GoWithGuideFind your perfect tour guide at GoWithGuide. Relax and cherish unforgettable tours with loved ones. Create personalized tours for a truly memorable trip!
GoWithGuide
GoWithGuideFind your perfect tour guide at GoWithGuide. Relax and cherish unforgettable tours with loved ones. Create personalized tours for a truly memorable trip!

Hiring A Guide In Vietnam: Pros & Cons

Courtney C.

by GoWithGuide travel specialist:Courtney C.

Last updated : May 13, 202430 min read

Travel Tips

Vietnam Tour Guide

 

You’ve made a decision. You want to see the rolling hills of Sapa, the motorbike-filled streets of Ho Chi Minh and the Old Quarter markets of Hanoi (or you’ve read our Vietnam tourism statistics article, and you’re feeling inspired). Not only that, but you’ve even got a list of attractions you want to visit, but there might still be one question lingering in your mind. 

 

Do I need a tour guide for Vietnam? Each of our travel styles is different, as is the amount of time we have away, so for some, a local tour guide in Vietnam is a win-win. For others, not so much. Vietnam tour guides can create some of your best memories in this country, but more on that later.  For now, let’s go over why you should, and shouldn’t hire a Vietnam travel companion.

 

The Benefits Of A Vietnam Tour Guide

 

A local tour guide in Vietnam can be well worth your time, saving you hassle, and money and allowing you to see more of the city that you actually want to see. Here are some reasons to book a tour guide that might align with you:

 

An infographic detailing the benefots of hiring a guide in Vietnam (2 benefits) and the reasons why you might want to try touring the country without a guide (2 reasons)

 

You’ll Save Time & Money

 

  • Time: If you only have a short period of time in Vietnam or a particular city, your guide can make sure you visit only the locations you want, such as the Temple of Literature, the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long and St. Joseph Cathedral in Hanoi, which are all within walking distance of each other. If you book a large group tour, you might visit locations you’re not interested in, so a personalized tour can save you time. 

  • Money: We all know that time is money, so spending your time researching locations, only to get there and realize that the venue or activities that weren’t listed online. With a local guide that knows the rates on the ground, you avoid hidden fees, and might get a few discounts along the way. 

 

See Locations Only Locals See: Our private tour guides in Ho Chi Minh took us on the back of their motorbikes and showed us dining locations we would have never had the confidence or the knowledge to go to, such as a small Bahn mi store on the side of a roundabout and an absolutely delicious bun bo restaurant tucked away in an alleyway. Food was included in the tour, so everything was convenient, and the tour was the highlight of our trip. 

 

Learn More Than The Surface Of The City: A private tour guide can tailor their locations and information to your interests. For example, we enjoyed history, so our guide took us to the oldest residence area of Ho Chi Minh and explained how the families live communally. Such intricate information was something we would have learned, otherwise, and really gave us an understanding of life in the city. 

 

Travel Q&A: Can you go to Vietnam only speaking English? While it’s always respectful to go to a country with some knowledge of their language, such as hello, excuse me and thank you, in Vietnam, especially the tourist locations, you don’t need to speak Vietnamese. While most people aren’t fluent, more than half the population speak some English (Vietnam ranks number 58 out of 113  in proficiency for non-native English-speaking countries) and you won’t need to worry about getting lost in translation. 

 

 

When Are Private Tour Guides Not Worth It?

As we mentioned at the start, sometimes, a tour guide might not suit your needs. Each of our travel situations is different, so if one of these points matches you, then don’t feel as though you need to book one. 

 

You enjoy going off the beaten track or letting your feet guide you: One of the great parts of Vietnam is that there are small nooks and crannies to intrigue you. The small streets are filled with restaurants; the architecture might lead you away, or the sight of a temple might cause you to take a detour. We followed a crowd in Ho Chi Minh and stumbled upon Bui Vien Street, a beer and bar street filled with music that gets PACKED. Nearby, we wandered down some stairs and found a local underground food court, places we wouldn’t have known we would have enjoyed if we’d stuck to an itinerary. 

 

Vietnam is easy to navigate: It’s super easy to get a data sim at the airport, which allows you to use maps to find your way around. You can use Grab to book a motorbike or taxi to travel around, too, which is all done with the click of a button. If you ever feel like going somewhere that’s a bit out of the way, such as Ninh Bình, you can use mobile navigation and transport apps to create a spontaneous tour.

 

English is widely spoken: As mentioned above, English is spoken by many in Vietnam, especially in the cities. While they might not be the most fluent (we were constantly passing people saying “Hello, masa?” meaning, ‘Hello, do you want a massage?’), you won’t struggle speaking to people or asking for directions. The locals there are so incredibly friendly, and they’re happy to chat as they also want to practice their English, so it’s a win-win! This means it’s not a country where a guide who speaks the language is crucial.

 

Travel Q&A: Can you tour Vietnam on your own? While booked private tours can get you to some incredible destinations, give exclusivity, and are more convenient than organizing a day tour of your own, like a bike ride through Ninh Binh, Vietnam can be navigated with some planning, research and open-mindedness. It just depends on how you want to travel. 



How Do I Hire A Guide In Vietnam?

Is it easy to book tours in Vietnam? Very much so, and we’ll show you through these three simple steps:

 

A visualization of the three-step process for hiring a guide in Vietnam on the GoWithGuide website.

 

  1. Check out our Vietnam local guides page. If you already know where you want to go (like Ben Thanh Market, the War Remnants Museum and the Reunification Tower in Ho Chi Minh City), choose guides who specialize in those areas. Look for guides with good reviews, who have good set itineraries, and who seem interesting.

  2. Once you find a guide you like, you have a few options. If there's a tour with an itinerary you're interested in, you can book it right away. If you have specific places you want to visit or things you want to skip, just click the blue ‘Message’ button and have a chat with the guide to see how they can help.

  3. Now you can personalize your tour — that benefit we’ve been talking about! Share your travel dates, who you're traveling with and any preferences you and your group have (whether it be locations to visit, food allergies or something you really want to eat). Then, hit send. Would you look at that? You’ve hired a guide in Vietnam! 

 

 

Welcome To Vietnam: Tips & Tricks For A Smooth Tour 

Alright, so you’ve decided a guided tour of Vietnam is for you. Here are some tips and tricks to make the experience worthwhile. 

 

Keeping Comfortable: What To Carry/Buy In Vietnam 

In Vietnam, make sure you have travel insurance and are up-to-date with your vaccinations. You might also want to bring:

 

  • Insect repellant to ward off mosquitos and the risk of malaria and dengue fever 

  • Ibuprofen

  • Sunscreen

  • Diarrhea treatment 

 

If you’re extremely unwell, hospitals in the major cities have English-speaking staff, so you don’t need to be too stressed if anything occurs. 

Loving The Language: Phrases to Try Out

If you do want to learn some Vietnamese to help you get around, I’ve compiled some phrases that will help!


An infographic with 16 common Vietnam phrases that a tourist could learn, where each phrase has the Vietnamese word and spelling, with the English translation under it.

 

  • Hello: Xin chào! (sin chow!)

  • Goodbye: Tạm biệt (tarm byeet)

  • Thank you: Cảm ơn bạn (gahm un ban)

  • Please: Làm ơn (lam uhhn)

  • You’re welcome: Không có gì (khome co xi)

  • How are you? = Bạn khỏe không? (ban kwe khome?)

  • I’m fine, thank you! = Tôi khỏe, cám ơn! (thoy kwe cam on)

  • Yes: Vâng (vung)

  • No: Không (khome)

  • Good: Tốt (thote)

  • Bad: Xấu (szoh)

  • Excuse me: Xin lỗi (seen loy)

  • Can you help me?: Bạn có thể giúp tôi được không? (ban co teh zoop thoy duc khom?)

  • How much?: Bao nhiêu? (baow nyew)

  • Can you reduce the price?: Bạn có thể giảm giá? (Ban co teh zam za)

  • Where is the bathroom? = nhà vệ sinh ở đâu



The Guide To Guides In Vietnam: Dos and Don’ts 

 

 

An image highlighting the dos and don

Travel Q&A: How much do you tip a day tour guide in Vietnam?

In Vietnam, keep it simple with tipping — either skip it or be generous. A tiny tip might be seen as rude. The amount depends on how good the service is and if you're happy — but starting at 200,000 to 400,000 VND (around $8 to $16 USD) per day is a good idea.



Ready To Go? Here Are Some Tours to Explore!

Guides and tours can truly make all the difference to your trip, as they allow you to have cultural experiences you wouldn’t have had otherwise. Here are some that might pique your interest:

 

A collection of 4 images highlighting 4 different types of tours a traveler can book with GoWithGuide

 

The Highlights of Vietnam: If you’re after a tour guide in Ho Chi Minh, Saigon, Ha Long and more, these day tour takes you through the largest cities in Vietnam, showing you the wet market, Chinatown, a boat ride, the war remnant museum as well as many other locations while you walk around. It’s a bit of everything!

 

Amazing Tastings Food Tour by Scooters & More!: Be amongst the traffic on the back of a scooter through Vietnam's streets, stopping in different districts and seeing the sights while tasting some of the best foods the country has to offer.

 

Half-Day Beautiful Coastal Nha Trang City Tour: See what Nha Trang is all about, witnessing musical performances, its historic architecture, its attractions like the Cathedral and Long Son Pagoda as well as a picturesque view of the whole city.

 

Hanoi Full-Day Highlight City Tour: This Hanoi tour guide is perfect if you don’t have long in the city and want to see all you can. See sights like Ho Chi Minh mausoleum, One Pillar Pagoda, the Temple of Literature and the Vietnamese Museum of Ethnology, along with lunch at a local restaurant.

 

Book some of the best Vietnam tour guides! That way, you get to truly experience what Vietnam has to offer and bring home lasting memories.

Thua Thien Tour Guide - Ngoc L.

Ngoc L.

Vietnam

Working as a tour-guide in central of Vietnam since 2014 and guided thousand of people the beauty of Vietnam's culture, history and people. From 2018, I started to work independently and focused in organizing tours in my Hue city only.                                                                                                                                  

Ho Chi Minh Tour Guide - Nhu N.

Nhu N.

Vietnam

Xin Chao! Hello my fellow travellers and citizens of the world My name is Nhu (pronounced as New). I am a fully- blooded Saigonese. I would love to meet you in person, show you around my city and laugh with you. I love my home city and its unique blend of culture, history & delicious cuisine. In my entire life, I have always been in Saigon and have witnessed tremendous, exciting changes of the city in which I grew up in. Indeed, I am a happy local of this dynamic & vibrant city. Please let me and my hospitality show you the beauty of Saigon - Pearl of the far east I have extensive experience working as a local English-speaking guide for various companies, plus, many years during College as a Hotel Front-desk. My understanding of cultural differences and curiosity makes me a great local guide. I UNDERSTAND you and your needs because I am a traveller myself Why am I your great pick? There are many wonderful local guides in Ho Chi Minh city. However, I will not only be your guide, but also I will be the-friend-you-know in Saigon: I provide, including but not limited to: 1. Door to door service. Pick-up and drop-off as requested 2. Feel free to customize your own itinerary or go with my ready-to-book tours 3. I avoid touristy spots as much as I could to ensure you have off-the-beaten-track experience 4. No shopping (unless it is requested) 5. Come as customers, leave as friends Should you have any questions, do not hesitate to drop me a message. I am available to answer all of your inquiries, give recomendations about hotels, restaurants and how to navigate the city, etc. . . I am looking forward to the day we finally meet in person Locally yours, Ms. Nhu                                                                                                                                 

Hoi An Tour Guide - Hung L.

Hung L.

Vietnam

We mainly focus on the authentic and signatured local experience beside popular destinations that we take our guests to explore in Central of Vietnam. We have worked with our customers for dozens of years so we know well our guests's expectation.                                                                                                                                 

Ho Chi Minh Tour Guide - Toan N.

Toan N.

5.00 / 5
(2 reviews)
Vietnam

Chào(Hello)! I am Toàn, you can call me Fully. Saigon(Ho Chi Minh City) is my hometown, it's also the motorbike city with millions of bikes. I am a professional tour guide who love sharing full stories about the Vietnamese cuisine, history and culture. I have made this unique experience in order to let our foreign friends hang out with the local Saigonese on an adventure with motorbikes to experience the authentic Street Foods of the city. I have been doing motorbike tours for many years and have trained for many energetic university students who have the same passion like me to become my co-hosts. They are well-trained, fluent in English and excellent licensed drivers. Đi thôi(Let's go)! Let's put on the helmet, get on the motorbike and go with the flow! Thank you so much for your interest and see you soon!                                                                                                                                 

Plan your trip to Vietnam

Chat with a local tour guide who can help organize your trip.

Get Started