Ho Chi Minh Airport has two buildings to accommodate domestic and international flights. The French government built the airport in the 1930s, calling it Tan Son Nhat International Airport. In 1950, the United States foreign aid added a 2,000-metre runway to the airport. Today, it’s South Vietnam’s main airport and one of the world’s busiest airbases.
The Arrivals terminal houses a tourist information desk, post office, and foreign currency exchange. Its Departures terminal has air-conditioning, restaurants, duty-free shopping, and a medical centre. You may find the airport staff to be friendly and warm, but lacking in English language skills.
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Ho Chi Minh Airport Arrivals
Some flights arriving at Ho Chi Minh Airport are parked away from the jetways. In this case, buses will taxi passengers to the terminal building. Most passengers disembark through the jetways and then it is just a 5-minute walk to the Immigration area. This is also where you pick up your visa on arrival (VOA).
The VOA desk is located before the Immigration counters. You hand in your passport along with the letter you received via your online visa application. It can take a while to complete the procedure during peak hours, so be patient.
There are Immigration desks for ASEAN and non-ASEAN travellers. You get to enter the Baggage Hall once you have cleared Immigration. It also has toilet facilities and duty-free shops. The next step is passing through Customs clearance. Here, you see a tourist information centre and foreign currency exchange booths. When you leave the terminal building, there are taxis, motorcycles and buses to Ho Chi Minh City.
Ho Chi Minh Airport Departures
When entering Ho Chi Minh Airport for departure, attendants check your baggage the ground floor. You then make your way to the international check-in hall on the second floor. Once you have checked in, head through the security checkpoint. Luggage trolleys are not allowed past this point. However, there are smaller ones to carry your hand luggage.
Passport control is the next checkpoint before you enter the Departures lounge. You will find a few duty-free shops and a restaurant serving light meals. When it's time to board your flight, you pass through a final baggage screening at the boarding gate.
There are several ways to get to Ho Chi Minh City from Tan Son Nhat International Airport. The air-conditioned airport bus, service #152, is the cheapest option. It passes major hotels along De Tham Street and Dong Khoi Street. Do inform the driver in advance so that it stops directly in front of your hotel. Foreign visitors aren't allowed to drive in Vietnam, but you may hire a car and driver throughout your stay.
Minibuses and cyclos (motorcycle taxis) are available but you will have to negotiate the prices. Your best option is to catch a metered taxi. If possible, choose a taxi that's parked outside the terminal instead of a private taxi as you may encounter payment problems. Always carry small change as many drivers prefer not to change large notes.
Entertainment at Ho Chi Minh Airport is limited, save for customary TV screens within the Departures lounge. You have access to free Wi-Fi, computers, and international phones before your flight.
Shopping and duty free
Shopping at Ho Chi Minh Airport is by no means extensive. The second floor of the Departures terminal has a souvenir shop selling handicrafts and Vietnamese snacks. There are several duty-free outlets that offer branded cosmetics and alcohol in the terminal.
Hotel near Ho Chi Minh Airport
Ho Chi Minh Airport (Tan Son Nhat International Airport)
- Address: Ward 2, Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh City
- Tel: +84 83 848 5383