How To Book Buses & Trains In Vietnam (Travel Guide) (2024)

If you plan to travel by bus or train in Vietnam, some things will be a bit different to what you may be used to if you’re from a Western country.

Tickets may not always be sold online and the level of comfort can vary a lot depending on your chosen transportation option.

That said, Vietnamhas a great bus network and the Reunification Express railway that runs from Hanoi to Saigon lets you easily cover a lot of distance.

Here’s how to plan your bus or train trips and connect the dots in your Vietnam itinerary.

How To Book Buses & Trains In Vietnam (Travel Guide) (1)

How to book buses in Vietnam

Firstly, understand that bus and minivan services in Vietnam are run by hundreds of different companies. This means timetables are not always complete and not every bus can be booked online.

However, more and more bus routes can now be booked easily online, such as through the platform 12Go Asia.

Another common way is to book transportation via your hotel or hostel reception or at any of the small ticket agents that you’ll inevitably find anywhere that tourists go.

It is very typical to find small local travel agencies all over Vietnam, so many travelers simply get their tickets from these shops. These agencies sometimes let you get tickets for services that are not available online. However, they may sometimes also charge a larger commission.

How To Book Buses & Trains In Vietnam (Travel Guide) (2)

Some sites have made booking online easier in recent years, such as 12Go Asia and, which accept international payment methods.

Do keep in mind that often on these platforms the bookings are not instant. They often have to manually confirm with the operator. Booking online is therefore best done at least a few hours in advance. If you book at night, you might not get confirmation until morning.

While bus travel in Vietnam is not too challenging, local buses can be slow and most night buses have awkward bunk beds with not much leg space. I’ll share more details below on what exactly to expect.

Sometimes it’s worth spending a bit more on a 1st class train ticket or ‘VIP’ bus service for a bit more comfort if you have the budget.

How to book trains in Vietnam

The trains in Vietnam do have a central booking system these days. In fact, you can now book trains only online.

Trains are slower and somewhat more expensive than buses but, if you ask me, they’re also much more comfortable. I’ve caught far more sleep on night trains than on any of the buses.

They’re also a cool way to travel!

How To Book Buses & Trains In Vietnam (Travel Guide) (3)

After booking your ticket you’ll be sent a PDF document with a QR code and your carriage and seat number. You can simply show this on your phone to the attendant. Every carriage has its own attendant, so there’s always someone to help you find your seat.

Important: You can book trains in Vietnam with Vietnam Railways but only using Vietnamese payment methods. For foreigners, it’s easiest to book with sites like12Go Asia or Baolao (which charge a 40,000 dong commission).

It’s best to book trains at least one or two days ahead of time, as they do fill up pretty quickly.

There are no hop-on-hop-off tickets for the train. If you’re going south to north or the other way around, you’ll have to buy individual tickets for each part of your journey.

How To Book Buses & Trains In Vietnam (Travel Guide) (4)

What about night trains & buses?

Because Vietnam is a large country (it’s taller than West Coast USA) and since key tourist sites are spread around the north, center, and south, many travelers choose to travel overland at night, saving some time and potentially money not spent on accommodation.

I think traveling at night in Vietnam is often worth it. It’s very common for backpackers in Vietnam to travel overnight, making use of night buses as well as the Reunification Express running from Hanoi to Saigon which offers a range of sleeper carriages.

The advantages are that you’ll spend fewer waking hours in transit and that you get to save a night’s accommodation. But not all night travel will be that comfortable.

Normal night buses: Vietnamese night buses typically have three rows of bunk beds stacked two levels high. The beds have a plastic casing around them which is quite restrictive especially if you are tall. There are usually no toilets, so the bus has to take regular toilet breaks that interrupt the journey. At the back, there is usually a large flat bed space that will accommodate about four people. At first these may seem like prized spots, but the lack of barriers will make you move constantly and may lead to involuntary spooning of some unwashed stranger.

What I’m saying here is that the regular night buses aren’t all that great. But… they’ll get you there.

VIP/luxury night buses: Unless you’re traveling on a tight budget, be sure to keep an eye out for any upgraded ‘VIP’ buses, which operate between only some destinations. I took one of these from Hanoi to Ha Giang, for example. For just $8 more I got myself a private cabin with a comfy massage bed, USB chargers, snacks, A/C, and more. I thought this was absolutely worth it.

Night trains: There is a choice of various classes of seats and beds on the Reunification Express. The 2nd class berths have 6 beds in them. They’re quite cramped and there’s not enough room to sit upright. They also might have people sleeping on stretchers in the hallway outside and I’ve also seen certain six-legged insects crawling around the 2nd class carriages (sorry… I thought you should know). The 1st class (soft sleeper) carriages have 4 beds and are a lot more comfortable and clean. 2nd class is probably fine for a budget backpacker, but the 1st class upgrade is worth it if you can spare just a bit of extra dong.

How To Book Buses & Trains In Vietnam (Travel Guide) (5)

Hop-on-hop-off bus tickets

There are several operators selling hop-on-hop-off bus passes for Vietnam. This means you can travel the full length of the country (between Hanoi and Saigon) on one ticket while going in one direction, i.e. north or southbound.

Sounds convenient, right? Well, they might not always be worth it.

My travel buddies in Vietnam who used these tickets got quite frustrated with the limitations, as you’re reduced to using only one bus company and timetable. They were unable to switch to trains or minivans for particular legs of the journey where these would have been more convenient. So, hop-on-hop-off tickets can reduce your flexibility a lot.

I’ve always chosen to book my transportation one step at a time. Even if the hop-on-hop-off ticket is slightly cheaper overall, it’s not so great to have to lock yourself in. In my opinion, this makes them not really worth it.

Motorbiking in Vietnam

Although I love traveling Vietnam by bus and train, arguably the best way to explore Vietnam is by motorbike! The feeling of freedom you’ll get is amazing. You’ll also be able to go off the usual travel circuit, getting you much closer to the real country of Vietnam.

Many consider Vietnam among the best motorbiking countries in Southeast Asia. If you can ride a bike or scooter and want to know more, be sure to check out our in-depth guide to motorbiking Vietnam.

Some links may be affiliate links, meaning I may earn commission from products or services I recommend. For more, see site policies.

Posted APR 19, 2023

How To Book Buses & Trains In Vietnam (Travel Guide) (2024)


What is the best way to book a transport in Vietnam? ›

Best Vietnamese taxi booking sites

Grab – Grab is a taxi and private car booking service that uses modern technology to offer much better rates than regular taxis, as well as food delivery services. Taxi Mai Linh – A well-known and popular taxi company in Vietnam.

Do you need to pre book trains in Vietnam? ›

Because the trains in Vietnam always have a limited amount of soft sleepers, it is wise to book train tickets as early as possible. Train tickets are usually available from 60 days before departure (sometimes 90 days in advance).

How to book Vietnam train ticket? ›

There are four ways of buying Vietnamese train tickets.
  1. Online with a reliable travel agency.
  2. From the official Vietnam Railway website.
  3. At a train station.
  4. At a local travel agency.

Which is the best train to travel in Vietnam? ›

So, where should you take the train in Vietnam? The most obvious choice for train travel in Vietnam is the Sapa train bound for Lao Cai. Despite the fact that Sapa doesn't have a train station, this is probably the most popular way to arrive in the mountains.

Is it better to use card or cash in Vietnam? ›

Changing money elsewhere is illegal and while higher rate may be on offer you may risk losing your money. Credit cards are widely accepted but, in rural areas particularly, you should carry cash as a back-up. It may be difficult to cash travellers' cheques. ATMs are widely available in major cities and tourist areas.

What is the best travel debit card for Vietnam? ›

Wise is our pick for travel debit card for Vietnam

You can receive foreign currency into a multi-currency account linked to the card. You can transfer money to a bank account overseas.

Which website is best to book train ticket in Vietnam? ›

Book on Vietnam Railway Official Website

The official site offers accurate train schedule and online booking service. Tickets can be booked on this website 60 days before the travelling date. You can choose trains and seats/berth online, and make payment by credit card.

Where is the best place to book trains in Vietnam? ›

Best websites to book train tickets in Vietnam

Two of the best websites for booking train tickets in Vietnam are 12go and Baolau.

Do I need a tour guide in Vietnam? ›

A tour guide in Vietnam isn't a must, but they can be a happy addition to your journey to this far Eastern land. With careful research, you'll find yourself a guide who isn't just helpful, but also friendly for your amazing time in our country.

How should we book train tickets? ›

MakeMyTrip is the leading portal for booking IRCTC train tickets online which is offering the most convenient ways to book train tickets, check train schedule, train availability, and view live train status. IRCTC has been the most used website for train tickets booking.

What is the train booking app in Vietnam? ›

The app MoMo can be downloaded from the website for both Android and iOS operating systems but is only available in Vietnamese. At present, people who use MoMo on iOS and Android smartphones can buy train tickets, according to a representative from M-Service.

What is the number 1 tourist spot in Vietnam? ›

1. Halong Bay. Top of many travellers' lists when they visit Vietnam, Halong Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage Site where hundreds of verdant limestone karsts emerge mystically from emerald-coloured waters.

Do Vietnam trains sell out? ›

Buy a Vietnam Train ticket at the train station

Be aware that train tickets are sold out and you need to wait at the station to process them.

What is the cheapest way to get around in Vietnam? ›

Bus travel is cheap and convenient

Buses offer one of the cheapest ways to get around Vietnam, making them a big hit with budget travelers. They are also highly convenient, with the extensive bus network spanning to the far-flung corners of the country. You'll find at least one bus station in every town.

Is $100 a lot of money in Vietnam? ›

At the moment, a US$100 roughly equals VND 2,485,000. Most touristy places provide foreign exchange services, such as Hanoi, Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh City, Phu Quoc, Nha Trang, Hoi An, etc.

Should I bring US dollars to Vietnam? ›

Although the official currency is the Vietnam Dong (VND), many major stores and hotels in Vietnam also accept the US dollar. With a few exceptions, the Euro is not accepted anywhere. When you travel to Vietnam, it is handy if you bring some dollars.

Can I use American dollars in Vietnam? ›

Vietnamese Dong or US Dollar, which is the best currency to use in Vietnam? Most payments are made with Vietnamese Dong, but US dollars can be directly used for some hotels, restaurants, tours, or other services. You may see the prices for food, drinks, and souvenirs in Ho Chi Minh City's airport are all in US dollars.

Can I use my US debit card in Vietnam? ›

But beware — you'll pay twice as much if you pay with your US dollars, so exchange your money before you arrive in Vietnam. Credit cards, debit cards and cash are all accepted, but cash is by far the most accepted form of payment. Outside of major tourist areas, cash should be your primary go-to during your trip.

Do you tip in Vietnam? ›

Tipping isn't mandatory or customary in Vietnam, but it is always appreciated. If you're happy with the services provided by waiters, drivers and other service workers, leaving a small tip is a good way to show your appreciation.

How much money do you need for 2 weeks in Vietnam? ›

It depends on what kind of travelling you like to do; you will spend from just 600,000VND (~30 USD) for local style to over 1,400,000VND (~70USD) for luxury travel for 2 of you. It means that you should take 8,400,000VND (~420USD) to 19,600,000VND (~980USD) for spending during 2 weeks in Vietnam for food and drinks.

Which app is best for buying train tickets? ›

Here are some of the best train booking apps and websites that you can try to book your ticket next.
  1. MakeMyTrip. MakeMyTrip is one of the most extensively used sites used for any travel booking. ...
  2. ixigo Train Booking. ...
  3. Trainman. ...
  4. redRail. ...
  5. PayTM.
Mar 16, 2023

Which is the fastest website to book train tickets? ›

Look no further than RailYatri, an IRCTC authorised partner that offers a range of online Indian Railways train ticket booking services. With our platform, you can easily book your train tickets in just two minutes, making us the fastest train ticket booking app in the market.

How to book train tickets without paying? ›

  1. Login. Login into your IRCTC account using your User ID and password. ...
  2. Enter details. Once you log into IRCTC website, it will take you to the 'Plan My Journey' page. ...
  3. Book the ticket. Select the train as per your preference and click on 'book now' on the date of your choice. ...
  4. Payments Page. ...
  5. Register with e-Paylater.
Mar 9, 2018

What is the most luxurious train in Vietnam? ›

The Vietage car is the newest luxury addition to Vietnam's national railroad, offering private rooms, a marble bar, and three-course dining. I wander onto the station platform at Da Nang.

What is the safest way to get around in Vietnam? ›

By Bus. If your trip in Vietnam lasts for long days and you do not mind about comfort, getting around Vietnam by bus is the right choice, especially for independent travelers. Nearly every city of Vietnam can be reached by bus, but be warned that some rickety roads in Vietnam may not be for you.

How much is the train from Ho Chi Minh to Da Nang? ›

Ho Chi Minh City to Da Nang Train Schedule
Transport NameRoute TimePrice
Vietnam Railways VIP Sleeper06:45 - 00:28$45
Vietnam Railways Class II Sleeper AC09:20 - 05:05$83
Vietnam Railways VIP Sleeper10:40 - 06:18$48
VietJet Air Economy #VJ64013:20 - 14:40$42
7 more rows

How much money is enough for Vietnam trip? ›

Overall, a 10-day Vietnam trip from India can cost approximately INR 40,000-60,000 per person for budget travel, INR 60,000-80,000 per person for mid-range travel, and INR 1,00,000 and above per person for luxury travel. However, these costs can vary depending on your travel style and preferences.

How much do you tip a tour guide and driver in Vietnam? ›

Tour guides

That's why you are highly recommended to be extra generous to your tour guide, especially when traveling on a private tour. An average of 3-5 USD per day (70,000 VND 120,000 VND) is sufficient, but if you are very pleased, a maximum of 10 USD (230,000 VND) is still reasonable.

How much do you tip a private tour guide in Vietnam? ›

How much should I tip the Tour Guide in Vietnam. Normally, with private tour guide, the tip should be from 5 – 8 USD per day. However, with the group about 5 – 8 people or more, you should tip 2-3 USD/person/day.

How many train tickets do you start with in ticket to ride? ›

Players start with 1 locomotive card and 7 other random train cards in their hands. Players are also dealt 6 destination tickets of which they must keep at least 1. The destination tickets have 1 to 5 colored dots which match the colors of the train cards.

Can we buy train tickets directly? ›

Buying train tickets online is easy and quick. You will see the same train tickets online as you would be offered if you went to the ticket office at a station.

Can we book train tickets one day before? ›

You can reserve your ticket 60 days in advance, excluding the date of journey at the train originating station. At intermediate stations where the train arrives the following day, reservation can be done 61 days in advance. In the case of some intercity day express trains, the advance reservation period is less.

Is it better to purchase your ticket at the station or on the train? ›

To secure the best available fare, passengers should purchase tickets prior to boarding the train.

Is it best to book train tickets in advance? ›

Yes. Advance train tickets are usually the cheapest way to travel by train, and generally go on sale 12 weeks before your date of travel. You'll need to travel on the train you're booked on, but you'll get a cheaper price by foregoing flexible travel times.

When should I book my train tickets in advance? ›

At intermediate stations where the train arrives on the following day, such reservations can be done more than 120 days in advance of date of journey from the intermediate station. ARP is in relation to the date of journey from train originating station. In case of some Inter-city day trains, the ARP is less.

How far in advance can you book Vietnam trains? ›

Most routes on Vietnam Railways open 60 to 30 days before departure. Longer routes such as Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City will open closer to 60 days in advance while shorter routes such as Hue to Danang may open closer to 30 days prior to departure.

Which is official train booking app? ›

:: Syncing of IRCTC's Official Web Site ( and IRCTC Rail Connect Mobile App tickets. Now users can view or cancel train e-tickets booked through official website or IRCTC Rail Connect mobile app and vice-versa.

What app do you need in Vietnam? ›

Google Maps

On your trip to Vietnam, you should get real-time GPS navigation, traffic, and transit information, search for tourist attractions, shopping places, places to eat, drink and go, ATMs, petrol stations. Street View has been launched in many big cities.

What are the best travel dates for Vietnam? ›

The best time to visit Vietnam is from March to April when rainfall is low and temperatures are milder. In a country more than 1,600 kms (1,000 miles) long, the weather in Vietnam varies considerably as you go from north to south, from a temperate to a tropical climate.

What is the most scenic part of Vietnam? ›

Mekong Delta. Known as the 'Rice Bowl of Vietnam', the Mekong Delta is one of the most scenic regions of Vietnam. A land of winding waterways, mangrove forests, floating markets and lush green rice fields, life here is governed by the ebb and flow of southeast Asia's most iconic river.

Are there toilets on Vietnam trains? ›

Trains in Vietnam have both squat toilets, basically a hole in the floor of the train, and Western style toilets.

How much money do I need for 1 weeks in Vietnam? ›

Luxury budget (for 1 person)Medium Budget (for 1 person)
Total (for 1 day)approximately $310 and upapproximately $95 and up
Total (for 1 week)approximately $2100 and up (including going on tour everyday and one souvenir item)approximately $630 and up (including going on tour everyday and one souvenir item)
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How to book transportation in Vietnam? ›

It's best to book train tickets in advance. You can do this online or you can go to a counter at a Vietnamese station. If you want to book tickets for the same day, the faster trains and better seats will probably be sold already.

What is the most efficient way to get around in Vietnam? ›

Day trips by boat are the best way to see some regions

Vietnam has an enormous number of rivers that are at least partly navigable, but the most important by far is the Mekong and its tributaries. Scenic day trips by boat are possible on rivers in Hoi An, Nha Trang, Danang, Hue, Tam Coc and even HCMC.

What transport apps do they use in Vietnam? ›

Apps for transportation in Vietnam

Grab, Gojek, and Be are the three must-have transportation apps in Vietnam. Transportation apps will significantly help first-time travelers to avoid taxi scams and bargains as it provides drivers' information and upfront prices for each ride.

How to book Uber in Vietnam? ›

The TL;DR is no, there's not Uber in Vietnam, but there is the Grab app, where you can book a car or a scooter. Definitely get yourself an e-sim card so you have reliable data to book a car.

Which courier service is best for Vietnam? ›

Cost & delivery speeds for shipping to Vietnam from the US

USPS, UPS, DHL, and FedEx are all top carriers that make for reliable choices.

Do I need a guide in Vietnam? ›

A tour guide in Vietnam isn't a must, but they can be a happy addition to your journey to this far Eastern land. With careful research, you'll find yourself a guide who isn't just helpful, but also friendly for your amazing time in our country.

How much money do I need per day in Vietnam? ›

For a more comfortable backpacker experience in Vietnam, it's best to budget around $50 per day. This way, you'll have more money to spend on things like food, drinks, activities and hotel rooms. For a comfortable mid-range experience in Vietnam, it's best to budget $60 to $100 per day for your entire costs.

How do you pay for public buses in Vietnam? ›

Paying for the bus fare

You can give the money directly to them or put in in a box next to the driver, and receive a ticket from them or the machine. The bus fare usually varies from VND 6,000 to VND 40,000 depending on the types of bus and distance needed to travel. Note that they only accept Vietnamese Dong.

Is grab cheap in Vietnam? ›

Grab taxis are consistently very inexpensive. As of writing this, a 10-minute taxi ride in a Grab car only costs around 50k Vietnamese Dong ($2), and can accommodate up to 4 passengers.

What is the difference between Uber and grab? ›

Uber offers charges based on distance and time that customers take to travel, along with base fare whereas GrabCar charges a fixed rate basic which means you do not have to worry about getting shocked when you arrive at your destination.

How much does grab cost in Vietnam? ›

The company will raise prices of its GrabCar services in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi by 2,000 Vietnamese dong (US$0.088). Currently, GrabCar charges US$1.27 for the first two kilometers in four-seater vehicles, and US$1.49 for seven-seater vehicles. After that, the service costs US$0.022 per additional kilometer.

How long does it take to ship from USA to Vietnam? ›

Getting a package from the USA to Vietnam takes between 3-10 business days with fast delivery methods, about 10-20 business days with slower delivery methods, and about 20-30 business days with the slowest and cheapest delivery methods. ✈️ Does the FedEx ship to Vietnam? Yes, FedEx delivers to Vietnam.

How long does it take to ship a package from Vietnam to USA? ›

It takes 3-8 business days for port-to-port delivery and 8-16 for door-to-door. Express, or fast delivery, enables shipping any cargo in a short time.

What is the top online shop in Vietnam? ›

Most Visited eCommerce & Shopping Websites in Vietnam
1shopee.vneCommerce & Shopping > Marketplace
2lazada.vneCommerce & Shopping > Marketplace
3bachhoaxanh.comeCommerce & Shopping > eCommerce and Shopping - Other
4chotot.comeCommerce & Shopping > Classifieds
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