Vietnam (Socialist Republic of Vietnam)

Languages: Vietnamese

Currencies: VND · Vietnamese đồng (₫)

Capitol: Hanoi

Continents: Asia

Borders: Laos, Cambodia, China

More useful information

Area: 331,212km2

Population: 97,338,583

Traffic/driving side: right

Landlocked country: No

Independent country: Yes

United Nations member: Yes

IDD Prefix: +84

Timezones: UTC+07:00

Last updated on July 5, 2024

Local transportation in Southeast Asia is the most adventurous and beautiful way of exploring the continent. It brings a truly authentic travel experience!

A lot travelers ask how to explore Southeast Asia, is using local transportation safe? I have traveled solo across every country in Southeast Asia and I can tell you it is most valuable way of traveling, with endless adventures and entertaining situations bringing lifetime memories. Navigating the transportation systems in some Southeast Asian countries may seem daunting at first, but with some guidance, it can enhance the overall travel experience.

How to use local transportation in Southeast Asia?

My forst advise after traveling the world solo is – navigate local Tourist Information centre. They will always give you local maps & transportation advice. You can simply ask them for local bus operators or best companies operating between major cities. 

  1. Finding a Tourist Information Centre.
  2. Find a local bus station. You’ll be able to ask for bus tickets & routes. Sometimes it is essential to purachse ticket a day in advance, thus it’s always useful to go and make some insight.
Travel guide to local transportation in Southeast Asia.

Get local SIM card.

Getting a local SIM card is essential for number of reasons. You’ll be able to access online maps, search for any local turist information, bus stations and use as a navigation. Drimsim is the first universal SIM card for travelers. Drimsim is a real SIM card – a plastic card with a chip, which you can insert into your phone, tablet, or router.

Try local bus operators.

There are thousands of local transport operators in Asia. In countries like Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Indonesia, local transportation comes in various forms, each offering a unique insight into the local way of life. Most popular local transportation forms are:

  • Tuk-tuks,
  • motorbike taxis
  • colorful buses
  • mini vans
  • trains
  • Uber or PickMe

Be relaxed, open-minded, flexible and allow yourself to feel the sense of adventure. 

Travel guide to local transportation in Southeast Asia.

How to buy a ticket for local transportation in Southeast Asia?

There are few ways to book your ticket for a local transportation in Southeast Asia. Thanks to a digital world there are nowadays plenty of apps where you can book yout tickets online. My favourite is TRIP.COM, absolutely amazing app for Asia.

It’s a very good idea to find a local bus station and purchase ticket directly.

You can always book a ticket in any local agency or your gueshouse or hostel. They offer slightly more comfortable mini vans than big local buses, so most likely you’ll travel by private bus company. Make sure you compare ticket proce with local buses – sometimes private companies charge crazy money for the same transportation.

Be aware of scammers in most toursitic places. The more popular destination the more scammers you’ll have on your way. 

Getting a tuk-tuk.

One of the most iconic modes of transportation in South-East Asia is the tuk-tuk. These three-wheeled taxis can be found in many cities and towns throughout the continent. Always agree the price before you get in!! Negotiating the fare beforehand is common practice and a MUST, and while it’s important to haggle, it’s equally important to be fair to the local drivers. Tuk-tuks are not only a convenient way to get around, but they also provide an opportunity to interact with the drivers – it’s actually my favourite part of the journey!

Local buses in Asia.

Be aware you will be traveling not only with local people but all their belongings – animals, furnitures and god knows what else! 😉 Local buses are slow, so if you want to use faster and more convenient longrun buses, ask for a price in a private operator. It’s probably more conveneint if you travel overnight, some buses offer very comfortable sleeping seats.

Another very convenient platform for booking local transportation in Southeast Asia is

The platform is also great for booking boat tickets.

People putting luggage in the bus

Motorbikes in Asia.

Motorbike taxis are another popular choice for short trips within cities. While it may seem daunting to hop on the back of a motorbike driven by a local, it’s an exhilarating experience that offers a glimpse into the fast-paced urban life of South-East Asia. As always, safety should be a priority, so wearing a helmet is a must.

Renting a motorbike in Asia.

Renting a motorbike in Southeast Asia is extremely popular among all travelers. make sure you rent a moped from a decent company/don’t look for the cheapest rentals, as last thing you want is a broken motorbike in the middle of nowhere. Trust me I know – we landed in the middle of a tropical forest area in Cambodia, with closest village 1 hour from us.. our motorbike broke completely, luckily some people saved us few hours later.

Trains in Asia.

Southeast Asia’s train network has been improving over the years, but in most countries it still remains the cheapest but at the same time slowest transportation. For longer journeys between cities, buses and trains are the go-to options. While these modes of transportation may not offer the same level of intimacy as tuk-tuks or motorbikes, they provide a comfortable and cost-effective way to travel across the region. Opting for sleeper trains or overnight buses can save time and money, they allow to cover longer distances without sacrificing valuable daylight hours.

There are few spectacular train routes, you should absolutely experience in Southeast Asia – like Blue Train from Kandy to Elle in Sri Lanka or Seven Stars Cruise in Japan.

Flights in Southeast Asia.

There are many cheap flight operators in Southeast Asia, you will be able to travel bewteen cities or even countries for less than 50 USD if booked in advance. AirAsia is one of the most famous operator flying to over 165 destinations.

Travel guide to local transportation in Southeast Asia.

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Sassari Sardinia

Hey - I'm Eva!

Hiker, adventurous traveler and the author of this blog. My biggest joy is mountaineering and writing reportage travel stories here on this blog, to help you create a unique travel experience. Traveling is freedom, allows you seeing the world truly, meet communities, grow. Taste it!

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