When you first arrive in Vietnam, you might struggle to know how to get around the city, communicate with the locals, or order food.
Usually, apps would be the answer. Right?
Unfortunately, Vietnam is missing some of your western favourites such as Amazon and Uber.
You’re probably wondering:
How will I manage without these essential apps.
Thankfully – the country has a bevy of options to fill the gap.
Their functionality goes beyond simply allowing for online shopping, but also include learning Vietnamese and getting the housework done (finally!)
bTaskee – Apps Vietnam
Got an errand to run? bTaskee’s here for you. This all-in-one tasks app is perfect for dealing with any of your cleaning-related woes. Helpfully designed with foreigners in mind, the interface is easy to navigate and provided in English. You simply select the task you want to have completed and organise a suitable time for your personal helper to visit.
These tasks range from giving your room or air-conditioner a deep-clean, having someone do the shopping for you and even cook for you. It’s a robust app which sets an affordable price for its services.
Grab – Taxi app for Vietnam
Using a motorbike in Saigon is still the best way of getting around. Until you’ve worked up the courage to jump on your own Honda, there are plenty of taxi apps to get you moving.
Grab lets you request a grab bike, taxi and even food
By far the most popular is Grab.
Want to travel around via motorbike or a car?
No matter your preference, Grab will get you to your destination.
Its dominance of the market means you’ll always be within reach of a nearby driver. You’ll have to pay for the privilege though because the app is more expensive than its rivals.
A journey between District 7 and District 1 might set you back anywhere between 30 and 60k VND (1.5-3USD).
Pretty cheap, right?
Well, not the cheapest. Gojek and Be take that honour. Though Grab is an easy all-in-one solution.
Food delivery is also a feature of these apps. For a small delivery charge (dependent on how far the restaurant is) you’ll be able to eat at the comfort of your own home or work place.
Gojek (previously GoViet) is an alternative that comes from Indonesia. It works in similar way to Grab, though it tends to be 10-30% cheaper. In the past, there were fewer drivers available which caused longer wait times, but they seem to have addressed this problem.
Travel around often?
The new app allows you to use Gojek seamlessly across Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand as well as Vietnam.
Zalo – App for messaging
You might be wondering:
Why should I download yet another messaging app?
If you want to make contact with the locals, you might have to. The messaging app of choice for the majority of people here. There are rarely any smartphones in Vietnam which don’t have Zalo installed.
Zalo’s Vietnamese developer works with the government, local networks and entertainment providers to give the people features that they want.
Zalo let’s you send uncompressed images
These features are what sets it apart from some of its rivals.
It has its own food ordering section, social features for meeting up with locals, and zalopay integration which acts as a virtual wallet.
Zalo makes picture sharing easy. There’s little compression if you choose to send pictures in HD, meaning your pictures will look much sharper than if they were sent through WhatsApp or Messenger.
Lazada/Tiki – Shopping apps in Vietnam
The nearest shopping sites close to the scale of Amazon are Lazada and Tiki. They offer everything, from books, phones, TVs and clothes. The interface is far less streamlined than their American rival, and most of the product descriptions are in Vietnamese. Other than that, you should have no problem living without Amazon in Vietnam.
If you’re looking for more traditional ways of shopping in Saigon, take a look at our article – Shopping in Saigon
Best language apps in Vietnam
There are plenty of Vietnamese language apps, but these two are among the best. Innovative features a podcast format which has PDF files for you to review as you go through. Pronunciation is also handled thoroughly, with speakers repeating each word at different speeds. There’s a free 7 day trial, but a monthly fee is required afterwards. The basic tier costs $4.99 a month which gives you access to all their PDFs and podcasts. For the higher tier ($26.33 a month) you’ll have access to your own teacher who’ll be able to work with you directly on improving.
Lingo Deer is another great option which specifically helps with grammar and vocabulary. The thoughtful and applicable structure helps it compare favorably to rivals like Duolingo. The first few parts are available for free, however, you’ll have to pay beyond this time. You can pay £41.99 as a one time fee for a lifetime membership, or £13.99 for an annual membership. Despite the steep price, the application justifies its price-tag by its thorough coverage of Vietnamese grammar.
Chopp – Supermarket Delivery app Vietnam
There are many supermarkets to pick from. Some won’t stock all the products you need. That’s where Chopp comes in. It gives you access to all major supermarket chains in the city for a fee of 20k (1usd) for each additional store you purchase from. This means you can have most of your groceries sent from Lottemart and Big C, with a few treats from Annam Gourmet as well.
Currently the app provides access to a wide-selection of supermarket that total over 30 stores. These include Lotte Supermarket, Big C, Aeon Citimart, Anbinh, Farmhill; as well as more boutique stores, such as Familk, Body Impact, Grain Milk, La Maison, Annasea Fresh, Pasteur Street Brewing Co. and Guanabana.
Chopp lets you choose products from different stores to be sent in one delivery
Have your own essential apps for Vietnam? Let us know your favourites in the comment section below.