Getting to Vietnam
Vietnam has three major international airports: Tan Son Nhat Airport at Ho Chi Minh City; Noi Bai Airport at Hanoi; and Da Nang International Airport. Direct flights are available from major Asian and Australian cities, but Bangkok and Singapore are still the primary embarkation points for entry into Vietnam.
From Cambodia: From Phnom Penh, you can take a bus straight to Ho Chi Minh City, or ride another bus to the border crossing at Moc Bai, then board a shared taxi to Ho Chi Minh City.
From China: visitors can cross into Vietnam from Lao Cai , Mong Cai, and Huu Nghi. Two direct train services cross from Beijing and Kunming to terminate at Hanoi. This site provides more details on rail services between China and Vietnam. Vietnam Railways' official website can be found here.
Getting Around Vietnam
Vietnam Airlines' network of domestic destinations covers most parts of the country. Book as far in advance as possible.
Tourists aren't permitted to drive their own rented vehicles yet, but you can hire a car, minibus, or jeep with a driver from most reputable travel agencies. This will set you back about $25-$60 per day.
Bicycles, motorbikes, and mopeds may be rented from travel agencies and hotels; these cost about $1, $6-$10, and $5-$7 respectively. Be careful, though - Vietnam's traffic is notoriously chaotic and unpredictable, so you put your life on the line when you rent your own wheels. Theoretically, Vietnamese drive on the right, but in real life cyclists and motorists go every which way.
Taxis are becoming more common in Vietnam's bigger cities - they're safe and relatively hassle-free to ride. Meter flag-down rates may vary from company to company.
While Vietnam's national bus network connects most of the country's major towns, they can be rather uncomfortable to ride in, as buses are often crammed to bursting. You may prefer the "open-tour" buses servicing major tourist destinations - you may purchase tickets from most travel agencies, with no need to book in advance. One tour from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City may cost you about $25-$30; prices for other destinations will depend on the distance of the route.
Vietnam's railways cover most of the country's major tourist destinations. The trip is slow, and you get what you pay for - spend a little more for a soft-class berth or seat, and you'll arrive in comfort. Fares for overnight journeys include the price of a meal. This site provides more details on Vietnam's domestic rail services.
For short distances on city streets, you might want to try Vietnam's less conventional means of transit. Remember to negotiate your price before riding.
- Cyclos (three-wheeled bicycle rickshaws); known as xe dap loi in the Mekong Delta. One trip may cost you between 8,000d to 10,000d.
- Cyclo mai (motorized cyclos); called a Honda loi in the Mekong delta
- Xe lam - three-wheeled, motorized mini-buses; one trip costs between 3000d to 4000d