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Travel to Vietnam from India | Everything you need to know

November 24, 2023

Vietnam is a beautiful Southeast Asian country that has become an increasingly popular travel destination in recent years. For travelers coming from India, Vietnam offers a completely different culture, cuisine, landscapes, and experiences that make it a unique and exciting place to visit. Here is everything you need to know about traveling to Vietnam from India.

Hoi An, Vietnam

Hoi An, Vietnam

How far is Vietnam from India? Is it worth visiting?

Vietnam is located about 2,500 km (1,553 miles) southeast of India, separated by the Bay of Bengal. This makes it easily accessible by direct flights, which take around 4-5 hours from major Indian cities like Delhi and Mumbai.

Despite the distance, a trip to Vietnam is absolutely worth the journey for Indian travelers. Some key reasons why Vietnam is a great destination from India include:

  • Affordable: Vietnam is very budget-friendly, especially compared to Europe. Food, accommodation, and activities are all quite cheap.
  • Distinct culture: Vietnamese culture has been shaped by centuries of Chinese and French influence. This blend offers something unique from India.
  • Stunning scenery: From misty mountains to emerald rice paddies to towering limestone islands, Vietnam’s landscapes are breathtaking.
  • Delectable cuisine: Vietnamese food like pho noodle soup and banh mi sandwiches are globally beloved. India has nothing quite like it.
  • Exciting cities: Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City offer a buzzing urban vibe, while ancient towns like Hoi An have historic architecture.
  • Tropical beaches: With a 3,000 km coastline, Vietnam has renowned beach destinations like Nha Trang, Phu Quoc, and Mui Ne.

So for Indian travelers looking for somewhere exotic yet affordable and filled with diversity, Vietnam is absolutely worthwhile. The cultural rewards outweigh the long flight.

How to travel to Vietnam from India?

There are four main options for getting to Vietnam from India: by sea, air, land, or rail. Here is an overview of each route:

By sea

  • Taking a cruise ship from India to Vietnam involves sailing around Southeast Asia. Companies like Royal Caribbean offer itineraries with stops in Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore before reaching Vietnam.
  • The journey takes 1-2 weeks, giving you time to experience several destinations. However, it is expensive compared to other options.

By air

  • Flying is the most popular and fastest way to reach Vietnam from India. There are direct flights available from New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Chennai, and Hyderabad with airlines like VietJet Air, IndiGo, Air India, and more.
  • Flights take about 4-5 hours and are affordable, often starting around ₹10,000 roundtrip. This makes air travel the convenient choice for most travelers.

By train

  • It is possible to reach Vietnam by train using routes that connect India with Southeast Asia. The India-Vietnam railway route goes through Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos over 5-6 days.
  • While very scenic, train travel to Vietnam from India is not very efficient or comfortable currently. Seats often sell out fast and visa requirements can make hopping borders complicated.

By road

  • Going from India to Vietnam overland by road is adventurous but challenging. It involves driving through Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. This route has basic infrastructure in parts and requires multiple visas.
  • Hiring a private driver or joining a guided tour group is recommended for road trips. While grueling, it allows you to see rural areas along the way.

Do Indian passport holders need a Visa to Vietnam?

Yes, Indian citizens must obtain a visa before traveling to Vietnam. Some key points about getting a Vietnam visa as an Indian passport holder:

  • Visas can be obtained in advance through the Vietnam Diplomatic Mission visa on arrival service. This takes 5-7 working days to process and costs around ₹2,500.
  • Another option is to get visa on arrival approval letters through private operators, which you present at immigration upon landing in Vietnam. This costs around ₹2,000.
  • Standard tourist visas are single-entry and valid for 30 days. Multiple-entry visas valid for 3-6 months can also be obtained if needed.
  • Overall, getting a Vietnam visa as an Indian is straightforward. Just be sure to arrange it at least 2-3 weeks prior to your trip.

Where and When to go Vietnam?

Vietnam’s latitude means it has a tropical climate with warm weather year-round. However, there are distinct regional variations and seasons to consider when planning your trip.

Northern Vietnam

  • The north has a humid subtropical climate with cool, misty winters from November to March. Summers are hot and rainy from May to September.
  • October and April are pleasant shoulder seasons with moderate temperatures. Key destinations are Hanoi, Halong Bay, Sapa, and Mai Chau.

Central Vietnam

  • Central Vietnam around Hue, Danang, and Hoi An has a tropical monsoon climate. The dry season is from January to August, with peak heat in July-August.
  • September to December sees more rainfall but fewer tourists, making hotel rates cheaper. Chrysanthemum festivals happen in October-November.

Southern Vietnam

  • The south gets a tropical savanna climate with dry winters from November to April and the rainy season May to October.
  • December to February offers cool, comfortable weather ideal for exploring Ho Chi Minh City” the Mekong Delta, and beaches like Nha Trang and Phu Quoc.

Accommodation – Where should I book a hotel?

Vietnam offers a wide range of accommodation from budget hostels to luxury resorts. Where you stay depends on your preferences and budget. Here are some recommendations by city:

Hanoi

  • Old Quarter – Stay near Hoan Kiem Lake for walking access to attractions. Budget hotels like Hanoi Backpackers, or mid-range options like Tirant Hotel.
  • French Quarter – Boutique hotels with historic charm like Sofitel Metropole Legend or Apricot Hotel.
  • West Lake – Homestays and serviced apartments on the shores of the lake.

Halong Bay

  • Cruise boat – For the scenic bay, book an overnight cruise with kayaking and dining. Options range from budget to luxury.
  • Bai Chay – Main tourist town on the mainland near the bay with many mid-range beach resorts.

Hoi An

  • Old Town – Charming boutique inns and lane houses along the river like Vinh Hung Heritage Hotel.
  • An Bang Beach – Seaside resorts like Anantara Hoi An for beach access.

Ho Chi Minh City

  • District 1 – Modern high-rise hotels close to attractions, like Hotel des Arts Saigon.
  • District 5 – Local authenticity among the china shops, with hip hostels like The Common Room Project.

Overall, Vietnam has accommodation across budgets. Book early for popular areas during peak season. Homestays and Airbnbs are also great local options.

Best Vietnamese Food You Have to Try in Vietnam

Vietnam has one of the world’s best cuisines. With flavor influences from China, France, and Thailand, Vietnamese food is light yet complex in taste. Here are 10 iconic dishes and drinks to try:

  • Pho: A bowl of steaming rice noodles and meat in broth, topped with herbs. Available for breakfast everywhere.
  • Banh mi: The famous Vietnamese baguette sandwiches filled with pork, pâté, pickled veggies and chili.
  • Bun cha: Grilled pork with rice noodles, herbs, and fish sauce. Obama and Bourdain shared it here.
  • Cao lau: Hokkien-style noodles mixed with pork, greens, and croutons, found in Hoi An.
  • Banh xeo: Crispy Vietnamese crepes filled with pork, shrimp, and bean sprouts.
  • Goi cuon: Refreshing fresh summer rolls with vegetables and herbs wrapped in rice paper.
  • Com tam: Broken rice topped with grilled pork chops, fried egg and fish sauce.
  • Pho cuon: Pho noodles rolled up fresh in rice paper topped with greens and chili.
  • Ca phe trung: Silky egg coffee, with beaten egg yolk in strong black coffee.
  • Bia hoi: Fresh draught beer for less than ₹20 per glass, served daily around Hanoi.

Be adventurous and try everything from street food carts to fine dining. Vietnamese cuisine offers incredible complexity of flavors at affordable prices.

Getting around in Vietnam

Vietnam offers diverse options for navigating between cities and within them. Choose based on your budget, time, and travel style. Here are main transportation modes:

  • Air: Fast connections between Hanoi, Danang, Nha Trang, and Ho Chi Minh City via Vietnam Airlines or budget carriers.
  • Overnight trains: Reliable way to travel long routes on comfortable berths. Popular routes are Hanoi-Hue and Hanoi-Saigon.
  • Buses: Extensive network of public and private buses linking all destinations. Sleeper buses do longer routes.
  • Taxis: Best way to get around cities. Use Vinasun, Mai Linh or Grab taxis apps for convenience. Bargain hard with ride-hailing apps.
  • Motorbike: Common local way to get around. International driving permit required to rent bikes over 50cc capacity.
  • Cyclos and cycle rickshaws: Slow, fun transport for shorter distances within cities and towns. Bargain on fares.
  • Boats: Ferries and hydrofoils connect islands and along the Mekong Delta. Ha Long Bay is best seen on cruise boats.

Language can be a barrier, so download offline maps and translation apps. Overall, Vietnam has cheap, easy transport options to suit every traveler’s needs and budget.

What should I buy as souvenirs in Vietnam?

Vietnam is a shopper’s paradise, with many unique, locally made souvenirs. Here are 10 top purchases:

  • Traditional ao dai: The graceful Vietnamese tunic worn over pants. Have one tailored from silk in 24 hours.
  • Conical hat: Non la, the iconic Vietnamese nón lá farmers hat, often seen in the rice fields.
  • Vietnamese coffee: Buy gourmet coffee beans or powder like Vietnamese weasel coffee.
  • Lacquered paintings: Unique Vietnamese art form of engraved artwork on wood or eggshells.
  • Ceramics: Vietnamese pottery like Celadon, wood-fired stoneware, and other glazed pieces.
  • Silk lanterns: Colorful handmade paper or silk lanterns in many shapes to hang in your home.
  • Wood carvings: Intricate figures, jewelry boxes, chopsticks and more carved in fragrant wood.
  • Vietnamese tea: Tins of premium lotus tea, jasmine tea, and other herbal blends.
  • Pepper products: Vietnam produces amazing peppercorns. Bring back pepper sauces, salts etc.
  • Snack souvenirs: Dried fruits, candied coconut slices, ginger candy, green mung bean cakes etc.

Shop at local markets, artisan workshops, and even cafes. Haggle respectfully, pay in Vietnamese Dong, and enjoy the Vietnamese shopping experience.

Tips for traveling from India to Vietnam

Here are some key tips for Indians making the trip to Vietnam:

  • Get vaccinated against typhoid, hepatitis A, and flu before departure. Malaria meds may be needed for rural areas.
  • Bring insect repellent and sunscreen – the tropical sun is strong. Light cottons and hats are best.
  • Indians need a visa when entering Vietnam.
  • US dollars and debit/credit cards are widely accepted in Vietnam. Inform your bank before travel.
  • Pack medications you require, as specific brands may not be available there.
  • Vietnam is relatively safe for travelers. Exercise the usual precautions.
  • Download the Grab/ SM Taxi app for the best taxi rates. Offline Google Translate helps with the language barrier.
  • Respect local culture, try using basic Vietnamese phrases, and dress modestly when visiting religious sites.
  • For longer travel, consider getting a local prepaid SIM with data.
  • Be cautious of street food hygiene, and drink only bottled water to avoid Delhi belly.

Travel in Vietnam is affordable and rewarding for Indians willing to make the trip. Prepare well, travel slow, eat lots of pho, and enjoy this fascinating country!

FAQs

Do I need any vaccinations for Vietnam?
Hepatitis A, typhoid, and flu shots are recommended. Malaria medication may be required if going to rural areas. Discuss with your doctor.

What is the best time of year to visit Vietnam?
The dry seasons from December-April up north and November-April down south are ideal weather-wise. February is a good overall time with fewer tourists.

How much does a trip to Vietnam cost for Indians?
Excluding flights, about ₹2,500-5,000 a day per person covers mid-range lodging, food, transport and activities. It’s suitable for most budgets.

Is it easy for vegetarians to travel in Vietnam?
Yes, Vietnamese cuisine has many vegetarian-friendly options using tofu and vegetables. Just learn key phrases to communicate dietary needs clearly.

Can I use my credit card in Vietnam?
Cards from major providers like Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted in cities. But always carry cash, especially for rural areas. Inform your bank before travel.

Is it safe for solo female travelers?
Absolutely. Vietnam sees many solo female travelers and is relatively safe. Take usual precautions and avoid isolated areas at night.

Conclusion

For Indians seeking an affordable yet utterly different cultural and travel experience, Vietnam is a perfect option that offers tremendous value. Savor the chaotic energy of Hanoi, wander charming Hoi An, cruise Halong Bay, eat your weight in pho and banh mi, and you’ll have an unforgettable adventure that you need not break the bank for if planned right. Visa paperwork is worth the effort, and Vietnam will greet you with open arms.

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