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A guide to transport around Vietnam

Thien Nguyen
Vietnam is a beautiful country located in Southeast Asia that offers a plethora of experiences to travelers. From its diverse culture and delicious cuisine to its stunning landscapes and historic landmarks, Vietnam has something for everyone. However, one of the most significant factors that contribute to a seamless travel experience in Vietnam is the transportation system.

Vietnam has a well-developed transportation system that offers various options for travelers to explore the country. In this blog post, we will take a closer look at the different modes of transportation available in Vietnam and provide some tips for getting around the country.

1. Motorbikes are readily available for rent everywhere in Vietnam

Motorbikes, known as "xe máy" in Vietnamese, is a popular mode of transportation in Vietnam. They are cheap, readily available, and offer travelers the flexibility to explore the country at their own pace. And if you're just traveling around a place, some of our Local Buddies can take you on their own motorbikes.

Local Buddy and a traveler ride on a motorbike

You can easily rent a motorbike or scooter from any of the rental shops that are scattered throughout the cities and towns. Some reliable rental shops in Vietnam you can consider renting from are Tigit Motorbikes, Rent A Bike Vietnam, and Style Motorbikes. The price usually ranges from 5 USD to 20 USD per day, depending on the type and quality of motorbike.

Riding motorbikes downhill in Vietnam

However, it is important to note that the traffic in Vietnam can be chaotic, and the roads can be challenging to navigate for first-time riders. It is crucial to exercise caution while riding, parking and wear a helmet at all times.

2. Taxis and Ride-hailing apps are plentiful

Taxis and ride-sharing apps such as Grab, Be and Gojek are prevalent in Vietnam. They are a convenient option for travelers who want to get around the city quickly and comfortably. Taxis in Vietnam are relatively inexpensive compared to other countries, and most drivers are honest and reliable. You can choose from reputable taxi companies such as Mai Linh, Vinasun and Taxi Group.

Mai Linh Taxi.jpg

It is important to make sure that the taxi is licensed and metered. It is also recommended to negotiate the fare before getting into the taxi to avoid any confusion later. Additionally, it is essential to take note of the taxi's license plate number and driver's name for safety purposes.

3. Trains offer travelers opportunities to see the stunning landscape

The Vietnamese railway system is operated by Vietnam Railways, and there are four classes of train service available: SE (super express), TN (express), L (local), and DT (tourist). SE trains are the fastest and most comfortable, with air-conditioned seating, sleeper cabins, and dining cars. TN trains are also air-conditioned and have seating and sleeper cabins, but they are slightly slower than SE trains. L trains are slower and have basic seating options, while DT trains are designed for tourists and offer comfortable seating and panoramic views.

Train in Vietnam.jpg

Vietnam Railways also operates several overnight trains that run between major cities such as Hanoi, Hue, Danang, and Ho Chi Minh City. These trains are a popular option for travelers who want to save on accommodation costs and enjoy a unique travel experience.

Inside a Hanoi - Haiphong train

Train tickets in Vietnam can be purchased online or at train stations. It is recommended to book tickets in advance, especially during peak travel season, to avoid disappointment. Seat and sleeper options vary in price, and it is important to check the schedule and route before booking to ensure that the train stops at your intended destination.

4. Buses are cheap and suitable for travel on a budget

Buses offer an affordable and convenient way to travel between cities and towns. Most bus companies in Vietnam offer air-conditioned buses with reclining seats and onboard amenities such as Wi-Fi and charging sockets. Bus routes cover most major cities and towns with frequent departures throughout the day, and tickets can be purchased online or at bus stations. Most bus companies in Vietnam offer both day and overnight buses, with overnight buses being a popular choice for travelers who want to save on accommodation costs and arrive at their destination early in the morning.

Buses in Vietnam

It is important to note that while buses can be a budget-friendly option for travelers, road safety can be a concern, especially for overnight buses. It is advisable to research different bus companies and choose reputable ones to ensure a safe and comfortable journey.

5. Domestic flights for travelers who are short on time

Domestic flights are a popular and convenient mode of transportation in Vietnam, connecting major cities and tourist destinations throughout the country. There are several airlines that operate domestic flights in Vietnam, including Vietnam Airlines, Jetstar Pacific, Vietjet Air, Pacific Airlines and Bamboo Airways.

Vietnam Airlines.jpg

Vietnam Airlines offers the most extensive domestic flight network; Jetstar Pacific and Vietjet Air are low-cost carriers; and Bamboo Airways is a relatively new airline that started operations in 2019.

6. Other ways to transport within Vietnam

Apart from trains, buses, and domestic flights, there are other modes of transportation in Vietnam, such as bikes, cyclos, and boats. Bikes are a popular means of transportation, especially for locals, and travelers can rent them to explore cities and rural areas. Cyclos are three-wheeled bicycles that offer a unique way to see the sights, while boats such as basket boat, dragon boat and river cruise boat are popular in the Mekong Delta region for exploring rivers, canals, and floating markets.

Cyclos in Vietnam.jpg

While these modes of transportation may not be as efficient as others, they provide an opportunity to experience the local culture and see the sights from a different perspective.

Boat on Mekong River.jpg

In conclusion, transportation in Vietnam is diverse and convenient, offering travelers various options to explore the country. Whether you prefer to travel by motorbike, train, bus, or plane, Vietnam has something for everyone. However, it is crucial to exercise caution and be aware of your surroundings while traveling to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.

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