Best Vietnam SIM Card for Tourists: All You Need To Know

In this ultimate guide to staying connected on your trip to Vietnam, we go over the best Vietnam SIM cards, which carrier to choose, and how to decide between a physical or eSIM.
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Vietnam SIM Card for Tourists, Best Packages, eSIM, how to buy - All You Need To know

After spending 2 years in Vietnam and returning every now and then, it’s safe to say we’ve tried the different options long enough to know which to recommend and which not.

So in this article, we’ll cover all the essentials you need to know about before buying a SIM card or eSIM package in Vietnam.

Are you simply looking for the best Vietnam SIM deals?

Traveling to Vietnam soon?
Vietnam e-Visa 2024: How to enter Vietnam (Full Guide)
(Updated with new rules from August 15, 2023)

Why you should get a Vietnam SIM card

While WiFi is widely available in Vietnam, in your hotel, hostel, or resort, as well as in almost all cafes and restaurants, getting a local Vietnam SIM card is the way to go for a comfortable trip.

The most significant benefit of buying a Vietnam SIM card package is being able to comfortably use ride-hailing apps like Grab (Uber), using Google Maps for navigation, and using Google Translate.

Ordering a grab bike ride with a Vietnam SIM card

And while it’s true that most locals and businesses in Vietnam use apps like WhatsApp and Zalo for communicating, having a local number has proven useful for us.

Since you’re reading this blog, we assume you’re not in the group that wants to explore Vietnam while being “offline.” (nothing against those people – respect!)

View of the Tu San Canyon

Need reliable Vietnam Travel Insurance?

No matter the general safety situation, we always advise getting travel insurance for trips outside your country. We’re happy to recommend Heymondo, offering affordable plans for your Vietnam trip. And best of all, they have great reviews from previous travelers.

Tip: Shipped Away readers get 5% off

Should you get a physical SIM or eSIM for Vietnam?

In 2024 it’s very common for most to already have phones supporting the eSIM technology.

Buying a Vietnam eSIM is the most hassle-free option, as you simply buy it online, scan the QR code you receive and install it on your phone in a matter of minutes. No need to go to any store or mess around with it at the airport.

So if your phone supports eSIMs, there’s no reason not to get one.

We are big supporters of the eSIM technology and have had it since we got a phone that supported it a few years ago.

Note: Many Vietnam eSIM packages you can find online don’t come with any text or calls, except the Gigago eSIM packages (as of now).

But that’s also the case with some of the standard SIM packages at the airport. Most only give you data.

So if you need calls and texts, just make sure your plan includes it (we will recommend the best packages below).

Where to buy your Vietnam SIM card

The three most common ways to buy your Vietnam SIM card are at the airport, online, or at one of the official mobile carrier stores in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, or any other city.

1. Buy a physical Vietnam SIM card at the airport

The simplest way to buy your physical Vietnam SIM card is upon your arrival at the airport.

All Vietnamese airports are full of kiosks selling Vietnam SIM card packages from operators like Viettel, Vinaphone, Mobifone, and Vietnamobile. (more about the best ones later)

Just walk up to the kiosk, and you will get your Vietnam SIM card installed and ready to go in minutes.

We highly recommend comparing packages of at least two kiosks to find the best deal, as they don’t always offer the same packages or prices.

And while some have better deals for shorter periods, some have better deals for longer trips.

Note: Please note that to buy a physical SIM card, you need a passport, as they will have to register the package in your name, as is the official requirement. This is not required if you buy an eSIM.

2. Buy your Vietnam eSIM online

It’s straightforward to buy a Vietnam eSIM online and activate it in a matter of minutes.

Getting an eSIM online is especially convenient if you’re entering Vietnam by land border from Cambodia or Laos. If you’re on an organized bus trip, you usually don’t have enough time to sort your SIM at the border.

And of course, having a pre-installed eSIM when arriving by plane to Vietnam, means that as soon as you land, you’re online.

We’ve been following the providers of Vietnam eSIMs since they started offering them and compiled a list of the best ones below.

Gigago

  • great selection (7, 10, 16, 30 days)
  • unlimited data or fixed data packages
  • calls & text available (local number)

GIGAGO

Use code SHIPPEDAWAY for a 5% discount.

Airalo

  • data only
  • great options for 7, 15, and 30 days

Airalo

$3 off first order with code MATEJ1033

TripRoaming

  • data only
  • multiple Asian countries packages

Holafly

  • data only
  • unlimited data plans for 7, 15, and 30+ days

Holafly

Use code SHIPPEDAWAY for a 5% discount.

3. Buy your physical Vietnam SIM online

You can order your Vietnam SIM card online and get it delivered to your home address or pick it up at the airport.

This way, you get a much better deal than buying it directly at the airport.

You simply go to the counter (you get instructions upon booking), and you’re in and out in a few minutes.

Best options for buying a physical Vietnam SIM online:

Klook.com

4. Buy your Vietnam SIM card at the official store

You can buy your Vietnam SIM card at one of the official stores of mobile carriers across all cities.

Buying your package at the official carrier store like Viettel or VinaPhone can get you better deals than at airports or smaller reseller shops.

Arijana Tkalčec working in Rosies cafe in Hoi An

Stay protected on public WiFi

We’ve been using NordVPN for over 5 years now and can highly recommend the tool for protecting your privacy and freedom while browsing the internet.

It encrypts your connection and hides your data from potential hackers. Also, with a VPN, you can access blocked/restricted content like some Netflix movies or booking sites.

Tip: Shipped Away readers get a special deal

How much does a Vietnam SIM card package cost?

Vietnam SIM Card packages are very affordable and cost upwards of 4 USD for a smaller amount of data and about 10 USD for an excellent data package with text and calls included.

Before getting a package, you must also buy the actual SIM card, which usually costs between 50.000 and 60.000 VND (about 2.5 USD).

Mobile data packages often change names, and what they offer, so we won’t go into specifics about each carrier’s packages. But we will give you a reliable estimated cost of a Vietnam mobile package.

4G DATA IN PACKAGE / VALIDITYCOST OF PACKAGE
12 GB – 1 month200.000 VND (9 USD)
30 GB – 1 month300.000 VND (13 USD)
3 GB – 7 days100.000 VND (4.5 USD)
Unlimited data – 7 days230.000 VND (10 USD)
Unlimited data – 30 days700.000 VND (30 USD)
Estimated cost of a mobile data package in Vietnam.

Please note that the prices and packages you will find at Vietnam airports are significantly different and often much higher than what you would pay at the carrier’s store.

There are many packages to choose from, but Viettel and VinaPhone each have a great monthly package available for years already.

These packages you can buy exclusively at the official stores.

  • Viettel offers a 1-month package for 120.000 VND (about 5 USD), with 2 GB of high-speed internet per day and 60 minutes for calling.

  • VinaPhone offers a 1-month package for 129.000 VND (about 5 USD), with 2 GB of high-speed internet per day, 1000 minutes in the network, and 50 minutes of calls outside the network.

Do you get calls and texts on your Vietnam SIM card package?

Most Vietnam SIM card packages you can buy at the airport don’t come with any calls or texts, and you would need to go to the mobile carrier shop to get a different package.

The airport options are usually limited, as they’re special packages aimed at tourists and only include data. And they differ from the official ones you can get at the carrier.

You could top-up some money to your account, though, and get calls and texts like that. Calls in Vietnam cost about 1.800 VND per minute, and texting costs about 250 VND per SMS.

But we’re happy to recommend Gigago – Vietnam’s first eSIM provider, as their packages usually include at least some calls and texts.

GIGAGO

Use code SHIPPEDAWAY for a 5% discount.

Which Vietnam mobile carrier is the best? 

There are 4 major mobile carriers in Vietnam, but the two best networks are Viettel and Vinaphone.

Sticking to the first two is best because it will allow you to go anywhere in the country and have a great connection.

Vietnam SIM Card for Tourists - Vietnam Mobile Networks Comparison - ShippedAway.com

1. Viettel

We’ve used Viettel a lot throughout the country and had a great experience, from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi and even some more remote places like Ha Giang and Ban Gioc Waterfall.

Viettel has the best coverage of all mobile carriers in Vietnam and has a 40% market share.

Viettel Your Way - Vietnam SIM Card

2. VinaPhone

VinaPhone has the second-best network coverage with a 30% market share and is a great choice.

While we don’t have as much experience with VinaPhone as we have with Viettel, we know it’s reliable and can highly recommend it.

VinaPhone Vietnam SIM Card

3. Mobifone

Mobifone, with about 22% market share, is only recommended if you stick to the cities, as its coverage outside the main areas gets bad fast.

So if you’re only visiting, let’s say, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, and Hanoi, you will likely be fine. But not so much in the countryside.

Mobifone Vietnam SIM Card

4. Vietnamobile

We recommend avoiding Vietnamobile as we had bad experiences with the coverage and connection, even in cities.

We made the mistake of not buying an eSIM package in advance as usual, and we purchased a Vietnamobile package last minute at the Nha Trang airport – never again.

Don’t trust their cheap packages!

Vietnamobile Vietnam SIM Card

How to top up your Vietnam SIM prepaid package?

Topping up your Vietnam mobile package is simple in almost every convenience store, like Winmart, Circle K, or 7/11.

Often, these stores have dedicated systems where you just provide them with your phone number, and they top up how much you want to your account.

And if they don’t have that system, you will receive a code on your receipt that you must use/call on your phone to top up.

Also, you can buy top-up vouchers or scratch cards and simply use the codes to top up.

TIP: If you’re unsure how to top-up your Vietnam SIM package, simply ask the store workers, and they will be happy to help you, even if they don’t know much English.

One time in Hue, they couldn’t get the system to work in a Winmart, so the worker transferred the amount of money we wanted to top-up from her account to our account (she also had Viettel).

So she saved the day, as three other nearby stores had the same issue.

Did you know?

We explored Vietnam for more than 1 year and a half
and wrote 34 and counting detailed articles.

Did you know?
We explored Vietnam for more than 1 year and a half and wrote 34 and counting detailed articles.

Frequently asked questions

Is it worth buying a SIM card in Vietnam?

It’s absolutely worth buying a SIM card in Vietnam, as you can’t always rely on WiFi.

Where to buy a Vietnam SIM card?

You can buy your Vietnam SIM Card online or in many shops at the airport, in official carrier stores, or at smaller resellers in any city.

What is the best Vietnam SIM Card?

The best Vietnam SIM Card is Viettel because of the best coverage and great package options.

How much does a Vietnam SIM Card cost?

A Vietnam SIM Card costs about 50.000 VND ($2) for the physical SIM and about 100.000 VND ($4) for a data plan with about 3 to 5 GB of data.

Do Vietnam SIM Card packages come with calls and texts?

Yes, many Vietnam SIM Card packages come with calls and texts, but check the offer before buying.

Can I buy a Vietnam eSIM – embedded SIM?

Yes, you can get a Vietnam eSIM (embedded SIM) from many online providers, some even with unlimited data.

Is it better to get a Vietnam physical SIM or eSIM?

It’s best to get a Vietnam eSIM if your phone supports it.

How long is a Vietnam SIM Card active?

SIM Cards in Vietnam are usually active for either 7, 15, or 30 days.

Can I get a Vietnam SIM Card at the Ho Chi Minh City Airport?

Yes, you can get a Vietnam SIM Card at the kiosks at Ho Chi Minh City Airport or by pre-ordering it online.

Can I get a Vietnam SIM Card at the Hanoi Airport?

Yes, you can get a Vietnam SIM Card at the kiosks at Hanoi Airport or by pre-ordering it online.

Can I get a Vietnam SIM Card at the Da Nang Airport?

Yes, you can get a Vietnam SIM Card at the kiosks at Da Nang Airport or by pre-ordering it online.

Can I get a Vietnam SIM Card at the Nha Trang Airport?

Yes, you can get a Vietnam SIM Card at the kiosks at Nha Trang Airport.

Can I get a Vietnam SIM Card at the Phu Quoc Airport?

Yes, you can get a Vietnam SIM Card at the kiosks at Phu Quoc Airport.

Vietnam SIM Card - buying packages at the airport

Have you found a better deal than one of the recommended ones in this article?

We are happy to hear about it!

We’re continuously searching for the best deals for travelers to Vietnam, so we’d appreciate any feedback.

Hopefully, we answered all of your questions about getting the best Vietnam SIM card deal for your trip.

Got any extra questions? Leave a comment below, and we’ll get back to you!


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Arijana & Matej

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5 Responses

  1. Hello
    Thanks for the information.
    I have grab on my phone for when I travel to Vietnam for my first time.
    Do I need to have a sim that includes calls?
    Am I ok ti just have data as I’m not going to make phone call?
    Thank you
    Clayton

    1. Hi Clayton. As long as you can register the Grab app on your home number, you should be fine. The drivers might call your home number to confirm location, but in that case just don’t answer, and send a message in Grab or use the Grab voice call. So in essence, no you don’t need calls. 🙂

  2. Hello,
    My smartphone (RealMe X2 Pro) isn’t on the list but because it’s only 2 years old and unlocked I’m going to assume it will work. My question is, We fly Feb 1st from Thailand to NHa Trang Vietnam should I activate the eSim before leaving Thailand?

    Nice job on the Blog I got a lot of useful info from it. Hope to hear back about my question before departure. IF not, be well travel safe.

    1. Hi, thank you for the comment!

      It does seem like the RealMe X2 Pro doesn’t support the eSIM technology. So we can’t recommend buying the eSIM for RealMe X2 Pro. Unless you buy the cheapest package from Airalo and give it a go, and if it doesn’t work, give it away to someone. 🤷‍♂️

      We usually buy the eSIM and activate it before arriving to a new country. And then when we land, we’re online right away. 🙂

      Have a great trip!

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