HCMC airport, bus stations fill up as Tet approaches

By Gia Minh   January 23, 2022 | 10:51 pm PT
HCMC airport, bus stations fill up as Tet approaches
People wait in long lines to check in at Tan Son Nhat Airport in HCMC, January 23, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Gia Minh
Tan Son Nhat airport and bus stations in HCMC are beginning to fill up as people begin their annual trip home for Tet.

Streams of people lined up at the booths of carriers like Vietnam Airlines and Vietjet on Sunday afternoon, and all seats in the busy airport were taken.

Binh An and his wife had a flight to Hanoi at 5:30 p.m., but the couple were at the airport three hours in advance for medical declarations and other procedures.

They planned to catch a bus to Hung Yen Province once they landed.

"We both have had three vaccine shots, but we do not know how the disease would progress and so decided to leave early for Tet to avoid quarantine," An said.

The airport said it handled over 600 flights on Sunday and around 59,000 passengers. While they represented only 66 percent and 44 percent of last year’s numbers, they have been rising in recent days, and this is sure to continue.

People purchase tickets at the Mien Dong Bus Station in HCMC, January 23, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Gia Minh

People buy tickets at the Mien Dong Bus Station in HCMC’s Binh Thanh District on January 23, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Gia Minh

At the Mien Dong Bus Station in Binh Thanh District, more people are buying tickets as well.

Nguyen Thi Bao, 40, said she bought a ticket to the central Khanh Hoa Province on Sunday.

Her family usually makes plans for Tet quite early, but delayed them this year because the coronavirus situation in Khanh Hoa has remained in flux, she said.

"I heard we will not have to quarantine on returning to our hometown, so today I bought tickets for the family."

The tickets were easy to get this year, she added.

Do Phu Dat, deputy director of the Mien Dong Bus Station, said more people have turned up in the past few days.

As of Saturday bus operators at the station have sold out around 50,000 tickets, but this number represents only ticket sales on one or two days during the peak Tet period last year, he said.

Ticket prices have been hiked by 20-60 percent.

Four provinces, Lao Cai, Hung Yen, and Vinh Phuc in the north and Quang Nam in the central region, have yet to resume bus services to and from HCMC, and since there is high demand to travel to these places during Tet, there would be large crowds once services resume, Dat said.

At the Mien Tay Bus Station in Binh Tan District, where buses carry passengers to and from the Mekong Delta, Tran Van Phuong, deputy director of the station, said around 57,000 tickets have been sold and 75,000 more are available.

People returning to their hometowns will not have to test for Covid unless they arrive from locked-down areas or those designated 'very high risk.'

People fill up the Tan Son Nhat Airport in HCMC as Tet approaches, January 23, 2022. Video by VnExpress/Tuan Viet

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