After my fourth straight Qatar Airways business class flight during my Qatar Airways Mileage Run I found myself back in Ho Chi Minh airport. I had just a 6 hour layover before my next Qatar Airways business class flight back to Doha. I didn’t want to spend the entire layover in the airport so I decided to enter Ho Chi Minh. My 30 day multiple entry visa was still valid so I went to the immigration desk to clear customs. The customs agent seemed confused that I wanted to enter the country for such a short period to time, but after a few questions he stamped my passport.
I once again exited the airport and boarded the transit bus into the city center. I wasn’t sure exactly where I wanted to go in Ho Chi Minh. When the bus driver asked for my destination I told him to take me to the Sheraton hotel which is located in the heart of Ho Chi Minh. The bus costs just $1 (20,000 VND) and took an hour to get from the airport to the city center.
After stopping in a few gift shops and buying a few souvenirs it was time to head back to the airport. At that point I hailed a cab back to the airport. The cab again took about an hour and cost just $5 (112,000 VND). My taxi dropped me off in front of the international departures hall at approximately 4PM which left plenty of time to make my 7:30PM departure.
Accessing Ho Chi Minh Airport Orchid Lounge
The check-in counter for the Qatar Airways flight to Doha doesn’t open until 3 hours before the scheduled departure. When I arrived at the check-in counter the agents had just begin printing boarding cards for passengers. As I checked into the flight the check-in agent handed me a boarding card and a lounge invitation. Qatar Airways invites all passengers traveling in business class to wait in the Apricot Lounge before the flight. Since I had already spent a considerable amount of time in the Apricot Lounge before my previous Qatar Airways flight from Ho Chi Minh to Doha I decided to try out one of the airport’s other lounges.
The Orchid Lounge is another contract lounge operated by Sasco located in Terminal 2 of the Ho Chi Minh airport. Unlike the other contract lounges in the airport, the Orchid Lounge is a member lounge of the Priority Pass program.
I currently maintain two active Priority Pass memberships thanks to open credit card accounts. For this trip I presented the Priority Pass card I received from my American Express Platinum card. I keep this card in my dopp kit so I always have it with me when I’m traveling. I opted to leave my second membership card, which I receive thanks to my Chase Sapphire Reserve card at home so I wouldn’t lose it during my trip.
Ho Chi Minh Airport Orchid Lounge Overview
Similar to the Apricot Lounge, the Orchid Lounge entrance isn’t all that easy to find. The sliding glass door to the lounge is located near one of the many gift shops that line the airport terminal. Once through the sliding glass door there is an elevator which takes guests downstairs to the lounge.
There is also a set of stairs guests can use. You may also use the set of stairs which offer fantastic views of the lounge below.
At the base of the stairs you’ll find a check-in counter where all guests must check in to the lounge. As with all Priority Pass lounges, when checking in I presented my membership card. The gate agent swiped my card and asked for my signature on the electronic signature pad. He also asked to view my same-day boarding card. The lounge attendant allowed me to enter the lounge after signing the electronic signature pad.
Ho Chi Minh Airport Orchid Lounge Food Options
Along the wall immediately behind the check-in counter is the lounge buffet. Food options included a nice variety of hot and cold options. The food wasn’t great and I avoiding eating because I wanted to preserve my appetite for my upcoming Qatar Airways flight.
In the center of the lounge was a second buffet table which featured fresh fruits and bread. I ended up eating one of the fresh croissants because I’m a sucker for buttery pastries.
Near the back wall of the lounge was a fairly substantial beverage station.
Guests could chose from a wide variety of beverages in this section of the lounge. There were a few different types of canned beer, sodas, juices, and cold teas. To the left of the refrigerators guests could chose from a wide variety of hot beverages as well. The lounge offered a large selection of tea packets, a coffee machine, and flavored tap water. This area of the lounge also offered guests a few different bottles of wine.
Ho Chi Minh Airport Orchid Lounge Amenities
Beyond the food and beverage options offered from the Orchid Lounge, guests also had access to a business center. Just below the stairs to the lounge was a small business center with three computer stations and a printer.
Additionally, the Orchid Lounge came complete with free WiFi which was available to all guests. Each table had a little plaque with the WiFi network name and password on it. I found the WiFi network worked great when I first arrived in the lounge, but slowed considerably as the lounge became more crowded.
Throughout the lounge guests could chose from a wide variety of seating options. Each type of seat offered in the lounge was comfortable enough, but the lounge furniture was aged and quite worn.
The lounge also offered great views of the airport’s taxiways. I enjoyed watching the various Asian airliners you don’t typically see in the United States move about the airport.
Lastly, the lounge has two fairly small restrooms, one for women and one for men. This lounge does not have showers unlike the Apricot contract lounge.
Similar to the Apricot Lounge the Orchid Lounge is not a place that I’d want to spend any more time then necessary in. However, the Orchid Lounge is a great place to go to escape the busy and often crowded Ho Chi Minh airport terminal. Between the Orchid Lounge and the Apricot Lounge I’d probably chose the Apricot Lounge simply because that space was a little brighter and appeared more recently renovated. However, the food and beverage options offered in both lounges are nearly identical.
In the end I spent several more hours in this lounge than I expected. At about 5PM a huge thunderstorm rolled through Ho Chi Minh which shut down the airport for about half an hour. While I enjoyed watching the storm move through the airport from the large windows of the lounge, I was disappointed that my flight was delayed. In the end my flight didn’t end up leaving until around 9PM. I was glad I had access to the lounge while I waited as seating in the main terminal is minimal.