Tan Son Nhat - Ho Chi Minh City - Airport Duty Free
From its beginnings as a small French built airfield in the 1930’s, to the world’s busiest military airbase during the early 1970’s and now Vietnam’s busiest airport, Ho Chi Minh City's Tan Son Nhat International Airport has been through major changes.
The latest will be the extension to the domestic terminal to compliment the new international terminal that came on stream in 2007 - serving in excess of 15.5 million passengers in 2010, it badly needs it.
With the two independent terminals (domestic and international) came space, some have described as cavernous. Space that feels unusually empty for a large international airport. Given that only passengers are allowed within the airport buildings - friends, family and colleagues not being allowed unless they have an airline ticket, you do accept that it’s not as crowded as most airports • but the main reason is there are very little in the way of the normal amenities you would expect to find. Most international airports are crammed with everything from business centers, transit hotels, ATM’s, huge duty free shopping areas, even the odd bank or two. But here, where they could have put in so much there is little or nothing. Even the pre-launch and much publicized “specialist retail areas” offering internet services, entertainment areas, health and beauty care have yet to materialize.
However, duty & tax free shopping does exist although many of the high end establishments and global travel retail brands are not represented here. The international terminal leads the way with kiosks stocking a range of tobacco, alcohol and perfumes together with fashion and accessories brands from Vietten, Bossini, Gucci, D&G and An Phoc. A good, but not extensive electronics showing from Panasonic, Toshiba and Samsung, and a good selection from both Hermes and Swatch. For those wanting something more “local” really good arts, crafts and souvenirs are well priced and certainly good value.
Needing food and drink …? There are a couple of coffee/snack bars, alternatively try the Skynet Restaurant or for something more local there’s Phaner and Kinh Ho • failing all that you can’t miss the sign saying KFC.
The domestic terminal offerings are not as wide, but selections from Lacoste, Adidas and Converse are there, together with local crafts and souvenirs.
Expansion versus location has always been a problem for all airports and Tan Son Nhat Airport located inside the already crowded Ho Chi Minh City is no different. A new 3 terminal airport for international traffic, Long Thanh International airport, will be built 50 km from the city with stages due to be completed in 2020 and 2035, leaving Tan Son Nhat serving domestic routes only.
- Airport Code: SGN
- Terminals: 2. International & Domestic.
- Hub Airline: Vietnam Airlines.
- Visa on Arrival: Yes
- Currency: Dong ₫ (VND)
- What to look for: Local arts and crafts.
- Airport Contact Number: +84 8 844 8358
- Dialling Code: +84 (Vietnam). Area Code: 8
Regional airline carriers with services to Tan Son Nhat include:
- Air China, Air Mekong, Cambodia Angkor Air, Cebu Pacific, Lao Airlines, Lion Air, Mandarin Airlines, Sichuan Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, Tiger Airways, Uni Air, VASCO, Royal Brunei Airlines.
- Regional airlines under consideration: Indochina Airlines and VietJet Air
Tax Free Travel Guide ....Duty Free Allowances for Vietnam