Each year, roughly 15 million visitors are coming to Vietnam by plane, car, or cruise. And without a doubt, Ho Chi Minh (HCM) City, formerly known as Saigon, is one of the most popular destinations for a port of call. Whether you are on a 1-week cruise discovering Southeast Asia or you are on a 3-month journey exploring the world - this city discovery is not to be missed.
To help you make the most of your trip before you visit, we are writing this blog to give you, hopefully, some know-before-you-go useful insights about Ho Chi Minh’s port of call.
It is important to know places of attraction should you decide to stop by the city on your voyage, especially when the port is quite far from popular tourist attractions. Note down these popular spots to plan for your trip:
The Norwegian Jade Cruise at the Thi Vai Port (Phu My)
There are currently 3 active ports serving cruise ships in Ho Chi Minh City: Nha Rong Port, SPCT, and Phu My’s Tan Cang Cai Mep Port.
Depending on the size of your cruise ship, the port of call varies. Smaller ships can navigate up the Saigon River and dock adjacent to the city center at Nha Rong or SPCT, but bigger cruise ships must dock at Phu My’s Tan Cang Cai Mep Port and Tan Cang Cai Mep Thi Vai Port. (If you need help finding out your port of call, you can email the arrival date and name of your ship using our Contact page).
-Nha Rong Port – You are in for convenience. Nha Rong Port is located right next to the main city center. This is a 5-minute taxi ride or a 15-minute walk from your port to the city.
Nha Rong Port
-Hiep Phuoc Port – also known as the Saigon Premier Container Terminal - is located about 1 hour by car from the city center. There is no worthy attraction nearby as this port is located in the Hiep Phuoc industrial park. To get out of the port, contact your ship for a shuttle service or pre-book a transfer through tour operators.
Hiep Phuoc's port with cruise ship docking behind the immigration checkpoint gate
-Phu My’s Tan Cang Cai Mep Port and Tan Cang Cai Mep Thi Vai Port-
Tan Cang Cai Mep Port (left) and Tan Cang Cai Mep Thi Vai Port (right)
If your ship docks at Phu My, it is a containers terminal with no worthy attractions nearby. Your closest 2 cities are Vung Tau and Ho Chi Minh (Saigon), which are respectively 45 km and 60 km from the port.
There are limited taxis parked outside of the port’s gate, and these are first come first served. It is recommended to take these taxis with caution.
Standard taxi meter fees for your reference
4 seater car: VND 15,000/km or USD 0.75/km
7 seater van: VND 17,000/km or USD 0.85/km
Note: Tolls to Ho Chi Minh is USD 5 (one-way); if transportations based in Ho Chi Minh City need to arrange a Phu My tour, they will need to pay 4 times (USD 20) for the toll for pick-up and drop-off services at the port. So, make sure your transportation fares are discussed ahead of time.
There are no tolls to Vung Tau.
Other fees that may occur: waiting time fees, parking fees, etc.
However, this is only applied when your ship arrives at Nha Rong or SPCT Port.
More about SIM Card and Mobile Data in Vietnam
Mai Linh’s hotline (HCM): 028 3838 3838
VinaSun’s hotline (HCM): 028 3827 2727
Depending on your ship carrier, some offer complimentary shuttle services from the port to the city and back. Some will charge you a very high fee for this transfer service (USD 60 - 80 just for transportation). These have their specific timetable and stop locations. Depending on your nationality, a visiting visa is required, and this can be arranged on your cruise ship. You will need to check with your cruise on this offer.
A passenger landing card is required
Tip: For pricing and itinerary comparisons, check with your cruise liner for their tour packages and make a comparison with the tour operators offering private tours. There usually are more options compared to a standard cookie-cutter tour.
If you wish to see and understand the city and get away from the traditional group tour, your best chance is to pre-book your private transport or pre-arrange a city tour with a travel agency in Ho Chi Minh.
Authentic local experiences are what set a top-rated private tour apart from other touristy programs
Cons: Most tour operators are located in Ho Chi Minh City, 1.5 - 2 hours (one-way), depending on traffic, from Phu My’s port.
|To have fun trips in Ho Chi Minh City, check out our authentic motorbike tours with professional local guides!|
Some "self-proclaimed tour guides" will introduce you to joining their tour in case you haven’t booked your tour for a Ho Chi Minh City Excursion beforehand. The price for a tour in a 45-seater bus (with, or without transportation fee) is generally from USD 120/pax.
Pros: may only work if you haven’t had an itinerary planned for yourself.
Many "tour guides" will take advantage of the crowded situation at the gate to try to lure you in joining their tour
Good planning is the key here to having a pleasant and fun-filling trip in Ho Chi Minh in just a limited amount of time. In a city full of wonders and hidden stories, make sure you make a wise decision to get the most out of your travel.
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© Written by Linh Nguyen and Kim Hoang for itourvn.com
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Is it possible to book an uber or use the grab app from the port? If not, any reputable but cost effective private transport services you recommend? I read on various forums that there is a taxi mafia outside the port gates and the prices are fixed at around a certain level. Any advice greatly appreciated. thank you
Hi Roy, it depends on the port of call. If your ship will dock at Nha Rong's port then it's easy to book an Uber or Grab (this is also very close to Ho Chi Minh's city center) but at Phu My, limited services are available, and I highly recommend pre-booking your transportations to avoid scams.
Hi Linh, at Phu My Port, what are your recommended companies to call for pre-booking the transportation into HCMC? Is Kiwitaxi reliable? Does Vinasun or Mailinh offer pre-booking transportation that I can arrange before arriving at Phu My? Thank you.
Hi John, for transports from Phu My - HCMC center, it's best to book through tour operators or agencies from the city as there is nothing nearby the port. I've not heard of the Kiwitaxi routes from the port to the city, mostly just between airports and main cities. Vinasun and Mai Linh offer to pre-book through their mobile apps, but only up to a limited number of hours before it expires.
Our team offers transports and pricing depends on the size of the vehicle. You can email us your group size, the name of the ship, and arrival date for a quotation. More info: https://www.itourvn.com/tours/customize-my-adventure or contact: https://www.itourvn.com/contact