Best Vietnam SIM Cards for Tourists: Prepaid Mobile Internet

The Best Vietnam SIM Card for Tourists: Viettel vs. MobiFone vs. Vinaphone

It’s no secret that we are crazy about Vietnam; after numerous visits over the last 2 years, we have even decided to call Saigon home for a while.

In addition to delicious food, friendly people, and stunning scenery, one other reason that we love Vietnam is the availability of super fast and extremely affordable mobile data. It means we can work on our blog without interruption from anywhere in this beautiful country.

We would highly recommend that you purchase a Vietnam SIM card at the airport as soon as you arrive in the country. But with 4 different mobile carriers – Viettel, Vinaphone, MobiFone, and Vietnamobile – and dozens of different data plans to choose from, picking the right SIM card for your trip to Vietnam can be overwhelming and confusing.

Best SIM Cards for Vietnam Tourists

We wanted to figure out which was the best Vietnam SIM card for travelers like ourselves, so we made a point to try all of the providers during our various trips around the country.

After traveling the length of Vietnam from the terraced rice fields of Sapa in the far north to the white sand beaches of Phu Quoc in the far south, we can definitively say that our favorite Vietnam SIM card provider is Viettel; they have the best mobile network in Vietnam.

So if you’re in a rush and don’t want to read the entire article…

The best Vietnam SIM card: Viettel

Best Vietnam SIM Card: Viettel

But if you still have questions about where to buy a SIM card in Vietnam, why we prefer Viettel, and how much it is going to cost, then read on!

Complete Guide to Vietnam SIM Cards

Quick Tips for Buying a SIM Card in Vietnam

  • Viettel is the best Vietnam SIM card provider
  • The easiest place to buy a SIM card is at the airport when you first arrive in Vietnam
  • Make sure you bring your passport when you go to purchase a SIM Card
  • Make sure to have your cell phone unlocked for international use before you leave your home country
  • Expect to pay between 150,000-350,000 VND ($6-$15 USD) for a SIM card and prepaid data package depending on how long you’re staying in Vietnam and how much data you want

Do You Need a SIM Card in Vietnam?

Just about every hotel and restaurant in Vietnam offers free wifi so there is really no need to purchase a SIM card in Vietnam. However, we find it incredibly useful for utilizing ride-hailing apps like Grab to get around in the city, for Google Maps when we are driving a motorbike in the countryside, and for Google Translate if we want to communicate with anyone who doesn’t speak English.

It’s also so cheap to purchase a prepaid SIM card in Vietnam so there is really no reason not to get one.

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Where to Purchase a SIM Card in Vietnam

Where to Buy a SIM Card in Vietnam for Mobile Data & Internet

There are literally thousands of places to purchase a tourist SIM card in Vietnam. Every travel agency offers them as do many local stores and even some hotels.

We have found that it is best to purchase a Vietnamese SIM card either in the airport or at one of the official stores of the mobile network providers. More on that below.

Buying a Vietnamese SIM Card at the Airport

The easiest place to buy a SIM card in Vietnam is at the airport. You’ll find dozens of kiosks selling SIM cards as soon as you exit the baggage claim area in any of Vietnam’s international airports.

The easiest place is to buy a SIM card in Vietnam is at the airport.

The price of a SIM card and data plan is fixed by each mobile carrier so the prices offered should all be roughly the same. Feel free to check at a couple of different sales kiosks to make sure you’re getting a fair price.

A Vietnamese SIM card and prepaid data package should cost you between 150,000-350,000 VND ($6.50-$15 USD) depending on how long you’re going to be staying in Vietnam and how much mobile data you want.

A Vietnamese SIM card and prepaid data package should cost you between 150,000-350,000 VND ($6.50-$15 USD)

There are 2 advantages to buying your Vietnam SIM card at the airport:

  1. They register and activate SIM cards for tourists hundreds of times per day so they are quick and efficient and getting it set up properly for you.
  2. You can immediately use Grab (or one of the other ride-hailing services available in Vietnam) to get yourself a ride from the airport which will save you money and hassle.

Also, most of the kiosks in the airport are happy to take a credit card payment for your new Vietnamese SIM card so you don’t even need to worry about going to the ATM first.

We prefer Viettel as it has the largest network and offers excellent coverage all over Vietnam. The next best options are MobiFone and Vinaphone with Vietnamobile a distant fourth place.

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Buying a SIM Card at a Travel Agency or Hotel

You’ll likely be tempted to buy a SIM card at one of the hundreds of tiny shops and travel agencies around town advertising them. Our advice is to NOT buy your SIM card from a travel agency or local shop.

Our advice is to NOT buy your SIM card from a travel agency or local shop.

In 2016 the government began strictly enforcing a policy that requires every mobile SIM card be registered to the person using it. If your SIM card is not properly registered to you when you purchase it, you run the risk of randomly having it shut off during your trip to Vietnam.

Employees in the small travel agencies around Hanoi and Saigon often don’t have very much experience activating tourist SIM cards or they just can’t be bothered to do it properly.

The result is that you’ll have a non-functioning SIM card after a few days. You’ll either have to go back to the travel agent to have it replaced or just throw it away and buy a new SIM card.

If you do purchase your SIM card at a local shop and want to see if it was properly registered to you then text “TTTB” to 1414. You should get a text back within a few minutes that includes your full name, date of birth, and passport number.

Buying a Vietnamese SIM Card at the Telecom Office

If you have already left the airport without a SIM card then you should head directly to one of the branch offices of the telecom companies. Luckily, Viettel has offices that are conveniently located in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

Remember to bring your passport with you as they will need it to register your new SIM card.

Where to get a SIM Card in Hanoi

If you’re staying in the old quarter in Hanoi you’ll find a Viettel store located at the northwestern corner of Hoan Kim Lake.

Viettel Hanoi: 53 Lương Văn Can, Hàng Trống, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam

There is actually a second Viettel store located on the other side of the lake, but the customer service seems to be much better at the one mentioned above.

Where to get a SIM Card Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

If you’re in Hoi Chi Minh City there is a Viettel store located just south of Bui Vien Street, about a 15-minute walk from Ben Than Market

Viettel Ho Chi Minh City: 166 Đường Trần Hưng Đạo, Phường Nguyễn Cư Trinh, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam

How Much Does a SIM Card Cost in Vietnam?

One of the best parts about buying a Vietnam SIM card is it is incredibly cheap! For less than $20 USD you can have an entire month of practically limitless high-speed data.

Prices vary depending on what deals Viettel, MobiFone and Vinaphone are running at any given time but you can expect to pay 150,000-350,000 VND ($6.50-$15 USD) for a SIM card and data package.

How Much Does a Viettel SIM Card Cost?

First, you’ll need to buy the SIM card itself which should cost you 50,000-60,000 VND (~$2.50 USD). Once the SIM card has been activated and registered you can add credit and purchase a data package.

Viettel offers the following packages for tourists (all plans are for 1 month):

High-Speed Data (LTE/4G)Price
5GB90,000 VND (~$4 USD)
8GB125,000 VND (~$5.50 USD)
15GB200,000 VND (~$9 USD)
30GB300,000 VND (~$13 USD)

Don’t worry about figuring out how to do all this. If you’re purchasing your SIM card at the airport or the Viettel shop then whoever sells you the SIM card should be able to set everything up for you. And they’ll likely speak at least a little English.

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Calling and Texting on Your New SIM

Some data packages include SMS or call time while others do not. Most people in Vietnam have WhatsApp so you likely won’t need to actually call anyone.

If you do think you’ll be making local phone calls make sure you get a data package that includes some call time. Or you can simply add some additional credit to your SIM and pay-as-you-go for your calls and texts.

Here are the current rates for calling and texting with Viettel:

  • Local calls (within Vietnam): 1,800 VND/minute
  • Local SMS (within Vietnam): 300 VND/text
  • International calls: 3,600 VND/minute
  • International SMS: 2,500 VND/text

Viettel vs. VinaPhone vs. MobiFone vs. Vietnamobile

As mentioned above, there are 4 mobile carriers that offer SIM cards in Vietnam – Viettel, MobiFone, Vinaphone, and Vietnamboile. But which is the best mobile network in Vietnam?

Of Vietnam’s mobile carriers Viettel has the largest mobile network and most customers.

Viettel has the largest mobile network and most customers.

Vinaphone has the second-best coverage map, but we have always had trouble with our SIM cards when we have purchased Vinaphone. MobiFone has great coverage in the city but starts to get a little spotty if you start to get off the beaten track. We have always had a great experience with MobiFone, but if you’re planning on being out in the countryside, it might not be the best choice.

Vietnam Sim Card Coverage Map

Vietnamobile has little to no coverage outside major cities and even though it is the cheapest you should avoid it at all costs.

Vietnamobile has little to no coverage outside of major cities and even though it is the cheapest you should avoid it at all costs.

In addition to having great coverage in both northern and southern Vietnam, Viettel has conveniently located stores in both the Old Quarter of Hanoi and District 1 in Saigon.

Viettel is the clear winner for the title of “Best Vietnam SIM Card Provider“.

Vietnam: Best Cell Phone Sim Cards

Recharging/Topping-up Your Vietnam SIM Card

If you’re staying in Vietnam for less than a month it’s unlikely you’ll need to renew your data package. However, you may find yourself in a situation where you need to call or text someone locally and you don’t have any credit on your phone.

Most convenience stores (including 7/11 and Vinmart) sell scratch-off vouchers. Just buy the desired amount and load it onto your phone. It’s probably easiest to just have whoever sold you the voucher to load it onto your phone. But if you prefer to do it yourself just open up the phonecall screen on your cell phone and type *100*{voucher-code}# and press enter.

If this sounds too complicated you can also use the online service Recharge.com. You enter your Vietnamese phone number, select how much money you want to add and pay with PayPal or credit card. There is a $1 USD surcharge but we think the convenience makes up for the additional cost.

Vietnam SIM Cards FAQ

What is the best SIM card to get in Vietnam?

We think the best SIM card in Vietnam is Viettel. They are the Vietnamese mobile carrier with the largest network and best coverage.

Where can I buy a SIM card in Vietnam?

There are dozens of small shops around Vietnam that sell SIM cards, but the best place to get one is either in the airport when you first land in the country or at the mobile carrier’s store – we prefer Viettel.

How much does a SIM card cost in Vietnam?

The SIM card itself costs about 50,000 VND (~$2.50). You’ll generally purchase your Vietnam SIM card as part of a mobile data package that will give you anywhere from 5GB – 30GB of data and cost between 150,000 – 300,000 VND ($6.50-$15).

Can I get a SIM card at the Hanoi airport?

Yes. There are numerous kiosks selling SIM cards at the Hanoi Airport.

Can I get a SIM card at the Ho Chi Minh airport?

Of course! There are dozens of counters selling SIM cards for all of Vietnam’s mobile providers at the Saigon airport. (We prefer Viettel)

Have you been to Vietnam? What do you think is the best Vietnamese SIM cards?


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About the Author:

  • Nick Wheatley

    Nick took his first solo trip abroad to Ireland and Scotland when he was just 19. Since then he has visited over 70 countries around the world (plus 45 states in the USA).

    He coupled his passion for travel photography with Val’s passion for writing and thus Wandering Wheatleys was born. He now lives in Asheville with his two rambunctious kids, Humphrey and Wilhelminha.

    Besides photography, Nick loves eating the weirdest food he can find in a country (sheep’s brain currently sits in first place) and making Val get up an hour before sunrise to make sure he gets “the good light”.

31 thoughts on “The Best Vietnam SIM Card for Tourists: Viettel vs. MobiFone vs. Vinaphone”

  1. So if want to call/text back home to Canada just use What’s App, Messenger or facetime with wifi? then I won’t need a sim card with phone plan?

    1. Valerie Wheatley

      Yes but you’ll want a SIM card if you want wifi on the go. Otherwise you’ll only have internet access when you’re connected at a hotel or coffee shop or something.

  2. Good info, thanks! Do you have suggestions for esim? I prefer not to deal with it in person and have phone ready to go right off the plane.

    1. Just be carful , In the airport at the small store where they sell SIM card and exchange money, they will scammed you . I just landed in Vietnam ho Cho min city on 4th April . Bought SIM card from that store from 13usd after 1 day I cannot use the sim . I went to Vinaphone office . They told me my sim was not registered under my name and I cannot use anymore . I need to buy new SIM card. Buy from Vinaphone store it’s much cheaper .

  3. Do I need locan number for texting like ordering taxi or grab or do I just use wifi apps with taxi company or use whatsapp/messenger?

  4. There are a lot of travel stalls (kiosks) selling phone Sim cards from many providers: Vinaphone, Vietel, mobitel etc.. (they’re e all part of VN government’s business just dif names) inside Danang airport near the exit gate just before you go outside. We bought Vinaphone Sim card about $5. It gave me 20 days of 4Gb internet data per day. Unlimited calls only between Vinaphone users which was great for our family group.

    What’s not included: you can’t call land line numbers or other none vinaphone numbers. It was all hustles sale and the sales lady didn’t explain me that. Basically, you can’t call hotel or friends yet. You can ask them to add 30,000-50,000 Dong calling minutes. It’s about $3 for roughly 14000 minutes call to local lines and maybe 20 minutes overseas. My hotel receptionist helped me, he passed his phone credit to my line and I paid him with tip. You can add more minutes date anytime. Most mom and pop convenience store can help you with buying call minutes.

    I suggest to download Grab app and What’sapp to call people using just wifi. I used Grab to order foods to my hotel: banh xeo, banh mi, pho, spring rolls etc… Grab taxi to everywhere is dirt cheap. $10 from Tansonnhat airport to hotel in district 1 Saigon. To restaurants for a few bucks.

    The Cons: If you’re a Vietnamese, make up an English name. when buying the phone Sim card, they gave a form to fill your name, address, date of birth. This is just formality to submit to government control, I told the sales girl I don’t want to, so I made up fake name and she made up the rest of the form.
    They sold your numbers to scammers, I think. I put down my “Vietnamese name” and I got like ten calls a day from local scammers about they want to borrow money from me. My kids put their Anglophone names in the form, the Vietnamese scammers didn’t call them.

  5. Xin chao!

    This will be my 4th trip to Vietnam.

    On my first 2 trips, I purchased the Viettel card at HCMC airport and it worked perfectly.

    The 3rd trip my flight arrived after 10p, and Viettel was closed.

    I had to buy at a higher price from a dealer. No big deal. Had service at the airport and the next day.

    But then I found out on day 2 it was not working as I kept receiving delayed messages only when I was on wifi.

    To make a long story short, and having some pain trying to find a Viettel company store, I found out the dealer had set it up incorrectly.

    So I really want to only buy from the Viettel co store at HCMC airport.
    I haven’t booked my flight yet, but do you know what time they close and is this the same time 7 days a week? Do they accept a US Visa or Mastercard? As the first 2 times, only cash, so I’d need to go to an ATM first and if close to their close time, I’d hate to miss them again.

    Your website lists a sim card cost and then the plan. When I purchased at Viettel it was one price, so I assume they offer a bundled price? And that would be 2.50 for the card plus $4 for the 5GB plan? Is it good for 30 days?

    Can I use my phone as a hotspot for another device, on their plan?
    Thank you for your help!

    Bob

  6. Another question:

    In the event when I know my flight – and it arrives after Viettel is closed, I see online sellers for airport pickup.
    But that means no passport presented and is that OK? Or will they request it at time of setup?

    Thanks
    Bob

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