Getting connected in Vietnam
Posted December 3, 2014on:
The reflections were popular leading up to the year end holiday travel season. I wondered out loud in a rise above reflection if I should share how I got connected in other places.
Rather than share months or years old information by recalling what I did in the past, I am opting to share more recent information. This is what I did when I travelled to Hoi An, Vietnam [photos] last week.
I flew to Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) first and then got on a domestic flight to Da Nang. It was a 30-45 minute car ride to Hoi An.
When I landed in HCMC, I had to exit the International Terminal and walk to the Domestic terminal on the right. There were a few SIM card providers near the exit of the International Terminal.
The line at Mobifone was longer as it was closer to the exit than Vinaphone, but I found out how a few steps could save me a few dollars. I did a quick comparison at the Mobifone and Vinaphone counters and discovered the latter offered more bang for the buck.
I bought a 1.8GB data-only 3G micro SIM for 87,000 VND (about SGD 5.00). The setup was simple and the customer service impeccable.
The SIM was preregistered so that there was no need for me to call a customer service centre or set up anything on a phone. I only had to insert the SIM card into the phone and restart it.
The counter staff was friendly and obliging. She showed me how to verify and check my data balance (dial *110*0#) and to find my number to send and receive SMS.
I promptly popped the SIM into my trusty mifi device (in auto detect mode) and the connection was nearly flawless the entire trip. The only times the signal dropped were in dead or low reception zones at airports or in parts of Hoi An Ancient Town.
Three parting tips (previously shared tips):
- Bring a dual SIM phone if you have one. You keep your original SIM in the phone and insert the new SIM in the other slot. Remember to deactivate the first slot when dialling *110*0# to check SIM balance or other Vietnamese numbers.
- An iOS device that uses a nano SIM will incur an additional 25,000VND (SGD 1.50) fee. If you have an alternative phone, a mifi device, or a SIM cutter, you could spend that amount on some excellent Vietnamese iced coffee!
- Invest in a reliable VPN service like Private Internet Access (I am not paid to promote them BTW). Establishments in Vietnam might offer free wifi, but it easy to snoop on the other devices on the shared network.