Getting Around Vietnam
For all forms of local transport in Vietnam it’s true to say that an adventurous and flexible attitude will get you a long way. When it comes to punctuality and creature comforts, the transport in Vietnam can’t be compared to what you might be used to in the UK, although in our experience the trains tend to be on time more often! We actively encourage people to travel by local transport in Vietnam, as we feel this makes your trip a more authentic experience. It also has the added benefit of being a very cost effective way of travelling.
Taking the train in Vietnam is a great way to get an authentic taste of local life, as you spend time watching the beautiful countryside pass you by whilst gently rocking to the rhythm of the tracks. It is also an excellent way to keep your carbon footprint down.
The main railway line, the famous Reunification Express, runs from north to south and stops at nearly all of the main towns and cities along the way. You can take the day train between Hue and Danang (Hoi An) and also sleeper trains from Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City to a number of stops along the line.
For overnight trips, we book air conditioned soft sleepers in shared 4 berth compartments. The beds are wide enough, but for taller people they’re a fraction on the short side. If you’d like a little more privacy or space to spread out, we can also book out the entire compartment to make it a private cabin for you.
To maximise your time in Vietnam it might be necessary for us to arrange one or more internal flights. It can take a long time to cover relatively small distances by road or by rail, but flights offer you the chance to do it in a matter of hours. So where time is a factor, a quick and good value internal flight is the best option.
Within Vietnam we will always book the domestic flag-carrier, Vietnam Airlines, who have an excellent safety record and regular flights around the country. They also fly into neighbouring countries such as Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Myanmar (although we may also use Cambodian Angkor Air, Laos Airlines, Thai Airlines and Bangkok Airways depending on the most suitable flight times to your trip).
Flight schedule changes do happen from time-to-time but we’ll keep you up to date before you leave and our local partners will continue to monitor them once you arrive, meaning you don’t need to worry about a thing.
Taxis, motorbikes and cycle rickshaws
For shorter transfers (i.e. from your hotel to the airport), it’s best to take a taxi. They are very easy for you to arrange yourself and give you more flexibility with your time. If you’d prefer these small journeys taken care of before you travel though, we can also arrange all of your arrival and departure transfers in advance – leaving you with little else to do than be greeted by your driver and be on your way.
When you’re staying in the towns and cities, we recommend using cycle rickshaws or motorbikes to explore. From your rickshaw seat or motorbike you’ll get to experience the city up close and personal. These short journeys will cost on average $2-5 US dollars, depending on your haggling skills!
Travelling with meaning
We highly recommend doing as the locals do and travelling by foot or bicycle wherever possible in Vietnam, especially in the smaller towns. It’s great fun, inexpensive and the streets are safe and easy to navigate; win-win!
Travelling by rickshaw is also great way to explore with no carbon footprint, as well as putting money straight into the local community (just remember to settle a price beforehand).
If you want to move a little faster, you can even do it the local way on an evening Vespa street food tour in Ho Chi Minh City!