Ride-hailing apps are growing more and more prevalent in HCMC. It’s easy to see why; driving in this city is stressful to say the least. It’s also dangerous and time-consuming. Parking is a huge pain in many of the city’s locations, and you usually can’t walk around after parking a bike since parking garages are scarce in HCMC. Hiring a motorbike taxi or a car to take you where you need to go, however, is convenient and incredibly cheap in HCMC compared to what the price would be almost anywhere else.
It’s also much less of an ordeal then driving yourself. Picture sitting back and listening to music or chatting with friends on your phone for the duration of your ride. Now compare that to the noisy, exhaust-tinged chaos that you have to navigate when driving yourself. The choice is pretty clear, and the public agrees; both locals and tourists in HCMC are choosing ride-hailing apps, especially since they are so inexpensive compared to taxis. Below, we have given you a brief overview of several popular ride-hailing apps in HCMC.
Grab is currently HCMC’s leading Rideshare app, having taken the City by storm since it was established in 2012. Grab bought out Uber’s stake in Southeast Asia last year, Which lets you know just how serious of a company they are.
Grab’s mobile app Is built extremely well. It offers Grab Car and Grab Bike. Grab offers two types of ride-sharing vehicle: car and motorbike. a grab car obviously offers a higher standard of luxury, but riding with grab bike will be much cheaper. The app also offers a door-to-door delivery service. Deliveries are made via motorbike. Grab offers a food delivery service, which you can read more about in our article on food delivery options in HCMC. Another service Grab offers that not many people know about is used to wirelessly transfer funds between Grab users — think Venmo. All of this is neatly packaged into a single streamlined app that is well translated into both English and Vietnamese.
Because grab is so popular in HCMC, there are a lot of drivers and, therefore, it is usually pretty easy to find a nearby ride after booking. This is especially true with Grab Bike, which has many more drivers than Grab Car.
Of course, there are also downsides to Grab. The first of these downsides is that very few of the drivers speak English, and a surprisingly small amount of them understand how to use the GPS on their Grab app in order to locate their passenger for pickup. The app makes it easy for even someone who does not speak a word of Vietnamese to book a driver with a starting point and destination.
The problem may come, however, when the driver calls you shortly after the booking is made. he will ask for your address, usually in Vietnamese, and if you are unable to communicate to him where you are, he may abandon the booking then and there. you don’t need to be able to have a long conversation with the guy; generally, being able to pronounce the name of the street and the number you’re at will suffice.
The other problem with the service is that drivers do not take responsibility for booking cancellations on their end. Grab drivers make cancellations for a variety of ‘professional’ reasons, such as a trip booking that is too short, too long, or in the rain. This might be okay if the driver immediately cancelled when they realized they did not want to make the trip. Instead, however, they leave it to the customer to cancel.Sometimes they call in order to inform the customer they want them to cancel, but other times they just leave the customer hanging. This is even more Ridiculous by the fact that several cancellations in a row on the customer’s part will lead to a suspension of that customer’s Grab account.
All that being said, grab is a pretty good service. The issue is are not frazzling enough to ruin the app, and the drivers are good at getting you where you need to go whence you are on the bike. even for those not familiar with the Vietnamese language, the app has a very high success rate.
A pro tip any frequent grab user should utilize is that there are considerable discounts for people using electronic payment methods on the app. It is pretty easy to hook either you’re International Visa card or a local debit card up to your account. Using your card to pay for rides after that is both convenient and extremely economical; the huge discounts offered on rides paid for with the method often takes the price down to nothing; short trips on grab are often discounted down to 0k.
GoViet it is a newer player in the HCMC ride-sharing scene, but it’s certainly giving grab a run for its money. Literally. One of the biggest advantages of GoViet is that, for people not using electronic payment, it is almost always cheaper than Grab.
What some may see as its biggest downside, however, is that it does not offer cars. It is purely a bike service. It does have a large Fleet, though, and I have had equal or lesser trouble getting bookings via GoViet than I have with Grab Bike.
The booking system also seems to work better. I have not had nearly as many confusions or cancellations with GoViet bookings as I have with ones made via Grab.
The GoViet app is very nice, with a good English translation. It does not include the extra services that Grab does, but maybe that Simplistic design is a good thing. It doesn’t offer electronic payment, either, however, which is the primary reason I personally don’t use it as much.
Unbeknownst even to most locals, Mailinh is not just a traditional taxi service. It has a full-fledged app for booking rides, and it offers a bike service called Mailinhbike on the app. the one upside of Mailinhbike, in my opinion, is that it is even cheaper than its competitors. it does not operate on electronic payments at all, but the amount of cash you will need to hand over is lower than with Grab or GoViet.
Other than the monetary advantage, though, Mailinh as a ride-hailing service is not very good quality. The app itself is not well-designed and is not translated into English. There are not as many drivers as there are with competitors, so you often need to wait 5 or 10 minutes for the driver to arrive after booking. And the drivers have no idea how to use the GPS on the app, so you’ll need to guide them over the phone as to how to find you. It’s certainly a good option for those who know how to speak Vietnamese, but it may be rough for those who do not.
Since Uber was recently forced out of Vietnam, a bunch of new ride-hailing apps are flooding into HCMC. Go-jek, MVL, Aber, Vato, and T.NET are a few of the services that have announced they are coming to Vietnam. This article will more than likely be updated in the future, as HCMC’s ride-sharing scene is evolving rapidly. For now, however, this list should provide a good summary of your options.