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Uber is no longer available in Ho Chi Minh City as the company exited the Southeast Asian market in 2018, selling its operations regional competitor Grab. Since then, Grab has become the leading ride-hailing app in Ho Chi Minh City, offering a wide range of services similar to those Uber used to provide. In addition to Grab, various modern and traditional transport solutions are available.

Welcome to Ho Chi Minh City, a vibrant and bustling metropolis at the heart of Vietnam’s economic and cultural activity. Known for its dynamic street life, historic French colonial landmarks, and bustling markets, Ho Chi Minh City offers a unique blend of traditional and modern Vietnamese life. For travelers coming to the city, understanding the local transportation options is crucial for a smooth and enjoyable visit. While Uber may no longer be an option, the city boasts a variety of transportation methods ranging from ride-hailing apps to traditional taxis and public transport, ensuring visitors can navigate the city with ease.

Is There Uber in Ho Chi Minh City?

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As previously mentioned, Uber ceased its operations in Ho Chi Minh City and the wider Southeast Asian region in 2018, transferring its services to Grab. This move has made Grab the dominant ride-hailing service in the city, widely used by both locals and tourists for its convenience and reliability. Grab offers various services, including GrabBike, GrabCar, and even food delivery services, which have been widely adopted as the primary method for digital, on-demand transportation in Ho Chi Minh City.

Are There Other Ride-sharing Apps Like in Ho Chi Minh City?

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Grab – The Primary Ride-hailing Service

Services Offered

Grab’s extensive range of services in Ho Chi Minh City includes;

  • GrabBike – motorbike rides
  • GrabCar (private car rides)
  • GrabTaxi (traditional taxis through the app)
  • GrabExpress (courier service).

Additionally, GrabFood is their food delivery service, providing a wide selection of dining options.

Pricing

Grab’s pricing is competitive and transparent.

For GrabBike, fares start as low as 12,000 VND ($0.50 USD) for the first 2 kilometers, with additional charges applied thereafter.

GrabCar prices begin at around 25,000 VND ($1.08 USD) for the first 2 kilometers. Prices can vary based on time of day, demand, and specific promotions.

Common Issues

Some users report surge pricing during peak hours and occasional challenges in communicating with drivers who may not be fluent in English. However, the app includes features to mitigate these issues, such as in-app translation and fare estimates.

Be – A Strong Local Competitor

Services Offered

Be offers a similar range of services to Grab, including BeBike and BeCar. They focus on providing a reliable and comfortable experience with an emphasis on local understanding.

Pricing

Be’s pricing is designed to be competitive with Grab, often running promotions to attract users. Expect the pricing structure to closely mirror Grab’s, with slight variations based on promotions and specific services.

Common Issues

As with any ride-hailing service, users may occasionally face high demand and longer wait times, especially during rush hours. Be is making continuous efforts to expand their driver network to mitigate these issues.

Gojek (GoViet in Vietnam)

Services Offered

Gojek offers a wide range of services under the GoViet brand, including GoBike and GoCar. They also offer GoFood for food delivery, contributing to their ecosystem of services.

Pricing

Gojek’s pricing strategy is competitive, aiming to provide affordable options for both GoBike and GoCar services. They also offer various promotions to keep prices attractive for users.

Common Issues

Similar to other services, Gojek users might experience surge pricing and availability issues during peak times. The app is, however, well-designed, with features aimed at improving the user experience and reducing potential communication barriers.

Taxis in Ho Chi Minh City

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Taxis are a ubiquitous sight in Ho Chi Minh City, offering a convenient and accessible mode of transportation for both locals and visitors. The city is served by several reputable taxi companies, with vehicles readily available across the city. Here’s what you need to know about taking taxis in Ho Chi Minh City:

Are Taxis Cheap in Ho Chi Minh City?

Taxis in Ho Chi Minh City are relatively affordable, especially when compared to Western standards. They offer a practical option for those looking for direct transportation without the need to navigate the app-based ride-hailing platforms. However, prices can vary between companies and during different times of the day.

How Much Do Taxis Cost in Ho Chi Minh City?

Taxi fares in Ho Chi Minh City start with a base fare, usually around 12,000 VND ($0.52 USD) for the first kilometer, with subsequent kilometers costing less. A typical ride within the city center might cost between 50,000 to 100,000 VND ($2.15 to $4.30 USD), depending on the distance and traffic conditions.

Do Taxis Accept Credit Cards in Ho Chi Minh City?

While cash is the preferred method of payment for most taxi services in Ho Chi Minh City, an increasing number of taxis are beginning to accept credit card payments. It’s always best to ask the driver before starting your journey if you prefer to pay by card.

How Do I Catch a Taxi in Ho Chi Minh City?

Taxis can be hailed directly from the street, found at designated taxi stands, or booked in advance through the taxi company’s hotline. Major hotels, airports, and tourist attractions are also common places to find taxis.

Reliable Taxi Companies in Ho Chi Minh City

Here is a list of reliable taxi companies in Ho Chi Minh City, complete with phone numbers and links to their websites:

  • Mai Linh Taxi
    • Phone: (028) 38 38 38 38
    • Website: www.mailinh.vn
    • Mai Linh is a well-established brand across Vietnam, known for its green and white taxis and comprehensive service across many cities​​​​.
  • VinaSun Taxi
    • Phone: (028) 38 277 178 / (028) 38 27 27 27
    • Hotline: (028) 3929 4144
    • Website: www.vinasuntaxi.com
    • VinaSun offers a wide presence in Ho Chi Minh City, recognized for its reliable and professional service​​​​.
  • Vina Taxi
    • Phone: 028 38 155 152 / 028 38 155 153
    • Hotline: 028.38 111 111
    • Website: www.vinataxi.vn
    • Vina Taxi is known for its convenient services and has been serving Ho Chi Minh City and surrounding areas since 1996​​.
  • Taxi Saigontourist
    • Hotline: 028.38458888 / 028 38.44.66.77 / 028 38.458.458
    • Website: www.saigontourist-stt.com
    • With over ten years of experience, Taxi Saigontourist is celebrated for its exceptional service and has been recognized as a favorite taxi brand among users​​.
  • Taxi Hoang Long
    • Phone: 0283.9232.400 / 0283.9232.401
    • Hotline: 028.38 68.68.68
    • Website: https://hoanglonggroup.com/dich-vu-taxi-hoang-long/
    • Known for modern vehicles and competitive pricing, Taxi Hoang Long provides a comfortable and safe journey across Ho Chi Minh City​​.

Are There Taxi Apps in Ho Chi Minh City?

Yes, some larger taxi companies in Ho Chi Minh City have their own apps, making it easier to book a ride. Notable apps include:

Are Taxis Safe in Ho Chi Minh City?

Taxis from reputable companies like Vinasun and Mai Linh are generally safe and reliable. However, it’s advisable to avoid unmarked taxis or those from lesser-known companies due to the risk of overcharging or scams.

Potential Taxi Scams in Ho Chi Minh City

Taxi scams are unfortunately common in many tourist destinations around the world, including Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam. Here’s a list of potential taxi scams to be aware of when visiting this vibrant city:

  • Tampered Meters: Some taxis may have meters that run too fast or are otherwise tampered with to increase the fare.
  • Long-Hauling: Taking a longer route than necessary to increase the fare. This is common when the passenger is unfamiliar with the area.
  • Fake Taxi Companies: Some scammers operate vehicles that mimic those of reputable taxi companies. These can be hard to distinguish from the real ones but often charge exorbitant rates.
  • Refusal to Use Meter: Drivers may refuse to use the meter and instead try to negotiate a fare that is significantly higher than what it should be.
  • Switching Notes: A driver might claim you handed them a smaller denomination bill than you actually did, swapping a large bill for a smaller one when you’re not looking.
  • Forced Shopping Stops: A driver might insist on stopping at certain shops or tourist traps where they receive a commission on your purchases.
  • ‘Broken’ Meter: The driver starts the journey, then claims that the meter is not working and demands a high flat rate.
  • Airport Scams: Charging exorbitant rates for what should be a standard fare from the airport to your accommodation. This can also include claiming that your hotel is closed or overbooked, and instead taking you to a more expensive hotel where the driver receives a kickback.
  • Dropping Off at the Wrong Location: Purposely dropping passengers off at the wrong location to extend the ride or to force the passenger to take another taxi.
  • Collusion with Hotels or Businesses: Some drivers may try to convince you not to go to your chosen hotel or restaurant because it’s “closed” or “no good,” and suggest another place where they get a commission.

To avoid these scams, it’s advisable to:

  • Use reputable taxi companies or ride-hailing apps like Grab or Vinasun in Vietnam.
  • Always insist on using the meter.
  • Know the general direction of your destination and keep an eye on the route using your own GPS.
  • Have small bills to avoid issues with change.
  • Learn a few basic phrases in Vietnamese to communicate better with drivers.
  • Avoid taking taxis that are parked directly outside tourist spots; walk a bit further away to hail a cab.

Being aware of these potential scams can help you navigate Ho Chi Minh City more safely and enjoy what the city has to offer without undue stress.

Do I Need to Tip Taxi Drivers in Ho Chi Minh City?

Tipping is not customary in Vietnam, including for taxi services. However, taxi drivers are paid very little in Vietnam and rounding up the fare or leaving small change is certainly appreciated if you receive good service.

Other Ways to Get Around Ho Chi Minh City

Bus and bus driver at a bus stop

Ho Chi Minh City offers a variety of transportation methods beyond ride-hailing apps and taxis, catering to the diverse preferences and needs of its residents and visitors. Here are some alternative ways to explore and navigate the city:

Public Bus System

The public bus system in Ho Chi Minh City is an affordable and extensive network that covers most areas of the city and its suburbs. With over 150 bus routes, buses are a cheap way to get around, with fares ranging from 6,000 VND to 10,000 VND ($0.26 to $0.43 USD) depending on the distance.

  • How to Use: Bus stops are clearly marked, and route information is available at major stops and online. Payment is made directly to the conductor on the bus.
  • More Information: Ho Chi Minh City Bus Service Website

Motorbike / Scooter Rental

Renting a motorbike gives you the flexibility to explore Ho Chi Minh City at your own pace. It’s a popular choice for those comfortable with navigating the city’s dynamic traffic.

  • Cost: Daily rental rates range from 100,000 VND to 500,000 VND ($4.30 to $20 USD), depending on the type of motorbike.
  • How to Rent: Motorbike rental shops are plentiful, especially in tourist areas. A valid passport and sometimes a deposit are required to rent.
  • Safety: Ensure you’re comfortable with local driving conditions (which can be chaotic) and always wear a helmet.

Bicycle Rental

For shorter distances or leisurely exploration, renting a bicycle can be a pleasant way to see the city, especially in districts with less traffic or around parks.

  • Cost: Bicycle rental rates vary but expect to pay around 120,000 – 250,000 VND ($5 – $10 USD) per day.
  • Where to Rent: Many hotels and rental shops in tourist areas offer bicycles for rent.

Walking

Ho Chi Minh City’s central districts, particularly District 1 and 3, are relatively compact and can be explored on foot. Walking allows you to experience the city’s vibrant street life up close.

  • Safety Tips: Be mindful of motorbikes and bicycles, even on sidewalks, and take care when crossing streets.

Cyclos

For a traditional Vietnamese experience, consider taking a cyclo tour. Cyclos are pedal-powered tricycles where the passenger sits in front while the driver pedals from behind. They’re a charming way to see the sights, especially in the city’s historic areas.

  • Cost: Negotiate the fare in advance. Short rides should cost around 100,000 VND ($4.30 USD), but prices can vary.
  • How to Hire: Cyclo drivers typically offer their services around popular tourist spots. Ensure to agree on a price before starting the tour.

Each of these transportation methods offers a unique perspective of Ho Chi Minh City, whether you’re looking for the efficiency of public transport, the independence of a motorbike or bicycle, or the leisurely pace of walking or cyclo rides.

How Do I Get from the International Airport to the City Center?

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Tan Son Nhat International Airport is the main gateway for international travelers coming to Ho Chi Minh City. Located approximately 6 kilometers north of District 1, which is considered the city center, there are several convenient options for transferring to and from the airport:

Grab and Other Ride-hailing Apps

As mentioned earlier, Grab is the most popular ride-hailing service in Ho Chi Minh City and offers a convenient way to travel between the airport and the city center. Be and Gojek are viable alternatives.

  • Cost: Prices vary depending on the service and time of day but expect to pay between 100,000 VND to 150,000 VND ($4.30 to $6.50 USD) for a GrabCar.

Taxi

Reputable taxi companies like Vinasun and Mai Linh have stands at the airport, providing straightforward and reliable service to the city center.

  • Cost: A taxi ride to District 1 should cost around 150,000 to 200,000 VND ($6.50 to $8.60 USD), depending on traffic.
  • Tip: Use the taxi stands and avoid touts for the most reliable service.

Airport Bus

The airport bus service, specifically Bus 49, Bus 109 and Bus 152, offers an economical and comfortable way to reach the city center.

  • Bus 49: The Yellow Bus #49 offers a fixed fare ride for 40,000 VND from Tan Son Nhat Airport to various stops in Ho Chi Minh City, including the backpacker street (Pham Ngu Lao) and Ben Thanh bus station. It operates every 15-20 minutes from 5:30 am to 12:30 am with departures from designated columns at both the international and domestic terminals. Tickets are cash-only and can be purchased on the bus or at yellow booths at the airport.
    • Cost: 40,000 VND ($1.72 USD) fixed fare
  • Bus 109: This yellow bus connects the airport to District 1, stopping at major hotels and landmarks. It operates from 5:30 AM to 1:30 AM, with buses running every 15-20 minutes.
    • Cost: 20,000 VND ($0.86 USD) for a trip to the city center.
  • Bus 152: A cheaper but less spacious option, running to Ben Thanh Market in District 1.
    • Cost: 6,000 VND ($0.26 USD), plus an extra fee for large luggage.

Private Transfer

For those preferring a more comfortable and personalized service, private transfers can be pre-booked through various online platforms or hotels.

  • Cost: Prices vary widely depending on the service provider and vehicle type but typically start from $20 USD upwards.

🔍 Search, Compare and Book Private Transfers With TripAdvisor

Car Rental

Car rental is less common in Vietnam but there are some local options are available at the airport for those comfortable with driving in Vietnam. However, traffic conditions and local driving habits can be challenging for newcomers.

  • Cost: Car rental can be more expensive with cars starting from around $150 USD per day.

How to Travel Between Cities in the Region

Three passengers on a train reading books and tablets

Traveling from Ho Chi Minh City to other cities and regions in Vietnam offers a variety of options, catering to different budgets, time constraints, and preferences for comfort and experience. Here’s a guide to the main transportation methods available for regional travel:

Domestic Flights

Vietnam has a well-developed domestic flight network connecting Ho Chi Minh City with major destinations across the country, including Hanoi, Da Nang, Hue, and Phu Quoc Island.

  • Airlines: Vietnam Airlines, VietJet Air, and Bamboo Airways are the main carriers, offering multiple flights daily.
  • Cost: Prices vary widely based on booking time, airline, and destination. Budget airlines like VietJet Air often have promotions with very affordable fares, sometimes as low as 500,000 VND ($21.50 USD) one-way.

Trains

The Vietnam Railways network offers a scenic and relaxed way to travel, especially for longer trips up the coast to destinations like Nha Trang, Da Nang, and Hanoi.

  • Classes: There are various classes from hard seat to soft sleeper, catering to different comfort levels and budgets.
  • Cost: Fares depend on the class and destination. For example, a soft sleeper berth to Nha Trang might cost around 1,000,000 VND ($43 USD).
  • More Information: Vietnam Railways Official Website (for schedules and booking)

Long-distance Buses

Long-distance buses connect Ho Chi Minh City to virtually every part of Vietnam, offering an affordable option for ground transportation.

  • Bus Companies: Phuong Trang (Futa Bus), Sinh Tourist, and Vexere are among the popular and reputable companies.
  • Cost: Prices are competitive, with a bus ticket to Da Lat or Nha Trang costing approximately 200,000 VND to 250,000 VND ($8.60 to $10.75 USD).
  • More Information: Vexere is a useful platform for checking schedules and booking tickets online.

Private Car or Taxi

For those seeking convenience or traveling in groups, hiring a private car or taxi for intercity trips can be a practical option.

  • Cost: This is the most expensive option, with long-distance trips costing significantly more, easily ranging from several million VND (hundreds of USD). Prices should be negotiated in advance.
  • How to Arrange: Travel agencies, hotels, and ride-hailing apps can arrange private cars. It’s advisable to agree on the price, route, and any stops before departing.

🔍 Search, Compare and Book Private Transfers With TripAdvisor

Motorbike

Adventurous travelers often choose to rent a motorbike for the ultimate freedom in exploring Vietnam’s scenic countryside and coastal roads.

  • Cost: Daily rental rates are affordable, but long-distance travel requires careful planning for fuel, maintenance, and accommodations.
  • Safety: Ensure you are comfortable with Vietnam’s traffic conditions and have the necessary permits and insurance.

Each of these options offers a different experience of Vietnam, from the convenience of flying to the scenic views of train travel and the adventure of a motorbike journey. Planning ahead can help ensure a smooth trip, allowing you to enjoy the diverse landscapes and cultures of Vietnam.

Is There Uber Eats in Ho Chi Minh City?

Cartoon image of a man and his phone showing food delivery options

While Uber Eats exited the Vietnamese market along with Uber’s ride-sharing service, the demand for food delivery has continued to grow in Ho Chi Minh City. In its place, several other services have stepped up to offer comprehensive food delivery options to residents and visitors alike. Here are the main platforms available:

GrabFood

Following Grab’s acquisition of Uber’s operations in Southeast Asia, GrabFood has become the leading food delivery service in Ho Chi Minh City. Offering a wide range of cuisines and restaurants, GrabFood provides a convenient and user-friendly platform for ordering food online.

  • Services: From local Vietnamese dishes to international cuisine, GrabFood covers an extensive array of dining options.
  • How to Order: Via the Grab app, which also includes ride-hailing and payment services.

Now.vn (Now Food)

Now.vn, commonly referred to as Now Food, is a local Vietnamese food delivery service that has gained popularity for its wide coverage of restaurants and quick delivery times.

GoFood

Operated by Gojek under the GoViet brand, GoFood competes directly with GrabFood and Baemin, offering a similar range of services and restaurant options.

  • Services: A wide variety of food choices with the convenience of integrated payment through the Gojek app.
  • How to Order: Through the Gojek app, which also provides ride-hailing and other services.

These platforms ensure that whether you’re craving a bowl of pho, a pizza, or a vegan feast, you can easily find and order what you’re looking for with just a few taps on your smartphone.

Final Thoughts on Uber in Ho Chi Minh City

While Uber may no longer operate in Ho Chi Minh City, the vibrant transportation ecosystem of this bustling metropolis ensures that visitors and locals alike have a plethora of options for getting around. Grab, stepping into the space once occupied by Uber, has become the go-to ride-hailing service, offering a similar level of convenience, safety, and efficiency. Its comprehensive services, ranging from bikes to cars, cater to a wide array of needs and preferences, embodying the dynamic spirit of Ho Chi Minh City.

Beyond Grab, the city’s transportation landscape is rich and varied, from traditional taxis and cyclos to an expanding network of public buses and the upcoming metro system. Each mode of transport presents its own unique way to explore the city, be it the leisurely pace of a cyclo ride through historic districts or the efficiency of a Grab bike weaving through traffic.

For travelers, the key to navigating Ho Chi Minh City lies in embracing this diversity of options. Adapting to the local pace and preferences can transform a simple journey across the city into an integral part of the Ho Chi Minh experience. Whether you’re here for business or leisure, the city’s transport network connects you to its endless charm, bustling markets, and hidden gems waiting to be discovered.

The absence of Uber has not diminished the city’s accessibility but rather highlighted the adaptability and innovation inherent to Ho Chi Minh City. As it continues to grow and evolve, so too do the ways in which we can explore and appreciate this ever-enchanting city.

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