How much should I budget for my trip to Ho Chi Minh City?
Your budget will depend on many factors, such as your personal travel style, how many days you are planning to stay, and the purpose of your trip (whether it is business, pleasure, etc.).
Removing the cost of the flight, which will depend on factors such as the airline and the time of year, if you are traveling on a budget and opt for the cheapest accommodation, one day in Ho Chi Minh City will cost you around VND 500,000 to VND 1,000,000.
You should budget around VND 200,000 to VND 300,000 for a large hostel dorm, an average of VND 50,000 for breakfast and VND 100,000 for lunch or dinner, VND 100,000 for grocery shopping and miscellaneous expenses, and approximately VND 100,000 to VND 200,000 for transportation (using Grab or renting a motorbike).
Please note that activities have not been included in this daily budget.
What time of the year can I find the cheapest flights to Ho Chi Minh City?
There is always hustle and bustle about Ho Chi Minh City. People move there all the time and end up staying for work or study reasons, and as a consequence flights are somewhat evenly priced throughout the year.
That being said, as a rule of thumb you should be able to find cheaper airfare if you book your flight in February. The period after the Tet holiday (end of January to February) through to March, when business picks up again, is low season and if you search hard enough you may well be able to find some interesting discounts on flights as well as accommodation.
Which airlines offer reasonably priced flights to Ho Chi Minh City?
If either Jetstar or VietJet operate in the country you are flying from, then I would recommend flying with them, as they offer the cheapest flights paired with decent service.
If that is not the case, however, then Vietnam Airlines – the Vietnamese flag carrier – is also a good choice, as it operates many direct flights from overseas as well as having many more in the works.
What facilities and services will I find at Tan Son Nhat International Airport?
All flights to Ho Chi Minh City land in Tan Son Nhat International Airport, which is located in the city and it is only a 20-minute drive away from the city center (District 1) with good traffic.
Be warned that you will probably experience long queues at both the check-in counter and security. If at all possible, I would suggest you leave for the airport at least two hours in advance if you are taking a domestic flight, or two and a half to three hours if you are taking an international flight.
Though smaller than Hanoi Noi Bai Airport, Tan Son Nhat International Airport operates many flights per day. Basic facilities such as currency exchange, VIP lounges, free WiFi, lost and found desk, onward travel information counter, food and drink services, and gift shops are easy to find.
There is not a lot of choice as far as duty-free shops at the Tan Son Nhat Airport go (it should be noted that Ho Chi Minh City is not an ideal place for those who are looking to shop for high-end products, as the Vietnam government applies really high taxes on luxury goods).