What's Ho Chi Minh City like?
Ho Chi Minh City – which used to be called Saigon – is the biggest city in Vietnam, with more than 8 million inhabitants.
It's a chaotic and enchanting city, full of local flavour mixed with French inspiration – in its architecture, cooking and way of life.
Explore the ancient temples and the remnants of the American War, including the nearby Cu Chi tunnels, then explore the modern day shopping centres and air-conditioned restaurants.
Which airlines fly to Ho Chi Minh City?
Although there are no direct flights from New Zealand to Vietnam, it is possible to fly from Auckland, Christchurch or Wellington to Ho Chi Minh City with just 1 stop along the way.
How long is the flight to Ho Chi Minh City?
Auckland to Ho Chi Minh City
13 hours 30 minutes (1 stop)
Christchurch to Ho Chi Minh City
15 hours 30 minutes (1 stop)
Queenstown to Ho Chi Minh City
17 hours 55 minutes (2 stops)
Wellington to Ho Chi Minh City
15 hours 10 minutes (1 stop)
What is the best time to visit Ho Chi Minh City?
Ho Chi Minh City has warm weather year-round, especially when compared to New Zealand. The city's coldest month is December, with average temperatures of 27°C. Its hottest month is April at 30°C.
Almost all of HCMC's rain falls between May and November, while December to April is the dry season in southern Vietnam.
Do I need a visa for Ho Chi Minh City?
New Zealand passport holders can apply for an eVisa to visit Vietnam for up to 30 days (single entry). This can be done online and costs US$25 per person.
How expensive is Ho Chi Minh City?
Ho Chi Minh City, and all of Vietnam, is far cheaper than any New Zealand city. Expect to get a filling meal for less than $3, a local beer for $2 and a soft drink for around 70 cents.
In Ho Chi Minh City, you'll spend Vietnamese dong.
Arriving in Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City Airport (SGN), formerly know as Saigon Airport, is the busiest airport in all of Vietnam.
When you arrive, you'll need to show your passport and flight number to the immigration desk. If you have an eVisa this will be scanned, but if you have a different form of visa, this will also need to be shown.
The airport is 7km from Ho Chi Minh City's tourist-friendly District 1. In a taxi, this is likely to cost $7-$10 and take 8 minutes. Make sure you buy a voucher from inside the terminal before approaching the taxi stand. A bus is cheaper at $2, but takes close to half an hour.
Useful tips about Ho Chi Minh City
Not sure what to pack? Read our guide to backpacking essentials in Southeast Asia.
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Please note: all information is correct as of January, 2018.
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