What means of transportation is available for traveling in Vietnam?
Travel in Vietnam is easier than it used to be. Routine travel in Vietnam between major cities and tour destinations is generally comfortable and hassle free. Independent travelers will sometimes be required to have some local knowledge to ensure a decent level of comfort.
By air: You can get almost anywhere while visiting Vietnam, but scheduled flights to some Vietnam travel destinations are few and late changes in aircraft type can sometimes impact travel plans. There are also many low-cost airlines worth checking out.
By train: Rail is generally slower than air or road, however they are great value for money. Lines run between Hanoi - Saigon, Hanoi - Lao Cai - Hekou (China) - Kunming (China), and Hanoi – Langson - Beijing (China). The train to China departs from Hanoi train station. You can join the train to Kunming at the Lao Cai station, but you can only join the train to Beijing from Hanoi. The train stations for some Vietnam travel destinations can be literally in the middle of nowhere. Footprint generally recommends AC soft-sleepers to their clients.
By local bus: Bus travel used to be available as only packed, sardine-style, into a hot and stuffy, smoke belching reject Russian 40-seater, with bicycles, motorbikes and maybe the odd pig strapped to the roof. For the true adventurer only! These buses are still around and popular with the locals as tickets are dirt cheap.
However, there is now a system of privately owned buses, open-tour buses, minivans (usually 12 to 16-seaters) connecting most sizeable cities with neighboring towns and cities. Alternatively you sk your travel consultants at Footprint how to get to your next travel destination by minivan.
In most of the cities you can find cyclo or xe om for transferring around, negotiate for prices before you jump on is a must.
Bicycle or motorbike rentals can be found in major cities like Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh Hue, or Hoi An, but make sure that you understand the traffic rules before riding.
On Foot: You may need to learn how to cross city streets, especially in Saigon and Hanoi, but generally foot travel is a great experience.
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