Tan Son Nhat International Airport
Ho Chi Minh City, Ha Tinh Province, Vietnam

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Embarrassed to be Vietnamese

Customs official asked brother where he was "hiding" his money when going through departure customs. Brother wasn't hiding any, had less than $20 USD in his wallet. This airport is corrupt, every single relative I know of talks about having to bribe officials when they return to Vietnam.

As a Vietnamese, I'm embarrassed that things are like this. If you're a tourist, I recommend travelling to other countries before taking a risk here.

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(no subject)


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corrupt A-hole airport scanner

This A-hole luggage scanners will get what they want it your luggage because they have personal interest. i already travel my luggage with the same things inside from 3 different countries and airport. But this stupid scanner have interest for what i have bought in the places i have visited. this airport sucks. They just want money. So shameful poor people that cannot work clean they still need to do this even they are working in Airport. That gay looking scanner. You A-hole. who cant afford to buy what passengers are able to..

PS. Your airport doesnt smell good. Just like that monkey a-hole scanner. bad hygiene i must say

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Are Customs and Immigration officials still trying to exhort

I am a Viet Kieu who have traveled back to VN about 4 times since 2001. So, that's basically 8 times going in/out of the airport immigration and customs. Of these 8 times, I've been "asked" explicitly 2 times for "coffee money" - I rejected both times, and 1 time the officer/extortionist just held my passport for about 3-4 minutes without saying anything (he finally let me go when the lines grew longer and people became antsy). The last time was 2016. I was wondering if people are still experiencing these extortions at Tan Son Nhut airport, or has the VN authority cracked down on these shameful activities?

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re: Bribery at the airport - it's disgusting!

Wow, the same thing happened to my sister 2 years ago. She was so stunned by the request that it took her a few moments to digest it. Like you, she paid up and fumed about it once we got home. I, personally, had my luggage broken into, and all the new stuff I had bought was stolen. It left a bitter taste in my mouth.

I heard that security in the baggage area has toughened up. But I guess they couldn't get rid of the insidious cancer.

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Bribery at the airport - it's disgusting!

My bag had a sticker saying it needs to be inspected. The a-officer took me to a quite area and turned on his scanning machine. He asked to see my passport and showed me the 15 or so jars of Manuka honey I had with me through the scanning image. He said I need to pay taxes for the honey jars or that I can hand him a few dollars and he would let me through. As this was my first time back in Vietnam, I was nervous of the whole corruption process so decided to give the a-officer a $5 to get moving. It's a disgrace to see how corruption is still not dealt with right in an international airport. The experience ruins it all for me in ever wanting to go back.

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Just paid 50usd for some Kipling bags and wallets that were not even of that value!!!! Did so only because they look menacing enough to do something else if you told them they can eat their bags. It was a great trip ruined by these custom sharks. Bet they ate all the crocs and turned one inside. Still fuming mad. Our tour guide WARNED us that an unlucky few can experience this, guess we are unlucky then. But these CORRUPT officials will certainly be the unlucky ones when the time comes. Seriously.

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Just had to pay a bribe at Tan Son Nhat Airport

I just arrived in Ho Chi Minh from Singapore.

To those that said "I have traveled to HCM many times but was never stop to pay a bribe". Good luck to you so far. I have traveled to HCM countless times too, but finally, I had to bribed the A-hole officer.

I was scanning my bag at the x-ray machine, when the officer pulled me over. I had 2 iphones in my bag. He said I had to pay a tax of 10%, amounting to S$100. Under pressure of not wanting to lose my iphones, I paid the bribe of $100.

Seriously, Vietnam has to got to get its act together. When people ask me about Vietnam, I tell them the food is good etc, but I say the police and the airport is corrupt. If that is the image that Vietnam wants to create, then so be it.

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The custom officer in TSN Airport on the 11/9/2016 morning refused to clear my cargo box contains among other sovereign items, 12 small bottles of "502 glue". Reason given was the glue is flammable item and have to throw them away. I told him that glue produced in Vietnam is not flamable. If flamable, the sticker on it will show the word "inflammable". The officer refused to listen, took them and throw into a small basket (not dustbin)? What he's intention to do with it thereafter I don't know? To say it is flamable item, to carry through cargon carbin should also be allowed. Hard liquor contained alcohol is flamable can be hand carried on board. Vietjet itself sold liquor on board of the plane. What a contradiction on this matter. I regret the action of the officer and tge authority please look into the matter.

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The custom officer in the scanning room at TSN Airport on the 11/9/2016 morning refused to clear my cargo box contains among other sovereign items, 12 small bottles of "502 glue". Reason given was the glue is flammable item and have to throw them away. I told him that glue produced in Vietnam is not flamable. If flamable, the sticker on it will show the word "inflammable". The officer refused to listen, took them and throw into a small basket (not dustbin)? What he's intention to do with it thereafter I don't know? To say it is flamable item, to carry through cargon carbin should also be allowed. Hard liquor contained alcohol is flamable can be hand carried on board. Vietjet itself sold liquor on board of the plane. What a contradiction on this matter. I regret the action of the officer and tge authority please look into the matter.

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What a shame!

Is it still like that now when you travle to Tan Son Nhat?

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The Vietnamese customs at Tan Son Nhat International Airport

The Vietnamese customs at Tan Son Nhat International Airport, Unlawfully took my Wifes wallet and purse searched them Looking for Money. This was while leaving Vietnam after 2 week visit with her Mom.

I want to report it, but I dont know how to do that at this time. I am Angry about it and if I was there with her I would have made a terrible seen that could have gone very bad...I dont know how to handle this, both emotionally and legally, further more I dont think anyone is reading this website here. I do think this mostly affects only Vietnamese people.

signed, RadioDjKev

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Bad airport

I don"t want to go back to Vietnam for visiting because if you would like to get out of airport without any hassle, you have to pay to people who is working there from top to bottom. It is bad, don't even think about it, nothing is interesting there for you to see any way.

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Maybe I was lucky

I went back last month and to my surprise I didn't have to deal with any harsh customs at the airport for both coming and leaving. It was my first time back in 30+ years. At arrival the custom officer only asked for my last name and no baggage check at all. At Leaving they asked where I was born and that was it. Was I the lucky few ?

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Very stressful, emotional

Exactly, every single time they want my hub go to the little privat shelter & they requested money. Just 2 weeks ago, the check in man told us to go in the private room to making sure my items went through. I ingored & I never went in; let them do what ever they want. I bet they are not going to hold 1 luggage for each of the 300 flyers, no space.. hahaha. Believe me, you guys ignore them if you don't bring in illegal stuff. I always have lost insurance protection. Ashamed of the Viet Nam Gov't, your Custom's are abusing the system by pocketing Vietkieu's $$$.

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They are all thief

Tan Son Nhat is a pirate area. They open your bags and take what ever they want. there is nothing you can do.

Shame on them.

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Beware of the Vietnamese authorities...

They do whatever they wanted, your money, you things. They will take, if you don't know how to bride them. Even their police standing on their streets, they are there not because they care about the safety of the people, they are there not to enforce the vehicle codes, they are there because they need your money, if the vehicle you drive (car or motocycle) is new, you better watch out. They will hold you untill you give them your money. Depending on the value of your vehicles, the amount you have to give to them from 200,000 d 800,000 d...

The coustom in the air port? Well, where is your money? Especially if you are Vietnamese American. On your way in or out the country, it doesn't matter... Most people buy their peace by let them have some of their money. ($20 US) then you can go...

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This "extortion" also happens to foreigners!

I too have been "invited" by a Customs officer to go to the small narrow room next to the cabin bag check x-ray machine (just before passport control) for discussion on how much money I carried. I had to show him all the money, and even my wallet, whcih he boldly took, and went through the money notes piece by piece. I felt embarrassed to say here that I was relieved of 500,000 VND! Apparently, you should not have more than 15 ml VND or equivalent - we weren't told of this, as there was no Customs or Immigration forms to fill in when we entered Vietnam. Any amount in excess, and you are expected to contribute to their private coffers.

I was, and still am, quite angry each time I think about this incident. Is this prevalent practice? Should we contribute, or have the right to say no? If we do, how much is considered reasonable? What can we do to counter the threat that "a report must be made since you carry over 15 ml VND"? Do they have the right to detain you... until your flight takes off? Grateful if you could share your experience and suggestions.

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if you are Vietnamese

if you are Vietnamese and/or have a lot of stuff in your bags. customs expects about $20 a person placed in passports. that will zip you through, money goes in a pool and everyone takes a share.

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re: Bad experiences ?

I guess you could say that. A very "special attitude" indeed. They are usually very mean to the Vietnamese origin people. It felt almost like they harrassed us. You would think they are nice to their own people. I dread going to Vietnam because of that.

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Bad experiences ?

I am really surprised to read about the bad experiences some people here had at the airport. I travelled 8 times to Vietnam the last 8 years and I had never such an experience. People always were very polite and helpful. Do customs at this airport have a special attitude to people from Vietnamese origin? I myself am from Europe.

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ripped off also

I am an American expat and I routinely get ripped off by airport customs at HCMC. One thing I have found is that you can negotiate. It is shameful and even India doesn't do this. Not a very good face for tourists. I am used to it but it is aggravating nonetheless.

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re: customs guy took some of my stuff to give to his wife

I would call and give the name on his tag to AIr port director, they will find out what time and who are in charge of that period. It's unacceptable treat.

My wonder on the trip arrival, do airport have the duty free inside arrival terminal so I can buy some stuff for my relatives? do you?


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customs guy took some of my stuff to give to his wife

I was travelling back to vietnam for christmas (i am an expat), and I brought a lot of christmas presents for my friends and colleagues. I was on my way out when the customs guy ordered me to open my bag and when he saw the goodies he said I had to pay for bringing in those stuff (they were trinkets, random things really). I told him I wasn't selling them, and that they were gifts (very obvious because they were in little bags). He picked 3 really nice items and he asked if he could have them. He had a really cheeky smile on his face and he said he was gonna give them to his wife. Which was really annoying because it was either pay up, or give me some stuff. My hands were tied, and i felt like i was mugged. seriously.

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May 01/2011I still suffer from the night I was mugged by on

My name is Andrew Tu Thi, who was robbed 500 USD when I only had 5000 USD to go home to the USA.

I wonder how I appeal my case to the Director of Tan Son Nhat SAA NGUYEN NGUYEN HUNG ? will my statement be a total lost or will there be a Mr. Bao Cong in the country of Vietnam.?

I have so many sleepless nights since I got back to the USA.


Tu Andrew, email

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Tansonnhat customs officer robbed 500 USD from an old lady

Yes, it is truth and a shame of the Vietnamese customs at Tan son Nhat international airport.

If you are interested in this story, you can contact me, Andrew Tu Thi, a passenger of 63 years old who traveled back to the USA on Apr 25 2011 at 9PM on the Korean flight 862 from Tan son Nhat to Korea. I am the very victim of the event,

I was mugged by one of the officers in charge on that night., and I will never be able to forget the nightmare.

my email is


Tu Thi Andrew


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re: An emotion of a Vietnamese-American at the Tan Son Nhat

Reply to @tt: I know what you mean, but basically it is another form of giving tips although people usually feel better if giving tips in the open space (and not being asked for) although Vietnameses are not customed to accept tips in the open space (and in front of others). In USA, I give tips to cab drivers everytime although I don't have to but I do (and usually the cab drivers don't do anything for me - I carry my own bags). So it would reasonable to give tips to people who help you with your lugages (and they will after accepting your tips).

Just another thought through my mind, what would the cab driver (in USA) says to himself if I don't give him any tip? You would never know!

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An emotion of a Vietnamese-American at the Tan Son Nhat airp

My nick name is TT, a Vietnamese-American, had come back to Vietnam for the Lunar New Year of 2009 and returned to the USA on Feb 04,2009.

When I checked in my luggages (10 boxes of a group of 5 people), I was informed that mine needed to be double-checked; then was ordered to come into the scanned- room. My friends and I went in and the officer there asked my friends to leave the room and signaled me for money (I thought this practice long gone). To avoid hassle with openning & repackaging those boxes (most of them food) I gave him $300,000VND; he looked at me and said that it's too little compared to my stuffs. I was so angry and ashamed with "my people" but of course I cannot denie his request. After my "payment" was made, every thing was going smoothly. I got out of that room speechless and kept on wondering myself "is that policy applied only to Vietnamese-Americans or to all people who pass by Tan Son Nhat and want to get out of the airport with a peaceful mind?" What an international airport it is! I don't think I will come back for another visit in the near future since I don't want to experience the same thing again. I need time to forget and regain my pride and respect for my people and country. Poor my Vietnamese and Vietnam!



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