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When traveling to Ho Chi Minh City, don’t expect to rent a car. Vietnam does not allow any visitors to rent cars and drive here. However, it is possible to rent a car that comes with a local driver.
This system of renting a car (which comes with a driver) is a very new concept for many foreigners, but works well in Ho Chi Minh City – and works even better if the driver can communicate with the tourists (e.g. it’s an added bonus if the driver can speak a little bit of English)! The cost to rent a car that comes with a driver can be about $50 or $60 for an entire day, but rates are not always set in stone. Tourists can negotiate the charges and it’s often possible to get the rate significantly lower, but beware of drivers who make up the costs by taking you to their "favorite" stores where they receive kick-backs.
In addition to rental cars that come with drivers, tourists can also hire taxis to take them where they want to go
WARNING: Taxis are unregulated in Vietnam which means owners can legally charge whatever they want and they set their meters to spin at an alarming rate.
If you are at the airport read here.
In Ho Chi Minh city, play it safe by trusting only two taxi companies: Vinasun and Mailinh. Look for taxis with these logos, but beware, they have a lot of imitators who will copy the logo colors, or have a name that's very similar to these companies, or have phone numbers that are very similar. Do not get into any other taxi, because even if the driver turns on the meter, it will jump by 50,000 to 200,000 Dong when you're not looking. And you won't have much luck arguing with the driver. If you do get into a non-Mailinh or non-Vinasun taxi, and you notice the meter jump inexplicably, get out of the taxi immediately and take another one, otherwise it might jump again.
For taxi fare estimates, try an online fare calculators. Knowing the fares before your trip can help you plan and avoid scams:
Ho Chi Minh City Taxi Fare Calculator.
A few more tips about avoiding taxi scams:
1. Avoid getting into a taxi waiting right outside a touristy spot such as museums or bus/train stations. The taxi cheats like to wait and target their prey this way. It is better to hail a taxi driving down the street. Ben Thanh market is the worst example, never ever take ANY taxi outside the market close to the round about. Vinasun taxi are scared and they will stop for people, they just drop of their clients and run away. Just go on the other side of the market entrance and walk left towards the 5 star hotels. After 200 meters you can take any Vinasun you see or use the one waiting in front of the hotes, Vinasun only remember.
2. Get a general sense of how much your fare will cost. A five-minute ride should not be 1 million VND, but some taxis will use technology to make their meters jump during the ride. They may also take you a circuitous ride around the city in order to increase the distance driven.
3. When it is time to pay, remember to stay calm. If the fare is fraudulent, you can refuse to pay or just pay what you want. A taxi cheat will raise his voice and make you very uncomfortable but that's exactly when confusion and a fight-or-flight situation can set in, and they know it.
4. Count your money very carefully before giving it to the driver. He may pull the old trick of quickly switching out your bills for smaller bills and then ask you to pay more, banking on your possible confusion about the currency. Again, remaining calm and paying attention is the way to avoid second-guessing if you really did pay the right amount.
If you're adventurous and don't mind a motorbike taxi, a fair rate is about half of what you'd pay for a car taxi. So about two miles within District 1 should be about 25,000 Dong (approx $1.25).