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Best Vietnam Travel SIM Card for Tourist

It is now the 21th century, and you need to stay connected every day.

You want to call your family and friends at home to share a picture of the beautiful landscapes or the wonderful people you met.

Or sometimes you need to finish your urgent business.

This will lead to the popular questions: 

  • How can you make a call to and/or from Vietnam? 
  • How can you connect to the internet in Vietnam?
  • And what is the best travel SIM card for tourist in Thailand?

We make it all clear below.
 

Phone Call in Vietnam

First of all, we need to understand the phone number system in Vietnam and how to make a phone call from/to Vietnam.

Vietnam phone number

Land lines number

Land line phone numbers in Vietnam follow the format Area Code + Phone Number. The area codes depend on the province and/or city.

To dial a number within the same province or city, only the phone number needs to be dialed.

When dialing from a different province/city, follow the format 0 + Area Code + Phone Number.

At the moment, area codes may have from 2 to 3 digits, while phone numbers may have from 7 to 8 digits, in total, the land line phone numbers in Vietnam have 11 numbers included trunk code (0).

Below is the code of different areas in Vietnam:

Add to landline numbers only!

Bac Lieu 291 Hanoi 24 Rach Gia 297
Bac Ninh 222 Haiphong 225 Soc Trang 299
Bao Loc 263 Ho Chi Minh 28 Tam Ky 235
Bien Hoa 251 Hue 234 Tan An 272
Buon Ma Thuot 262 Hung Yen 221 Thai Binh 227
Ca Mau 290 Kon Tum 260 Thanh Hoa 237
Cam Pha 203 Lai Chau 213 Thai Nguyen 208
Cam Ranh 258 Lao Cai 214 Thu Dau Mot 274
Can Tho 292 Long Xuyen 296 Thuan An 274
Cao Bang 206 My Tho 273 Tra Vinh 294
Cao Lanh 277 Nam Dinh 228 Tu Son 222
Chau Doc 296 Nha Trang 258 Tuy Hoa 257
Da Lat 263 Ninh Binh 229 Uong Bi 203
Da Nag 236 Phan Rang-Thap Cham 259 Viet Tri 210
Dong Ha 233 Phan Thiet 252 Vinh 238
Dong Hoi 232 Pleiku 269 Vinh Long 270
Ha Long 203 Quang Ngai 255 Vinh Yen 211
Hai Duong 220 Qui Nhon 256 Vung Tau 254

Mobile telephones number

In Vietnam, mobile phone numbers follow the format 09x-xxxxxxx or new prefixes: 03x, 05x, 07x, 08x.

  • The first 0 is the trunk code.
  • The next 2 digits (3x, 5x, 7x, 8x or 9y) specify the mobile phone operator. Some mobile phone operators have been given more than one operator code. Please check for more detail HERE

How to make a phone call

To Vietnam:

Exit Code Country Code Area Code Local Number
## 84 ### ######

 

EXIT CODE

This is the code you need to dial OUT from a country. It is also referred to as the IDD code (International Direct Dialing) or ISD code (International Subscriber Dialing)

COUNTRY CODE

This is the code you need to dial IN to a country. Each country is assigned a unique country code.

The country phone code of Vietnam is 84

For the full list of different country phone codes, please check HERE

AREA CODE

This is the code for a part of the country. It is usually a general area or a city. Some countries are not large enough to warrant their own code, so will have the country code 1 and use the area code to define the country.
You can check the full list of area codes in Vietnam HERE

If there is no area code (i.e. the mobile number), just ignore and come directly to the number.
Let’s take the case of Sonasia Holiday hotline number (84 898 623 733) as an example. In case you want to call us, just dial: Your country exit code + (84 898 623 733). 
Below are some examples

  • From USA & Canada: 011 84 898 623 733
  • From France: 00 84 898 623 733
  • From German: 00 84 898 623 733
  • From UK: 00 84 898 623 733
  • From Belgium: 00 84 898 623 733
  • From Switzerland: 00 84 898 623 733
  • From Australia: 0011 84 898 623 733

The numbers in red are the country exit code. For the full list of country EXIT CODE, please check HERE

From Vietnam:

Exit Code Country Code Area Code Local Number
00 ### ### ######

 

  • First, dial the exit code of Vietnam: 00
  • Then type your country code + your area code (if any) + the number that you want to call

Below are some examples (add area code to the telephone number if needed)

  • To USA & Canada: 00 + 1 + Telephone number 
  • To France: 00 + 33 + Telephone number
  • To German: 00 + 49 + Telephone number
  • To UK: 00 + 44 + Telephone number
  • To Belgium: 00 + 32 + Telephone number
  • To Switzerland: 00 + 41 + Telephone number
  • To Australia: 00 + 61 + Telephone number

The numbers in red are the country code. For the full list of different country phone codes, please check HERE

Internet in Vietnam

Internet and wi-fi are widely available throughout Vietnam. Something like 98% of hotels and guesthouses have wi-fi; only in very remote places (such as national parks) is it not standard. Wi-fi is almost always free of charge. 

Many cafes and restaurants also have (free) wi-fi. Connection speeds are normally good. Internet cafes are also available, costing 3000d to 8000d per hour.

Most travelers also surf the net using 3G or 4G mobile phone connections.

Internet speed

According to Akamai Technologies, Vietnam internet speed ranks at 58th position of the world with the average connection speed of 9.5Mb/s. You can see the ranking table HERE

Of course, it cannot be compared with what you have in Europe or USA. However, you can easily do almost everything including surfing the internet to check the information, sending the email with some pictures to your friends, or make a video call via Skype or WhatsApp with your family without any delay.

Internet access

Wifi

Believe it or not, it is much easier to find a free wireless network hotspot in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City than major cities in North America. In Vietnam, visitors can get free access to the Internet at some places.

1. Coffee shops:

Free Wi-fi is available at most coffee shops in Hanoi, Danang, Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh City. A coffee shop is a great place when you are waiting for someone and need to access the Internet in the meantime. 

Or it can be a place for a short appointment with your clients as well. All you need to pay is your drink which varies from $1 to $2.5. 

If the Wi-fi is secured by passwords, don’t hesitate to ask the staff for it. They are willing to give you without any surcharge. 

Some suggestions: Trung Nguyen Coffee Shop, Highlands Coffee Shop, Gloria Jeans, Angel in U.S.

2. Fast food franchises:

At fast food franchises in Hanoi Ho Chi Minh City, customers can both have meals and finish their work on the Internet. KFC, Lotteria, Jolibee, Pizza Hut are four major franchises in Vietnam. 

3. Hotels and office buildings:

Some free wi-fi hotspots can also be found inside and outside hotels and office buildings. Check with your hotel receptionist and see if they have complimentary internet service. 
In case of office buildings, unlike coffee shops, these free wi-fi hot spots don’t offer a comfortable seat in an air-conditioned room with a tasty drink. Therefore, it might not be your choice at noon when the sun is high, or it is raining.

Cellular Internet

Easily available for the tourist. You can buy a local SIM and fill a pre-paid program.

A local SIM will almost always be cheaper than using your SIM of your country abroad.

Internet censorship

Internet censorship in Vietnam prevents access to websites critical of the Vietnamese government, expatriate political parties, and international human rights organizations, among others. 

Online police reportedly monitor Internet cafes and cyber dissidents have been imprisoned. Vietnam regulates its citizens' Internet access using both legal and technical means. The government's efforts to regulate, monitor, and provide oversight regarding Internet use has been referred to as a "Bamboo Firewall"

As a tourist, we recommend you stay away from all this to avoid ending up your trip in prison.

Further information about Vietnam internet censorship, you can check HERE

Buying a local SIM card in Vietnam

Now we answer the most important question: what is the best Vietnam travel SIM card for tourist?

We will first need to know...

Who are the Cellular operators in Vietnam?

Let’s first see which providers are available on the market. There are 3 main mobile internet providers in Vietnam: 

On top of that you have a couple other ones that offer sim cards like Vietnamobile. But if you are traveling through Vietnam I would recommend you to consider buying a Vietnam data sim from one of the main mobile internet providers.

If you check with the locals, they will advise you not to buy a sim card from Vietnamobile for example. They have seemingly good deals, but the network would not be the best at all once you leave Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City.

Where to buy a SIM Card in Vietnam?

A Vietnamese SIM card can be found anywhere on the streets on carts, at any phone shop, credit kiosk and at the airport on arrival.

If you are travelling to Vietnam, it is recommended to get your SIM card at the arrivals at the airport as all the packages are friendly for travelers.

To avoid the hassle, just get your SIM as you land since it is so cheap, it’s not like you are going to save 50$US if you buy it in the city center.

Note that if you are buying from a legit or half legit place to buy a SIM card in Vietnam, you will need to have your passport. If you are a resident or looking for a long-term number, they might also ask a visa, place of residence and/or place of work, because they might ask for it!

This usually happens at official stores of MobiFone, etc. For a tourist SIM card when you land, you will only need to provide your passport.

How much does a Vietnam SIM card for tourist cost?

In 2019:

There are plenty of different plans from different operators for you to choose. But most of them starts with the price of $9-10/SIM.

This normally comes with unlimited internet access but no phone call, or limited internet access (still good enough) and minutes for international call.

Note: Like in all Internet plans, if you consume all your GB (data) before the end of validity, you pass to a low speed instead of the full speed.

How to subscribe to a pre-paid Internet program with the Vietnamese SIM?

If you buy the SIM Card at the airport, the seller will activate it for you.

If you buy from the local shop in city center, the easiest way to make it work is to ask for help from your guide. Come on! You come to Vietnam to learn about culture, admire its nature beauties, and enjoy plenty of activities. Do not waste your time with this.

If you are the independent traveler, you can ask the seller or the hotel receptionist for help.

If you want to top-up some more credit, do not hesitate to ask your guide or hotel receptionist, they are always willing to help.

In case you really want to learn about this, we recommend reading this article: https://prepaid-data-sim-card.fandom.com/wiki/Vietnam

The question you should ask now is…

What is the best Vietnam travel SIM Card for tourist?

What to consider?

  1. Coverage: 

If you plan to travel around the big cities and tourist hubs, you can choose any operator. If you plan to visit the remote area, choose the one with the largest coverage.

To compare, you can check the 3 below coverage map of the 3 main providers:

4G Network coverage Mobifone sim card

4G Network coverage Vinaphone sim card

4G Network coverage Viettel sim card

You can easily see the difference, at the time of this article (July 2019), Viettel has the largest coverage.

  1. Data usage

We recommend you buy a limited data package (just in case) as the public wi-fi (restaurants, coffee shops, hotels) is almost everywhere in Vietnam. Moreover, you do not need internet during most of the daytime while travelling around. You only need it in the evening or early morning while you are … at the hotel.

  1. Phone & Text:

We recommend you buy some extra minutes to call your guide and driver sometimes; or you can register and call a grab taxi to go around on your own.

  1. Duration of your journey

The longer your journey is, the bigger data package and more minutes to call you need.

The recommended SIM Card for Sonasia Holiday traveler

After considering all the above factors, we recommend you buy a SIM Card for tourist from Viettel, who has the largest 3G or 4G coverage all over the country. The price starts from $10 and last for maximum 30-day journey in the country. This is more than enough for your travel plan in Vietnam.

To conclude

It is not easy to find another country with the same popularity of the free wi-fi or internet access as Vietnam.

For our travelers, we recommend you buy a Portable Mobile Wi-fi Router, with which you can buy only one SIM Card and share the Wi-fi internet with your travel mate on the go. 

Wherever you have connection, you can use Skype or WhatsApp to call to your family without all the hassle of learning about exit code or country code to dial your friends’ numbers at home.

Hope that the article help you have more information about the communication system in Vietnam. If you need the most updated information, feel free to CONTACT US at your own convenience.

NOT READY YET?

We believe you have the right to arm yourselves with as much information as possible before making any decision.

Check below our detailed tips & guide for every places to visit in Vietnam, recommendation regarding the inclusion in each theme you prefer, and what you can do based on the time frame you have.

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