Taxi perhaps is the choice of many travelers to Ho Chi Minh City thanks to numerous advantages including safety, reasonable fare, comfort, and being fast. However, getting around the city by taxi has some advantages including popular scams like in other provinces of Vietnam and countries in the world. In this Ho Chi Minh Taxi Guide, I would like to give you some useful tips to overcome the disadvantages of taxi and avoid being tricked by taxi drivers in the city. I hope this guide make your trip to this city enjoyable and non-problematic.
Pros and cons of taxi in Ho Chi Minh:
Advantages of getting around Ho Chi Minh by taxi:
- One of the fastest ways to get around the city;
- Safety in Ho Chi Minh City where crazy traffic, pickpocket, and snatch theft are popular;
- It is comfortable with air-conditioner and passengers can stay away from the sun and rain.
Disadvantages of getting around Ho Chi Minh by taxi:
- Non-English speaking or impolite taxi drivers;
- You may encounter taxi scams: fake taxis, non-reliable taximeter, deliberately making the trip longer for more money;
- It is not very effective like a motorbike in rush hours.
Tips for overcoming the disadvantages of taxi and avoid taxi scams in Saigon:
1. Which taxi brands are good in Ho Chi Minh?
The first tip is that you should choose trusted taxi brands providing good services with reliable taximeters, high-quality cars, strong network, and well-trained drivers. The followings are top 8 taxis in Ho Chi Minh:
Vinasun Taxi; Phone: 028.38272727;Fares: 4-seat car: 16,000 VND, 7-seat car: 16,500 VND (1 air conditioner), 18,000 VND (2 air conditioners); Taxi fares from 31st kilometer: 4-seat car: 12,000 VND, 7-seat car: 13,000 VND (1 air conditioner), 15,000 VND (2 air conditioners); Website: http://www.vinasuntaxi.com.
Mai Linh Taxi; Phone: 028.38383838; Fares: 4-seat car: 14,700 VND, 7-seat car: 15,300 VND (1 air conditioner), 16,000 VND (2 air conditioners); Taxi fares from 31st kilometer: 4-seat car: 11,400 VND, 7-seat car: 12,000 VND (1 air conditioner), 13,200 VND (2 air conditioners); Website: http://www.mailinh.vn.
Savico Taxi; Phone: 028.38212121; Fares: 4-seat car: 15.500 VND, 7-seat car: 16.500 VND; Taxi fares from 31st kilometer: 4-seat car: 11.500 VND, 7-seat car: 13.000 VND; Website: http://www.savico.com.vn.
Vina Taxi; Phone: 028.38111111; Fares: 4-seat car: 15.000 VND, 7-seat car: 16.500 VND; Taxi fares from 31st kilometer: 4-seat car: 11.500 VND, 7-seat car: 13.000 VND; Website: http://www.vinataxi.vn.
Saigon Air Taxi; Phone: 028.38118118; Fares: 4-seat car: 17.000 VND, 7-seat car: 18.500 VND; Taxi fares from 31st kilometer: 4-seat car: 13.000 VND, 7-seat car: 15.500 VND.
Saigontourist Taxi; Phone: 028.38458888; Fares: 4-seat car: 15.500 VND, 7-seat car: 16.000 VND; Website: http://www.saigontourist-stt.com.
Taxi Petrolimex; Phone: 028.35121212; Fares: 4-seat car: 15.500 VND, 7-seat car: 16.000 VND; Taxi fares from 31st kilometer: 4-seat car: 11.500 VND, 7-seat car: 12.000 VND; Website: http://www.taxipetrolimexsg.com.
Taxi Hoang Long; Phone: 028.38686868; Fares: 4-seat car: 15.200 VND, 7-seat car: 16.000 VND; Taxi fares from 31st kilometer: 4-seat car: 11.700 VND, 7-seat car: 12.200 VND.
Vinasun Taxi and Mai Linh are 2 most popular and highly recommended taxis in Saigon thanks to a large number of cabs, good cars, well-trained drivers, and reliable taximeters.
2. You speak limited Vietnamese, how to catch a taxi and tell the driver the destination?
If you depart from the hotel, it is easier. You can ask the receptionist to help you to call the taxi and deal with the fare. Around many tourist attractions, hotels, shopping malls in Ho Chi Minh, there are many taxis park in queues and wait for their customers so that you can easily catch and hop on a taxi. If you do not find a taxi parking around you, you must stand on the pavement and wave a taxi from far away. The taxi will pick you up if it is available. It is called “hailing a taxi”. Do not forget to choose good taxis to avoid scams. Have business cards or have the address written down in Vietnamese because taxi drivers speak limited English.
3. How to avoid fake taxis?
You should pay attention to the logos, and names because fake taxis have logos and names looking like the original; Original taxis are clean and washed, information including logo, name, phone number, vehicle registration, taxi serial number clearly printed on two sides of the cabs. Vinasun and Mai Linh use Toyota 7-seat and 4-seat cars, sometimes Hyundai Grand I10 cars. Taxi drivers of original taxis are in uniform. When you get in the cab, you should see a taximeter, driver’s portrait and his name, taxi identification number, license plate number, map, GPS, and credit card payment system.
Original Mai Linh Taxi
Original Vinasun Taxi
Vinasun Taxi drivers are in uniforms
Ho Chi Minh polices caught fake taxis
4. How to avoid taxi fare scams?
Check the taximeter, it should start at zero when the taxi journey starts. Some drivers set the taximeter to start at 5 km and 75,000 VND.
Note that the currency on taximeters in Ho Chi Minh are in VND. Sometimes, the driver show you the amount on the taximeter and ask you to pay in USD. For example, the taximeter shows 150,000 VND, but the driver ask you to pay 15 USD (approximately 350,000 VND).
The driver may take you a circuitous ride around the city in order to increase the distance driven in order to get more money from you legally without any taximeter trick. Use Google Map to search the distance between the point of departure and the destination, then count the approximate taxi fare for the taxi ride. Continue using Google Map to check if the taxi driver takes the right route when you are on the way. It is better to tell the driver the route to take. Certainly, you must get 3G/4G internet access on your smartphone or tablet.
5. Prepare VND cash including small cash
Prepare VND cash including small cash because the changes are not always available on taxis.
6. Book your ride on Grab which is similar to Uber
If you are familiar with using Uber in other countries, you can use Grab to book a drive at a reasonable fare, about 10,000 VND/km. Sometimes promotions are valid and the fares are very cheap. Why do we use Grab but Uber? The answer is that Uber is not available in Southeast Asia including Vietnam. Using Grab, you can track the location of the car arranged for you, have the phone number of the driver, car identification number, and the exact fare. 3G or Wifi are required to use Grab.
7. What to do if you forget valuable items on the cab in Ho Chi Minh?
It has been said that some of the taxi drivers in Vietnam do not want to give back the belongings such as bag, wallet, phone, camera forgotten by that passengers in the cabs. So that it is better to write or take a photo of the taxi identification number or the full name of the taxi driver after you enter the cab. Customer service departments of well-known taxi brands can help to get back the belongings if you call them. Because you do not speak Vietnamese, tell your hotel receptionist or a local friend, local tour guide to call the customer service.
8. Do not hop on a taxi in rush hours
Do not hop on a taxi in rush hours (about 7 – 9 AM and 5 – 7 PM) if you do not want to be stuck in the crowd of buses, taxis, cars, trucks, and motorbikes. In case you must go out during rush hours, you can choose motorbike taxis or walking on the pavements.
9. Some popular Vietnamese phrases on taxis
Xin chào: Hello
Rẽ phải: Turn right
Rẽ trái: Turn left
Đi thẳng: Go straight
Quay lại: Go back
Địa chỉ: Address
Bao nhiêu: How much
Cảm ơn: Thank you
Tạm biệt: Bye
10. How to catch a taxi at Tan Son Nhat Airport?
Dozens of taxis are available at the airport so that you should wait in taxi lanes to catch a cab. Take care of your belongings because it may be crowded in the lanes. There is a board on which you can see the taxi fares of different taxi brands.
Read more about How to catch a taxi at Tan Son Nhat Airport?