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Getting around Vietnam

Vietnam is a very long, thin country so distances between destinations can be quite long. The main railway and road links run north-south from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City.


Vietnam Airlines has a good selection of flights running from the smaller cities to the international hubs at Hanoi and HCMC. Prices are high compared with the buses but a lot quicker and more comfortable.


Rail travel is probably the most sedate way to travel through Vietnam - avoiding the hectic roads and passing through stunning scenery at a gentle pace.

The 'Reunion Express' runs for 1700km along the coast from HCMC to Hanoi taking around 34-40 hours to do the full journey. Trains run four times a day in each direction and include sleeper cars in various classes. The stretch from Da Nang to Hue is very popular with visitors, passing through dramatic mountain scenery that tumbles into the sea.

There are a few of other lines, running to the Chinese border and into the mountains near Lao Cai and Hai Phong on the coast.


Road travel in Vietnam is invariably hectic and dangerous, with few road rules and many accidents. However they are a great way to see much of the country - and to see how everything in Vietnam is carried by motorbike.

There are many competitors on bus networks which tends to keep prices down. However many are commission driven so will drop you at one of their partner hotels or stop and their cafes for breaks. You're under no obligation to eat or stay there though and this does keep prices even lower.

A good way to travel is with the 'Open tour' buses that run from one end of the country to the other. A one way through ticket allows you to hop on and off at specific destinations at your leisure.

Local Transport

Taxis are common in big cities, while motorbike taxis are a much cheaper and quicker (and dangerous) alternative. 'Cyclo' - three wheeled rickshaws - are commonly used for sightseeing only nowadays.