Vietnam travel guide

Vietnam Transportation

Domestic flights in Vietnam are operated mostly by Vietnam airline,  the state-owned flag carrier with modern fleet of Airbuses and Boeings. Vietnam airline offers  a lot of daily flights and give many options for air travel throughout the country. Beside on it,  Pacific Airlines (airline code: BL www.pacificairlines.com.vn) also offers flights for the routes between the big cities. Both issues the e ticket.

I/ By plan
Domestic flights in Vietnam are operated mostly by Vietnam airline,  the state-owned flag carrier with modern fleet of Airbuses and Boeings. Vietnam airline offers  a lot of daily flights and give many options for air travel throughout the country. Beside on it,  Pacific Airlines (airline code: BL www.pacificairlines.com.vn) also offers flights for the routes between the big cities. Both issues the e ticket.
Flights are sometime overbooked and cancelled .As they’re our only choices in Vietnam, you’d better have a travel agent to book and secure domestic flights and keep informed on its status.
 
You can take the domestic flights only from the following cities:
Muong Thanh (in Dien Bien), Son La (in Son La), Cat Bi (in Hai Phong), Vinh (in Nghe An), Chu Lai, Phu Bai (in Hue), Pleiku (in Pleiku), Buon Ma Thuot (in Buon Ma Thuot), Quy Nhon ( in Quy Nhon ),  Cam Ranh (in Nha Trang), Dalat (in Dalat), Can Tho (in Can Tho) and Phu Quoc (in Phu Quoc island).
 
Ticket reconfirmation
Depended on airliners’ policy, when you are in Vietnam, you should reconfirm the tickets 48 hours or 24 hours prior departure time to avoid any delay or cancellation or unsecured seat (automatically cancelled by system). Please check with ticket seller whether your tickets are required to do or not. Reconfirmation can be done at any their booking offices in Vietnam. Normally, your travel agent in Vietnam will do it as it takes a bit time.
 
Vietnam Airlines
Web: www.vietnamairlines.com
Hanoi office:  1 Quang Trung Str., Hanoi
Tel: (84-4) 3 8320320
 
Ho chi minh office: 116-118 Nguyen Hue Blvd.
Tel: (84-8) 3 8292118
 
Danang office
Tel: (84-511) 811 111
Fax: (84-511) 824 141
 
Pacific Airlines
Hanoi office;  152 Le Duan Str.
Tel: (84-4)3 518-1503
 
Ho chi minh office:  77 Le Thanh Ton Str., District 1
Tel: (84-8) 3823-1285
International airlines representative offices In Vietnam
 
1. Pacific Airlines
Ha Noi: 152 Le Duan, Tel: 518-1503
Ho Chi Minh city: 177 Vo Thi Sau, D3, Tel: 932-5978
2. Vietnam Airlines
Ha Noi: 1 Quang Trung  ( 84 -4 ) 38320320
Ho Chi Minh city: 116 Nguyen Hue, D1, Tel: 832-0320
3. Aeroflot
Ha Noi: 4 Trang Thi, Tel: 825-6742
4. Air France
Ha Noi: 1 Ba Trieu, Tel: 825-3484
Ho Chi Minh city: 130 Dong Khoi, D1, Tel: 829-0981
5. All Nippon Airways
Ha Noi: 25 Ly Thuong Kiet, Tel: 934-7237
Ho Chi Minh city: 114A Nguyen Hue, D1, Tel: 822-4141
6. Asiana Airlines
Ha Noi: 4 Da Tuong, Tel: 822-2671
Ho Chi Minh city: 34 Le Duan, Tel: 822-2663
7. British Airways
Ha Noi: 25 Ly Thuong Kiet, Tel: 934-7239
Ho Chi Minh city: 114A Nguyen Hue, D1, Tel: 829-2262
8. Cathay Pacific Airways
Ha Noi: 49 Hai Ba Trung, Tel: 826-7298
Ho Chi Minh city: 58 Dong Khoi, D1, Tel: 822-3203
9. China Airlines
Ha Noi: 18 Tran Hung Dao, Tel: 824-2688
10. Czech Airlines
Ha Noi: 329 Giang Vo, Tel: 514-1852
11. Emirates Airlines
Ha Noi: 25 Ly Thuong Kiet, Tel: 934-7240
Ho Chi Minh city: 114A Nguyen Hue, D1, Tel: 825-6576
12. Korean Airlines
Ho Chi Minh city: 34 Le Duan, D1, Tel: 824-2878
13. Lufthansa
Ho Chi Minh city: 132-134 Dong Khoi, D1, Tel: 829-8529
14. Japan Airlines
Ha Noi: 63 Ly Thai To, Tel: 826-6693
Ho Chi Minh city: 115 Nguyen Hue, D1, Tel: 821-9098
15. Malysia Airlines
Ha Noi: 15 Ngo Quyen, Tel: 826-8820
16. Philippines Airlines
Ho Chi Minh city: 229 Dong Khoi, D3, Tel: 822-2241
17. Qantas Airways
Ha Noi: 25 Ly Thuong Kiet, Tel: 934-7238
Ho Chi Minh city: 114A Nguyen Hue, D1, Tel: 823-8844
18. Siem Reap Airways International
Ho Chi Minh city: 76 Ngo Duc Ke, D1, Tel: 821-2288
19. Singapore Airlines
Ha Noi: 17 Ngo Quyen, Tel: 826-8888
Ho Chi Minh city: 29 Le Duan, D1, Tel: 823-1588
20. Swiss International Airlines
Ho Chi Minh city: 1A Me Linh Square, D1, Tel: 827-4188
21. Thai Airways
Ha Noi: 44B Ly Thuong Kiet, Tel: 826-6893
Ho Chi Minh city: 65 Nguyen Du, Tel: 829-2810
 
II/ By Train
Travelling by train can be a pleasant experience- often far prefertable to going by road, especially if you splash out on a soft sleep berth. In recent years, Vietnam government pay more attention to the train industry to upgrade the train services and the  passenger volumes have risen significantly. Vietnam train network stretchs from Ho chi minh city to the Chinese border. The train offers 2 soft sleep berth and 4 soft sleep berth  in one cabin or 6  hard sleep berth in one cabin. The price depends on the type of cabin and the train.  Tickets sold at train-station booking office (Hanoi and HCM station have the special counters for foreigners.) and travel agents (com $1-2).  Travel agents can sometimes still secure tickets even when the station tells you that they are sold out.
 
The most popular routes with tourists are the train from Hanoi to Hue, Hue to Saigon, Saigon to Nha trang, Danang to Nha trang and Hanoi to Lao cai ( Sapa ) or vice versa.
 
The fastest and the most comfortable trains from the North to the South ( or vice versa ) are SE1 and SE2. All are equipped with air conditioning throughout. The mineral water is often included in the price of ticket. But you also have plenty of opportunities to buy simple meals, snacks and other drinks on train. Safety on train are quite good nowadays.
 
For the train from Hanoi to Lao cai ( Sapa ) and via verse, there are many options for your choice. All trains are equipped with air condition and even a restaurant car. The best train is Victoria express but it  is for their guest only . You must stay at Victoria Sapa hotel to be able to book Victoria Express Train. Other good choice are Tulico, Royal, TSC, Ratraco, King Express, Livitrians, Fanxipan. ). Click here for more information about train between Hanoi – Lao cai ( Sapa )
 
III/ By Bus
Usually same price for locals and foreigners. Cheapest transport. Many buses leave very early in the morning (5:00 or 6:00).Long distance bus terminals are located far from town centers. You may have to rely on a cyclo to get there. Buses are usually crowded. You can reserve a bus but not a seat. No English understood.
 
IV/ By Tourist bus
Tourist buses connect major cities, relatively new service, pickup service possible and  convenient. They take breaks on route, stopping at tourist spots. On arrival, they will stop at various hotels for you, but the hotels are all government-run and may be more expensive. Much more expensive than public bus, but cheaper than train (soft seats). Tickets sold at tourist café and Travel Agencies.
 
V/ By Taxis
Taxis are very popular on the streets of the big cities. The prices are in VN dong and the fares are not expensive. To use Taxi or cyclo, its advised to write down the directions, and the agreed-upon price, to avoid confusion.The cost varies. First 2km12,000D, add 1,600D/250m. Check that the meter is operating. Pay in Dong. The taxis, hanging around the tourist areas, sometime change the setting of the meter. In general, smarter- looking taxis and those waiting outside big hotels tend to be more reliable.
 
Taxis from airports to cities/towns
Hanoi: From Noi Bai airport to the city center is around 35km, the journey takes from 45 minutes to an hour. There are few information signs inside the new terminal building; you need to go outside and look for the signs for taxis and minibuses. The airport minibus service works reasonably well. Inside the terminal, touts will offer taxi services. Don't use the meter with a tout, as it may well be rigged. The 'official' taxi rank is outside the concourse and you buy tickets from the seller at the head of the taxi line.
Airport Taxis charge a flat rate of US$ 10 (one-way) for cars from Noi Bai Airport to central Hanoi.
You can take the Noi Bai taxi or 16-seat mini bus of Vietnam Airlines: US$2 from the airport to Vietnam Airlines Head Office at No. 1 Quang Trung St. From there you can walk to the Old Quarter.
The taxi drivers are skilled at befriending newly arrived passengers and by the time you reach the city will offer to recommend a 'good, cheap hotel'. If you want to avoid the sales pitch, just tell them that you've already got a hotel reservation, even if you don't.
To get to the airport from town, you can ask the help of hotel reservation to call the taxi or  take one of the minibuses that depart roughly every half-hour from opposite the same Vietnam Airlines office at No., 1 Quang Trung Str., ( near Hoan Kiem Lake )
 
Hue: From Phu Bai airport to Hue city (13km)
Taxi:  about US$10
 
Hoian:  From Da Nang airport to Hoi An town (30km)
Taxi: about US$15.
 
Nha trang: From Cam Ranh airport to Nha Trang (about 30-40km)
Taxi: about  VND 200,000 (US$13) for a 4-seat taxi, VND 230,000 (US$14) for a 7-seat taxi.
Transfer from the Cam Ranh airport to Nha Trang City (and return): A service of taxi (at offficially fixed price) also exists between the Cam Ranh airport and Nha Trang city: cost is VND 170.000 (US$10) for a regular 4-seat taxi OR VND 230.000 (US$14) for a 7-seat taxi. It takes 45min for a taxi ride.
 
Hochiminh city : From Tan Son Nhat airport to the Backpacker area (Pham Ngu Lao St, Dist 1)
Taxi: about VND 90,000 (about US$6), it takes about 25 minutes
 
VI/ Motorbike taxis
It is very popular in the big cities, known as xe om. It is quick and convenient, but donot forget to write down the directions, and the agreed-upon price before the trip. Almost xe om driver cannot speak English.
 
VII/ By Cyclo
3-wheeled bicycle-rickshaw. Passengers sit in front and driver peddles behind. Great views, though scary. Bargain hard. Some drivers demand more money later. They are very aggressive. If you can't handle, this don't use them. Write the address and agreed price on paper. Same price for two people.
 
VIII/ Motorbike and Bycicle
$5-10/day. They often hold your passport as a deposit and want you to sign a form. Get a translation of the form in a language that you understand. Available from cafes or hotels. Ask your own hotel to give you a good rate. Check brakes, tires, and gas before you set off. Don't ride in the larger cities unless you already know how.
 
 

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