How to get around Saigon?

The hustle and bustle Ho Chi Minh City (or Saigon) is a political, economic, cultural, and tourism hub in Vietnam. A visit to Ho Chi Minh could not be missed when you travel to Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh offers many ways to get around the city: taxi, bus, motorbike, bicycle, cyclo, cruise. In this guide, I would like to give you information about How to get around Saigon as detailed as possible, the advantages and disadvantages of each mean of transportation in the city.

1. Get around Ho Chi Minh City by taxi

Advantages

  • 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

  • Non-English speaking or impolite taxi drivers.
  • You may encounter taxi scams: 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

The first tip is that you should choose trusted taxi brands which provide good services with reliable taximeters, high-quality cars, strong network, and well-trained drivers. The followings are top 5 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.

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.

Check out Top 8 Ho Chi Minh taxis to see photos of the taxis which help you to hail good taxis in Ho Chi Minh.

Stay away from 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

How to catch a taxi easily?

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”.

Have business cards or have the address written down in Vietnamese because taxi drivers speak limited English.

Avoid being tricked with taximeters

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).

Avoid being driven on unnecessary routes

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.

Prepare VND cash including small cash because the changes are not always available on taxis.

Book your ride on Grab which is similar to Uber (Uber is not available in Southeast Asia including Vietnam). 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. 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.

Call customer service departments for helping if you forget the belongings on the cab. 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.Because you do not speak Vietnamese, tell your hotel receptionist or a local friend, local tour guide to call the customer service.

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 take motorbike taxis or walking on the pavements.

How to catch a taxi at Tan Son Nhat Airport?

2. Get around Ho Chi Minh City by bus

Advantages

  • Cheap bus fares, from 6,000 VND to 40,000 VND.
  • Safety in Ho Chi Minh City which is famous with crazy traffic.
  • Comfortable buses equipped by air conditioners, sometimes free wife, sun protecting glass, camera.
  • Passengers are protected from the strong sun or heavy rain in Ho Chi Minh.
  • Over 100 bus routes in the city.
  • On yellow airport buses, the staffs speak English.

Disadvantages

  • Pickpocket and snatch theft. Keep your belongings as carefully as possible on the buses and when you hop on/off the buses.
  • Passengers must get to bus stations by themselves and spend their time waiting for the buses. some bus stations have no shelters with roofs, sometimes it rains when passengers are waiting for the bus.
  • It is not very effective like a motorbike in rush hours.

Popular bus stops/stations in Ho Chi Minh City

Ben Thanh Central Bus Station, 136 Ham Nghi Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. right in the city center. From this station, you can catch buses to many places in the city.

23/9 Bus Station, Pham Ngu Lao Street, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. right in the city center. 23/9 Bus Station is the largest bus stations in Ho Chi Minh City.

Cholon Bus Station, Le Quang Sung Street, Ward 2, District 6, Ho Chi Minh City. in the China Town Area, 7 km from the city center. From Cholon Bus Station, you can catch buses around the city and to other provinces.

Mien Tay Bus Station or West Bus Station, 395 Kinh Duong Vuong Street, An Lac Ward, Binh Tan District, Ho Chi Minh City. From Mien Tay Bus Station, you can catch buses around the city and to provinces in Mekong Delta.

Mien Dong Bus Station or East Bus Station, 292 Dinh Bo Linh Street, Ward 26, Binh Thanh District, Ho Chi Minh City. about 8 km from the city center. From Mien Dong Bus Station, you can catch buses around the city and to provinces in Southeast Vietnam and  Central Vietnam.

You can learn more about the bus routes in Ho Chi Minh at http://buyttphcm.com.vn/en-us/Home.

Types of buses in Ho Chi Minh

Ho Chi Minh buses are in 3 colors: yellow, green, and blue. Blue and green are the colors of public buses on which the staffs do not speak English and all of the information on the buses are written in Vietnamese. The fares of green and blue buses are from 5,000 – 10,000 VND. Green buses run on Diesel. Blue buses run on CNG – an environment-friendly gas fuel.  Yellow airport buses transport passengers from Tan Son Nhat Airport to the city center and Mien Dong Bus Station. The staffs speak English on yellow buses, the fares are from 20,000 – 40,000 VND.

Popular buses for travelers in Ho Chi Minh

Yellow buses

Yellow airport Bus #109: 23/9 Park – Tan Son Nhat Airport

Yellow airport Bus #49: Tan Son Nhat Airport – the city center

Yellow airport Bus #159: Tan Son Nhat Airport – Mien Dong Bus Station

Yellow airport Bus #119: Tan Son Nhat Airport – Mien Tay Bus Station

Blue and green buses

Bus #1: Ben Thanh – Cho Lon Bus Station

Bus #2: Ben Thanh – Mien Tay Bus Station

Bus #11: Ben Thanh – Dam Sen

Bus #13: 23/9 Park – Cu Chi

Bus #18: Ben Thanh – Hiep Thanh Market. This is one of the best ways to reach Notre Dame Cathedral, Saigon Central Post Office, Independence Palace from Saigon Backpacker Area, Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens.

Bus #152: Trung Son Residential Area – Tan Son Nhat Airport

Bus #35: You can catch this bus to reach Ben Thanh Market from Notre Dame Cathedral.

Bus #75: Saigon – Can Gio

Bus #D1: 23/9 Park – Ho Chi Minh Zoo and Botanical Garden

How to catch a bus from Tan Son Nhat Airport to Ho Chi Minh City Center?

There are bus stations at Tan Son Nhat Airport, one at Column 12, International Terminal and the other at Column 18, Domestic Terminal. Depending on the destination, you can choose one from yellow airport bus #109 (to city center), #49 (to city center), #119 (to Mien Tay Bus Station from where you can take a bus for Mekong Delta), #159 (to Mien Dong Bus Station from where you can take a bus for Central Vietnam such as Phan Thiet, Nha Trang) and green bus #152 (passing the city center, ending at Trung Son residential area). Do not forget to take care of your belongings on the bus. Check out How to catch a bus from Tan Son Nhat Airport to Ho Chi Minh City Center? to learn more about operating time of the buses and other useful tips.

Tips for overcome disadvantages and avoid scams:

Read more about:

Ho Chi Minh City Bus Guide

How to catch a bus  to Tan Son Nhat Airport?

A Guide To Travel Ho Chi Minh By Bus

How to get to Cu Chi Tunnels by bus

3. Get around Ho Chi Minh City by motorbike

Ho Chi Minh City is famous with crazy traffic with a large number of motorbikes on the street. Motorbikes play an important part in the city where the public transportation system still riddles and there is a huge network narrow back alleys. Although it is not safe to ride a motorbike, it is the most efficient mean of transportation in the city.

Advantages

  • Motorbike is a cheap mean of transportation. A motorbike rental price starts from 150,000 VND/day.
  • Motorbike is the fastest and the most convenient type of transportation in Ho Chi Minh where the traffic is crowded and crazy. Especially in rush hours, some drivers drive on and over the pavements.
  • Ho Chi Minh is home to a huge network of narrow back alleys in which there are hundreds of interesting things to do. Only motorbike can take you there.
  • You could not explore local life in back alleys or see and smell the real life in the city on a bus, a taxi, or a private car but a motorbike.

Disadvantages

  • It is not safe to ride a motorbike, especially for foreigners in the city because of crazy traffic.
  • Snatch theft and pickpocket.
  • Polluted air, noise, strong sun, and rain.
  • Not all of the travelers are able to ride and have motorbike driving license motorbike.
  • Some travelers are aware of sitting on the back of motorbikes.
  • Motorbike taxi scams.
  • Motorbike driver license is required if you are the driver.

Motorbike rental in Ho Chi Minh

If you have a motorbike driving license, you can rent a motorbike, fill it, and take around the amazing city by yourself. The rental price is from 150,000 VND/day, depending on the kind of the motorbike. To rent a motorbike, you are usually asked to deposit an amount of cash, a few hundred US Dollar. Good places to rent a motorbike in Ho Chi Minh are as below:

Tigit Motorbikes, B2-00.01 Sarimi, Sala, 72 Nguyen Co Thach, An Loi Dong Ward, District 2, Ho Chi Minh City. Website: https://www.tigitmotorbikes.com

Flamingo Travel, 30A Do Quang Dau Street, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1. Website: http://www.flamingotravel.com.vn/rentals/

Chi’s Cafe, 185/30 Pham Ngu Lao Street, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.

Read more about:

Ho Chi Minh Motorbike Rental Guide

Top 5 Motorbike Rental in Ho Chi Minh

Motorbike taxi hailing

If you are keen on experience Ho Chi Minh by motorbike but do not have a motorbike driver license and could not drive a motorbike. You can choose to book a motorbike ride. There are 2 choices for you: “traditional motorbike taxi” and “technological motorbike taxi”. The first choice involves many problems including fare scams and danger. The second choice is a favorite of many locals and visitors. Similar to Uber, Grab is an easy application on mobile platform for hailing motorbike taxis and taxis, booking foods and drinks, etc. Uber is not available in Southeast Asia including Vietnam.

You can also join Saigon motorbike tours such as Night Saigon Street Food Tour by MotorbikeSaigon Sightseeing & Food Tour by MotorbikeSaigon Sightseeing Tour by Motorbike. You just sit on the back of a motorbike, the guide and driver will take you around Ho Chi Minh and show you the city at its best.

Tips on a motorbike

  • What to wear? – Shorts, trousers, T-shirts, shirts, sneakers, sandals are better than skirts, long dresses, high heels.
  • What can help to protect you from the sun, rain, polluted air? – Masks, sunglasses, gloves, coats, long sleeves, trousers, ponchos.
  • Keep your body balancing on the back of a motorbike.

A complete guide to traveling Ho Chi Minh by motorbike, including many useful tips for both driver and travelers who sit on the back is available at Travel Ho Chi Minh by Motorbike.

4. Get around Ho Chi Minh City by bicycle

Advantages

  • Flexibility: With a bicycle, you can explore Ho Chi Minh to its fullest. Similar to motorbike, bicycle is a great choice to weave narrow alleyways.
  • Low rental cost.
  • Easy to ride.
  • No need a driver license.
  • It is safer than motorbike because it is slow.
  • Environment-friendly.

Disadvantages

  • It is slower in comparison to other means of transportation.
  • You need to be in decent shape and good health to travel around the city by bicycle.
  • Snatch theft and pickpocket.
  • Polluted air, noise, strong sun, and rain.

Where to rent bicycle in Ho Chi Minh?

Mr Biker Saigon, 354 Vo Van Kiet Street, Co Giang Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Website: http://mrbikersaigon.com/en; Phone: (+84) 91 834 17 28.

Saigon Bike Rental, 185/20 Nguyen Van Cu Street, District 5, Ho Chi Minh City; Website: https://vietnambybike.com; Phone: (+84) 911 953 240.

Tips for getting around Ho Chi Minh by bicycle:

  • Although wearing bicycle helmets is not mandatory in Vietnam, you should wear helmets for safety reasons.
  • Make sure you are in decent shape and good health before any trip.
  • What to wear? – Shorts, trousers, T-shirts, shirts, sneakers, sandals are better than skirts, long dresses, high heels.
  • What can help to protect you from the sun, rain, polluted air? – Masks, sunglasses, gloves, coats, long sleeves, trousers, ponchos.

5. Get around Ho Chi Minh City by cyclo

Advantages

  • Enjoyable: You just leisurely sit on the cyclo, sightsee, enjoy the beauty of the city and the interesting local life, and relax.
  • Long dresses, skirts, and high heels are not suitable on a motorbike or a bicycle but on a cyclo.
  • It is safer than motorbike because it is slow.
  • Environment-friendly.

Disadvantages

  • It is slower in comparison to other means of transportation.
  • Snatch theft and pickpocket.
  • Polluted air, noise, strong sun, and rain.

Where to rent a cyclo or book a cyclo tour in Ho Chi Minh?

It is recommended to not talk to freelancer cyclo drivers and hop on any cyclo on the streets. Taxi scams are popular in Vietnam as well as Ho Chi Minh. For example, a cyclo driver comes to you and offer a ride around the city, and you agree with a good price 50,000 VND (“nam muoi nghin”). Everything would be perfect if the driver does not ask you to pay 50 USD (“nam muoi do”). He tells you that you have heard wrong.

To avoid cyclo scams, book a cyclo ride including driver or a cyclo tours with driver and guide. Cyclo rental, including driver costs about 60.000 VND/hour. Best travel agencies provide cyclo rental and cyclo tours in Ho Chi Minh:

Cyclo Resto, 6/28 Cach Mang thang tam Street, Ben Thanh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Website: http://www.cycloresto.com.vn; Phone: +84975513011.

6. Get around Ho Chi Minh City by cruise

Advantages

  • Enjoyable: You just leisurely take on a cruise, sightsee, enjoy the beauty of the city and the interesting local life, and relax.

Disadvantages

  • High cost.
  • You can only see the city along the river.

How to see the city from a cruise?

What is better than take on a beautifully decorated Saigon Cruise and enjoy a meal on Saigon River? They also offer traditional music performances on the cruise. Bon Sai River Cruise, Indochina Cruise, Saigon Cruise, Saigon Princess are 3 best cruises in Saigon. The prices range between 340,000 and 1,300,000 VND, depending on the cruise you choose, lunch or dinner, set menu. Most of the cruises port at Nha Rong Wharf, 1 Nguyen Tat Thanh Street, Ward 12, Ho Chi Minh City, about 4 km from the city center (District 1). You can book a Saigon Water Puppet Show & Dinner on Cruise Tour by Motorbike which is a perfect mix of experience the city on motorbike and cruise.

Read more about Top 3 Cruises on Saigon River

7. Get around Ho Chi Minh City by waterbus

Advantages

  • Enjoyable: You just leisurely take on a cruise, sightsee, enjoy the beauty of the city and the interesting local life, and relax.
  • Low cost.

Disadvantages

  • You can only see the city along the river.

Information about Saigon Waterbus

Trip duration: 90 minutes

Operating time: 7:00 – 19:25

Trip length: 10.8 km

Number of seats: 75

Bus ticket fare: 15,000 VND/person (one-way), free for over-70-year-old seniors and under-1-m-high children

Hotline: 1900636830 (in Vietnam)

Website: http:/www.saigonwaterbus.com.vn

Starting bus stop: Bach Dang Station (Ga tau thuy Bach Dang), Ton Duc Thang Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, next to Me Linh Roundabout, Bach Dang Park, and Ho Chi Minh Passenger Ferry Port.

Ending bus stop: Binh Dong Station, Linh Dong Ward, Thu Duc District.

Impressive attractions on the way: Bitexco – the highest building in Ho Chi Minh, Vinhomes Central Park – one of the most magnificent parks in the city, picturesque Thanh Da Station.

Tips for traveling Ho Chi Minh by waterbus

If you do not have enough time to do the full trip Bach Dang Station to Binh Dong Station and vice versa, you can choose to end at Thanh Da Station. You can by 2-way tickets at the price 30,000 VND or take a taxi from Binh Dong Station to the city center. It costs 150,000 – 200,000 VND and takes 30 – 45 minutes, depending on the traffic.

Ho Chi Minh Waterbus Guide

Some popular phrases in Vietnamese

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

Rate this post

Leave a Reply