Trying to figure out the best way to get to Vietnam? Well, we have put together as many travel options as we could find from various global locations, whether your arriving by air, sea or overland.
Arriving by air
From London; best option is usually to book a flight package right through to Vietnam. HCMC is the best Vietnamese destination if flying through to Phu Quoc Island. Some airlines also offer stopovers, an attractive holiday option. We have listed some advice here;
- British Airways: sometimes have sales via Hong Kong, through to HCM, code sharing with Cathy Pacific
- Cathy Pacific: Look out for regular sales to either HK or right through to HCM/Hanoi
- Oasis Airlines: budget international carrier that recently started flying to HK and beyond. Provides competitive prices to Hong Kong if you’re on a budget.
- Malaysian Airlines: sometimes have sales through to HCM, via Kuala Lumpur
- Singapore airlines: sometimes have sales through to HCM, via Singapore
- Lufthansa: fly direct through to HCM, via Frankfurt
- China Airlines: fly direct via Taiwan to Vietnam
- Qatar Airways: fly via Doha to Vietnam
- Thai Airways: fly via Bangkok direct to Vietnam
- From Paris: Air France fly’s direct to Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi
- From Hong Kong to Vietnam: flights can be relatively expensive from Hong Kong, though best options are:
- Cathy Pacific; has a number of daily flights to Vietnam
- Vietnam Airlines; can be difficult to book online, however consider using a HK travel agent
- From Singapore; budget airlines provide some good deals, including:
- www.jetstarasia.com, low budget airlines related to Qantas, providing relatively low cost flights when booking early
- Tigerairways; another low cost airline worth considering
- Singapore airlines; though can be more expensive
- From Thailand; many airlines fly from Bangkok to HCM City.
- From Australia; there are a number of airlines that now fly direct, including:
- Qantas; www.qantas.com
- Vietnam Airlines; www.vietnamairlines.com.vn
- Jet Star; www.jetstar.com
- From USA; a number of airlines fly direct, including@
- United airlines
- Vietnam Airlines; www.vietnamairlines.com.vn
Airline booking advice
- Booking flights early will generally guarantee a cheaper flight than last minute bookings
- Booking online will give you the opportunity of shopping around.
- Local travel agents can sometimes offer better deals on flights to Vietnam, for instance if flying from Bangkok, try booking through a Kho San Road travel agent who can send the ticket to you directly for a small fee, sometimes a cheaper option than booking at home.
Arriving by sea
- International services are less frequent than the services from the Vietnamese mainland, so do your research before turning up at international ports expecting a ride. More services are likely to come into service to match the development of modern port facilities in Phu Quoc, particularly the new international port at Dat Do bay which will accommodate large passenger ships.
- Try the following Companies as a starting point, they provide international services to Vietnam from time to time.
- Starting in mid-January 2006 the Coco – Explore Cruise Ship docked at Duong Dong every Tuesday, setting out from Thailand via Cambodia to Phu Quoc Island, however this service is currently not available. Booking was previously available in advance at Danish C & C Travel Company.
- Duong Dong Express (see operators above) offer 7 day / 6 night high speed boat trips between Rach Gia, Cambodia, Pattaya and Bangkok. Visit their website for more details www.duongdongexpress.com.vn
- www.starcruises.com offer cruises between Hong Kong and Singapore from time to time
Arriving overland, current border crossings
Vietnam shares land borders with Cambodia, Laos and China and there’re several border crossings open to foreigners with each neighbour, a big improvement on a few years ago.
Cambodia to/from Vietnam
Bavet (or Moc Bai)
- The most popular one near Svay Rieng (Cambodia) across from Go Dau Townlet in Tay Ninh Province (Vietnam) is located about 70kms northwest of Ho Chi Minh City along highway 22A.
- Several daily buses daily from Phnom Penh – Saigon, departing around 8am, takes 7 hours and costs around US$6 per person.
- Contact Capitol Guesthouse (Tel: 023-364104) or Narin Guesthouse (Tel: 023-982554) in Phnom Penh or Pham Ngu Lao Str., District 1, Ho Chi Minh City., the backpacker area, in Vietnam for tickets.
Dinh Ba Border Gate (Prey Veng, Cambodia)
- Dinh Ba Border Gate (Dong Thap Province) is located in Tan Hong District, 107km from Cao Lanh City. From Cao Lanh City along the highway 30 to Hong Ngu Townlet (Vietnam), across Sa Rai Townlet, Dinh Ba Border Gate to Bontia Chak Cray (Prey Veng, Cambodia).
Kaam Samnor (or Vinh Xuong Board Gate)
- The river-route connecting Neak Luong (Cambodia) and Chau Doc (Vietnam), offers a leisurely look at the Mekong Delta. The Vinh Xuong waterway border gate is 30kms north of Chau Doc Town (Vietnam).
- Three available options of boat cruise:
- Budget: contact companies at backpacker areas to find a good deal. It costs around US$8 per person, departing around 9am daily and taking 6 hours (including a slow border check);
- Mid-range: try Victoria Speedboat (offered by Victoria Chau Doc Hotel) for something faster, around 40mins by motorboat along the Tien River from the hotel to the border gate. It costs about US$65-70 per person, very comfortable but runs on weekly basic (several times per week);
- Top-end: for longer cruise on Mekong delta (Siem Reap to Saigon), try Toum Teav Cruises (firstname.lastname@example.org), well regarded for the personal services and excellent food, or Pandaw Cruises (www.pandaw.com), bigger and favoured by high-end tour companies.
Le Thanh Border Gate
- Le Thanh Border Gate (Gia Lai Province) is located in Duc Co District, 75km from Pleiku City (Vietnam). From Pleiku City along the highway 14, turn to highway 19, past Chu Ty Townlet, across Le Thanh Border Gate to An Dong Thech (Ratanakiri, Cambodia).
Phnom Den (or Tinh Bien Border Gate)
- Connects Takeo (Cambodia) and Chau Doc (Vietnam). The border gate is 25kms southwest of Chau Doc Town (An Giang Province).
- It’s recommended that you consider an alternative crossing due to its remoteness and bad road condition; use possibly Kaam Samnor (Ving Xuong) instead.
Sa Mat (Xa Mat) Border Gate
- Sa Mat Border Gate (Tay Ninh Province) is located in Tan Lap Commune, Tan Bien District, Tay Ninh Province. From Go Dau Townlet (Vietnam) in Tay Ninh Province, travel along the highway 22B, across Sa Mat Border Gate to Cambodia.
Xa Xia Border Gate (Coastal Route)
- Located 70km from Ha Tien Town (Kien Giang Province), Xa Xia Border Gate connects Kampot, Cambodian. Travel onto Phu Quoc Island from Ha Tien via daily boat services.
Laos to/from Vietnam
Note, at some remote border crossings, renting vehicles to get from point to point can be difficult. The best routes between Vietnam and Laos are generally the daily buses between Vientiane to/from Hanoi and Savannakhet to/from Hue.
Cha Lo Border Gate
- From Hanoi to Ba Don (Quang Binh Province) take a local bus along highway 1A. From Ba Don, travel along highway 12A, across Cha Lo Border Gate in Dan Hoa Commune, Minh Hoa District, Quang Binh Province to Laos.
Donsavanh (or Lao Bao Border Gate)
- Connects Sepon (Laos) and Dong Ha (Quang Tri, Vietnam), followed Highway No.9.
- Tourist buses from Savannakhet (Laos) to Hue depart daily at 10pm, serving Dong Ha (US$7 per person, 329km), Hue (US$9 per person, 409km) or Danang (US$11 per person, 508km). In the opposite direction, buses at Hue depart at 6am or 6pm daily, cost US$15 per person and take 13 hours. Shop around Savannakhet or Hue for good deals.
- Alternatively, take local buses from Savannakhet (US$3 per person, 255km, 5 hours, leave at 7am and noon) or Sawngthaew (pick-up truck – US$3 per person, 210km, 4 hours, leaving regularly) to Sepon, spend a night there before the next morning bus to the border. Across the border on foot, then continue walking (20 minutes) or take xe om (renting motorbike with driver – VND15,000 per person) to Lao Bao Bus station for departing Hue or Danang.
Na Meo Border Gate
- From Vinh Loc (Vietnam) in Thanh Hoa Province, travel along highway 217, across Na Meo Border Gate (Na Meo Commune, Quan Son highland district, Thanh Hoa Province) to Laos.
Nam Phao (or Cau Treo/Keo Nua Border Gate)
- Cau Treo/Keo Nua Border Gate is at the foot of Keo Nua Pass
- Near Lak Sao (30km east – Laos), Tha Kaek (200km – Laos) and Ha Tinh (Vietnam), Vinh (96km – Nghe An, Vietnam), followed Kaew Neua Pass (734m) and Highway No.8.
- Daily bus Vientiane – Hanoi takes about 24 hours, and costs US$20-25 per person, depending on your bargain skills and place of purchase (best at backpacker streets in Vientiane or Hanoi).
- Buses from Hanoi to Hong Linh Town (Ha Tinh Province) then go along highway 8, direct to Vientiane (Laos) crossing Keo Nua Border Gate.
- Alternatively, take local buses to Lak Sao, and sawngthaew (US$1 per person, 45 minutes, leave regularly) to the border, then look for transportation to Vinh (US$15-25 per person).
- Near Phonsavan (80km west – Laos) and Vinh (200km northwest), the most remote crossing – an endurance test and a half.
- From Phonsavan, take local buses (20,000k per person, 4 hours, leave regularly) or charter a private car (US$30) to Nong Haet. Catch any local transport to the border for about 5,000k per person. On Vietnamese side, grab xe om to Muang Xen (VND50,000 per person) then wait for bus to Vinh (US$2 per person, 7 hours, and leaves when full).
- From Dien Chau (Vietnam) in Nghe An Province, take a local bus travelling along highway 7, cross Nam Can Border Gate in Nam Can Commune, Ky Son District, Nghe An Province) to Laos.
Po Y Border
- From Plei Kan Townlet (Ngoc Hoi District, Vietnam) travel along highway 40 for about 20km, across Po Y Border Gate to Attapeu, Laos.
- Tay Trang
- Phong Xa Ly District, Luang Prabang (Laos) and 31kms from Dien Bien Phu City (Dien Bien, Vietnam), follow Highway No.279.
China to/from Vietnam
Youyi Guan (Huu Nghi Quan or Friendship Pass)
- Near Pingxiang (China) and Dong Dang (18km from Lang Son – Vietnam).
- By bus: from Nanning, take bus to Pingxiang and 20 minute bus journey or shared taxi to the border. 600m walk across to Dong Dang, taking minibus or xe om (VND30,000 per person) to Lang Son, then bus to Hanoi (US$3 per person – depending on the number of people in the minivan, and price agreed, 3 hours, regular services).
- By train: a twice-weekly international train Beijing – Hanoi via Dong Dang Station in Lang Son, takes about 48 hours, including a 3-hour delay at the border for immigration and customs procedures. This is a more expensive option.
- Cheaper and faster option, take the train to Pingxiang, cross the border and catch the bus to Hanoi (171kms). On Vietnamese side, buy ticket Hanoi – Dong Dang only (6 hours), cross the border by your arrangement and buy another ticket when you are in China.
Hekou (or Lao Cai)
- Near Hekou (468km south of Kunming – China) and Lao Cai (Vietnam).
- From Lao Cai City, across Ho Kieu Bridge to China, which links Lao Cai Province (Vietnam) with Yunnan Province (China).
- Bus from Kunming to Hekou border gate (490km, 10 hours). From Hekou to Lao Cai railway station is 10 minutes by motorbike (VND10,000 per person, 3km). You can buy train ticket to Hanoi (300km, 9 hours, 2 or 3 daily departs at 9-10pm). Price is about US$12-15 per person (per bed), depending on 4 or 6-bed compartment (and with / without AC).
Dongxing (or Mong Cai)
- Connects Dongxing (China) and Mong Cai (Quang Ninh – Vietnam), in the northeast of Quang Ninh Province, 176km from Halong City and 327km from Hanoi.
- From Halong City, travel along highway 18 to Mong Cai Town (Vietnam) and cross the border to China.
- Direct bus from Nanning to Halong Bay (100 yuan, 9 hours, departs at 8am from River South Bus Centre (Jiang Nan Ke Yun Zhong Xing). The bus crosses the border at DongXing border town instead of Friendship Gate.
- You can also travel by express boat from Mong Cai to Halong then by bus to Hanoi.