for flying, transport is slow. See local info for details.
AIR: 2-tier Vietnamese/foreigners' price system. Foreigners' price is very
Ho Chi Minh - Hanoi: - OW $136 RT$261
Daily flights between major cities. Tickets can be bought from travel
agents (com. $2)
Train: 2-tier price system.
Foreigners' price. (rip-off price). 3 or 4 trains/day. Duration and price
depends on the train. Tickets can be paid with Dong Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi
takes about 48 hours on local train. Reunification Express takes 36 hours.
The ticket price includes some food.
Hard seats: Wooden seats. Very uncomfortable on long journeys.
Soft seats: Padding. More comfortable. Tall westerners will find them a
Hard berth: Wooden beds with just a slight touch of padding, 6-person
Soft berth: Very comfortable but expensive. 4-person compartments. Some
trains have A/C, but don't count on it.
Reservation necessary. Recommended to reserve 2 or 3 days in advance.
Tickets sold at train-station booking office (Hanoi and HCM station have
the special counters for foreigners.) and travel agents (com $1-2) Travel
agents can sometimes still secure tickets even when the station tells you
that they are sold out.
Usually same price for locals and foreigners. Cheapest transport. Many
buses leave very early in the morning (5:00 or 6:00).Long distance bus
terminals are located far from town centers. You may have to rely on a
cyclo to get there. Buses are very old and usually crowded. It is very
common to see broken down buses on the roads. You can reserve a bus but
not a seat. If you pay about double you may be able to secure a seat.
Tickets can be bought at terminal. usually open from 4:00 to 17:00. No
Tourist buses connect major cities Relatively new service, pickup service
possible, sometimes have A/C. Very convenient. They take breaks on
route, stopping at tourist spots. On arrival, they will stop at various
hotels for you, but the hotels are all government-run and may be more
expensive. Much more expensive than public bus, but cheaper than train
(soft seats). Tickets sold at tourist cafes,
Travel Agencies, GH's up until the night before the journey.
Buses usually leave when full. City-bus system is not usually useful,
except in Ho Chi Minh.
! Attention: To use Taxi or cyclo, its advised to write down the
directions, and the agreed-upon price, to avoid confusion.
Metered taxis are available in Hanoi & Ho Chi Minh City. The cost varies.
First 2km12,000D, add 1,600D/250m. Check that the meter is operating. Pay
in Dong. The taxis, hanging around the tourist areas, sometime change the
setting of the meter. So try to get a taxi running on street.
3-wheeled bicycle-rickshaw. Passengers sit in front and driver peddles
behind. Great views, though scary. Bargain hard. Some drivers demand more
money later. They are very aggressive. If you can't handle, this don't use
them. Write the address and
price on paper. Same price for two people. $1-2/hr
Motor Bike Taxi
Costs the same to ones of cyclo.
8-12,000D/day Deposit may be required($20). Available from Cafes or GH's.
Check the brakes & tires before you set off.
$5-10/day. They often hold your passport as a deposit and want you to sign
a form. Get a translation of the form in a language that you understand.
Available from cafes or hotels. Ask your own hotel to give you a good
rate. Check brakes, tires, and gas before you set off. Don't ride in the
larger cities unless you already know how.