Vietnam – known for its taste for robust coffee (robusta), its love for motorbikes & fascinating history.
The country has recently become popular with Digital Nomads who enjoy the weather, relatively low cost of living & fantastic foods.
I feel like I have to live in Vietnam for a while too, instead of just traveling through it for a month or too 🤔.
Anyway, being part of Southeast Asia, Indonesia is one of the cheaper travel destinations out there.
And also within the region.
But that may be because there are just too many fun things to do in Vietnam.
While there are many things you can do in the country, such as soaking up all the sun at the beach to exploring temples, there is certainly one thing you will do…
Sharing your experience online 🤳🏿.
What you should not do, in many cases, is roam internationally in Vietnam.
International roaming can be expensive, which is why using local and travel eSIMs is recommended to save money.
And if you get a travel eSIM, you do not have to deal with the SIM card registration bureaucracy and skip the queues in Vietnam.
How much will a local or travel eSIM for Vietnam cost you?
You can get an eSIM for Vietnam for as little as 5 USD, with 1 GB of data for 7 days, up to 99 USD, with unlimited data for 90 days, from Viettel Mobile, VinaPhone & MobiFone, Airalo (Cu Chi), Holafly & Nomad.
Those are some generous data allowances, right?
And you can even get unlimited data if you want.
See how much it would cost you to use 10 GB while roaming – much more than what Holafly would charge you for unlimited data for 90 days!
In this guide, I will go over the eSIM options offered by the Vietnamese mobile operators (Viettel Mobile, VinaPhone & MobiFone), Airalo, Holafly & Nomad. Let's do this.
Original publication: 17th of August 2022. Last updated: 27th of January 2023.
Table of Contents
eSIMs offered by the Vietnamese Mobile Operators
To get the best service available, in terms of reception and speeds, you want to go with the local mobile operators directly instead of with a travel eSIM.
That is because you will have a higher priority on the network in case of network congestion.
However, that does not mean travel eSIMs will always be slow.
In fact, some mobile operators throttle (prepaid) on select plans or all plans for “optimization” reasons (read: we cannot be bothered to invest in our network).
Anyway, which Vietnamese mobile operators offer eSIMs to prepaid customers?
Currently, Viettel Mobile, VinaPhone & MobiFone offer eSIMs to prepaid customers.
Luckily, you have options for getting an eSIM for your trip to Vietnam: travel eSIMs from Airalo (with Cu Chi), Holafly & Nomad.
Not only can you set up these eSIMs before arriving in Vietnam and activate them upon landing, but you can also avoid Vietnam's SIM card registration scheme, which is mandatory for anyone using Vietnamese SIM cards and eSIMs.
While mobile data is already affordable in Vietnam, getting a travel eSIM will not break the bank – not at all.
Plus, I have plenty of experience with Airalo, Holafly & Nomad, and I can assure you they work well – and other Phone Travel Wiz readers also had pleasant experiences with them.
So let's see what these travel eSIM providers have to offer in Vietnam, right?
Airalo eSIMs for Vietnam (Cu Chi)
If I could only get a travel eSIM during my trip because I do not have the time or opportunity to buy a local SIM card or eSIM, then I would always get an eSIM from Airalo.
Airalo has eSIMs for around 190 countries, offers eSIMs at the lowest prices (on average compared to the competition) & has good service.
Airalo usually partners with the local mobile operator with the best coverage, the fastest speeds, or both.
And if it needs to partner up with multiple mobile operators, it does so, allowing you to have the best reception at all times.
Anyway, you can get a Cu Chi eSIM for 4.50 USD, with 1 GB of data.
Now, you may think this is a sad selection or that 1 GB of data is insufficient.
Both points are true… I agree – but you can make unlimited top-ups with the Cu Chi eSIM through the Airalo website or apps.
So if you need 5 GB of data, you can purchase the Cu Chi 1 GB eSIM and get four 1 GB top-ups.
Yes, it is a bit inconvenient for now; Airalo may offer 3 GB, 5 GB & 10 GB plans with a 30-day validity for Vietnam soon, as it did for many other countries it supports.
Those prices and data allowances are not too bad, right?
Especially knowing that the Cu Chi eSIM uses the VinaPhone network – the fastest network in Vietnam with the fastest speeds.
So you do not have to worry about speeds with the Cu Chi eSIM, even in remote areas.
The following one Vietnamese Cu Chi eSIM option is available:
- Vietnam/Cu Chi 1 GB eSIM for 7 days, costing 4.50 USD
The Airalo links will automatically get you the available Phone Travel Wiz exclusive offers – a code is unnecessary.
- Check out my Airalo eSIM reviews
Overall, the Cu Chi eSIM gives you fantastic value for your money.
Airalo Cu Chi eSIM Pros
Are there any other reasons why you should get the Cu Chi eSIM for your trip? For sure:
- You can activate your Cu Chi eSIM as soon as you land in Vietnam
- You get full (up to 4G/LTE) access to Vietnam's fastest mobile operator – VinaPhone
- Cu Chi eSIMs are affordable (especially compared to roaming) and have generous data allowances
- You do not have to worry about SIM card registration with the Cu Chi eSIM, saving you time
- Out of data? You can simply top up online on the Airalo website and not worry about language barriers when dealing with local agents
There are many other small pros, but these are the major ones.
It would be disingenuous not to mention some cons, so here we go.
Airalo Cu Chi eSIM Cons
So, why should you not get the Cu Chi eSIM?
- The Vietnamese mobile operators, including VinaPhone itself, have much more generous data allowances
- While you get access to VinaPhone's network, the fastest in Vietnam, your speeds will not be as fast as going with VinaPhone itself because you will be roaming on their networks (and not be a native customer)
- There is no 5G NR access with the Cu Chi eSIM (yet)
- You cannot call or text with the Cu Chi eSIM (nor can you receive them – you get no (local) phone number)
Airalo Cu Chi eSIM Overall Thoughts
Honestly, the Cu Chi eSIM is fantastic.
You get fast speeds and access to Vietnam's fastest network, VinaPhone, without standing in queues or dealing with SIM card registration bureaucracy.
The main flaw, for now, is that you have to purchase multiple top-ups if you need more data than just 1 GB.
While getting a top-up is straightforward, some tourists, like myself, prefer to just buy one big data plan so that you do not have to worry about data allowances.
But besides that flaw, the Cu Chi eSIM is fine.
Unfortunately, you cannot call or text with the Cu Chi eSIM, as it is a data-only eSIM.
But if you do wish to make actual calls, so not through apps like Whatsapp, consider a Viettel Mobile, MobiFone, or VinaPhone eSIM or a Vietnamese SIM card (but you will have to deal with the SIM card registration laws).
Nomad eSIMs for Vietnam
Another travel eSIM provider I recommend is Nomad.
In fact, I have been in close contact with Nomad as soon as I partnered up with them.
For example, upon my recommendation, it started offering the Nordics regional eSIM – an eSIM that can be used in Denmark, Finland, Sweden & Norway.
Yes, I really try to get the best offers and deals for you 🥰.
Another thing I have been pushing Nomad for, and Airalo and Holafly (to be discussed next) for that matter, is lowering its prices or increasing its data allowances.
In June, Nomad started offering a 2 GB eSIM variant upon my request for Vietnam and various other Asian countries (because Phone Travel Wiz readers asked for such an eSIM) at competitive prices.
In August, Nomad dropped its prices again for its China, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand & Vietnam eSIMs (which are even cheaper than Airalo – that is remarkable on its own!).
So yes, Nomad is looking out for you 👁👁.
Anyway, in Vietnam, it uses the Truphone network, which uses a combination of local networks (Viettel Mobile, VinaPhone & MobiFone), allowing your eSIM to switch to the network with the best reception automatically.
This way, you will always be connected!
You have the following ten options with Nomad for Vietnam:
- Vietnam 1 GB eSIM for 7 days (Mobifone – new), costing 4 USD/4 EUR/3.50 GBP/5.50 CAD – very popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
- Vietnam 2 GB eSIM for 7 days (Truphone), costing 10 USD/9.50 EUR/8.50 GBP/13.50 CAD
- Vietnam 3 GB eSIM for 30 days (Mobifone – new), costing 7 USD/8.50 EUR/7.50 GBP/12.50 CAD
- Vietnam 5 GB eSIM for 30 days (Mobifone – new), costing 11 USD/12.50 EUR/11 GBP/17.50 CAD – most popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
- Vietnam 10 GB eSIM for 30 days (Mobifone – new), costing 19 USD/20.50 EUR/18.50 GBP/29.50 CAD
- Vietnam 15 GB eSIM for 30 days (Mobifone – new), costing 25 USD/26. EUR/23 GBP/37.50 CAD
- Vietnam 20 GB eSIM for 30 days (Mobifone – new), costing 34 USD/31.50 EUR/28 GBP/46 CAD
- Vietnam 30 GB eSIM for 30 days (Mobifone – new), costing 80 USD/74 EUR/65.50 GBP/107.50 CAD
- Vietnam 40 GB eSIM for 30 days (Mobifone – new), costing 110 USD/102 EUR/90.50 GBP/147.50 CAD
- Vietnam 50 GB eSIM for 30 days (Mobifone – new), costing 125 USD/116 EUR/102.50 GBP/167.50 CAD
Use code ADU123 for the best deals available when getting Nomad eSIMs (on the site or their apps) and get 3 USD/2.85 EUR/2.45 GBP/4.10 CAD off (even on top of current promotions)!
- Check out my Nomad reviews
Of course, going with Nomad has some pros and cons, so let's go over them.
Nomad Vietnam eSIM Pros
So, why should you get a Nomad eSIM? Because:
- You can activate your Nomad Vietnam eSIM as soon as you land in Vietnam
- You do not have to worry about SIM card registration, saving you time
- You get full (up to 4G/LTE) access on all Vietnamese networks, allowing you to have the best reception at all times
- Nomad Vietnam eSIMs are the cheapest eSIMs offered in this guide
- You can avoid expensive international roaming fees
- Out of data? You can simply top up online on the Nomad website and not worry about language barriers when dealing with local agents
But it is not all good news with Nomad though – there are some disadvantages.
Nomad Vietnam eSIM Cons
So, why should you not get the Nomad Vietnam eSIM?
- The Vietnamese mobile operators have much more generous data allowances and cheaper plans
- While you get access to three networks, your speeds will not be as fast as going with the Vietnamese mobile operators themselves because you will be roaming on their networks (and not be a native customer)
- There is no 5G NR access with the Nomad Vietnam eSIM
- You cannot call or text with the Nomad Vietnam eSIM (nor can you receive them – you get no (local) phone number)
Nomad Vietnam eSIM Overall Thoughts
Overall, the Nomad Vietnam eSIM is a great premium eSIM offering with the lowest prices in this guide.
You will always have the best reception because the Nomad Vietnam eSIM automatically switches to the best network at your location.
However, just like the other travel eSIMs mentioned in this guide, you do not get a (local) phone number with the Nomad Vietnam eSIM.
Moreover, you can only get up to 5 GB of data.
Luckily, you can top up your Nomad Vietnam eSIM with more data if you want.
Holafly eSIMs for Vietnam
The last travel eSIM provider I recommend is Holafly.
In June 2022, Holafly introduced something that no other travel eSIM provider had done by that time.
You can now get unlimited data plans for Vietnam, several other Asian countries, almost all European Union member states (except for Liechtenstein) & a few other countries, like Canada and the United States.
And that is super exciting!
Now, I have to say that the unlimited data plans offered by Holafly are more expensive than the Airalo Vietnam eSIM or the eSIMs sold by Nomad.
But if you do not want to worry about data allowances, Holafly is the one to go for.
The Holafly eSIMs use the Vietnamobile network.
You have the following seven Vietnam eSIM options with Holafly:
- Vietnam unlimited data eSIM for 5 days, costing 19 USD/19 EUR/19 GBP/27 AUD/24 CAD
- Vietnam unlimited data eSIM for 10 days, costing 34 USD/34 EUR/29 GBP/49 AUD/44 CAD
- Vietnam unlimited data eSIM for 15 days, costing 47 USD/47 EUR/44 GBP/67 AUD/55 CAD
- Vietnam unlimited data eSIM for 20 days, costing 54 USD/57 EUR/49 GBP/84 AUD/74 CAD
- Vietnam unlimited data eSIM for 30 days, costing 64 USD/69 EUR/59 GBP/99 AUD/89 CAD
- Vietnam unlimited data eSIM for 60 days, costing 84 USD/87 EUR/77 GBP/127 AUD/114 CAD
- Vietnam unlimited data eSIM for 90 days, costing 99 USD/99 EUR/87 GBP/144 AUD/129 CAD
Based on the emails I have received, the 20-, 30- & 60-day plans are popular because those who buy Holafly eSIMs tend to stay in Vietnam for a prolonged period to explore the country.
As I recently started my collaboration with Holafly, you can get 5% off each purchase whenever you use code PHONETRAVELWIZ – awesome, right?
- Check out my Holafly reviews
Of course, there are some pros and cons with going with Holafly, so let's go over them.
Holafly Vietnam eSIM Pros
So, why should you get the Holafly eSIMs? Well, because of the following:
- You can purchase and set up your Holafly Vietnam eSIM before arriving in Vietnam (and activate it upon landing)
- You do not have to worry about SIM card registration, saving you time
- You get full (up to 4G/LTE) access on the Vietnamobile network
- You do not have to deal with data caps because you get unlimited data (88 GB – here I come!)
- You can avoid expensive international roaming fees
But it is not all good news with Holafly though – there are some disadvantages.
Holafly Vietnam eSIM eSIM Cons
So, why should you not get a Holafly Vietnam eSIM?
- While the Vietnamese mobile operators do not offer unlimited data plans (yet), their plans are much cheaper than Holafly
- While you get access to the Vietnamobile network, your speeds will not be as fast as going with Vietnamobile itself because you will be roaming on their networks (and not be a native customer)
- There is no 5G NR access with the Holafly eSIM
- You cannot call or text with the Holafly eSIM (nor can you receive them – you get no (local) phone number)
- Holafly is the most expensive travel eSIM provider in this guide
Holafly Vietnam eSIM Overall Thoughts
Overall, the Holafly Vietnam eSIM is an excellent eSIM for those who do not want to deal with data caps because you get unlimited data.
Even then, you will still get fast speeds and 4G/LTE reception.
However, Holafly is the most expensive option in this guide and may not be the best for budget travelers.
Best eSIMs for in Asia (not just Vietnam)
Unfortunately, you cannot use your Airalo Cu Chi, Holafly Vietnam, or Nomad Vietnam eSIMs in any country than Vietnam.
However, the three eSIM providers have eSIMs covering several East Asian and Southeast Asian countries.
I highly recommend these Asia/APAC eSIMs if you plan to visit multiple East- and Southeast Asian countries to save money!
Airalo recently heavily improved its Asia eSIM, which used to offer a meager 4 GB of high-speed data before allowing for unlimited data at snail speeds, following the popular Eurolink eSIM for 39 European countries.
The Eurolink eSIM is the most popular eSIM for Phone Travel readers, and I have no doubt that the Asialink eSIM will be popular too.
Just like in Europe, many readers tend to visit multiple Asian countries, so they would rather have a travel eSIM covering multiple countries than just one (like Vietnam).
The Asialink eSIM can be used in the following 14 countries:
- Hong Kong
- Singapore 1
- South Korea
1 currently, newly bought Asialink eSIMs cannot be used in Singapore. Airalo is working on re-including Singapore in its Asialink offering
Below is an overview of how much each Asialink eSIM costs:
- Asia/Asialink 1 GB eSIM for 7 days, costing 5 USD
- Asia/Asialink 3 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 13 USD – very popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
- Asia/Asialink 5 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 20 USD – most popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
- Asia/Asialink 10 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 37 USD – very popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
- Asia/Asialink 50 GB eSIM for 90 days, costing 100 USD
- Asia/Asialink 100 GB eSIM for 180 days, costing 185 USD
Holafly & Nomad eSIMs for Asia
Because of Airalo's previous Asia eSIM, I used to recommend Nomad's APAC eSIMs instead (to be used in 8 countries).
This eSIM can be used in Australia, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore & Thailand (1 GB/7 days/15 USD – 20 GB/30 days/69 USD).
As you can see, this eSIM cannot be used in Vietnam, so it would be useless here but useful in the aforementioned countries.
The Holafly Asia eSIM has only one variant: 8 GB for 30 days, costing 47 USD/49 EUR/34 GBP.
This eSIM can be used in Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand & Vietnam.
Basically, the same countries as the Airalo Asialink eSIM with just fewer options (1 variant (8 GB) vs. 6 variants (1 GB/3 GB/5 GB/10 GB/50 GB/100 GB)) and much more expensive.
So yeah, the Asialink eSIM is superior, I would say.
Remember, the Airalo links above will automatically offer you the best deals.
Overview of the Best eSIMs for Vietnam (Airalo vs. Holafly vs. Nomad)
In this guide, I went over various eSIMs for Vietnam: the local mobile operators, Airalo (Cu Chi), Holafly & Nomad.
Below is an overview of my recommendation order:
- Airalo's Vietnam Cu Chi eSIM (best value for money)
- Airalo's Asia Asialink eSIM (best value for money when also visiting other East- and Southeast Asian countries)
- Nomad Vietnam eSIM (cheapest and excellent performance)
- Holafly Vietnam eSIM (truly unlimited data plans at premium prices)
- Holafly Asia eSIM (to be used in 13 countries)
Remember to use code PHONETRAVELWIZ for Holafly eSIMs and code ADU123 for Nomad eSIMs – a code is not necessary for Airalo eSIM purchases.
Buying a SIM Card in Vietnam
Want to just use a SIM card but not your current one because roaming will be criminally expensive?
Consider getting a Vietnamese SIM card instead – local SIM cards are the cheapest way to stay connected abroad.
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