If you have recently moved to Ho Chi Minh City you may be wondering what the best way to get around is.
Depending on which district you are staying in, you may feel very centralized, especially if you are staying in District 1, however, there are actually 24 districts in total which makes the city rather spread out.
Moving from one district to another can be a challenge due to the heavy traffic in the city, especially during the morning and evening rush hours. But there are a number of transportation options available to you which allow you to travel in a cost-efficient and timely manner.
Xe Om is the name for a motorbike taxi in Vietnam and it is one of the most popular and efficient modes of transport available to you. You may feel a bit wary about getting on the back of a motorbike at first but the majority of drivers are courteous and of course willing to take you wherever you wish to go.
If you do feel that the driver is going too fast, they will most often slow down if you politely ask them to, and if you are still worried, you can just ask them to stop and hop off.
The prices for a motorbike taxi are usually reasonable and range between 20,000-40,000 VND for short trips. A trip from District 1 to one of the further districts such as D2 or D7 will likely cost you around 70,000 VND.
Xe Om drivers are very easy to spot and located on most street corners (often sleeping on their motorbikes). They are in fact waiting for someone to tap them on the shoulder and ask for a ride. In the touristy parts of the city, drivers will usually call out to you, but be careful as they may mark the price up significantly. Always try and bargain the price down if you feel that it is unreasonable.
In the city the public bus service is very popular and there are over 100 different bus lines in total. The bus is a great option for those living in districts that are further afield and wish to get into the main parts of the city.
The public bus is also very cheap with a single fare starting from just 3000 VND. As an expat or tourist, using the public bus system may be gruelling as you would have to wait in the heat, or sometimes rain for your ride and then face possible traffic jams. But it is certainly recommended if you wish to travel to farther afield districts, especially if you are on a budget.
Another of the popular choices to get around the city is by taxi. You may want to avoid this option during rush hour traffic though.
There have also been reports from numerous tourists of taxi scams, most often when travelling to and from the airport.
The launch of the Uber app in Ho Chi Minh City has so far been a success following other great success stories in Bangkok, Beijing and Jakarta. For those that are not familiar with this app, it is an online app that you can access directly from your smart phone. You use it to locate local taxis in your area who will come and pick you straight up. One of the main benefits is that there is no cash exchanged between you and the driver as it is taken directly from your credit card. This ensures that you will not be a victim of a scam.
The whole ride is tracked via GPS and another advantage is that it uses Google Maps and allows you to pin point your start and finish points to the driver. This can be extremely beneficial if their English is not very good.
Right now, using Uber is usually cheaper than flagging down a taxi.