Getting around in Vietnam
topography and available infrastructure are important considerations
in tour design. Our target will always be to balance the
attractiveness of the destination with the time and cost
taken to get there.
you travel with Haivenu, all transfers from airports, harbours,
stations or whatever will be included in your itinerary, unless
you request otherwise. In each case, you will travel in a
private vehicle driven by an experienced safe driver. Vehicles
on highway and city routes will be high-quality, air-conditioned,
and allow plenty of room. In more remote areas, 4-wheel drive
vehicles or Jeeps may be used.
At present, only Highway 1 links the north and south of Vietnam
along the narrow coastal strip. It’s mostly a single carriageway
road with dual sections passing through towns and villages.
Goods and passenger traffic is usually heavy, and there are
many accident black spots. Flooding during the late autumn
monsoon season in the central area sometimes makes Highway
second north-south highway is based on the wartime Ho Chi Minh
Trail. It follows an inland route thorough what was previously
remote areas. Its purpose is three-fold: to alleviate congestion,
to provide an alternative when the Highway 1 link is severed,
and as part of a strategic plan to open up the development
potential of the remote areas along the Annamite mountain
the majority of roads range from reasonable to awful. Journey
times are therefore much longer than those in developed countries.
you travel with Haivenu, your itinerary will be designed to
eliminate unnecessary road travel wherever possible, and use
the most interesting routes where it’s essential to travel
by road. Your vehicle will always be less than a couple of
years old, and be driven by a fully licensed experienced driver
with a first-class safety record. Because you will be on a
private tour, you can stop off whenever and wherever you wish.
All internal flights are by Vietnam Airlines or its subsidiary,
Pacific Airlines. Both use well-maintained modern aircraft
and have excellent safety records. Airport procedures are
straightforward. Both companies are opening up new routes
and the government is investing in the supporting infrastructure.
The new Cam Ranh terminal has allowed Nha Trang to join Danang,
Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City as an international airport, and
local connections to provincial towns and offshore islands
are being expanded.
lack of competition means fares are comparatively expensive
and, apart from occasional promotions, no discounts.
you travel with Haivenu, and your itinerary included domestic
flights, you’ll receive your tickets on arrival or well in
advance of the flight. We’re a licensed ticket agency for
internal flights, so there will be no problems with bought
The main railway is single track and follows the route of
Highway 1, often running alongside. Journey times are long,
but sleeping compartments are available on the long-distance
flagship of Vietnam Railways is the daily E1 express service,
popularly known as the
has the best rolling stock, and makes the journey from Hanoi
to Ho Chi Minh City, or vice versa, in thirty hours.
trains ply the same route. The S1 is also a daily express,
but a bit slower than the E1. Others stop at local stations
en-route. There are also a few branch
lines, notably extensions from Hanoi
to Ha Long City and to Sa
Pa via Lao Cai station,
where it connects with China’s rail network.
to travel from north to south and vice versa, and to intermediate
destinations, can be bought in advance only at Hanoi, Nha
Trang and Ho Chi Minh City stations. Tickets to travel from
intermediate destinations are only available at the local
station, and there is no guarantee that the preferred seats
or berths will be available. At busy times, trains are full.
you travel with Haivenu, and your itinerary includes a rail
journey from an intermediate station, one of our local representatives
will buy the correct tickets in advance on your behalf – you’ll
be given them when you arrive.
Most travel by water is for sightseeing or on ferries: there
are no routes that link more than a couple of coastal centres.
Where water travel is essential, there is usually a choice
between fast and slow boats. The latter are usually the ships
that carry supplies and passengers to outlying villages and
islands and seem to take forever.
are hydrofoil services in some places - from Ha Long to Mong
Cai on the border with China, from Hai Phong to Cat Ba and
from Ho Chi Minh City to various destinations in the Mekong,
recent innovation is a well-appointed 26-cabin cruise boat
that plies up and down the Bassac River between Phnom Penh
and Ho Chi Minh City. We have some reservations about the
service provided - full details to follow.
you travel with Haivenu, the boats you use will always comply
with safety regulations and be fully licensed where necessary.
For smaller boats, such as sampans, kayaks or dug-out canoes,
you will always be accompanied and offered a lifejacket.