Ho Chi Minh City, or Saigon as it’s known by many, is a very busy and vibrant city located in the tropical South of Vietnam.
With the population quickly approaching 8 million people, and with haphazard planning adding more and more motorbikes to the mix each day: traffic can become a nightmare at times! But don’t worry – there are plenty of ways to get around this amazing city.
Types of transportation used in Saigon
- Planes – Vietnam has a good network of domestic flights, with several carriers providing regular and frequent services between other cities and provinces and Tan Son Nhat airport.
- Trains – A train network connects Saigon to other cities.
- Buses – bus travel is a popular and affordable way to get to Ho Chi Minh city, with bus services available from most major towns and cities.
- Coaches – There are a number of long-distance coaches which provide a comfortable and affordable way to travel from Ho Chi Minh city to Vietnam’s other bucket list destinations.
- Motorbikes – Hiring a motorbike is a great way to explore Ho Chi Minh city on your own schedule.
- Cars – Car rental with a private driver is available in most of Vietnam’s big cities, especially Ho Chi Minh city.
- Taxis – In most urban areas, you can get a metered taxi or a private hire taxi. In either type of taxi, you need to negotiate the fee with the taxi drivers.
- Grab/Gojek/Be: Getting a ride with Grab, Gojek, or Be, is the best and most convenient way to travel around Ho Chi Minh city. Just like Uber, the price is on the app so you never have to worry about having to pay more than you should!
How To Get To Ho Chi Minh city
Getting to Saigon by Plane
Tan Son Nhat international airport allows fairly easy and cheap air travel to Saigon. The airport is very modern and offers great facilities duty-free shopping, restaurants, duty-free international shopping stores, high-quality airport food stalls, etc.
Best Vietnamese plane ticket booking sites
Vietnam airlines – As the only Government-owned airline, Vietnam Airlines flights are likely to be the most reliable. International and domestic tickets are available to arrive at Saigon.
Viet jet air – Viet jet is Vietnam’s first low-cost airline and offers some of the cheapest flights.
Jetstar Pacific – Jetstar is a subsidiary of Qantas, one of Australia’s largest airlines, and operate within Vietnam too.
Bamboo Airlines – A private airline that offers budget flights domestically and from abroad to Ho Chi Minh city.
Plane ticket prices to Ho Chi Minh city
Travelling domestically by plane is very cost-effective with most routes priced up to only $50-100 for a one-way ticket.
Getting to Ho Chi Minh city by train
Train travel can be used to arrive in Ho Chi Minh City from major cities such as Hanoi.
Vietnamese trains are generally reliable and comfortable and are great for long distances when you’re more focused on the experience than getting somewhere quickly.
Rice fields, palm trees, water buffalo, Vietnamese towns and villages… You get a real insight into Vietnam when you travel by train, both urban and rural, which you don’t get from 35,000 feet. And if you’re good at people watching you’ll get insights on board the train too.
Ho Chi Minh City train station
Address: No. 1, Nguyen Thong Str, 9 Ward, Dist 3,
Located in District 3, Ho Chi Minh City train station is central to the best hotels and things to do in Saigon. It takes just 15 minutes to get to District 1 by taxi or motorbike from the train station. The station also serves major routes from Saigon to Nha Trang and all the way up to Hanoi.
Best Ho Chi Minh city train ticket booking sites’
The ticket counter is located on the ground floor of the train station in front of the main waiting area but you can also try these online services.
Bao Lau – an efficient website that details seat and sleeper-berth availability. Bao Lau also accepts international cards with a 40,000d ($2) commission per ticket. E-tickets are emailed to you.
DSVN – The official booking site for train tickets on domestic routes. Tickets can be bought via payment gateway, e-wallet, banking app, or reserved online and paid for with cash in a train station.
12go.Asia – As an international provider of all travel services, 12go offer price comparison and online ticketing for a number of train journey services in Vietnam.
Ho Chi Minh city train ticket prices
Train travel from Ho Chi Minh City is more expensive than air travel, though the experience of a few days on a train is unforgettable. Fares range from 100k to 1.5 million VND, depending on where you want to go and what kind of seat.
How To Get Around In Ho Chi Minh City
There is no best way to get around Ho Chi Minh City. The city has an extensive and efficient public transportation system, but it’s also easy to find taxis if you prefer not to use the bus.
Now, we’ll give you an overview of the different ways to get around Saigon, as well as some tips on how to make your journey a bit easier.
Related article: Be sure to check out Ho Chi Minh City’s most instagrammable spots while you’re out and about!
Scooter rental (Moped)
The most common Vietnam transportation is “xe máy” – scooters, as anyone visiting the city would undoubtedly notice. Recent statistics show that there are approximately 9 million scooters in Saigon. It is the quickest and most affordable method to travel throughout the city.
Take note: you’ll need to get a local driving license before you can rent a motorbike or a car in Vietnam, though rental companies do not demand to see proof when you use their services. Visit the Department of Transport to get a driving license if you intend to be in Vietnam for a long time.
Best Saigon motorbike rental companies
RentABike is a family-run business that specialises in long-term rentals to expats living in Hanoi, Da Nang, and Ho Chi Minh City.
They provide a variety of automatic and semi-automatic Yamaha and Honda scooters in the 100cc-135cc range, with the most affordable costing $7 per day for driving around town.
The average price of a long-term rental in Saigon is between $40 and $85 per month if you intend on staying in and around the city (they also have branches in Da Nang and Hanoi).
Address: 86B Trần Phú, Phường 4, Quận 5, Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
With offices in HCM, Danang, Hanoi, and Dalat, Tigit offers simple pick-up and drop-off bike rental services between cities.
It’s expected to be somewhere between $5 and $7 a day and to leave a deposit and/or your passport.
For expats looking to rent a motorbike/scooter on a monthly basis for living and working in Vietnam. You can check the following monthly rental page, the price should be from $50-$100 a month.
Address: Tigit Motorbikes, Office 36&37, Floor G, 360C Bến Vân Đồn, District 4
Vietnam motorbike tour packages
Tour companies such as vietnammotorbiketoursclub.com help you explore Vietnam at your own pace. Motorbike tour prices depend on the size of the group but can cost anywhere from $100 to $500 per person per day including food and accommodation.
Public bus is one of the most favorite means of transportation of not only locals but also domestic and foreign tourists thanks to the low bus fare, safety, and comfort. Bus fares in Ho Chi Minh City range from 8,000 to 16,000 VND, depending on the distance of your journey.
There are a variety of city bus routes that will take you to most parts of the city. Public buses are generally crowded, so be prepared to stand during your journey. But one great thing about Saigon public bus system is that the buses are air-conditioned, which makes it a lot more comfortable to ride in during the hot weather.
Important bus routes and popular bus stations in Ho Chi Minh City:
Ben Thanh bus station
Location: 163 Ham Nghi Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; right in the city centre.
From this station, near Ben Thanh Market, you can catch buses to many places in the city. Whether you would like to go to:
- Tan Son Nhat Airport (Bus #109, Bus #152)
- China Town in District 5 (Bus #1)
- Mien Tay Bus Station (Bus #1)
- Dam Sen Park (Bus #11)
- Suoi Tien Theme Park (Bus #19)
or other tourist attractions, you can find a city bus to reach there from this station.
Cho lon Bus station
Location: Le Quang Sung Street, Ward 2, District 6, Ho Chi Minh City.
The Cho lon bus station is located in the infamous China Town area, 7 km from the city center. You can take Bus #1 to reach this bus station from the city center.
From Cholon Bus Station, you can take buses to other bus stops including:
- Provinces in the Mekong Delta, Bus #1
- To the city center, Bus #94
- To Cu Chi Bus Station, Bus #54
- To Mien Dong Bus Station
- and many other districts in Ho Chi Minh City.
Saigon taxi services
If you don’t want to use public buses, try getting a taxi. Saigon’s taxi service is extensive and cheap. Taxis can be found on almost every corner, but beware of taxi scams or those unwilling to use the meter. A good way to find out how much a journey will cost is to ask the driver to estimate the cost before getting in.
Related article: Learn how to communicate your way around Saigon with our Vietnamese survival phrases!
Reputable taxi companies in Ho Chi Minh City
Vinasun is one of the most popular and reliable taxi companies in Ho Chi Minh City. All of their taxis are brand new, and the taxi drivers are friendly and honest. They always use the meter, so you know exactly how much your journey will cost.
- Address: Vinasun Tower – số 648 Nguyễn Trãi – P.11 – Q. 5 – Tp.HCM
- Phone number: 028 38 277 178 – 028.38272727
- Fax: 028 39 526 410
- Hotline: (028) 3929 4144
2. Mai Linh
Mai Linh is one of the biggest taxi companies in Vietnam. They’re known for their friendly and honest drivers, and all of their taxis are well maintained. You can find Mai Linh taxis everywhere in Saigon, from Ben Thanh market to somewhere in district 12, they’re a great option for when you don’t want to take a motorbike taxi. You can easily notice them as their primary color is green.
- Address: 22 Nguyễn Bỉnh Khiêm, Phường Đa Kao, Quận 1, Tp. Hồ Chí Minh
- Phone number: (028) 38 27 79 79 – (028) 38 225 999
- Hotline: (028) 38 38 38 38
Saigon Online Ride-hailing Services
Taxis, both car, and motorbike varieties are easy to book from apps. Using a credit card or cash, you simply download the app, enter your pick-up location and drop-off location, wait for your driver to arrive, and get from A to B without worrying about a meter.
Drivers of motorcycle taxis usually wait around popular parts of the city, particularly nearby hotels, shopping streets, and tourist attractions, so if you are at those places, you don’t have to wait long.
Here are some of the most popular services and apps.
Grab Bike and Grab Car is a motorcycle taxi and private car booking service that uses modern technology to offer much better rates than traditional taxis, as well as food delivery services. These motorcycle taxis can be found everywhere, from Ben Thanh market to other areas.
Gojek is an Indonesian-based company that has recently expanded into Vietnam to compete with Grab. It is a motorbike taxi service but also offers other services such as food delivery.
After all that travelling, be sure to check out Saigon’s best rooftop bars!
Ho Chi Minh City is an exciting, vibrant city with a rich history. It’s no wonder that it attracts tourists from all over the world.
Getting around this bustling metropolis can be challenging for newcomers, which is why we’ve provided information on how to get around town in Ho Chi Minh City using public transport and ride-sharing services like Grab or Gojek.
Whether you are looking to explore Vietnam by motorbike taxi or want to book a private car service, these options will help make your trip more enjoyable and less stressful!
The next part of your Ho Chi Minh City adventure is to plan your perfect Saigon accommodation, Make sure to book in advance so you know where to send the taxi when you arrive!