Apr 02 2011

Saigon motorbike taxi tips

Published by at 12:45 pm under Transport

When I am in need of a ride, the quickest, and my favourite, way to get around Saigon is by using one of the many motorbike taxis, or xe oms. Drivers can be found on nearly every Saigon street corner sitting, or laying, on their bike. Catching a xe om, especially during rush hour, will save you a substantial amount of time and money compared to a taxi, as well as allowing you to experience the city’s traffic first hand. However, just like everything in Vietnam, life will be made easier if you know a few simple tips.

I call xe oms my personal chauffeurs so I feel more famous

First, always remember to agree upon a price to your destination BEFORE you get on the motorbike. Since most xe oms speak little English, haggling may be, at times, difficult. Hand signals work great or actually showing them the amount you are willing to pay.

A motorbike ride should generally be half the price of a taxi ride, so if you are familiar with your destination this is a good starting point. If not, I generally take whatever price the xe om initially offers and cut it by 60%, usually settling at about half. If you’re trying to drive a hard bargain, don’t be afraid to walk away as he will likely call you back. But, remember how much you’re walking away for. More times than I’d like to admit, I’ve found myself walking a couple extra blocks over fifty cents.

A xe om's natural habitat.

Once the price is settled, that is the price you pay. All xe oms have an extra helmet, but if you’re in town for a while, I’d recommend using your own if possible. You can find helmets for sale on the side of the street, as some of these loaners can be quite dirty. Now that you are on the bike, hang on to the back handle and enjoy the ride. Xe oms are experts at weaving in and out of traffic, driving on footpaths, and finding short cuts through Saigon’s numerous back alleys. These rides are one my favourite things about the city and the best way to get around Saigon.

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8 responses so far

8 Responses to “Saigon motorbike taxi tips”

  1. […] you enjoy the everyday sights of the Saigon streets that normally go unnoticed on the back of a motorbike — they're particularly great for exploring pagoda-filled Cholon, or Chinatown. The best […]

  2. […] as do Dinh Tien Hoang and Dien Bien Phu. Some of these flood waters can be nearly knee deep, making motorbike travel an […]

  3. […] traffic cruise by from the back of a xe om or the backseat of a taxi can leave an adventurous traveller wanting to join the madness and drive […]

  4. […] 15-minute trip from District 1 as the motorbike drives, Up Café is the most unique café in the city. Customers are head over heels for this […]

  5. […] park is about 30-45 minutes out of downtown by taxi, or about 15 minutes quicker by bike. From District 1 take CMT8 to 3 Thang 2, when you pass the race track and Parkson in District 11 […]

  6. […] best way to travel in Ho Chi Minh City is by motorbike. While it is easy to catch a xe om, and have them taxi you around, it is even cooler to drive yourself. Luckily, if you cruise around […]

  7. […] offering a wide range of services, prices, and quality. My favourite, only a 10-minute taxi or xe om ride away from the heart of downtown on the busy street of Dien Bien Phu, is YKC in District 3. I […]

  8. […] a cab driver in Ho Chi Minh City because of this. One of my Vietnam travel and safety tips is this: know the price, agree on it, and go. That’s what I always do and it’s never failed me, so far. I never have to worry about […]

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