The Transport infrastructure in Vietnam is fairly good and relatively cheap . You can eaily navigate around using local transport if you are willing to brave a little sign language and have a map to hand to show you intended destination.
Top tips : Write down the name and address of your destination before embaring on your journey . It is unlikely that you will be able to pronounce the location on name in good enough Vietnamses for a local understand.
Airplane – As previously mentioned ,Vietnam has three major international airports in Hanoi ,Danang and Hochiminh city ,these airports can be used for long haul flights in and out of the country as well as internal flights .There are some other international airports located in Can Tho ,Chu Lai ,Da Lat, Hai Phong ,Hue ,Nha Trang ,Phu Quoc.
Train – The train network in Vietnam is surprisingly good and easily accessible . Tickts are available for train journeys up to 60 days in advance and can be bought either at the station or online
The offcial website of the vietnam railway is www.dsvn.vn . Be cautious of other sites with the name “Vietnam railways” in the tile ,as there are unaffiliared agency sites purporting to be the offcial site .
The following website . www.baolau.vn offers a reliable online booking system where you can buy train of bus tickets using a credit card . The cost of the ticket matches the offcial price however is a $2 booking charge and 3.3% commission is charged for the use of a credit card.
You can buy tickets at the station the day however you run thr risk of tickets being sold out or not getting a seat in the carriage that you wanted .It is worth while buying tickets a few days in advance ,this not only ensures that you get the best seats but also gives you a feel for the station so you know your way round when catching the train.
There are a variety of carriage options depending on your budget and the length of the journey .Hard seats might be the cheapest option but you may come to regret that choice on a 16 hour overnight journey.
- Hard seats – Don’t need much explanation ,wooden benches in a carriage with no air conditioning .The windows are generally kept open to catch a breeze so this is a good option overnight journey.
- Hard seats – Don’t need much explanation ,woonden benches in a carriage with no air conditioning . The windows are generally kept open to catch a breeze so this is a good option for short journneys if you want to take photos.
- Hard seats with air conditioning same as above but with air conditioning.
- Soft seats with air conditioning – Airplane style seats that recline to a certain degree if desired .If you don’t mind of seats then are absolutely fine for longer, or event overnight journeys.
- Hard sleeper – A 6 berth ,bunk bed style cabin with room for luggage and a little sink .Perfect for overnight journeys on a budget.
- Soft Sleeper – A 4 berth comfortable sleeper cabin with a little more room than the hard berth.
All of the above options usually have charging plugs to charge your phone of laptop and for luggage storage.All trains have toilets , a food carriage and snack trolley.
Bus – Local buses are widely available and tickets can be bought at the station or even online.If your are going to travel by local bus then ask the staff at your hotel to point you have your destination written down in case you struggle with the language barrier.
Top tips: if you have a phone app with GPS then you can use it to tack your journey progress and get a vagua idea of where you need to get off the bus of train.
Shuttle Bus/Tourist Bus- For popular routes you will find shuttle buses that are aimed at turists .Whilst they cost more than normal ,buses they are usuallyy more spacious,comfortable and above all ,air conditioned .Some shuttle buses will pick you up directly from your hotel and other set off from a well- known local point.
Taxi – There is no shortage of taxi on in vietnam and unless you get completely ripped off ,they are ganerally reasonably priced. The best way to avoid being scammed is to use a reputable firm.
Top Tip: the best way to avoid taxi scams is to install the app grad taxi in your call phone ,so that you can know in abvance how the journey shoould cost.
Unfortunately , as with a lot of things in vietnam ,there are plenty of the above companies that rely on the good reputation of the above companies to tout for business . Whilst fake taxi arent dangerous per se ,they are more likely to charge you extortionate prices of claim to be lost and take you to a restaurant ( where they receive commission) . The following are a few ways to identify a legitimate taxi:
- Bodywork – Clean and polished with no rust of dents
- Display a fare chart inside the cad
- Have the driver’s ID and number visible
- Don’t turn you away when you say where you want to go
- Always use a meter
- Ask for directions when don’t know the way
- Take the most directions route ,or the route with least congestion
- Never aks for the fee in us dollars
- Drivers will wait patiently by the car instead of shouting of calling at you
try not to catch taxis right outside popular tourist destinations , as these are prime locations for fake cabs
Car and driver – To drives a card in vietnam you must have a vietnamese driving license – international driving licenses are not recognized .If you want the flexibility of you own transport then the best option is to hire a card and driver.
You can either hire a card for a tour of the area ,for a set journey of on a daily basis . Prices vary depending on the area and the type of vehicle that you want but to hire but a 4 seated vehicle and drivesr for the day generally costs around $40.