A local SIM card on your journey to the bustling city of Ho Chi Minh is a must-have. It would make your trip more convenient with easy access to local networks and quick calls or messages in urgent situations. We hope this guide will help you by suggesting where to buy a SIM card in Ho Chi Minh City and some essential tips.
Why You Should Buy a SIM Card in Ho Chi Minh City
The usefulness of a SIM card is evident when you may need to call for help in an emergency, search for locations using GPS, or book your taxis. Moreover, when you travel alone, you may feel some sense of isolation. Staying connected and letting them know you are safe will help you overcome loneliness on a trip.
International mobile service can be expensive, and free Wi-Fi connection may not always be available. Fortunately, Vietnam is considered to have cheap mobile data costs. A local SIM card could save your budget and make your trip more convenient.
Overview of Vietnam SIM Card
You should only purchase a SIM card from trustworthy stores where you need to show your passport for registration.
There are 3 leading network brands with good service and broad coverage: Viettel, Vinaphone, and Mobifone. While Viettel has the most extensive network coverage, Vinaphone and Mobifone offer better prices and promotions even in rural areas.
When buying a SIM card, a little notice is to check if your phone can be used abroad, unlock your phone, and show your ID or passport information to register a new SIM card.
Where to Buy a SIM Card in Ho Chi Minh City
Tan Son Nhat International Airport (SGN)
After arriving at the Tan Son Nhat International Airport, you can easily notice the telecommunication booths at the arrival exit gate. It is the quickest way to obtain a SIM card, as you will not need to walk around the city to find the place. Another advantage of purchasing a SIM card is the English-speaking staff. They could eliminate the language barrier and provide helpful instructions on the registration process, which only takes 5 minutes.
If needed, ask for necessary information about the prices, mobile plan, and 4G data package. Buying only a mobile data plan with a 3G or 4G network is enough unless you need to make local calls.
Official Mobile Network Stores (Viettel, Vinaphone, Mobifone)
Buying the SIM card at official carrier stores is advised to avoid the unexpected shutdown of an unregistered or illegally pre-activated card. Tourist SIM is available for a short period (from 15 to 60 days) and is offered at a reasonable price, which would be suitable for travelers with a short stay.
The average price of a tourist SIM is VND 100,000 – VND 200,000. However, the call minutes, number of regular SMS messages, and data plans differ across carriers. If you need more than the package offers, you can top-up credits via a local banking app or an e-wallet app. If you are a traveler and do not have these apps downloaded on your phone, you can ask a local Vietnamese to help you top up by providing your phone number and he/she can assist you in topping up. You can pay him/her back in cash instead. Visit Mobile Data Plan in Vietnam for more detailed SIM prices and data packages.
These are some stores in Ho Chi Minh City center of 3 main mobile networks: Viettel, Vinaphone, and Mobifone, where you can buy and register your SIM.
166C-D-E Tran Hung Dao, District 1
174 Tran Quang Khai, District 1
Opening hours: 8 AM – 8 PM
12/1 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street, District 1
80B Nguyen Du Street, District 1
5 Nguyen Van Binh Street, District 1
Opening hours: 8 AM – 11:30 AM and 1:30 PM – 5 PM
B1 Floor, Block 11A1, Vincom A Building – 171 Dong Khoi, District 1
72 Le Thanh Ton, District 1
Opening hours: 7:30 AM – 6 PM (Mon-Fri), 8:30 AM – 4 PM (Sat and Sun)
Besides the official service center, SIM cards are also easy to find in mobile shops that are located everywhere around the city. However, most of these vendors cannot register for you. That means a SIM card bought from them is a pre-activated card with an attractive promotion you can deactivate at any time. We would not recommend purchasing a SIM card from them unless you need it immediately and for short usage. But you can buy scratch cards to top-up credit from these mobile shops because they don’t need registration or activation.
Summary of Vietnam Travel Tips: Where to Buy a SIM Card in Ho Chi Minh (Saigon)
The convenience of telecommunication services in providing access to people and the internet has dramatically made travel easier, especially when traveling to a different country or culture. That is why, on your trip to Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh City, in particular, having an additional SIM card on your mobile phone is highly recommended.