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This is a late post about Ho Chi Minh City’s international airport – the Tan Son That International Airport. I meant to post it weeks ago but then other more interesting topics came by including those about articles that I could quickly share. So here it goes and with some photos I took at the terminal:
Airport terminal driveway
The driveway at the departure level actually reminded me of NAIA Terminal 3’s own driveway. The resemblance is uncanny.
Taxi stand at the departure level driveway?
Unloading luggage from the taxi
Passengers may get carts to help them carry their luggage
Spacious check-in lobby
The layout of the lobby also reminded me of the NAIA Terminal 3
Duty free shops inside the airport terminal
Many terminal spaces have yet to be occupied
More shops inside the terminal
This large shop sells local items and I discovered that it is cheaper to get your coffee, chocolates and other souvenirs.
Vietnam manufactures many name brand items including leather goods, shoes, bags and clothes. You can get these legitimate ‘Made in Vietnam’ goods at the airport a bit lower prices because they are sold duty free. Of course, they will not be as cheap compared to the high quality knock-offs you can buy downtown.
The corridor to the pre-departure areas is lined up with seats and, of course, more shops
The pre-departure areas also have shops for the last minute shopper. I still had a few hundred thousand dongs on me so I ended up buying more coffee.
Korean Air plane being towed to the terminal
Passengers waiting for their boarding call may just opt to take a seat as others circulate among shops and cafes
Tiger Air plane berthed at the terminal
Spacious pre-departure area for our gate
The bridge to our plane back to Manila
Our boarding gate
Overall, I think the airport terminal was well-maintained and the procedures were quite efficient. It was not crowded despite the many flights handled by the airport.
It was my first time to travel to Vietnam and so the opportunity to take photos of the international airport at Ho Chi Minh City presented itself. I wanted to see for myself how the terminal compared to Manila’s considering other airports in the region such as Changi, Kuala Lumpur and Suvarnabhumi are definitely better than NAIA.
View of the tarmac from our tube after we disembarked from our aircraft
The airport had a linear layout similar to NAIA’s Terminals 2 and 3, and so we had to walk some distance to the immigration counters. The moving walkway was functioning well and speeded up our walk.
Descending from the second level after clearing immigration, you get this view of the baggage claim area. Frankly, it reminded me of NAIA Terminal 3’s own baggage claim area.
The view of the bottom of the stairs
The baggage claim area was as spacious at that level
Another photo of the baggage claim area. After clearing customs and exiting to the arrival lobby, you can change currencies at the many banks offering these services or perhaps purchase an item(s) at the shops.
The taxi stand is along the terminal driveway where you can also wait for an Uber or Grab car. Ridesharing/ridehailing apps Uber and Grab are very popular in HCMC and are definitely cheaper than getting a cab so this option is highly recommended for travelers.
The arrival area is spacious and features several outdoor cafes/restaurants
Here is one cafe beside the aircraft departure and arrival information boards
Another cafe, this one near the taxi stand
Among the things I wanted to observe in Ho Chi Minh City were their motorcycle taxis. These are a popular mode of transport in Vietnam. They are so popular that ride sharing companies Uber and Grab have the motorcycle taxi as an option in their apps. They even have their own helmets for promotion and easy identification.
Uber moto is among the most popular options for the ride sharing app
Grab is also popular and the photo shows people wearing other helmets that may be about other companies facilitating motorcycle taxis
Uber has a motorcycle taxi option in its app in Vietnam. This is a screenshot I took as I loaded their promo code for our conference (Uber was a major sponsor.).
Grab moto rider browsing for his next passenger
Vietnam has shown that motorcycle taxis can be both popular while being regulated and relative safe (there are tens of thousands of motorcycles moving around their cities including Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh). Should the Philippines, particularly Metro Manila, also consider this at least while it is building more mass transit lines? Again, this is not for everyone and perhaps can help alleviate the worsening transport and traffic conditions in the metropolis. Of course, there are the expected implications if motorcycle taxis are legalized including a further surge in motorcycle sales and ownership and, more troubling, the likely increase in the number of crashes involving motorcycles (hopefully not the fatal ones). But then again, the reality is that there are already motorcycle taxis operating around Metro Manila with upstart Angkas operating against the wishes of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB). It is more advantageous to recognize these and perhaps allow Grab and Uber to offer them as options. That way, LTFRB can formulate and issue the necessary rules and regulations covering these and be able to monitor as well as make companies providing them answerable to the public for concerns such as safety and fares.