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A few years back, travelers would not even consider taking public transport due to the confusion on the routes and the hop-on-hop-off methods that most of the locals do there – at least; they seem to know what they’re doing. Everything seemed so chaotic and that taking a taxi straight out of the airport seemed easier. Now, taking airport shuttles has never been easier. The city now has NEW dedicated airport shuttles going straight to District 1 (city center) and the famous Ben Thanh Market.
There are a few color-coded public shuttle buses, such as blue, green, and yellow that go around the city. To make things simple, you just need to identify the yellow bus. Here are the 3 different buses that run between the airport and city center:
Yellow Bus 109 - This is a brand new dedicated air-conditioned shuttle that has been operating since March 2016 and travels between the city center and the airport. To monitor the city’s crimes and safety, buses have security cameras on them. To make this tourist friendly, the written information on the bus is in both Vietnamese and English. Staffs on the bus speak limited English.
Costs: For a 1-way trip, it costs VND 20,000 or (USD $1) and VND 12,000 if you don’t go all the way to the city center. There’s no extra charge for luggage.
Timing: There is a bus every 20-30 minutes, and it operates daily between 5:30 AM – 1 AM. It takes approximately 45 minutes from the airport to the 23/9 Park (pronounced 23rd of September Park) on Pham Ngu Lao street, right off of the backpacker’s area.
Where it is parked: you can find the bus station right in front of both the domestic and international arrivals' entrances. When you walk out of the terminal arrival, turn right and walk across the median where the car picks up lanes are, and you will see the Vietnamese and English signs pointing your way.
The bus routes go via Tan Son Nhat Airport’s international terminal – domestic terminal – Truong Son – Tran Quoc Hoan – Hoang Van Thu – Nguyen Van Troi – Nam Ky Khoi Nghia – Le Duan – Cong Xa Paris – Dong Khoi – Dong Du – – Nguyen Trai – Le Lai – Nguyen Huu Canh – Cach Mang Thang 8 – Dien Bien Phu – Nam Ky Khoi Nghia – Nguyen Van Troi – Phan Dinh Giot – Truong Son – International terminal
To check out the bus routes with data officially provided by the Ho Chi Minh City of Department of Traffic and Transportation, you can download this Free App or access it with your browser through http://busmap.vn/?locale=en
Yellow Bus 49 – This is the pricier airport shuttle with a 1-way trip costs VND 40,000 (USD $2). The reason for the doubled prices compared to the Yellow Bus 109 is that they will drop you off directly at your hotel in the city. There is no extra charge for luggage.
Timing: same as Yellow bus 109 above
Routes: same as Yellow bus 109 above
Tip: Do not accept rides from random people offering to take you to the city center as you will be ripped off. Also, ignore people who tell you that there are no more buses in the evening. Please note that buses operate between 5:30 AM – 1 AM daily.
Tip: If you want to avoid waiting for the next bus, walk to the other bus stop in the domestic terminals, which is a 5-minute walk.
Green Bus 152 – This is a local public bus that travels between the city center and airport. The cost is much cheaper, but you will need to pay extra if you have luggage.
The price is VND 5,000 (USD $0.25), and additional luggage is another $0.25 per piece. This green bus has more stops than the yellow buses, and the condition is older.
Note: The Green Bus 152 is government operated whereas the yellow buses are privately owned.
For airport arrival tips at Tan Son Nhat International Airport, you can check my other blogs published on this site.
Further reading: 5 Motorbike Riding Tips for First-time Passengers
If you have questions, feel free to leave a message in the comment box below.