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Travel to Vietnam from Australia: Visa, Flights, Tips + Budget

May 24, 2024

Vietnam, a captivating destination in Southeast Asia, has long been a popular choice for Australian travelers. With its stunning natural landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and vibrant cities, Vietnam offers an unforgettable experience for those seeking adventure, relaxation, or both. Whether you’re planning your first trip or a return visit, this comprehensive guide will provide you with all the information you need to make the most of your travel to Vietnam from Australia.

Vietnam Friendly to Tourists

Vietnam Friendly to Tourists

Planning Your Vietnam Adventure: A Comprehensive Guide for Australians

Deciding on the Perfect Time to Visit Vietnam

When it comes to planning your trip to Vietnam, the timing of your visit can greatly influence your experience. Vietnam’s diverse climate and geography mean that different regions offer their own unique charms throughout the year. Consider the following factors when choosing the best time to visit:

  • Peak Season: The peak tourist season in Vietnam typically runs from November to April, when the weather is generally cooler and drier in the north and central regions. This is a popular time for Australians to visit, so be prepared for larger crowds and higher prices.
  • Shoulder Season: The shoulder seasons, from May to June and September to October, can be an excellent time to visit. Prices are often lower, and you’ll encounter fewer tourists, but the weather can be more unpredictable, with the possibility of increased rainfall.
  • Monsoon Season: The monsoon season, from July to August, brings heavy rains to much of the country. While this may not be the ideal time for beach-focused vacations, it can be a great time to explore the country’s lush, green landscapes and enjoy fewer crowds.

Deciding on Your Itinerary: Highlights and Must-See Destinations

Vietnam’s diverse landscape and rich cultural heritage offer a wealth of destinations and experiences for travelers. When planning your itinerary, consider the following must-see spots:

  • Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon): Vietnam’s largest and most dynamic city, Ho Chi Minh City, offers a vibrant blend of modern and historic attractions, from the bustling Ben Thanh Market to the iconic Notre-Dame Cathedral.
  • Hanoi: The capital city of Vietnam, Hanoi, is a captivating mix of French colonial architecture, ancient temples, and lively street life. Explore the charming Old Quarter, visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, and enjoy the city’s renowned cuisine.
  • Halong Bay: One of Vietnam’s most iconic natural wonders, Halong Bay is known for its stunning limestone islands and emerald-green waters. Consider taking a multi-day cruise to fully appreciate the breathtaking scenery.
  • Hoi An: This well-preserved historic town is renowned for its charming old town, colorful lanterns, and thriving tailoring industry. Explore the traditional architecture, stroll along the Thu Bon River, and indulge in the local cuisine.
  • Sapa: Located in the mountainous northern region, Sapa is a highlight for nature lovers, offering breathtaking landscapes, trekking opportunities, and the chance to immerse yourself in the culture of ethnic minority groups.

Budgeting for Your Vietnam Adventure

One of the key considerations for Australians traveling to Vietnam is the overall cost of the trip. Fortunately, Vietnam is generally more affordable compared to many other popular destinations, making it an attractive option for budget-conscious travelers. When planning your budget, consider the following factors:

  • Flights: Flights from Australia to Vietnam can vary significantly in price, depending on the season, departure city, and airline. Research and book well in advance to secure the best deals.
  • Accommodation: Vietnam offers a wide range of accommodation options, from budget-friendly hostels and guesthouses to luxurious resorts. Prices can range from as little as $10 per night for basic lodging to $100 or more per night for high-end hotels.
  • Food and Dining: Vietnamese cuisine is renowned for its freshness, flavor, and affordability. You can enjoy delicious local meals for as little as $2-$5 per dish, with the option to splurge on higher-end restaurants as well.
  • Transportation: Getting around Vietnam can be very affordable, with options like local buses, trains, and ride-sharing services available. Domestic flights can also be a cost-effective way to cover larger distances within the country.
  • Activities and Attractions: Many of Vietnam’s top attractions, such as museums, temples, and natural wonders, have relatively low entry fees, making it possible to experience the country’s highlights without breaking the bank.

By considering these factors and planning your budget accordingly, you can enjoy a fantastic Vietnam adventure without overspending.

Visa Requirements for Australians Traveling to Vietnam

Before embarking on your trip to Vietnam, it’s essential to ensure that you have the necessary visa requirements in order. As an Australian citizen, you will need to obtain a visa to enter Vietnam, and there are a few different options available:

Vietnam Visa on Arrival

One of the most convenient visa options for Australians is the Vietnam Visa on Arrival (VOA). This allows you to apply for and obtain your visa upon arrival at designated Vietnamese international airports. To apply for a VOA, you’ll need to follow these steps:

  1. Apply for a Vietnam Visa Approval Letter: You can apply for this letter online through a specialized visa service provider. This letter will serve as your pre-approval for the visa on arrival.
  1. Pay the Visa Stamping Fee: Upon arrival at the airport in Vietnam, you’ll need to pay the visa stamping fee, which is typically around $25-$50 USD, depending on the length of your stay.
  1. Receive Your Visa: After completing the necessary paperwork and paying the fee, you’ll receive your Vietnam visa, which will be stamped in your passport.

Vietnam e-Visa

Another convenient option for Australians is the Vietnam e-Visa, which allows you to apply and pay for your visa online before your trip. The e-Visa is valid for a maximum of 30 days and can be obtained through the official Vietnamese government website. The application process is straightforward, and you’ll receive your visa electronically, which you can then print out and present upon arrival in Vietnam.

Traditional Visa Application

If you prefer, you can also apply for a traditional Vietnamese visa through the Vietnamese embassy or consulate in Australia. This process typically involves submitting a completed application form, passport, passport photos, and the necessary visa fee. The processing time for a traditional visa can take several weeks, so it’s essential to plan ahead.

Regardless of the visa option you choose, it’s essential to ensure that your passport is valid for at least six months beyond the dates of your intended stay in Vietnam. Additionally, be sure to check the latest visa requirements and application procedures, as they may be subject to change.

Getting to Vietnam from Australia: Flight Options and Costs

Traveling from Australia to Vietnam is relatively straightforward, with a range of flight options and routes available. Here’s a closer look at the various flight options and expected costs:

Direct Flights from Australia to Vietnam

Several major airlines offer direct flights from Australia to Vietnam, with the most common routes connecting major Australian cities like Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) and Hanoi. Some of the airlines that operate direct flights include:

  • Vietnam Airlines: Offers direct flights from Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane to Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.
  • Qantas: Operates direct flights from Sydney to Ho Chi Minh City.
  • Jetstar: Provides direct flights from Melbourne and Sydney to Ho Chi Minh City.

The flight time for a direct Australia to Vietnam route typically ranges from 8 to 10 hours, depending on your departure and arrival cities.

Indirect Flights with Stopovers

In addition to direct flights, there are also numerous indirect flight options with stopovers in other cities, such as Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, or Hong Kong. These flights may be more affordable, but the total travel time will be longer, with the stopover duration often ranging from 1 to 6 hours.

Estimated Flight Costs

The cost of flights from Australia to Vietnam can vary significantly depending on factors such as the departure city, airline, travel dates, and class of travel. As a general guideline, you can expect the following:

  • Economy Class: Flights in economy class can range from $600 to $1,200 per person, with prices typically being higher during peak travel seasons.
  • Business Class: Flights in business class can range from $1,500 to $3,000 per person, depending on the airline and travel dates.
  • First Class: For those seeking ultimate comfort and luxury, first-class flights can cost upwards of $3,000 per person.

It’s important to note that these are just rough estimates, and prices can fluctuate based on market conditions and availability. To find the best deals, it’s recommended to book your flights well in advance and be flexible with your travel dates.

Essential Travel Tips for Vietnam: Currency, Safety, and Culture

Preparing for your Vietnam adventure involves more than just booking flights and accommodations. To ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the local currency, safety considerations, and cultural etiquette. Here are some essential travel tips to keep in mind:

Navigating the Vietnamese Dong

The official currency in Vietnam is the Vietnamese Dong (VND). While the conversion rate may seem daunting at first, with 1 AUD equaling approximately 16,000 VND, understanding the currency can make your financial transactions much easier.

  • Cash and ATMs: It’s recommended to carry a mix of Vietnamese Dong and Australian Dollars, as many establishments, especially in urban areas, will accept both. ATMs are widely available in major cities, making it easy to withdraw local currency as needed.
  • Exchanging Currency: You can exchange your Australian Dollars for Vietnamese Dong at banks, authorized exchange offices, or even at your hotel. Be sure to shop around for the best exchange rates.
  • Tipping: Tipping is not as widely expected in Vietnam as it is in some other countries, but it is generally appreciated, especially in tourist-oriented businesses. A tip of 5-10% is considered appropriate.

Ensuring Your Safety in Vietnam

Vietnam is generally a safe destination for travelers, but it’s always important to take precautions and be aware of your surroundings. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Petty Crime: Be mindful of your belongings, especially in crowded areas, as pick pocketing and bag snatching can occur. Keep valuables secure and avoid flaunting expensive items.
  • Traffic Safety: Vietnam’s bustling cities are renowned for their chaotic traffic, so exercise caution when crossing the streets and use designated pedestrian crossings whenever possible.
  • Health and Medical Care: Research and purchase comprehensive travel insurance before your trip, as it can provide valuable coverage in the event of illness or injury. Additionally, familiarize yourself with the location of hospitals and medical facilities in the areas you’ll be visiting.

Respecting Vietnamese Culture and Etiquette

To have a more rewarding and respectful experience in Vietnam, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the local culture and customs. Here are some key considerations:

  • Dress Appropriately: When visiting temples and religious sites, dress conservatively, covering your shoulders and knees.
  • Gestures and Body Language: Avoid pointing your feet at others, as this is considered rude. Also, be mindful of your hand gestures, as some may have different meanings in Vietnamese culture.
  • Photographing Locals: Always ask for permission before taking photos of Vietnamese people, especially in rural areas or when they are engaged in traditional activities.
  • Bargaining Etiquette: Bargaining is common in Vietnam, especially at markets and with street vendors. However, be respectful and avoid aggressive negotiation tactics.

By familiarizing yourself with these essential tips, you’ll be better equipped to navigate Vietnam’s unique culture and customs, ensuring a more enriching and respectful travel experience.

Must-See Destinations in Vietnam for Australian Travelers

Vietnam’s diverse landscape and rich cultural heritage offer a wealth of destinations and experiences for Australian travelers. Here are some of the must-see spots that should be on your itinerary:

Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

As Vietnam’s largest city, Ho Chi Minh City (formerly known as Saigon) is a vibrant and dynamic destination that seamlessly blends the old and the new. Explore the bustling streets of the city center, visit the iconic Notre-Dame Cathedral, and immerse yourself in the vibrant energy of the Ben Thanh Market.


The capital city of Vietnam, Hanoi, is a captivating mix of French colonial architecture and ancient temples. Wander through the charming Old Quarter, visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, and enjoy the city’s renowned street food and café culture.

Halong Bay

One of Vietnam’s most iconic natural wonders, Halong Bay is known for its stunning limestone islands and emerald-green waters. Consider taking a multi-day cruise to fully appreciate the breathtaking scenery and explore the region’s hidden coves and caves.

Hoi An

This well-preserved historic town is renowned for its charming old town, colorful lanterns, and thriving tailoring industry. Explore the traditional architecture, stroll along the Thu Bon River, and indulge in the local cuisine, which is heavily influenced by both Vietnamese and Chinese culinary traditions.


Located in the mountainous northern region, Sapa is a highlight for nature lovers, offering breathtaking landscapes, trekking opportunities, and the chance to immerse yourself in the culture of ethnic minority groups, such as the H’mong and Dao people.

Nha Trang

This coastal city is a popular beach destination, known for its stunning beaches, vibrant nightlife, and excellent scuba diving and snorkeling opportunities. Relax on the sandy shores, explore the nearby islands, and indulge in the fresh seafood.

Mekong Delta

The Mekong Delta, often referred to as the “rice bowl of Vietnam,” is a lush, verdant region where the Mekong River branches out into a vast network of waterways. Explore the floating markets, visit traditional villages, and experience the unique way of life of the local people.

By exploring these must-see destinations, you’ll be able to fully immerse yourself in Vietnam’s diverse cultural, natural, and historical wonders, creating unforgettable memories during your Australian adventure.

Experiencing Vietnam on a Budget: Accommodation, Food, and Transportation

One of the major draws of Vietnam for Australian travelers is its relative affordability, making it possible to experience the country’s many wonders without breaking the bank. Here’s a closer look at how to make the most of your Vietnam adventure on a budget:

Accommodation Options

Vietnam offers a wide range of accommodation options, from budget-friendly hostels and guesthouses to luxurious resorts. Here are some tips for finding the best deals:

  • Hostels: Vietnam has a thriving hostel scene, especially in popular tourist hubs like Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. Expect to pay as little as $5-$15 per night for a dorm bed.
  • Guesthouses and Budget Hotels: For a more private experience, consider staying in a guesthouse or budget hotel, which can range from $10-$30 per night for a double room.
  • Airbnb and Vacation Rentals: Vacation rentals and Airbnb properties can offer great value, especially if you’re traveling in a group or looking for more space and amenities.
  • Splurge on a Luxury Resort: If you’re feeling indulgent, Vietnam has a range of high-end resorts and hotels, often at a fraction of the cost of similar accommodations in other parts of the world.

Affordable Dining Options

Vietnamese cuisine is renowned for its fresh, flavorful, and affordable offerings. Here are some tips for eating on a budget:

  • Street Food: Sampling the vibrant street food scene is one of the best ways to experience authentic Vietnamese cuisine at a fraction of the cost of restaurant meals. Look for bustling local markets and street stalls.
  • Local Restaurants: Family-owned and local Vietnamese restaurants offer delicious, budget-friendly meals, often for just a few dollars per dish.
  • Supermarkets and Convenience Stores: For self-catering, make use of the well-stocked supermarkets and convenience stores to stock up on snacks, fruits, and other supplies.

Budget-Friendly Transportation

Getting around Vietnam can be very affordable, with a range of transportation options available:

  • Local Buses: Vietnam has an extensive network of local buses that can take you to destinations across the country for just a few dollars.
  • Trains: The train system in Vietnam is a convenient and affordable way to travel between major cities, with sleeper trains available for longer journeys.
  • Ride-Sharing Services: Apps like Grab (the Southeast Asian equivalent of Uber) offer a budget-friendly way to get around urban areas.
  • Domestic Flights: For longer distances, consider booking domestic flights, which can sometimes be more affordable than taking the train or bus.

By taking advantage of these budget-friendly accommodation, dining, and transportation options, you can experience the best ofVietnam without overspending, allowing you to stretch your Australian dollar further and enjoy more of what this beautiful country has to offer.

Adventure in Vietnam: Trekking, Diving, and Exploring the Great Outdoors

For Australian travelers seeking adventure and outdoor experiences, Vietnam is a playground waiting to be explored. From trekking in the lush mountains of the north to diving in the crystal-clear waters of the south, here are some thrilling activities to add to your Vietnam itinerary:

Trekking in Sapa and Mai Chau

The mountainous regions of Sapa and Mai Chau in northern Vietnam offer some of the best trekking opportunities in the country. Hike through terraced rice fields, bamboo forests, and traditional villages, interacting with ethnic minority communities along the way. Don’t miss the chance to conquer Fansipan, the highest peak in Indochina.

Diving and Snorkeling in Nha Trang and Phu Quoc

With its clear waters and diverse marine life, Vietnam is a fantastic destination for underwater exploration. Head to Nha Trang or Phu Quoc to discover vibrant coral reefs, colorful fish, and even shipwrecks. Whether you’re a seasoned diver or a first-time snorkeler, there are options for all skill levels.

Caving in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park

Unleash your inner explorer by venturing into the vast network of caves in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park. Marvel at spectacular limestone formations, underground rivers, and intriguing biodiversity as you navigate through these ancient subterranean wonders. The Son Doong Cave, the world’s largest cave passage, is a must-see for intrepid adventurers.

Motorbiking along the Ho Chi Minh Trail

Embark on an unforgettable motorbike journey along the historic Ho Chi Minh Trail, a network of roads traversing Vietnam from north to south. Wind your way through dramatic landscapes, remote villages, and cultural sites, immersing yourself in the country’s history and natural beauty along the way. Rent a bike or join a guided tour for an adrenaline-pumping experience.

Rock Climbing in Cat Ba and Ha Long Bay

For thrill-seekers looking to conquer new heights, rock climbing in Cat Ba and Ha Long Bay offers stunning views and challenging routes against a backdrop of limestone cliffs and emerald waters. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced climber, there are options for all levels, making it a great way to combine adventure and scenery.

Whether you’re trekking through the mountains, diving into the depths of the ocean, or exploring hidden caves, Vietnam offers a plethora of exhilarating outdoor activities for adventurous Australian travelers looking to push their boundaries and create unforgettable memories.

Vietnamese Cuisine: A Culinary Journey for Australian Foodies

Vietnamese cuisine is a delightful blend of flavors, textures, and colors that will tantalize your taste buds. From street food stalls to high-end restaurants, here are some culinary experiences not to miss:

  • Pho: A quintessential Vietnamese dish, pho is a flavorful noodle soup made with broth, rice noodles, herbs, and your choice of meat (usually beef or chicken). Enjoyed throughout the day, this comforting dish is a must-try.
  • Banh Mi: A fusion of French and Vietnamese culinary influences, banh mi is a delicious sandwich filled with savory ingredients like pate, pork, pickled vegetables, and fresh herbs, all tucked into a crispy baguette.
  • Goi Cuon: Also known as fresh spring rolls, goi cuon features shrimp, pork, herbs, and vermicelli noodles wrapped in rice paper. Dip these light and healthy rolls in tangy fish sauce for a burst of flavor.
  • Bun Cha: Originating from Hanoi, bun cha consists of grilled pork served with rice noodles, fresh herbs, and a sweet and savory dipping sauce. This dish is a favorite among locals and visitors alike.
  • Ca Phe Trung: For a sweet treat, indulge in ca phe trung, or egg coffee. This creamy concoction combines strong Vietnamese coffee with whipped egg yolks and condensed milk for a decadent caffeine fix.

Exploring Vietnam’s vibrant street food scene, sampling regional specialties, and learning about the country’s culinary traditions are essential parts of any Australian foodie’s journey through this gastronomic paradise.

Navigating Vietnam’s Diverse Landscape: Transportation Options

Vietnam’s diverse landscape, from bustling cities to serene countryside, is best explored through a variety of transportation options. Here are some ways to navigate the country efficiently:

  • Motorbikes: Renting a motorbike is a popular choice for exploring Vietnam’s cities and rural areas. Be sure to wear a helmet, follow traffic rules, and embrace the exhilarating experience of weaving through chaotic traffic.
  • Cyclos and Xe Oms: For a unique mode of transportation, take a cyclo (a pedal-powered tricycle) or xe om (motorcycle taxi) for short distances or leisurely city tours. Negotiate prices beforehand to avoid surprises.
  • Public Buses: Vietnam’s extensive network of public buses is a cost-effective way to travel between cities and regions. While schedules may vary, buses offer a glimpse into local life and scenery along the way.
  • Boats and Ferries: With its long coastline and network of rivers, Vietnam offers picturesque boat and ferry rides to explore islands, floating markets, and Mekong Delta waterways. Opt for a cruise or join a local boat tour for an authentic experience.
  • Domestic Flights: When time is limited, domestic flights are a convenient option for traveling between major cities in Vietnam. Several airlines operate daily flights, making it easy to cover long distances quickly.

By combining different modes of transportation, you can traverse Vietnam’s diverse landscape with ease, whether you’re navigating bustling streets, cruising along waterways, or soaring above the countryside, creating a memorable and immersive travel experience.

Returning Home: Things to Consider Before Leaving Vietnam

As your Vietnam adventure comes to an end, there are several important things to consider before leaving the country. Here are some essential tips for wrapping up your trip:

Currency Exchange and Souvenir Shopping

Before departing Vietnam, exchange any remaining Vietnamese dong (VND) for your home currency at authorized currency exchange counters or banks. If you plan to buy souvenirs or gifts, haggle politely at markets and shops to secure the best prices.

Airport and Departure Procedures

Arrive at the airport well in advance of your departure time to allow for check-in, security procedures, and customs clearance. Keep your departure card and any necessary documents handy for smooth processing.

Cultural Etiquette and Respectful Behavior

During your final days in Vietnam, continue to show respect for local customs and traditions. Dress modestly when visiting religious sites, refrain from public displays of affection, and greet people with a friendly smile and a nod of the head.

Health and Well-Being

If you’ve been exploring remote areas or participating in outdoor activities, monitor your health for any signs of illness or discomfort. Stay hydrated, protect yourself from the sun, and seek medical attention if needed before flying home.

Reflecting on Your Experiences

Take time to reflect on your journey through Vietnam, from the bustling streets of Hanoi to the tranquil waters of Ha Long Bay. Document your memories through photos, journal entries, or conversations with fellow travelers, preserving the highlights of your adventure.

As you prepare to bid farewell to Vietnam and return home to Australia, carry with you the warmth of Vietnamese hospitality, the flavors of its cuisine, and the echoes of its rich history, knowing that you’ve embarked on a transformative travel experience that will stay with you for years to come.

Embarking on a Vietnam adventure as an Australian traveler opens up a world of possibilities, from savoring delectable street food to trekking through breathtaking landscapes and immersing yourself in the country’s vibrant culture. By planning ahead, understanding visa requirements, exploring budget-friendly options, and embracing new experiences, you can make the most of your time in Vietnam and create lasting memories.

Whether you’re seeking adrenaline-pumping outdoor adventures, culinary delights, cultural discoveries, or simply a relaxing beach getaway, Vietnam offers something for every type of traveler. So pack your bags, set out on your own Vietnam adventure, and prepare to be captivated by the beauty and diversity of this Southeast Asian gem. Safe travels, and may your journey be filled with unforgettable moments and enriching experiences!