Are you on a cruise which is going to dock at Phu My Port? Which are tourist attractions near Phu My? What to do after being docked? This Ho Chi Minh City Shore Excursions from Phu My Port Guide gives you everything about transportation, tourist destinations, attractions, eating, drinking, shopping, and how to choose daily tours from Phu My Port.
An overview of Phu My Port
Phu My Port started operations in September 1996 and is the first deepsea container terminal in South Vietnam. The port has an area of 26.5 ha. It is recognized for its high standards in safety, with fast, effective and reliable port services available to our customers 24 hours. Phu My Port has no passenger facilities, including ATM. That is why this Phu My Port Travel Guide is important to read before you go.
Phu My Port is located on Cai Mep-Thi Vai linking-port Road, Phu My District-level Town, Tan Thanh District, Ba Ria Vung Tau Province. Phu My Port is 70 km from Ho Chi Minh City (or Saigon). Thanks to the Ho Chi Minh – Long Thanh Dau Giay Expressway and Bien Hoa – Vung Tau Expressway, the time driving from Ho Chi Minh to Phu My Port and vice versa are reduced. It takes about 1.5 hours to reach Ho Chi Minh City by taxi or private car.
Where you are docked?
Cruise ship dock at unused container terminal piers at the port. It is a long walk, about 10 minutes, to the main road through a wasteland waiting to be developed. You will reach the port gate where you find a taxi or your pre-arranged car. You must pay an extra 20 USD/person for permission to pick up inside the harbor. You may have 1 or 2 days to explore the destinations near Phu My Port.
Some buses/vans are allowed to drive through the exit gate.
Drivers and guides wait for their guests who should walk for about 10 minutes to reach the exit gate from the cruise ship.
Citizens of most countries will be issued a loose-leaf visa on arrival at the port and the fee will be charged to their shipboard account. The fees range between 6 and 80 USD, depending on the ship’s processing fee. It is better to confirm with your cruise line the latest visa policy. The procedures are simple: fill an application form and submit the form, your passport, cruise card, and landing card, applicable fee (if need) to receive the confirmation of departure issued by the border service officers. Certain nationalities do not need a visa for Vietnam, check the information before you go.
How to reach Ho Chi Minh City from Phu My Port?
By public bus – not a good choice
At this time, taking public buses is not an option because there is no bus stations or bus routes which goes straight from the port to nearby popular tourist destinations. Hopping on and off a few buses to reach Chi Minh is a real hassle for both locals and foreigners.
By ferry – never
Do not take the hydrofoil/fast ferry to Saigon since it is old and unreliable.
The taxi fare is around 17,000 VND (~0.75 USD). The cost of the taxi ride from Phu My Port to Ho Chi Minh City is approximately 1,200,000 VND (~52 USD). Certainly, you also take a taxi to return to the cruise after visiting the city. The total taxi fare is 2,400,000 VND (~104 USD).
By shuttle bus
Your cruise may arrange shuttle buses to popular destinations nearby the port. They may charge you or offer free shuttle buses. The transfer from the port to Ho Chi Minh City by shuttle bus costs around 59 USD one-way. The buses usually drop you off at a place in the center of the city. And you must come back to the pickup location on time. This is a minus of this choice.
By pre-arranged private car
Private car is one of the best ways to reach Ho Chi Minh. The highlights of this choice include privacy, comfort, and flexible time. The prices vary, it depends on tour agencies or car rental services. If you can find a trusted agency which offers a good price, it will be great. Check out the cheapest private transfer from Phu My Port to Ho Chi Minh.
Booking a pre-arranged tour including pick up from the port
Your cruise operator offers tours around Ho Chi Minh City, to Cu Chi Tunnels or Mekong Delta. And it is the simplest choice. However, the price is usually high and there are many better choices on the Internet. There are many interesting itineraries or tour programs which meet your expectation. Booking a private car, you can explore the cities yourself. If you would like to do a city tour arranged by a trusted company, you can book both the tour and the pickup. I will list some of the popular Ho Chi Minh day trips later.
An overview of Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City has a total area of 2,061 km2 and consists of 19 urban and suburban districts. District 1 and 3 which are home to most of the must-see attractions is the popular destination of many tourists. District 5, 6, 10, and 11 are home to many Chinese people in the city. The other districts are also interesting to visit if you have time.
Best time to travel Ho Chi Minh City
What is the best time to travel to Ho Chi Minh? It is recommended to visit the city in the dry season from December to April so that the rains do not affect your trip. Because you do not have so much time, I have tried to give you the most impressive things you should not miss in the city. Visiting tourists attractions, eating drinking, and shopping are popular activities in Saigon.
Ho Chi Minh City is generally safe but pickpocket and snatch theft are popular. Below are some useful tips:
- Keep your valuables on the ship, your wallets close to hand.
- A backpacker or belt bag is better, keep your passport in the bag.
- Use a phone ring and a camera trap to secure your smartphone and camera.
- Do not wear jewelry, even fake jewelry.
Getting around Ho Chi Minh
You can reach Ho Chi Minh yourself by taxi or private car, then explore the cities by yourself by bus or taxi. Be careful with your belongings because snatch theft and pickpocket are popular in the city. Taxi is more comfortable and safer than bus. Certainly, the taxi fare (about 17,000 VND/km) is higher than bus fares (5,000 – 20,000 VND). Read our Ultimate Guide To Travel Ho Chi Minh By Bus and Ho Chi Minh Taxi Guide for more information and useful tips to avoid scams.
Many restaurants and coffee shops offer free Wifi in the 2 cities. So that ask the waiters if you do not find the Wifi password. In Ho Chi Minh City, it is totally easy to find a restaurant, coffee shops, shopping malls, Nguyen Hue walking street to sit and access free Wifi. This guide to Wifi in Ho Chi Minh City give you useful information about free Wifi.
Sim card with 3G/4G
If you are going to visit other places in Vietnam on your cruise ship, you can obtain a Tourist Sim card. So that you can surf the Internet, make domestic and international calls, send SMS. The price is not too expensive, a few hundred Vietnamese Dong. There are 4 telecommunication providers in Vietnam: Viettel, Mobiphone, Vinaphone, Vietnamobile. The first three providers are highly recommended thanks to their good services.
Below are some places where you can buy a Sim card and packages:
- Viettel Store, 166C-D-E Tran Hung Dao Street, Nguyen Cu Trinh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 8:00 – 20:00 (some stores work until 19:00, 22:00).
- Viettel Store, 174 Tran Quang Khai, Tan Dinh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 8:00 – 20:00 (some stores work until 19:00, 22:00).
- Mobifone Store, 80 Nguyen Du Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. Opening hours: Weekdays: 7:30 – 18:00 (some stores works until 22:00); Weekends: 8:30 – 16:00 (some stores works until 17:00).
- Vinaphone Store, 80 Nguyen Du Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 8:00 – 11:30; 13:30 – 17:00.
- Vinaphone Store, 5 Nguyen Van Binh Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 8:00 – 11:30; 13:30 – 17:00.
Read more about A Guide to Sim Card, 3G/4G in Ho Chi Minh in which you learn more about Tourist Sim card, costs of Sim card and packages, rates for calls and SMS, and where to obtain Sim card in Ho Chi Minh City as well as in Vietnam.
You should bring some USD cash, VND cash (if available), credit cards when you leave the port. It is recommended to book pre-arranged private cars, tours, hotels before the arrival and pay in advance. Viator, Agoda, Booking.com, Expedia, and many tour agencies which accept online payment are good choices. Some services, restaurants, hotels, coffee shops, tour agencies accept USD cash or credit cards. Some do not so you have to withdraw the money from an ATM or exchange your USD cash. Note that ATMs can swallow your credit cards if you input wrong PIN codes for several changes. To find ATMs around you, you should type “ATM near me” on Google Maps App or website in your smartphone. Certainly, your phone must connect to the Internet via Wifi or 3G/4G.
Ho Chi Minh City is an economic hub so that ATM, banks, gold shops, money chargers are everywhere. It is easier to withdraw cash from ATM and exchange currency in Ho Chi Minh City. Around tourist attractions including Ben Thanh Market, War Remnants Museum, Nguyen Hue Walking Street, Bui Vien Backpacker Area, you can find an ATM to withdraw VND cash and a place to exchange currency easily. Check out Guide to Vietnamese Currency in Ho Chi Minh City for addresses of bank branches, gold shops, and money chargers as well as some useful tips of using Vietnamese Dong. Make sure to take the right Vietnamese notes before handing them over.
Some places where you can exchange currency:
- Vietcombank, 5 Me Linh Square, Ben Nghe, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Phone: hone: +84 8 3829 7245; Opening hours: Monday to Friday 07:30 – 16:30; Exchange rates: https://www.vietcombank.com.vn/ExchangeRates/default.aspx?&lang=en.
- Vietcombank, 69 Bui Thi Xuan, Pham Ngu Lao, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Phone: +84 8 3835 9323; Opening hours: Monday to Friday 07:30 – 16:30; Exchange rates: https://www.vietcombank.com.vn/ExchangeRates/default.aspx?&lang=en.
- Ha Tam Jewelry, 2 Nguyen An Ninh, Ben Thanh, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Phone: +84 28 3823 7243; Opening hours: 7:00 – 22:00.
- Eximbank Money Exchange 59, 135 Dong Khoi, Ben Nghe, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Phone: +84 28 3827 5363; Opening hours: 07:00 – 22:00.
Packing List for Ho Chi Minh City
- Documents (must items): Passport, loose-leaf visa;
- Wallet, credit cards, USD cash, VND cash (if available), booking voucher (if you book tours or services online);
- Cell phone, camera (do not forget to charge them before you go);
- Sunscreen, bug spray (for Cu Chi Tunnels and Mekong Delta).
- Snacks, foods, bottles of water are not needed to pack because they may be included on the tours or can be purchased easily and cheaply on the streets.
You can wear anything on Ho Chi Minh City Shore Excursions. High heels and a dress or a skirt make you beautiful and you will have great photos. Sandals, sneakers, shorts, T-shirts, tank tops, trousers make you comfortable. You should bring a hat or cap, and a thin coat in the dry season to protect yourself from the strong sun, from 11:00 to 15:00. You should bring a thin and light raincoat or a short umbrella in the wet season. If you are going to explore Mekong Delta where you have to hop on and off boats and sampans or Cu Chi where you crawl the underground tunnels in the forest, you should not wear high heels, dresses, and skirts.
Attractions in Ho Chi Minh City
- French beautiful architectural works: Notre Dame Cathedral, The Central Post Office, People’s Committee Building, Saigon Opera House;
- War Remnants Museum, Independence Palace;
- Ngoc Hoang Pagoda;
- Ben Thanh Market;
- Saigon China Town, Binh Tay Market, Thien Hau Temple.
- Cu Chi Tunnels.
Besides the above attractions, there is a load of things to do in the city. Learn more about Ho Chi Minh Attractions – Location, Opening hours, Admission Fee.
Eating in Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City is a paradise of foods including authentic Vietnamese and international foods. However, I would like to recommend you to try specialty foods of Saigon. 5 Best Saigon specialty foods and best places to eat them are as below:
- Broken Rice at Com Tam Cali, 32 Nguyen Trai Street, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 7:00 – 21:00; Prices: 60,000 – 93,000 VND; Website: https://www.comtamcali.com;
- Noodles with Grilled Pork at Bun Thit Nuong Chi Tuyen, 175 Co Giang Street, Co Giang Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 7:00 – 20:00; Prices: 30,000 – 66,000 VND;
- Snail Dishes at Oc Dao Nguyen Trai, 212B/D28 Nguyen Trai Street, Nguyen Cu Trinh Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 10:00 – 22:00; Prices: 50,000 – 100,000 VND;
- Vietnamese Pancakes at Co Ba Vung Tau, 40B Tran Cao Van Street, Ward 6, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 7:00 – 22:00; Prices: 60,000 – 100,000 VND;
- Pan Fried Scrambled Egg Rice Cake at Bot Chien Dat Thanh, 277 Vo Van Tan Street, Ward 5, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 14:00 – 21:00; Prices: 20,000 – 30,000 VND.
Check out 50 Best Foods In Ho Chi Minh City (And Where To Eat Them) to find more amazing foods you can eat in the city.
Some of the most popular places including famous restaurants, the iconic market, and backpacker area where you can eat amazing Vietnamese foods in Ho Chi Minh City are listed as following:
- Co Tam Kitchen Restaurant, 71 Ho Tung Mau Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 9:00 – 22:00; Prices: 35,000 – 220,000 VND;
- Com Nieu Restaurant, 59 Ho Xuan Huong Street, Ward 6, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 10:00 – 22:00; Prices: 200,000 – 550,000 VND;
- Cuc Gach Quan Restaurant, 10 Dang Tat Street, Tan Dinh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 9:00 – 21:00; Prices: 200,000 – 330,000 VND;
- Ngon Restaurant (Quan An Ngon), 160 Pasteur Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 10:00 – 23:15; Prices: 200,000 – 550,000 VND.
- Ben Thanh Market, Le Loi Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City;
- Saigon Backpacker Area (Bui Vien Street and the neighboring area), Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.
Drinking in Ho Chi Minh City
The most famous drinks in Ho Chi Minh include Sugarcane Juice, Smoothie, Coconut Water, Chinese Herbal Tea, Iced Tea, Corn Milk, Iced Milk Coffee. You can drink Sugarcane Juice, Chinese Herbal Tea, Iced Tea, Corn Milk, Iced Milk Coffee at drink stalls on the streets. Some street food vendors sell coconut water on moving carts or 3-wheel vehicles. Be careful if there is no fixed price at the drink stalls or moving carts.
Coffee is a big part of Saigon because a large number of locals love coffee. Coffee shops are everywhere, in hidden corners, in narrow alleys, on the pavements, in coffee shops. Vietnam and Saigon have special coffees including Vot Coffee, Egg Coffee, and Iced Milk Coffee. You can stop at some famous coffee chains such as Trung Nguyen Legend, Phuc Long, Vinastar, Highland, Starbuck to enjoy the best Vietnamese coffee and other drinks. The locations and opening hours of the coffee shops are as below:
- Trung Nguyen Legend Cafe, 219 Ly Tu Trong Street, Ben Nghe Ward, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 6:30 – 22:00; Prices: 40,000 – 150,000 VND;
- Phuc Long Coffee & Tea, 63 Mac Thi Buoi Street, Ben Nghe Ward, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 7:00 – 22:00; Prices: 30,000 – 100,000 VND;
- Starbuck, 99 Nguyen Hue Street, Ben Nghe Ward, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 6:30 – 23:00; Prices: 100,000 – 200,000 VND;
- Cong Caphe, 127 – 129 Bui Vien Street, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 00:00 – 23:59; Prices: 30,000 – 100,000 VND;
If you have enough time, explore hidden long-standing coffee shops as below:
- Cheo Leo Coffee, 109/36 Nguyen Thien Thuat Street, Ward 2, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 5:15 – 18:45; Prices: 13,000 – 21,000 VND.
Shopping in Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City has a large number of shopping centers, markets, and shopping areas where you can buy everything, from souvenirs to clothing. Below is a list of best places for shopping in Saigon:
- Ben Thanh Market Le Loi Street, Ben Thanh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 5:00 – 23:00; What to buy? – Everything from souvenirs to dried foods, from clothing to fabric.
- Tan Dinh Market, 1 Nguyen Huu Cau Street, Tan Dinh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 6:00 – 20:00; What to buy? – Everything from souvenirs to dried foods, from clothing to fabric.
- Saigon Square 1, 77 – 89 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 9:00 – 21:00; What to buy? – Clothing.
- Binh Tay Market, 57A Thap Muoi Street, Ward 2, District 6, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 9:00 – 21:00; What to buy? – Everything from souvenirs to dried foods, from clothing to fabric.
- Vincom Center, 72 Le Thanh Ton Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 9:30 – 22:00; What to buy? – Everything from souvenirs to dried foods, from domestic to international fashion brands, electronics.
- Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 9:30 – 22:00; What to buy? – Everything from souvenirs to dried foods, from domestic to international fashion brands, electronics.
Ho Chi Minh Shore Excursions from Phu My Port
You can choose to book tours operated by a trusted company. The tours may include or exclude pick up from Phu My Port. A tour starting right at Phu My Port can help to save your time. If you have only one day and you must return to the port before 5:00 PM, you have to choose half day tours. Ask the tour agencies about the duration of the tour to make sure you return to the cruise ship on time. In fact, most of the cruise operator offers shore excursions which are usually expensive and have common programs. This choice is good for travelers who visit Ho Chi Minh for the first time. However, there are abundant choices with reasonable prices and interesting programs.
Ho Chi Minh City Day Trips from Phu My Port:
Ho Chi Minh City Half Day: the tour shows you must-see tourist attractions in District 1 such as Reunification Palace, War Remnants Museum, Notre Dame Cathedral, Central Post Office, Saigon Opera House, City Hall, Ben Thanh Market, sometimes Jade Emperor Pagoda.
Cu Chi Tunnels Half Day: the tour takes you to the legendary underground tunnels which has a total length of about 200km.
4- hour Ho Chi Minh Sightseeing Tour by Motorbike: this is a unique tour which takes you around the city to see both tourist attractions and hidden places in narrow alleys on a motorbike.