VietnamHo Chi MinhAirport Arrival Tips at Tan Son Nhat International Airport (Ho Chi Minh...

Airport Arrival Tips at Tan Son Nhat International Airport (Ho Chi Minh City)

Tan Son Nhat Airport in Ho Chi Minh City is a small airport for an international platform. However, things can get overwhelming as it is the most crowdest terminal in Vietnam, with millions of passengers coming in and out of the city by air. Admittedly, the airport is not so travelers-friendly either. To prepare for your landing in Ho Chi Minh, check out our arrival tips at Tan Son Nhat International Airport.

Tan Son Nhat Airport is pretty hectic

Arrival Tips at Tan Son Nhat International Airport (Ho Chi Minh City) for First-Timers

Arrival Tips at Tan Son Nhat International Airport #1

Be aware of pickpockets, elbowing, and shoving when you exit the airport terminals. Always be mindful of your wallet, phone, camera, and passport. The airport a very crowded place and unfortunate events can happen.

Arrival Tips at Tan Son Nhat International Airport #2

The airport has free Wi-Fi access, so you don’t need to buy an internet plan unless you have to. SIM cards and mobile internet plans are available for purchase at information kiosks, at VND 100,000. Read more on SIM Cards and Mobile Data Plans in Vietnam.

SIM Cards and money exchange service at the airport

Arrival Tips at Tan Son Nhat International Airport #3

When visitors arrive at the domestic or international terminals in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), there are several means of transportation out of the airport:

When you exit the terminals with your luggage, there are designated taxi lanes that you can queue up to catch a cab; they are all parked on the left-hand side upon exit. Many taxi companies are operating in the city, and scams occasionally occur. To lessen the chance of an unfortunate event, read our blog on “3 tips to avoid taxi scams in Ho Chi Minh City”.

The taxi parking lot is on the left end of the arrival hall when you exit the hall gates

Note: When queuing up at the taxi lane, you can wait until you see a VinaSun or Mai Linh taxi hop on. You don’t have to jump onto the next available cab of an unknown brand given by the attendant. Learn more on taxi fares and travel time from the airport to the city center.

It is the cheapest method but not recommended for tourists who have luggage and are in groups. This pickup requires you to walk out of the airport terminals as the motorbike drivers aren’t allowed to go inside the airport for pick-up. The price to get into the city center is around VND 50,000 ($2.5 USD). If you want to use a motorbike taxi, use them with caution.

If you have a pre-arranged transport, you can either walk out of the airport to the parking lot to catch your ride. Often, pick-up riders are not allowed to park and wait more than 5 minutes at the pick-up lanes as the roads need to be clear for loading and unloading. If this is your way out of the airport and into the city, make sure you have a local SIM card or a working 3G mobile plan to call the driver who is going to pick you up. Upon arrival, some vendors sell local SIM cards that’ll work with an unlocked phone after you exit customs.

To help ease traffic, the government now has dedicated shuttle transport. These are easy to take, and all you need is get some prior knowledge and tips before taking these. The buses are located on your right-hand side upon the terminal exit. You can find the bus information counters inside and outside of the arrival hall. To learn more about taking shuttle buses from the airport to the city, read our blog on how How to take shuttle buses from Tan Son Nhat International Airport to Ho Chi Minh City Center.

Airport bus 109

Look for shuttle bus tickets from Tan Son Nhat Airport:

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Arrival Tips at Tan Son Nhat International Airport #4

For those doing airport transits, an airport service counter will keep your bags if you want to see the city baggage-free. You can easily spot the counter after your arrival exit on your right and your left. There will also be signs pointing your way.

The fee is VND 27,500/bag/hour, which is about $1.40. If you leave your bag there for more than 10 hours, they will charge VND 275,000/bag/day, about $14.

Tan Son Nhat International Airport (Ho Chi Minh City) Map

1. Transfer counter – Landing Visa – Immigration

After getting off, follow the arrow to the transfer counters if you have connecting flights, or go to the arrival hall for check-out procedures. If you have a visa ready, you can go straight to the immigration line and show your passport or e-visa paper to get an immigration entry stamp.

Suppose you haven’t got a visa from the embassy in your country or an e-visa. In that case, you must stop by the Landing Visa counter to submit a visa application form, pay for the fee, and get the visa stamped on your passport before going to immigration. Even on your transit, you will still need a visa if you want to leave the airport. For more information, read our guide on Vietnam visa on arrival.

Landing Visa counter

2. Baggage Claim

After you have gone through the immigration process, the baggage claim belts are one floor down the immigration hall (greeter hall). Before getting to the custom, you can also stop to look around some of the shops in this area.

3. Customs Office

After getting your baggage and do the shopping, look to the opposite, you can see the customs office with two gates: nothing to declare and goods to declare.

Customs area

4. Lost and Found

If you cannot find your baggage in the belts, you can go to the lost and found areas on the left and right to make a report

5. Other facilities

When you are at the arrival hall, you can find the information counters, ATM, currency exchange, kiosks of SIM card providers (Mobifone and Viettel), lockers, and post offices on the two sides of the hall ends – where you can send some packages to your friends and family, transportation service provider counters like bus ticket sellers and car rental to get to downtown Ho Chi Minh City. In an emergency, you can also find the medical service room on the right-side upon exit.

Information kiosks and ATM

Outside the arrival hall, in the public area, you can find many cafes, car rental booths, ATMs, a parking lot, a taxi lot, and a bus stop. If you don’t know your way around, you can go to these maps and get where you need to. The way to the domestic terminal is on the right side upon exit.

Cafes in the public area

What to Do on Transit at Tan Son Nhat International Airport

If you only arrive in Ho Chi Minh City for a few hours, you can stay and have a short break at the airport lounges or buy food and souvenirs in the airport shops.

If you have more time, say 5+ hours, and want to explore the city, you can leave your luggage in the lockers at the airports and have a quick tour around Ho Chi Minh City’s downtown. Famous attractions like Saigon Central Post Office and Notre Dame Cathedral and other things like Vietnamese foods and Vietnamese coffee are also available in many restaurants in District 1 and District 3. Check out the details in our guide for things to do on a layover in Ho Chi Minh City.

Don’t forget to book your hotel in Ho Chi Minh City:

Airport arrival tips at Tan Son Nhat International Airport (Ho Chi Minh City)

If you have questions, please leave a message in the comment box below. And don’t miss out on our local insights on the Ho Chi Minh Travel Guide.

Check out fun things to do in Ho Chi Minh City:
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