TRANSPORTATION AND TRAVELING IN VIETNAM


Traffic and transportation in Vietnam is sometimes as dangerous attraction.

Traffic in Vietnam is quite hassle free. If you bite the bullet that almost all people run like mad. Often they do not comply with regulations. It is quite common to ride on sidewalks, bans, in one-way traffic. Except the large and well-known centers, there are usually comply with regulations. But stay calm, there you will not see a lot of accidents.

It is important to realize that the war in Vietnam and the bombing had a great influence on the current transport infrastructure. Lots of railways and roads were destroyed during the war. Although it has long been, until now however are traces. Roads are not especially in remote mountainous areas in good condition. However, the situation is changing and I have seen a lot of roads were build or repaired.

Almost any place you can take a bus or rent a motorbike.

The problem may be just in remote areas, the best way to get there is to rent a motorbike in the town. It is important to ask and talk with the people, it is the best advice I can give you. „Everybody knows everything.“

Traffic in Hanoi

In Hanoi, you can use an alternative taxi service UBER.

UBER - alternative taxi service for less than half price

• great mobile apps for Android and iOS
• to your private secure account you will save your credit card so you do not need any cash
you can book your ride with application, select the location where do you want to go
• within a few minutes the driver will pick you up, take a ride and after you get a receipt by email
• you need to have a mobile internet, buy a prepaid SIM card with 3G Internet
create your account here and get some credit for travelling for free
• in northern Vietnam you can use Uber in Hanoi

Motorbike or scooter is the most widely used means of transport in Vietnam.

Probably you will also use the services of buses, which are very widespread and or train or taxi services. If you use a motorbike for transport and Google Maps, watch out for road marking. Some small roads can be displayed as highroads, but when you get there, it can be very difficult passable dirt road (especially in remote areas). The traffic in Vietnam can be sometimes dangerous, personally, I’ve seen only one minor traffic accident in Hanoi, and it was an offended fender

Traveling on a motorbike in Vietnam

• the best and cheapest option for transportation in Vietnam is to rent or buy a motorbike
• rent costs from 8–15 USD / 1 day (this price applies if you rent a motorbike for 1–4 days, if you rent a motorbike for 1 month, the price is greatly reduced).
• you will see thousands of motorbikes and confusing chaos in Hanoi
• motorbikes rides in the opposite direction, along the sidewalks, on bans, etc … be careful!
• if you do not want to drive, you can ask someone with motorbike (mototaxi)
• when you rent a motorbike or take a bus you will see very intersting and forgotten places
• when you rent a motorbike, check it and take a picture in front of the dealer
wear a motorbike helmet, ride slowly and very carefully, the roads are dangerous in some remote areas
• check your traffic situation in front of you, traffic in Vietnam is unpredictable
in mountainous areas it is better to rent a motorbike with more powerful motor
• the most popular model is Honda, I personally tried several times without any problem
• fill a reserve of petrol in to the plastic bottle, on some routes might not be petrol station
• take at least a basic set of tools for motorbike

On a motorbike in Lai Chau

Where to buy a motorbike in Vietnam (Hanoi)

> the largest selection of motorbikes in the tourist center is in the Old Quarter in Hanoi
> the good website where travelers sell motorbikes in Vietnam - Travelswop > advertising community site - sales of motorbikes in Vietnam - TNH Vietnam
> sale and rental of motorbikes in Hanoi (good reference) - Phung Motorbike
> sale and rental of motorbikes in Vietnam - Vietnam Craigslist

Motorcycles for sale in Vietnam

HONDA

- favorite brand of motorcycles in Vietnam
- according to experience of travelers they are also reliable (Honda Win, Honda GS Neotech)
- a lot of copies from China (in the registration papers should be indicated mark)
- the price is based on age and use
- approximately around 500 USD, the newer are a bit expensive
- you can buy parts almost everywhere and everywhere is also service

SUZUKI

- widespread brand of motorcycles in Vietnam
- you can buy parts almost everywhere and everywhere is also service
- Suzuki GS 125 ccm is a good choice for two people on a motorcycle - price is about the same as Honda

MINSK

- very old and for somebody „cool“ motorbike
- suitable for very low budget travellers
-more easily correctable fault but not too reliable motorbike
- price is about 100-400 USD

YAMAHA

- stronger types of motorbike for motocross or difficult terrain

Warning for traveling on a motorbike in Vietnam

> since 2015 in Vietnam - a new international driver’s license - get it
> in the case of an accident and your travel insurance, international driving license is necessary
> you cen rent more powerful motorbike without a license - not inerested by seller
> if you have an accident and you dont have international driver’s license and travel insurance - pay all costs
> no insurance for motorbikes in Vietnam
> if you want to buy a motorcycle, try to look beyond the big tourist centers

Traveling on a motorbike in Vietnam (Honda+Yamaha)

Traveling in Vietnam with a bus

there are different types of buses of different companies: minibuses, city buses, tourist buses, long-distance night buses
 • buses in Vietnam run almost everywhere and often, with the exception of mountain areas, I recommend to ask the people at the point (Vietnamese language is sometimes necessary)
 • some buses are in good condition and comfortable, night buses are adapted for lying
 • cheap option of traveling in Vietnam
 • sometimes take a long drive, especially in mountain areas
 • often fail to comply with the exact times of departure / arrival
 • lots of drivers runs like crazy gamblers
 • when traveling to Sapa from Lao Cai train station, I recommend not to take minibuses of travel agents who you meet when leaving the train, it is better to go with a local bus for 1/5 price
 • lots of buses from Hanoi are going into the various provinces, take a look for map of Hanoi
 
• for buying your bus tickets you can use Baolau service, when you are going to the southern Vietnam — Futabus
 
• you can also use Rome2Rio search engine of transportation, but often this service combines transportation with taxi

Bus stop in Lai Chau

Traveling in Vietnam by train

TRAVELING BY TRAIN IN VIETNAM

• Vietnamese trains have been extensively upgraded or renovated
 • Vietnam Railways - state-owned operator of the railway system
 • relatively cheap and safe option of transportation in Vietnam
 • Vietnamese trains are mostly clean, but not too fast and some are not very comfortable („Hard seat“ labeled)
 • high-quality and comfortable trains with sleeper cabs (4–6) marked as SE1, SE2, SE3, SE4
 • conditioned wagon with comfortable seats (Dièu Hòa - Air-conditioned soft seats)
 • Vietnam has not a large network coverage, Vietnam railway map
 • you can buy snacks but also food in the trains (coffee, beer, water, snack, food …)
 • it is better to buy or book a ticket for trains on Baolau or 12go.asia, train tickets can be sold (you can pay by credit card or Paypal)
 • Dsvn.vn is the official e-shop of Vietnam railways (sometimes it is not possible to pay online, I recommend take advantage of previous services)
 • tickets can also be purchased directly at the station (but some trains are often sold out)
 • when traveling in Vietnam, definitely try vietnamese trains
 • do not buy tickets outside the station from the dealers

If you want to go with the official Vietnamese Railways trains, and tourist companies without the stress and worry that you buy tickets, buy e-tickets in Baolau or 12go.asia, keep the ticket in a mobile phone, tablet (no need to print it, but if you have the opportunity, you’d better print it) and then just get on the train. If you order an train ticket at these companies for tourist trains (Orient Express, Sapaly, Chapa …), you must pick it up at the station.

Tourist train from Hanoi to Lao Cai

Traveling in Vietnam by taxi

especially in Hanoi is taxi relatively widespread
• Vietnam has plenty of official but also the unofficial taxi companies
• it can be problem to find a taxi in smaller towns, in mountain areas it is impossible take a taxi
a bit expensive option for traveling, however, prices are low (for example: drive from the Noi Bai airport to Hanoi (Old Quarter) - about 15 USD)
Mai Linh Taxi or Group are recommended companies in Hanoi
• ask the driver for a meter, insist on the meter, watch the meter on the move, especially in Hanoi has well known stories, a taximeter jumps while driving and raises the price
take a variety of banknotes, drivers can say they do not have to change
• take a mobile phone with map and GPS navigation, the driver can take you to a different place (eg. same hotel name)
• I didn have any problem with taxi in Hanoi, but be very carefull
• in Hanoi, you can use an alternative taxi service UBER Register for Uber here and get some free credit for your traveling

Traveling in Vietnam on bicycle

useful in areas of lowland plains and rice fields (eg. Mai Chau, Ninh Binh)
• in hot weather, it is not too useful
mainly in mountainous areas rather dangerous
• I do not recommend rent a bike in Hanoi, driving is dangerous here
• cost approximately around 5 USD / 1 day

Traveling in Vietnam by airplane

• use only about departure and arrival, or crossing to south - Ho Chi Minh city (Saigon) or to other neighboring countries
Airline companies:
Vietnam Airlines:
www.vietnamairlines.com
Viet Jet Air:
www.vietjetair.com
Jet Star:
www.jetstar.com

Traveling in Vietnam by car

NEW - from 2015, valid international driving license, you can rent a car

Where you can go by bus or train from Hanoi?

Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam, from here you can get to most major cities in northern Vietnam.
1.
Haiphong (Ha Long Bay) - by bus (Luong Yen bus stop), by train
2. Lang Son - by bus (Gia Lam bus stop), by train (Dong Dang)
3. Cao Bang - by bus (Gia Lam bus stop) over the Lang Son town
4. Ha Giang - by bus (Gia Lam and My Dinh bus stop)
5. Yen Bai - by bus (Gia Lam and My Dinh bus stop), by train
6. Sapa, Lao Cai - by bus (My Dinh bus stop), by train
7. Mu Cang Chai, Nghia Lo - by bus (My Dinh bus stop)
8. Ninh Binh - by bus (My Dinh and Giap Bat bus stop), by train

Traffi in Hanoi

How to obtain a cheapest visa for Vietnam?
Transportation in Vietnam
Flights to Vietnam
Trekking in Vietnam
Accommodation in Vietnam
Vaccines for Vietnam
Calling and internet in Vietnam
Weather in Vietnam

HANOI / NINH BINH / HA GIANG / LAI CHAU / SON LA / LANG SON / HA LONG / YEN BAI / CAO BANG / BAC HA