Useful tips before your trip to Ho Chi Minh City

Photo by Peter Nguyen on Unsplash

Buy me a coffee

Ho Chi Minh City, my hometown, is a beautiful and vibrant city, but as I know it’s quite challenging for the first-time visitors to travel and get around here. In my recent trip to Ho Chi Minh city, I tried to be a tourist to get more new experiences, and together with my knowledge as a local, here comes the advice for you before landing at Tan Son Nhat International airport.

How to buy a SIM card at Tan Son Nhat airport

Do you need a SIM card when traveling in Ho Chi Minh City? I would say YES because you may need to use the 3G/4G internet to search for information and to get around with Google map on your phone.

At the airport, after collecting the luggage and going through the scan counter, I saw some stands of the SIM providers. There are 3 big SIM providers in Vietnam: Mobifone, Vinaphone, and Viettel. Finally, I chose to buy a SIM card from Mobifone because most of my friends and family members in Vietnam are using this one.

Depending on your itinerary, you can choose a SIM package for 5 days, 7 days, 2 weeks or 1 month. The price of a SIM card ranges from 100.000VND to 400.000VND (about $5-$18). The staff who work at these counters are quite friendly and helpful. Additionally, they can speak English so you can ask them which SIM card fits your travel plan.

  • Remember to check your account, internet connection, etc. before leaving the counter!

How to go from the airport to Ho Chi Minh City center by bus

Usually after landing, I took a taxi to my home or my parents would pick me up at the airport. However, this time I figured out that the airport bus to the city center was more convenient and cheaper than any means of transportations.

After getting out the arrival gate, you should follow the bus station sign to go to the airport bus number 109. The bus ticket is 20.000VND (about $1) and it has several stops from the airport to the city center (district 1).

The yellow airport bus 109. Photo sourced from their official website: SATSCO.

As I know this bus drives every 30 minutes, but I was lucky this time and only had to wait about 5 minutes. This bus had an air conditioner and plenty of spaces for my luggage. After about 40 minutes on the bus, I arrived at the street I wanted to stop and walked a few meters to a restaurant in the city center where I had an appointment with my friends.

The airport bus has an air conditioner and plenty of spaces for your luggage
  • Remember to tell the bus driver or his assistant where you want to stop in the city center!

What to expect when visiting Ho Chi Minh City in 2018

I just went back to Ho Chi Minh City in June 2018, and I was a bit surprised when seeing many parts of the city have been under constructions. After catching up with the media in Vietnam, I was aware that they are now building a subway in the city, and this project will last at least till 2022.

Some main streets are being blocked in Ho Chi Minh City from 2018 to 2022
They are now building the subway
The Notre Dame de Saigon is also being renovated

So keep in mind that you may not fully see some attractions in Ho Chi Minh City in the next coming years, and some part on the streets are being blocked. But no worry! There are still many things to see and do in the town.

You may like this: Eat like a local in Ho Chi Minh City

Where to stay in Ho Chi Minh city

Galaxy Hotel & Capsule

If you would like to stay in the heart of the city with a low budget, this hotel is a good option for both single or couple travelers. It locates on De Tham street which is nearby an area where the young locals and tourists gather every night to eat, drink and party. Moreover, Galaxy Hotel & Capsule is also close to many attractions of Ho Chi Minh City.

  • Property type: Hotel
  • Review category: Very good

Airbnb Sunny 2BR

This Airbnb apartment locates in district 2 (a 15-minute drive to city center). Sunny 2BR is a spacious house with one living room, two bedrooms, one kitchen, and one toilet. The host is a Vietnamese and she lives in an apartment next door, therefore you will have a completely private space in this house. I was so impressed with the host because of her hospitality and kindness. Additionally, she also had a quick reply on every message of mine.

If you consider staying in a comfortable house in Ho Chi Minh city, this host has a list of rooms on Airbnb. Check them out!

  • Property type: Local house
  • Review category: Excellent
I like the living room with full of sunshine of this Airbnb house

If you plan to book a room on Airbnb for the first time, please use my referral link to get $29 when you sign up.

Xin Chao Mini House 3

This house is quite far from the city center (10km), but you will stay in a super clean and huge room with a television, air-conditioner, fridge, microwave and private bathroom. The staff speak English very well and willing to help you anytime. If you plan to have a long stay in Ho Chi Minh city, you can check Xin Chao Mini House 3 to have a great accommodation with a good price.

  • Property type: Local house
  • Review category: Very good

How to look for an address in Ho Chi Minh city

Ho Chi Minh city streets are a maze and even the locals may get lost. Therefore I would like to share with you this important tip. When searching for the address in my hometown, I often used the Google Maps app on my smartphone and it worked quite good. You can simply set your current location and type the address you want to go to, then chose driving or walking options to follow the suggested routes on Google Maps.


When you’re almost at the location, you should check the tiny house numbers on the left side of the doors (sometimes on the right side). In case that is a store or a restaurant, you will see the address on their banner.

You may need this tip when you look for a place to eat in Ho Chi Minh City.

If you have more questions about Ho Chi Minh city, please feel free to ask me. I am willing to help you :).

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Hi! I am Nhu, a Vietnamese girl living in the Netherlands. I have been living in 3 countries and traveled to 23 countries and still counting. Hopefully, with my blog, I can spread the inspiration to get you moving. If you already own itchy foot, then here comes the useful tips and advice on the interesting destinations that you may visit someday. Stay tuned!

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