How to Get Around Vietnam
Vietnam is one of the most beautiful countries in Asia, and even though it become significantly more modernised over the past few years, travelling around Vietnam is still a wonderful mix of the old and the new. While the cities are beginning to look more and more like those in North America, there are still fantastic rural areas to explore, so make sure you make use of every possible way to check out this incredible country. The following is a brief guideline to getting around Vietnam.
If you’re short on time, getting around Vietnam by plane is reliable and relatively inexpensive. There are major airports in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Da Nang, Hue, Na Trang, Dalat, Buon Ma Thuot, Hai Phong, Na San, Phu Quoc, Qui Nhon, Pleiku and Vinh. Vietnam Airlines and Pacific Airlines are the main carriers.
There is a huge range of water-based travel options, ranging from canoeing to multi-day tour cruises. Exploring Vietnam’s long and gorgeous coast is easiest from the water too, and will have you exploring some of the most magical beaches in Asia. Hotels in Vietnam can usually help arrange cruises for you.
The Reunification Express runs the length of the country, and trains are a very popular way to get around Vietnam. If you’re heading to Hanoi or Sapa in the north of Vietnam, train is your easiest, cheapest and best option.
This crazy and chaotic means of transport that can be found in the main centres of Vietnam represents a truly authentic Vietnamese experience, and will have you getting around at speed to and from your Vietnam hotels. It is important to agree on a price before heading off in a cyclo though, as they are definitely not regulated and setting a price first may save you from being taken advantage of.
As long as you have your address written down for the driver, taxis here are fantastic, with Vinataxi and Mai Linh the two main taxi companies. Compared to western countries the taxis here are dirt cheap, and are a good way to get around in the cities. The taxi drivers generally also offer a wealth of knowledge on local customs and events.
Driving in Vietnam seems easy for the Vietnamese, however it can be a terrifying experience for everyone else, so unless you’re an extremely confident driver, you’re better of leaving the driving to the locals. Even without very many traffic lights and almost no traffic enforcement whatsoever, there are very few accidents here, so your best bet is to just do whatever the Vietnamese are doing.
Though everything seems to be moving fast, life in Vietnam is a slower pace than that of frantic western societies, so take your time getting from A to B and you’re sure to find getting there just as enjoyable as the destination itself. The people of Vietnam are beautiful, friendly and always willing to help out if you need assistance, so even having transport problems won’t slow you down too much, as you’ll likely get scooped up by the next passing Vietnamese family.