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Last updated : Nov 2009
Ho Chi Minh Getting Around
Getting Around Ho Chi Minh - TravelPuppy.com
Public Transport

Public transport in Ho Chi Minh City is extremely undeveloped, and most people have a bicycle or motorcycle or rely on cyclos (see Cyclos below) and taxis. Saigon Star Bus Company (tel: (08) 864 2762) is a private bus company that operates four bus routes within Ho Chi Minh City.

Buses to Binh Tay Market or Mien Tay Bus Station depart from Me Linh and pass by Ben Thanh Market. The buses to An Nhon/Thanh Loc or An Suong depart from Ben Thanh Market, in the heart of the city.

The Binh Tay bus departs every 6 to 10 minutes from 5.00 am to 7.20 pm; the Mien Tay bus every 13 minutes from 4.30 am to 7.40 pm; the An Nhon/Thanh Loc bus every 7 to 10 minutes from 4.30 am to 8.00 pm; and the An Suong bus every 8 to 10 minutes from 5.00 am to 7.30 pm. Tickets cost VND1,000 on all routes and can be bought on the bus.


Several taxi companies are available in Ho Chi Minh City and most are normally metered. Hotels, restaurants and bars are fairly happy to call a taxi, otherwise you can hail a taxi on the street. Visitors are advised to make sure the meter is turned on. The meter rates start at around VND12,000 for the first two kilometres, after that around VND5,000 for each additional kilometre. Some taxis are un metered, and the fare must be negotiated before boarding. Of course these prices are not cheaper. Tipping is not expected but always welcome. Ben Thanh Taxi (tel: (08) 842-2422); Mai Linh Taxi (tel: (08) 822-6666); Saigon Taxi (tel: (08) 842-4242) and Vinataxi (tel: (08) 811-1111) are reputable taxi companies.


Travelling around the city by cyclos is a fun way, though somewhat nerve-wracking. The cyclo is like a rickshaw but the driver sits behind the passenger not in front. This means that you are pedalled dramatically towards the oncoming traffic, which consists of quite lawless cars, buses, motorbikes, bicycles and other cyclos. Cyclos are slowly being banned from the city and many central streets are out off limits to them. They generally park outside hotels or cruise along the street soliciting business from pedestrians. A price should be agreed before the journey, the cost should not be more than US$1. A tight hold should be kept on bags, also cameras and necklaces should be hidden. Thieves have been known to grab them as they ride by on a motorcycle.


Limousines are not available. For a tourist, car hire always means a car plus a driver.

Driving in the City

Most travellers who visit this city are quite traumatised when they first encounter the chaotic traffic. The streets are jammed with bicycles and motorbikes, which dart between the greatly outnumbered cars. Bikes frequently travel the wrong way down a one-way street and dart out of side roads without even a glance in the direction of the oncoming traffic. Motorbike riders discard their wing mirrors allowing them to squeeze through the smallest gaps. Fortunately, visitors are permitted to hire cars with drivers only. Long-term residents are allowed to drive, although not many do. Secure parking is scarce but somebody can always be found to keep an eye on their car for a tip. Police will usually target foreign drivers for ‘on-the-spot’ fines so steady and defensive driving is advised.

Car Hire

To hire a car without a driver is impossible; however, travel companies can arrange cars with English-speaking drivers. These companies include Exotissimo (tel: (08) 825-1723), Saigontourist Car Rental (tel: (08) 829-8914) and Vidotour (tel: (08) 933 0457-0469). Rates are US$26-30 per day for jouneys within the city, with added charges for evening use.

Bicycle & Motorbike Hire

Bicycles and motocycles are available for hire in the area known as Pham Ngu Lao, which is the backpacker hangout. Almost every other building advertises bicycles and motorcycles for hire. Daily rates are about US$1 for bicycles and US$5-15 for motorbikes, relying on its size.

Passport must be left as a deposit. Clients must carefully check to be sure that the motorbike is in a good condition and roadworthy. An International Driving Permit endorsed for motorbikes is mandatory for vehicles over 50cc. Bicycles and motorbikes should be parked in the areas set aside for them (gui xe), or they are likely to be stolen and renters will be liable to buya replacement. It's well worth taking a padlock for additional security.
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