What you need to know

Ho Chi Minh

ho chi minh city

When is the Best Time to Visit Ho Chi Minh?

Visit from December to April for the best weather — warm and dry. The city experiences a tropical climate with a distinct rainy season from May to November.

ho chi minh city
Sunset in Saigon. Photo by Tron Le – Unsplash

Transportation Tips

A. Getting to Vietnam

Flying is the most convenient way to reach Vietnam. The two main international airports are Hanoi (Noi Bai Airport) for adventures starting in the North and Saigon Ton Son Nhat (Ho Chi Minh City) for trips starting in the South. For a budget adventure, you can also take an overland bus from Cambodia, Laos, or Thailand to Southeast Asia.

B. How to get to Ho Chi Minh

Unlike most airports in big cities, Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Son Nhat Airport is right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the metropolis. Catching a taxi or using a ridesharing service, you’ll get to your hotel from the airport in no time. Be careful to only use metered taxis called “Vina Sun” (white) or “Mai Linh” (green) to avoid getting ripped off.

C. How to get around in Ho Chi Minh

Navigate easily using taxis or ride-sharing apps like Grab, Xanh SM, Be (best for the airport), or GoJek. Learn all about how to get around Saigon with our helpful guide.

ho chi minh city
Sunset in Saigon. Photo by Tron Le – Unsplash

Before You Go: Visa, Currency, Timezone, Voltage, ATMs, Credit Cards, Internet, SIM Cards, Tips

  • Visa: Check visa requirements based on your nationality. Learn more about getting a Vietnam Visa before visiting Ho Chi Minh City. 
  • Timezone: Vietnam is in the Indochina Time Zone (ICT), UTC+7.
  • Voltage: Standard voltage in Vietnam is 220V with outlets accepting plugs A, C, and F. If you’re from Europe, Japan, or the Americas, your plugs will work fine. Otherwise, you’ll need an adapter. Many outlets in Vietnam only have two holes and don’t accept three-pronged plugs.
  • Internet: Free Wi-Fi is available in most hotels, cafes, convenience stores, and smaller shops in Ho Chi Minh City. However, purchasing a local SIM card with a data package at the airport is easy, inexpensive, and highly recommended.
  • SIM Cards: You can easily purchase SIM cards for data and calls at the airport or local stores. Note that you’ll need to provide your passport to get a SIM. Viettel, Mobifone, and VinaPhone are the best mobile networks for Ho Chi Minh City and most parts of Vietnam.
  • Currency: Vietnam uses the Vietnamese Dong (VND). VND only comes in bills (no coins), and 1 USD equals about 24,000 VND (commonly abbreviated as 24k). Some shops catering to tourists may accept USD, but most only take VND.
  • Credit Cards: Visa and MasterCard are commonly accepted at large businesses like hotels, indoor restaurants, or upscale shopping venues, but smaller enterprises usually only take cash.
  • ATMs: You’ll rarely be further than a few blocks from an ATM in Ho Chi Minh City, even in the less touristy districts. However, it’s always best to have some cash on you to buy from local vendors. Most of the city’s ATMs accept foreign cards. Make sure to notify your bank before you travel to Vietnam to avoid blocked ATM transactions.
  • Tipping: Vietnam is not a tipping culture, so a tip is not expected. A tip is a good way to bring a smile to someone’s face, though. Note that cab drivers and tour guides often rely on some tipping, so it’s a good idea to tip them.
ho chi minh city
Sunset in Saigon. Photo by Tron Le – Unsplash

Understanding Culture & Customs In Ho Chi Minh

Ho Chi Minh City is known for its dynamic blend of traditional and modern influences. While it’s more cosmopolitan and contemporary than other areas, local traditions and customs still hold significant importance. It’s important to respect local customs, such as polite communication and modest dress, especially when visiting religious sites.