Technology can make everyday life anywhere in the world so much easier. With just a few taps on your phone, you can literally plan everything. Vietnam is not behind on all these innovative advantages, both among locals, expats, and travelers.
After living in several cities in Vietnam, I have found a few phone apps that make my life much easier. I’ve asked some of my fellow expats for their favorite apps to use in Vietnam, whether you are teaching here, working for a company, or even just backpacking.
So without futher ado, here are the best Vietnam apps by category!
Also read: How to get a Vietnam SIM card
Transportation & Travel
There are various ways to move around Vietnam, from buses, cars, motorbikes, bicycles, and even boats are fairly useful depending on your location.
Klook is an Asia-based travel app with loads of discounts and deals. It features everything from tours and private drivers to entrance tickets and transportation. The app is based out of Hong Kong and is immensely popular among Asian travelers, but travelers from other parts of the world are only just starting to use it more.
Some examples of great travel deals for Vietnam on Klook include this Mekong Delta tour, Saigon Skydeck in Bitexco Financial Tower Ticket, and private transfer from Tan Son Nhat International Airport.
Grab is the most popular transport app in Vietnam. They offer both car and motorcycle services. They also do food delivery with regular discount codes and rewards.
Grab also offers delivery services where they can pick up the goods you need and bring them to you or goods that you need to send to someone. You can set up your payment method through your card, too, for easy cashless travel. These apps are used massively popular in big cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh.
It might seem super obvious, but I probably use GoogleMaps more than any other app in Vietnam. This fantastic navigation map only keeps getting better with time.
I use it not only for finding the way, but for bus times and bus stop locations, restaurant reviews, finding things to do around me, creating custom maps of places I want to visit, leaving reviews on businesses, and so much more.
TripGo and BusMap
If you often take public buses, TripGo and BusMap are two apps that will definitely come in handy. These two can show you all of the route options, ticket prices, and even how to get to the nearest pickup point.
Taking a bus is also the cheapest way to get around the city. It can be a little complicated and intimidating, though, but these apps do help.
Not really an app (they have one, but it’s not very reliable), 12.go.asia is one of our to-go websites to book our overland transportation in Vietnam.
AhaMove is perfect for expats in Vietnam who are planning to move into or out of their accommodation and want to skip the hassle of hailing a taxi or renting a car.
AhaMove can move big or small furniture across the city. The options include motorbikes, tricycles, and trucks for 500 kg or 1000 kg. You can book the help you need in advance and even make a note if you need help with stairs.
Kiwi.com is our favorite flight booking app and website. Although we always recommend checking multiple sites when booking flights (including direct with the airline), we’ve found some great deals on flights to/from Vietnam on this app.
Our favorite feature, if you’re flexible, is to choose “anywhere” or “anytime” for destination or times to find the cheapest possible flight ideas. You can also search not just a specific airport, but any airport within a set radius away from you.
Booking & Agoda
Probably you have your own personal favorite app for booking hotels when you travel, but we always prefer Booking.com and Agoda. Personally, I’m a Booking fan because it’s just what I’ve always used. I find it more user-friendly and I like the interface. I also get lots of sweet deals with the Genius discount when I make many bookings in a year.
Agoda fans, on the other hand, point out that their hotel prices are often a little cheaper, especially in Asia, and they have more hotels than Booking. Whichever you use, please click one of the links above before you book to give us a tiny commission – at not extra cost to you!
Nowadays, online shopping is a big part of our life. For expats in Vietnam, these online shops are a great help to be able to settle down and get through all our errands.
Some things are not available in physical stores in Vietnam or can be very hard to track down, especially if you do not speak Vietnamese.
Your next resort is to find them online. Most phone apps in Vietnam are conveniently translated to English, making online shopping much easier. Here are the apps we recommend to you for online shopping.
Shopee and Lazada
These two phone apps are similar to Amazon as different sellers list their products and you can choose between different sellers for each item. They have almost everything you need. There are also shops from China and other Southeast and East Asian countries that sell their products here giving more choice to the buyers.
You can either use their phone apps or website. The best part is that you can pay by “Cash on Delivery” (COD). You can order the things and have them delivered to you and pay the moment you receive them, minimizing any risk of being scammed.
You can also set up a payment method through your Vietnamese bank or any international bank card.
Groceries & Food/Restaurants
You’ve probably noticed by now that food is available almost everywhere and immediately in Vietnam. If you are feeling lazy to cook for yourself or too busy to go to the shop, there are phone apps that you can rely on.
Grab Food, Shopee Food, Mio, or Chopp
Not into spending your Saturday or Sundays mornings in the supermarket? Well, fret not, as Vietnam has several grocery delivery apps to help you out.
There’s a lot of competition in this space, with Grab Food, Shopee Food, Mio, and Chopp coming out as the most popular. Try each of the apps to see which one serves you best.
Grab Food & Shopee Food are also very popular for ordering meals from restaurants.
Go-Food & Baemin
Go-Food and Baemin are the 3rd and 4th most popular food delivery apps after the above two.
Go-Food has lots of restaurants and is easy to use, but unfortunately doesn’t support card or e-wallet payments yet. Baemin has lots of deals and cute pictures, but it’s only available from 7:30 AM to 10 PM.
See here for more ups and downs of each of this food delivery apps.
After moving to Vietnam, the language barrier is something that will take time to overcome. To give you a helping hand, here are some great apps that can assist you in communicating with the locals.
If you need help improving or even just learning basic Vietnamese, Duolingo can help you. This app will help you improve your speaking, listening, and reading ability with your preferred new language learn. Duolingo also covers many other languages.
We get it, Vietnamese is not an easy language to learn. Even though Vietnam is striving to have every young person learn English, you will still encounter daily interactions with the older generations where the language is indeed a barrier.
The great thing about GoogleTranslate is that you can download the translation, allowing you to use the app offline. You can also use it to scan and read menus and even to hold spoken conversations with locals.
Naver Papago has essentially the same functions as GoogleTranslate. However, as a translation app that specializes mainly in Asian languages, it tends to be more accurate. Give it a try and see which one you like better!
If you’ve moved to Vietnam then it’s a safe bet that you’ll be making some local friends or possibly be dating some too.
Whilst Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp are used in Vietnam, they are not the preferred messaging platforms. WhatsApp is rarely used, and you may not always want to add people on Facebook as it can be a bit more private. Instead, try these.
Zalo is perhaps the most popular messaging app used by Vietnamese. It also has social media and eCommerce functions alongside messaging. I would go as far as saying Zalo is used almost as much and possibly even more than Facebook among Vietnamese.
Unlike Zalo, Viber is purely for messaging and is usually used in a more professional capacity. Many Vietnamese businesses use Viber as their preferred messaging platform between colleagues. I have also been contacted by potential employers through Viber after submitting job applications.
Banking & Other Services
While you are new in Vietnam and your network is still in the process of building up, at some point, you will need to do things let set up a banking account and get some other life things sorted. Here are some apps that may come in handy.
Btaskee is your go-to app if you need any cleaning to be done around your house. You can easily book the cleaning service you need in advance and get a discount depending on how many hours you want to book. You can choose yourself which cleaning personnel or company you prefer to get the job done.
If you are using MobFone as your sim card and data provider, they have an app where you can purchase the bundles and credits you need for your phone. This is a perfect way to save time instead of going to their shop for this errand. You can even see if there are any discounts or deals from them.
Local Vietnam Bank
If you managed to open a local bank account in Vietnam, most of their phone apps are incredible. Apart from the regular features like checking your balance and transferring money, you can also top up your phone credit there or buy eGifts or book a flight or pay bills.
I’ve travelled to quite a few countries and I have to admit that currency conversion gives me a headache! The most accurate and useful app for this that I can suggest you use is XE Currency. This works not only in Vietnam but everywhere in the world too.
For more info, see our guide to sending money out of Vietnam.
I’m pretty sure there are other mobile phone apps out there that can be very helpful during your time in Vietnam. If you know any, then please let us know so we can add them here to help other expats and travellers in Vietnam!