Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Vietnam: Flights

Vietnam has two major international airports. Ho Chi Minh City is located in the South and Hanoi is in the North. These airports are served by many direct flights from several countries overseas, but long-haul flights usually stop in Bangkok, Singapore, Taipei or Tokyo where travelers will transfer to smaller planes for another flight to Vietnam.

Tan Son Nhat International Airport (airport code SGN) in Ho Chi Minh City is Vietnam's largest airport, located about eight kilometers from the city center. The airport code comes from the city's former name of Saigon.

When stepping off the airplane, prepare yourself to be welcomed my a warm hug of sultry heat waves! Vietnam was one of the most humid and just downright hottest countries I have visited. Locals seem to relax during the day and sit on the street chatting, while selling all sorts of foods. Then at night, they head to the market and out on the town. Don't forget to drink lots of (bottled) water!

Tuk-tuking around HCMC

The easiest and least expensive method of transport from the airport to the city is the relatively recently introduced bus No. 152. It's air-conditioned, and will drop you off in the city center.

However, we didn't exactly know about this at the time and first agreed to take one carrier's transport service, until we found out that it was no more than a moped. But he was convinced he could squeeze us and our luggage on the tiny bike. Rather than finding out, we played it safe and took a tuk-tuk.

A stream of mopeds speeding down a Saigon street

When heading home, don't forget that you will be asked to pay a departure tax as you're leaving the country (unless it was included in the price of your ticket) - don't spend all your money before you get to the airport! I believe this is under $20.


Chad Oneil Myers said...

I like that "Moped" image.

Anonymous said...

See here or here

backpakker said...

interesting...a moped as a transport service ..I liked that picture

Putz said...

i once, flying from Dublin, got a blow wave hair cut which cost me $20 in 1963, so you can see how expensive that was, but back to the story: i was pennyless and there was a fee to get me between airports in new york at Adelwild and it ws $5, well i got a transfer bus which i had to wait for for an hour that was free and if it hadn't of been for a 3 hour layover between planes, i would have been stranded...spashley is correct.you need money at airports even if you are strong enough to haul your own baggage and have all your tickets prepaid...lesson learned by a 19 year old traveler

Putz said...

ash, my dad is just now passing away, say a prayer for him to pass without much pain or suffering