How to Travel from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City

Want to discover the best routes for going from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh? Vietnam is an excellent place for tourists to begin their first backpacking tour. Visitors who want to explore between the north and south can avail the intercity trains and buses that offer loads of intermediary stops, making it easy to experience everything the nation has to offer.

Travellers will find Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), an urban centre with natives from around the globe. Hanoi, the capital city, is situated in the north and usually referred to as a cultural hub of the country. Vietnam’s two biggest cities are not only on opposite poles of the country, but you can find a very distinct vibe altogether.

They don’t let foreigners drive here – which might seem debatable at the moment but is a good thing as there are more than 45 million scooters in a population of about 92 million! Yes, the traffic is a bit something that you have to get the hang of as long as you stay.

Coming back to how to travel from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City, there’s only one single-track railway between these two major cities. The journey takes close to 30-plus hours, and even the main road travel seems to be at scooter pace.

Generally, tourist travel tends to include plane hops and minibus excursions accompanied by local guides. Now a tourist trail from one end of the country to the other can be achieved with a bespoke travel company. It’s so relaxed that even the children and truly, Vietnam is a place for everything -eight to octogenarian.  

Handmade Souvenir
Exquisite Workmanship in Old Quarter, Hanoi

Temple of Literature, Hanoi
Temple of Literature in Hanoi

Getting to know the cities

•    Hanoi
From mouth-watering delicacies such as phở and búnchả to imperial buildings, Hanoi is a one-stop wonder. Being home to about 7.6 million people and the second-largest city in Vietnam by population, the metropolis is one of the oldest cities in the world. Explore the beauty of northern Vietnam’s mountains and valleys like the NinhBinh’s karst landscape, Sapa’s rolling hills, and Hạ Long Bay’s grottoes or floating villages. Travellers can easily access other provinces in the north with their base at Hanoi.
Ho Chi Minh's Stilt House in Hanoi
Ho Chi Minh's Stilt House in Hanoi

Notre Dame Cathedral, Ho Chi Minh
Notre Dame Cathedral, Ho Chi Minh


•    Ho Chi Minh City
While you are in any country and have budgeted time and resources, it is indeed a confusing question about which cities you must visit. For Vietnam, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are the key places you mustn't miss. From a culinary point of view, Hanoi is the birthplace of many national dishes. In contrast, Ho Chi Minh City emphasises a mixture of both international dishes as well as the local influences.
With a population of more than 8.5 million people, Ho Chi Minh City is a multicultural territory and the commercial hub of the country. Chinese pagodas and French colonial architecture sit alongside the high-rise buildings, large shopping malls and international restaurant chains.

What will definitely leave an impression is how the cityscape is filled with a subtle blending of the old and new throughout the town.

While you are in any country and have budgeted time and resources, it is indeed a confusing question about which cities you must visit.

For Vietnam, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are the key places you mustn't miss. From a culinary point of view, Hanoi is the birthplace of many national dishes. Also, the city emphasises a mixture of both local influences as well as international dishes.

How to Travel from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City by Flight

Travellers who reserve flights far enough in advance can often find really cheap offers; carriers such as VietJet, Vietnam Airlines, and Jetstar have multiple flights per day. The fastest and easiest way to get from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi is by taking a flight. Each of these trips can take upto two hours. You can save nearly 30-hour bus ride while flying between each city. That being said, flying would make you miss out on witnessing scenery along the way.
Ho Chi Minh Airport
Vietnam Airlines
Ho Chi Minh Airport
Ho Chi Minh Airport


How to Travel from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City by railways

The trains are air-conditioned and come with reclining chairs or bunkbeds, decent toilets and dining areas.

The 1,056-mile (1,700-kilometre) trip takes approximately 35 hours, which can be intimidating for those who are on a quick tour. If you do not have any straps for time, then the Reunification Express (a term used for any train that goes along the North-South railway line) is an ideal means of going from one part of the country to the other.

Passengers who are not going the entire way often opt for a hard or soft seat. The trains typically have five different sleeping or sitting options. The soft seats are similar to those travellers will find on buses. Also, the hard seats are generally tall, wooden benches that are on either side of the coach.

Travellers who are going a long distance can get a bunk. They are also categorised into hard and soft varieties; hard-sleeper cars have minimal padding and six berths.  and minimal padding. None of the tickets is very pricey, and travellers can opt for a four bunks at a very nominal price which comes with a soft-berth in a room. You can choose from the VIP cabin as well, which only has two beds. Also, many prefer the bunks over the seats.
Railway Station in Hanoi
Railway Station in Hanoi
Railway Station, Hanoi
Train, Hanoi


How to Travel from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City by Bus

Bus in Vietnam
Bus from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City
Most buses have a tiny bathroom, and there are loads of rest stops along the way. If the train is a little too steep in terms of cost, the option for long-haul sleeper buses or with the recliner chairs are also interesting. Although tickets are a lot more affordable, the buses will not be as comfortable as taking the train. However, even the journey takes around 35 hours theoretically, also consider the traffic and delays along the way.


With an ‘open bus ticket’, try at any major station. The hop-on-hop-off buses are an ideal option if you want to drop off at any other specific destinations before actually reaching the city. Depending on your interests, find out the route - inland or coastal.

Drive a Motorbike from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City

Motorbike is the most interesting way to travel through Vietnam! According to what you want to see and book accommodation at multiple pit stops, you can find a lot of affability and can map out your route.

Whether you travel through the Reunification Express trail through the highlands, it will be a journey of a lifetime.

Two most suggested routes are:

1.  Ho Chi Minh City – Mũi Né – NhaTrang – Qui Nhơn – Quang Ngai – Hoi An – Da Nang – Huế – PhongNha – NinhBinh – Hanoi.

Motorbike, Hanoi
Motorbike for Rent
Motorbike Vietnam
Ride a Motorcycle to Ho Chi Minh City


2.  Ho Chi Minh City – Dalat – Buon Ma Thuot – Pleiku – Kon Tum – Hoi An – Da Nang – Huế – PhongNha – NinhBinh – Hanoi.


Read More:

Vietnam Travel Guide

Vietnam Transportation

Traveling Vietnam Alone - Is It Ideal for Solo Travellers?