Vietnam Country Guide

Getting Around

By Plane
Domestic carriers in the country include Vietnam Airlines, Fly Vietnam, Jetstar Pacific, VietJet and Air Mekong. Vietnam's three major airports are Noi Bai Airport (Hanoi) serving Northern Vietnam, Tan Son Nhat Airport (Ho Chi Minh City) serving Southern Vietnam and Danang Airport (Danang) serving Central Vietnam. All the three airports are linked to one another and the trip between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City takes about 2 hours.
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Others include the less busy airports at the smaller cities and towns including Hai Phong, Can Tho, Hue, Nha Trang, Dalat and Phu Quoc located across the country. There are many flights connecting Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang with the smaller cities and towns. Flights between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City start around USD110 one-way with shorter flights being cheaper.

Dalat Airport by Bdell555

By Car
International driving licences are not accepted in Vietnam.
Generally speaking, Vietnamese driving habits are atrocious and road courtesy is non-existent. Vietnamese drivers also tend to use their horn very often to get motorcyclists out of their way. In addition, most roads do not have lane markings and even on those that do, they are often ignored. As such, driving yourself in Vietnam is not recommended and you should leave your transportation needs to the locals.

The concept of renting a car to drive yourself is almost non-existent, and when Vietnamese speak of renting a car they always mean hiring a car with a driver. Additionally, car rental companies have surfaced, offering chauffeur driven services. Hiring a small car for a day trip costs around USD60 for 8 hours. If you shop around for the lowest price, you will probably get an older or more beat-up car. Few drivers speak English, so make sure you tell the hotel or agent where you want to go, and have it communicated to the driver.

Traffic jam in Ho Chi Minh City by Ngo Trung

It's also possible to hire a car and driver for inter-city travel, at somewhat higher cost. A small car from Ho Chi Minh City to the beach resort of Mui Ne (a 4-5 hour trip) costs about USD70, and Dalat to Mui Ne about USD90. Keep in mind that long-distance road travel in Vietnam by whatever means (bus or car) is slow, with average speeds of less than 50 km per hour. Highway 1, the north-south backbone of the country, usually have one lane each way for the masses of buses, trucks, cars and motorbikes.

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