There are various forms of road transportation in Vietnam when travelling between towns and cities – and one of the most popular for shorter distances of about 3 hours (as opposed to longer journeys of 6 hours upwards which require the services of more spacious forms of transport like sleeper buses ) is the “ limousine”. A limousine in Vietnam is not actually the luxurious car that we all know about, but instead a high quality minibus!
What does a limousine in Vietnam look like?
A limousine in Vietnam is the same size as a typical minibus, however, with an unusual minibus there are typically about 15 seats (including the two at the front ) and it is a bench-type system with three or four people sitting directly next to each other.
In a limousine, there are four individual seats inside, all of which recline- and have sides and armrests – in the main section.
At the back of the limousine are three seats – these are all together – however, each seat is demarcated, and they are already at an incline.
At the front of the bus, there are only normal seats that you would find in a usual minibus – i.e., a joint seat, with the central seat being right next to the driver and the other next to the door.
Why use a limousine instead of a minibus?
The main reason why limousines are used is the comfort level – it is obviously much more comfortable to have your own luxurious “armchair “inside a minibus instead of being squashed on a shared seat.
In addition, a limousine in Vietnam also offers the service of picking up and dropping you off at your hotel. Although some bus services also offer this (although this service is usually at the beach destinations rather than in the towns) this is a great advantage and saves you from having to drag your luggage to the main bus station or the allocated bus pick up place.
Please note that often a car will come and pick you up from your destination if you are located in the central area and it is busy. This is because it is easier for a car to navigate the traffic and then after picking you up, it will inevitably drive around and pick other people up from their hotels. This works both ways – i.e., when leaving the town/city and when entering – so don’t be worried when you are returning and suddenly the limousine stops and everyone gets off – they are all simply moving to the traffic efficient form of transportation!
How to book a limousine in Vietnam
A limousine in Vietnam can be booked easily online – there are often options to pay there and then with your card or pay whilst on the limousine. They do cost more than the standard minibus but when you compare prices it is easy to see that it is worth a lot of comfort for a small price!
The prices for the seats varies according to the seat that you book.
The most expensive seats are the four self contained armchair type seats, with the second most expensive being the shared back seat.
Seats in a limousine are luxurious
The cheapest seats on a limousine in Vietnam are the front seats -which are much more “normal “standard. The seat by the door is fine, however, if you get trapped in the central front seat – stuck between the driver on one side and another passenger on the other, it is not the most comfortable! Please note that in the front seat there may or may not be seat belts – so this is also something to consider.
When you book you will be given a selection of times to choose from – please note that these times are not exact (except if you are at the starting point ) as the car is going around picking people up, so there will inevitably be delays with people not getting in the car on time or traffic etc.
To assist with this, you are initially given a fifteen or even thirty minute time frame in which you will be picked up – for example, between 4.30 – 4.45 pm – so that you have some idea and can get ready. The company will typically then call you when they are about five minutes away so that you can be standing at the hotel entrance.
It is important to note that typically these companies have absolutely no English so you will need someone to help you work out what they are saying. It is understood in Vietnam that foreigners will not be able to understand Vietnamese, so people are very happy to help with translation – so if you do find yourself in the street and the limousine company are on the phone it is fine to put the phone on speaker and ask someone in the street to help you!
How is the journey on a limousine in Vietnam?
As expected, limousine journeys are quite smooth – typically drivers who care more about the vehicle and thus do not simply bounce over bumps in the road or skid around corners. With blankets provided and air conditioning, the journey is usually rather nice and it is easy to lean back and look at the view or snooze.
The limousine will stop at designed larger “ service stations “ for at least a toilet break ( which will be about ten minutes ) or a food break ( which will be about twenty minutes ) It is important to make sure that you know when the limousine will be setting off again so that you don’t miss it ( simply hold up a number of fingers and you will get a response ) and to check what your limousine looks like so that you get back on the correct one!
The ” service stations “ in Vietnam vary tremendously from quite decent ones with clean toilets, a shop ( which is a little expensive ) and various food options to those which need resolve to visit the toilet and the cleanliness of the food area leaves a lot to be desired!
Overall, a limousine is a great way to travel if you are going a shorter distance – although more expensive than the usual form of transport, it is well worth the little bit extra and although not up to a real “limousine “experience, it is a little bit of luxury nonetheless! If you ever have a chance to get on a limousine in Vietnam, please let us know about your experience!