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Since 2004, Saigon has had an efficient public transit bus network. It’s cheaper and safer than many of the alternatives. The buses are green and there are 150 routes throughout the city. The ticked is bought on the bus from the fare collector.
Bright green public buses serve 150 routes throughout the city. You can find maps of the bus system at the large Ben Thanh bus station across the street from Ben Thanh Market in District 1 - just go into the waiting room to the desk in the middle. The buses are cheap, safe and not too crowded. Many are modern and comfortable, with such amenities as air conditioning, music, and even television. Finding the right line can be a challenge if you don't speak or read Vietnamese. However, it is now possible to use google maps to help plan your journey. Clicking on a bus stop will give you a list of the busses that stop there. Compare this list to the list of busses at your destination bus stop to find the subset of busses you can take. If you cannot find your way, ask the locals nicely, they will try their best to help. A piece of paper and marker pen may help to ease the conversation.
The buses are efficient and fast. Most are staffed by two employees: the driver and the fare collector. The driver keeps the bus moving while the fare collector interacts with the passengers. Locals claim, plausibly, that buses are even faster than taxis. The reason is that buses have an informal right of way on the streets of Ho Chi Minh City; when another vehicle sees a bus coming, that vehicle gets out of the way. Taxis know that they are supposed to back down from confrontations with buses. Buses are also cheaper (4,000-8,000 dong per ride, which is considerably less that $1) and safer than many of the alternatives. The biggest problem is that when you get off the bus, you become a pedestrian (see below).
For those who aren't staying in Ho Chi Minh City very long, or want to save some time the Vietnam transfer service will take you to the famous places in Ho Chi Minh City. Price is from 15,000-75,000 dong, including the tour guide and the information in English.