Vietnam is a spectacular country but can be a difficult place for even the most seasoned traveler to navigate. Apart from the notoriously difficult language, understanding and using the currency and getting directions are also consistent pains for most visitors.
The pervasiveness of smartphones and helpful travel apps has made exploring abroad much more straightforward than in the past. In Vietnam, it’s now easier than ever to order taxis, avoid scams and avoid common problems from miscommunication. This article will introduce some of the most useful travel apps for Vietnam you should consider using when visiting this beautiful country.
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The Vietnam version of this international travel app provides an in-depth guide to key tourist destinations across the nation. Aside from the larger cities it also has listings for some of the smaller and less frequented areas too.
This useful app is designed by the innovative design team at Triposo. Unique algorithms search websites and online reviews on the most interesting and best attractions. It collates this information based on the user’s specific location and highlights the best:
- Monuments and cultural attractions
- City parks and beaches
- Museums and art galleries
- Tour options
This handy travel platform is ideal for providing inspiration to explore new areas and bookmark various sites you wish to visit. It’ll encourage you to see what else there is outside the usual tourist traps but just as interesting. The quality of listings on Vietnam Travel Guide is uncomparable to others making it a must-have travel app for anyone planning a trip to Vietnam.
This app also has some other great features such as maps, a currency converter and a basic translator. However, there are other platforms dedicated to these services which offer much better functionality.
The Vietnamese language has six tones and remains one of the world’s toughest to try to wrap your tongue around. One of the best things about trying to speak this language is that it uses the Latin alphabet. This makes it much easier to read compared to other Asian languages. This free travel app will allow you to hear it’s accurate pronunciation and help you attempt to speak ‘Tieng Viet’.
There are other translators available that do a decent job when translating Vietnamese. Google Translate is probably the most popular translation app but it still makes more errors than this platform which is dedicated to Vietnamese. This translator app lacks some of the more advanced features found it other apps but it’s much quicker and simpler to use than the competition.
Modern foreign language apps are amazing tools but it’s important to be aware of potential pitfalls. Translating single words rarely cause problems but longer phrases and concepts will sometimes be misunderstood. Vietnamese people are in general very patient and understanding so don’t be too concerned about offending.
Everyone who comes to Vietnam needs time to adjust to the local Vietnamese Dong. The large numbers and similarities between notes can make currency confusion pretty common. It’s important to know the current exchange rate and the value of the notes in your hand.
Xe Currency Converter is the world’s most popular and trusted app for comparing values and trends of global currencies. This popular platform makes easy to know how much Vietnamese Dong you’re spending and maintain your travel budget. Knowing exactly what you’re paying also means you’re less likely to be overcharged.
This useful travel app has moved beyond its role as a simple converter and can be used for travel, shopping and international transfers. It’s super easy to use and packed with helpful features that allow you to:
- Monitor up to 10 different currencies
- Access live rates from all global currencies, crypto and precious metals
- Read historical charts
- Set alerts and receive notifications
- Access to daily currency news and
- Analyse market trends.
If you don’t want to have to enter every single transaction into a currency app and just need approximations of how much things cost, we recommend saving a currency conversion table as a screensaver on your phone to use as a reference. You can find convenient currency conversion tables for the top 10 foreigner currencies used in Vietnam here: https://xotours.vn/blog/vietnam-dong-exchange-rate-tables/
After Uber’s relatively early exit from the Vietnamese market, Grab has become synonymous with urban travel in Vietnam. The Malaysian-founded company is now Vietnam’s most popular ride-hailing app.
The brand prides itself on simplicity and trustworthiness of its booking system. Simply confirm your location, select your destination and form of transport and the app will find the nearest driver. Price is predetermined by the app’s algorithms and once a driver (or rider) accepts they will then come to collect you.
The cost of the journey can vary depending on the time of day or weather conditions. In an afternoon downpour riders are much less likely to want to be out and about. Cars tend to increase in price at these times.
Both cars and motorbikes are available from the same easy-to-use platform. The cars tend to blend into the city’s traffic but the fluorescent green uniforms of the motorbike taxi are easily seen. The app allows you to monitor the driver’s whereabouts so you know when they arrive.
Another handy transportation app is from one of the few reputable taxi companies in Vietnam. It’s not a ride-hailing app, nor is it as user-friendly as Grab, but it’s a good alternative. Many people turn to Mai Linh when Grab has left them waiting too long for a driver or in places like Hoi An where Grab does not operate.
Through this app you can choose several different car options and it connects you directly to the driver. The program also allows you to track the taxi on its way to collect you and provides you with an estimation of the trips final cost.
The apps most important services are available in English but the language barrier may still be an issue. The driver may not speak your language but the software will make sure they’ll still be able to find you and know the way to your destination.
No travel app is as synonymous with global travel as this digital behemoth. The massive amount of reviews, photos and travel suggestions alone make this one of the best international travel apps. Most locations in Vietnam are well covered by now and many restaurants in touristy areas are well aware of the value of a good ranking.
Aside from reviews the app also allows you to organize your plans, find great hotel and flight deals and book a tour. Don’t forget that the app also provides a platform to ask questions and also to share your own photos, experiences and opinions of a particular spot.
It should be noted that the ratings on Tripadvisor are sometimes heavily biased, sometimes fake and shouldn’t be taken too seriously. Particularly the ones which are inconsistent with other reviews. Use the app as a guide only and not as the literal truth in every situation.
Without a good map, it’s hard to know where you’ve been, where you are, and where it is you want to go. Google Maps is free and arguably one of the best apps ever.
It’s great for travellers who like to walk or cycle and rather go themselves than simply be taken. The app makes it a breeze to plot points, plan a trip and even share it with others. It’s also handy to explore the area in much more detail from above using the satellite map option.
Vietnam doesn’t have the latest and greatest features such as traffic prediction or indoor imagery yet. Nor does it have access to an extensive street-view network. However, this doesn’t matter. There are no other apps that can match Google for its details, ease of use and offline accessibility.
It should be noted that the updates for the IOS app versions tend to lag behind those for Android apps.
Another travel map app but this time from a Vietnamese developer. Not only does it provide directions but it also pinpoints thousands of cafes, noodle stands and gas stations. All urban and rural areas in Vietnam are well serviced by this software.
Small businesses in Vietnam are constantly changing owners, names and the services they provide. Coc Coc ensures their data is up to date and claims it can keep up better with the rapid change of pace compared to larger multinational apps. This is probably why it’s an extremely popular app with Vietnamese.
Vietnamese cuisine is some of the best in the world so I wouldn’t worry too much about not being able to find tasty food. However, if you want to find a decent restaurant, bakery, bar or even street stand then the Foody app is your best friend. If you want to stay in your hotel then they offer delivery services.
The app provides the user with photos, reviews, addresses and maps of over 300,000 places to eat in Vietnam. Almost all cities and provinces are covered in Vietnam. Through the Foody app you can also reserve tables, order delivery and even access some generous discounts.
The app has recently and surprisingly branched out into the delivery of groceries and clothing. These features aren’t popular at the moment and definitely not aimed at tourists. Foody still remains the go-to and best food delivery app service for hungry locals and travellers.
Zalo is Vietnam’s most popular chat app and its popularity of dwarves the competition. With over 30 million registered users the Vietnamese developed Zalo is the communication go-to for most locals.
The app prides itself on the fast speed of it’s messaging and notifications, expressive emoticons and means of group messaging. It also allows you to get in contact with people nearby to you and can be integrated with other popular social networks.
It’s far from the best calling app but its pervasiveness in Vietnam sees it make this list. Its usefulness may also depend on how long you plan to stay in Vietnam. Keep in mind that if you befriend and wish to stay in contact with locals then you’re probably going to want to download this useful chat app.
A few international and local apps will go along way to enhancing your stay in Vietnam. They’ll make dealing with money and communicating with locals much easier and rewarding. It’ll also mean you’ll be able to find the best food and some interesting places you might otherwise have missed.