Best VPNs For Vietnam: Stay Safe in The Land of the Ascending Dragon

article by Nicky Hoseck
January 20, 2020
Vietnam’s tourism industry is booming and, over the past decade, international tourism, in particular, has grown in leaps and bounds. Ten years ago, just over four million people heading into the country from overseas while, last year, over 15 million international tourists flocked to sample its culinary delights and soak up its staggering natural beauty.
For the most part, tourists enjoy a safe and crime-free experience while traveling in Vietnam, aside from a few scam artists and hagglers, that is. Online, however, things are a little different. With sophisticated cybercrime on the increase and the government responding with a Law on Cybersecurity that Amnesty International described as “deeply repressive legislation”, there are few safe places to hide out in Vietnam’s digital landscape.

Staying safe online is as important as staying safe on vacation which is why you need to add the best VPN for Vietnam to your essential packing list.

What is the Best Vietnam VPN?

#1 ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN Logo

When it comes to finding the perfect balance between security and speed, no one does it better than ExpressVPN. What’s more, it doesn’t even flinch when confronted with government censorship, blocked content, and geographical restrictions. Instead, it leaps over them as though they didn’t exist, giving users in the most repressive regimes the ability to browse the internet freely, without fear of arrest or imprisonment.

ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands where data retention laws are at the other end of the scale to those enforced in Vietnam. While Vietnamese legislation calls for online service providers to store personally identifiable information for anywhere up to 36 months, the BVI has no mandatory laws about data retention. ExpressVPN can therefore legally provide a no-logging VPN service.

In Vietnam, blocked websites are a common occurrence but not if you’re using ExpressVPN which can give you a fake IP address in any one of the 94 countries it covers. Its expansive network of servers includes both physical and virtual servers, with virtual servers located in a different country to the IP address assigned to users when they connect to them. For instance, the VPN server Vietnam is situated in Singapore but will nevertheless give users the freedom to browse with a Vietnamese IP address.

If you’re looking for a combination of power and protection, speed and security, then look no further – sign up with ExpressVPN today. If you want to get to grips with the nitty-gritty of this impressive VPN, check out our full review here.

#2 CyberGhost

CyberGhost VPN

CyberGhost has even more servers than ExpressVPN, although its footprint extends to just 90 countries, rather than ExpressVPN’s 94. Nevertheless, CyberGhost has 10 secure servers physically situated in Vietnam so users should have no problem getting a high-speed connection.

Netflix fans will be disappointed to hear that this streaming service hasn’t taken off in Vietnam yet,  but using CyberGhost’s preconfigured streaming profiles means users can easily access the Netflix US library or even French or German content.

CyberGhost prides itself on being one of the most user-friendly cybersecurity solutions around and its intuitive user interface is indicative of its commitment to simplicity. Behind the colorful graphics, however, is a powerful tool that uses the latest encryption and security protocols to keep your data safe from prying eyes.

Another no-logging VPN, CyberGhost is based in privacy-friendly Romania, where it supplements its policies on logging and user privacy with regular transparency reports, although it has yet to jump on the independent audit bandwagon, which is a shame.

CyberGhost is one of the few VPNs that still offers a free 24-hour trial in addition to a generous 45-day money-back guarantee period. Competitively priced packages and ease of use make it an appealing cybersecurity solution wherever you are in the world, and is an affordable alternative to the best VPN Vietnam has to offer.

Sign up with CyberGhost today and stop cybercriminals and government spies from tracking your online activity in Vietnam. If you’re a bit of a Ghostbuster at heart, find out more about the Ghostie experience by checking out our full review here.

#3 Surfshark

Surfshark VPN

A relative newcomer to the cybersecurity scene, Surfshark made quite a splash when it emerged a couple of years ago, and since then, it’s proved itself more than capable of giving the best VPNs a run for their money.

Surfshark has embraced the independent audit approach, getting Cure53 to conduct a security audit on its browser extensions. Cure53 reported that Surfshark’s browser extensions reflect the VPN provider’s “strong security posture” and prove their “commitment to transparency and… diamond-strong protection”.

Surfshark’s server network has grown steadily since its inception and now stands at over 1,000 servers in 60+ locations. Surfshark produces high-speed connections all over the world and even has a VPN server in Vietnam, making access to streaming sites like the popular FTP Play a breeze regardless of your geographical location.

Vietnam blocked websites pose a few problems for the powerful Surfshark, which leaps over such restrictions as easily as a Great White jumps out of the ocean. Surfshark consistently unblocks restricted content, and with all its servers optimized for P2P traffic, also provides its users with a private, high-speed torrenting experience.

Surfshark’s packages include an ad-blocker as well as common features like an in-built kill switch and split-tunneling capabilities. Different modes are also available for different circumstances. The Camouflage Mode, for instance, uses obfuscation to disguise your encrypted traffic to make it appear more like regular traffic.

There are plenty of fish in the sea, but few have the capabilities of a Surfshark. Find out more about how Surfshark operates in our full review or simply unleash the power and speed of this cybersecurity solution by signing up with Surfshark today.

#4 ZenMate

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While ExpressVPN and CyberGhost are household names, the little known ZenMate VPN quietly carries on delivering top-class security and surprisingly fast connections. Establishing just how many servers ZenMate VPN has is a bit of a challenge but, according to their customer support staff, it’s currently sitting at around 1,500 in around 30 countries.

ZenMate has yet to introduce a VPN server in Vietnam but this doesn’t seem to be a problem when it comes to either speed or connectivity. Select a US server, for instance, and you’ll soon be streaming Netflix as though you were in Virginia instead of Vietnam.

Based in Germany, ZenMate doesn’t enjoy quite the same freedom from data retentive directives as ExpressVPN or CyberGhost. Despite its “100% guaranteed no-log policy”, ZenMate is required by law to retain some user data which, according to its privacy policy, may include “the date and time of access to the Internet site” and “an Internet protocol address (IP address)”. It’s not ideal but it’s not the end of the world either and there are enough things going for ZenMate that compensate for its ambiguous logging policy.

ZenMate offers a limited free service, which is basically a browser extension. What’s unusual about it is that users get unlimited bandwidth and it’s only their speeds and server access that’s restricted. Its Ultimate package costs just $1.99 per month and gives users full access to all its servers as well as the following features:

  • Torrenting and P2P
  • 5 simultaneous connections
  • Identity Shield protection
  • Streaming-optimized servers
  • OpenVPN

ZenMate may not the best VPN for Vietnam, but it will do a decent enough job of keeping you protected and connected as you explore the best Vietnam has to offer. Find out more in our full review.

#5 ProtonVPN

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ProtonVPN emerged as an extension of the encrypted email service, Proton Mail, and uses similarly sophisticated encryption and security measures to keep its users safe and anonymous online. Even in countries like Vietnam where government surveillance and cybercrime are rife, ProtonVPN shields its users with strong protocols and robust privacy policy.

Based in Switzerland, ProtonVPN can operate freely as a no-logging VPN, although it does “monitor the timestamp of the last successful login attempt” but that’s not going to reveal much about your online activities. In fact, a transparency report released by ProtonVPN earlier this year noted that although the Swiss court approved a data request from overseas, ProtonVPN explained, “as we do not have any customer IP information, we could not provide the requested information” which is reassuring, to say the least.

ProtonVPN has the smallest server network of any of the Vietnam VPNs discussed here with just 568 servers in 43 countries. Although it doesn’t have many servers in Asia itself, ProtonVPN’s Server Selection list shows just how much traffic each server is dealing with, making it easy for users to connect the fastest server in their chosen location.

As a no-logging Vietnam VPN, ProtonVPN is a reliable choice with exemplary DNS leak protection. Its products range from a free VPN service all the way through to a premium plan which, while expensive, provides email encryption as well as online protection. Its Plus subscription offers better value for money for VPN users, giving users access to all its servers and top speeds for as little as $8 per month if you sign up with ProtonVPN for a one-year subscription. Learn more in our full review.

Cybercrime and Vietnam’s Law on Cybersecurity

When the Ministry of Public Security decided to introduce a law reminiscent of China’s cybersecurity legislation, it wasn’t only the Vietnamese that were in an uproar. Human rights organizations around the world reacted angrily to the law and its “sweeping restrictions on freedom of expression online” and the power it gives the government to force social media sites to remove content upon request.

Although the government believes its new legislation will “help protect users from malicious information that could affect their honor, reputation, and dignity and from other activities that might affect their legitimate rights and interests”, others, like Brad Adams of Human Rights Watch believe its goal is “as much to protect the party’s monopoly on power as to protect network security”.

Even before the implementation of the Cybersecurity Law, Vietnamese authorities were already removing content regularly. In 2018, the Ministry of Information and Communications requested that Facebook remove 670 accounts which it claimed were “spreading reactionary, anti-Party, anti-state information, defaming Vietnamese leaders and the state”.

Facebook wasn’t the only one either and both Google and YouTube complied with requests from the government with the latter removing more than 5,000 videos that were condemned by Vietnamese authorities for slandering its country’s leaders.

The government isn’t the only one making cyberspace uncomfortable for privacy-conscious users, however, and the increase in sophisticated cybercrime makes using a Vietnam VPN the only sensible way forward.

Streaming in Vietnam: Why Netflix Can’t Get a Grip

In most countries, Netflix dominates the streaming scene but in Vietnam, people are more accustomed to using illegal streaming sites for their online content and have, so far, shown only a “languid interest in Netflix”. Statistics indicate that, while just over eight million Vietnamese viewers access legal streaming services in 2017, 236 million visited illegal sites. That’s certainly pretty languid!

Homegrown streaming sites like Keeng and FPT Play enjoy widespread popularity, especially since FPT Play became the preferred partner for HBO Go earlier this year. Although illegal streaming is still far more popular in Vietnam than paying for legal content, streaming services like Onme and VTV Go keep plugging away at it, wrangling for pole position in the hopes that they’ll be in the best position to take on the competition once the illegal sector is curtailed.

Many Vietnamese TV channels also offer online entertainment, including the entertainment and news channel, TVHL, and HGTV  as well as a host of VTC channels.

With so much content available, both on legal and illegal sites, it’s well worth choosing a VPN provider with a VPN server in Vietnam itself so you can use a fake Vietnamese IP address to access these streaming services.

Conclusion

With more international tourists traveling to Vietnam every year, the demand for a reliable Vietnam VPN is also on the increase. Vietnam is a generally very safe destination, even for solo travelers, but its online environment is fraught with censorship, surveillance, and cyberthreats.

While a VPN server in Vietnam, or at least a virtual server as provided by ExpressVPN, will get you a fake Vietnamese IP address, it won’t necessarily give you the best online protection. Some of the Vietnam VPNs lack any servers in the country itself but can nevertheless provide high-speed connections, an encrypted tunnel, and access to blocked content.

ExpressVPN is virtually unbeatable when it comes to secure, high-speed connections but it’s not the only one capable of providing a way around Vietnam blocked websites. CyberGhost and Surfshark are highly effective when it comes to bypassing restrictions of any nature and offer competitively priced packages that will appeal to the budget traveler.