Being in operation since mid-2017, the Saigon Waterbus (or Saigon Water Taxi) is a relatively new addition in the busy transportation scheme of Ho Chi Minh City. Despite the name "taxi/bus", it's actually a boat which has been decorated in yellow and white to look like an actual bus. You'll get to enjoy the 10.8 kilometers (6.7 miles) route along the Saigon River, which starts from the Bach Dang port, through the Thanh Da canal and finally stops at the Linh Dong ward in Thu Duc district. Scroll down to see if it's worth the hype!
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You can buy tickets at the counter at Bach Dang Station or book in advance here.
The price of the ticket is quite low for a good sightseeing option.
The ticket office is on the left side of the front entrance.
Address: Bach Dang Station (2, Ton Duc Thang Street, Ben Nghe ward, District 1)
Bach Dang Station.
Other stations that are currently operating are the Binh An station (district 2), Thanh Da station (Binh Thanh district), Hiep Binh Chanh station, Linh Dong station (Thu Duc district). The Tam Vu station, Tan Cang station, Binh Trieu station, Thao Dien station, and Truong Tho station are not working at the moment.
Take a look at Ho Chi Minh City's districts overview to find out what you can explore at each station!
All stations have the "W" sign hanging up in the front.
When to go?
It's advisable to go early in the morning or at night so you can enjoy a more refreshing atmosphere. Avoid going from 10 AM - 3 PM as it can get sweltering outside. As for the date, there are pros and cons to each option, choose one that you're comfortable with:
Weekday: not crowded so you can buy tickets at the station; usually have to wait for 15+ minutes.
Weekend: very crowded so book in advance; but there are more departures so you won't have to wait very long.
Departure timetable of the Saigon Waterbus.
1. Saigon Water Taxi is a fantastic way to go sightseeing!
If you're bored with the run-of-the-mill attractions, then this service is for you. It offers a new viewpoint of the bustling city from the Saigon River which will rarely be found in package tours. The Waterbus (or so-called Saigon Water Taxi) runs through Vinhome Central Park - a posh residential area that includes Landmark 81 (the tallest building in Vietnam), and a tour of the Ho Chi Minh City skyline which will look spectacular at night when you're relaxing with the rhythm of the water.
The sign inside the waterbus showing all 12 stations along the Saigon River.
2. Saigon Water Taxi is a convenient service!
The Saigon Waterbus services are in both English and Vietnamese, and there are instructions everywhere to keep you posted. The air-conditioned bus has 66 seats in total to ensure you the best experience, while in the waiting area, there's always a cafe at reasonable price to quench your thirst.
All seats are equipped with a lifejacket.
The cafe at the Bach Dang station offers a breath-taking view of Saigon River.
The information desk is right at the entrance.
3. Saigon Water Taxi is fast transport!
It takes only 45 minutes to complete the one way trip from Bach Dang station to Linh Dong station. That's faster than a car ride! What's more, the average time to get from one station to the next is only 10 minutes! So if your destination is near one of the stations, consider the Saigon water taxi.
1. Saigon Water Taxi services are limited
The staff is not all good in English, and there are no tour guides so it can be quite confusing for foreigners. During the week, most passengers are locals, so the Saigon Waterbus driver will not announce the names of the stop. Therefore, you have to tell them beforehand to remind you, or you have to figure out where you need to get off yourself.
Keep in mind that not all of the staff can speak English!
2. Saigon Water Taxi is inconvenient for conventional sightseeing
The Water Taxi only stops at designated points, and they're quite far from popular attractions and downtown (except for the Bach Dang station), so you have to dedicate a specific time for this activity.
It's also not ideal for those who love the metropolitan look because you'll mostly see the peaceful countryside view or the affluent residential areas along the riverbank, which can get bored after 20 minutes.
The tranquil view of Ho Chi Minh City from the Saigon Water taxi.
How you can have a more enjoyable experience: Find A Local Tour Guide who is fluent in English and provides professional services to help you with the process, as well as showing you the best parts of the city during your ride.
Saigon Waterbus (Saigon Water Taxi), though is intended to be a transportation option, has increasingly become one of the city dwellers' and tourists' new, economical entertainment in Ho Chi Minh City. If you have lots of time in the city, make sure to check it out!
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© Written by Ngan Mai for itourvn.com