Travel to Vietnam
Flying to Vietnam
The national airline is Vietnam Airlines (VN) (www.vietnamairlines.com) who run direct flights from London Gatwick to Hanoi. It is served by many airlines via nearby hubs, including Cathay Pacific (www.cathaypacific.com) and Thai International (www.thaiairways.com). Flights to Vietnam are at their most expensive around Christmas, New Year and Tet (January/February).
A new international terminal was opened at Ho Chi Minh City in 2007 but plans have already been approved for an out-of-town airport which will relegate Tan Son Nhat to domestic flights only.
Included in the price of the ticket.
Travel by rail
It is possible to cross into Vietnam from China by rail from Beijing- Dong Dang-Hanoi and back. Contact Vietnam Railways (tel: (04) 3942 3949; www.vr.com.vn) for details.
A very useful number in Vietnam is 1080 where English-speaking operators can give information on timetables.
Driving to Vietnam
There is a regular bus service from Phnom Penh, Cambodia, operated by the Saigon Passenger Transport Company (tel: (08) 3920 3623; www.saigonbus.com.vn). There are bus services from Vientiane, Laos to Hanoi and Savannakhet, Laos to Hue and tickets for these must be bought in person from the bus station and neither journey is the most comfortable of rides. There are no buses travelling from China that cross into Vietnam. Passengers have to change buses at the border.
Getting to Vietnam by boat
The only international arrival point into Vietnam with a regular ferry service is Chau Doc in the Mekong Delta. There are daily speedboat ferries from Phnom Penh along the Mekong River taking 4.5 – 5 hours. Cruise ships call at Ho Chi Minh City, Nha Trang, Danang and Haiphong.
Blue Cruiser (tel: (08) 3926 0253; www.bluecruiser.com) operate a daily speedboat service between Chau Doc in the Mekong Delta and Phnom Penh. Guests of the Victoria Hotel in Chau Doc can use their daily service to Phnom Penh (tel: (076) 386 5010; www.victoriahotels-asia.com).
Cruise ships call at Ho Chi Minh City, Nha Trang, Danang and Haiphong.
Travelling along the mighty Mekong River from Phnom Penh to Chau Doc is a very special way to arrive.