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Transportation in Vietnam: by Airlines

If you are visiting Vietnam with time constraints, taking an airplane is definitely the quickest way to travel within Vietnam. It’s safe, convenient, and not too expensive. Vietnam Airlines is the biggest and most popular airline company. 

airline

If you are looking to get between cities closer together, you can also look at taking a private car, and within cities many people will look at taxis and motorbikes to get around.

For those looking to travel through Vietnam on a budget, many people do choose to travel around Vietnam by bus or train too!

Quick Facts

  • The most convenient and efficient way to travel in Vietnam is by airplane.
  • There are over 20 airports in Vietnam, of which Tan Son Nhat International Airport (SGN) in Ho Chi Minh City is the largest.
  • There are 3 main airports in Vietnam. These are: Noi Bai International Airport (HAN) in Hanoi, Tan Son Nhat International Airport (SGN) in Ho Chi Minh City, and Da Nang International Airport (DAD) in Da Nang.
  • Six airline companies operate Vietnam’s domestic air routes. The biggest, most influential and reliable of these is Vietnam Airlines.
  • The most popular routes within Vietnam cost around USD 100 or less one-way.
  • There is no airport in Hoi An, and the nearest airport to Hoi An is Da Nang Airport, which is only a 30 km (19 mi) drive from Hoi An which takes about 45 minutes by private car.

5 Reasons for Taking a Flight around Vietnam

1. Time constraints

Vietnam is an S-shaped country with a north-to-south distance of about 1,650 kilometers (1,025 miles), and traveling by car, bus, or even train over such long distances can often prove to be prohibitively time-consuming.

This is probably the main reason to travel by airplane within Vietnam, especially if you are going from Hanoi all the way to Ho Chi Minh City or vice versa. (Hanoi vs Ho Chi Minh City)

2. Comfortability

3. Cost

While rail travel isn’t as bumpy as driving on Vietnam’s roads, it can actually be similar in price to airplane travel depending on your journey and is much more time consuming! See below for the estimates on traveling by train vs. airplane for some of Vietnam’s major domestic routes, to see how prices and duration of these journeys compare.

Route By Train By Airplane
Approx. Cost Approx. Duration Approx. Cost Approx. Duration
Hanoi to Hue USD 54 14 hours USD 60 1 hour 10 minutes
Hanoi to Da Nang USD 60 16 hours and 30 minutes USD 55 1 hour 20 minutes
Da Nang to Ho Chi Minh City USD 70 18 hours USD 50 1 hour 30 minutes

4. Schedule

Perhaps as a result of how fast airplanes are compared to trains and buses, and because there are so many airlines serving Vietnam’s domestic routes, there are many more flights to choose from than trains. This means that flying is much more convenient for your scheduling when traveling inside Vietnam because domestic flights in Vietnam are available from early in the morning until late in the evening.

5. Convenience

There are many professional English-speaking staff at the airport and on Vietnam’s airplanes, meaning the experience is generally more convenient for tourists to fly when compared to buses and trains where things can get a little confusing. Checking in for a train in Vietnam, for example, can be quite complicated while airports are much more familiar environments for everybody.

airport

Booking Flight Tickets in Vietnam

Tickets for domestic flights in Vietnam can be purchased online on any of the airline websites. Most airlines accept online payment, and issue e-tickets. You can take a look at flight schedules before booking your tickets, but it's important to mention here that the process isn’t always seamless.

It's better to purchase tickets from a travel agent. Ticket prices are the same as the published fare, and the entire process is comparatively hassle-free. Agents are reliable and have the schedules of all the airlines. For example, if you  make the reservation with Asia Highlights, we will inform you of any flight changes and help craft the best itinerary to suit your travel needs.

We do, however, advise that you double-check all details on your ticket to avoid any unwanted problems.

It is important to pay attention to baggage limits when booking domestic flights in Vietnam, as budget airlines usually charge extra for baggage fees of preferred seating.

Airline Baggage limits
Vietnam Airlines Check-in 23kg for free
Jetstar Pacific Carry-on 7kg, you can pay an additional fee to check-in items between 15-40kg
Air Mekong Check-in 20kg for free
VietJet Air Carry-on 7kg, you can pay an additional fee to check-in items between 15-40kg
VASCO Check-in 20kg for free

 

We recommend booking in advance to get a better deal on domestic airplane travel in Vietnam, and booking your additional baggage allowance in advance, if this is applicable for your journey, this will save you hassle at the airport too.

Best Airline in Vietnam - Vietnam Airlines

Of the 6 main airline companies in Vietnam, Vietnam Airlines — a state-owned corporation — is the biggest and most influential. It takes up approximately 70% of the domestic market share.

Other notable carriers include: Jetstar Pacific, Air Mekong, VietJet Air, Blue Sky Air, and VASCO.

Vietnam Airlines, however, remains the preferred airline for most visitors. It is popular among travelers as it's reliable, convenient, and has prices comparable to other airlines. We choose to stick with it when making reservations for our guests, due to its excellent reputation.

Popular Domestic Routes and Prices in Vietnam

Most visitors usually visit Hanoi, Hue, Hoi An, and Ho Chi Minh City. The flying sequence is: Hanoi (your port of entry in Vietnam) — Hanoi — Hue — private transfer to Hoi An — Hoi An to Da Nang International Airport by private transfer — Da Nang to Ho Chi Minh City — departure from Ho Chi Minh City

This is a similar route to our 13-Day Vietnam Classic Wonders with Sapa tour.

Some visitors want to include Phu Quoc Island in the above-mentioned itinerary. In this case, the new itinerary would be as follows: Hanoi (your port of entry in Vietnam) — Hanoi — Hue — private transfer to Hoi An — Hoi An to Da Nang International Airport by private transfer — Da Nang to Ho Chi Minh City — Phu Quoc Island — return to Ho Chi Minh City — departure from Ho Chi Minh City

We offer an amazing 15-Day Vietnam Exploration tour which also includes Phu Quoc Island.

Similarly, if you're keen on including either Mui Ne or Da Lat to the original itinerary, the new itinerary would be as follows: Hanoi (your port of entry in Vietnam) — Hue — private transfer to Hoi An — Hoi An to Da Nang International Airport — Da Nang to Mui Ne or Da Lat — Mui Ne or Da Lat to Ho Chi Minh City — departure from Ho Chi Minh City

Here's an easy-to-consult guide highlighting all the important flight routes within Vietnam, the airline companies operating these routes, and the prices for each:

 

Popular Routes Operating Airlines Price
Ho Chi Minh City—Hanoi Vietnam Airlines, Jetstar Pacific, Air Mekong About $100 (one-way)
Ho Chi Minh City—Da Nang Vietnam Airlines and Jetstar Pacific About $70 (one-way)
Hanoi—Da Nang Vietnam Airlines and Jetstar Pacific About $70 (one-way)
Hanoi—Phu Quoc Air Mekong About $85 (one-way)
Ho Chi Minh City—Phu Quoc Vietnam Airlines and Air Mekong About $50 (one-way) 

NB: The prices mentioned above are approximate.

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