Getting around Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam: Travel/Tourist Information Guide
Getting around Ho Chi Minh City might be a little hard at first until one gets to know the traffic and the public transport. After getting some basic information, it gets a lot easier, especially since there are many available modes of public transportation. We shall list them by categories, to make it even easier.
There are over 150 bus routes in Ho Chi Minh City that travel to all local districts, as well as some tourist destinations.
Bus (buýt) services usually run between 05:00-18:00, although some routes may operate until 20:00. Buses are usually serviced by two members of staff – the driver and a ticket inspector. Tickets may be bought from the bus station or from the ticket inspector. Staff working on Vietnamese buses are unlikely to speak English so many foreigners take a slip of paper with their destination written on to show when purchasing a ticket for a bus journey. Local buses are cheap, although they are often very crowded and do not have air-conditioning.
Tickets can be purchased on boarding; exact change is not required. Alternatively, pre-paid tickets are available in booklets of 30; the price per booklet depends on the types of ticket purchased. There are two types of booklets available: for journeys under 18 Km, and for journeys over 18 Km.
Concessions are available for students on presentation of student ID, except on bus numbers 13, 94, and 96. Children under 130cm travel for free.
Mien Tay Bus Station is the main departure point for travel to the Mekong Delta area, including Tien Giang, Ben Tre, Can Tho City, and Ca Mau.
Mien Dong Bus Terminal is the main departure point for travelling to Vung Tau, Phan Thiet-Mui Ne, Dalat, Nha Trang, Daklat and other destinations in the central highlands and the north. Ho Chi Minh City Public buses also connect here.
Ho Chi Minh City has a number of coach houses, which house coach buses to and from other areas in Vietnam. The largest coach station – in terms of passengers handled – is the Mien Dong Coach Station in the Bình Thanh District.
There is an intercity rail network that is in construction and it is planned to be finished in 2018. When it comes to trains to other cities, there is a main train station just outside the city that will take you to some other major towns in Vietnam. The trains are safe, comfortable and have low prices.
By motorbike taxis
Motorbike taxis, or in Ho Chi Minh City known as Xe Om, are the best way to get around the city. They can be found all over the city. It is a good idea to have a destination address written on a piece of paper for easier communication. The motorbike taxi drivers are friendly and communicative. Wearing a helmet while on a "xe-om" is, of course, mandatory, and there are fines prescribed for breaking this rule.
Another great way to get around Ho Chi Minh are cyclos. If you have some free time and want to spend it in leisure then you should definitely get a ride on a cyclo. It is a great way to see the city since you are sitting in the front and watching everything. Make sure that you agree on a price before setting off.
Saigon, or Ho Chi Minh City has both „official“ and „unofficial“ taxi providers. the difference is, of course, that the official ones are registered companies, while the latter ones are „wild“ taxis, most commonly local individuals looking for a way to ripp-off unsuspecting tourists. So, we recommend sticking with the companies, most reliable of which are:
Taxi Mai Linh often has the cover of two main colors: white and green.
Vinasun Taxi : a big taxi corporation in Ho Chi Minh City with more than 3,500 cabs and high-quality services. The company’s cabs can be recognized by the typical cover with the main white color, in addition with one red strip and green strip below.
Hanoi Taxi: One of the pioneers in taxi services from 1993. The cab of Hanoi taxi is painted with purely white color.
Although taxis usually have trip meters, it is not uncommon to bargain for a fare, especially for longer trips. For short trips, "xe om" motorcycle taxis are available where the passenger sits at the rear of a motorbike.
Interestingly, the yellow traffic light means “Drive faster” to pass the intersection rather than “slow down”
Motorbikes are perhaps the best option of getting around if you want to do it by yourself. There are a lot of places where for renting a motorbike in Ho Chi Minh. Drivers in Ho Chi Min City rarely obey the traffic rules, so it is a good idea to
You can also get around Ho Chi Minh by bike and you will see that it is a great option. However, keep in mind that there is a lot of traffic in the city so make sure that you keep your eyes open at all times and be safe.
As a visitor, there is not a chance that to can rent a car to drive by oneself in Ho Chi Minh. This is because a Vietnamese driving license is required. However, there are agencies that offer to rent a car with a driver at reasonable prices. There are many reasons why you shouldn't rent a car and parking is the most important ones. There aren't much parking places available since most of them are for motorbikes instead of cars.