Vietnam is a relatively small country. With tourism at its peak, there is a high demand for transport all around. With this high demand comes a variety of means and modes for getting from Point A to Point B: planes, trains, buses, private hires, motorbikes, etc. The question is, what is the best way to see Vietnam?
Domestic transport depends entirely on two things: time and money. For most tourists visiting Vietnam, time is not on their side. 1-2 weeks is the common holiday window, and there’s a great deal packed into that travel time. With flights at very affordable costs (one way tickets from Ho Chi Minh City to Da Nang City can cost as little as 40 USD), flying is by far the quickest and easiest option. You can be in one city in the morning, go shopping, explore all the sights, eat the local fare… and be in another major city 1 hour later. If you have a few extra dollars to spare and a tight schedule to follow, flying is by far the best option.
If you have a tight travel schedule and a tight budget, then your next best option may be a bus. There are fleets of bus companies running from tip to tip daily, with ticket prices half or a quarter of what flights cost. The hours are long and the drive can be tedious, but taking the bus does have its benefits. Of all countries in Southeast Asia, Vietnam does have some of the most comfortable sleeper buses. Seats are in an almost full-recline position (on many sleeper buses), which gives travelers their own space and a good chance at sleeping through the night. Another plus to bus travel is driving overnight, which not only gets you to your next destination in the morning, but also saves you a night’s accommodation as well!
If you have a bit more time to travel, another great option is taking the train. Though not the speediest (or cheapest) means of transport, taking the train can be an extremely rewarding experience. You not only get to see some parts of Vietnam that you would never see flying or driving, but you are also open to meeting other travelers (both foreign and Vietnamese). Riding the rails through Vietnam can be somewhat of a condensed cultural experience, with an in-depth look into the everyday life of the Vietnamese. You are exposed to local food, drink, entertainment, family and friend gatherings, and may even make a few new friends along the way! A tip for travelers- if you’re taking an overnight train, it’s often worth paying the extra money for the 4-person berth; a 6 person sleeper cabin is extremely cozy.
If you are lucky enough to have time on your side (and a great sense of adventure), another means of getting around Vietnam is on motorbike. Companies not only hire out motorbikes for hours, but also days and weeks. You can strap your pack to the back of your motorbike and head out for the iconic Ho Chi Minh Highway. Though a much riskier means of transport (you’re putting health, safety and getting lost into your own hands), motorbike trips through Vietnam can be the experience of a lifetime.
So depending on your time and funds, there are plenty of options for exploring this beautiful, eclectic country. Not sure where to begin? Allow the MinMax experts to plan your unforgettable trip out for you!