How to (Affordably) Leave Ho Chi Minh Airport at 2 AM

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After successfully saving $20 by haggling for our visas (don’t try this at home, kids) we were positive we could get a fair price for a taxi to our hostel. We were originally supposed to arrive early enough to get a 20,000 Dong ($1) shuttle, but then our plane got delayed… several times. Making us arrive four hours late!

Unfortunately, it’s a universal rule that airport taxi drivers are horribly selfish people who will happily pry hundreds of dollars from of your tear-stained jet-lagged fingers. I might be exaggerating… but it sure doesn’t feel that way when you’re sleep deprived and an angry smoke-breathing taxi driver yells obnoxious prices at you. ¬†No, we yelled back, we will not pay 450,000 Dong ($20) per person when you know it should cost $7 total.

We didn’t want to give up just yet and found a driver who agreed to charge us a very fair 100,000 Dong ($5). He took us through a dark empty parking lot to a regular car with no taxi signs on it. After living in China for a year, being human trafficked and having our organs sold didn’t even cross our minds. Unmarked cars are known as reliable and cheap transport options in many Asian countries.

Just as we fastened our seat belts, the driver’s supervisor appeared out of nowhere and claimed that we need to pay 400,000 Dong just to leave the airport! Sighing, we took our bags out of the taxi and decided to walk out of the airport on foot. Luckily, we didn’t have to go far. We did have had to illegally cross a busy highway and then stumble over an overgrown muddy strip, but it was worth it.

It’s only about 500 meters total to the closest sidewalk where it’s easy to hail a regular cab that won’t overcharge you just for being near an airport. If we had known better, we would have waited for a smaller cab of a specific color but we were desperate to get to our destination. We payed 250,000 Dong ($11) for the 15 minute ride and our driver pretty much gave us a mini tour along the way.

Just to summarize, that 5 minute walked saved us 700,000 Dong ($30). Add the $20 we saved on the visa and that’s $50 extra that we could spend on the more important things life. Like all the spring rolls two people could possible eat in three weeks!


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