Ho Chi Minh City Airport Pickup Service
Editor’s Update – April 2016: Good news and bad news folks.
First the BAD NEWS. Since I wrote the article below it seems the fledgling entrepreneurs, I mentioned in the story, have stopped the Airport transfer service. I did contact them and assured it was still available. However, all attempts by myself and my readers to access the service through TripMeet met with a dead end. Thus, I can no longer recommend this transfer service, even if it does still exist.
Now the GOOD NEWS. My husband and I arrived back in Ho Chi Minh City last week and noticed that many of the transfer services you see as you exit customs were now asking just 180 000 VND to District 1 rather than $20 it used to cost. At the current exchange rate, this is less than $9 and is around what you’ll pay for a reputable taxi. (There are lots of scammers so check out my advice on how to avoid them HERE).
We walked outside, and one glance at the taxi’s queued at the international terminal told me I would have a struggle getting my preferred company Vinasun or the equally reliable Mai Linh. We were tired, and had loads of luggage, so even the brand new Airport Shuttle Bus didn’t appeal. There was a transfer counter right where we stood, and the smiling staff convinced us it was a good deal. It wasn’t hard, knowing what we do about dodgy taxi companies. We paid our money, received a very official receipt, and shown to a spotless, spacious, air-conditioned people mover. It had plenty of room for our luggage and seats for at least three more people if needed. Our destination was written on the receipt, and the driver took the most direct path to get us there. 30 minutes later, we were dropped off with no hassle in the backpacker area of District 1. We tipped him ¬50 cents (10 000 VND) but it was not expected, nor asked for. It was a hassle free experience, and one I’d recommend instead of the service I wrote about below.
As for the other services like getting a SIM card. Viettel, Mobiphone, and Vinaphone all have desks in the Arrivals area. There are special tourist SIM’s, excellent data deals and a range of plans. Just talk to the reps and they’ll set you up for a month around $10. Maps are available at the information desk. The exchange rates at the airport are very competitive, and there are several ATM’s (Handy Hint: Take out an odd amount, so you get small notes e.g. 4.9 million rather than 5 million)
And even MORE GOOD NEWS. Ho Chi Minh city has a brand new Airport Shuttle bus. Check out all the details HERE. It’s clean, comfortable and only 20 000 VND per person. It runs from 5.30 am to 1.30 am, so that pretty much covers it for most people.
So. while I’m sorry the guys have stopped their service, the people of Ho Chi Minh have risen to the occasion. There are still great, safe, comfortable and convenient ways to reach your destination. Let me know your experiences in the comments below.
Have you arrived in Ho Chi Minh City recently. Let me know your experiences in the comments below.
OLD ARTICLE BELOW.
See a problem. Get concerned. Solve it. Voila! You now have yourself a business. At least that seems exactly what the Quang and Hai have done. It’s certainly not the only one about, but it is one of the newest and best value, Ho Chi Minh City Airport Pickup Services.
Both Airbnb hosts, Quang and Hai became concerned about the dozens of horror stories from tourists being ripped off by dodgy taxi companies on the trip into town. Budget travelers are especially at risk, as they are unlikely to be staying at swish hotels that offer inclusive or pricey transfer services. Arriving late at night, the public bus service (the cheapest way to get to town), is no longer running. That leaves you at the mercy of the local taxis. If you don’t know how to avoid their scams you might just find yourself with a very expensive trip into the city. It should be no more than around $8 but I’ve heard of people being charged up to $200 !!! Vietnamese currency is very confusing at first and a few extra zeros or incorrect notes can put a dent in your budget.
So the guys put their heads together and came up with a package that is extremely attractive, even for those of us that have lived here and know our way around. $12 will get you the following:
- Meet and greet at the airport for one or more people. Trust me, walking out into the chaos of Tan Son Nhat for first timers can be a little overwhelming. After a long exhausted flight, a friendly face with your name on a card will make all the difference.
- A private car to your hotel in Districts 1, 3 or those surrounding the airport. These cars are immaculate, clean and very comfortable.
- Assistance with buying and connecting a local SIM card for your phone (SIM card not included. Usually about $5 with enough credit to last you a month unless you are calling back home)
- Provision of handy maps and assistance with getting your bearings, and
- Assistance with exchanging money and familiarization of VND currency
This price is for 1 car transfer from airport, not per person. If there’s two or more of you, it’s pretty damn cheap in my opinion. And, if you want to personalize your pickup (for a loved one, or someone with special needs, it’s included.
Everyone suffers when tourists have a bad first impression of a destination. The recent drop in Vietnamese tourists numbers is due to a complex set of issues I’m sure. BUT feeling unsafe and getting scammed is a pretty good reason not to return or even visit in the first place. That’s why it’s heartening to see many great local businesses taking a stand and trying to do something about it. I had a a good chat to the guys before I decided to write this post. It’s very clear to me that their intentions are good. A safe, comfortable, cheap Ho Chi Minh City Airport pick up service is EXACTLY what the city needs to ensure visitors at least start with a positive experience and good impression when they arrive.
Contact & Booking Details
Note that you will need to sign up to Triip.me to book this service. This is FREE and takes less than a minute to sort out.
Once logged in, the actual pick up service is here. It’s called the Pick Up and City Map: Airport-District 1
Big heads up. The booking system has a few issues. Despite the fact that the home page (before you are logged in) says $13 for this service, I can confirm that it is $12 for up to 4 people. Just choose the option for 1 or 2 people even if you have 3 or 4. Quang tells me they are still trying to iron out these issues.
Note : Quang and Hai are part of TriipMeet Saigon, ( part of the triip.me network) who offer tours around town with local experts. They are also Airbnb hosts and can therefore provide accommodation. You are however, under no obligation to access either of these two services if you use their Ho Chi Minh City Airport pick up service.
Photo Credits: All pictures used in this post have been supplied by Quang.
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