India to Vietnam Travel-Detailed Planning Guide

This post is designed to serve as one stop guide for all my posts on Vietnam and answers most of the FAQs

Reasons to visit Vietnam
There're many reasons to visit Vietnam
  1. Unlike earlier, direct flights are now available between India and Vietnam on VietJetAir and Indigo
  2. Not at all an expensive place to visit
  3. Lots of natural beauty, scenic locations to explore
  4. Remnants of Vietnam War
  5. Easy Visa process
  6. Can be clubbed with a visit to Cambodia or Thailand
  7. Less visited by Indians compared to Thailand or Malaysia
How many days to spend in Vietnam?
Minimum 1 week recommended, to get a good feel of Vietnam and visit key places of interest. 2 weeks ideal. More if you have time and budget.

Should we take a package tour? or is it easy to manage on our own?
It is very easy to manage on our own.

  • Book flights as per your convenience. 
  • Book hotels/hostels in city centre as per your budget and preference on booking.com
  • Every street in Hanoi/Ho Chi Minh city has several travel shops who sell day trips at competitive prices. You can walk in, explore options, compare prices and book tours for next day. Often cheaper than booking online or taking packages
  • Airports have public transport to reach city centre. 

What should be typical Vietnam visit itinerary be like?
If you have less than a week, I would recommend stay focused on either Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh city. You can stay in city, take day trips to various attractions around the city. I've given a high level plan below of most popular options. Customize as per your interest, time and city you are visiting
Day
Ex Hanoi
Ex Ho Chi Minh City
Others Options
01
Arrive, city local
Arrive, city local
Enter via Hanoi, 3-4 days, fly to Ho Chi Minh City, 2-3 days, Return from Ho Chi Minh City
02
Perfume Pagoda day tour
Cu Chi tunnels half day tour
Visit Tier 2 cities like Hoi An or Da Nang etc
03
Halong Bay Day tour
Mekong Delta day tour
Sapa trek- 2/3 days ex-Hanoi
04
Ninh Binh & Tam Coc
Saigon city tour- Museums, palace, post office, tower etc
Halong bay overnight stay/cruise
05
Hanoi City attractions
Relaxed day/train to nearby cities
Walking tours, cultural trails
06
More day trips/Return flight
Return flight


Major cities to explore in Vietnam
  • Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) are two major cities
  • Da Nang (airport code DAD) has Air Asia flight and is famous for the gigantic hand of God bridge
  • Hoi An and several other Tier 2 cities have their own unique charm to explore if you have more time
  • Phu Quoc is a small island town



My already published Vietnam blog posts
Below is a complete list of my Bali blog posts covering various attractions, tips, itinerary, reviews and more:
Planning your visit to Vietnam
Experiences & Day trips
Stay & Food
Other Vietnam related Posts

1) Agent Orange
2) Vietnam tourist scams- alerts and tips
3) Vietnam vs Thailand- Similarities and differences
4) View of Saigon from observation deck
Traveling to Vietnam
Other Destination Guides
Cheapest possible return fares: 12-14k INR (Vietjetair from DEL, Indigo from Kolkata or Air Asia sale)

Normal fare: 18-20k

Domestic flights within Vietnam- INR 2000-3000 one way (Check JetStar)
3) Maldives Travel Guide 
4) Bali travel Guide

Visiting Vietnam- Budget Estimate
  • Flights from India: Cheapest- INR 12000+ return (Airasia sale, VietJet Air from Delhi, Indigo from Kolkata), normal fare is about 18000-20000 INR from most Indian cities
  • Stay: Hostels from INR 700 equivalent per night onwards, factor INR 2000 for mid range and INR 5000+ for luxury resorts
  • Day tours: Typically cost around 30-50 USD per person, depends on operator, distance etc.
  • Bike Rental- Indian License is not valid to rent bike in Vietnam. International License (IDP) needed
  • Food: INR 200 per meal for budget food- Approx INR 500 per day per person onwards. Tender coconut 25000-30000 VND 
Thus for a family of 4, one week Vietnam trip can cost about 1.5-1.8 lakh rupees (20k*4=80k in flight tickets, 5k per day for 2 decent hotel rooms * 7 days= 35k for stay, Food 14000 INR (500 per day* 4 people * 7 days) USD 40 avg per day tour * 4 people * 3 day tours= 480 USD for day trips i.e. 30000 INR approx for sight seeing, another 20-25k miscellaneous spending (watersports, spa, shopping etc). If done in extreme budget, with cheap flight tickets, one can possibly do the same for about 1.1-1.2 lakhs total.

Vietnam local currency info (VND)
Vietnam's local currency is VND or Vietnamese Dong. 1 INR is roughly 325 VND. Indian forex agents are very unlikely to stock VND, so you are better off carrying USD and converting locally or using ATM withdrawal.

USD is widely accepted in Vietnam, vendors prefer cash over card payment.
For a family of four, one week Vietnam trip would need two to three million VND (or USD 1000) excluding flight & stay expenses.

How easy it is to find Indian Veg food in Vietnam?
Not very easy. Big cities like Hanoi and Saigon do have good Indian Restaurants. In other cities it will be difficult. But rice is easily available, fruits and vegetables as well. Thus possible to manage overall.

Vietnam:  What is the best season to visit?
Vietnam is good to visit all through the year. Some rain is expected during monsoon months (June to September) but is usually manageable.

Vietnam Tourist Visa Information
Indians need to apply and get e-Visa for Vietnam- Valid for entry at select airports only- Upon arrival you have to get a proper visa stamped on the passport before passing through immigration.

Vietnam alternative destinations:
Phuket has similar landscape and attractions. Indonesia and Philippines (Palawan) could be other alternatives.

Things you should keep in mind while visiting Vietnam
1) Most people are very friendly, but stay alert for possible tourist frauds
2) Many people speak decent English, so language won't be a problem
3) Some day tours are weather dependent- like Ha Long bay cruise can be cancelled if weather is not favorable. Don't keep it for your last day and also check cancellation/refund policy.
4) Beware of health issues, mosquitoes

Extending your trip to Vietnam
- Many visit Vietnam & Cambodia together. Even Laos is a good choice.

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