Until recently your only reliable option getting around in Ho Chi Minh was a Vinasun or Mai Linh Taxi. Their green and white cars are everywhere in Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi with many an eager driver ready to take you ‘the long way round’ to whatever destination you desire.
The Saigon metro is certainly in the pipeline and will much improve the transport throughout the city when it’s finally built, but that won’t be for a number of years yet.
Alongside the dubious cabs are the rickshaw guys.
These guys tend to hang around the tourist spots such as the Notre Dame Cathedral in District 1, waiting to pounce on unsuspecting tourists. Whilst they’re only trying to make a living, i’ve always avoided these guys as it’s just too hot to sit in a slow moving seat being pedalled around.
The arrival of Grab Car and Grab Bike in Ho Chi Minh has resulted in somewhat of a revolution. The only time when you’ll have to take a taxi now in Ho Chi Minh is at the airport-however even here you can get a grab bike or car if you walk around the corner.
There’s also a good airport bus now that runs regularly from the airport to the city centre-I haven’t used it as I normally just ride my bike to the airport and park but I hear it’s good. If you’re feeling somewhat adventurous you can ride your bike to the airport and park there for a long as you like.
The airport now has a recently opened multi-story parking lot that has good security and is very cheap. I left my bike there for 7 days recently and it cost about $6.
It would cost that for 30 mins at a UK airport.
If you were planning on being in Ho Chi Minh for more than a few days I recommend you download the Grab app for your phone.
It’s really easy to use and you can zoom into your location or just type in the address if you know it. The beauty of the app is that the price is clearly displayed to you on your phone and the driver on his. This means no negotiation and bullshit that used to be such a headache when dealing with the local cabbies here.
The drivers are usually really friendly too as they’re keen for you to leave them a 5 star rating. It’s a great thing here as it’s gives a lot of locals a good, regular job. It’s win-win: you get a reliable cheap ride and the local guys get reliable employment.
Due to the somewhat lax regulation here it seems that almost anyone can become a grab driver. This isn’t a bad thing however as you can still leave reviews for your driver so customer service and competition is fierce. It also means that there are 000’s of drivers and the prices and waiting times for cars and bikes is very low.
I can get a bike to come to my apartment in less than 5 minutes most of the time with most journeys costing less than $2. Some expats even use the service to get food delivered or to send items around town. I haven’t done this but again I hear it’s very reliable.
It’s worth saying that if you’re here for over a month and do a a lot of driving around then the costs can still mount up and it’s worth investing in a scooter as they’re so cheap.