In recent years travelling through South East Asia has become more and more popular, with thousands of people packing their bags and heading off to see for themselves the wonders the region holds. For those travelling throughout South East Asia,
Vietnam always features high on the list of countries to visit, as its stunning landscape, vibrant cities and friendly locals simply cannot be missed. Rather than just visiting one or two of the main cities or tourist sites most visitors to Vietnam choose to travel around a little (or a lot!), as this is by far the best way to experience the diversity of the country and see everything that Vietnam has to offer.
One you start planning your trip through Vietnam you will soon discover that there are lots of different ways of getting around. To help you plan your trip and decide how you want to get around this beautiful country, here is a brief guide to essential Vietnam travel information.
The most comfortable way to travel overland in Vietnam is by train. The one major line of track runs from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City, but unless you really have to it is not advisable to do this trip in one go as it takes well over 30 hours. It is much better to take your time and make stops on the way, which is of course a great way to see more of the beautiful Vietnamese countryside. If you decide to travel through Vietnam by train then it is advisable to book seats in a sleeper car, as otherwise you are not likely to be any more comfortable that you would be in a bus. Soft or hard sleepers are available - soft sleepers being more expensive but also more comfortable - and there are also a few cars that will have air conditioning. If possible buy your tickets as far in advance as you can (at least 3 days before your journey), as the better seats get booked very quickly by tour operators running rail tours. The safest way to buy a train ticket is directly from the train station, as otherwise you could be tricked into buying a cheap ticket for more money that it is worth.
Another popular way of travelling through Vietnam is by bus, which is especially good for those on a budget. There is an extensive network of cheap bus services running to even the furthest-flung corners of the country and in recent years the standard of both buses and service have improved dramatically. There are bus services that connect all of Vietnam's main cities, most of which leave early in the morning to avoid traffic and afternoon rains. For a cheap price you should not have much trouble finding a modern bus equipped with air conditioning and comfortable seats, though that does not always distract you from the fact that bus journeys tend to be on the long and slow side. Figuring out the bus system can be tricky, especially because most cities have a number of bus stations which are responsible for the buses travelling to different parts of the country. The best idea is to try and figure out your journey well before you actually want to leave!
If you are planning on just visiting places at opposite ends of the country then travelling by air may be your best option. There are many internal flights available and Ho Chi Minh City is a 2 hour flight from Hanoi.
On of the best ways to travel in Vietnam and experience a part of everyday life there is travelling by boat. Vietnam is home to a huge network of rivers that can be explored by boat, but the most significant is the Mekong. Here you can either enjoy a scenic day trip or take ferry crossings for last minute holidays in another part of the country.