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Transportation: Getting in and Around

By Plane

Arriving by Plane

Tan Son Nhat (Tân Sơn Nhất) (IATA: SGN | ICAO: VVTS) is Vietnam’s largest international airport. The airport is conveniently located about 8 km from the heart of the city and you can fly direct to SGN from the following countries:

  • Seoul
  • Siem Reap
  • Phnom Penh
  • Vientiane
  • Pakse
  • Bangkok
  • Jakarta
  • Kuala Lumpur
  • Singapore
  • Bandar Seri Begawan
  • Manila
  • Hong Kong
  • Taipei
  • Kaohsiung
  • Taichung
  • Nanning
  • Shenzhen
  • Guangzhou
  • Beijing
  • Shanghai
  • Kunming
  • Busan
  • Tokyo
  • Osaka
  • Fukuoka
  • Nagoya
  • Doha
  • Frankfurt
  • London-Gatwick
  • Paris
  • Moscow
  • Perth
  • Darwin
  • Sydney
  • Melbourne
  • Yangon
  • Istanbul
By Bus

By bus from the airport

The recently introduced No. 152 non-air-conditioned airport bus is the cheapest and safest way for anyone heading to Pham Ngu Lao St. from the airport. For 4,000 dong per person (as at Jan 2012) plus a 4,000 dong fee for bags, it will drop you off at east end of the Pham Ngu Lao area or at the bus terminal on the southwest side of the Ben Thanh Market roundabout.

Upon exiting the international airport terminal, turn right and you will see the bus waiting there. If not, walk down to the domestic terminal – about a 3 min walk. Try to have exact change or you will be given coins in return – coins are legitimate currency but many places will not accept them.

Note: Ignore taxi drivers that may tell you there are no more airport buses. However, the bus is only available until 6PM.

If you take a bus, you will end up at one of the following bus stations:
Cho Ben Thanh Bus Station This is right in the center of HCMC, in walking distance of tourist sites and accommodations.
Mien Dong Bus Station Buses heading north leave and arrive here. You can take bus No.19 from Cho Ben Thanh Bus station to here.
Mien Tay Bus Station Take bus 139 from Tran Hung Dao Street to get here.
Cholon Bus Station
By Taxi

By taxi from the airport

At the ground floor (arrival floor) of international terminal, go upstairs to the 2nd floor (departure floor) by elevator to find VinaSun taxi stands at the right-end terminal. From the airport to District 1 (downtown), the metered taxi fare will be around 100,000 dong and plus toll fees of around 10,000 dong. This brings the total fare from the airport to a hotel in District 1 to about 5 USD as of September 2011.

CAUTION

There are some taxis mimicking VinaSun, even copying their phone number (written as 38 27 27 27) but omitting the prefix. These taxis have meters that run three times as fast and are called VinaMET. Do not use these scammers.

Watch out for taxi drivers who also dress in white shirt uniforms and brandish laminated “fixed prices” cards at 4,400,000 dong per car to the city hotels. They will be prepared to drop the price to 2,600,000 dong but it is still a rip-off. Ignore them, and stick to the metered taxis.

If you are to take metered taxi, you should change just enough amount of money (usually around US$10 is sufficient) at the airport. The exchange in the airport may charge a commission as high as 3%. Taxi drivers earn commission by taking customers to certain hotels, so be explicit about exactly which hotel you want to be driven. To trick visitors into staying at other (commission paying) hotels, drivers may come up with any kind of excuses, e.g., “no vacancy”, “the circus is in town”, “that hotel burned down recently” and similar stories.

Leaving

Departure / Leaving HCMC

When going to the airport, be specific as to which terminal you want to go to. International flights depart from the newer international terminal. Domestic flights (to Hanoi, Danang, Nha Trang, etc) are from domestic terminal.

When entering the airport, taxi drivers will add an entry fee to your total meter. This is for the airport entry fee of 5,000 dong. Don’t confuse this entry fee with the “Airport Departure Tax” as international departure taxes should have been included in the price of your flight ticket. As of May 2011, going from Ben Thanh Market to the airport at noon, the total fare is 100,000 dong using the green and white metered taxis (VinaSun and Mai Linh).