Taxis, Ho Chi Minh City
Taxis services have dramatically improved in the last few years with some profeesional companies opening up such as Mei Linh and Vinataxi. But still there are a few rouges out there so here are some tips: You don't need to bargain for a taxi, if the driver tries, get another taxi. The most common trick is for them not to start the meter, if he refuses get out and get another. From the airport is about 75,000 dong to get downtown on the meter, again if he asks a fixed price (which is normally $10) get another taxi.
Taking a cab from the airport was a breeze. Don't get hook-winked by other taxi drivers who are standing at the glass-door exit of the airport. Go for the trusted taxi operators namely Vina-Sun (White-coloured taxis) and Vina Taxi (Yellow-coloured taxis). I also took the Saigon Taxi (Green & White Coloured taxis) when I was heading back to the airport. A safer bet with these metered taxis.
You have to be aware that there are other white taxis that's not Vina-Sun. Don't try those.
The trip to District 3 in a Vina Taxi cost me about 57,000VND (Starting price at 12,000VND) while a trip back to the airport in a Saigon Taxi cost me 58,000VND (Starting price at 15,000VND).
I believe that a trip to District 1 should not be more than 70,000VND (Slightly less than USD5)
If you take a Taxi in Siagon be aware that the driver may
-say he knows where you want to go, then driver all the way around the city because he pretends not to know where it is! We had a driver take us to the war remenants museam....what taxi driver would not know where the most frequented museum by tourists is??!??!?
-Try and short change you. We gave the driver a 50'000 note for a 30'000 ride. First he pretended like he didn't owe us change then only gave 2'000 change hoping we would think it was a 20'000 note!!
-They also pretend not to understand what you are saying so you try and gesture and they still act dumb, when they're clever enough to rip you off!
Taxis can easily be found in Saigon (HCMC). You can go anywhere in the city with a Taxi. One thing you gotta observe once you get on to a taxi is the meter. Make sure metter is on, and the taxi have an operating 2 way radio, which pretty much means it's legitimate. The fare is fairly cheap, and the driver will be willing to wait around on you if you give him a small tip.
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!! :-)
Anywhere in the world the taxi drivers will try to "run" around the city to rack up the fare
HCMc is the same anywhere in the world! in HCMc, there are lots to choose from (just like the Bangkok Taxi )
It was only later I was told that the reputable taxis are, amongst others, Vinataxi, Saigon and Vinasun.
I cannot figure out why some starts are 15000Vnd and some at 12000Vnd.
My advice :
Stick to these and you should not get "run around". But of course there is always a bad apple among them.
I took one which was NOT one of the three taxi companies above and it cost me US2 (approx 32000Vnd) from the Notre Dame Catredral / Post Office to New World Hotel.
When I went from New World Hotel to Notre Dame Catredral / Post Office in a Vinataxi - IT COST ME 16000Vnd ONLY!
According to the local, there are tow major taxi companies welcomed and trustworthy, VinaSun & Minhlin in HCMC. They are using limo with good driver. I accidentally paid the driver 90,000 more than what I was supposed to, but the driver was nice to remind me that I gave him wrongly.
Basically, these two companies are big in HCMC, you should find one very easily.
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.
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 !
You will see taxi counter before you get out the arrival building ( near by the exchage counter ) 5 us for 1 car from the airport to city center ,if you need a bigger car it's only 6 us.
On July 2008 the price is up to 10-12 us from the airport to your hotel.
I didnt see any counter in there anymore ... you walk out and somebody will attack you ... asking you "taxi? taxi?"
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
Taxis in the city are very easy to come by. I generally travel by Vina-Sun (White-coloured taxis) as Vina-Taxis (Yellow-coloured taxis) were hard to come by. I'm a believer of walking to experience more of the Vietnam life, but I won't go all out to kill myself doing that when I'm lugging some heavy stuff that I've purchased from the market.
The going rate for Vina-Sun is 12,000VND. If you're staying within District 1, or the outskirts of District 3, the metre should remain as it is - 12,000VND.
Most major hotels will have taxis waiting outside their hotels, but for smaller hotels, do get your reception counter staff to make that call for you so that you don't have to foot the bill for the calls made. Remember to insist on the more reliable taxi companies.
I had to transfer to the airport a couple times. Hostel arranged price was $12US. Luxury hotel costs can be $30US
I asked the concierge at several hotels in District 1, and they all said that a taxi to the airport should be about $7UD (from City Hall area).
I flagged a taxi and he said $10, I said $7, and he said 100000 VD (at the time about $6.50)
Other people I know said taxi meter in opposite direction finished at 95000 VD, so figured this was a perfectly reasonable price.
Be cautioned that many of the taxi drivers will not want to use the meter with foreigners and therefore will ask inflated prices. When in doubt demand that they use the meter and prices will be very reasonable.
In Ho Chi Minh city, and actually in Vietnam in general, you may consider using Mai Linh taxi when possible. They're cheap, trusted, and available all over the country, not like other taxi companies which are only available in some areas/cities. They're easily recognized by green color.
Taxis in Saigon should not charge you more than necessary. Most taxis have meters installed and you should insist the driver turn it on when you get in.
Otherwise, a ride around the city center shouldn't cost more than US$1 or 16,000 VND e.g Ben Thanh market to Sheraton Hotel ~ 1-2km. If you go further than that, insist on the meter