Tan Son Nhat Airport: Useful Tips & Info
Tan Son Nhat Airport is one of the largest and busiest airports in Vietnam, located in Ho Chi Minh City. As the main gateway to the country, the airport serves millions of passengers every year, both domestic and international.
In this guide, I’ll share some useful information about the airport to help you navigate it like a pro.
Arriving at Tan Son Nhat International Airport
When you arrive at the airport, the first thing you’ll need to do is go through immigration and customs.
If you have a visa, make sure to have it ready along with your passport. The immigration lines can be long, especially during peak travel times, so be patient and allow yourself plenty of time to get through.
It usually took me about 30 minutes to 1 hour to get through immigration!
Once you have passed through immigration and customs, you can proceed to the baggage claim area to pick up your luggage. The baggage carousels are located in the arrival hall, and there are plenty of signs to guide you there.
Getting to the Saigon City Center
If you’re arriving at Tan Son Nhat International Airport and need to get to your hotel, there are a few options available. You can take a taxi or ride-sharing service like Grab, or you can arrange for a private transfer. Just make sure to confirm the price and details beforehand to avoid any surprises.
By private transfer
I recommend using private transfer if you’re unfamiliar with the area. It will give you peace of mind and avoid scams.
Another way is to take a taxi, which is readily available outside the arrival hall. However, be sure to use only authorized taxis, such as Vinasun or Mai Linh, and agree on a price before getting in. Many travelers make the mistake of using a random taxi once and end up being overcharged. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!
I personally use the Grab app to book transportation. Grab is a ride-hailing service that is very popular in Vietnam. Using the app, you can book a car or a motorbike to take you to the airport or your hotel. The rates are reasonable, and the drivers are generally reliable.
Tips: It’s also a good idea to have the address of your destination written down in Vietnamese to avoid any language barriers.
By motorbike taxi
If you’re traveling light and want to save money, you can also take a motorbike taxi using Grab. These are more affordable than taxis, and you can see the prices when booking. Don’t forget to wear a helmet and hold on tight!
Another option is to take a bus. The airport has a shuttle bus service that runs to several destinations in the city, including Ben Thanh Market, District 1, and Pham Ngu Lao Street.
The bus is a more affordable option but can be slower due to traffic. If you’re not in a rush, taking the bus can be a great way to see the city and get a feel for the local culture.
Flying out of Tan Son Nhat airport
One of the most important things to consider is transportation. The routes to Tan Son Nhat Airport usually have traffic jams, so please leave your hotel early and arrive at the airport at least 3 hours before your flight.
Once you arrive at the airport, you will need to go through check-in and security. The security process at Tan Son Nhat is generally smooth, but it’s always a good idea to arrive at the airport early to give yourself plenty of time.
The check-in lines can get pretty long, especially during peak hours. I usually spend around 15 minutes to 45 minutes waiting in line.
If you have a lot of luggage, there are luggage carts available for free to help you transport your bags around the airport.
Make sure to have your passport and boarding pass ready and follow the instructions of the security personnel. If you have any liquids or gels in your carry-on bag, keep them in a clear plastic bag and comply with the liquid restrictions.
After passing through security, you will enter the departure lounge. Tan Son Nhat International Airport has many restaurants, cafes, and shops to keep you entertained while you wait for your flight.
Also, make sure to listen to the announcements and follow the instructions of the airline staff. Boarding can be chaotic, so it’s important to stay calm and organized. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to ask the staff for assistance.
Food & Drinks
Now, let’s talk about food options. If you’re hungry and looking for a bite to eat, there are plenty of options available both before and after security.
There are numerous restaurants, cafes, and shops in the terminal building, as well as free Wi-Fi.
Personally, I like to grab a bowl of Pho or Banh mi from one of the local vendors before my flight. But, if you’re looking for something more substantial, sit-down restaurants like Pho 24 and The Coffee House are also available.
The airport also has a VIP lounge, which offers comfortable seating, snacks, drinks, and access to showers and televisions.
If you have some time to spare before your flight, there are plenty of shops to check out. You can find everything from local souvenirs to international brands like Chanel and Burberry.
But if you’re on a budget, I recommend checking out the duty-free shops where you can find great deals on liquor, cosmetics, and other items.
If you have a long layover, you can book a room at one of the airport hotels, such as the Ibis Saigon Airport Hotel, which is located just a short walk from the terminal building. These hotels offer comfortable rooms, as well as amenities such as a pool, fitness center, and spa.
Tips for Navigating Tan Son Nhat International Airport
Here are a few additional tips to help you navigate Tan Son Nhat International Airport:
- Check-in online: If you’re flying with a low-cost carrier, be sure to check-in online to avoid long lines at the check-in counter.
- Arrive early: The airport can be very crowded, especially during peak travel times, so be sure to arrive at least three hours before your flight to allow plenty of time to get through security and immigration.
- Bring cash: While many shops and restaurants at the airport accept credit cards, it’s a good idea to bring some cash in case of any issues with the card reader.
Tan Son Nhat International Airport is busy and sometimes confusing. But with some preparation and patience, it can be a smooth and enjoyable experience. Book your transportation in advance, arrive at the airport early, and keep your important documents easily accessible. Have a safe and enjoyable trip!