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Sam Nguyen

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Asia > Vietnam > Ho Chi Minh City > Tan Son Nhat International Airport > Useful Info
Updated on Jul 26, 2019 Useful Info

Best ways to get to downtown from Ho Chi Minh City international airport

  • HCMC's Tan Son Nhat International Airport is located 7km northwest of downtown
  • At the moment there is no train that serves the airport. In the future, metro line 4 will serve the airport but this line is not scheduled to be completed until 2025, plus delays
  • For now, the best way to get into the city is by taxi, which is what most foreigners do. The cheapest way to get in is by public bus (mainly route 109)
  • Taxi from the airport:
  • Fare: 150,000 - 200,000 VND ($6.5-$8.5 USD) to get to District 1, which is the main commercial area at the very center of the city. Payment is cash VND only, so make sure you exchange some at the airport
  • How long does it take: 30-40 minutes in normal traffic to district 1; can take as much as 1 hour during rush hour of 7-9am and 5-7pm
  • When are taxis available: any time when airport is open
  • Where and how to take a taxi:
  • Taxi scams is rampant in HCMC (just Google it), so it's important to take only either the green Mai Linh Taxi, or the white (with red and green stripes) Vinasun Taxi. Scroll to below for pictures of these two taxis. To get to the area where these taxis are waiting for passengers, you basically need to turn left after you get out of the terminal building and walk for about 40 meters. Exact steps as follows:
  1. After you exit the baggage claim area, exit the terminal building through the door directly in front of you:User submitted photo of Tan Son Nhat International Airport
  2. After exiting the terminal building and the area with lots of people waiting for passengers, turn left
  3. After turning left, continue walking straight and follow the overhead blue signs to get to the taxi area. You need to walk for about 40 meters and you will see another blue sign for "TAXI STAND" on a pillarUser submitted photo of Tan Son Nhat International AirportUser submitted photo of Tan Son Nhat International Airport
  4. Go past the "TAXI STAND" sign, and you will see on your right hand side all the parked taxis. As you approach this area, someone in the uniform of the taxi company will approach you and direct you to the correct taxiUser submitted photo of Tan Son Nhat International Airport
  5. It's very important that until you get to this point, you need to ignore any touts who tries to get you to take their car. There are many of them who will give you a cheap quote (like 140k VND) and get you to cross the road to the parking lot across from the airport terminal. Do not go with them as these are not taxis, just unlicensed private drivers who will likely scam you. Too many tourists get taxi scammed in HCMC.
  • Additionally, do not go with any taxi company other than Vinasun and Mai Linh (remember the spelling beware of taxis that has similar looking but not identical names). Other taxi companies use meters that go up at 3-4 times the speed as Vinasun and Mai Linh, so your 200k VND trip will end up costing you 600k VND based on the meter and it's all legal
  • Do not give you luggage to any taxi company staff to bring into the trunk, do it yourself. Because you need to make sure the car belongs to either Vinasun or Mai Linh. If the car does not have Vinasun or Mai Linh written on it, do not take it
  • Vinasun taxi:User submitted photo of Tan Son Nhat International Airport
  • Mai Linh taxi: User submitted photo of Tan Son Nhat International Airport
  • Consider using Grab to hail a car instead of traditional taxi:
  • Personally I usually don't take taxis anymore ever since Uber and Grab became available. Uber doesn't exit in Vietnam anymore and Grab is the main ride hailing app in Southeast Asia
  • I highly recommend using Grab for airport transportation because it's cheaper and way less chance of scam
  • Grab from the airport costs only 90k VND ($4USD) to district 1, 40% cheaper than regular taxi. You can also pay with credit card by linking the card to the app. Grab also lets you pay cash directly to the driver if you want
  • Unlikely to get scammed because the fare is fixed and you won't pay more than what the app calculates when you order the car
  • Download Grab app and set it up before getting here, you will need to have a working phone number to receive the activation code
  • Once you get here, you can either use the free airport wifi to get a Grab, or get a SIM card at the airport


  • Bus from the airport:
  • There are a couple of good bus options from the airport to downtown, namely bus 109 (the most popular one), bus 49 (the quickest one), and bus 152 (the cheapest one). If you're staying nearby one of the stops, these are fantastic and economical option to get downtown. There's also bus 119, but this goes to district 5 and west, so only take it if you're staying in these districts
  • All buses are air conditioned and have space for luggage
  • Bus 109 (the most popular one):
  • This is the popular "yellow bus" that you see talked about in forums. It's a very nice air conditioned bus that runs between 5:30am and 1am, every day of the week
  • Schedule: Departs every every 15-20 minutes between noon and 8:30pm, then every 30 minutes outside of this time. You can find the current schedule on the Busmap app, which is the biggest and best public bus schedule app for Vietnam and has information for all public buses in Ho Chi Minh City
  • Route map and stops: use Busmap app to see the current route map (click "Lookup" and enter "109" into the search field). You can see the map at this link as well: https://busmap.vn/map/lookup/route/199. Click "ENG" for English, and click "Backward Trip" to see departures from the airport
  • Trip length: Takes 45 minutes to get downtown
  • Origin and destination: Runs between the international terminal arrival area and September 23rd Park, which is in the heart of district 1, and a few blocks away from the Saigon Bus Station (the bus also stops at Saigon Bus Station 3 stops before the final stop at the park)
  • Ticket price: is 20,000 VND ($0.85USD) for over 5km and 12,000 VND ($0.5USD) for under 5km. Most tourists take it to the bus station and so will cost 20,000VND
  • Where to the board bus 109:
  • Exit the terminal building:User submitted photo of Tan Son Nhat International Airport
  • Then turn right after you clear the area where people are waiting for arrival passengers:User submitted photo of Tan Son Nhat International Airport
  • After turning right, walk for 30 meters or so until you get to pillar 11
  • You will see overhead blue sign for "BUS", which will point to the other side of the road. Follow the sign and cross the road
  • You will see some yellow buses parked here. There's an identical-looking bus 119 that's also parked here, and run by the same operator, but goes to very different places, so please make sure you double check the route number before getting on
  • This is what bus 109 looks like:User submitted photo of Tan Son Nhat International Airport
  • 152 (the cheapest option to downtown but takes longer; take this bus if you're broke):
  • This is actually a public bus, that's why it's the cheapest. The other options are all technically airport shuttle buses. The bus is green
  • Schedule: 5:30am to 6:45pm everyday, once every 15-20 minutes
  • Fare: 5,000 VND ($0.25USD)
  • Trip length: 55 minutes
  • Route map and stops: takes a similar route as the popular bus 109. You can view the current route map on Busmap app (click "Lookup" and type "152" into the search field) or online at https://busmap.vn/map/lookup/route/37 (click "ENG" and click "Backward Trip" to see departures from the airport)
  • Where to board: same spot as bus 109 above, follow the same instructions
  • What bus 152 looks like: User submitted photo of Tan Son Nhat International Airport
  • Bus 49 (I recommend this one as it's the quickest):
  • A smaller shuttle bus run by the same company that runs 109. This one is more targeted at tourists and make stops at various landmarks and major hotels
  • Schedule: 5:30am to 1am everyday, once every 20-30 minutes
  • Fare: 40,000 VND ($1.75USD), ticket purchased at the booth at the boarding point at international and domestic terminal (see location below) with cash VND
  • Trip length: 30 minutes to downtown
  • Where to board: you can board this bus at both the international terminal and domestic terminal. At international terminal you board at pillar 12 (turn right after you exit the terminal building); at domestic terminal you board at pillar 18/19
  • Route map: for some reason this bus map is not available on Busmap.vn, but here's a map I found from the official website of the bus operatorUser submitted photo of Tan Son Nhat International Airport
  • What Bus 49 looks like:User submitted photo of Tan Son Nhat International Airport
  • More info can be obtained here
  • Bus 119 (only take if you're staying in district 5 and 10):
  • This bus bypasses the main city center, and really serves western districts like 5 and 10. If you're staying in district 5, this is the bus to take
  • Schedule: 4:00am to 9:00pm everyday, once every 30 minutes
  • Fare: 12,000 VND ($0.5USD), buy ticket onboard with cash
  • Trip length: 65 minutes
  • Route map and stops: you can view the current route map on Busmap app (click "Lookup" and type "119" into the search field) or online at https://busmap.vn/map/lookup/route/197 (click "ENG" for English)
  • Where to board: same spot as bus 109 above, follow the same instructions
  • What bus 119 looks like: run by the same company as 109 and looks exactly like bus 109. In fact it looks so similar that you must double check to make sure you're getting on the right busUser submitted photo of Tan Son Nhat International Airport