Generally, the road network in Vietnam is in a bad condition, only 39 % is covered by asphalt. The largest problem is the uneven distribution of funds. Since 1993, 90 % of aid and counterpart funding for roads has gone towards the major highways, which constitutes less than 10 % of the total network. The favorite mode of transportation, especially in the cities, is by motorbike. There are an estimated 20 million motorbikes in Vietnam. Crossing the street in the larger cities of Vietnam, especially HCMC, can seem to be a task of suicidal nature. When crossing, please walk extremly slowly so that the motorbike drivers will have the chance to avoid hitting you.

Motorbikes – a common sight on Vietnamese roads.


The airline industry is currently regulated, but is under relaxation. As a result of the regulations, ticket prices are generally considered more expensive than for other countries.

Vietnam Airlines


The railway system is old and in need of improvement. In 2006 the passenger numbers declined by 5.6 %. At the same time, the freight tonnage increased by an impressing 17.2 %. Taking the train between Hanoi and HCMC could be a alternative for tourists but deffinitely not for business trevellers, since the trip takes more than 30 hours. A new north-south railway is planned at the cost of $35 billion. The new connection would, when finished in six years, cut the travel time between Hanoi and HCMC to less than 10 hours.


Vietnam’s dense river and canal network is the most common mode of transporting goods, around twice the tonnage carried by rail. The most commonly transported commodities are building material and fertilizers. Unfortunately, just as the other parts of the Vietnamese infrastructure, the inland waterway system lacks adequate maintenance. As a result, The World Bank has estimated that water transportation is currently 40 % below its potential. Lack of specialized equipment for container handling causes large proportions of imports and exports to transit through the ports in Singapore and Hong Kong.