Two Wheeled Supremacy: Travelling around Vietnam
Transportation in Vietnam, especially in big cities like Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, can be chaotic and confusing for foreigners. Many even called it an “organised chaos!” However, you can easily find services like taxis, Uber, Grab, Easy Riders, among others.
Taxis are really cheap and you can find them everywhere. However you might find the occasional fake taxi, especially around the tourist areas, so be careful.
Did you know that there are more than 38 million motorcycles in Vietnam? That’s 18 times more than cars! That means that mopeds are make up more than 90% of the whole country’s vehicles. The main reason why there are more motorcycles than cars is certainly because the cities are extremely compact and dense. Also, no license is necessary for motorcycles under 50cc, or electric bikes!
It is quite impressive what Vietnamese locals can balance and transport on just a motorcycle, from live animals to stacks of chairs. If you see 4 dogs and an entire family on just one motorcycle, don’t be surprised!
Uber versus Grab
Uber started operating in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh in mid-2014.
It offers 5 types of transportation services, UberMoto, UberBlack, UberX, UberSUV and UberTOUR. Since Vietnam loves motorcycles, UberMoto it may be faster to travel with the motorbike due to traffic jams. They are also a very cheap form of transportation. UberX is a low-cost Uber, while you can also use UberTOUR for longer trips.
Prices with Uber are almost one third versus Vietnamese taxi services due to their promotion programs.
Uber not only offers transportation services, but also delivery services. Since September 2017, UberDELIVERY delivers your food from your favorite restaurant to your doorstep.
Uber is not the only company offering transportation services with an app. Grab is their main rival in Vietnam, who also started operating in 2014. It was the top-ranked ride-hailing app in 2017 in Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. In this case, Grab has 3 types of transportation services, GrabTaxi which are regular taxis, GrabCar which are private vehicles and, like Uber, Grab also has a motorcycle taxi service, which is very unique to Vietnam. GrabExpress it’s their delivery service.
Taking the bus is probably the cheapest way to get around Vietnam. The bus network is very extensive and goes across the country.
Every province in Vietnam has a main bus terminal,, mainly in the big cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. These are interprovincial buses. Prices always depend on where you want to go and which type of seat you choose. There are travel agencies who can help you buy a ticket in advance.
Wherever you go, I advise only to buy bus tickets of registered booths from large companies inside the bus terminals.
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