When you visit Vietnam as a tourist, you will likely stay in the city center or resorts. You may want to dine at a famous restaurant or visit a location near your accommodation. In such cases, how would you choose to get around? If the distance is short, around 1 or 2 kilometers, walking is a good option. However, for longer distances, you will need to book transportation services, but you may be unsure which type of service to choose. Here are some transportation services for short distances within the city that we recommend, along with some tips for selecting them.
Read more: Expenses For Your Vietnam Trip
The transportation infrastructure in Vietnam is not well-developed, so bus services are not always reliable. They can be overcrowded and may not align with your intended route, so we advise against using this service while traveling.
In Vietnam, there are several taxi companies. If you are traveling in a group of around 4-6 people, taxis can be a convenient mode of transportation. The prices among taxi companies do not vary significantly, and the quality of service is generally good. However, this holds true only if you choose a reputable taxi company and avoid encountering fraudulent taxis. In reality, there are many taxis standing on the streets with signs and logos of well-known taxi companies, but they are fake. If you unintentionally hire such a taxi, you may end up paying a fare that is two to five times higher than the actual price. If you are asked to pay an excessively high fare, contact someone who can assist you in reporting the incident to the local authorities. These impostor taxi drivers are often afraid of this because they can face severe penalties.
To avoid falling victim to fraudulent taxis, it is advisable to book a taxi through the phone number displayed on each vehicle or ask someone to help you book a reliable one.
Typically, the cost ranges from 13,000 to 15,000 VND per kilometer.
Motorbike Taxi (Xe ôm)
Motorbike taxis, known as “xe ôm” in Vietnam, refer to the service of renting a motorbike with a driver. This service is suitable when you are traveling alone. Motorbike taxi drivers usually wait at intersections, near restaurants, or crowded pedestrian areas. When you want to go somewhere, simply let them know and don’t forget to ask about the fare for that distance. Only use the service if you both agree on the route and price. It is not recommended to wait until you reach the destination to inquire about the fare, as they may demand a higher price.
Typically, the cost ranges from 8,000 to 10,000 VND per kilometer.
Cyclo (Xích lô)
Cyclos are only suitable for short distances in the central streets of the city. Each cyclo can accommodate two passengers and offers a leisurely way to admire the city streets. If the weather is nice, it can be an interesting mode of transportation. However, the cost of this service is relatively high. Typically, cyclo drivers charge based on the distance, so it is important to negotiate the price beforehand, as they may initially demand a high fare.
Booking Cars or Motorbikes through Mobile Applications
This form of booking transportation is very popular in Vietnam. Since its introduction, traditional taxi and motorbike taxi services have experienced a significant decline in customers. One of the advantages of this type of booking is that you can avoid scams where taxis or motorbike taxis charge exorbitant prices. All fares are transparently displayed on the app as soon as you input your pick-up and drop-off locations.
In Vietnam, there are several technology-based transportation service providers, but the most popular one is Grab, a company from Singapore. If you already have a Grab account from another country, you can use it in Vietnam.
If you don’t have a Grab account, follow these steps:
- Install the Grab app from the iOS or Android app store.
- Activate your account using your phone number (It’s best to use a local SIM card you purchased in Vietnam).
- Choose Grab car, input your pick-up and drop-off locations, and after confirming, you will be provided with the vehicle’s license plate and driver information.
Once you have a Grab account, it will be much easier to book rides and move around cities in Vietnam at a relatively reasonable cost (cheaper than traditional taxis). Most importantly, you can avoid being scammed while booking a ride on the street.
If you are unable to create a Grab account for booking, you can ask someone you know to book a ride for you, and you can reimburse them for the cost. If you don’t know anyone or can’t create a Grab account, you can still use traditional taxi services, but be cautious when choosing them.
We have just provided you with guidance on choosing transportation services in Vietnamese cities that are convenient and reasonably priced. Among the options mentioned, booking rides through mobile applications offers the most peace of mind for travelers. If you are traveling within the city center for short distances, choosing a cyclo can also be a fun experience. Have a pleasant journey, and don’t hesitate to leave a comment if you have any questions.