If you’re planning a trip to Vietnam and wondering how to make your vacation to Vietnam go smoother, consider adding these Vietnam travel apps to your smartphone or tablets.
From transportation, food, activities, to accommodations, we put together this list of the 17 best travel apps that you need when traveling around Vietnam. Many of the apps are free to use. The list includes links to where you can download the app via iOS or Android.
We’re constantly testing out new travel apps as we live in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam for over 2 years. So, you’re getting insider tips on the following apps. If you’re planning a long term stay in Vietnam, there is an app for everything!
Check out our other Vietnam posts to help you with your Vietnam travel plans:
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Things to Know about Travel Apps for Vietnam
When you’re using any of these apps, you’ll need to use a local SIM card. You can pick one up when you land at the airport or pre-purchase one via Klook (one of the apps we recommended below.)
The SIM card will be either a 3G or 4G and the data plan will be for 2 weeks or 1 month. The cost for a SIM card is between 200,000-220,000 VND ($8.60-$9.50 USD). The two popular mobile companies are MobiFone or Viettel.
If you’re looking for an international phone plan and are based in the U.S., consider signing up for the Google Project Fi phone plan. We love Google Project Fi and have used it during our travels since 2016. It’s currently in over 200+ countries and you have access to data and calls. Every month, you pay for the amount of GB you use ($10 per GB) and it’s the same cost if you’re abroad.
Best Vietnam Travel Apps for General Travel
1. Google Maps
It comes at no surprise that Google Maps is on the list! It’s one app that you’ll use every day when you’re in Vietnam and daily basis in your hometown.
Google Map is a comprehensive app where you can save places you want to visit, create your own maps, use it for map functionalities, and also find places or restaurants near your current location. (We love using the “restaurants near me” search.)
You can also save an offline version of a map in case you don’t get reception in certain areas.
Luckily Google Map works in most of Vietnam, even on the islands. The driving distance is accurate and will tell you when there are traffic jams. In Ho Chi Minh City, Google Map also lists the bus stop locations and the routes.
The only time that we’ve had issues with Google Maps is in the remote and less touristy areas (ie: outside of Quy Nhon) and where there aren’t designated roads so you’ll go off the path to get to some places.
2. Google Translate
Google Translate is helpful when you’re communicating with someone who only speaks Vietnamese.
The app is quick and easy to do a translation, even though the translation from English or your native language to Vietnamese is a bit off. We took Vietnamese classes for a year and noticed that the grammar in Google Translate is a bit different than what we learned in class.
Regardless, the person reading the translation can get the gist of what you’re talking about or asking about. Since our Vietnamese speaking skills are elementary, we still use Google Translate to communicate with others.
Best Vietnam Travel Apps for Language
3. Ling Learning
If you want to practice Vietnamese before arrival, check out the Ling Learning app. This app offers other languages such as Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, German, and more.
We like this comprehensive app since it has lessons for basic subjects such as Vietnamese sentence structure, numbers, food, activities, how to order food, etc. Quizzes are included in the app. There are intermediate and advanced lessons as you progress with your learning.
You can also practice hearing and speaking Vietnamese phrases. The app uses a Northern Vietnamese accent. While the written language is the same, you’ll notice how the accents are different from North to South. The Northern accent is different from Central or South as there are more “z” sounds, while the South has more “y” sounds.
You earn points for completing as many lessons as possible, yet, we haven’t redeemed any points. We’re not sure what the points are for.
Tip: We recommend that you practice Vietnamese 1 month before your arrival for the basic lessons.
If you’re wondering about Duolingo’s Vietnamese lessons, we suggest that you skip it. The Vietnamese lessons focus on vocabulary rather than grammar and it’s not as organized as Ling Learning.
Youtube has a variety of videos to learn Vietnamese. You can spend some time searching through various videos and choose videos based on your interest (general conversations, food, etc) and practicing along with them.
Here is a catchy video to learn numbers in Vietnamese:
Or, if you want to learn how to say various animals in Vietnamese, check out this video.
Best Vietnam Travel Apps for Accommodations
If you need a place to stay in Vietnam, then Booking.com is the right choice. The app is easy to use as you can choose your location, the type of accommodation you want (hotel, guesthouse, apartment), price range, and other amenities that you’re looking for. You can also check out the reviews of the places you’re looking at.
You can also use the app to track your reservations. Some of the hotels require a deposit or prepayment, so read the fine print before booking a room. You may need to refer to your Booking.com reservation number if you need to contact Booking.com for issues.
We’ve used Booking.com numerous times as they have accommodation options around the world. Many of the accommodations do not require payment in advance as it’s accepted on arrival. Plus, you can edit and/or cancel your reservation as needed.
For unique places to stay in Vietnam, consider using Airbnb. While we love using Airbnb’s website to search for accommodations, the app is easy to use. Find the perfect accommodations by filtering by location, price, and other needs.
You can also read reviews from other reviewers. Positive reviews on Airbnb tend to be higher than other booking sites due to the reciprocation method. The reviewer gives feedback on the host’s accommodation and the host reciprocates with a review to the reviewer. Read the reviews with a grain of salt.
The app is helpful to talk directly with the host. The host may provide information on the Airbnb location, check-in process, and more through the app. It’s recommended for visitors to communicate with the host within the app, otherwise, Airbnb cannot assist if alternative accommodations are made outside of the app.
You may see overlap between accommodations from Booking.com and Airbnb so you’ll need to compare pricing.
With Airbnb, you need to pay for a cleaning and service fee, which is a percentage of the room cost. If you’re a solo person, the cost of an Airbnb room may be higher versus stay at a guesthouse.
Best Vietnam Travel Apps for Transportation
When visiting the larger cities, there are more opportunities to take public transportation and/or ride-hailing options.
Check out our guide on how to travel around Vietnam for more information.
For a local and cheap way of traveling, consider taking the local city bus. BusMap app is currently available in Hanoi, Danang, and Ho Chi Minh City. It’s also available in Bangkok and Chiang Mai, Thailand.
This app provides accurate information on the bus routes, timeline, and bus station location. You can input a starting and ending location and a suggested bus route shows up.
It’s recommended to use this app if you stay within the city. If you’re looking to do a day trip from the main city, such as Ho Chi Minh City, the app will not provide a route so you’ll need to find a different way to get to your destination.
Tip: The front of the buses have a route number. If you see your bus arriving at the bus stop, wave your hand to signal the driver. Otherwise, the bus will not stop.
Grab is the most used ride-hailing app in Southeast Asia, especially in Vietnam’s larger cities, Hanoi, Danang, and Ho Chi Minh City. Uber does not exist in Vietnam. You’ll recognize this Singapore based company with motorbike drivers wearing green helmets and jackets.
Grab is one of the cheaper ways to travel around Vietnam. You’ll often find it more cost-effective to use Grab versus a taxi. You can hire either a Grab motorbike, car, or SUV. We use the car option often in Ho Chi Minh City, especially during the rainy season.
The app is easy to use as you input your starting and ending location and it lists the cost. No bargaining is necessary!
Plus, you can input your credit card information so it can be a cashless transaction. If you do decide to use cash, it’s recommended to have exact change.
You can track your driver’s location and the driving route on the app.
Tip: Before entering the vehicle, check the license plate! You want to make sure that you’re in the correct vehicle.
Besides ride-hailing, Grab is also a great app for food delivery. While you may not need to do food delivery during your Vietnam itinerary, it is an option if you don’t want to leave the hotel.
We use the Grab app almost every day for food delivery since they’re generous with offering coupon codes from 50,000-80,000 VND ($2.15-$3.45) off your total cost. Plus, we can track the driver’s location through the app.
Gojek (formerly Go Viet) is an Indonesian based ride-hailing company that is available in Vietnam. The company’s color is also green so it can be a bit confusing with Grab.
At the moment, motorbike rides are offered through Gojek. We haven’t used Gojek but have seen the motorbikes around Ho Chi Minh City.
Go Jek also offers food and parcel delivery through the app.
Best Vietnam Travel Apps for Food
Besides using Grab to order food, you can consider these apps if you want food delivered to your hotel or guesthouse.
Vietnammm is one of our top apps to order food delivery. The app is easy to use as you can find restaurants by category and city’s district area. Some restaurants will not deliver to certain districts based on the distance. In the app, you can also track your order status.
You can use the website to also find food offerings and see restaurant menus. There are a variety of cuisines such as Vietnamese, pizza, Western food, and much more. Then, you can use the app to order the food. According to the website, food delivery is available in Hanoi, Danang, Hoi An, Nha Trang, and Ho Chi Minh City,
Foody is an interactive app where users search for nearby restaurants and submit restaurant reviews and photos. It’s Vietnam’s version of Yelp so you’ll see plenty of locals providing their recommendations. Many locals use Foody for food delivery services. (You can also use the Foody Now app specifically for food delivery).
Currently, the app is available in the following cities: Hanoi, Hai Phong, Danang, Nha Trang, and Ho Chi Minh City.
If you would like to use the website version of Foody, you’ll need to register for an account. Otherwise, you won’t be able to see a close-up view of restaurant photos.
12. Happy Cow
If you’re a vegetarian or vegan traveling throughout Vietnam, Happy Cow is the perfect app for you. The app is similar to Foody where reviewers provide feedback about vegetarian and vegan restaurants and restaurants that offer vegetarian options and add photos. You can also find restaurants near your location.
Vietnam is a vegetarian and vegan-friendly place as many people practice Buddhism. Therefore, finding a vegetarian and vegan place to eat is very easy!
This app is available in many international countries such as the U.S, Australia, Germany, New Zealand, South Africa, Thailand, and much more.
Best Vietnam Travel Apps for Attractions and Tours
If you’ve used TripAdvisor’s website to find out new places to visit such as attractions and restaurants and to check out reviews, then the app version is for you. It’s a quick way to find the same information in the palm of your hands.
The app has opportunities for you to book tours, check out flight schedules, and find hotels/accommodations. You can also find your “saved” restaurants or attractions that you want to visit.
Since TripAdvisor is used internationally and loved by tourists, many of the reviews and listings are of “touristy” locations. Be cognizant when reading through the reviews as there are fake reviewers.
We haven’t used this app for booking tours, but have heard that it’s easy to use.
Klook is one of our favorite apps to find discounted tickets to attractions, transportation, food, and SIM cards. It’s available in over 100 countries so you’re bound to find an activity to experience.
What is fabulous about Klook is that you get the opportunity to save money by purchasing tickets ahead of time. It’s easy to redeem your voucher with the Klook app. You show your app at the attraction and/or at the ticket pick-up location and then receive your physical ticket. (Read the fine print to determine where the pick-up is).
The app also has all of your reservations and receipts.
When you make a purchase, you earn credits that you can redeem to future purchases. You’ll also earn more credits when writing reviews of your experience. It’s a win-win situation to earn more discounts!
We used this app several times in Vietnam. For example, when we were in Danang, we purchased tickets to Ba Na Hills theme park, Danang Wonders theme park, and reserved a car transport to/from Ba Na Hills. The process was seamless.
Best Vietnam Travel Apps for Chatting
WhatsApp, owned by Facebook, is our go-to app to stay in contact with friends and family in the U.S. This app is used often in Vietnam to communicate with others through chat and video calls. You can also use a web version of WhatsApp on your computer here.
Remember how we hired a driver to go to Ba Na Hills in Danang? Klook contacted us directly via WhatsApp to arrange the driver pick up time and to confirm the location of our hotel. We used the app to stay in contact with our driver when we were done with exploring the theme park.
Facebook is heavily used to promote restaurants and services in Vietnam (versus having a website). Since Facebook’s website already has an internal chat functionality, it makes sense to also have the Messenger app to contact places directly. Or, you can use Messenger to set up video calls.
We like to use Messenger to ask questions directly to the restaurant.
Zalo is a popular Vietnamese chatting app and also has video calls and group chats. We do not have this app yet heard that it’s a mixture of WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. Restaurants will include their direct phone number, Messenger handle, and Zalo phone number in their contact information.
We hope you enjoyed reading through this list of the best travel apps to have in Vietnam. If you’re planning to visit Ho Chi Minh City in the future, let us know. We’d love to meet you!
Have you used any of these apps? Which one would you recommend to other tourists? Share in the comments below.
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