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Vietnam - Things to know before visiting Ho Chi Minh City (Sim Card, Transportation & Accommodations)




1. Currency - Vietnam Dong
The currency in Vietnam is Dong. The Dong notes look similar especially with all the zeros added at the back. It can be quite confusing! Like the photo above, 100,000 and 10,000 notes look very similar. Do not rush and take your time to check your money. There are many money changers available at the airport so you can change your money there. I saw a few at downtown so you do not have to worry about money changer. On the other hand, locals usually visit the gold shop to change money for better rates. 

2. Sim Card
Sim card is very affordable in Vietnam. We bought the sim card from Klook - SGD $6.15 for 2.4GB and it works well. Best part was skipping the queue because we had already paid for the sim card. The downside is, you have to do the setting up of phone yourselves. 

Click here to sign up using referral code to get your first $25 HKD off! 

3. Transportation/ Getting Around HCMC
There are a few ways to get around HCMC. The first is to hire taxi such as Mai Linh Taxi or Vinasun. There are taxi scams around SEA so it is better to do your research. Usually, a taxi from airport to district 1 cost around 7– 10 USD.The meter should start at 12k for 7 seater and less for 5 seater. If you have time to spare, you can always try out their buses to downtown. Currently, the subway is still under construction. Hopefully, it will be ready soon!

However, we took grab, a private hire company to get around in HCMC. Similar to Uber, the ride depends on demand & supply, peak and off-peak rides. You have to download the app to book your ride.  Use my promo code  - GRABJLSJ2018 to get discount on your ride or click here

4. Districts in HCMC
Ho Chi Minh City is divided into 24 districts. The popular choice for tourist is District 1 & District 5. District 2 is for the home for expats and affluent locals.

District 1 is the downtown of HCMC and there are lots of attraction that is at walking distance. Range from 5 star hotel to backpackers hostel, this area has a good location We too, stayed in District 1 because of its prime location. The only downside? Overcrowded.

District 5 is HCMC’s Chinatown where you can find prominent Chinese landmark such as temple, market and Chinese restaurant. This place is away from downtown and thus a lot more affordable. Although there are not many bar and pub in the area, getting around in HCMC with grab is very convenient.


5.Visa
Visa is not required for Citizen from most ASEAN member-countries. Passport holders from Korea, Japan, Russia Scandinavian nation and Western European Countries such as France, Germany, Spain, UK and Italy do not need a visa if they are planning to stay within 15 days. However, Visa is required for citizens coming from US, Canada and Australia. It cost about 25 USD for a 30-day single entry visa. You can check the regulation for Applying Vietnam Visa application here

Click here to read more about our 3 day 2 Night Ho Chi Minh City trip itinerary 
Read Vietnam 5 Best Street Food in Ho Chi Minh City here 




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