Tip 1: Be aware of pickpockets, elbowing, and shoving when you exit the airport terminals. Be mindful of your wallet, phone, camera, and passport at all times. The airport a very crowded place and unfortunate events can happen.
Tip 2: The airport has free Wi-Fi access, so you don’t need to buy an internet plan unless you have to. SIM cards and mobile internet plans are available for purchase at information kiosks, at VND 100,000. Read more on SIM Cards and Mobile Data Plan in Vietnam.
SIM Cards at an information counter
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Tip 3: Transportations: when visitors arrive at the domestic or international terminals in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), there are several means of transportations out of the airport:
1. Taxi - When you exit the terminals with your luggage, there are designated taxi lanes that you can queue up to catch a cab; they are all parked on the left-hand side upon exit. Many taxi companies are operating in the city and scams occasionally occur. To lessen the chance of an unfortunate event, read our blog on “3 tips to avoid taxi scams in Ho Chi Minh City”.
Taxi parking lot is on the left end of the arrival hall when you exiting the hall gates
Quoted taxi price
Note: When you are queuing up at the taxi lane, you can wait until you see a VinaSun or Mai Linh taxi hop on. You don’t have to hop onto the next available taxi of an unknown brand given by the attendant. Learn more on taxi fares and travel time from the airport to the city center.
2. Motorbike taxi – The cheapest method but not recommended for tourists who have luggage and are in groups. This pickup requires you to walk out of the airport terminals as the motorbike drivers aren’t allowed to go inside the airport for pick-up. The price to get into the city center is around VND 50,000 ($2.5 USD). If you want to use a motorbike taxi, use them with caution.
3. GrabTaxi/3rd party pick-ups - If you have a pre-arranged transport, you can either walk out of the airport to the parking lot to catch your ride. Often, pick-up rides are not allowed to park and wait more than 5 minutes at the pick-up lanes as the roads need to be clear for loading and unloading. If this is your way out of the airport and into the city, make sure you have a local SIM card or a working 3G mobile plan to call the driver who is going to pick you up. At the arrivals, after you exit customs, some vendors sell local SIM cards that’ll work with an unlocked phone.
Rental car providers inside the arrival hall and in public area
4. Public transport (buses): to help with easing up traffic, the government now has dedicated shuttle transport. These are easy to take, and all you need is get some prior knowledge and tips before taking these. The buses are located on your right-hand side upon the terminal exit. You can find the bus information counters inside and outside of the arrival hall. To read more about taking shuttle buses from the airport to the city, read our blog on How to take shuttle buses from Tan Son Nhat International Airport to Ho Chi Minh City center.
Airport bus 109
Airport bus 109's route
Bus information counter inside the arrival hall
Tip 4: AIRPORT LUGGAGE STORAGE & DROP OFF - For those who are doing airport transits, there is an airport service counter that will keep your bags if you want to see the city baggage-free. You can easily spot the counter after your arrival exit on your right and your left. There will also be signs pointing your way.
The fee is VND 27,500/bag/hour, which is about $1.40. If you leave your bag there for more than 10 hours, they will charge VND 275,000/bag/day, which is about $14.
After getting off, follow the arrow to the transfer counters if you have connecting flights, or go to the arrival hall for check out procedures. If you have a visa ready, you can go straight to the immigration line, show your passport or e-visa paper to get an immigration entry stamp.
If you haven’t got a visa from the embassy in your country or an e-visa, you will need to stop by the Landing Visa counter to submit a visa application form, pay for the fee, and get the visa stamped on your passport, before going to the immigration. Even on your transit, you will still need to have a visa if you want to leave the airport. For more information, read our guide on Vietnam visa on arrival.
Landing Visa counter
After you have gone through the immigration process, the baggage claim belts are one floor down the immigration hall (greeter hall). Before getting to the custom, you can stop to look around some of the shops in this area as well.
Baggage claim conveyors
After getting your baggage and do the shopping, look to the opposite, you can see the customs office with two gates: nothing to declare and goods to declare.
If you cannot find your baggage in the belts, you can go to the lost and found areas on the left and right to make a report
When you are at the arrival hall, you can find the information counters, ATM, currency exchange, kiosks of SIM card providers (Mobifone and Viettel), lockers, post offices on the two sides of the hall ends - where you can send some packages to your friends and family, transportation service provider counters like bus ticket sellers and car rental to get to downtown Ho Chi Minh City. In case of emergency, you can also find the medical service room on the right-side upon exit.
Information kiosks and ATM
Exchange your money to Vietnamese currency
Outside of the arrival hall, in the public area, you can find many cafes, car rental booths, ATM, the parking lot, the taxi lot and bus stop. If you don’t know your way around, you can go to these maps and get to where you need. The way to the domestic terminal is the right-side upon exit.
Cafes in the public area
Tan Son Nhat Airport map
If you only arrive at Ho Chi Minh City for only a couple of hours, you can stay and have a short break at the airport lounges or buying foods and souvenirs in the airport shops.
If you have more time, say 5+ hours, and want to explore the city, you can leave your luggage at the airports in the lockers and have a quick tour around Ho Chi Minh City’s downtown. Famous attractions like Saigon Central Post Office and Notre Dame Cathedral and other things like Vietnamese foods and Vietnamese coffee are also available in many restaurants in District 1 and District 3. Check out the details here in our guide for things to do on a layover in Ho Chi Minh City.
If you have questions, feel free to leave a message in the comment box below. And don't miss out on our local insights on the Ho Chi Minh Travel Guide and our featured adventures and current promotions.
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© Written by Linh Nguyen for itourvn.com
Hi, I am expecting to arrive at the airport at about 1am. Is it okay if travel to the City during that time or should I spend my time inside the airport and travel on daylight instead?
You can stay at the airport until 4 or 5 AM when it's less dark out, or take the airport bus if your hotel is near one of the stops (read more on the bus here: https://www.itourvn.com/blog/entry/how-to-take-shuttle-buses-from-tan-son-nhat-international-airport-to-saigon-ho-chi-minh-city-center).
If you decide to use ride-hailing apps or taxi, make sure to write down your hotel's address so you can show the driver, and note the driver's information (name, car number...) before getting on.
Hi, may i know if i take bus 49 will the bus drop me to the hotel located at 252 De Tham Street, Pham Ngu Lao Street. District 1 . Hotel name is Dragon Palace 3.
Bus 49 will drop you off at Pham Ngu Lao Street, and you will need to take a short walk to get to the hotel.
I will be traveling into Ho Chi Minh City via Vietnam Airlines from Singapore and have a layover of about 4 hours before I fly back to the US via Korean Air. Do you know if I can check-in for my Korean Air flight via the transfer counter, thereby bypassing the visa requirement?
You cannot bypass visa requirements as they are based on nationalities, not which counters you check in from.
I understand the visa is based on nationality but I was asking about whether or not I would need one because I would simply be transferring at the airport. Would I be able to check-in for my next flight at the transfer counter to get my boarding pass without having to go through immigration?
HELLO I will transfer at HCM airport from Singapore to Hong Kong do I need a Visa jut to transfer at the airport?
Vietnam does not require a transit visa, as long as you stay inside the airport. However, if it is an overnight transit, you might need a single entry visa just in case you want to leave the airport.
Thank you Hoang Pham for your fast replay!! Now I,m wondering I may need a Visa as I will arrive to HCM with Vietnam airlines and leaving to HKG with Cathay Pacific and when check-in at Singapore airport they will not allow me to check in my luggage to my final destination as there are 2 different airlines and I may need to collect my luggage and checked in again at Cathay counter.... so I will need to go out and in again,
I will arrive in Tan Son Nhat International Airport around 1:00AM is there a booth that I can buy a sim card?
Thank you for your blogs. May I ask where is the best money changer when we arrive at 1AM?
Thank you very much!
Shops will be closed at that time. Best to exchange a small amount at the airport that you'll be departing from or at the hotel's reception. Hope this helps.
I will arrive from BKK at Hcmc airport on 13:00..
I have printed my E-visa.
Also have to collect luggage..
And then I would like to get on flight at 14:55 to Hanoi.
I'm having my doubt if i will make it to this flight...
Maybe.. just book it at the jetstar desk... if we make it.
Do you have any thoughts on this?
Linh Nguyen replied:
Hi Chris, Tan Son Nhat's airport is small, and things should go smoothly, but I'm not sure on the visa queue at immigration because it sometimes can be quite long. Provided that everything goes swiftly, you will need to do 5 minutes walk to the domestic terminal (after the exit of the international terminal, make a right) to catch your flight to Hanoi. The good news is, not to get your hopes up, Jetstar often has delays so hope it'll work out in your favor.
Hi Linh, do you know what’s the operation time for booths selling mobile SIM card in the airport?
Because we will be arriving at 9 pm. Thanks
Linh Nguyen replied:
Hi Yin Han, the staffs from the SIM card booths mainly work business hours. Also, make sure you bring an unlocked phone in order for the local SIM to work. The plan varies, but it should cost around VND 50,000 for the SIM only and then you can buy credits to top up.
Hi, Linh! I want to know how i can get to district 1 from the airport if I arrive late like 1:30 am. Are there taxi counters still open at the airport? Are there money changers at the airport at that time? Can i get SIM card with internet data at that time at the airport? Is there free wifi at the airport at that time?
Thank you .
Hi Ruby, if you arrive at that hour, you should take a VinaSun or a MaiLinh taxi. When you come out of the terminal, make a left to the taxi waiting area to pick and choose from only 1 of those 2 brands. The money changer shops and SIM card shops vary so you may or may not be able to get it, but there is free WiFi inside the airport.
Here are our other blogs you might find useful: Tips to avoid taxi scams in Ho Chi Minh City
Travel time and taxi fares from major airports in Vietnam to the city center