Getting around Ho Chi Minh City is a fairly easy task despite its notorious traffic. It becomes more straightforward once you’ve done a bit of research before making your way to this lively city. Ho Chi Minh City, also commonly known as Saigon, is made up of 24 districts. District 1 to 5 hosts the highest number of attractions, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and shopping venues in the city.

    Traveling via the iconic cyclo remains a popular way of getting around, but there’s also an efficient network of motorcycle taxi cabs, public buses, and private taxi cabs connecting you to the city centre and beyond. Travelers can also rent a bicycle or motorbike, though navigating through the city’s busy (and somewhat hazardous) traffic might be quite the challenge for the inexperienced. For a hassle-free way of navigating through the city, check out our guide to Saigon's public transportation.

    1

    Taxi cab

    Traveling by taxi cab is one of the easiest ways to get around Ho Chi Minh City as you can find several vehicles parked outside renowned hotels, landmarks, bars, and restaurants. Besides the standard taxi cab fare, you'll also be charged for every kilometer traveled.

    In District 1, you should be able to get to most places easily. Do note that taxi cab scams are quite common in Saigon, so stick with legitimate taxi cab companies such as Mai Linh Taxi cab and Vinasun.

    2

    Xe om (motorcycle taxi cab)

    Xe om or motorcycle taxi cabs are a common yet interesting mode of transportation in Vietnam. You'll be weaving through the bustling traffic with an experienced driver. It’s also fairly inexpensive depending on your destination (and haggling skills). You can also opt for an hourly booking fare, which can be quite the steal since you’ll be able to explore an entire district within a short amount of time.

    You’re also provided with a helmet for safety; just make sure to keep your knees in. Most drivers appreciate you looking out for traffic and hand-signalling a turn. The only downside to xe om is the language barrier, as most locals can’t converse in English.

    3

    Cyclo

    The 3-wheeled cyclo is a diminishing mode of transportation in Saigon, mostly found nearby popular landmarks, temples, restaurants, and bars. With an hourly rental, most travelers opt for cyclo to travel between the city sights or short trips within the Dong Khoi district. 

    Due to the rather bustling traffic in Ho Chi Minh City, we suggest against getting all-day cyclo tours. However, traveling via cyclo can be quite a memorable experience if you're the thrill-seeking type.

    4

    Bus

    Buses serve more than 100 routes around Ho Chi Minh City and are great for exploring the city on a tight budget. Easily distinguished by their white and green exterior, all buses are fitted with comfortable seats and air-conditioning. Major bus terminals within the city include Ben Thanh Station (where you can get a free map of the Ho Chi Minh Bus Route), Cholon Station, and Mien Dong Station.

    If you’re looking to take the bus from the airport to the city centre or vise versa, look out for the #147 (Cho Lon Bus Station – Tan Son Nhat) and #152 (Trung Son Resident – Tan Son Nhat) buses. Bus#147 takes you to Ho Chi Minh City’s Chinatown area while bus #152 will go to the Ben Thanh Market, which is less than five minutes away from the backpacker district of Pham Ngu Lao.

    5

    Bicycle and motorcycle rentals

    Bicycle and motorcycle rentals are available all over Vietnam, though most travelers decide against renting one in Saigon due to the city's chaotic traffic. Most hotels can help arrange for bicycle and motorcycle rentals, but these come with very inflated prices, so your best bet is heading to the Pham Ngu Lao district, where rates for a full-day bicycle with helmet or motorcycles are very affordable.

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    Attractions and experiences recommended in our guides may be affected. Please check local guidance before you travel.

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