License Plates in Vietnam
Want to play the license plate game on your next Vietnam roadtrip? Whether you’ve been on the road for 12 hours in a sleeper bus from Hanoi to Hue, or you just want to shake things up while riding around Saigon or Hanoi on your motorbike, this guide will explain everything you need to know about the license plate system in Vietnam.
License plates in Vietnam are not the most vibrant. Their black on white color scheme lack any graphics or designs. However there is still plenty of information to discern from them. Typically license plates will take the format DDL-DDDDD (D = Digit, L = Letter). The first two digits of a license plate indicate the province the vehicle is registered. Think of this as different state plates in the US minus the fancy graphics and names.
Hanoi is represented by the numbers 29 – 33 and 40 while Ho Chi Minh City, clearly the front runner in vehicle registrations has number 41 and 50 through 59. Aside from Hai Phong, every other province is represented by a single numerical code. For the complete list see below.
Aside from the white and black civilian plates, you may have seen plenty of cars with red plates and white lettering, and 80 in the province designation. These are military vehicles or police. This is good to remember if you need to flag down assistance on the road. Also if you want to be sure you have in fact been stopped by police just check the plates.
In Hanoi you’re bound to see plenty of cars with the letters NG in red. These are diplomats and Hanoi has plenty of embassies and consulates they belong to. The designation NN is used for foreigners who are not diplomats. Both these classes of vehicle share the distinction that their owners do not need to pay any import taxes on the vehicle. Additionally they are very rarely stopped by police. With taxes on imported vehicles reaching as high as 65%, NN and NG vehicles can be very valuable and illegal reselling of them has been a problem in the past.
License Plate Designations
|41/ 50–59||Hồ Chí Minh City|
|72||Bà Rịa–Vũng Tàu|
|80||Central Government - President and Ministry of Public Security*|