A local SIM card in your journey to the bustling city - Ho Chi Minh City, is a must preparation as it would make your trip more convenient with easy access to local networks as well as quick calls or messages in urgent situations. We hope that this guide will help you by suggesting places to buy as well as some essential tips.
The usefulness of a SIM card is obvious when you may need to call for help in an emergency, search for locations using GPS or book your taxis. Moreover, when you travel alone, you may feel some sense of isolation, staying connected to your beloved family members and friends back home to share your moments and let them know you are safe will help you overcome loneliness on a trip.
Since international mobile service can be expensive and free wifi connection may not always be available, obtaining a local SIM card should be taken into consideration. Fortunately, Vietnam is considered to have cheap mobile data costs. A local SIM card could save your budget and make your trip more convenient.
In November 2016, the Vietnamese government enforced new rules for local SIM card registration. Consequently, you should only purchase a SIM card from trustworthy stores where you need to show your passport for registration.
There are 3 main network brands with good service and wide coverage in Ho Chi Minh City and Vietnam: Viettel, Vinaphone, and Mobifone. While Viettel has the largest network coverage, even in rural areas, Vinaphone and Mobifone offer better prices and promotions.
A little notice for you when buying a SIM card is to check if your phone can be used abroad, unlock your phone, and show your ID or passport information to register a new SIM card.
After arriving at the Tan Son Nhat International Airport, you could easily notice the telecommunication booths at the arrival exit gate. Buying there is the quickest way to obtain a SIM card as you will not need to walk around the city to find the place. Another advantage of purchasing a SIM card there is the English-speaking staff. They could eliminate the language barrier and provide you with helpful instructions on the registration process which only takes 5 minutes.
Remember to ask for necessary information about the prices, mobile plan as well as 3G or 4G data package if needed. Unless you need to make local calls, buying only a mobile data plan with a 3G or 4G network is enough.
It is advised to buy the SIM card at official carrier stores to avoid the unexpected shutdown of an unregistered or illegally pre-activated card. Tourist SIM available in a short period (from 15 to 60 days) is offered at a reasonable price which would be suitable for travelers with a short stay.
The average price of a tourist SIM is VND 100,000 - VND 200,000. However, the call minutes, number of regular SMS messages, and data plans are different across carriers. If you need more than the package offers, you can buy the top-up cards for VND 50,000, VND 100,000, or VND 200,000. Visit our previous guide SIM Cards and Mobile Data 3G/4G Plan in Vietnam for more detailed SIM prices and data packages.
These are some stores in Ho Chi Minh City center of 3 main mobile networks: Viettel, Vinaphone, and Mobifone where you can buy and register your SIM.
166C-D-E Tran Hung Dao, District 1
174 Tran Quang Khai, District 1
Opening hours: 8 AM - 8 PM
12/1 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street, District 1
80B Nguyen Du Street, District 1
5 Nguyen Van Binh Street, District 1
Opening hours: 8 AM - 11:30 AM and 1:30 PM - 5 PM
80 Nguyen Du, District 1 (next to the Saigon Central Post Office)
B1 Floor, Block 11A1, Vincom A Building - 171 Dong Khoi, District 1
72 Le Thanh Ton, District 1
Opening hours: 7:30 AM - 6 PM (Mon-Fri), 8:30 AM - 4 PM (Sat and Sun)
Besides the official service center, the SIM card is also easy to find in mobile shops that are located everywhere around the city. However, most of these vendors cannot register for you. That means a SIM card bought from them is a pre-activated card with an attractive promotion that you can deactivate at any time. We would not recommend purchasing a SIM card from them unless you need it immediately and for short usage. But you can buy scratch cards to top-up credit from these mobile shops because they don't need any registration or activation.
|To have fun trips in Ho Chi Minh City, check out our authentic motorbike tours with professional local guides!|
The convenience of telecommunication services in providing access to people and the internet has greatly made travel easier, especially when traveling to a different country, or a different culture. That is why on your trip to Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh City, in particular, having an additional SIM card in your mobile phone is highly recommended.
Check out other Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh City Travel Tips:
When you subscribe to the blog, we will send you an e-mail when there are new updates on the site so you wouldn't miss them.
Hi! May I know the operating hours of Viettel at the airport? Will I be able to buy a sim card in midnight (1am)?
Never buy from the store at the right side after you exiting the one in front of the 1st Citibank ATM... they will give false you false information. They said that I have 4Gig and 25min call everyday but that's not true. Also their simcard "Vietnam Mobile" sucks, barely have signal even if you are staying in District 1 center.
I can confirm that this stand sells fake sim cards that only work for a few hours. They get away with it simply on how the airport is designed making it impossible or terribly inconvenient to return and confront them once you've discovered they just sold you a bum card.
HI. I would like to get a three months card with lot's of date for whatssapp and texts.
Which one you recommend. Do you think if bringing the card back to Canada I can still use it for texts and whatssapp
Hi Juan, bringing the local SIM card back to Canada won't work because the network coverage is out of area. You can still use Whatsapp overseas with your phone as long as you have WiFi, you don't necessarily need to have a SIM with mobile data for it to work. Hope this helps.
Zoey, i Tour Vietnam team
Hi there,may i know which telco that ve best 4g connection?i will be arriving hcm on 21st sept 2018 for 5 days.thanks.
A hora estan abiertos los mostradores de viettel en el aeropuerto? Llego el domingo a las 7am
When are the counters of viettel open at the airport? I arrive on Sunday at 7am
Thanks very much
Hello, the counters are operated individually so their hours vary. The standard working time is 8 AM - 5 PM. If you don't see an open counter inside of the airport, try checking the counters outside of the arrival hall. They are on the right side.
Do not buy at Viettel counter. The counter is located left of the arrival hall after u exit the security scan! Just bought a sim card for vnd200,000 to found the sim card to be recycled and out of any credit. Head out to the pickup area and buy it at vnd100,000 at the counter left of the Pho noodle place. Hope everyone finds this helpful.