CITY INFO
HO CHI MINH/SAIGON, VIETNAM

Area Code 08, $1=16,415D, July 3, 2007

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Dry Season : Dec-Apr

Wet Season : Jue-Oct

Tourist Peak: Dec-Jan, July-Aug

i Tourism Information Center: #464H Le Loi, opp from Rex Hotel. T822-6033. This is a travel agent office but they will help tourists. @(free) No free publication at this moment.
AE American Express: None.
Banks / Exchange
US$T/C & Cash: Can change at almost every bank & moneychanger. After office hours Exchange counter of banks at Pham Ngu Lao or Le Loi open Sa Su or after 15:00.
Cash Advance Visa, MC(Master Card), accepted. Commission 0-4, rate depends on cards
$1 Vietcom bank: 29 Ben Chuong Duong T252831 M-F7:30-11:30,13:00-16:30, Sa7:30-11:30
Closes at noon on the last day of every month.
$50-100: $1=16,126, yen=130.18D
Exchange com. $T/C -->$ Cash =
0.88%(min$2.2)
$T/C --> VN Don
0.55%(min$1.1)
Cash Advance Visa/MC
3%(in US$ or VN Don.)
$2 Sacom Bank: Phan Ngu LaoNguyen Thai Hoc M-F7:30-11:30,13:00-16:30 Sa7:30-11:30
Cash Advance com. Visa 3.5% ATM com
20,000D/3%
$3 CITI Bank:115 Nguyen Hue(Sun Wah Tower 15F) T8242118 F8242267 M-F8:30-16:00 $1=?D $T/C only com.1% ATM
$4 Foreign Currency Exchange Desk 59: 15 A Le Loi T8231316 7:00-21:00 $T/C to VND: 1%, $50-$100:
$cash, yen to VND no com. yen T/C not possible to change. $T/C to $cash 1%, VND to $cash or yen possible
$5 Inom Bank: 79 A Ham Nghi T8297266 F8295342 7:30-11:30,13:00-16:00
Amex $T/C to VND: 0% Citycope Thomas Cook T/C to VND: 0.5%(min$1) no other T/C is accepted
$T/C to $cash: 1.25%(min$2)
yen T/C not possible to change, yen cash is possible.

I Immigration: 254 Nguyen Trai M-F 8:00-11:30, 13:30-16:00. Must show visa of the country your leaving to.
Visa extensions - 1 week is possible,
$10. More than 1 week, it must be handled by travel agencies. However there are a few reports that some could extend for 1 month with $1.5-2.0. it may depend on an officer. Try to apply here anyway.
P Police Office: Emergency Call T113 Ambulance T115
H1 AEA Int'l Hospital: 65 Nguyen Du T8298520 F8298551 24h medical & dental service
H2 International Hospital SOS Hannam Bldg. #65 Nguyen Du T8298520 9:00-18:00. English, Japanese and translators available, 24 hr Emergency
H3 Columbia Asia Saigon Clinic: 8 Alexandre de Rhodes, Dist1, T829 0485. It accepts insurance, 24 hour and western standard services.
H4 Ho Chi Minh Family Practice: #34 Le Duan St. T8227848,
H5 Maple Dental Clinic: 72 Vo Thi Sau, T820-1999, F820-4619, info@maplehealthcare.net, www.maplehealthcare.net (Reported)

M0 Post Office GPO: 2 Cong Xa Paris (on left side Notre Dame Cathedral) 6:30-22:00 Stationery. Poste Restante. Photocopy, fax, telegram Fed Exp. Airborn Exp.
Ma DHL at GPO M-Sa7:30-11:45,13:00-17:00
Mb VN Cargo at GPO T8237556, F8234410. Postage prices:
M0 Telephone Office: at GPO Int'l phone call, fax service domestic long distance, etc. Collect call 2000D for 1 min, then 1500D add min.
Internet cafe offering cheaper fee.
M1 Fax service: 230 Hai Ba Trung Send to T8298540
Fax service costs same as at GPO
To Japan
: 73,000/54,000?, To Thai: 58,000/48,000?
M@ Internet phones: Many internet cafes offer IP phones. Much cheaper than one at the telephone office. To most countries 980VD/min, To Japan 1480VD. The rates vary, so shop around.

Transport
Air
A Tan Son Nhat Airport: NW from the city. 30 min. by car.
Airport Tax International = $12 Domestic 20,000D
Transport to town:
City Bus #28 to Bin Thanh Market. Taxi costs US$4-5
Transport from town:
City Bus #28(Tan Son Nhat)or Possible to arrange taxi at Sinh Cafe. $5 for 1-2 persons, $2/p more than 3
By T&T Taxi $2/p
VN Vietnam Airlines: 116-118 Nguyen Hue T8230696 F8230273 M-Sa 7:30-18:00 Branch: 15 Dinh Tien Hoang T8231483 F8258377 M-Sa 7:30-11:00,13:00-16:00?

Train
T Train Station: 1 Nguyen Thong. 2 km NW from city center, 15-20 min walk from the hotel area.
T1 Reservation Office: 75 Huynh Thuc Khong, E from B.Thanh Bus station, T821-0974, M-F7:30-19:00, Sa7:30-17:30, Su 7:30-17:00(It is said so but expect this office may be closed on Sunday and Saturday afternoon)
Bus Ben Xe means bus staion
B1 Ben Xe Mien Dong Bus Station: Xo Viet Nghe Tinh St 6km NW from the city. Buses to North.
Transport:
city bus #26 from the Ben Thanh Bus station
#14, 88 from Ben Xe Mien Tay
B2 Ben Xe Mien Tay Bus Station: Hung Vuong Blvd, 5-6km SW from town (30-40 min. by cyclo)? Buses to Mekong Delta
Transport: city bus #2 from the Ben Thanh Bus station.(#102 also go to B. Thanh but it takes time due to taking longer route. Not recommend.)
#14, 88 from Ben Xe Mien Dong
B3 Ben Xe Cholon Bus station: 200m N from Binh Tay Market.
Transport: city bus #1, 2 from the Saigon Bus station or Ben Thanh Bus station
Minibus: living from the offices such as Sinh Cafe , Kim Cafe.No pick-up service from your hotel.Many destinations


Boat
F1 Ferry(Local): Duc Thang St, opposite Riverside Hotel. ferry across the River Ton - 500D
F2 Speed Boat: E end of Ham Nghi Blvd. There are a few counpanies operate on the same route. Many boat between 6:15-16:45

Overland route to Phnom Penh (Cambodia)
There is a land route between Ho Chi Minh and Phnom Penh (Cambodia) via the border towns of Moc Bai (V) and Bavet (Ca).
NO Visa is issued at the border, you must get the Cambodian visa beforehand. Possible from Cambodian embassy in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh.
Facilities at the border: No official exchange service. VN Don can only be changed in Vietnam except unofficially at a food stall - just past Customs on the Cambodian side (small amounts only). No English spoken.
A few Taxis always wait around on the Cambodian side. (they accept US$).
By Taxi: The easiest way. Take a taxi from Pham Ngu Lao area to Moc Bai. Cheaper if you go in a group of 4. On Cambodian side of border take taxi or bus to Phnom Penh. From Ho Chi Minh to Moc Bai $17-20, 2 hours. From Bavet to Phnom Penh $20 by taxi, 3.5-4 hours
Bus to Phnom Penh a/c bus from Sinh Cafe, leaves 8:30 $6/p arriving at 17:00
Bus direct from Ho Chi Min to Phnom Penh: T8222496. It leaves from 145-147 Nguyen Du at WF6:00 $20, arriving at 22:00?


City Transport
The easiest way to see the sights in the town center is by foot.
City bus
HCMC has very good city bus system. You can use it to most destination in town. a/c bus and non a/c bus, same fare.
3-4000D
B4 Ben Thanh Bus station: just in front of Ben Thanh Market. #28 to the airport(Tan Son Nhat), #26 to Ben Xe Mien Dong, #1 bus to Cholon, #2 to Ben Xe Mien Tay via Chelon.
B5 Saigon Bus station(Stops): at Me Linh sq & Tran Hung Dao Statue. #1 bus to Cholon, #2 to Ben Xe Mien Tay via Chelon. #13 to Cuchi
Cyclo: Cycle rickshaw, short ride It is a bit hard to fund these days. It costs about 5,000+D. US$1-2/hour Bargain hard. Ask to write down the price to avoid confusion.
!Warning Hassle with Cyclo drivers is common. Not only with bargaining but also threats at knife point have been reported. It's better not to use Cyclos at night.
Motorcycle taxi(Honda):bargain hard. (The cost is same as cyclo)
Taxi:(Old info) Taxi (metered). The price differs between companies. First 2km 12,000D add. 250m 1,500-1,700D Because of the hassle with Cyclo drivers the taxi is worth using here. Some taxis hanging around Pham Ngu Lao Area alter the meter. Better to try to get one running on streets.
charter: US$30-40/day in town (including petrol), To Cu Chi tunnel $30
Yellow Vitataxi: 7,500D for the 1st km,+1500D/200m
Rental Bicycle: $1/day.
Available at some GH & cafes. Very useful but parking requires fee, 1,000D. many streets are one-way, this is enforced.


Travel Agents
Many travel agents, such as SINH Cafe , KIM Cafe in Pham Ngu Lao area offering popular cheap tours for backpackers. Many kinds of tours are available. Prices and itinaries vary from office to office.
Flying out from Vietnam is not cheap. Travel agents offers small discount. Visa extension service, train and air tickets
( $1-2 commission).
Visa Extension
1 month extension $30 (takes 3 days)
Re-Entry Visa $30 (takes 3 days)
ta1 SINH Office: 246-248 De Tham T8367338 F8369322 http://www.shinhcafevn.com 7:00-23:00 For Budget Travelers.Fax receiving service 5,000D/page
ta2 Hanh cafe: 233 Pham Ngu Lao, T8376429
ta3 Orient Star: 230 De Tham Street. T404-1460, http://www.statravel.com.vn STA agent selling Hanh Cafe bus tickets and discount air tickets.Open ticket Saigon -> Muine -> Dalet -> Nhatrang -> Hoian -> Hue -> Hanoi $17
@ Cafe Terrasse 333: 201 De Tham St. T8360205 F84-88360205 hue@netnam2.org.vn hueng@hcm.vnn.vn
internet 1,200D/min.
ta T&T Travel: 112 BVI VIEN (HOP THANH GH 1F) T8367108 t_t_travel@hotmail.com Tour Mekong Delta $40, air tickets. Pham Ngu Lao Area map $1(Very useful), Good place for information.

Entertainment
Cinema
ci1 Diamond Plaza: 34 Le Duan, 30-40,000D
ci2 Fafilm Vietnam: 6 Thai Van Lung, 20-25,000D

Shopping
Markets
m1 Ben Thanh Market: Le Loi+Le Lai, town center. The biggest market in Ho Chi Minh. Daily goods, souvenirs, snacks.A market for tourists. Bargain hard. Good and comfortable food court in North part of the market.
m2 Binh Tay markets: in Cho Lon Faced to Thap Muoi Rd. Daily goods etc. Lively market.
m3 Thai Binh Market: West end of Pham Ngu Lao. Small market. Some food stands selling snacks.
Souvenir shops
Many along Dong Khoi St. and in Benh Thanh Market. Chinese and Vietnamese ceramics, old watches, lacquer-ware & mother-of-pearl inlaid screens.
Antiques: Many on Dong Khoi St, Mac Thi Buoi and Ngo Du Ke St.
Handicrafts: Around Rex and Continental Hotel, along Dong Khoi St and Nguyen Hue.
Northern? Hill Tribe's shop: Sapa
sapa1:
29 Ngo Duc Ke T8258942
sapa2: 235 Pham Ngu Lao T8369863
sapa3: 223 De Tham T8365163
Lacquer-ware: In many handicraft shops on Nguyen Hue, Dong Khoi St.
Silk/Ao Dai: Dong Khoi St & in Ben Thanh Market. not only tailors, you can order at cloth shop. selecting material, they call a tailor and measure your size. Ao dai will be ready next day.
Ao Dai (Silk) Tailor-made 1 piece:
$20+, At T & T Travel $25+
T-shirts: Handmade-embroidered T-shirts $1-2. Bargain hard.
Coffee: Many different kinds sold. $0.5-3/100g. At Ben Thanh they are expensive and at Binh Tay cheapest. But Vietnamese prefer coffee with other flavors, such as butter, chocolate, etc. I do not think they are western taste. So if you buy a package, read the package carefully. At supermarkets, also many different coffees are sold. They are more like foreigners taste
Laundry: GH have laundry service.
T-shirt-2,000-3,000D, jeans-5,000D
  Supermarkets
s Fahasa Shopping Center: 60-62 Le Loi
s Saigon Tourist Center: 136 Dong Khai
s Minimart: Many small shops around Pham Ngu Lao area.
Bookshops: Several bookshops and stationary shops on Le Loi St.
s The Cat: 243 De Tham T8360016 Used. English & French books. Rental 20,000D for 5 days. add day 5000D/day
s Photo: Many in Pham Ngu Lao area. Quite good quality. Developing takes 1-2 hours
Developing 4-5,000D Small size 1,000-1,200D/print Postcard size 1,400-1,500D/print
s  Laundry: GH have laundry service.
2,000-3,000D/T-shirt 5,000D/ pair of jeans

Internet
Many Cafes around Pham Ngu Lao.
Internet phones: Many internet cafes offer IP phones. To most countries
980VD/min, To Japan 1480VD.
@ H.T.V Internet service(Dies Thuy): 228 De Tham St.
T8373610
htv_net@saigonnet.vn 100D/min Slow
@ SASA CAFE: 242 De Tham St. T8368048
sasa@saigonnet.vn 150D/min relatively fast
@ Cyber Cafe Saigon: 232 De Tham St. T8367406
cybersg@saigonnet.vn
200D/min
 a/c double seats very comfortable.

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