Introduction about Ho Chi Minh City

Welcome to Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City, or Saigon as locals still refer to it, has a significant impression on new visitors. It’s a young and vibrant city from the very first glance. Along with its more modern elements, the city also boasts traditional appeal among its cross-cultural architecture and historical value. Established 300 years ago, Ho Chi Minh City is rapidly modernizing to fit the needs of incoming travelers.

Attracting more than 4 million tourists, which accounts for 50% of the country’s visitors, Ho Chi Minh City proves itself to be Vietnam’s tourism center. The city is developing its extensive range of facilities and services to satisfy visitors’ diverse demands, including famous attractions, entertainment centers, world class accommodation and excellent restaurants.

As a city of culture, Ho Chi Minh City is wellknown for its outstanding attractions, such as The Reunification Palace, Opera House, the French colonial Central Post Office, Ben Thanh market, the historic Cu Chi tunnels, Notre Dame Cathedral, and a beautiful series of historical and cultural museums that represent Vietnam’s local beauty and national significance.

Ho Chi Minh City is also a paradise for foodies. Visitors have the pleasure of sampling healthy and affordable street food specialties from all over Vietnam in numerous cafes and restaurants. International dishes are also readily available. Fine dining has also established a strong presence in the city, satisfying gourmands’ needs of affordable, excellent food.

There is so much to discover in Ho Chi Minh City that travelers may feel overwhelmed. We hope this guide will provide the initial guidance to help visitors confidently say, “Xin chao, Vietnam!”

Ho Chi Minh City Overview

The People

Ho Chi Minh City (formerly known as Saigon) – is a rich land, home to many ethnicities and cultures. It is also a port city, the focal point for economic and cultural exchange with the rest of the world. The Saigonese inherited the characteristics of Southern people, adapting a carefree, generous and sincere attitude to their life. Studies show that natural, social, environmental and historical factors have contributed to the character of Ho Chi Minh City today.

Geographical Location

Ho Chi Minh City covers an area of 2,095.6 square kilometers with a population of over 7.9 million people (as of December 2014). The city is located at 10.5° north of the equator, with an average altitude between 5 and 10m; 1,730km away from Hanoi by road, its city center is 50km away from the east coast as the crow flies. Flowing through the city center is the 106km-long Saigon River, which plays the role of a vital waterway for commercial trade activities.

Climate

The city has two distinct seasons: the rainy season (from May to November) and dry season (from December to April next year), with an average temperature from 26 to 28°C. The city has 160 to 270 hours of sunshine per month; the average rainfall reaches 1,949mm/year; air humidity reaches 80% on average per year.

Culture

Main ethnic groups: Kinh, Khmer, Hoa, Cham, Indian. Religion: ancestor worship is the main religion, besides that the people also worship the gods of wealth and happiness. Main religions: Buddhism, Catholicism, Protestantism, Cao Dai and Hoa Hao.

Things to be aware of when travelling

Eat everything

Vietnamese food is delicious and you will want to try it all. Go ahead and buy a kilo of that strange looking purple fruit, but be aware of hygiene when you’re eating street food. To be cautious, opt for vendors who already have customers. See also “Health” on page XIV.

Water

Don’t drink tap water unless you boil it, and even then, contamination with arsenic can be an issue. Stick to bottled water. Ice is usually safe as the Vietnamese use mountains of it and there’s a huge commercial ice-making industry; if the ice is cylindrical in shape, it is probably made by a commercial distributor who uses safe bottled or filtered water.

Get your hotel details

Remember to take your hotel’s business card to make your return to the hotel much easier by handing it to your taxi, xe om, or cyclo driver.
Keep your phone and wallet out of sight. Violent crime is rare, but like any large city, both have their fair share of pickpockets. These thieves can be quite brazen, be very aware in Ho Chi Minh’s Pham Ngu Lao.

Take your plastic with you

Vietnam has developed a more sophisticated payment system in recent years. Shops are now accepting
more credit cards and ATMs can be found easily in big cities. In the countryside, however, most venues

Motorbike safety

Always wear a helmet (which is required by law anyway), avoid dangly jewellery and miniskirts, and clip your bag or store it underneath the seat of the bike to keep it safe from snatchers. Blend in with the other motorbike riders and stick to their sedate pace. Check the fine print of your travel insurance. For more information on motorbike issues, see page XVII.

Walk slowly when crossing the street
Crossing the street in Vietnam is scary and a bit dangerous but can be fun nonetheless. Remember that motorbikes are trying to anticipate your movements to avoid hitting you. Keep a slow but steady pace and raise your arm to let the motorcyclists know that you are actually crossing the street.

Tipping

Tipping is not expected, especially at local restaurants, but international venues have become used to the practice. Leave enough for coffee: VND10,000-15,000.

Take a break in the afternoon

It can get quite hot visiting the attractions, take breaks in the middle of the day to keep refreshed for the afternoon’s activities. Try and do most of your sightseeing early in the morning or late in the afternoon, and keep in mind that the sun sets quickly.

Cover up

When visiting temples or pagodas, make sure to pack a shawl or extra shirt and wear knee- length clothing. Remember that you are visiting a piece of history so try to show some respect to the local culture.

Shoes

Vietnamese take off their shoes when entering a house. It’s common courtesy to do likewise. It may also be expected in hotel rooms and some shops.

Don’t lose your temper

This is considered a serious loss of face for both parties and should be avoided. Try to maintain a cool demeanor and it will be reciprocated with kindness. Smiling always works wonders.

Be a sensitive snapper

Most people in Vietnam love having their photo taken and will ask to have one with you, but it’s polite to ask first. Bear in mind that there are some places like military buildings where taking photos is prohibited.

Shopping and Bargain

Sellers in most of the markets usually quote a higher price of an item than its real value. It’s advisable to bargain in tourist markets like Ben Thanh, An Dong etc. One tip is that you can bargain for less than or equal to half of the quoted price. Find such shops with the price stated clearly on a price tag. Every traditional souvenir is usually created along with a folk story that you should not forget to ask the seller for acknowledgement. Vietnamese people believe that the first customer in a day is the one who will bring good luck for the whole day. So it’s recommended not to refuse an item after bargaining successfully for a better price, especially in the morning.

Remember that you are on holiday!

There is so much to do and see, but don’t forget to stop every octo pull up a plastic chair, order a cafe sua da, and take it all in. Sights and activities hold interest, but sometimes you can learn more about a country and its people by adjusting to the local pace.

Ho Chi Minh City Fact Sheet

Geography
Geographic coordinates: 10 11N 106 107E
Total area: 2,095.6km2
Coastline: 15km
Time: UTC/GMT + 7 hours
Districts: 24
Central City:
D1, D2, D3, D4, Binh Thanh D, Phu Nhuan D.
Climate:
Rainy season from May to November
Dry season from December to April
Average temperature: 27.550C.

Population
HCMC Total Population: 8.2 million (2015 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.62% (2015 est.)
Ethnic groups: Viet (Kinh), Hoa, Khmer, Cham…

Miscellaneous
Ports and terminals:
Tan Son Nhat Airport
Cat Lai Port
Sai Gon New Port
Sai Gon Railway Station

Economy
GDP: VND957,358 billion
GDP growth rate: 8.5% (2015 est.)
GDP per capita: US$5.538
Labor force: 4.2 million (2015 est.)
Unemployment rate: 2.31% (2015 est.)
Minimum wage in Ho Chi Minh City:
VND3.1 million / month
Currency: Vietnam Dong: US$1=VND22,300 (2015)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 0.63%
Imports: US$29.4 billion (2015 est.)
Main imports: machinery and equipment, petroleum
products, steel products, raw materials for clothing
and shoe industries, electronics, plastics, automobiles.
Exports: US$27.3 billion (2015 est.)
Main exports: clothes, shoes, electronics, seafood,
wooden products, machinery.
Foreign tourist: 4.6 million (2015 est.)
Total Revenue of Tourism: VND94,000 billion
Investment: VND285,160 billion

If you’re wondering how much money to withdraw at the ATM to see you through, check below for some of the average costs that you will find in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1.

Exchange rate:

USD 1 = VND 22,300

VND USD
Vietnamese street coffee 12,000 0.54
Western style cappuccino 50,000 2.24
Small bottle of water (street) 6,000 0.27
Soft drink can (street) 10,000 0.45
Soft drink (restaurant) 30,000 1.35
Coconut juice (street) 12,000 0.54
Fruit shake (street) 20,000 0.90
Beer 33 cl. bottle (local restaurant) 20,000 0.90
Cigarettes 22,000 0.99
Pho (noodle soup) 40,000 1.79
Meal (mid-range restaurant) 190,000 8.50
Milk (1 liter) 30,000 1.35
Taxi – per km 15,000 0.67
Exchange rate:
USD 1 = VND 22,300
VND USD
City centre bus fare (short hop) 5,000 0.22
Motorbike taxi (short hop) 20,000 0.90
Cyclo (per hour) 60,000 2.69
Petrol (per liter) 14,000 0.63
Postcard 5,000 0.22
International postcard stamp 12,000 0.54
English language newspaper 5,800 0.26
T-shirt (market) 60,000 2.69
Shoe shine (per pair) 20,000 0.90
Hair wash 25,000 1.12
Laundry (per item) 10,000 0.45
Thin rain poncho 10,000 0.45
Thick rain poncho 50,000 2.24

 

Economic

Currency

The official currency of Vietnam is the Dong and it fluctuates around VND22,300 to the US Dollar. The notes are quite colorful and notes made after 2003 are made out of plastic polymer. The denominations are 200, 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000, 100,000, 200,000 and 500,000. As with most modern banknotes, there are safeguards in place against counterfeiting. To check if you have an authentic note, check the transparent window to see the hidden image. Also, most counterfeit notes do not have the same feel as the plastic polymer. Local insight: The VND20,000 and VND500,000 are so similar in color. Remember that the VND500,000 note is just a bit larger.

ATMS

Most major foreign-issued credit and debit cards are accepted at ATMs in HCMC. Travelers can access Plus and Cirrus networks via HSBC, Vietcombank and ANZ ATM machines and many others. The standard withdrawal limit may be very low but you should be able to withdraw several times up to your home maximum. Use common sense when withdrawing money. Key in your PIN inconspicuously and keep to well-lit, frequented cash terminals. These ATMs are

commonly found inside major banks, western-style grocery stores and hotels, or on busy streets. More often than not, ATMs will issue notes in VND500,000 denominations, which can be frustrating if you intend to pay for a motorcycle taxi ride or a road-side bowl of noodles.
Local insight: To get around the large denominations issued, request a non VND500,000 compatible cash withdrawal.

Debit & Credit Cards

Increasingly more and more businesses in Vietnam are now accepting credit cards, it is advisable to carry cash, especially at places where payment policy is unknown or vague. It is always good practice to make enquiries 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 most luxury hotels in the major cities will accept credit cards. Some establishments add a 3% charge for credit card use and charge a higher user fee for holders of an American Express card.
Local insight: To avoid unnecessary embarrassment make sure to contact your bank to let them know that you are travelling in the region, or your card may be blocked for “suspicious activity”.

Currency Exchange

US 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 an extra fee. Though there are currency exchange shops in the tourist areas, head to a bank to get an official rate. Don’t exchange too much at one time as you will get a less than favorable rate when selling back your Dong. Generally larger bills like US $100 give a better rate than smaller notes like US $10 or US $5.

Mai Van
1A Nguyen An Ninh, D1 08 3823 1836
Mon-Sat 8:30am-8:00pm & Sun 8:30am-12:00pm
Xuan Hung
161 Dong Khoi, D1 08 3827 6311
Ban Thu Doi Ngoai Te 59
135 Dong Khoi, D1 08 3823 1316
7:00am-10:00pm
Saigon Tourist
Saigon Tourist 45 Le Thanh Ton, D1 08 3827 9279
7:30am-6:30pm
Local insight: Make sure your foreign bank notes are clean and crisp with no tears or writing. They will not be accepted otherwise.

International travelers are entitled to obtain a refund that accounts for 85% of the 10% Value-Added Tax (VAT) on eligible goods that were purchased from a registered VAT refund shop, thanks to a pilot scheme that was introduced in 2012 and has been fine-tuned several times since.
In other words, this is the perfect opportunity for international travelers to get back some of that hard-earned cash by buying goods at shops that offer VAT refunds. Whilst the procedure may only be worth it for large purchases, if you are planning to buy expensive items, it is a substantial saving.
According to the Ministry of Finance, VAT refunded goods must meet these four requirements:

  • Purchased goods must be subject to VAT, unused and allowed on aircraft Purchased goods must not appear on the list of export prohibitions or restrictions.
  • Purchased goods must have invoices and VAT refund declarations issued within 30 days of departure.
  • Purchased goods must be bought from a single shop on a single day and must have a value of at least VND2 million.

To get the VAT refund, follow this procedure:
When purchasing the goods, submit your passport to the retailer so they can create the VAT refund declaration form. They will issue you with the original copy but make sure to check that all your information is correct.
Once you are at the Tan Son Nhat airport, go to the VAT refund customs inspection office where you will need to present the goods you have purchased, your passport, the invoices and the VAT declaration forms.
Once you’ve taken care of the paperwork to get your declaration form, you will need to submit a boarding pass from an international fight and invoices along with your VAT declaration form to the VAT refund counter.
This is where you will receive your refund. It will be in Vietnamese Dong so you will then have to go to a currency exchange. You will find BIDV and VietinBank exchanges in Tan Son Nhat.
VAT refunds are applicable only to goods brought along by tourists when they exit. For seaports, refund is only available if the ships go abroad directly from the ports. Keep in mind these ship voyages only occur thrice a year.

 

Transportation

Walking

One of the best ways to check out Ho Chi Minh is on foot.A leisurely stroll through Ho Chi Minh’ s District 1 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 traffc.Make sure you walk with purpose and be quick on your feet.Crossing the street is an art form, watch how the locals do it, and copy them.
Local insight: Anything with a strap, mainly bags and cameras, should be kept in a backpack, to deter bag snatchers.

Cyclos

Cyclos are an interesting way to take in the city. They feature a giant cushioned seat for passengers strapped to a bicycle propelled through traffc by a cyclo driver.Negotiate a price beforehand about VND60, 000(HCMC) an hour, and make sure to have the exact change.Cycling through the city is a hard job and deserves a tip.
Local insight: A cyclo tour is a great way to see Binh Tay Market in D5 of Ho Chi Minh City.

Motorbikes

Local traffc doesn’t really fow so much as it lurches in waves. Leave everything you learned about traffc rules at the airport departure gate. Offcially, you drive on the right side of the road, although in practice that is not always the case. Vietnam has recently banned all foreigners from renting motorbike without a Vietnamese driver’s licence. So, check with your travel insurance to make sure that you are covered in case of an accident (refer to page IV for more information).
To rent a motorbike, you will need to provide a passport, sign a rental agreement or pay in advance. Longer rental periods may require you to leave your passport or a cash deposit equal to the motorbike’s market value. Make certain that your rental motorbike is roadworthy and has functioning brakes, lights etc. It is a good idea to park your motorbike at an attended parking lot to diminish the chance of theft. Just make sure to keep your parking ticket: if you lose it, you will need to verify ownership of the bike, which means contacting your rental place. Helmets are mandatory for all occupants.
Local insight: Manuals rent for VND100,000 per day, and automatics will cost a bit more at around VND 140,000 per day.

Xe Om

Motorbike taxis are an easy and fun way to see the city. Most xe om jockeys can be found sitting (sometimes sleeping) on their bike. Look for the unoffcial uniform: an untucked, long-sleeve shirt with rolled-up sleeves, trousers and sandals. Pronouncing street names can be challenging, so point out your destination on a map or have it written down. If the driver does not have a passenger helmet, fnd another driver for hire.
Local insight: Short trips around town will cost around VND20,000 but make sure you agree on a price beforehand.

City Bus Service

Buses great for getting around the city in air-conditioned comfort (at least, in the newer models). Most major streets are accessed via a bus line and cheap at VND6,000 for a short trip. During rush hour, buses can actually be faster as they have an informal right of way on the streets: no-one will try and cut them off. Main bus stations are 23/9 Park (near Pham Ngu Lao area), Cho Lon, Mien Dong (to travel to the north) and Mien Tay (to travel to Mekong Delta). There is also a new hop-on hop-off bus (No.120) launched this year which is a good way to discover major attractions around the city.

Taxis

Taxis are numerous and cheap compared to some neighbouring countries. Don’t assume that your driver knows how to reach your destination, as they typically grab fares from all over the city. They also speak very little English (if at all), so it pays to write down your destination or at the very least carry a small map or a 3G smartphone with GPS capability.
All reputable taxi companies will start the meter as soon as you start the journey. Make sure you have small notes with you. For quality assurance, choose larger taxi companies such as Mai Linh or Vinasun.
Local insight: Check the spelling of the taxi company before you get in. You could be stepping into an off- brand company 

  • Mai Linh: HCMC Hotline 08 3838 3838
  • Vinasun: HCMC Hotline 08 3827 2727
  • Vinataxi : HCMC Hotline 08 3811 1111
  • Saigon Airport: HCMC Hotline 08 3844 6666
  • Saigontourist: HCMC Hotline 08 3845 8888

City to City Bus Service

Long-distance bus services connect most cities in Vietnam and tickets can be purchased at the main bus stations. However, Vietnam is a very large country with a coastline that runs for 3,444km. It is advisable to break your bus journey into destinations within six hours’ drive.
Several companies run sleeper buses that have reclining seats for added comfort. These buses have lights that would put most ’70s discos to shame and unfortunately, they tend to stay on most of the night.
Many tour companies run multiple bus-stop journeys called Open Tours that run up and down the country. For a ridiculously low price, you can choose to stop in a destination and stay for as long as you like. When you decide to get back on the bus, go to their offce the day before you plan to leave. But there is a catch to this convenient and low price. You may be brought to a well- established network of hotels at each stop and pressured to stay at each. If so, hold your ground and insist on being dropped off at your preferred destination.
Local insight: Bring some headphones or earplugs, or prepare yourself for hours of karaoke and badly dubbed movies on your journey.

 

Form To Distance Duration
HCMC Vung Tau 96km 2 hours
Phan Thiet 198km 4 hours
Mui Ne 223km 4.5 hours
Da Lat 310km 7 hours
Nha Trang 451km 10 hours
Hoi An 1012km 15 hours
Hue 1106km 19.5 hours
Ha Noi 1609km 33 hours
Phnom Penh 290km 6 hours
Siem Reap 554km 12 hours
  • Futa Express
    274-276 De Tham, D1 08 3820 6564
  • Kumho Samco Express
    292 Dinh Bo Linh, Binh Thanh D, 08 3511 6861
  • Mai Linh Express
    400A Le Hong Phong, D1 08 3507 3587
  • Hoang Long
    47 Pham Ngu Lao, D1 08 3915 1818

Trains

The north to south railway line is known as the Reunifcation Express which is an excellent way to see the countryside, not least because the ride is much less jarring than road travel on Highway 1. The train system is slowly being modernised with technological advances and more comfortable trains. Sleeper cars are available for long trips, and there is one private company that does a sleeper run from Ho Chi Minh City to Phan Thiet and Nha Trang called the “Golden Train”. It’s a bit more expensive but more modern and comfortable than the normal train. Check the schedule at golden-train.com.
Train tickets can be purchased through travel agents for a fee or directly at the train station. Ticket classes include hard seat and soft seat, and hard-berth and soft-berth compartments for overnight trips. A drink and light snack are usually included in the ticket price. Many train routes have dining cars with fair rates and snack carts that roam the aisles, but bring your own food if you don’t care for basic Vietnamese fare.
Trains usually leave on schedule but allow some time for delays. For a detailed schedule of departure and arrival times as well as fees and availability, please check HERE.

Form To Duration
HCMC Phan Thiet 4 hours
Nha Trang 8 hours
Da Nang 18 hours
Hue 21 hours
Hanoi 33 hours

 

Make sure to reserve your train ticket at least one month before peak seasons such as Tet holiday, public holidays (1 September, 30 April, 1 May) to avoid lack of seats and overpricing.

Ho Chi Minh City
1 Nguyen Thong, D3
08 3931 8952
Local insight: Bring some headphones or earplugs, or prepare yourself for hours of karaoke and badly dubbed movies on your journey.

Local Airlines

There are three carriers offering domestic fights 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 Pacifc Airlines also operates locally. A newcomer to the market is VietJet Air, which offers budget pricing.
vietnamairlines.com / jetstar.com / vietjetair.com
Local insight: Vietnamfight.net is a great resource for domestic fights.

International Flights

The main port of entry is Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Son Nhat (SGN). Due to congestion, the number of onward fights into Vietnam from these airports is limited and most will involve a transit stop along the way. Luckily for international travellers, two new international Airports opened in Cam Ranh and Phu Quoc.
Local insight: Make sure you keep both white and yellow duplicate customs forms as you will need them for your departure.

Tan Son Nhat International Airport (SGN)

Located only in 10km from the centre of Ho Chi Minh City, and is the busiest airport in Vietnam. It has separate domestic and international terminals,

with a modern international terminal that opened in 2007. A taxi ride between airport and centre should cost about VND 200,000. However, you can go by bus 109, 49 or 152 with a much better ticket price.
Ward 4, Tan Binh District, HCMC 08 3844 1039 hochiminhcityairport.com
Local insight: Check your fight status online at hochiminhcityairport.com/fight-status arrivalsdepartures.

Airline Listings in Ho Chi Minh City

  • Air France
    com / 130 Dong Khoi, D1 08 3829 0981
  • American Airlines
    com / 194 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D3 08 3933 0330
  • All Nippon Airways
    co.jp / Sun Wah Tower, 16th Floor, 115 Nguyen Hue, D1 08 3812 9612
  • British Airways: britishairways.com
    2nd Floor, 170-172 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, D3 08 3930 2933
  • China Airlines
    china-airlines.com / 37 Ton Duc Thang, D1 08 3911 1591
  • Emirates: emirates.com
    1409 Sun Wah Tower, 115 Nguyen Hue, D1 08 3911 3099
  • Etihad Airway: etihad.com
    11th Floor, Bitexco Financial Tower, 02 Hai Trieu, D1
    08 7300 1300
  • Jetstar Airways: jetstar.com
    com / 130 Dong Khoi, D1 08 3829 0981
  • Korean Airlines
    com / 9th Floor Le Loi, D1 08 3824 2878
  • Quatar Airways
    com / 1-3-5 Le Duan, D1 08 3827 3888
  • Singapore Airlines: singaporeair.com
    Saigon Tower 29 Le Duan D1 08 3827 3888
  • Thai Airways
    com / 29 Le Duan, D1 08 3822 3365
  • Turkish Airlines: turkishairlines.com
    Room 6, 8th Floor, 76 Le lai, D1 08 3936 0360
  • Vietjet Air: vietjetair.com
    2C Truong Son, 48 Phan Dinh Giot, Tan Binh D 08 3845 4640
  • Cathay Pacifc Airways
    72-74 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D3 08 3822 3203
  • Cebu Pacifc
    35 Ton Duc Thang, D1 08 2221 7620
  • Emirates:
    1Sunwah Tower, 115 Nguyen Hue, D1 08 3933 0777
  • Eva Airways
    2A-4A Ton Duc Thang, D1 08 3822 4488
  • Etihad Airway:
    1370A Cach Mang Thang 8, D3 08 6254 8383
  • Finnair
    170-172 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, D3 08 3933 0777
  • Royal Brunei Airlines
    35 Ton Duc Thang, D1 08 2221 7633
  • United Airline
    115 Nguyen Hue, D1 08 3823 4755
  • Philippines Airlines
    91 Pasteur, D1 08 3827 2105

Communications

Mobile Phones

With 1.5 mobile phones per person in Vietnam, it’s not surprising that there seems to be a mobile phone shop on every street. Almost all of these shops will have cases, chargers and screen covers for the latest smartphones on the cheap. Remember that almost all of these accessories will be off-brand and might not be of the best quality.
The shops also carry pre-paid SIM cards for local phone carriers – and they will probably be a lot cheaper than what you’re used to at home, so consider switching to a local prepaid number during your stay. For repairs, there are several places in Ho Chi Minh City that specialise in phone repair:

Ho Chi Minh City

  • Mai Nguyen
    27Nguyen Binh Khiem, D1 – 08 3910 1227
    215-217 Tran Hung Dao, D1 08 3920 8222
  • The Gioi Di Dong
    130 Tran Quang Khai, D1 – 1800 1060
    8D Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D1
    136 Nguyen Thai Hoc, D1
    189 Cong Quynh, D1
    190B Nguyen Thi Dinh, D2
  • FPT Shop
    121 Le Loi, D1 – 08 3914 4873
    L1-01, Vincom Center 70-72 Le Thanh Ton, D1
    B1-15, Union Square, 171 Dong Khoi, D1
  • Nguyen Kim Electronics Centre
    63-65-67 Tran Hung Dao, D1 08 3821 1211
    216Phan Dang Luu, D1 08 6252 3399
  • Vien Thong A
    139 Tran Nao, D2 – 1900 54 5446
    121A Nguyen Duy Trinh, D2 – 1900 545446
  • Future World
    234 Tran Hung Dao, D1 – 08 3838 6881
    240 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D1 – 08 3930 7673

Cameras

There are a plethora of shops around the Dong Khoi and Nguyen Hue area of Ho Chi Minh City that sell new and used camera equipment. They are also great spots to look for rare Soviet World War II-era and American War-era flm cameras, but prices tend to be a bit infated. Luckily, shopkeepers are always open for negotiations and you may score a rare bargain. You can also fnd accessories including memory cards, off-brand battery chargers and tripods. If you need to get your Canon or Nikon repaired, we recommend that you use one of the authorised repair centres in Ho Chi Minh City.

Ho Chi Minh City

  • Authorised Canon repair
    10A, Tran Hung Dao, D1 08 3838 9383;

Authorised Nikon repair

  • VIC Vietnam
    139A Pasteur, D3 08 3914 6361
  • Camcare (General repair)
    12 Huynh Thuc Khang, D1 08 3914 2945
  • Pham The (General repair)
    11 Le Cong Kieu, D1 08 3829 5888

Computers

Both cities have shops that carry a wide range of computers and accessories. Also, there are plenty of places to get your laptop or tablet fxed. However, fnding one that has English-speaking staff might be a problem. We recommend Phong Vu in Ho Chi Minh City, as it is an electronics superstore with some English-speaking staff.
If you own an Apple product, then go to Futureworld, located in Ho Chi Minh City. All these stores will have accessories galore for you to choose from, but note that the prices might be higher than what you would pay in neighbouring countries.

Ho Chi Minh City

  • Phong Vu
    264A-264B-264C Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D3
    08 3933 0766
  • Futureworld
    240 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D3 08 3930 7673
    3F Unit 19-20A Crescent Mall, D7 08 5413 7316
  • Iknow
    75 Thao Dien, Thao Dien, D2 1656 581 652
    briancaleda@iknow.com.vn iknow.com.vn

Local insight: Such is the high number of personal devices owned in the country now, that internet cafes where you can use their equipment are very few and far between.

Mail

The postal system in Vietnam is fairly reliable, although not overly quick. If you need your package delivered in a hurry, there are several shipping companies to choose from. Don’t seal parcels before taking them to the post offce as you will be required to show the contents to customs before having the package weighed and priced. DHL and FedEx are also available.
If you are planning to receive a package, make sure the shipping company will track the package for the whole journey. Postcards cost around VND15,000 to send overseas – good to know when you want to fre off that quirky propaganda art postcard.

Ho Chi Minh City

  • Saigon Central Post Offce
    2 Cong Xa Paris, D1
    7:00am-7:00pm 08 3829 6862
  • Vietnam Internet, Phones and Post Offce
    125 Hai Ba Trung, D1
    08 3827 0888 & Fax 08 3 8270 777
  • DHL International HCMC
    6 Thang Long, Tan Binh District
    Mon-Fri, 8:00am-6:30pm 08 3844 6203 Fedex HCMC
    6 Thang Long, Tan Binh District
    Mon-Fri 7:30am-6:00pm 08 3948 0370

Local insight: Whilst the Old Saigon Post Offce is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the city it is worth remembering that it is still a working post offce and the best one in town.

Internet

Vietnam is the fastest growing internet market in Southeast Asia, with over 50% household saturation of ADSL in urban cities. Cafes, once an aromatic meeting place for Vietnamese, have morphed into internet connection hubs and most will freely give you a login password for the price of a drink. As of print, the government is opening up access to social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, etc. However, internet users in Vietnam sometimes have to suffer snail-paced connection speeds when the underwater cable system crucial to Vietnam’s Internet connectivity is undergoing maintenance.
Local insight: If you are going to spend a few hours in a coffee shop using their WiFi, buy an occasional top- up coffee or snack.  

Phones

Vietnam’s network is GSM compatible and will work with most carriers. You can buy a local SIM card and minutes for around VDN100,000. The most popular providers are Mobifone, Viettel and Vinaphone, and their rates are very good compared to many other countries. 3G service is easily available in the metropolitan centres and pre-paid data package rates are cheap and affordable.
The international country code for Vietnam is +84. Listed below are the prefxes for the major destination cities in Vietnam. Dalat 063
Hanoi 04
Hoi An 0510
Mui Ne 062 Danang 0511
Ho Chi Minh City 08
Hue 054
Nha Trang 058 You can pick up a SIM card and/or pre-paid credit at countless shops in both cities, but we have listed offce locations should you need any assistance:

Ho Chi Minh City

  • Mobifone
    80 Nguyen Du, D108 3822 8171
  • Viettel
    166C-D-E Tran Hung Dao, D108 6655 1205
  • Vinaphone
    80 Nguyen Du, D1 08 3827 9680

Local insight: Viettel has better coverage throughout the country and is a better choice if you are heading to more remote areas.

Hospital

Dental Clinics

Vietnam is near the top of the list when it comes to countries that offer affordable dental care. Foreign-owned and operated clinics in Ho Chi Minh City offer high standards. These dental clinics provide the latest services and techniques along with a personable and gentle approach.
A full range of treatments is available including preventative care, cosmetic dentistry, teeth whitening, implants, veneers, crowns, bridges and extractions.

  • European Dental Clinic
    17-17A Le Van Mien, D2 09 1874 9204
    Mon-Fri 8:00am-8:00pm / Sat 8:00am-5:00pm
  • Westcoast International Dental Clinic
    27 Nguyen Trung Truc, D1 08 3825 6999
    Mon-Fri 8:00am-8:00pm / Sat 8:00am-5:00pm
  • Nha Khoa Minh Khai
    199 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D1 08 3925 3399
    Mon-Sat 8:30am – 12:00am & 1:30pm – 8:30pm
  • Starlight
    2 Bis Cong Truong Quoc Te, D3 08 3822 6222
    Mon-Fri 8:00am-8:00pm / Sat 8:00am-5:00pm

Local insight: A check-up and clean will set you back about VND100,000-250,000 at a local dental clinic and around VND500,000-800,000 at an international clinic. For major work, you may want to stick with the international clinics.

Health Concerns

Be aware that health care in rural areas is extremely basic and it’s best to head to an urban centre even for minor injuries. There is a sufficient standard of health care in the cities for treating such injuries, but more complicated treatment may require evacuation to another nearby country.
Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad as well as repatriation, because you may have to pay first and claim later (check the fine print).
Also, it may be a bit morbid to think about, but it’s advisable to complete the next-of-kin details in the back of your passport before travelling to
any country.
If you are bringing prescription medication into Vietnam, we advise to carry it in your hand luggage and carry a copy of your prescription..

Clinics & Hospitals

The quality of care at international hospitals in Ho Chi Minh City is quite good. Besides treatment and care of minor ailments, the city’s international standard clinics offer a wide range of services and treatments.
They take walk-ins, but you would be wise to book an appointment beforehand to avoid long waiting times. Bring your passport and medical insurance card if you have one. A full range of services such as health check-ups, dental implants, laser eye surgery, joint replacement, spinal surgery and cosmetic surgery are all available.
Bear in mind that if your insurance provider does not have an agreement with the medical centre, you will need to pay the doctor or hospital/clinic for treatment received before you leave. If this is the case, be certain to keep your receipts so that you can claim reimbursement from your medical insurance provider.

  • CMI
    1 Han Thuyen, D1 08 3827 2366
    Mon-Fri 8:30am-7:00pm / Sun 9:00am-1:00pm
  • Family Medical Practice
    Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan, D1 08 3822 7848

FV Hospital
6 Nguyen Luong Bang, D7 08 5411 3333

Pharmacies

Although the selection of popular pharmaceutical drugs available in Ho Chi Minh City pharmacies are 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 reliable chemist. If you do need a pharmacy, write down the exact medicine you require for the pharmacist.
Depending on your requirements, some pharmacies will refill your empty containers without validating a new prescription. If you don’t rely on local pharmacies, the previously listed medical clinics have their own pharmacies but may require a doctor’s appointment to receive a prescription. Feminine hygiene products can be found in supermarkets, but tampons (as opposed to pads) may be a bit hard to find.
When purchasing any medication, check the expiry date.

  • Pasteur Pharmacy
    156 Pasteur, D1 08 3822 3737
    Mon-Fri 8:00am-9:00pm, Sat-Sun 10:00am-5:00pm
  • Eco Pharmacy
    397 Hai Ba Trung, D3 08 3820 8487
    6:00am to midnight

 

Ho Chi Minh City Tourist & Bus Map

(https://www.visithochiminhcity.vn/visitors-guide/detail/name/ho-chi-minh-city-tourist-bus-map/ph/Mzc2/la/en)

Maps of Ho Chi Minh City, everyone come to Ho Chi Minh City should have maps of major tourist areas in Ho Chi Minh City with Attractions Listing. Besides it, bus map is also essential for your discovery journey.

Ho Chi Minh City’s Tourist Map

Large-size Tourist map file PDF: https://www.visithochiminhcity.vn/upload/Ho_Chi_Minh_City_Tourist_Map.pdf

Ho Chi Minh City’s Bus Map

Large-size Bus map file PDF: https://www.visithochiminhcity.vn/upload/Ho_Chi_Minh_City_Bus_Map.pdf

Welcome to the Techcombank Ho Chi Minh City International Marathon 2018

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