It’s all well and good reading about the best hotels in Ho Chi Minh City or the best restaurants in Saigon, but what of the practicalities of a Vietnamese holiday? This is the section that will assist you in finding out those unglamorous but important things that prevent a dream holiday from becoming a nightmare.

What if you were to fall or have any kind of accident whilst on holiday in Ho Chi Minh City? Our health section will guide you through what is available here. Everything from street corner pharmacies to excellent international hospitals are covered in this section.

Communicating with home or staying in touch with travelling partners is always an issue and you’ll need to know about SIM cards and Wi-Fi in the city. There’s nothing worse than needing to call home and finding yourself in a communication black hole. This section will help to alleviate your concerns and leave you, stress free to enjoy this amazing location.

Don’t be alarmed when you first clap eyes on the multi-coloured, multi-denominational banknotes. All is explained in our money section. Once you have your head round the cash, you’ll be able to navigate the various transport alternatives offered in the city. This is handled in the transportation section which explains all you need to know about navigating your way around one of the biggest urban spreads in Southeast Asia.

As for just about everything else, it will be covered in the general information section. This is packed full of useful tips and information about things to help you enjoy your holiday in Ho Chi Minh City. Plenty of info about how to, where to and what to, whilst in Vietnam’s largest city.

Need to Know in Ho Chi Minh City

Things you should know before travelling to Vietnam

Things you should know before travelling to Vietnam

Drink lots of water. Make sure to hydrate throughout the day while taking in the sights. Eat everything. Vietnamese food is delicious and you will want to try it all. Go ahead and buy a kilo of those strange looking purple fruit, but be aware of hygiene when you’re eating street food. To be cautious, opt for vendors who already ...

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Consulate Listing in Ho Chi Minh City

Consulate Listing in Ho Chi Minh City

Australia20th Floor, 47 Ly Tu Trong, D108 3521 8100 Belgium105, Duong Van An, D208 6281 8001 Cambodia41 Phung Khac Khoan, D108 3829 2751 CanadaSuite 1002, 235 Dong Khoi, D108 3827 9899 ChileVilla Famosa, 121A, 38 Street, Binh Trung Tay Ward, D208 3743 2717 China175 Hai Ba Trung, D308 3829 7350 Cuba5B, 45 Phung Khac Khoan, D108 3829 7350 Czech Republic28, ...

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Airlines

Airlines

Local Airlines There are four carriers offering domestic flights in Vietnam. Flights are relatively cheap and are a faster and more comfortable alternative to buses or trains. The national carrier is Vietnam Airlines. Jetstar Pacific Airlines also operate locally. A newcomer to the market is VietJet Air, which offers budget pricing. A great resource for domestic flights is vietnamflight.net. International ...

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City Bus Service

City Bus Service

There are benefits to taking localbuses around Ho Chi Minh City, especially if you are an adventurous person and appreciate gliding around the city in air conditioned comfort. During heavy traffic periods, the bus can actually be faster as they have an informal right of way on the streets. Some of the city buses departing from Ben Thanh Market area ...

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City to City Bus Service

City to City Bus Service

Long-distance bus services connect most cities in Vietnam and tickets can be purchased at the Ben Thanh Bus Station. However, Vietnam is a very large country with a coastline that runs for 3,444 kilometers. It is advisable to break your bus journey to destinations within six hours' drive. A multitude of tour companies run multiple bus-stop journeys called Open Tours ...

Read More
Motorbikes

Motorbikes

Saigon traffic doesn’t really flow so much as swarms and lurches in waves. You would do well to leave everything you learned about traffic rules and etiquette at the airport departure gate of your home country. Officially, and in theory, you drive on the right side of the road, although in practice that is not always the case. Allow right-of-way ...

Read More
Trains

Trains

The key route of Vietnam Railways is still the north-south line known as the Reunification Express. Six Reunification Express services depart HCMC daily. The journey from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi takes around 35 hours. Vietnam's train system is slowly being modernised with new technology and more comfortable trains. Sleeper berths are available for long trips. Buy train tickets ...

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Taxis

Taxis

Check that your taxi driver starts the meter unless you've negotiated a price. If you use car or motorbike taxis have small denomination dong with you as HCMC's taxi drivers frequently carry only small amounts of change. To avoid misunderstandings, it is useful to have your destination address written down. If you can write the address in Vietnamese, even better! ...

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VAT

VAT

Foreigners who travel to Vietnam are entitled to obtain a Value-Added Tax (VAT) refund that accounts for 85 percent of VAT on eligible goods that were purchased from a registered VAT refund shop. According to the Ministry of Finance, VAT refunded goods must meet these four requirements: 1. Purchased goods must be subject to VAT, unused and is allowed on ...

Read More
Price guide

Price guide

If you’re wondering how much money to withdraw at the ATM to see you through, check some of the average costs below (As of Jeb 2016). These are average prices to give an idea of what you should be paying. Exchange rate is USD1 = VND22,400 Vietnamese street coffee VND12,000 = USD0.54 Western style cappuccino VND56,000 = USD2.5 Small bottle ...

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Phones

Phones

Vietnam's GSM 900/1800 network is compatible with most of Asia, Europe and Australia, but not North America. In Ho Chi Minh City you can buy a local SIM card and minutes for around VND100,000. The most popular providers are Vinaphone, Mobifone and Viettel. For landlines, the city code for Saigon is 08 (drop the 0 if including the country code) ...

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More Need to Know Venues

Travellers' Cheques

Travellers' Cheques

Keep a reasonable amount of cash in your wallet as travellers' cheques can only be exchanged at authorised foreign banks, mostly in the large Vietnamese cities. In HCMC, Vietcombank at 8 Nguyen Hue, ACB at 30 Mac Dinh Chi and ANZ Bank at 39 Le Duan will all exchange travellers' cheques. Most banks will charge a commission of around 2%, ...

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Airlines

Airlines

Local Airlines There are four carriers offering domestic flights in Vietnam. Flights are relatively cheap and are a faster and more comfortable alternative to buses or trains. The national carrier is Vietnam Airlines. Jetstar Pacific Airlines also operate locally. A newcomer to the market is VietJet Air, which offers budget pricing. A great resource for domestic flights is vietnamflight.net. International ...

Read More
Buses schedule departure from Ho Chi Minh city

Buses schedule departure from Ho Chi Minh city

Buses schedule departure from Ho Chi Minh city Company: The Sinh Tourist. Address: 246-248 De Tham, D.1, HCMC/ 24-26 Pho Duc Chinh, D.1 Email: info@thesinhtourist.vn Website: thesinhtourist.vn Phone: +84 8 3838 9593/ +84 8 3822 2892/ +84 8 3821 7421 To: HCM >> Mui Ne Price: 139,000 VND - 219,000 VND; (5 hours) - From 07:15 AM to 12:15 AM ...

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City Bus Service

City Bus Service

There are benefits to taking localbuses around Ho Chi Minh City, especially if you are an adventurous person and appreciate gliding around the city in air conditioned comfort. During heavy traffic periods, the bus can actually be faster as they have an informal right of way on the streets. Some of the city buses departing from Ben Thanh Market area ...

Read More
Taxis

Taxis

Check that your taxi driver starts the meter unless you've negotiated a price. If you use car or motorbike taxis have small denomination dong with you as HCMC's taxi drivers frequently carry only small amounts of change. To avoid misunderstandings, it is useful to have your destination address written down. If you can write the address in Vietnamese, even better! ...

Read More
Trains

Trains

The key route of Vietnam Railways is still the north-south line known as the Reunification Express. Six Reunification Express services depart HCMC daily. The journey from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi takes around 35 hours. Vietnam's train system is slowly being modernised with new technology and more comfortable trains. Sleeper berths are available for long trips. Buy train tickets ...

Read More
Motorbikes

Motorbikes

Saigon traffic doesn’t really flow so much as swarms and lurches in waves. You would do well to leave everything you learned about traffic rules and etiquette at the airport departure gate of your home country. Officially, and in theory, you drive on the right side of the road, although in practice that is not always the case. Allow right-of-way ...

Read More
Internet

Internet

Vietnam is the fastest growing internet market in Southeast Asia with over 50% household saturation of ADSL in urban cities. WiFi is freely available in all small hotels in HCMC. Paradoxically, some luxury hotels charge a connection fee. However, most restaurants and cafes in Saigon will freely give you a login password. Just ask. Once only an aromatic meeting place, HCMC ...

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Debit/Credit Cards

Debit/Credit Cards

More and more Saigon businesses in HCMC are accepting credit cards but it is advisable to carry cash, especially at places where payment policy is unknown or vague. It is always good practice to ask before assuming that your credit card will be accepted, as neither side wants to lose face at payment time. It is pretty much guaranteed that ...

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Viettel Roaming Service

Viettel Roaming Service

With the largest mobile coverage area in Vietnam, Viettell provides high quality service at affordable costs. No matter where you are in Vietnam, you can keep in touch with friends and family all over the world. Viettel’s high speed data transfer rates enable you to video chat, surf the web, and update your social /media platforms. With Viettel’s roaming service, ...

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ATMs

ATMs

For the time being cash is king in Ho Chi Minh City but ATMs are everywhere in Saigon, many accessible 24 hours a day. Maximum withdrawal limits vary depending on the ATM. In some cases you may be able to take out up to VND10,000,000, but usually the limits are far lower. You can make several withdrawals in succession (up ...

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VAT

VAT

Foreigners who travel to Vietnam are entitled to obtain a Value-Added Tax (VAT) refund that accounts for 85 percent of VAT on eligible goods that were purchased from a registered VAT refund shop. According to the Ministry of Finance, VAT refunded goods must meet these four requirements: 1. Purchased goods must be subject to VAT, unused and is allowed on ...

Read More
Vietnam Airlines Tickets

Vietnam Airlines Tickets

Vietnam Airlines Tickets VietnamAirlinesTickets.com is the official website of AloTrip International Limited, offering online flights of Vietnam Airlines. Vietnam domestic flights from or to major attractions namely Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City (Sai Gon), Da Nang, Nha Trang, Da Lat, Phu Quoc, Con Dao. International flights from main cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh to Indochina, Southeast Asia, Northeast ...

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Xe Om

Xe Om

Xe om literally means 'motorbike hug'. Catching a xe om is an easy, affordable and fun way to see Saigon. Pronouncing Vietnamese street names can be a challenge so signal your destination as you go along or write it down to show the driver. Inter-District trips should cost around VND50,000, more or less, depending on how far you are going ...

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Mail

Mail

Vietnam's postal system is fairly reliable, though not overly quick. Most outlets, called 'buu dien' in HCMC, are open late, some even at weekends. Saigon Central Post Office doubles as a tourist attraction. Don't seal your parcels before taking them to the post office as you will be required to show the contents to the clerk before the parcel is ...

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Vietnam Visas

Vietnam Visas

A Vietnamese entry visa is required for all foreigners wishing to visit the country. The only exception is if your country has a bilateral consular agreement for visa exemptions. You can check on your government’s website to find if yours is one of the few that apply for this program. Visas on arrival are available through various travel agencies who, ...

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Vietnam Facts Sheet

Vietnam Facts Sheet

Geography Geographic coordinates: 16 10 N, 107 50 E Total area: 331,210 km2, half the size of Alaska, U.S. Country size comparison to the world: 66th Total land mass: 310,070 km2 Total water mass: 21,140 km2 Coastline: 3,444 km Total land boundaries: 4,639km Border countries: Cambodia 1,228km, China 1,281km, Laos 2,130km Time: GMT +7 hours Regions: 58 provinces, 5 municipalities ...

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Pharmacies

Pharmacies

The quality of pharmacies in Ho Chi Minh City, including some that are open non-stop 24-hour is good. Although the selection of popular pharmaceutical drugs available in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City pharmacies is good, you would be wise to bring a supply of medicines and contraceptives from your home country to tide you over until you find a ...

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Phones

Phones

Vietnam's GSM 900/1800 network is compatible with most of Asia, Europe and Australia, but not North America. In Ho Chi Minh City you can buy a local SIM card and minutes for around VND100,000. The most popular providers are Vinaphone, Mobifone and Viettel. For landlines, the city code for Saigon is 08 (drop the 0 if including the country code) ...

Read More
Walking

Walking

One of the best ways to check out Hanoi or Saigon is on foot. A leisurely stroll through Saigon’s District 1 or Hanoi’s 36 Streets is a great opportunity for photographers or street food enthusiasts. However, it can be a bit maddening when motorbikes are parked on the sidewalk and you have to share the road with vehicular traffic. Make ...

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Price guide

Price guide

If you’re wondering how much money to withdraw at the ATM to see you through, check some of the average costs below (As of Jeb 2016). These are average prices to give an idea of what you should be paying. Exchange rate is USD1 = VND22,400 Vietnamese street coffee VND12,000 = USD0.54 Western style cappuccino VND56,000 = USD2.5 Small bottle ...

Read More
City to City Bus Service

City to City Bus Service

Long-distance bus services connect most cities in Vietnam and tickets can be purchased at the Ben Thanh Bus Station. However, Vietnam is a very large country with a coastline that runs for 3,444 kilometers. It is advisable to break your bus journey to destinations within six hours' drive. A multitude of tour companies run multiple bus-stop journeys called Open Tours ...

Read More
Dental Clinics

Dental Clinics

Vietnam is one of the cheapest places in the world to receive top-rate dental care. There are a number of established foreign-operated dental clinics in Saigon with qualified English speaking practitioners. Check out the full range of services on offer at Westcoast International Dental Clinic in D.1 and Starlight Dental Clinic in D.3. Whether you are looking to whiten your ...

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Currency Exchange

Currency Exchange

It is probably not a good idea to bring loads of cash U.S. Dollars with you if most of your time will be spent in Hanoi or HCMC. U.S. dollars are welcome in places frequented by tourists but you will most likely be offered a less than favorable rate. Most hotels offer the same rate as banks but may charge ...

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Consulate Listing in Ho Chi Minh City

Consulate Listing in Ho Chi Minh City

Australia20th Floor, 47 Ly Tu Trong, D108 3521 8100 Belgium105, Duong Van An, D208 6281 8001 Cambodia41 Phung Khac Khoan, D108 3829 2751 CanadaSuite 1002, 235 Dong Khoi, D108 3827 9899 ChileVilla Famosa, 121A, 38 Street, Binh Trung Tay Ward, D208 3743 2717 China175 Hai Ba Trung, D308 3829 7350 Cuba5B, 45 Phung Khac Khoan, D108 3829 7350 Czech Republic28, ...

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Electronics

Electronics

Cameras There are a plethora of shops around the Dong Khoi and Nguyen Hue area of Ho Chi Minh City and the Old Quarter in Hanoi that sell new and used camera equipment You can also find accessories including memory cards, off-brand battery chargers and tripods. If you are in need of camera repair and have a Canon or Nikon ...

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FAQ Sheet

FAQ Sheet

Business Business hours in Vietnam are usually 8am to 6pm from Monday to Friday. Some businesses open from 8am to noon on Saturdays. Banks usually open from 8am to 4pm and most are closed on Saturdays and Sundays. Retail shops are usually open from 9am to 9pm, and weekends don't seem to be a problem for many of them. Dining ...

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Cyclo

Cyclo

Cyclos - three-wheel pedal bikes - are slowly disappearing from Saigon's streetscape, but they are an interesting way to absorb Ho Chi Minh City's atmosphere. Once the archetypal form of pneumatic-wheeled transport in Vietnam, cyclos are leisurely propelled by a driver through the traffic maze. You sit in a giant cushioned passenger seat strapped to the mid section of the ...

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Hospitals/Clinics

Hospitals/Clinics

Ho Chi Minh City has a number of international standard clinics for minor ailments. They take walk-ins, but you would be wise to book an appointment beforehand to avoid long queues. Bring your passport and medical insurance card if you have one. All clinics have pharmacies on-site.  The quality of care at Saigon's international hospitals is top-notch. Besides treatment and ...

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