Whatever your style is — a hassle-free flight, a leisure cruise down the river, or a scenic bus ride — there are plenty of options for you to get to Vietnam. With the number of international travelers putting Vietnam on their bucket lists, the country has opened several international airports (11 and counting) and improved infrastructure to facilitate an increasing number of visitors coming into its land and sea borders. Here’s a brief overview of transportation options to Vietnam.
Vietnam has 22 airports. Eleven of them welcome international flights from different parts of Asia and beyond. The three main gateways are Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang International Airport in Danang.
National flag carrier Vietnam Airlines operates over 90 routes to 22 domestic and 29 international destinations with an average of 400 flights per day, connecting Vietnam’s major hubs, including Saigon, Hanoi, and Danang, to the world.
- Australia — Melbourne, Sydney
- Cambodia — Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Sihanoukville
- China — Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Shanghai, Shenzhen
- Hong Kong
- Indonesia — Bali, Jakarta
- Japan — Fukuoka, Nagoya, Osaka, Tokyo
- Korea — Busan, Seoul
- Laos — Luang Prabang, Vientiane
- Malaysia — Kuala Lumpur
- Myanmar — Yangon
- Philippines — Manila
- Taiwan — Kaohsiung, Taipei
- Thailand — Bangkok, Phuket
- Austria — Vienna
- Germany — Frankfurt
- France — Paris
- Russia — Moscow
- Spain — Valencia
- United Kingdom — London
- USA — Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle
Bamboo Airways flies to select destinations within Asia. It’s currently testing direct flights to San Francisco, USA and is planning to expand its routes to parts of Europe.
- Japan — Tokyo
- Korea — Incheon
- Taiwan — Taipei
Budget airline Vietjet Air offers commercial and seasonal charter flights connecting Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to select Asian destinations.
- Cambodia — Siem Reap
- China (seasonal charter) — Chengdu, Haikou, Hangzhou, Kunming, Nanchang, Ningbo, Tianjin
- Hong Kong
- India — Delhi, Mumbai
- Indonesia — Denpasar
- Japan — Ibaraki (charter), Osaka, Tokyo
- Korea — Busan, Daegu, Seoul
- Malaysia — Kuala Lumpur
- Myanmar — Yangon
- Taiwan — Kaohsiung, Taichung, Taipei, Tainan
- Thailand — Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket
Airlines flying to Vietnam
Several airlines offer direct and non-direct flights to Vietnam.
- AirAsia — from Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Penang
- Air Canada — from Montreal, Toronto
- Air France — from Paris, Istanbul
- Cathay Pacific — from Chicago Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Washington
- Cebu Pacific — Manila
- China Airlines — from Taipei
- Emirates — from Dubai, Paris
- Eva Air — from Chicago, Los Angeles Paris, San Francisco, Toronto Vancouver
- Korean Air — from Seoul
- Philippine Airlines — Manila
- Qantas — from Sydney
- Qatar Airways — from Doha
- Singapore Airlines — from Singapore
- Thai Airways — from Copenhagen, Frankfurt, London, New Delhi, Oslo
- Turkish Airlines — from Dubai, Doha, Istanbul, Paris
- United — from Austin, Chicago, Honolulu, Los Angeles, New York, Portland, San Diego, San Jose, Washington
If you’re traveling from Cambodia — Phnom Penh or Siem Reap — there are a couple of luxury cruise lines that offer a fun (3 to 7 days) boat trip through the Mekong River, with several stops at tourist sites, local communities and even floating markets. The boat passes through the sea border in Chau Doc and continues through Ho Chi Minh City.
If you want a faster trip, daily speedboat services are available from Chau Doc to Ho Chi Minh City, though this is notoriously unsafe. The trip takes about 5 hours. Tickets are available online, but you must arrange your visa beforehand.
To many traveler’s surprise, bus trips to Vietnam are actually convenient and enjoyable. With the growing popularity of tri-country (Thailand-Vietnam-Cambodia) trips, many travelers are now opting to journey on air-conditioned buses that cross the land borders. Several reputable bus companies sell reasonably priced tickets for day and night trips. Entry visas are processed directly at the Immigration at the border. Visa fees are separate from bus fares, but are collected by the bus conductors upon arrival at the border. Note that most of the buses don’t allow pets onboard.
Crossing the land borders to Vietnam should be generally hassle-free, with the bus conductors processing tourist visas at the Immigration as you wait on the side. But it pays to do your research on which bus operator to use in order to avoid extortion or extra fees.
There are three land borders that allow buses to travel from China to Vietnam: Mong Cai-Dong Hung, Dong Dang-Ping Xian and Lai Cai-Hekou. Several bus operators offer seamless trips from Hanoi to Nanning, the biggest city in Quang Tay province in China, through these border crossings. Trips usually last about 8 hours, covering a 360-km distance. It’s recommended that you book bus tickets at least a day before departure, or far more advanced during holidays.
A number of buses and express shuttles offer Phnom Penh-Ho Chi Minh routes every day through the border in Moc Bai. Most of the buses have comfortable, wide seats and free WiFi connections. The ride usually takes 6-7 hours, with a stop before the border for some refreshments and bathroom break.
International bus services from Savannakhet or Vientiane run to Hanoi, Hue, Vinh or Danang through different border crossings at regular schedules. There are also trips from Luang Prabang to Hanoi, but the ride can take up to 24 hours, mostly on rough roads.