Arriving at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi can be an exciting yet stressful experience for travelers. Navigating a new country and language while making sure you have working phone service is key. Getting a local Vietnam SIM card should be at the top of your to-do list when passing through immigration and customs.
This guide will provide everything you need to know about getting SIM card at Noi Bai airport
I. Should I buy a SIM card at Noi Bai Airport (HAN)?
Buying a SIM card at Noi Bai airport when you land is definitely an efficient option over finding and purchasing one in the city later. However, it largely depends on a few factors:
What you plan to use it for
If you only need basic functionality like maps, transportation, translations and internet access, an airport SIM will suffice. But if you’re staying long-term or need lots of data and calling minutes, shop around in Hanoi for better deals.
How long you’re staying
For short Vietnam trips under 2 weeks, an airport SIM card will likely meet your needs if you mostly use apps and internet data. Those staying longer would benefit more from a monthly plan bought in the city.
Data and minutes you’ll need
Airport kiosk SIMs tend to cater more to short-term tourists who won’t use as much data or call time. If you’ll need lots of high-speed data or domestic/international calling, purchase a SIM in Hanoi instead.
So if your travel plans don’t require an immediate SIM connection upon landing, take a ride into Hanoi and shopping around at cell phone stores there instead.
II. Where to Buy a SIM card at Noi Bai Airport?
There are a few options for purchasing SIM cards once arriving at Hanoi’s international airport:
1. Buying online before departure and pickup at airport
Some travelers choose to order ahead of time before departing for their trip. This allows you to complete the purchase, activation, and registration process in advance so the SIM is ready when you arrive. Two major mobile operators, Viettel and Vinaphone offer this pickup service at Noi Bai Airport.
The two main options are the service counters of Viettel and Vinaphone, both located in area B near the arrivals exit on the ground floor of Terminal 2. Viettel’s counter is in section B8 and Vinaphone’s is in section B9.
While convenient, there are a few potential downsides to consider. You’ll need to research to ensure the SIM you buy will work with your device and has the right plan for your needs. There’s also a risk of delays if anything goes wrong with shipping or activation. Picking up in the airport may also be more expensive than buying locally.
Note: Online pre-purchase is a viable option but be sure to read the fine print to avoid issues after a long flight.
2. Buying at airport upon arrival
Purchasing a SIM card upon arrival at Noi Bai Airport offers the benefit of immediate connectivity in Vietnam without having to prepare beforehand.
There are a few options for buying a SIM at the airport. Viettel, Vinaphone and MobiFone both have service counters near the arrival exit in Terminal 2 where you can pick from data packages and calling plans. An alternative is certain booths in the arrival halls that sell various network SIMs.
While convenient, buying at the airport may be more expensive than purchasing in Hanoi. You also have less time for research and comparison of plans and features. However, for travelers who want connectivity straight away or can’t pre-order online, airport purchase removes stress.
III. What to Prepare for Getting a SIM Card at Noi Bai Airport – Registration Process
Purchasing and registering a pay-as-you go Vietnam SIM card as a foreigner has gotten much easier over recent years, but you’ll still need:
- Your valid passport is required for buying any SIM card as a tourist.
- Some shops may ask for 1-2 passport-size photos for registration paperwork. Have some handy just in case.
- There is usually a one-time activation fee for prepaid SIM cards around 20,000-50,000 VND ($1-2 USD).
IV. Best Tourist SIM Card at Noi Bai Airport: Options and Price
The top three Vietnamese carriers – Viettel, Vinaphone and Mobifone – all have prepaid SIM packages catering to foreign tourists at Noi Bai airport.
|SIM Tour TR60
|SIM Tour TR100
|Happy Tourist – HP2
In general, these packages provide generous data allowances and usage durations suitable for international tourists’ communication needs in Vietnam. Tourists can purchase SIM cards from the network operators’ counters available at Noi Bai International Airport.
V. Vietnam eSIM for Hanoi – an Alternative to SIM Card at Noi Bai Airport
Traveling to vibrant and bustling Hanoi, Vietnam can be an adventure. However, finding a local SIM card with data can become a hassle. Thankfully, eSIM provides a digital solution for travelers to stay connected seamlessly throughout their trip.
Unlike physical SIM cards that require finding a store, waiting in line, and providing identification documents, eSIM allows travelers to set up a data plan completely online before their trip.
With GIGAGO Vietnam eSIM plans, you can purchase a plan, receive the activation QR code via email, and install it on your eSIM compatible device in minutes – no need to waste time procuring a SIM once you land in Hanoi. Let’s check their best plans:
eSIM tips: In general, most major flagship Android and iOS devices from the last 2-3 years support eSIM technology. If you aren't sure, please check the eSIM-compatible devices list before purchasing.
VI. Where to Buy a SIM card Outside Noi Bai Airport
If an airport SIM card isn’t quite what you’re looking for, no worries! Hanoi has plenty of other locations to purchase SIMs with more variety:
Mobile carrier stores
The major telecoms have retailer shops and booths scattered across the entire city. Larger Vinaphone, Viettel and Mobifone branches have the best selections.
Many electronics shops stock different SIM packages catering to tourists, expats and locals. Prices might be slightly better too.
Mini-marts and convenience stores like Circle K and Shop&Go often sell prepaid SIMs from various carriers.
Wherever you choose to buy in Hanoi, be sure to ask about monthly plans, data amounts and calling rates to find the best SIM for your needs if staying longer.
Can I use eSIM in Vietnam?
Yes, eSIM activation works in Vietnam if you have an unlocked device that supports eSIM technology. Benefits are convenience, flexibility and keeping your physical SIM slot free.
Do Vietnam SIM cards work in other countries?
Local Vietnam SIMs (physical or eSIM) will not work when roaming internationally. But dual SIM phone users can get a separate eSIM for each country they visit.
How long does a Vietnam tourist SIM card last?
Most tourist SIMs have a max validity of 1-2 months (30 days is common). But you can easily top-up and recharge data/minutes to extend if needed.
Is registration required for prepaid SIM card at Noi Bai airport?
Yes, the shop will register the SIM card with your passport details when purchasing. This is required by Vietnamese law.
What payment methods are accepted for buying SIM card at Noi Bai airport?
Major credit/debit cards as well as cash in Vietnamese Dong are accepted at the SIM stalls. Some may also accept mobile payments.
Getting connected with a Vietnam SIM card immediately upon arrival at Hanoi Noi Bai Airport is convenient and straightforward. If staying longer or needing lots of data and calling time, also consider shopping around for monthly SIM deals in electronics shops and carrier stores across the capital.
Either way, a GIGAGO eSIM is a digital travel tip to avoid pesky international roaming charges from your home provider. Bon voyage!