There are three main ways to travel around Vietnam – airplane, train and buses. You look up the cost and buy tickets for each route you want to travel (e.g. Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City) on 12Go – this site lets you compare the prices and time of journey between planes, trains and buses in Vietnam so you can decide when to go slow and cheap or spend some extra cash and get there quickly.
Here is our guide for getting around in Vietnam
Vietnam Domestic Flights
Domestic flights are available between most major cities in Vietnam, with connections from Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi to other tourist destinations cheap and plentiful. Today, several budget airlines operate in Vietnam and offer low-cost domestic flights, including:
- Vietjet, a Vietnamese low-cost airline that offers ultra-budget flights between cities in Vietnam and international destinations such as Bangkok and Hong Kong.
- Jetstar, an international low-cost airline that offers flights between most cities and major tourist destinations in Vietnam.
The cost of domestic flights in Vietnam varies based on the season. It also varies based on how early ahead of time you book your flights. Book weeks in advance and you can fly from Ho Chi Minh City to a destination like Da Nang for under 700,000 dong (about $30 USD). Book at the last minute, especially during high season, and you could spend two million dong or more.
You can compare flight prices on 12Go
If your budget permits, we recommend flying around Vietnam instead of travelling by train or bus. Traffic in Vietnam is extremely noisy and chaotic, and even a short bus trip can end up taking several hours due to road congestion, accidents and interruptions.
Buses are by far the cheapest way to get around Vietnam. However, the country’s crowded road network means that even short trips of 100 miles or less can take the better part of a day due to interruptions and traffic.
You’ll also have to deal with noise when you travel by bus, both from other vehicles and from the ubiquitous karaoke machines installed on Vietnamese buses, including overnight ones. If you’re tolerant of noise, however, travelling Vietnam by bus can be pleasant and very affordable.
The best way to travel around Vietnam by bus is to buy tickets for the specific legs you need to cover a day or two in advance. Bus tickets are available from travel agencies in all major cities and tourist destinations, such as Hoi An, Hue and Da Nang.
Bus tickets generally cost approximately 50,000 dong per hour of travel time. You’ll pay slightly more for VIP buses (which are worth getting, especially if you like a comfortable trip) but should be able to travel inexpensively at 150,000 to 500,000 dong for most eight to 10 hour bus trips.
For example, a ticket on a SinhTourist bus between Ho Chi Minh City and Nha Trang costs just over 160,000 dong ($7 USD) and takes 10 hours, with free Wi-Fi provided on board.
You can compare bus prices on 12Go
Vietnam’s train network is a little rough around the edges but offers a great way to travel around the country cheaply. Travelling by train costs about the same as travelling by bus but offers the peace and quiet that’s hard to find on Vietnam’s highways.
Travelling by train in Vietnam is best for long, overnight journeys that give you plenty of time to rest and relax. Soft sleeper tickets, which provide a bunk in a small room with enough space for four people, offer the best mix of comfort and value for money.
See 12Go for prices and timings of specific train journeys in Vietnam