Taxis, Ho Chi Minh City
Taxis are not cheap to get around the city, but they're certainly good and better than those bicycle and motorbikes in big cities like Hanoi and HCMC
When I look at it, taxi drivers in Saigon are all the same. What matters to them is only about money, and they thought all tourist has a lot of money
We figured out some of taxi drivers are smart ! they can make your ride longer to appear at their running meter. Be sure you remember some any streets on the way to your hotel or have a map of the city
If you don't know where to go, the taxi driver will love that. Most taxi drivers in Saigon are dishonest. Be careful when taking a taxi especially at night
We only take taxi from Mai Linh and Vinasun, drivers are still the same as the others but at least is a reputable taxi
I came back to visit HCMC last week and they had this new airport pick up service called Song Viet. They looked professional at first so I went with them because from the airport to my place was short and sometimes taxi driver refused to do short trip. However, there driver was very dodgy and annoying. A few points on why you should never travel with these guy:
1. They charged higher price than taxi. From airport to District 1(city center) would cost around 6-8usd for taxi. They charged fixed price of 11usd.
2. The driver begged me for tips then gave it back and insulted me after I had given him about 4usd. He insisted I should give him at least 8usd. I told him to fck off. Talked to receptionist at my hotel and a lot of the guests had complained about this issue so I believe it was not just him but the majority of their drivers.
3. The driver talked on the phone while driving with another hotel owner and tried to convince me to change to that hotel. He refused to tell me the name of the hotel after I said I had paid for this one and would not want to change. Sound dodgy as hell.
I exited the international arrival hall and headed left. I saw a few taxis but chose a dark green Mai Linh taxi to District 1. The fare was VND 132,000 which is reasonable, but I was quite irritated when the cab driver insisted I pay 140,000. I asked him twice, loudly, where was my 8,000 change but he pretended not to be able to understand English and never returned me my change.
I have read that these kinds of scams are rampant and I would have tipped him the 8,000 VND but I don't like how he just pretended not to understand and kind of scammed me. I expected more from a 'reliable' can company. Sigh
Guess the lesson here is to try and get as much small change as possible so you don't get scammed in future.
We arrived at Ho Chi Minh City's Tan Son Nhat Airport, around 6km north of the city, at the start of our visit to Vietnam in May 2013.
The following information regarding our travel between the airport and our hotel (located next to Ben Thanh Market in District 1 of the city) was correct as of that date:
Tan Son Nhat Airport to District 1 of H.C.M.C
As we were staying at our chosen accommodation (Tan Hai Long Hotel) for more than 3 nights we were entitled to a free airport pick-up on arrival. I emailed the hotel with our flight details and expected arrival time about a week prior to our trip and they emailed back to confirm that a driver would be waiting outside the arrivals hall with a placard bearing our names.
Many hotels offer a similar pick-up service (either free or for a small charge), so it is worth investigating the possibilities when you make your booking.
Our journey from the airport to the city centre was at around 7:10am on a Sunday morning. At that time, the traffic on the roads was relatively light and fast-flowing and we arrived at our hotel in around 20 minutes. The same journey could easily take an hour or more during busier times of the day.
District 1 of H.C.M.C to Tan Son Nhat Airport
We were fortunate that our return journey to the airport was also early in the morning before the traffic had built up. This time, it was around 6:30am on a Thursday morning.
We had seen airport transfers advertised around the Pham Ngu Lao backpacker area for 150,000 – 160,000 VND (ca. £5), but we decided to flag down a taxi on the street. We didn't have any problems finding a taxi; no sooner had we stepped out of the hotel than a Vinasun taxi (which we knew to be a reliable company with metered taxis) pulled up outside.
The driver turned on the meter and the final fare was 135,000 VND (ca. £4.50).
The journey time on this occasion was 25 minutes. Again, it would have taken significantly longer in heavier traffic, so plan your trip to the airport accordingly.
Most people I talk to know about the two reliable cab companies, but I still read how people are getting ripped off to this day, and how they are getting ripped off is absurd. Anyway the two taxi company that the meters work right and they won't take you for a ride is VINASUN AND Mailinh, 38 38 38 38 is the number on the side of the door VINASUN 38 27 27 27
Nit and Mike are dead on right, Walk out of the airport, do not freak if you see a crowd of people waiting for friends and family.
Off to the left at the road you will see the taxi stand. Usually they will speak a bit of English. They will get you in a taxi. Tell them you want meter.
I also write down the hotel and/or the street name to show the driver if he acts "confused".
Another word of advise, just before you get to the outside doors, you will see some kiosks to exchange money. Check them all out as their rates are sometimes different. Get some Vietnam Dong. You will really not find a better rate elsewhere and it is wise to have some VN Dong on hand right away, like for the taxi.
Lastly, check others posts. There is alot of good advise to help you make the right choices.
We arrived in the airport around 1230am and in the arrival area, lots of taxis were waiting outside. I know that the taxi drivers will not agree to use their meters (knowing that tourists are everywhere, taking disadvantage is expected) so I asked one of the drivers how much is the fare going to Pham Ngu Lao Road. I was astounded when he said, 2M VND which is somewhat equivalent to 95USD and that's too much! Same offer we had from the other taxi drivers... But I read one of the travel books that the fare from the airport going to our place should not be more than 1M VND. My friends and I waited for a while to think what we should do. I asked one of the janitors if there were any taxi bay nearby, he said to go upstairs in the departure area and that's what we did.
We walked until we reached the end corner of the departure area and then we saw this white "Mailinh" Taxi. The driver was sleeping and we tried to woke him up. We asked him if he can bring us to our hostel. We were so relieved when he nodded and switched on the taxi meter. You wouldn't believe it that we only paid 500,000VND and that's very far form 2M VND right?
So, in choosing taxis, look only for Mailinh and Vinasun taxis. these are the only taxis that use meters and also are the good ones according to the locals we've met.
Taxis are the most comfortable way of getting around saigon, and it's easy and safe to flag a taxi anywhere, anytime. But A Caveat, some taxis have rigged meters that increase the fare too fast hence you must only ride the accredited taxis like the Siagon Tourist Taxis and more. the flag down rate is 15,000 VND ( $ 0.70) for first 2 kilometers and additonal 8,000 VND every kilometer thereafter and they don't expect tips plus THEY ISSUE RECIEPTS!
a. First 1.7 kilometers or less 12,000 VND
b. Per additional 200 meters up to the 30th kilometers 1,300 VND
c.,Per additional 289 meters up from to 31st kilometers 1,300 VND
d. Every 4 minutes of waiting time 1,300 VND
a. First 1.7 kilometers or less 12,000 VND
b. Per additional 200 meters up to the 30th kilometers 1,400 VND
c. Per additional 289 meters up from to 31st kilometers 1,400 VND
d. Every 4 minutes of waiting time 1,400 VND
* Free Toll in City, Hanoi Highway, Binh Trieu, Phu Lam Station and
Tan Son Nhat Airport
* Highest Insurance coverage of 10,000 USD per passenger
* Accurate Fare Meters
other Taxi Compamies: Call Vinasun (84-8-827-2727) or Saigon Taxi (84-8-823-2323).
if you get a good taxi driver - one that gets you to your destination efficiently and seems to try hard, maybe will stop the meter for you to pick up something etc. You can ask him for his cell number. Then when you want a taxi call him or text. For example he will wait for you to eat dinner then you dont have to go find another taxi etc. Can be much easier for a tourist that way. Kind of like your own personal taxi sometimes.
Vinasun number one !
When travelling from the airport to your hotel beware of taxi drivers who try to scam you because you are new to the country, specifically by asking for 'airport fee'. The taxi drivers are charged 5000 dong to go into the airport and you are expected to pay this. However when I got my taxi from the airport I was charged 120,000 dong. I generously gave the driver 150,000 dong (because I was ***ting myself as I didn't even know where I was). He saw my nervousness and demanded 50,000 dong extra as an airport fee. I didn't want to argue and because it was only 3AU dollars I just gave it to him and go away fine. He did drop me off in front of my hotel. If I could go back in time with the knowledge I have now I would suggest just keeping your whits about you. I have been in numerous taxi's since and never had a big issue. The only other thing that often happens to me is I got to a destination and the taxi drivers never have 'correct change'. So if it costs 70000 dong and you give 100000 they might not have 30,000 dong (or claim they don't) and might only give you 15,000 dong back. You can beat this by having lots of big and small notes.
Taxi scammers are still alive and well in HCMC - the advice given in Virtual Tourist was too late for me - but the advice to use the big companies is the best advice and to make sure the meter is reset when you get in the Taxi. Went down to the wharf from District 1 and the fare was 60,000 vnd with Vinasun and a white scammer to come back with a tricked up meter 150,000 vnd. Avoid the scammers – use the honest big guys!
As I have told taxi drivers in Kuala Lumpur who refused to use their meters and bearing a sign that says “No Haggling” I would rather make other arrangements. If they all were honest and used their meters – you could confidently jump in a cab, use them often and give them a tip.
But they just don’t get it; they are their own worst enemies and have to sit idle more often they really get what they deserve!
Friday the 11th of March, at approx. 3.40 PM I enter a fake-taxi outside Ben Thanh market. The car has a normal sized Mailinh taxi sign on the side of the doors. The car is bronze and the driver wears no uniform, but I don't think about it, since it clearly stated Mailinh taxi on the doors. I ask to go to the airport. I sit in the back of the car, and only look at the meter a few times. The amount looks right, except there is a digit to much. I don't worry about this - could just be a different meter setting that shows more decimals than another. Before the actual airport area, the taxi suddenly stops and parks on the side of the road. I am confused and try to make him drive to the airport where I only have little time to check-in by now. The driver, whom I now realize is a criminal, refuses. I then give him a 500.000 bill and expect to get change back. The meter should be 84.500 (but he made it out to be 845.000) We get into a loud dissusion and I try to get out of the car, but the doors are locked, and can not be unlocked. (child lock) time is running, and I am afraid to miss my flight. I then try to make him open the doors and accept that he will steal my 500.000, but he is not satisfied. He shouts about the 840.000 and finally I have to give him 20 USD more to make him open the door, so I can get out. I was being robbed and I had no other real choice than to pay the robber. When I got outside, I managed to take a photo of the car from behind, with a clear view of his plate number: 52P 5671 The police was parked right in front of us when he robbed me, but they left the exact same time as he did, and they seemed very indifferent to the situation. I tried to stop them, but the didn't seemed to care, nor understanding I word I said.
you can easily get taxi voucher at money changer outside arrival area. There are several money changer booths, and all of them are taxi agent too.
I forget the rate (came in last May), perhaps around 150 vnd/car from airport to district 1.
Visited HCMC last week and my wife and I took several taxis - heeding advice we took only Vinasun and Mai Linh taxis.
UNFORTUNATELY THERE ARE 'KNOCK-OFF' VINASUN TAXIS!! EXACTLY the same insignia, but the phone number on the doors is '58 27 27 27' - the REAL Vinasun is '38 27 27 27'.
According to the GM at the Sheraton Saigon, tourists get held-up in the cabs every day... In our case we took the taxi from Ben Thanh Market back to the hotel - the driver pulled-up a street away from the hotel and asked for 350,00 VND - the trip should have been exactly 10% of that... I thought the meter just read wrong, so I gave him 50,000 VND (inc tip) and he wrote 350,000 VND on a piece of paper... I told him that we're not going to pay that and please take us to the Sheraton, where we can sort it out - he simply locked the doors and electric windows, switched-off the AC and started driving in the opposite direction to the hotel... I threatend to kick out the window with my feet - at which point he reached down and brought out a large iron bar from under his seat... He then rang someone on his mobile who spoke English and told us the driver will accept 200,000 VND... Long story short I asked the driver to pull-over and negotiated down to 100,000 VND... Needless to say, this is not about the money, but about the means...
Here is what the locals have told us subsequent to our experience -
1. Avoid taking taxis outside the Ben Thanh Market as most rogue taxis operate in that area
2. Avoid taxis with tinted windows (we banged on the windows and no one could see us...) - after our experience we saw NO OTHER CABS with tinted windows...
3. Currently Mai Linh have no 'copy' taxis, so are a safer bet
4. If taking a Vinasun Taxi, be sure the phone number printed on the taxi's side panels starts with a '38', NOT a '58'
Other than that, had a great time in Vietnam and the people were lovely!! :-)
Arrived at Tan Son Nhat International Airport on 23-Dec-2010 evening, we proceeded to the taxi area.
There are a couple groups of tourists waiting for Mai Linh taxis even though there are other taxis awaiting for any passenger to take their taxis. This is, probably, due to many write-up on cheating taxis in Ho Chi Minh city and only Mai Linh and VinaSun taxis can be trusted.
We waited and wanted to take a Mai Linh taxi but changed our mind and took VinaTaxi (by Singapore's ComfortDelgro group) and the journey as a pleasant one though the driver speak little English.
He radioed his base station for intrepretation of Windsor Plaza Hotel and promptly got the answer.
As we arrived about 5+ in the evening, the evening after office rush hours is on. Very obvious from observation of highly office dress ladies with high heel shoes driving scooters in the heavy traffic.
The cost of the journey, including waiting in heavy traffic, was VD 124.000 on the meter. Reverse trip on VinaSun on Christmas Day (less traffic) to Airport cost VD 115.000
From my GPS tracking and mapping pda, the route he took is obviously the shortest possible.