These days, technology has become an important part of any trip to another country. Sharing your nice photos on social media, searching places on Google Maps, find the bus stop and bus route, translate a phrase into another language are useful functions of applications on your smartphone. Besides Google Maps, Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, Google Translate, TripAdvisor, there are many other useful apps any traveler who comes to Vietnam should install on his smartphone or tablet. Graduated from the Information Technology Department and have been working as a mobile programmer, I have used lots of perfect travel apps and would like to share with you the best of them. The top 10+ Essential Travel Apps you need for a trip to Vietnam are listed as follows.
Vietnam Travel Guide App by Triposo
Leave your travel guide books at home, bring your smartphone and Vietnam Travel Guide App by Triposo instead. Triposo delivers up to date detailed maps and intelligent recommendations for over 40,000 tourist destinations in 200 countries. Vietnam Travel Guide App provides useful information for travelers about 50+ travel destinations in the country including Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hoi An, Da Nang.
The highlights of this app include:
- Offline data so that you do not need Wifi or 3G/4G to use it.
- Each travel guide has a sightseeing section with all popular tourist attractions, eating out section with greatest restaurants, bars, pubs & nightlife section.
- A phrasebook with the most popular Vietnamese phrases.
At this time, Google Maps is the top navigation app in Vietnam. You may be familiar with using Google Maps in your country so that there is no need to write so much about it. On your trip to Vietnam, you should get real-time GPS navigation, traffic, and transit information, search for tourist attractions, shopping places, places to eat, drink and go, ATMs, petrol stations. Street View has been launched in many big cities. However, Google Maps is not very helpful in catching bus, train or ride-share.
Cốc Cốc Map
Cốc Cốc Map is created and used by Vietnamese people. It contains more than 1,000,000 places including restaurants, hotels, stations, ATMs, gas stations, hospitals with detailed information including website, address, phone, Facebook fan pages, ratings and reviews in 63 provinces. The app supports GPS navigation for driving or walking.
A local navigation app contains more detailed information that is frequently updated, more places including less-known and hidden places is sometimes more helpful than the global Google Maps app. If you can not find a place or a route on Google Maps, use your Cốc Cốc Map app.
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Xe Currency Converter & Money Transfer
XE app puts all your currency needs into one app. Since 2009, XE Currency has provided reliable exchange rates and historical charts for the past 10 years for free. It also compare prices to be sure you’re getting the best deal at today’s rate. In Vietnam, the exchange rates at gold shops and some currency exchange shops are higher than in banks. The exchange rates are different at different banks. Many tourists usually exchange their money into Vietnamese currency at airports after going through immigration. It is not a good deal at any airport in Vietnam. XE is very helpful in case a vendor or tour sale calculates wrongly the total amount of money you have to pay for an item or a service. The app saves the last updated rates when offline. XE Money Transfer helps expats and foreign tourists to send and receive money globally with highly competitive exchange rates.
If you travel to Vietnam for a long period of time, an E-wallet (digital wallet) which is used for transactions made online through your smartphone or computer. You do not need to withdraw money, exchange money many times and carry lots of money while traveling and sometimes are rewarded.
There are more than ten digital wallet in Vietnam: ZaloPay, Momo, Airpay, Moca, Payoo, ViettelPay, VTC Pay, TrueMoney, BankPlus, VinID, Bao Kim, Ngan Luong, SenPay, 123Pay. The first five wallets are the most popular, accepted at many supermarkets, convenience stores and shops. Momo is my favorite one thanks to its popularity, Moca is Grab’s partner, ZaloPay is a product of the same company as Zalo. Momo in English is in beta version, ZaloPay does not support English, Moca supports English.
In addition, the world-wide PayPal is sometimes useful in Vietnam. For example, some tour agencies accept Paypal.
Bad news for you, there is no Uber in Southeast Asian countries, including Vietnam. Fortunately, we have many alternatives such as Grab, Vinasun Taxi, Mai Linh Taxi, GoViet. Grab specializes in car and motorbike rides, food delivery, delivery service and many other services. GoViet specializes in motorbike ride and food delivery. Using Vinasun and Mai Linh apps, you can book reliable taxis as quickly as possible.
At this time, Grab is the number 1 ride-hailing app, food delivery service and cashless payment solution. After entering the pick up location and the destination, the app shows you different choices including a car ride and a bike ride at different fixed fare so that you can choose the most suitable one. After booking, you can contact directly with your driver. The food delivery service of Grab works smoothly, you will not be hungry if you can not go out for eating. The Moca wallet may help you to make payment online. Other services such as Market, Delivery, Bills which are useful to people who live in Vietnam for long period of time.
GoViet is an app for your daily needs from bike hailing, food delivery to package delivery. GoViet is the biggest competitor of GrabBike in Vietnam.
Vinasun Taxi is the official app of Vinasun Joint Stock Company – the number 1 taxi company in Vietnam. You can book a ride and set the pickup time, the fare is estimated and there is no cancellation charge. In the past, tourists must have receptionists, tour guides, Vietnamese friends to call the general line of Vinasun to book a ride or wait on the streets to catch taxis. In recent years, booking a taxi is completely easy with the app.
Mai Linh Taxi
Mai Linh Taxi app has the same function as Vinasun Taxi App. The most important reason why we choose one of them is the quality of the service. In Vietnam, we call Vinasun, Mai Linh traditional taxis and Grab is called electronic taxis. There is a fight between two types of taxis in the country. Grab sometimes offers attractive promotions but the prices, when demands increase, are very high. The fares of traditional taxis are generally a little higher than GrabCar but never change.
Bus Map provide all travelers needs of public transit including bus, railways, MRT, skytrain in Vietnam and Thailand. At this time, the app covers Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang City, Hanoi. The app is offline 100%. The most useful features include:
- Search for detailed bus route: stations, timeline, route paths, etc.
- Smart direction by bus: BusMap can provide you the best ways and detailed instructions for you to go by bus from one location to another location in the city.
- Real-time bus tracking: View the real-time bus’ waiting time at each station, user can even view where the bus currently is.
The bus data in Ho Chi Minh City is provided by Ho Chi Minh City Management Centre Of Public Transport,Department Of Transportation. The bus data in Da Nang City is provided by Danang Public Services Contact Center 1022.
Moovit: Timing & Navigation for all Transit Types
Moovit has been used by more than 720 million users in over 3000 cities in the world. The data of bus times and train times, transit maps, and, where available, real-time line arrivals are up-to-date. Moovit has been rewarded as the best apps of the year in 2016 and 2017 by the Google Play and App Stores. With Moovit, you can get train and bus times, maps, live navigation and real-time schedules with ease so you can plan your trip or travel Vietnam with confidence. Highlights of the app include:
- Live Navigation: step-by-step directions of optimal route bus, train, metro, bike, scooter or a combination of them.
- Real time arrivals helps to avoid wasting time guessing train times or bus times.
- Real time alerts if your bus time or train time changed.
- Users reports, favorite lines, stations, and places.
- Maps view: view all stations, routes, and lines on the subway or bus map. Maps are available in PDF for when you’re offline, or underground on the subway.
With the help of Skyscanner, you can find the best value flights. It suggests lots of flights operated by different airlines, times and prices for you to choose after you input the date you would like to fly, from where and the destination. In addition, the app also supports booking the right hotels and rent cars.
Foody app is to “search” and “review” thousands of food locations in most of the provinces and cities in Vietnam such as Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Da Nang, Hai Phong, Nha Trang, etc. Foody is the top 1 food, places to eat and drinks and other places community in Vietnam. With the clear classification and a large number of reviews, photos, videos which help you easily find and consider where to enjoy. If you do not want to go to a restaurant to eat, just order the foods with the app. Foody usually offers many promotions to attract customers.
Baemin app has a very cute design. As described by Baemin, it is super-easy to find the food you like, with crazy discounts. Baemin has just joined the Vietnam food delivery market so that dozens of promotions are offered every day.
Social media and Messenger
Facebook and Instagram are two famous apps that most of the people should install. Keep in contact with your family and friends, share nice photos and many things about your trip on these social media apps. Whatsapp should be installed on your smartphone because you can contact tour operators, hotels and get responses as quickly as possible. In Vietnam, lots of tours and services can be books simply by messaging them on Whatsapp or Facebook Messenger. Fewer people use Viber but 80% of the local smartphone users have Zalo accounts. Zalo reached the 100 million users milestone in May 2018 and it is considered the answer of Vietnam to Whatsapp.
Zalo is the new market-leading messaging app with amazing features including messaging your friend or a group of friends in a snap, receiving notifications the moment they reply back, expressing your emotion with fun and cheerful emoticons and stickers, sending voice messages. Most Vietnamese people use this app so that you should install it and keep in touch with your friends and people related to your trip.
In addtion, Zalo provides other features including shopping, timeline, transport, game, bank, hotel, ZaloPay, food. Find features that are helpful for you on the trip.
Vietnam English Translator
Not all Vietnamese people speak English fluently, a large number of them speak limited English. You may need a help from a person who do not understand and speak English. With this translator you can easily translate words and text from Vietnamese to English and from English to Vietnamese. Believe me, this small and simple app will help you so much.
In comparison to Vietnam English Translator, Google Translate app can do more and has smarter features including offline translation, instant camera translation, camera mode, phrasebook.
The Tripadvisor app is the ultimate travel planner which help you to plan your vacation and book an amazing trip, with millions of travel recommendations and reviews from travelers like you on hotels, must-do experiences, top places to eat and other nearby less-known gems. It helps you book a table at restaurants and compare low prices when booking hotels and flights for your next trip. The large volume of data about reviews and ratings of people in the largest travel community is the advantage of TripAdvisor.
OTAs (Online Travel Agency)
AirBnb, Agoda, Booking.com, Hotels.com, Klook, Traveloka and Expedia are popular systems on which you can easily find and book hotels, experiences, tickets, airport pickups and other tourism services at good prices. Coupons, vouchers, promotions are provided by OTAs in order to attract customers. I would like to recommend you to use their apps on your trip.
AirBnb has become one of the must app on smartphones of many travelers these days. AirBnb opens a new era of easy and cheap, travel, connect tourists with locals and make your trip more interesting. This app can help you save lots of money whether you travel alone, with your family or a group of friends. With AirBnb app, a traveler can:
- Book last minute travel accommodations or long term rentals, travel experiences.
- Save your favorite ones and invite friends and family to plan the trip with you.
- Add experiences and events to your itinerary.
- Contact with your host and get directions to the accommodation.
Agoda has a large number of accommodations, over 55734 hotels, homestays, guest houses, resorts and many others for you to search, filter by prices, stars, locations, best deals, read ratings and reviews posted by users who have stayed at the hotels. Agoda Rewards membership and its benefits are highlights of this OTA.
As Vietnam’s largest WiFi sharing community, Wifi Chua offers you nearby free wifi and hotspots with passwords shared by our users with just one click. This app saves your money on 3G/4G data by connecting you with over 2.000.000 Wifi hotspots in Vietnam. Wifi Chua ensures safety and privacy so that you feel free to use it on your trip to Vietnam.