Also see Travel Agencies for office locations and city tour options.

A good website for Saigon listings is Asia Life HCMC.


Best-stocked bookstore in Saigon, with maps and magazines and Lonely Planet, Rough Guide and Eyewitness travel guides up front, an excellent stationary area, and plenty of other English-language books (like a pink copy of President Ho Chi Minh’s Testament published after his death in 1969 for 16,000D, or US$1).
Tel 08-825-4670,, 185 Dong Khoi Q1, open 8am to 10pm daily

A local chain specializing in foreign-language books. The location at the Saigon Center stocks many books on Vietnam in English.
Tel 08-821-7131; 65 Le Loi St; open 9am-9pm


Australia (tel 08-829 6035, Landmark Bldg, 5B Ton Duc Thanh Q1)
Cambodia (tel 08-827 7696, 41 Phun Khac Khoan Q1)
Canada (tel 08-827 9899, 235 Dong Khoi Q1)
China (tel 08-829 2457, 39 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Q1)
France (tel 08-829-4385, 27 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Q1)
Germany (tel 08-822-4385, 126 Nguyen Dinh Chieu Q3)
Indonesia (tel 08-825 1888, 18 Phung Khac Khoan Q1)
Japan (tel 08-822-5314, 13-17 Nguyen Hue Q1)
Laos (tel 08-829 7667, 93 Pasteur Q1)
Malaysia (tel 08-829 9023, 2 Ngo Duc Ke Q1)
Netherlands (tel 08-823-5932, 29 Le Duan Q1)
New Zealand (tel 08-822 6907, 235 Dong Khoi, Metropolitan, 9th Floor Q1)
Russia (tel 08-930-3936, 40 Ba Huyen Thanh Quan Q3)
Singapore (tel 08-822-5173, 65 Le Loi Q1)
South Korea (tel 08-822-5757, 107 Nguyen Du Q1)
Thailand (tel 08-932 7637, 77 Tran Quoc Tuan Q3)
Ukraine (tel 08-822-2490, 25 Le Duan Q1))
UK (tel 08-823 2604, 25 Le Duan Q1)
USA (tel 08-822 9433, 4 Le Duan Q1)


Vietnamese Language

At the corner of Le Duan St (not mapped), this school has an extensive program with six levels, with 150 periods in each — so you can study here awhile. Individual classes are US$6 per period, group courses are US$2.80 to US$4 per period (depending on the number of students).
Tel 08-822-5009; [email protected],; 12 Dinh Tien Hoang St

One of a few places in Saigon to study Vietnamese. Private tutors are available for US$4/5 per 50 minutes on/off campus; group classes are US$2.50/2 per 50 minutes in groups of 2-4/5-10 people.
Tel 08-835-5100;; 280 An Duong Vuong, D5, near Nguyen Van Cuu St

Cooking Courses

Offers daily courses in a colonial villa 15 minutes from the center. Three-hour courses are held 9.30am to 12.30pm, and 3 to 6pm. The US$33 course includes the lunch or dinner you make. Call ahead to reserve a space.
Tel 08-512-1492;; 362/8 Ung Van Khiem St, Binh Thanh District

Internet Access

Internet is everywhere, with fan-cooled, open-front shops with computers lining walls and Internet calls available. Around Pham Ngu Lao and De Tham Street, it’s about 100D per minute, minimum 1000D.

WiFi access is growing – Sozo Café in Pham Ngu Lao has WiFi, as does Fanny’s ice cream south of Ben Thanh Market.


All hotels and guesthouses offer the service – the cheaper the place, the cheaper the cleaning. It’s about 10,000D (US$0.65) per kg in a Pham Ngu Lao guesthouse.


Go to Fahasa bookstore (see Basics, above) to pick up Saigon maps of varying sizes (one has transport routes if you’re thinking of busing across town much). Many hotels hand out freebie maps of central Saigon with highlights. A good mini-map is inside Saigontourist’s brochure; just grab one in a hotel lobby or out Saigontourist’s central office (see Travel Agencies) and pull out the map.


Lots of English-language publications and hand-outs to look for – the best are the free Saigon Inside Out magazine and Vietnam Economic Times’ The Guide (published monthly):

Saigon CityLife (25,000D, or US$1.60; Hip monthly magazine with local writers’ pieces on culture and travel (most in Vietnamese and English); unsure whether time will keep it afloat
Saigon Inside Out (free; Locally produced take on a Time Out, with entertainment listings and profiles of Vietnam’s rising stars, with focus on expat life – best option if you want to know what’s going on
Saigon Times Weekly (8000D, or US$0.50; Color weekly, with business- and some travel-related articles from government publisher; their monthly supplement Chao is more geared to visitors
The Guidebook (free; The website isn’t of much use, but the free handout has plenty of eating/drinking listings that may be somewhat helpful
Vietnam Economic Times: The Guide (16,000D, or US$1; Pretty decent monthly with cultural pieces and entertainment listings
Vietnam Investment Review ( Check ‘Time Out’ link on home page of business-related site for listings.
Vietnam News (5000D, or US$0.30; Government’s English-language daily, with lots of translated stories on national economy, and some entertainment listings; best is the color Sunday edition (with restaurant reviews, culture features)

Medical Services

Emergency numbers:

  • Ambulance (tel 115)
  • Fire (tel 114)
  • Police (tel 113)

Several central clinics offer 24-hour emergency assistance with foreign, English-speaking doctors on location always, including the following:

Ho Chi Minh City Family Medical Practice (Tel 822-7848;; 2 Nguyen Van Chiem, 1st Fl, Diamond Plaza Q1; regular hours 8.30am to 5.30pm Mon-Fri, 8.30am to 12.30pm Sat) Consultations are US$50 during regular hours, US$85 at other times.

International Medical Centre (Tel 827-2366; 1 Han Thuyen Q1; regular hours 9am to noon Mon-Sat) Consultations during regular hours are US$40, US$80 otherwise

International SOS Clinic (Tel 829-8424; 65 Nguyen Du Q1) Consultations with foreign doctors are US$82 anytime


The Vietnamese currency is the Dong (abbreviated as ‘D’ here), with notes and coins. Prices here are also listed US dollars (US$), all converted at the exchange rate of 16,000D to US$1.

Finding an ATM is not difficult. Many are accessible 24 hours, and use ANZ, HSBC, Cirrus and Plus networks. You’ll pay a 20,000D (US$1.25) charge per transaction though, and the maximum withdrawal is 2,000,000D (about $125).

Credit cards are available at many mid-range or high-end restaurants, hotels and shops. However, some put up a credit card sign because it ‘looks good.’ A commission charge of a 3% per charge is typical.


Vietnam’s postal service has reps all over town. If you’re sending post cards, the main post office is an attraction in itself. There’s also a location at 303 Pham Ngu Lao (open 7am to 10pm daily).

If you need more speed, go with FED EX (tel 829-0995,, Pasteur & Le Thanh Ton Q1, open 7am to 8pm Mon-Fri, 7am to noon Sat) or UPS (tel 824-3597,, 80F Nguyen Du Q1, open 7.30am to 4.30pm Mon-Fri, 7.30am to noon Sat).


Some Internet cafes arranged Internet calls for about 4000D or 5000D (US$0.25 or US$0.30) per minute. You can also buy pre-paid phone cards for a couple hours’ worth of talk to Europe or the US.

If you need to make an international call from a land line, call 171. It’s US$0.35 per minute at night and Sunday, US$0.50 per minute other times. Call 110 for help with collect calls.

Everyone uses mobile phones here. If you have one, you can get a SIM card from cellphone shops all over town. Vinaphone ( and Mobiphone ( sell SIM cards for 25,000D (US$1.60) with built-in credit.

Tourist Information

Vietnam’s cities and provinces run tourist agencies – with varying success – and there are many ‘travel information’ places that offer free tips and push their trips. Every guesthouse and hotel has deals with local operators to send you on trips, take open-bus tickets to friendly guesthouses across Vietnam. High-end hotels like Park Hyatt and Caravelle Hotel use Saigontourist, while many Pham Ngu Lao guesthouses go with one of the cheaper options in that area. Park Hyatt’s concierge desk is better organized than most. They hand out a print-out of recommended tours they create, as well as four themed center maps.

In the center there’s a newish TOURIST INFORMATION CENTER (tel 08-822-6033;; 46-4H Le Loi St; open 8am to 8pm daily), which has handouts and info on AsianaTravelMate rep offering quite pricey tours.

See Travel Agencies for reliable agents (private and state-run) that often don’t push you to take their trips.