Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport
The largest airport in Vietnam was built in the 1930’s and named after the village it resides in, though it serves Ho Chi Minh City. It handles 75 percent of the nation’s international air travel, which totals over 16 million people a year. The airport consists of two terminals, one for domestic and one for international, though once the new Long Thanh Airport is complete, all international flights will move there. There are no direct flights from the US, although American Airlines offers connections with a stop in Tokyo-Narita.
There are various eating options at Vietnam’s airport ranging from packaged snacks to full sit-down dining. There are ample shopping facilities, with Gucci, Nike, D&G, Samsung, and Panasonic, as well as numerous souvenir kiosks. Duty-free is also available for passengers who want to grab cheap cigarettes, alcohol and cosmetics. Eight VIP lounges can be found throughout the airport for first-class passengers. They offer wireless internet, business services, sleeping areas, and a large assortment of food. Currency exchange, car rental and ATMs are some of the other amenities found here.
The first floor of the airport has a Budget rental car office that offers both self-drive and chauffeured vehicles. Taxis line up on the left side of the exit door, although it is recommended to go with Mai Linh, which has a counter in Arrivals. The number 152 airport bus travels to city’s Pham Ngu Lao area, but stops running at 6:00 p.m.
Nội Bài International Airport
The airport serving the capital of Vietnam is comparatively smaller than Tân Sơn Nhất, though there are plans to expand in the future. They currently handle over nine million passengers a year from destinations in Asia and Europe. There are no direct flights from the US, though it is easy to arrive via Seoul-Incheon, Hong Kong, Tokyo-Narita or Osaka-Kansai.
The single terminal has two levels, and each has its own duty-free shop. There are souvenirs stores and plenty of ATMs. A currency exchange can be found in the Arrivals hall. There is a limited amount of food options, but those looking for a quick bite will be satisfied. Other amenities include a business lounge, a smoking room and tour counters.
A fixed price taxi stand can be found just outside the terminal, but beware of touts offering cheaper fares. Vietnam Airlines provides shuttles directly to downtown on 1 Quang Trung and tickets can be purchased at the airline counter or in the mini-bus parking lot. Public buses 7 and 17 connect the airport with the city center and run every 15 minutes between 5:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. These are cheap and safe, but take an hour to reach Hanoi.