Car Hire at Tan Son Nhat International Airport
This information is correct as of August 2015.
Ho Chi Minh City, a dynamic urban environment of commercial and cultural importance, is one of the greatest cities to see in Vietnam. It can also be considered as a city of contrasts due to its myriad range of establishments, from the cheapest to the choicest. Some of the places to check out here, though, are the Reunification Palace and the Jade Emperor Pagoda, as well as the War Remnants Museum.
Where to hire a car at Tan Son Nhat International Airport
Upon arriving in Tan Son Nhat International Airport, you will find various transport options available. There are car rental counters on Terminal 2, where you can transact for your trip. Details on these companies are not available in the official website of the airport, so you may have to look up information in the nearby companies located in the city. Contact them before your trip, so you can negotiate on the terms and reserve a specific model as soon as possible.
Driving in Ho Chi Minh City, however, is forbidden without a Vietnamese driving licence, so you must first apply for one before you finalise the rental arrangements. You can also consider choosing private car rentals with a driver. This can make it easier to get around, as the driver will be more familiar with the layout of the city roads and the quickest ways in and out the city.
What to expect when hiring a car from Tan Son Nhat International Airport
Getting around Ho Chi Minh City can be challenge, with some three million motorbikes for around six million residents. You might have to take some time to get used to the chaotic traffic situation, as well as the road regulations. Driving around during the rush hours can also be tiresome due to the dense amount of traffic. This makes it important that you avoid mornings and afternoons when going out.
Tolls on major highways should also be included in your expenses. Congestion charges are not implemented here, but they are proposed to help solve the worsening traffic situation. One-way roads should also be expected in old parts of the city and the surrounding area. Cycling is not as popular here, so you will rarely find them on the streets. If you need to refuel, petrol stations can be found in different parts of the city.
Driving around Tan Son Nhat International Airport
To go on your way to Ho Chi Minh City, you will have to pass through Trường Chinh. The drive can take around 20 minutes or so, depending on the flow of traffic. Parking can also be hard to manage here, due to the lack of spaces offered for cars. Most of the facilities are devoted to motorbikes, which makes it difficult to find a safe spot for your rental.
Motorists drive on the right side of the road and overtake on the left. The car must display a valid Inspection Stamp on the windscreen, stating that the vehicle passed the safety standards. It is also required to have a Road Tax stamp, displayed directly below the Inspection Stamp. Front seat belts should also be worn at all times when the car is in motion. Speed limits should also be heeded. The maximum speed, unless otherwise indicated, is 50 km/h in urban areas and 80 km/h on motorways and non-urban areas.
Getting to your destination
Bien Hoa, around 30 kilometres away from the airport, takes around an hour or so to reach. You can get here via Phạm Văn Đồng to see Le Van Duyet Temple, the Temple of the Hing Kings, the Brickyard, and several other attractions. You can also go on a Saigon City Tour, which can be pleasant to go onto, especially if you are excited to learn about Vietnamese history.
You should have called ahead for nearby accommodations with parking facilities, so it would not be too difficult to find a spot in the city. Driving to Bien Hoa from Tan Son Nhat International Airport is via Phạm Văn Đồng or via QL1/QL1A.
You can explore a multitude of sights in Long Khanh, namely the Long Khanh Pagoda, Banh It Tower, Doi Tower, and Phu Le Communal House Festival.
Long Khanh, away by 78 kilometres northeast of the airport, and driving to this destination can get around an hour and a half, depending on the traffic situation. You will need to get here via TP. Hồ Chí Minh - Long Thành - Dầu Giây from Trường Sơn, Trường Sa, Hoàng Sa, and Điện Biên Phủ to An Phú to drive to your destination.
La Gi, with its coastal attractions, makes a restful area to check out. Other than the beaches, primitive and tranquil landscape, as well as the sand dunes, you can marvel at the view offered by Ke Ga lighthouse, which was built by the French. There is also the Thay Thim Palace, recognised as a national heritage for its architecture of the Champa people.
You can get here in more or less three hours and a half via TP. Hồ Chí Minh - Long Thành - Dầu Giây and QL1A. Parking can be hard to manage here, so be sure to call ahead and arrange for a place where you can leave your car safely.