Cars and Drivers, Ho Chi Minh City
There is a mass of drivers waiting at Tan Son Nhat airport to whisk the more seasoned tourist into town. Prices will vary, but should not be more than about US$6-10.
While we are not exactly greenhorn travellers, we decided to go the less overwhelming route of pre-arranging transport from the airport directly to our hotel in Pham Ngu Lao. This was easily accomplished via email and our hotel quoted us an extra US$10 for this service, which we thought quite reasonable.
After clearing customs, we were soon united with our driver, who held up a sign with our names for easy identification. It soon became clear he was waiting for more tourists, so we waited for a short while as the airport disgorged them onto the throng of cab drivers loudly touting their business.
We were soon on our way into HCMC. A nice touch was that our driver took us right up to the correct hotel, which prevented touts from competitors to hijack us from our destination! See also Tourist Trap tip.
Son is an amiable and reliable driver who I used numerous times to take me to the airport, and to the Cholon area of Saigon. He speaks relatively good English and knows the city very well. I highly recommend him for short hops or longer excursions. His prices are negotiable and reasonable. I paid 2.50 for about three hours one day.
Booking a private tour for a really small group is dang more expensive than booking than in a big tour group but there are advantages in it like having your own time in touring a particular area and that you are not rushed in your pace. The only drawback is the price as it would cost about twice the price of the regular big group tours and you have to give a rather pricey tip. Saigon Tourist, the biggest tour operator in the area, offer personalized tours to areas like cu chi, city tours, mekong delta, cao dai temple and more. you can book them from your hotel lobby if your hotel is affiliated with the huge chain or just give them a call at their numbers.
If you plan to do a private tour, get the numbers below
or just ask the hotel lobby if your hotel is owned by the Saigon Tourist Company, these hotels are:
IN THE SOUTH
New World Saigon Hotel
Sheraton Saigon Hotel & Towers
Hotel Majestic Saigon
Grand Hotel Saigon
Hotel Continental Saigon
Kim Do Royal City Hotel
Bong Sen Hotel Saigon
Palace Hotel Saigon
Bong Sen Hotel Annex
Oscar Saigon Hotel
Que Huong - Liberty Hotel Group
Arc - En - Ciel Hotel
Bat Dat Hotel
Dong Khanh Hotel
Can Gio Resort
Ngoc Lan Hotel
Phu Tho Hotel
Fiditour Hotel Group
Cho Lon Hotel Group
Cho Lon Tourist Hotel Group
Thanh Binh Hotel Group
Binh Quoi Tourist Village
Thu Duc Tourist Hotel Group
Saigon - Binh Chau Ecotourist & Resort
Saigon Con Dao Resort
Saigon Can Tho Hotel
Saigon - PhuQuoc Resort & Spa
It's unlikely you could get used to driving in Vietnam. The traffic is chaotic with way too many motorcyles on the road. They seem to criss-cross junctions without stopping and bothering over oncoming traffic. The traffic lights function in a weird manner (I'm not even sure if they are required to be obeyed!!!) If you would like to move around in a car, rent one with a driver. You would probably have better peace of mind!
in the first day, i felt like i was just wasting my time in ho chi min. i dont speak the language and i have a hard time understanding their english. so i decided to hire a driver and a tour guide. it was perfect