Free Wi-Fi is widely available in hotels and cafes in Vietnam but you might still want to always have a reliable internet connection on your phone. If you will start your Vietnamese adventure on Cat Ba Island and will want to get local SIM card there, check where the best place to buy SIM card in Cat Ba is.
We were starting our Vietnam trip in Haiphong, which is not a touristy city and English is not widely spoken in local shops there, so decided to get our Vietnamese SIM card in Cat Ba where we expected everything to be easier as the island receives much more tourists than the city nearby. However, it wasn’t that smooth.
Cat Ba Market Mobile Shop
At first we went to one local mobile shop nearby Cat Ba Market (Chợ Cát Bà). Normally you would expect people on quite a touristy island who are working in sales to know at least a bit of English in their work area but it wasn’t the case there. None of staff could speak a word in English and using Google translate for conversation didn’t work out for doing such a simple thing like buying new SIM card with data-only plan.
As we were not ready to buy a SIM card not knowing what exactly you get with it, we gave up and continued our hunting on Vietnamese SIM card in Cat Ba.
Tan Truong Mobile
Tan Truong Mobile shop located on the main road of Cat Ba Town is easily noticeable so we decided to give it a try once they opened. Even if Google Maps said that the shop is open 24 hours, it even was closed at the daytime.
We’ve tried our luck late in the afternoon and found the shop open. However, the staff didn’t care much about us and just dropped a piece of paper with a couple of numbers once asked about possibility to get a SIM card with data-only plan. Not surprised that the only comment on Google name the rude service, don’t expect anything better here.
The offer we got on that small piece of paper was 5 GB – 300,000 VND and 30 GB – 500,000 VND. No explanation if the SIM card will be valid for the whole month, what is the mobile carrier, not even extra word on that small white hand written note.
Not only the ignorant staff was the reason why we got out from this shop without getting Vietnamese SIM card, as the price of SIM card was higher than we were expecting after doing some research online.
Viettel Cat Ba
After failing to get a normal offer for Vietnamese SIM card, we came back to our hotel and continued our research online. Luckily, we found the official branch of Viettel in Cat Ba. Viettel is often named as the leading mobile carrier in Vietnam, so we opted to go there.
Viettel Cat Ba Mobile Phone Center is located on the side street so we didn’t notice it when walking by the main road. Full address of this Viettet branch is 103 Núi Ngọc, TT. Cát Bà, Cát Hải, Hải Phòng (Google Map).
As Cat Ba Town is small, Viettel shop is easy to find if only you know what exactly you are looking for.
Viettel Cat Ba is open daily but on weekends they have lunch break so make sure to come there during working hours. Opening hours of Viettel Cat Ba:
- Monday – Friday, from 7:30 to 18:30
- Saturday – Sunday, from 7:30 to 12:00 and from 13:30 to 18:30
The staff of Viettel Cat Ba could speak decent English and were quick enough to realize what exactly we are looking for. No official printed pricelist was provided but the girl working there took her time to write all monthly data-only plans she could offer so we could choose the best plan according to our needs. SIM card cost 100,000 VND and an additional pricing of data for 30 days was as follows:
- 3 GB of data – 70,000 VND
- 5 GB of data – 90,000 VND
- 8 GB of data – 125,000 VND
- 15 GB of data – 200,000 VND
- 30 GB of data – 300,000 VND
We‘ve chosen 8 GB data plan and in total it cost for us 225,000 VND (100,000 VND for SIM card + 125,000 VND for data). They set our SIM card as well so we didn’t need to deal with settings in Vietnamese language.
We were traveling around Vietnam all the month and our Vietnamese SIM card worked perfectly until the last day. Radio coverage of Viettel network was also good in all main touristy areas as 4G was present almost everywhere except of parts of Halong Bay, where we taking a day tour.
We would recommend buying Vietnamese SIM card from official shops of mobile carriers as quite often we read online that tourists get a SIM card that is valid only for 15 days instead of promised 30 days when buying it from random shops.
We didn’t ask our Vietnamese phone number at the shop as we were not planning to use it for calls or messaging but when we needed it, finding out Viettel number by ourselves wasn’t that easy.
If you are planning to fly to Hanoi Noi Bai Airport (HAN) and to travel to Cat Ba from there, you can book Vietnamese SIM card online and get it at the airport to start using internet right away. It will actually be even cheaper when booking in advance!