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Vietnam Transportation

Getting there from outside Mekong countries

Vietnam is relatively isolated in comparison with Bangkok, Hong Kong and Singapore, while there are several direct flights daily from Europe that is non-stop one. There are two main international airports in Vietnam, in Saigon and Hanoi. Saigon has the most international connections. Between Vietnam to Europe, there are Vietnam Airlines and Air France (to Paris). European flights normally via Bangkok (Thailand).

Vietnam also has railway to China, from Hanoi to Beijing (China) via Dong Dang station (Lang Son).

Getting around Vietnam – Travel Tips

With many transport options, you’ll find good local travel agencies in every tourist stop in Vietnam. Competition among service providers works to your advantage, and you can find affordable deals for getting around with just a bit of shopping.

By Car

• Going by car is the best and safest way to see Vietnam.
• Self-drive is unwise.
• Drivers in Vietnam and Cambodia (and pretty much region-wide) use the horn constantly. Using horn doesn’t mean a driver is angry

By Plane

Someone said “It’s a good idea to fly the longer hops along Vietnam’s length: from Hanoi to Hue; from Danang to Nha Trang; and from Nha Trang to Ho Chi Minh City (or vice versa).”

By Train

The Reunification Express runs the entire length of Vietnam’s coast – from Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi, with routes out of Hanoi to the likes of Sapa, Lang Son, and to coastal Haiphong. There are a number of classes, from third-class hard seat to air-conditioned cushioned seat to sleeper, but in general the more comfortable seats are affordable. Be warned that you need to book trains a few days in advance, especially for weekend travel.

By Bus

• Local buses depart from stations usually a good distance from the town center.
• Buses leave only when full – and full means that everyone is uncomfortable, two to a seat, produce hanging, bags under your feet and, SARS be damned, chickens in bags and on people’s laps
• You often have to negotiate a price with the driver or bus tout
One good alternative is to buy a ticket with assigned seat on the small air-conditioned minivans that ply most major routes in Vietnam. Ask at any hotel front desk, and expect to pay often double the local bus price (still very affordable) and ride in relative style among locals but without the hassles.

However, Travelling by motorbikes, motorbike taxis or renting your own motorbike also can be seen around Vietnam, yet please take care. Hire a guide can make your adventures a little more manageable.

Airport guides

Tan Son Nhat Airport (Saigon)

Location: 8 km away from the center of Ho Chi Minh City is Tan Son Nhat Airport (a.k.a Saigon Airport).
Phone: +84 (0)8 845 6654
Transfer to the city: Minibuses and metered taxis are available for transport to the city centre. Make sure the driver is wearing an official name badge and that the metre is on. Most hotels can arrange transport for arriving passengers, but visitors should organize this in advance. There are no car hire rentals at the airport.
Departure tax: US$14 for foreign adults, $7 for foreign children under 12, payable in dollars or dong

Noi Bai International Airport

Location: Situated 28 miles (45km) north of Hanoi.
Phone: +84 (0)4 827 1513, (0)4 826 8522, or (0)4 886 5060.
Transfer to the city: Airport minibuses and metered taxis are available outside arrivals for transport to the city centre. Make sure the taxi driver is wearing an official name badge and that the metre is on.
Departure tax: US$14 for foreign adults, $7 for foreign children under 12, payable in dollars or dong.


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