Vietnam: Luxury on a Budget

Access and Resources
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A blurred motorcycle taxi in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
MAKE SENSE OF IT ALL: A hurried moment in Ho Chi Minh (Philippe Colombi/Photographer's Choice/Getty)

Getting There and Around
U.S. visitors must have a tourist visa to enter Vietnam, which can be obtained in under two weeks for a $65 fee from the Vietnam Embassy.

Plenty of U.S. and other international carriers offer long-haul fights to Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, and inland transport is easy to arrange (either via private car or by bus). Once you're on the ground, you can maximize your time in country by taking advantage of inexpensive air and rail travel. The country's transportation infrastructure is still developing, but Vietnam Airlines is quite reliable. Only one catch: the airlines does not yet offer online booking; travelers may purchase tickets through one of the airline's international booking offices or tour operators.

For shorter distances, consider hiring a private car and driver, which can be arranged through tour operators and hotels—or simply by asking a friendly taxi driver.

Tour Operators
Aussie-based Intrepid Travel is one of the region's best, working with local, indigenous populations. They've also started to offer a slew of great single- and half-day adventures in cities throughout Southeast Asia.

Other local outfitters include Exotissimo, Buffalo Tours, and Indochina Services.

Published: 25 Dec 2008 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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