Budget Tip #3: Public Airport Transfer
At Hanoi’s Noibai International Airport, various types of transportation services are available. For a fixed price of US$16 (sedan) or US$19 (SUV), the airport taxis will take you to downtown Hanoi. Toll charges are included in the price, so the only thing you should do is to show the driver the address of your place in the city before enjoying the hour-long ride. Taxis from downtown to Noibai charge lower rate: just $10 for pick-up service from your hotel.
Airport minibus is another option that deserves a look. The minibus offers rides to your hotel or residence for as low as $2. The only drawback is that the minibuses only leave the airport when full. Certain airports such as Noi Bai and Da Lat, the seats fill up fast because of the limited number.
In Hanoi Airport, if you do not have much luggage or fear of public transportation, use the public buses number 7 or 17. The bus stop is right outside of the terminal exit. Buses run every 15 minutes from 5am to 10pm and cost only 5000VND (.25 USD). Check the bus schedule from the airport before you go out. Bus number 7 goes to Kim Ma Station and you will have to catch bus number 9 to get to the Old Quarter. With bus number 17, you are taken straight to Long Bien Station, a few blocks away from the Old Quarter.
Similarly, the air-conditioned airport bus number 152 is the cheapest way to go downtown from Tan Son Nhat International Airport of Ho Chi Minh City. For 4,000VND plus a 4,000 VND fee for luggage, the bus will take you to Ben Thanh Market roundabout or Pham Ngu Lao area. The buses are always waiting for you on the right side of the exit in the airport until 6PM. Just ignore any taxi drivers who tell you that there is no more public bus. Get some changes and jump on the buses to start your adventure!
In Ho Chi Minh City, taxi is another good option as the rate is very reasonable. The tip is to get out at least 100m of the terminal exit because taxis of different companies other than Sasco – the overcharging airport taxi, are not allowed to pick up passengers inside that area. Thus, go out and find a Mai Linh or Vinasun taxi, which offer much lower fare.
You should expect to pay about 75,000 to 140,000 VND for a ride from the airport to the city center. The metered taxi rate varies between companies but it is generally around 15,000 dong per km plus a toll fee of 5,000 dong. In terms of time, between 10pm to 6am when the traffic is much lighter, a ride to city center takes only about 15 minutes, but typically an hour is the minimum amount of time for you to get to the city.