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GETTING AROUND SAI GON

By Taxi

Taxis from the airport to the city center would take as little as 15 minutes in lighter traffic (which only happens between 11:00 am and 4:00 pm). This should cost no more than 80,000VND. The more typical experience is to creep along in near-standstill traffic for 30 minutes or more, at a cost of about 120,000VND to 150,000VND from district 1, inclusive of airport tax. A company called Sasco has the airport taxi concession, and their cars are the first you will see by the curb. They are OK, just a bit more expensive than rivals such as Vinasun, Vinataxi, and Mai Linh, which can be found waiting in abundance 50 meters away, further out into the parking lot. Whichever taxi you choose, make sure the driver uses the meter. Major taxi companies are fairly honest, but if you want to avoid all stress, you could simply buy a “Taxi coupon” at one of the counter after the custom declaration & x-ray at international airport terminal. Budget Car Rental has recently become the first international car rental company in Vietnam. They offer English speaking drivers and new model vehicles at affordable prices. You can find them just outside customs decleration next to the taxi stands. The black VIP taxi (Vinasun, Mai Linh) will give you premium service with better Lexus car at higher rate. These maybe unnecessary expenses for a short trip to the hotel.

Taxi coupons of Airport taxi & Saigon taxi (from airport to downtown or vise versa) can be purchased at this Centre.

By Car

Hiring a car in Saigon doesn’t mean you will drive that car. Traffic rules in Vietnam don’t allow short term visitors to drive, even if you have an International Driving License. Foreign residents can apply, with truly complicated procedures, for a permission to drive, which will expire together with their visa. With these traffic rules, cars for hire in Vietnam is chauffeured-cars. Costs vary to distance and car brand name. You can hire here a 2001 model Mercedes-Benz or a Toyota from the 80s or even a Volkswagen from the 50s.

Service in Saigon have more than 100 cars for hire. All of our cars are new models of BMW, TOYOTA Camry, etc. Rental prices vary to distance and length of rental. Visit this website for further information about Ho Chi Minh Car Rental.

By Bus

City buses are operated with subsidies from the government as a promotion campaign to encourage people using the bus system instead of jumping on their bike whenever going out. Ticket price is 1000VND/person for the whole trip. The buses are painted in red and yellow, with the bus number on its wind shield. Check the bus route at bus stops or you can also read terminus name painted on the bus. Visit this website for further information about Ho Chi Minh By Bus

By Cyclos

This three wheels pedaled vehicle is phasing out of city life, as more and more streets are banning the cyclos from entering. Cyclos prices are bargain-based and about one third of taxi fares. You can chatter one cyclo for some hours, but make sure that the driver knows how much you are going to pay him at the end of your trip. Do not negotiate by unit prices, as it will cause many disputes over payment.

Bicycles and Motorbikes for rent

Bicycles and motorbikes for rent are available along the pavements near hotels and around the back-packers area. Many places will ask you to leave your passport as deposit, other places just ask your name and the place your are staying. Prices are negotiable, a motorbike is about 6-12$ per day, while bicycles cost around 4 – 6$ per day.

By Air

Tan Son Nhat (Tân Sơn Nhất) (IATA: SGN | ICAO: VVTS) is Vietnam’s largest international airport. There are two terminals: the new international terminal, which took over all international flights from September 2nd 2007, and the old terminal, which will be reserved for domestic traffic. Immigration is notoriously strict and can be time consuming, but if your papers are in order you should be fine. Note that the all-white departure cards are only for those without the ‘yellow paper’ received upon arrival. The recently introduced No. 152 air-con airport bus is the cheapest way into the city, and will drop you off on the west side of the Pham Ngu Lao area, or at the bus terminal on the south side of the Ben Thanh Market roundabout. The price was recently increased to 3000 dong. Upon exiting the airport, turn right and walk towards the domestic airport, about 5 minutes walk, in front of the airport across a small road you will see the bus waiting there. Taxi drivers may tell you there are no more airport buses- ignore them.

By Train

The train from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi stops at various stations and provides an opportunity to enjoy the changing scenery. The train can be even slower than bus travel, but it is more relaxed and you’re likely to have decent legroom. Air-conditioned express trains take 32 hours to complete the itinerary. Except during the winter in northern Vietnam, non-air-conditioned trains can be very hot despite electric fans, even at night. Petty theft can be a problem, especially in budget class. In some areas, children throwing things at carriages, everything from rocks to cow dung, is another problem, and you are advised to keep the metal shield on the window in place.

Tickets are available at some ticket offices and at the Station. Except for Tet holiday (around Mid January to Mid February) and Universities entry exams seasons (around June to July), you usually can get a ticket before departure at the station. Visit this website for further information about Trains in Ho Chi Minh

By Bus and Car

From Ho Chi Minh City, ramshackle buses run to every where of the country at rock-bottom fares. There are two main long distance bus stations; one is “Ben xe Mien Dong” (Eastern Bus Station) for bus running to the Eastern & Northern provinces; the other is “Ben xe Mien Tay” (Western Bus Station) for bus running to Mekong Delta and down to Ha tien, Rach gia, Kien Giang.

Do not expect people at these bus stations to speak any English. However, names of destinations are written at every ticket counters and on wind shields of every buses.

If you are lucky enough, you may get on a non-stop bus. Otherwise, the bus will stop many times to pick-up and drop-off passengers.

Some travel agent around the Pham Ngu Lao Area offer foreign tourists non-stop air-conditioned bus to main tourist destinations such as Phan Thiet, Nha Trang, Hue, Da nang, Hanoi, or My Tho, Can Tho, and even to Cambodia. Prices are higher than local buses, but convenient enough.

Rented cars, which usually come with drivers, are available at reasonable prices. (Click here to view the prices). While, in theory, international driving licenses are valid in Vietnam, the traffic in large cities and the haphazard observance of rules of the road can overwhelm the first-time visitor. In accidents, the larger vehicle, or the party with more resources, is generally expected to accept liability. Therefore, it is prudent to leave the driving to a native who is more able to negotiate his way out of a dispute. The Vietnamese drive on the right-hand side of the road.

By Boat

Many resort areas are served by ship routes at reasonable prices. Hydrofoil express boat are available from Ho Chi Minh City to Vung Tau and to My Tho, Can Tho.

Some companies offer canoes for rent, but the prices are expensive.

If you are looking for a great selection of places to stay with discount prices, visit Ho Chi Minh Hotel for more information.”

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