoi now due to the cheap price and availability. Buses in Hanoi can be recognized by the typical cover with 3 main colors: white, red and yellow (see the picture below). Each bus has a number in red, centered in a white circle and made visible in the front sign of the bus.The price of a bus ticket in Hanoi is from 5,000 to 10,000 VND depending on the distances between the departure and the end point. Ticket will be handed out by a collector and you have to pay him in cash. If you plan to travel by bus, make sure you carry smaller bills.

hatvacation dot com bus guide 800x400 - Transportation Guide

Hanoi public buses passengers in the stationary points on the streets, and fortunately many of them are located near or even in front of the famous and attractive tourism destinations in Hanoi such as Hoan Kiem Lake, The Old Quarter, Hanoi Train station (Ga Hanoi), Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and The Literature Temple.

Here are some important bus routes in Hanoi:

#07 and #17: These two are the public buses that stop at Noi Bai International Airport, the most important gateway in the North of Vietnam. The #7 bus will cross the Thang Long Bridge and head to Cau Giay, while #17 buses go to the Old Quarter via Chuong Duong Bridge.

#33 or #02: These buses will bring you to the area near Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and from those areas, you can wander along the tree-filled boulevards like Dien Bien Phu or Le Hong Phong, before heading to Ho Chi Minh Complex.

#09:  This bus will you at Hoan Kiem Lake and from that point, you can explore the lake’s areas and the Old Quarter on the downtown. These buses also stop at some checkpoint in Le Hong Phong and Dien Bien Phu Str., so that you can visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and the areas nearby.

However, the problem you might encounter while get on a bus is that it is very crowded at peak hours. You should always keep one hand to cover your purses or place your backpack at the front, since crowded bus in Vietnam is an ideal place for pickpockets.

Also, as the bus approaches your intended destination, try your best to make the way to the back door, take a deep breath and prepare for a fast move because bus drivers in Hanoi are notorious for stopping at a stop for a very short time. You will need to be prepared to get out of the bus as fast as you can if you don’t want to miss the point. If you are unsure when to get off, ask either the driver, the ticket collector or the fellow passengers.  As intimidating as it sounds, travelling by bus in Hanoi is a truly local experience.

Ho Chi Minh City Bus

The bus system in Ho Chi Minh City covers most tourism destinations within and nearby the city with 152 routes.  Buses in Ho Chi Minh City can be realized by the white cover with a light green strip. The price for bus ticket fluctuates between 3,000 and 10,000 VND, depending on the distances and the type of buses.

Buses in Ho Chi Minh city might not be as crowded as those in Hanoi, but the problem is the quality of the cars and degrading services.  Moreover, the distances between the bus stops and tourist destinations are pretty far, aggravated by the long time it takes to wait for a bus. That makes this type of public transportation not the best choice to explore the city. Also, Ho Chi Minh City Bus are often named by the beginning and end points, so check your bus number carefully before getting on it.

hatvacation dot com hcm city bus guide 800x400 - Transportation Guide

Most buses in Ho Chi Minh City have their terminal at some major depots like Ben Thanh Station, Cho Lon Station and Mien Dong station. There are a number of buses that run past tourist attractions inside the city such as:

#147 (Cho Lon Bus Station – Tan Son Nhat) and #152 (Trung Son Resident – Tan Son Nhat): These two route have stops at Tan Son Nhat International Airport, and with these buses, you can easily get to the center of the city. Bus#147 will head to Cho Lon area while bus #152 will go to the Ben Thanh Market, a short walk from Pham Ngu Lao backpacker area.

#11 (Ben Thanh – Dam Sen Park):  buses on route 11 start from Ben Thanh Station and head to Dam Sen Cultural Park, one of the most interesting playgrounds in Ho Chi Minh City. It takes about 40 minutes for the whole trip with the price of 3,000 VND

 #30 (Tan Huong Market – Suoi Tien Resort): this route runs a long distance from Tan Binh county, cross the center of the city and head to the north east of the city. Along the route there are many tourism destinations such as Suoi Tien Resorts or Hung Temple. You can catch this bus in many stops in downtown area like Vo Thi Sau or Pham Ngoc Thach.

#19 (Saigon – Trung Linh – National University): This route begins from Ben Thanh Market, head to the center of the city and cross the Saigon Opera House. Then it comes to Highway 1A before heading to the National University.

taxi ha noi 1 - Transportation Guide

Car Rental

Car rental is a great alternative when you want to visit any place that you like or is inaccessible to public vehicles. This is also a pleasing choice when exploring destinations with various attractions, which are distant from each other such as Ho Chi Minh City, Hue, Dalat. The major advantages of renting a car include independence, convenience and flexibility as you can create your own schedule. On the other hand, there are also some disadvantages, mostly because of the notorious traffic system in Vietnam and high cost of renting. Below are some instructions and tips for you while using rental car.

Driving License

Driving a vehicle in Vietnam seems a no-no idea as soon as you set your first step in Vietnam but after a few days, the experience will be too tempting to avoid. In fact, driving a car, motorbike or even riding a bicycle will give you more excitement that you can imagine: you can see Vietnam YOUR way. One of the most common concerns then is – will your driving license suffice the legal requirement?

For permanent residents or those who relocate to Vietnam for working, studying or living, you must own a valid Vietnamese Driver License issued by provincial or national public transportation service- which belongs to the Ministry of Transport.

For temporary visitors, it is preferred that you possess an international driving permit, which can easily be obtained from your home country and converted to Vietnamese one. The police have the right to confiscate your vehicle for 90 days if you are not able to show a valid license.

Who can apply for a Vietnam’s driving license: those holding a valid Vietnamese residence permit or a visa valid for at least 3 month and a valid driving license.

How long does it take to obtain a Vietnam license: 5-7 days from the date of document submission

How much does it cost: the fee is $1.5 or VND 30,000, excluding translation and notorization fee.

How to apply: Read Instructions to apply for a Vietnam driving license.

Below is a sample of what a driving license looks like in Vietnam.

Highways

Since road travel is still the most popular means of transportation in Vietnam, the highway system plays a crucial role. It is estimated that Vietnam’s highway system now contains 90 roads with the approximate length of 15,360km, connecting the North to the South.

Some of the most important highways are Highway 1A from Lang Son- the top North- to Ca Mau- the end South, Highway 5A from Hanoi to Hai Phong- a major Northern seaport, Highway 2 from Hanoi to Ha Giang and Highway 1B-the Ho Chi Minh road.

Unfortunately, the number of vehicles using the roads everyday often exceeds their capacity. Along with careless drivers and residents living nearby, the degrading highway infrastructure is often jokingly called the Hell Highway due to considerable number of accidents occurring everyday.

However, travelling on highway is still essential if you want to visit off-the-city destinations. As a tourist, you still have many options to travel to further points, especially by renting a vehicle. All you are required are your drivers’ licenses, your passports and some deposit money.

You can also hire a driver from the car rental agency. This could be the best way if you prefer to go without a pre-arranged tour. That is because traffic in Vietnam is quite messy and Vietnamese tend to breach the rules when joining traffic, even on the highway.

While driving on highway, a good and careful driving habit seems not be enough. You will need to keep your eyes constantly open to watch the road, especially at intersections where many non-helmet motor riders are ready to cross. The maximum speed on most highways in Vietnam is 100 kmph.

Taxi

Taxi has become a convenient and popular transportation method in Vietnam in recent years. However, taxis are predominantly operating in big cities and urban areas where residents have higher living standards.

Taxi services in Vietnam can be divided into two main types: “official” and “unofficial” taxi. “Official” taxi refers to the taxi corporations who have high and consistent quality at a reasonable price. They are credible, safe, apparent in calculating fee and somehow cheaper.

The other type of taxi is “unofficial” taxi, which often belongs to individual drivers. The fact is that this type of taxi is poor in quality and services, unreliable and vague in fee calculation, or they don’t even have meters. Also, the safety of these taxis is a serious problem, as the “unofficial” taxi drivers tend to run rapidly and carelessly.

There are some reputable taxi companies in Vietnam that should be on top of your head when you look for one. They include:

Mai Linh Taxi: This is one of the most popular taxi brands in all over Vietnam with cab in many tourism destinations. There services are safe and flexible with diverse taxi products such as Gia Dinh Taxi (Tel: 38.98.98.98), Mai Linh Limousine (Tel: 38.36.36.36) or Saigon Taxi (Tel: 38.23.23.23). Taxi Mai Linh often has the cover of two main colors: white and green.

hatvacation dot com mailinh taxi 800x400 - Transportation Guide

Vinasun Taxi (Tel: 38.27.27.27): a big taxi corporation in Ho Chi Minh City with more than 3,500 cabs and high-quality services. The company’s cabs can be recognized by the typical cover with the main white color, in addition with one red strip and green strip below.

hatvacation dot com vinasun taxi 800x400 - Transportation Guide

Hanoi Taxi (Tel: 38.53.53.53): One of the pioneers in taxi services from 1993. The cab of Hanoi taxi is painted with purely white color.

hatvacation dot com hanoi taxi 800x400 - Transportation Guide

hatvacation dot com motobike guide - Transportation Guide

Motorbike Travel

Vietnam is one of the few countries in the world where motorbike is still used so widely. Riding one is fun, but you must take into account the fact that people do not always follow the rules on the road. In principle, you need a driver license to ride a motorbike but traffic police hardly stop tourists for license check.

If you are not brave enough to ride one yourself, sitting on the back of someone else is also an experience that most tourists should try. Since late 2007, it is required that all motor-users need a helmet. Any qualified motor taxi driver should have an extra for you.

“Xe-om” or motor-taxi is a cheap way to get from one place to another within the city. Do not forget to reach an agreement on the price before you put the helmet on.

If you are brave enough, a motorbike adventure to mountainous area may be a great way to experience Vietnam. Read our travel tips about travelling to mountainous areas.

Xe Om

Most tourists on their trip in Vietnam often choose taxi as a safe option for transportation. High quality services, English-speaking driver make for great convenience, but of course the catch is that it comes with a price tag which can be a little over the top sometimes. So if one travels solo or with just one partner, why not try the locally-grown special transportation service – “xe om”?

A zoom in “xe om”

For those who have not yet heard the term before, “xe om” (pronounced “say ohm”), is an informal word that Vietnamese use to refer to “motor-taxi”. There is no doubt that motorcycle is the main means of transportation in Vietnam, and “xe om” is the cheaper and more interesting way for tourists to get around when travelling to “the country of motorcycles”.

In every street in Vietnam, one can easily find this service with the driver hanging a sign reads “XE OM” in front of the motorcycle. Or to make it even easier, just appear lost and the over-friendly driver will reach out to offer his service soon enough. Normally, the same driver will wait at the same corner every day, and he is willing to take one wherever he wishes to go in (and out of) the city with a very reasonable price.

Figuratively speaking, “xe om” means “hug the driver” in Vietnamese, but surely one does not have to actually commit the act (anyway, if that’s what you want, it is probably fine). One simply needs to board behind the back of the driver, put the helmet on and get ready to be a part of the organized chaos that is Vietnamese traffic!

“Xe om” can be seen all over Vietnam, from the North to the South, from mountainous to metropolis areas. Joining the busy flow of vehicles in the street or taking a deep breath of the fresh highland air from the back of a motorcycle will both be an extremely thrilling experience to remember.

hatvacation dot com motobike guide 800x400 - Transportation Guide

Your guidebook when using “xe om”

As a traveler coming from a foreign country, however, it is not always easy for one to get the best deal with “xe om” drivers. At least he will need to reach the level of novice in the art of bargaining. Ask the price clearly to reach an agreement before sitting down on the pillion. Generally, the price depends on the distance, the quality of the road, or even the weather. VND10000-15000 per kilometer is reasonable. All “xe om” are fully equipped for passengers so there is no need for one to bring your own helmet.

Nevertheless, there is one small warning for using “xe om” service at the airport, train station and bus terminal, where there will be a more-than-one-cares-for number of “xe om” drivers waiting for travelers. Remember the route and bargain with a passion!

Beside the inexpensive price, another reason why “xe om” is so popular in Vietnam is that “xe om” becomes extremely handy when it comes to traffic in the rush hours. With their superb driving skills, “xe om” drivers can easily take one out of the traffic jam, as opposed to being stuck for some infuriating two hours in the cab or on the bus.

Fun facts about “xe om”

“Xe om” drivers are regarded as live maps. They know almost every single corner, every short cut of the city where they live. Never afraid of getting lost when riding with them! Travellers can even ask “xe om” drivers the way when stranded and having no idea where they are.

The better one can speak Vietnamese, the better price he can negotiate. Often “xe om” driver find it interesting to listen to foreigners speaking their mother tongue, and they will be happy to give some discount for the effort.

People can ask their travel agent for help finding a trust-worthy “xe om” driver, booking a full day with him and he will take his customers to many amazing local places.

Currently, some “xe om” drivers have come together and formed their own union/small business, and designed their own tour exclusively for foreigners with acceptable prices. Travelers can choose their suitable package via the Internet. The tour can last for a few hours, a few days, or even a whole month!

HEY XE OM!

Motorbike Rental

When coming to Vietnam – land of motorbikes, many visitors would love to experience the thrilling feeling of riding on the “iron horse” and explore all the corners of the country by themselves. Dreaming of becoming a hero on the road with your own motorbike? Vietnam is definitely your dreamland!

Where and how can I find a motorbike?

Motorbike renting service is very common in Vietnam, since it is extremely handy for not only foreigners wanting to try new things but also locals who rely on motorbike as their main means of transportation. Do not have enough money to buy a motorbike yet? Need a special one to escape the city for only a few days? Renting motorbike – fast and convenient with a reasonable price – is an ideal solution.

The first thing one will have to deal with is to find a motorbike that is good enough for his own purpose and capacity. Determining factors include short vacation or long holiday, the quality of the road, plain or mountainous terrain, and certainly the most essential concern- your driving skill. There is a wide range of motorbikes to choose from, from automatic to semi-automatic ones with popular brands like Wave, Dream, or even backpackers’ favorite Simson and Minsk. Understanding thoroughly his own needs, one can avoid getting confused when given hundreds of motorbikes at the rental store and save a lot of time on ing the appropriate one.

In response to people’s high demand, renting shops can easily be found in big cities as well as at tourism destinations. Most travel agents and hotels provide this service for travellers so one can contact the receptionists to have detail information and assistance. People can also rent motorbike in specialized shops which are densely situated in the so-called “foreign streets”- the streets where tourists and foreigners staying in each city (the Old Quarter in Hanoi, District 1 area in Ho Chi Minh City, Hung Vuong Boulevard in Hue, for instance).

Price and procedures

As this is a competitive market, the renting fare inside one city is not much different among shops, but depends on motorbike’s types and quality. Typically, it will cost $12/day for an automatic motorbike and $10/day for a semi-automatic one, with gasoline included. One will get a discount about 20% if he decides to fill the gasoline on his own and hire the bike for more than one day. Remember to ask for a helmet and lock which are often attached with the bike. In smaller cities such as Hue, the rental cost is cheaper, of about $6 per day without gasoline.

It is not complicated to rent a motorbike as a foreigner in Vietnam. All one needs to do is to submit a hard copy of his passport together with one type of identity papers having photograph like driving license or passport at the shop. Some shop owners also require customers to deposit an amount of money which is equal to 50-70% of the bike’s value. Travellers will be responsible for any incidents and damages of the bike.

Other tips

It is advisable to test the bike’s condition carefully before signing the contract and pay deposit. Brake, light, horn and lock are among the most important things for safety reasons.

Observe thoroughly to check whether there are any scratch or corrupt on the bike or not, and inform the owner about them. Normally, the newer the bike is, the more secure it is. For your information, Wave RS is considered the most popular and easiest one to ride!

If you plan for a long trip, be well-prepared with a map, a motorbike repair set and do not forget to ask the location of the gas stations!

hatvacation dot com transportation app - Transportation Guide

Grab

hatvacation dot com grab app 800x400 - Transportation Guide

The most popular transportation platform booking in Vietnam after Uber leave Vietnam. The platform has mobile app on both iOS and Android.

Available services:

  1. JustGrab: Get the nearest car or taxi at an affordable upfront fixed fare
  2. GrabCar, GrabCar Plus & GrabCar Premium: Affordable everyday private car or luxury ride; ride solo or with a crew up to three
  3. GrabTaxi: Get a Taxi with an upfront fixed fare wherever you are, whenever you want
  4. GrabShare: Share a ride with another party headed in the same direction and save money
  5. GrabBike: On-demand bike service

Available cities:

  1. HCM city
  2. Hanoi
  3. Da Nang
  4. Hue
  5. Hoian
  6. Dong Nai
  7. Binh Duonng
  8. Cann Tho
  9. Vung Tau
  10. Hai Phong
  11. Quang Ninh
  12. Nha Trang
  13. Đa Lat
  14. Buon Ma Thuot
  15. Phan Thiet

Go Viet

hatvacation dot com goviet app 800x400 - Transportation Guide

Having better price compare to Grab. However, because Go Viet have smaller market than Grab and has fewer drivers so sometime you have to wate longer for drivers and some locations very difficult to find a drivers. This platform has mobile app in both iOS and Android.

Available services:

  1. GoBike:The online bike hailing service

Available cities:

  1. HCM city
  2. Hanoi

Be

hatvacation dot com be app 800x400 - Transportation Guide

Like Go Viet this platform has better price compare to Grab, and has mobile app on both iOS and Android.

Available services:

  1. beBike: bike booking with driver
  2. beCar: 4 seats and 7 seats car booking with driver
  3. beNow: book a ride directly with a nearest driver anytime you need
  4. beRental: Get a 2-way ride for long route.

Available location:

  1. HCM city
  2. Hanoi
  3. Da Nang
  4. Vung Tau
  5. Can Tho
  6. Binh Duong
  7. Dong Nai
hatvacation dot com cross border guide - Transportation Guide

Vietnam - China

Vietnam – China border crossings are the most crowded ones and known as ideal places for shopping and getting bargains. There are three border crossings, namely Mong Cai (Vietnam)/ Dong Hung (China), Dong Dang/ Ping Xian, and Lao Cai/ Hekou. All border crossings are in the northeast of Vietnam. It is easy to get to Mong Cai from Quang Ninh province or Halong City while from Sapa, Lao Cai, tourists could find the fastest way to Kunning through Lao Cai/Hekou border gate. If departing from Lang Son and heading to China, you had better to get to Dong Dang/ Ping Xian border gate and conversely, coming from China through Dong Dang border gate, you certainly get to Hanoi easily thanks to a variety of buses or trains.

Vietnam-Laos

Tay Trang( Vietnam)/ Sop Hun (Laos), Nam Xoi/ Na Maew, Nam Khan/ Nam Can, Cau Treo/ Nam Phao, Lao Bao/ Dansavanh, and Ngoc Hoi/ Bo Y. The majority of these borders are in the North and Central region of Vietnam ( see map below).

Route:

There are numerous routes to get to Laos from Vietnam, but most of travellers and tourism agencies choose to use the three common roads below:

* Highway No.279 from Dien Bien Phu City, crossing Tay Trang International Checkpoint.

* Highway No.8 from Vinh City of Nghe An, crossing Cau Treo International Checkpoint.

* Highway No.9A from Dong Ha, crossing Lao Bao International Checkpoint.

Visa procedure:

With simpler procedure to travel across border between Vietnam and Laos, having a short tour on land from Vietnam to Laos and vice versa have become more and more popular, and preferred by not only domestic but also international travelers.

For Vietnamese travellers, visa is not required to cross Laos’s border but for international tourists, they can obtain visa on arrival at Immigration checkpoint on the border with requirements of a legal passport, one visa-size photo (3×4) and USD 20 for visa stamp. Tourists travel on tour agents’ buses can have the procedure handled by the bus providers with an extra payment of USD25.

If you cross the border from Laos to Vietnam, you need a visa in advance, since Vietnam visa-on-arrival is applicable to air travel only.

Transportation

Travellers can choose to hire or use their own vehicle to take a border crossing trip from Vietnam to Laos; however, getting on a bus seems to be more favored because of its  convenience in procedure. There are many reputable tourism agencies are currently providing daily border crossing trips such as Trekking Company, Camel or No.14 Bus Company.

These buses depart Hanoi at 6.30-7.30pm, travel through night and arrive in Laos in the next day’s afternoon. Both seat and berth buses are available to serve travelers with ticket fare from VND 250,000 (USD 12) to VND 500,000(USD 22), but also varied by seasons and bus providers.

In Hanoi, tourists can purchase bus tickets to Laos at one of these addresses: 3A Nguyen Gia Thieu, 35B Nguyen Huy Tuong and Nuoc Ngam Bus Station (Giai Phong Street).

Vietnam-Cambodia

If you want to discover the country of Angkor Wat, the world’s largest religious building and Buddhism that is practiced by 96% of the population, do not hesitate to take a trip from Vietnam to Cambodia. So many options are given to you as Vietnam and Cambodia share 6 international border crossings (generally open to all foreign travelers as long as they possess a valid passport or visa). The first and also the longest border crossing between the two countries is Moc Bai – Ba Vet. It is on the main bus route between Ho Chi Minh City and Phnom Penh, thus it is considered as the most popular and convenient border crossing. Of these border crossings, Vinh Xuong/Kaam Sammor is a preferred crossing for independent travelers and boat services are available and fast. For the other crossing borders, including Tinh Bien/ Phnom Den, Xa Xia/ Prek Chak, Le Thanh/ O Yadao crossing, motorbike ride is the better choice.

Route:

Normally travellers cross Vietnam-Cambodia borders via one of these popular national highways:

* Highway No.22 from Ho Chi Minh City, crossing Moc Bai International Checkpoint (Node A on the map)

* Provincial highway No.952 from Tan Chau (Vietnam), crossing Vinh Xuong International Checkpoint to Kaam Samnor (Cambodia). (Node B on the map)

* Xa Xia (Vietnam) to Prek Chak (Cambodia) crossing Ha Tien International Checkpoint. This checkpoint is open for mostly international travelers. (Node C on the map)

Visa Procedure:

Like Laos, procedure to cross Cambodian international checkpoint from Vietnam is simple and convenient. Immigration officers at these check points only require Vietnamese travelers to present passports to cross the gate, while international tourists need Cambodian visa which can be obtained at these checkpoints on arrival. E-visa which is obtained online from Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affair is also permitted to use at these checkpoints.

On the way back to Vietnam, you need to have a visa ready to show to Immigration office at the border check point. Vietnam Visa on arrival is not available with border crossing.

Transportation

Normally buses from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh are more preferred to cross Vietnam – Cambodia border. There is no stop on the trip from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh.

Some of worth-considering bus providers including Vietnamese firms like Mai Linh, Sapaco or GSG, and also Cambodian providers such as Mekong Express, Capitol Tour and 168 Bus. Buses of Mekong Express also have a tour guide to introduce and assist guests along the trip. Below are some addresses where guests can purchase bus ticket to Cambodia.

* Mekong Express: 275F Pham Ngu Lao Street, Dist.1 – (+84-8) 3 837 3917

* Sapaco Tourist: 500 Nguyen Dinh Chieu Street, Ward 4, Dist.3 – (+84-8) 3 832 2038

* Mai Linh Express: 292 Dinh Bo Linh, Ward 26, Binh Thanh District – (+84-8) 3 929 2929

Ticket price varies based on providers and seasons, but often remain affordable within the range from USD13 – USD 25 for seat buses and USD 20-35 for sleeper buses.

hatvacation tour cycling ba be lake rowboat min - Transportation Guide

Traffic Jams

Traffic jams in Vietnam only frequently take place in Hanoi capital and Ho Chi Minh City.  Vietnamese people seem be accustomed to traffic congestion, even miss it whenever they go to other places.

There is no fixed rule for the time the traffic jams to happen but it is worst during the rush hour when everyone is in a hurry to get to work or come back home. Apart from peak hours, the time between 9 am to 10 am and between 3 pm to 4 pm also witnesses long lines of vehicles, mainly motorbikes, struggling to get out of narrow streets. Whenever it rains, the traffic jam gets more terrible with the joining hand of flooding. Taxis are extremely hard to catch or wave during the downpour. However, it only takes about 30 minutes on average for a standstill and 2 hours to get through the worst, not really bad compared to that of other countries.

While the rapid increase in car use coupled with the deterioration of roads caused by disordered planning make the matter worse, the most annoying thing about the traffic jam is the way people react when being stuck at the congestion. Most road users ride their motorbikes on the pavement rather than waiting calmly, or they constantly use their horns to hasten riders in the front, even shouting at them from time to time. More luckily, bicyclists can leisurely carry their “war- horses” on their backs and thread their way through messy matrixes.

The congestion is not anathema to all people and in all cases. One of the redeeming features of the traffic jams is that it is often regarded as a last resort for Vietnamese when all explanations for being late seem unreasonable. It is also used as a familiar topic to strike up a conversation, like weather-related matters. So take advantage of it! And the truth is that winters would be cooler and sadder without traffic jams.

Bicycles

Vietnam has plenty of places where you can ride a bicycle, regardless of terrace. The ride is extremely enjoyable if you are on the beach or on a scenic route like Dalat.

There are many organized bike tours for mountains or down the countryside area. Avoid riding the bicycles in cities where you have to breathe in the pollution and experience annoyance because of fellow motor bike drivers.

Most travel agents or hotel receptionists will kindly assist you with renting a bicycle. The price varies, depending on cities and make sure you are not charged more than $5 per day of rental.

Walking

You will soon realize that walking around is both fun and tricky in Vietnam. from finding a pavement to crossing the street. The downtown areas in main cities such as Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City or Hoi An all have walking streets and many tourists reported that walking is the best way to experience local life.

In the countryside, walking is both safe and enjoyable while in the highland area, walking is a really relaxing activity. In the cities, especially in crowded area, take precaution of your belongings while you walk. See our travel tips on walking for more information.

Trekking

Famous for its enchantingly wild nature and diverse culture, Vietnam is chosen as a favorite trekking destination by many tourists. However, the tropical climate with a lot of rain, high temperature and humid atmosphere may require travellers to be very well-prepared in order to enjoy their trip to the fullest. Here is a quick glimpse of what you ought to know before you trek.

hatvacation tour sapa trek tribal village 711x400 - Transportation Guide

Packing Tips

There are many indispensable items that one will need to have in his backpack:

light and long clothes exclusively for trekking which is waterproof and able to prevent insects for crawling into his body (unless you are more afraid of sweating that getting bitten);

light pyjamas made of soft fabric;

long socks; scarf; hat; on-the-job protection gloves;

other personal stuff like toothbrush, facecloth, shampoo and soap.

mosquito repellant and sunscreen

raincoat, hiking boots, personal knife and torch.

food used for trekking is normally canned or easy to cook, long-preserved and nutritious like dry provisions, dried meat, instant noodles, coffee and vitamins. Some junk food is also very handful and should be stored in the most accessible part of the backpack.

a copy of the itinerary, the map of the trekking area, MP3 player and a GPS navigation device will solve all the problems of getting lost.

a small notebook with a pen attached and a camera will save all the interesting moments of the trip.

a personal medical bag is also very essential, as one can easily get sick in the unfamiliar climate. Crucial medicines include ones for diarrhea, chill, sunstroke, headache, insects’ bites, and allergy. You should also bring adequate dose of medication if you have any.

a mini set of useful tools like can-opener, a pair of pincers, scissors and a set of needle and thread will complete the preparation for a trekking trip.

On the way

After packing, now you should be ready to set off. There are a few other tips to have a safe and exciting journey that you should keep in mind.

Trekking in group will be great, as people can help each other in case of problems, especially when crossing the river, stream, or in dangerous parts of the road; therefore, exploring the tropical jungle alone is not advisable.

Do not drink water or eat things that can be found in the forest for safety reason. Travellers had better spend their nights in the local villages or camping near the reside area, where they can purchase fresh food or have meals with the natives.

Researching carefully official map as well as the trekking’s area terrain, estimating the distance and watching the weather forecast so that the plan will be best fitted for people’ capacity. And one last thing, do not forget identity card and permission paper when trekking to the border’s area or natural reserves.

Get Updates & More

Thoughtful thoughts to your inbox

error: Content is protected !!
WhatsApp chat