Are you planning your trip to Vietnam and looking for the best way to stay connected with an e-sim card? This is a complete guide with everything you need to know about using an e-sim card when traveling to Vietnam including a comparison of the best Vietnam e-sim cards in 2024.

Don’t waste money on high roaming charges, read my recommendations below and order an e-sim card for Vietnam on the internet and get connected in just a couple minutes. Below you will find up to date prices as per January 2024, including all specifications per tourist e-sim card.

This guide will show you where and when to order an e-sim card for Vietnam, answer all your FAQ’s about e-sim cards, a comparison with local prepaid sim cards for Vietnam and of course links to directly order your e-sim card for traveling to Vietnam online.

Since 2012 I am already traveling the world full time and throughout the years I turned my passion for traveling into a lifestyle and became a full time nomadic travel blogger. That is why I constantly get to a different country and pretty much every week I need to look for a new sim card to stay connected.

In 2023 I visited for example 34 different countries in 1 year so imagine how many different prepaid and e-sim cards I used throughout the year.

In the past I used to buy a local prepaid sim card on arrival in every country, but nowadays I mostly use e-sim cards to stay connected when traveling abroad. On my latest trip to Vietnam I tested the below recommended Vietnam e-sim cards for tourists.

Helping other travelers to save money while traveling the world is one of the reasons I started this travel blog. Providing essential travel tips is what made me start writing sim card guides from every country I visited and now on Traveltomtom you can already find more than 200 sim card guides from all over the world.

You can also find a complete guide for buying a prepaid sim card for tourists in Vietnam in 2024 for those who don't have an e-sim compatible phone.

Traveltomtom also wrote specific and in-depth guides for buying e-sim cards in: PhilippinesMalaysia, New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, China, Indonesia, Thailand, Asia, Turkey, Egypt, Dubai, Europe, United Kingdom, Italy, USA, international e-sim cards and many more.

So next time you are planning your adventure abroad come check out Traveltomtom for the latest prepaid sim card and e-sim card advice for your holiday destination.

First I will make a Vietnam e-sim card comparison then I will explain how e-sim cards work, more about the network coverage and 4G/5G, data speed, answer some FAQ about e-sim cards, show you the difference between e-sim cards for tourists and local prepaid sim cards in Vietnam and tell everything else you need to know about using e-sim cards when traveling to Vietnam. 

Let me start with giving you my e-sim card recommendation for Vietnam. These are my favorite e-sim cards for traveling to Vietnam in 2024.

My recommendation

best esim card for vietnam 2024

Traveltomtom recommends the following two e-sim cards for traveling to Vietnam in 2024: 

1. Airalo e-sim card for $32 USD

  • 20 GB data-only e-sim
  • 4G/LTE
  • Operates on the Viettel network
  • Valid in Vietnam only
  • Valid for 30 days
  • $1.6 USD per Gigabyte

2. Vinaphone e-sim card for $19.90 USD

  • 30 GB data-only e-sim
  • 4G/LTE
  • Operates on the Vinaphone network
  • Valid in Vietnam only
  • Valid for 10 days
  • Only $0.66 USD per Gigabyte
  • Comes with a Vietnam phone number +84

I am sure that when you are putting both e-sim cards above next to each other your first question is why is the Vinaphone e-sim card from SimOptions ranked 2 and the Airalo e-sim card ranked number 1. Right?

Well, let me explain because I totally understand that the Vinaphone e-sim card offers much more and is also cheaper so this should be the number 1 recommendation for e-sim cards for Vietnam.

However, the big difference is the mobile data network. The Vinaphone mobile data network is not bad, but the Xin Chao e-sim cards from Airalo operate on the Viettel mobile data network which is just much more advanced. So for traveling in Vietnam Traveltomtom always recommends a prepaid or e-sim card from Viettel over any other mobile internet provider.

For more details about the 4G/5G network strength including 4G/5G network coverage maps check out Traveltomtom's guide for the best prepaid sim card for tourists in Vietnam in 2024.

The best value tourist e-sim cards for Vietnam is the Vinaphone e-sim cards that you can order via SimOptions. Vinaphone is one of the leading mobile internet providers in Vietnam. Their e-sim card deal will give you a rate of only $0.66 USD per Gigabyte.

Still Traveltomtom recommends an Airalo e-sim card from Xin Chao because it operates on the Viettel network which is by far the fastest and strongest 4G/LTE network in Vietnam.

Is Vietnam one of your stops on a trip to Asia or around the world then you can also look into getting an e-sim card for world travelers or an e-sim card for traveling in Asia. There are a bunch of e-sim cards that cover multiple countries.

There are 2 very important things to check before ordering an e-sim card for Vietnam or in general before using an e-sim card. 

Unlocked phones only

Make sure your phone is unlocked. E-sim cards for tourists only work in unlocked phones. If you are not sure if your phone is unlocked then contact your mobile internet provider in your home country.

In general phones from Europe, Asia and the Middle East tend to be unlocked. Phones from North America are often locked.

If your smartphone is locked that means it does not allow another prepaid sim card or e-sim card to operate in the device. You can easily unlock your phone, but depending on your mobile internet provider you will be charged a fee for unlocking your phone.

E-sim compatible phones only

Second, and equally important: e-sim cards only work if your smartphone supports e-sim cards, also called e-sim compatible. All newer smartphones support e-sim cards. If you are not sure if your phone is e-sim compatible then simply go to Google and type in your mobile phone model in the search bar and ask if it is e-sim compatible. You will get the answer instantly. 

If your phone is NOT e-sim compatible then there is no other solution and you can NOT use an e-sim card for traveling to Vietnam.

However, you can still order a sim card for Vietnam on the internet before your trip. Find out everything you need to know about international sim cards for traveling abroad in 2024.

Comparison of the best e-sim cards for Vietnam

Buying an e-sim card on arrival in Vietnam is unfortunately still not possible. Not at the international airports of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City and neither in phone stores anywhere around Vietnam. The mobile internet providers in Vietnam do NOT provide e-sim cards for tourists, only physical prepaid sim cards for tourists.

Luckily there are multiple e-sim providers on the internet that sell Vietnam e-sim cards for tourists. Traveltomtom recommends ordering an e-sim card for traveling in Vietnam from one of the well-known e-sim card providers that have proven to be reliable operators. 

Here are 3 trusted e-sim card providers and they sell great e-sim card plans for Vietnam. They are tested and reviewed multiple times by Traveltomtom: 

  1. SimOptions
  2. Airalo
  3. Nomad

Nowadays, you can buy an e-sim card for pretty much every country around the world. Order directly from one of the above e-sim card providers and instantly receive your e-sim card in your email. But before you buy an e-sim card first read all my tips below.

SimOptions is the only e-sim provider that also offers international prepaid sim cards for Vietnam. These are pre-activated physical prepaid sim cards that will be delivered to your home address before your trip and it is plug and play when you arrive in Vietnam.

Airalo and Nomad only sell e-sim cards for Vietnam.

Nomad

nomad esim cards for vietnam 2024

Lately I have been recommending Nomad e-sim cards a lot as they have really great deals for a lot of countries. The Nomad e-sim card plans for Vietnam are not bad either, though they all operate on the 4G/LTE mobile data network of Mobifone and unfortunately Mobifone has the weakest 4G/LTE network in Vietnam.

However, if you travel to just Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City Nomad e-sim cards for Vietnam will do the job too.

Here are the Nomad e-sim card plans for Vietnam: 

  • 1 GB data for 7 days = $4 USD
  • 3 GB data for 30 days = $9 USD
  • 5 GB data for 30 days = $13 USD
  • 10 GB data for 30 days = $22 USD
  • 15 GB data for 30 days = $28 USD
  • 20 GB data for 30 days = $34 USD
  • 30 GB data for 30 days = $80 USD
  • 40 GB data for 30 days = $110 USD
  • 50 GB data for 30 days = $125 USD

Click here to order an e-sim card for Vietnam from Nomad.

The Nomad website is a little less user friendly for finding the best e-sim cards for traveling to Vietnam. You can't see all e-sim card deals in one overview.

As you can see above the prices for Nomad Vietnam e-sim cards with bigger data plans are outrageously expensive and not worth it. Their best value deal is the plan with 20 GB for $34 USD which comes down to $1.7 USD per Gigabyte.

nomad esim card specifications

The Nomad e-sim cards are from Joytel and they are data-only. Incoming and outgoing calls and sms are NOT supported. They operate on the LTE/4G network of Mobifone.

The Nomad Vietnam e-sim cards have to be installed on your phone within 30 days and after installation its validity starts when it connects for the first time to a supported network in Vietnam. Basically when the plane lands. For more info check the Nomad website

SimOptions

SimOptions is a reputable e-sim card provider that is very much recommended by Traveltomtom. Ordering your tourist e-sim card for Vietnam through SimOptions is done fast and easy.

Traveltomtom has used SimOptions uncountable times for staying connected when traveling abroad. Very reliable, never an issue and often some of the cheapest e-sim card deals.

simoptions esim cards for vietnam 2024

SimOptions has their own e-sim card plans and they don't specify which network in Vietnam they use. Therefore I would not directly recommend these plans: 

  • 1 GB data for 7 days = $7.90 USD
  • 6 GB data for 10 days = $17.90 USD
  • 10 GB data for 30 days = $39.90 USD
  • 20 GB data for 30 days = $64.90 USD

Also these SimOptions e-sim plans for Vietnam are pretty expensive compared to Nomad for example. Their best value offer is the 6 GB data e-sim for $17.90 USD which comes down to $3 USD per Gigabyte.

vinaphone vietnam esim card tourists

However, SimOptions also sells an e-sim card from Vinaphone which is actually a pretty damn good deal.

  • 30 GB data for 10 days = $19.90 USD

Click here to order a SimOptions e-sim card for Vietnam.

This Vinaphone e-sim card goes as low as $0.66 USD per Gigabyte only. On top of that this Vinaphone e-sim card for Vietnam comes with a Vietnamese phone number which means you can receive calls and sms. However, this e-sim is sold as a data-only e-sim and outgoing calls and sms are not supported.

It is unclear if you can top up with calling credit while in Vietnam. 

All the e-sim cards that you can order through SimOptions are only valid in Vietnam. The only exception is the Smart Traveller eSIM with 3GB data, this e-sim card is valid in 26 countries around the world. It also is the best value SimOptions e-sim card with $3 USD per Gigabyte.

Unfortunately SimOptions doesn’t specify exactly which mobile network operator in Vietnam they use and the SimOptions e-sim cards for Vietnam are not 5G ready, so the max data speed on the e-sim cards from SimOptions is 4G/LTE.

The SimOptions e-sim cards for Vietnam do NOT come with a phone number (apart from the Vinaphone e-sim) and they do not offer incoming/outgoing calls or sms services. The validity of these e-sim cards is 1 year and the credit validity starts instantly after installing the e-sim card, even if you are not in Vietnam. For more info check the SimOptions website

Airalo

Airalo is a very reliable e-sim card provider and Traveltomtom has used Airalo uncountable times in more than 50 countries around the world. I can totally recommend using Airalo for ordering an e-sim card. 

Why using Airalo? When it comes to Vietnam e-sim cards Airalo has great e-sim card plans and in contrary to Nomad and SimOptions they operate on the best mobile data network in Vietnam: Viettel. Therefore Traveltomtom recommends Airalo as the best e-sim cards for Vietnam.

airalo esim cards for vietnam 2024

Here are the Airalo data-only e-sim card plans for Vietnam for 2024: 

  • 1 GB data for 7 days = $4.5 USD
  • 2 GB data for 15 days = $7 USD
  • 3 GB data for 30 days = $9.5 USD
  • 5 GB data for 30 days = $13 USD
  • 10 GB data for 30 days = $21 USD
  • 20 GB data for 30 days = $32 USD

Click here to order an e-sim card for Vietnam from Airalo.

The Airalo e-sim cards for Vietnam are from Xin Chao and they operate on the 4G/LTE network of Mobifone and Viettel. Unfortunately the Airalo Xin Chao e-sim cards for Vietnam are not 5G ready yet.

The best value e-sim card from Airalo gives you 20 GB data for $1.6 USD per Gigabyte.

In the most popular places to visit in Vietnam you will find a 4G/LTE signal and the data speed is pretty good these days. There is 5G already in Vietnam but it is not so widespread.

For more info about the best 4G/5G mobile data network in Vietnam check my complete guide for the best prepaid sim card for Vietnam in 2024, including network coverage maps of all the mobile internet providers.

All the Airalo e-sim cards are data-only sim cards without a phone number, so any phone/sms service is NOT supported. An Airalo e-sim card has to be installed within 1 month and after activation the credit validity starts when it connects the first time to a supported network. For more info check out the Airalo website.

What is the cheapest e-sim card for Vietnam?

cheapest esim cards for vietnam

The cheapest e-sim card for Vietnam is an e-sim card from Nomad for just $4 USD, it will give you 1 GB data for 7 days. Airalo offers the same e-sim card plan but charges $4.5 USD. These e-sims are only valid in Vietnam and do not support calling and texting. 

Why ordering an e-sim card for traveling in Vietnam

E-sim cards are the easiest way to stay connected when traveling to Vietnam in 2024 and you can arrange everything online in just a couple clicks. No more visiting a sim card shop and swapping physical sim cards. Order online, scan the QR code, follow the steps and you are connected in less than 2 minutes. 

The most important reason to get an e-sim card is because we would like to stay connected on our trip to Vietnam without wasting money on high roaming costs. Our smartphones are pretty useless without a working data connection. Think about ordering a taxi through an app, finding nearby friends, restaurants and bars. Get directions from Google Maps or simply staying in touch with family back home, check your social media apps on long bus rides or your banking apps when paying contactless. 

One of the best things about arriving in Vietnam with an activated e-sim card is that you are online as soon as the plane lands. More about when to instal your e-sim card later.

There are so many reasons to stay connected when traveling to Vietnam, but the most important reason is that it makes your trip to Vietnam so much more convenient and fun!

At the same time we don’t want to waste money on high roaming charges. Many mobile internet operators still charge $3 USD per MB for data roaming, that means just opening the Instagram app will already cost you 20 MB * $3 USD = $60 USD! Not kidding… it still is very common in 2024.

E-sim cards are the easiest way to avoid high roaming charges!

Overseas data roaming plans

So what about overseas data roaming plans? Well, not recommended! Why? Did you read the small letters at what data speed you can use data roaming? Pretty much all mobile internet operators limit the data speed for overseas data roaming plans, which means you end up with 3G data speed. Do you have the patience to handle 3G? It is frustrating when all around you in pretty  much every amazing tourist destinations in Vietnam there is 4G/LTE available.

And price-wise it should be a no brainer since you have seen how affordable the e-sim cards for Vietnam are.

Uncountable times travel friends have asked me: “Tom, can I use your hotspot? My data roaming plan is so slow, it is barely working!” Trust me, get yourself an e-sim card or an international prepaid sim card for traveling to Vietnam.

Spend a couple dollars extra and be connected all the time instead of begging for WiFi or a hotspot from friends. 

Where to buy an e-sim card for Vietnam? 

Online

You can buy an e-sim card for Vietnam on the internet through an e-sim card provider. There are multiple e-sim card providers for Vietnam. Traveltomtom compared 6 e-sim card providers and concluded that the above mentioned ones (SimOptions, Airalo and Nomad) are the best e-sim card providers in 2024.

When buying an e-sim card for Vietnam through one of the above recommended e-sim providers you only need your email address and the e-sim card is instantly ready to use after installation. There is no ID registration needed.

On arrival in Vietnam

There are 3 main mobile internet provider in Vietnam: Vinaphone, Mobifone and Viettel. Unfortunately as per January 2024 none of the mobile internet operators offer e-sim cards for tourists. They only offer physical prepaid sim cards for tourists.

For more info about buying a prepaid sim card for tourists in Vietnam in 2024 click on the link to read my complete guide and comparison of all the mobile internet providers in Vietnam, including a comparison of the 4G/5G network. In that comparison you will clearly see the difference in network strength between Vinaphone, Mobifone and Viettel.

Flying into Vietnam and landing at Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City Airport then you can buy a tourist sim card for Vietnam on arrival at the airport. Unfortunately Traveltomtom has not yet written an article about that, but it will come soon.

 

At the international airports in Vietnam you will find several sim card shops from Viettel, Mobifone and Vinaphone and lots of phone shops that sell all kind of tourist sim cards. In Ho Chi Minh City Airport you can already buy a sim card before you go through passport control, but also in the arrival hall.

As mentioned before the sim cards shops in Vietnam only sell physical prepaid sim cards for tourists, no e-sims.

When to order/activate an e-sim card for Vietnam?

You can order an e-sim card for Vietnam pretty much any time you want. Most e-sim cards have to be installed on a phone within 1 month after purchasing, some even within 1 year, so you have time.

More important therefore is when do you instal/activate the e-sim card. The validity of some e-sims start straight after the installation, other e-sim cards only start their validity when they connect the first time to a supported network.

Traveltomtom advices to instal your e-sim card on the day of departure to Vietnam or before. You will need a stable internet connection to instal your e-sim card. Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City international airport both have free WiFi which works good so you could use that to install your e-sim card.

Just make sure it is a stable internet connection. But just to make sure Traveltomtom advices you to install/activate your e-sim card in your home country. 

My personal advice is to instal your tourist e-sim card for Vietnam before you get into the plane, because then as soon as the plane lands you will be connected to the internet without any problems. 

How do I know all this? Traveltomtom has visited Vietnam 5 times and traveled all around the country to most of its amazing places to visit.

How to activate an e-sim card

Installing and activating an e-sim card is made as simple as possible. Everyone can activate an e-sim card and the instructions on how to are very detailed and will be send to you instantly by email. But wait, it gets even easier. Just scan the QR code. 

When you order an e-sim card plan for Vietnam you instantly receive a summery of your order including a QR-code after the payment is processed.

You will see a summary of your e-sim card order including a QR code on your screen and at the same time you will also receive an email with the same QR code. The email contains instructions on how to instal and activate your Vietnam e-sim card. 

But installing an activating an e-sim card is as easy as scanning the QR code with the same phone where you want to activate the e-sim card on. The QR contains all the information about your Vietnam e-sim card. 

Once you scan the code you will be guided through a couple simple steps and within less than 1 minute your e-sim card is successfully installed.

Very important is that you are connected to the internet when installing your e-sim card otherwise you will get an error and issues can occur. 

Tip: if you order an e-sim card with the same phone where you want to instal the e-sim card on then ask a friend or someone nearby to take a photo of the QR code and then you scan the QR code from his/her phone and start the installation.

Best ways to get around Vietnam

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Find even flights, taxis and shuttles and check the seat availability and book directly online and receive your confirmed ticket instantly in your email. 

Things to know before ordering an e-sim card for Vietnam 

Here are some general tips and FAQ’s for using e-sim cards when traveling abroad. These tips do not only apply for Vietnam e-sim cards, but are things you have to know before buying an e-sim card in general.

Make sure your phone is unlocked

To make sure you didn’t miss this, let me say this again: e-sim cards only work in UNLOCKED phones. If your phone is unlocked then you can use any e-sim card without any problems.

If your phone is locked then ask your mobile internet provider from your home country to unlock your phone before your trip to Vietnam. It is likely that your mobile internet provider will charge you a fee for unlocking your smartphone. 

If you are unable to unlock your phone you can look into getting a portable WiFi for staying connected when traveling to Vietnam or better… bring a second unlocked phone on your trip to Vietnam and use it as a portable WiFi device.

Which smartphones support e-sim cards?

Another very important thing you have to check before buying an e-sim card is if your smartphone supports e-sim cards. If you have any of the latest smartphones then there is no need to worry, all new smartphones of the well known brands support e-sim cards. 

The fastest way to find out if your phone is e-sim compatible is by asking Google the question: is my (your phone model) e-sim compatible? Simple as that!

Can I trust these e-sim card providers?

All the e-sim card providers for Vietnam recommended above (SimOptions, Airalo and Nomad) are reputable e-sim card providers reviewed and tested by Traveltomtom. All of them are licensed third party companies and resellers that partner or work directly with the mobile internet providers in Vietnam.

Traveltomtom has successfully partnered for several consecutive years with SimOptions and Airalo. Nomad is a fairly new partner of Traveltomtom, but has so far proven to be a reliable e-sim card provider as well. All e-sim card providers have their own Helpdesk which you can contact may you encounter any problems or in case you want to claim a refund.

Traveltomtom does NOT sell Vietnam e-sim cards, only RECOMMENDS you to use e-sim cards for your next trip to Vietnam.

Can I keep my phone number from home with a Vietnam e-sim card?

Yes, you can and this is for many people a reason to order an e-sim card to stay connected when traveling to Vietnam. An e-sim card can be used next to your physical or e-sim card from your home country at the same time. You do not need a dual-sim phone for using an e-sim card.

So you can have multiple e-sim cards installed on your phone? Yes, no problem at all!

For example: you can turn off the mobile data from your sim card from home but still use it for texting and calling. Your new Vietnam e-sim card you can be used at the same time just for data to ensure you are not wasting money on high roaming costs.

This is also the trick to keep receiving sms for example for OTP (one time password) sms to login to applications.

Switching between physical and e-sim cards is a matter of turning them on/off in the settings. Just always make sure your sim card from home is switched off for data roaming.

Can I make phone calls with a Vietnam e-sim card?

No, unfortunately all the tourist e-sim cards for Vietnam available on the internet do NOT include calling and texting. The e-sim cards from SimOptions, Airalo and Nomad are data-only e-sim cards and any incoming/outgoing calls/sms are not supported. 

If you buy a prepaid sim card for tourists on arrival in Vietnam in a store or at the airport then you get (unlimited) calling and texting included.

Most hotels, restaurants and tour companies in Vietnam have WhatsApp services, so you can easily give them a call through WhatsApp. There is no direct need for local calling minutes. 

Does a Vietnam e-sim card come with a phone number?

No, most of the Vietnam e-sim cards that you can buy on the internet do not come with a phone number, which also means you can not receive any phone calls or sms.

There is one exception and that is the Vinaphone e-sim card with 30 GB data that you can buy vis SimOptions. This e-sim comes with a Vietnam phone number starting with +84.

Local prepaid sim cards that you can buy once you arrive in Vietnam offer incoming and outgoing calling and texting.

In the above Vietnam e-sim card comparison you can find all the specifications per e-sim card.

Can I use 5G on an Vietnam e-sim card?

No, unfortunately none of the by Traveltomtom recommended e-sim cards for Vietnam are 5G ready. Which means the max data speed on all e-sims is 4G/LTE. That said, Mobifone and Vinaphone do barely offer 5G anyway and the 5G network from Viettel is also still fairly small.

Are there e-sim cards for Vietnam with unlimited data?

None of the by Traveltomtom recommended Vietnam e-sim cards for tourists include unlimited data.

Even if you would come across e-sim card providers that offer e-sim cards for Vietnam with unlimited data then make sure the unlimited data is on max data speed. Mostly the data speed is capped after you used X amount of Gigabytes. 

Holafly is an e-sim card provider that sells e-sim cards with unlimited data, but does NOT specify what is the exact so-called Fair Use Policy (FUP). 

Traveltomtom does NOT recommend Vietnam e-sim cards with unlimited data plans. There are always restrictions. And on Holafly sim cards I experienced a reduce in data speed after using more than 2 GB per day. When I contacted support they explained me that I had to wait for 24 hours until my data speed was restored to normal.

Those 24 hours were a nightmare as my data speed was barely enough to use WhatsApp. Social media apps were not even loading! 

Again, Traveltomtom does NOT recommend e-sim cards for Vietnam with unlimited data. But if you think you will never use more than 2 GB per day, then this might be your favorite e-sim card. However, what is then the point of an e-sim with unlimited data is what you have to ask yourself.

An Airalo e-sim card for $32 USD gives you 30 GB data which for most travelers is more than enough for their trip to Vietnam.

There are a lot of different specifications per e-sim card. Another reason why I advice you to take a close look at my comparison of the best e-sim cards for traveling to Vietnam in 2024 before choosing your favorite.

Are e-sim cards the best way to stay connected when traveling to Vietnam?

E-sim cards are the easiest and fastest way to get data on your phone when traveling to Vietnam, but what is the best way?

There are 3 ways to stay connected when traveling to Vietnam:

  • Local prepaid sim cards
  • International prepaid sim cards
  • E-sim cards

Let’s compare e-sim cards, local prepaid sim cards and international prepaid sim cards, for you to find out what is your preferred way of staying connected.  

Local prepaid sim cards

In general if you use a lot of data then local prepaid sim cards are a cheaper way to stay connected, depending on the length of your trip. 

Vietnam prepaid sim cards for tourists offer bigger data plans than tourist e-sim cards you order online. In fact local prepaid sim cards with data are pretty cheap for tourists in Vietnam.

However, a local prepaid sim card can only be purchased on arrival in Vietnam in a phone store or at the airport but NOT on the internet. 

Another big difference is that local prepaid sim cards have the advantage that they come with a local phone number and mostly with calling minutes and sms bundles. That means incoming and outgoing calls are supported.

More info about the best Vietnam sim cards for tourists can be found in my complete guide for buying a prepaid sim card for Vietnam in 2024

International prepaid sim cards

If your smartphone is not e-sim compatible you can order an international prepaid sim card for traveling to Vietnam. Some of them are great for Vietnam as well as in all other countries in for example Europe, Americas and Asia and you can easily order them online.

If after visiting Vietnam you are traveling onwards in Asia then check Traveltomtom’s list of the best sim cards for traveling internationally in 2024.

international prepaid sim cards for vietnam 2024

A pre-activated physical sim card will be delivered to your home address before your trip. You put this physical sim card in your phone and as soon as the plane touches the ground in Vietnam and the sim card connects to a supported network you are online. Plug and play! 

Click here to order an international prepaid sim card for Vietnam directly online.

E-sim cards

As explained throughout the article there are two different e-sim cards:

  • E-sim cards that you buy on the internet through a third party
  • E-sim cards that you buy in Vietnam in a mobile internet provider store

However, as of January 2024 the mobile internet providers in Vietnam do not offer e-sim cards for tourists. They only offer physical prepaid sim cards for tourists in Vietnam.

On arrival at Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City International Airport the sim card stores only sells physical prepaid sim cards for tourists.

E-sim cards vs. local prepaid sim cards

Getting an e-sim card on the internet is the easiest way to stay connected when traveling to Vietnam, no doubt! You arrange everything online within just a couple clicks. Right here, right now and you are all set for your trip to Vietnam.

You arrive prepared and there is no need to visit a sim card shop on arrival in Vietnam. As soon as the plane lands, you are online!

But what is cheaper? An e-sim card or a local prepaid sim card for tourists?

When we compare the prices for Vietnam e-sim cards with the prices for local prepaid sim cards in Vietnam, it is an easy conclusion that local prepaid sim cards are much more affordable as you get many more Gigabytes for the same price.

In fact, for around $10 USD you can already get a prepaid sim card with unlimited data for 1 month. For more info check out my article about the best prepaid sim cards for Vietnam in 2024

But local prepaid sim cards can only be bought in Vietnam on arrival in a sim card shop or at the airport and a tourist e-sim card for Vietnam can be bought in 2 minutes on the internet before your trip to Vietnam. 

Remember that some of the e-sim cards for Vietnam also go down to only $0.98 USD per Gigabyte as well. 

After a long flight you just want to get to your hotel and it is often a big task to go to a sim card store and get connected. With e-sim cards you buy on the internet you are connected as soon as the plane lands.

For this convenience Traveltomtom definitely recommends to order one of the listed best e-sim cards for Vietnam in the comparison above.

Many reasons why a lot of travelers simply get an e-sim card for Vietnam. Faster, easier, less stress and even cheaper depending on how much data you need.

Data speed

Another difference between a local prepaid sim card and an e-sim card is that e-sim cards are often through a third party, a so called MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator). These MVNO’s operate on the network of one of the main mobile internet operators and basically buy bandwidth.

This may sound a little bit too technical, but what it means is that e-sim cards through an MVNO are the last ones in line when the line is busy. Especially during peak times, the performance of an e-sim cards is less compared to a local prepaid sim card from a mobile internet operator.

Bottomline: the data speed of e-sim cards can be less compared to a local prepaid Vietnam sim card.

I am sure some of the above tips for finding the best e-sim card for your trip to Vietnam were helpful. I hope that after reading through my comparison, tips and tricks it was easier to make a decision and order your e-sim card for Vietnam right away.

If you still have any questions about e-sim cards then please leave me a comment below and I am more than happy to help you out.

Curious what the life of a full time nomadic traveler looks like? Go check out my Instagram account @traveltomtom and follow along with daily updates from around the world about the good, the bad and the ugly about traveling.

Traveltomtom is on the road to 197, meaning I would like to travel to every country in the world. As of January 2024 I have visited more than 155 countries, still about 40 to go, but no rush.

Enjoy your trip to Vietnam!

Some links in this article about the best e-sim cards for Vietnam are affiliate links. If you buy any product after clicking on an affiliate link I will earn a small commission. Don’t worry this is at absolutely no extra cost to you!