How to Get Around Vietnam
Due to the development of tourism, the flight, train and bus services become more and more convenient in Vietnam, however, how to choose between them? We have some suggestions on the following routes:
Hanoi - Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon): Train vs FlightDistance: 1,700 km (1,060 mi)
Train Duration: 30-40 hours
Flying Time: 2h15m
There are regular flights between these two major cities. Vietnam Airline offers flights at each hour from 05:00 to 23:00 and there are also two other budget airlines, Viet Jet Air and Bamboo Airways offer flights on this route. Altogether, there are 20-30 flights each day between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. The economy ticket on Vietnam Airline is about USD190 one way while the price could be as low as USD40 on the budget airlines.
There are four Reunification Express trains between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, the price is USD50-92 one way. Spending 30-40 hours on the train, you will see the cities, countryside, mountains and coasts all along the way, and you will surely meat the local people. Since there is no tourist train on this route and it is a long journey, the entire facility, service and cleaness on the train is not very good.
Hanoi - Da Nang: Train vs FlightDistance: 760 km (470 mi)
Train Duration: About 16 hours
Flying Time: 1h20m
Dense flights are available between Hanoi and Danang from early morning to evening. The price for Vietnam Airlines is also more expensive, about USD120. While Viet Jet and Bamboo Airways offer discount tickets from USD40 on, but for the budget airlines, check-in luggage will be surcharged.
As for trains, you could choose from Reunification Express and Tourist Trains. The best choice is the overnight SE3/4 or SE19/20. The price for Soft Sleeper is about USD60. The journey is long enough for travelers to have a good view along the way, while not too long to suffer on the train without bath and good toilet.
Hanoi - Sapa: Train vs BusDistance: 310 km (190 mi)
Train Duration: 8-9 hours
Bus Duration: About 5 hours
Tourist trains between Hanoi and Sapa are comfort and clean, taking train is surely a good choice for your travel to Sapa. The price is from USD 33 to 145, most soft sleepers cost around USD 39, while the VIP cabins are much expensive.
Buses are also available on this route, the price is lower, only USD11 to USD25, if you are on a tight budget then bus is also an option.
Ho Chi Minh City - Da Nang: Train, Flight or BusDistance: 840 km (520 mi)
Train Duration: about 18 hours
Flying Time: 1h20m
Bus Duration: about 23 hours
The same as Hanoi to Danang, there are many flights between Saigon and Danang, and the price for the budget airlines like Viet Jet, Bamboo and Jet Star could be quite low, even only USD 30 for some deep discount tickets. The normal economy ticket on Vietnam Airlines is also about USD 120.
As for the trains, the most popular train are still the overnight ones, you will save one night room rate, and still have several hours to enjoy the passing views. Ticket price for soft sleeper is about USD 66.
The cheapest way to travel on this route is sleeper bus. The ticket price is about USD 18. While the 23 hours’ bus journey is not comfortable although you will have several stops along the way.
Ho Chi Minh City - Phan Thiet (Mui Né): Train vs BusDistance: 210 km (130 mi)
Train Duration: About 4 hours
Bus Duration: 4.5-6 hours
There is only one train between Ho Chi Minh and Phan Thiet each day, the ticket price is USD 16-18. The only train SPT2 from Ho Chi Minh to Phan Thiet departs at 06:40. If this time is not suitable for you, then you could take the sleeper buses, there are dozens of sleeper buses depart from 07:00 to 23:30. The bus ticket costs from USD 6 to USD 15.