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Topic # 201274 11-Aug-2016 10:32
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Mrs and I are off to Vietnam for a couple of weeks next month on holiday.

 

Looking for some real-world experience please from someone who has recently been there and bought a voice+txt+data sim & package.

 

There’s a plethora of info on the interwebs (and a rather useless Tripadvisor article) but it’s difficult to tell how current some of the info is, I’d rather hear it from the horse’s mouth.  (Where does that saying come from anyway, horses can’t talk!!).  The carriers’ web-site don’t do a great job of showing packages and pricing.

 

 

 

Any other tourist info is also much appreciated  (there is an existing  GZ thread, but it’s rather old).  For the most part our sightseeing is already organised but we do have some free days in Hanoi, Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh.





Most of the trouble in the world is caused by people wanting to be important. (T.S. Eliot)


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  Reply # 1610072 11-Aug-2016 12:33
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I was there in June.

 

SIM was not a problem. Readily available at HCMC airport as you arrive. I bought a Vinaphone SIM from shop #1 by the airport exit door, who spoke fluent English. Cannot recall the price, but it was very very cheap ($NZ20 maybe.. might have been cheaper. Cannot recall). I think I bought 1 Gb of data, which included 2-3 minutes of international calls and stacks of local call minutes and text.

 

Service was excellent but I did not travel widely (just down to Mekong delta and through to Cambodia).

 

They have multiple options for size of data, minutes of voice etc. 

 

Take a passport photo with you.

 

My companions just bought a SIM from a random shop in the city and a different mobile provider, so they are widely available.

 

Terrific country. They have cleaned up the taxi industry - at least in HCMC -  from the last time I was in Veitnam. It used to be rife with overcharging tourists. Stick to the two main taxi companies.

 

 


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  Reply # 1610144 11-Aug-2016 14:40
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Second the stick to the main taxi companies only.  And be aware of similar designed taxis.

 

Money is a pain in the ass (high denominations, and screws with your head when converting back to work out what you are paying). We ended up mainly withdrawing from the ATM.  Use their currency not US - I still see advice around saying you need US and its just not true.

 

When you are in HCMC do a motorbike food tour, it was one of the best things we did.  They take you around local eateries (5 on ours) that you would not normally walk into, order lots of amazing food, and drink.  We used Tiger Tours, Loan the owner met us out there and she and her team (all female team) were just awesome (Actual tour we did).  You get driven around by a guide who speaks excellent english.  So cool to get around and be part of an awesome city.

 

The food in this country is the best in the world IMO!


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  Reply # 1610250 11-Aug-2016 18:41
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I'm also heading there in September. Heard you can get better deals in the CBD than the airport, but language can then be an issue.

 

This is usually a good source of info for travellers

 

And this site has some recommendations.

 

I'd be happy as long as I can get 1GB+ of data plus some local calls for emergencies.





Generally known online as OpenMedia, now working for Red Hat New Zealand as a Solution Architect for all things Linux, Virtual and of course Cloud. Still playing with MythTV and digital media on the side.

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  Reply # 1610376 11-Aug-2016 22:49
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We had a travel outfit just down the road from our hotel, and I bought 2 sim cards there.  One was 4GB of data, the other just text and voice.  (This was so if we seperated, we could touch base)

 

The only real "problem" I had was that all the text information was in Vietnamese.

 

Be aware (at least in HCMC) of using an iphone in public - there are guys on scooters who are well practiced in the art of theft whilst on a moving scooter ...

 

From memory, we didn't need to show our passports.

 

 




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  Reply # 1611044 13-Aug-2016 10:25
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Thanks all.

 

We've got a 3 hour layover between landing at Ho Chi Minh and our next flight to Hanoi so a bit of spare time if all goes to schedule.  Seems there are a couple of mobile phone shops at the airport and the main carriers do a tourist sim that'll give me 1.5GB of data with some local and international voice and local txts for about $20.





Most of the trouble in the world is caused by people wanting to be important. (T.S. Eliot)


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  Reply # 1611056 13-Aug-2016 12:01
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Was there two weeks ago, bloody hot. I got a SIM from my hotel concierge. $5 nzd for 1GB data, internal calls only as I didn't need international. Wifi is everywhere for free. Would not buy at the airport, 4x CBD prices.

Highly recommend XO tours food tour on the back of scooters. Really good night, ate bat and frog.

Here's my big tip. Crossing the road, make sure there are no trucks, buses or cars coming, then just carefully step out and cross. Move steadily and not flat out, and don't stop. The traffic flows around you. Shadow a local a couple of times and you get the hang of it.




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  Reply # 1639585 23-Sep-2016 17:53
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I ended up buying a Viettel sim on arrival at Ho Chi Minh City airport, paid just over NZ$20 for a bucket load of local minutes and txts, 13 international minutes and 3GB of data, valid for 30 days. Just handed my phone over to the woman in the shop and she had it up and running in a couple of minutes, then handed me the plastic bit that had surrounded the sim with my number on it.  

 

I expect I could have got a cheaper deal in the city, but I wanted to get online straight away in case I needed to get hold of our tour operator - which turned out to be a good thing as our driver was nowhere to be seen when we subsequently landed at Hanoi.  Quickly sorted out with a few txts to and fro.

 

 

 

I know there are plenty of travel review sites out there, but I thought I’d share my observations and opinions:

 

  • The local people are friendly and helpful...but
  • There are plenty of hawkers trying to sell you goods and services (especially in the tourist areas), this wears thin pretty quickly and it can stretch your patience to stay polite
  • I’d also exclude Vietnam Airlines cabin-crew on the SYD-SGN route from the helpful and friendly list, and the old 777-200 is in need of a make-over
  • A lot of passengers on Vietnam Airlines travel with babies
  • A lot of people, 80% of them men, appear to sit around not doing much but drink tea or coffee
  • The food is good...and cheap
  • The coffee is good...and cheap
  • Beer is OK, mostly lagers (usual for this part of the world I guess)...and cheap, real cheap.  One place served ‘fresh’ beer at 3000 dong per glass, that's less than 20 cents.  It was cold and tasted fine.  We went for some Western food, a burger and chips came to about $8.50, and came with a free 475ml bottle of Saigon Green.
  • We booked a 3 star package with GoAsia travel (bought through a Grabone deal).  Really good value and they were fantastic, keeping in touch with itinerary tweaks, drivers and tour pickups always on time (except the first one, but it was less than 5 minutes), however…
  • Some hotel rooms don't have windows.  We bought upgrades when checking in, typically at US$10 per night.
  • Free wifi is everywhere, although often sluggish in the hotels
  • Traffic in the big cities is mayhem.  Road-rules, and particularly give-way rules, tend to be more guidelines. @BlinkyBill you were spot on about crossing the road ( I had read this elsewhere as well) and you become competent at it very quickly. They use their horns a lot.  If you have a streetfacing hotel room wear earplugs.
  • It’s not suitable for people with limited mobility, the footpaths are often damaged and uneven, and you often have to step onto the road to get around parked mopeds and street vendors.
  • Personally, I wouldn't bring toddlers here on holiday with me.  It’s too hot and muggy and there's nothing for them to do.  Every time we saw a fellow tourist with young-uns the nippers were whingeing and crying.
  • Speaking of mopeds, they can be used to transport anything. I spotted people carrying chickens, roofing iron, glassplate windows, a washing machine (in its box), a wife and three children.
  • Smoking, whilst common, is not as prolific as I thought it would be.  Inside restaurants and bars, hotels, airports, tour-buses were all smoke-free.
  • Did I mention the cheap beer.




Most of the trouble in the world is caused by people wanting to be important. (T.S. Eliot)


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  Reply # 1639661 24-Sep-2016 00:43
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I was in Vietnam about 3 months ago and yes beer and food is very cheap I flew direct from Auckland to HCMC on Air NZ and it was fantastic

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  Reply # 1649934 12-Oct-2016 20:20
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openmedia:

 

I'm also heading there in September. Heard you can get better deals in the CBD than the airport, but language can then be an issue.

 

This is usually a good source of info for travellers

 

And this site has some recommendations.

 

I'd be happy as long as I can get 1GB+ of data plus some local calls for emergencies.

 

 

 

 

I used local roaming but then, was only there for less than a week. I found English wasn't a problem in the town. Most people in the CBD speak it. The CBD in HCMC is mostly business so you find most people speak English.


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