A Starter Guide To Vietnam For Indian Tourists
Vietnam the eastern most South East Asian country of continental Asia, has long been my favorite country to travel, since I went there about 5 years back for the first time.
This country has become one of the most preferred destinations for Indians to travel, not only because it is cheap but also the large variety of things to see and do in Vietnam.
When I went there for the first time, I might have been the only Indian under 25 to visit Vietnam in my gap year. But, in the last few years there have been many Indians are visiting Vietnam, not only for business purpose but also for leisure and tourism.
Much information has already been written, but the following starter guide to Vietnam is written for the Indian traveler.
How To Fly To Vietnam From India?
There are no direct flights between Indian and Vietnam airports. The only option is to transit via a third country in South East Asia. The following are the options one could consider.
The major airports in Vietnam are Tan Son Nhat International Airport (IATA: SGN) in Ho Chi Minh City, Noi Bai International Airport (IATA: HAN) in Hanoi and Da Nang International Airport (IATA: DAD) in Da Nang. The three most popular airlines are – the national carrier Vietnam Airlines, Jetstar Pacific and VietJet Air.
–> via Thailand – There are plenty of flights from India to Thailand. One could fly Air India, Jet Airways, IndiGo, Spice Jet, Thai Air or Air Asia to Bangkok and then fly to either Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang or Hanoi on Thai Air, Air Asia, Vietnam Airlines, Nok Air, Lion Air or VietJet.
–> via Singapore – Air India, Jet Airways, IndiGo, Spice Jet, Singapore Airlines, Silk Air and Tiger Air files to Singapore form most of the South Indian cities including Hyderabad, Chennai, Kochi and Bangalore. Check the airlines official website for more flights. From Singapore you could fly to HCMC, Da Nang or Hanoi either on Tiger Air, Singapore Airlines, Jet Star, VietJet and Vietnam Airlines.
–> via Malaysia – First you need to fly to Kuala Lumpur either on Air India, Jet Airways, IndiGo, Spice Jet, Air Asia, Malindo Air or Malaysia Airlines and then take another flight any of the cities in Vietnam. Options from KL to Vietnam include Air Asia, Jet Star, Vietnam Airlines, Malaysia Airlines and VietJet.
Remember you do not need a visa if you are transiting via any of the above countries and both your flights are booked under the same PNR. Your luggage will be checked to your final destination.
Personally, I always fly Malaysia Airlines because of its association with One World Alliance.
Vietnam Visa For Indians
Yes, Indian passport holders need a visa to visit Vietnam. But you do not need to visit the embassy for a visa. Here is how to do it.
Firstly, you need to get a Vietnam visa approval letter from one of the immigration approved travel agents like Vietnam-Visa. This can be done online by visiting their website.
After you have applied for the visa approval letter online, in two or three days the travel agency will email you a letter from immigration department. You have to print that letter at home and when you reach the airport in Vietnam, you need to show this letter along with your passport and the application form. A stamping fee is charged depending on the type of visa you applied for.
Do remember that, officially this type of Vietnam online visa is not Vietnam visa on arrival nor is it called Vietnam e-visa.
What Are The Must Visit Destinations In Vietnam?
There are plenty of destinations in Vietnam to visit and you need atleast 3 months to explore all of them. But If you have limited time the following are my top five picks.
- Ho Chi Minh City – Also called Saigon, it is the most modern city of Vietnam with all the hustle and bustle of traditional Vietnam.
- Mekong Delta – The rice bowl of Vietnam, where you could take a boat ride to explore the floating markets of Mekong river.
- Hanoi – The capital city of Vietnam and the political powerhouse will still remind you of the French colonials.
- Halong Bay – A natural marvel and a location for many Hollywood movies with tall standing grottoes is a must for nature lovers.
- Hue & Hoi An – These two small towns resonates the glories of Nguyen dynasty who have ruled Vietnam for decades.
Can You Find Indian Food In Vietnam?
As, I said earlier there has been tremendous amount of tourist who are visiting Vietnam from India. As a result big and small Indian restaurants have sprung up in major cities of Vietnam.
But when you are in Vietnam, be like a Vietnamese. Vietnamese cuisine has some amazing dishes that will definitely please you. Have pho for breakfast, com tam for lunch and noodle based dish like bun or hu tieu for dinner. If you want to fill up your stomach in between with small eats, you should try banh mi.
I hope this short and straight guide will help your travel planning to Vietnam.
That’s it for now my friends. If you have any questions about traveling in Vietnam, leave it in the comment section below.