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So you're planning a trip to magical Vietnam or even moving there for work. Awesome! Vietnam has stunning natural beauty, delicious food, and vibrant culture. But before you go, you'll want to know how to handle your mail. The postal service in Vietnam works a bit differently than back home. Don't worry, we've got your back. We spent years living in Vietnam and navigating the post office, so we can give you insider tips for mailing letters and packages like a pro. By the end of this, you'll know how to send postcards to friends, ship gifts to family, and get that important document across the world without a hitch. The secret is knowing which carrier to use, how to properly address envelopes and a few handy Vietnamese phrases. Get ready to master the Vietnam post like you've been doing for years. Your mail will get where it needs to go, and you can focus on enjoying your Vietnamese adventure.

Overview of Vietnam's Postal Service

Vietnam's postal service is generally reliable and inexpensive, but the process can be confusing if you're not familiar with it. Here are some tips to help you mail letters and packages within Vietnam or internationally.

To send mail within Vietnam, head to your local post office. You'll need to fill out a mailing form, available in Vietnamese and English, and have your items weighed to determine the postage. Postage for a standard letter is about 5,000 to 10,000 VND. Packages and larger envelopes will cost more based on weight and destination. Pay the postage in cash and drop your mail in the appropriate slot.

Sending Mail Internationally

To send mail abroad, go to a main post office in larger cities or provincial capitals. Fill out a yellow international mailing form and have your items inspected. Postage will depend on the destination country and weight. Pay in cash, as credit cards are rarely accepted. Keep the receipt as proof of mailing.

For valuable or important documents, use EMS express shipping. It's more expensive but provides tracking and insurance. Packages can take 7 to 15 days to reach the US or Europe. Regular airmail can take 2 to 4 weeks with no tracking or guarantees.

International Shipping Options From Vietnam

When shipping items internationally from Vietnam, you have a few options to consider based on the destination and contents. For most expats and travelers, the following will likely meet your needs.

Express Mail Service (EMS)

Operated by Vietnam Post, EMS offers fast, reliable delivery to over 190 countries. Packages typically arrive within 5 to 7 business days. Rates are very affordable, especially for documents. You can track your shipment on their website. EMS is a great choice if you need to send important papers in a hurry.

Major Couriers: DHL, UPS, FedEx

For valuable or fragile items, using a private courier service may give you more peace of mind. DHL, UPS, and FedEx all provide international shipping from Vietnam with door-to-door tracking and insurance. Transit times are usually 3 to 5 days. Courier rates will be significantly higher than postal options, but for urgent or high-value shipments, the cost may be worth the extra expense.

Sea Cargo

For large volumes or oversized items, sea cargo is really your only option. Transit times will be 4 to 6 weeks on average but costs are often 1/3 that of air freight. You will need to work with a freight forwarder to handle the paperwork and port clearances. Sea cargo works well for moving household goods or commercial materials but lacks the speed or traceability of the other methods.

Other tips:

  • Clearly mark the recipient’s full address and include a return address.

  • Pack items securely and include itemized contents on the customs form. If you are shipping a package internationally, it is important to declare the value of the contents on a customs form. This is required by most countries and helps to ensure that you pay the correct customs duties.

  • It is also a good idea to keep a copy of all shipping documents in case there is a problem with your shipment. This includes the packing slip, shipping label, and customs form.

  • Check current rates and transit times on the carrier’s website as these can vary over time.

  • Consider insuring valuable or fragile shipments in case of damage or loss.

  • When mailing letters or packages internationally, it is important to use the correct address format for the destination country. This can be found on the website of the destination country's postal service.

With some forethought on the best shipping method for your needs, sending packages and letters from Vietnam can be straightforward. Choose the carrier and service that fits your timeline, budget, and peace of mind.

Important Notes

Don't seal packages before inspection and indicate the contents on the forms. Prohibited items include cash, perishables, flammables, and hazardous materials.

Double-check that you've correctly addressed the recipient in the format used in their country, and included their phone number. This will help ensure delivery.

Take your passport when mailing international parcels as proof of identity.

If possible, have a native speaker check any addresses or forms before mailing them for accuracy. Minor errors could delay or prevent delivery.

Sending Mail Within Vietnam

So you want to send some mail within Vietnam, huh? No problem, it’s actually pretty straightforward. Here are the steps:

First, you’ll need to buy stamps. Postage stamps, that is. You can find them at any post office, which is located in most towns and cities. Domestic postage rates are very affordable. For a standard letter under 20g, it should cost about 4,000 to 6,000 VND.

Next, address your envelope clearly and concisely. Write the recipient’s name, street address, district or ward, city, and postal code. Make sure it’s legible! Also, put your own return address in the top left corner.

Then, drop your stamped and addressed envelope in any public mailbox, or take it to a post office counter during business hours. Your letter should arrive within 1 to 3 business days for most major cities, and 3 to 7 days for more rural areas.

You can also send small packages domestically. Just make sure not to seal the package completely—leave one end open so postal workers can inspect the contents. Clearly mark the recipient’s name and address, as well as the sender’s information. Affix enough postage stamps to cover the rate based on the package’s weight and dimensions.

If speed and reliability are a priority, consider using a private courier service within Vietnam like Giao Hàng Nhanh or Viettel Post. Their rates are a bit higher but they offer package tracking and guaranteed delivery times.

You can visit any local branch post office which is typically open from around 7:00 am to 7:00 pm daily and offer basic services like mailing letters, bills, or small parcels. Look for the bright yellow Vietnam Posts signs to spot these smaller offices in your neighborhood.

No matter which post office, be prepared for some language challenges if you don't speak Vietnamese. Come armed with the recipient's full address in Vietnamese, or have it clearly written down. It's a good idea to go when they first open to allow plenty of time in case you run into any difficulties. And of course, bring your patience—mailing anything in Vietnam tends to take a bit longer than in Western countries.


A few express couriers in Vietnam

Shipping Timelines and Delivery Expectations

Shipping items to or from Vietnam definitely requires some patience. As an expat living in Vietnam or a traveler visiting the country, it's important to understand the postal system and set proper expectations for mailing letters, packages, or documents.


Don't expect Amazon Prime-like delivery speeds. Surface mail, the cheapest option, can take 4 to 6 weeks for letters and 2 to 3 months for small packages to reach destinations in Europe, North America, or Australia. Express shipping via airmail will cut that time in half but comes at a higher cost.

For domestic shipping within Vietnam, delivery can take 3 to 7 business days for letters and 1 to 2 weeks for packages, depending on the destination. During major holidays like Tet, add at least a week of additional time. It's best to ship important items well in advance.


While Vietnam's postal service has improved in recent years, some losses and delays are still common. Valuable or important items should be sent via registered mail or a private carrier like DHL, FedEx, or UPS which offer tracking and insurance. For regular letters or small goods, there is still a chance of items going missing en route to the recipient.


Be aware that customs inspection of incoming or outgoing international mail is common and can add to delivery times. Prohibited and restricted items include anything flammable, perishable goods, medicines, and plants as well as books, DVDs, and magazines that contain sensitive political or religious content. Declare the contents of your package accurately to minimize the chance of it getting held up in customs.


For short distances, you can also use services such as Be, Grab

Prohibited and Restricted Items

Mailing items to and from Vietnam requires some special consideration. As an expat or long-term traveler, you’ll want to be aware of the postal service’s prohibited and restricted items to avoid issues.

Prohibited Items

Absolutely do not attempt to mail the following items:

  • Explosives, ammunition, weapons, or weapon parts

  • Radioactive materials

  • Perishable biological materials like blood, urine, or pathogens

  • Illegal drugs or substances

Mailing these prohibited items is considered a federal crime and will lead to legal trouble.

Restricted Items

Some items can be mailed but have certain restrictions or require special handling:

  • Cash, jewelry, or other valuables - These high-value items require registering and insuring the mailpiece. They can be targets for theft so extra precautions are needed.

  • Liquids or fragile items - Must be very carefully packaged to avoid damage or spills during transit.

  • Food - Any food items must be commercially packaged and properly sealed. Homemade or perishable foods are prohibited.

  • Batteries - Batteries must be installed in devices or have contacts covered to prevent overheating or short circuits. Loose or defective batteries are forbidden.

  • Tobacco and e-cigarettes - Subject to various import duties and taxes. Check with Vietnam’s customs office for current regulations.

To ensure your mailpiece is accepted, clearly mark any restricted items on the customs form. Be prepared to pay additional shipping fees for registration, insurance, or duties. It’s always a good idea to double-check Vietnam’s latest mailing regulations on their postal service website before sending your package.

Packaging Tips for Mailing in Vietnam

When mailing packages or letters in Vietnam, following a few tips will help ensure successful delivery.

Use sturdy packaging. The postal system in Vietnam can be rough on parcels, so use durable boxes, padding, and sealing tape. Bubble wrap, packing peanuts, or cardboard inserts will help protect fragile items.

Pay the proper postage. Postage rates in Vietnam are based on the weight and dimensions of your item. Underpaying postage will delay or prevent delivery. You can check postage prices on Vietnam Post’s website or at your local post office.

Consider using a courier for valuable or urgent items. National postal services are affordable but can be unreliable. International couriers like DHL, UPS, and FedEx offer faster, traceable delivery for key mailings.

Allow ample transit time. Mail between provinces in Vietnam can take 2 to 5 days, while international deliveries may take 1 to 4 weeks. Plan ahead and mail items well before any deadlines to ensure on-time arrival. During major holidays, postal delays are common.