Dec 29, 2013

How I Survived 3 Nights in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

After all the hustle and bustle and endless warnings to be careful, spending 3 nights in Ho Chi Minh City's Backpacker's District was a breeze, just like any walk in the park but with little twists. I survived Vietnam without a scratch and had fun. My friend though had a different opinion and said would not return to Vietnam. Well, I'll go back any chance I get :-).

To sum up, here are my reasons why:

  • Food is healthy, delicious and cheap. Anybody who wants to explore the sensory organs of their taste buds will have a great time in Vietnam. Worthy of mention is their rice, I can actually eat it alone. :)
Kim Cafe, Vietnam

  • Breakfast and Vietnamese Coffee!!! Need I say more? ;-)

  • Shopping!!! You'll see authentic Kiplings, Fitflops, and North Face sold at almost factory prices.You can check these out at Saigon Square while at Ben Thanh Market for souvenir items. There are lots of imitations too but anyone with a good eye for authentic stuff can spot the difference. Also, souvenir items are a  lot cheaper here than in Cambodia or Thailand, which are basically similar in make and design. Some if not most of the vendors at Ben Thanh market can be very persistent and at times irritating grabbing you by the hand. Don't haggle for prices if you have no intention of buying.
Vietnam's Kipling, Northface, Fitflops

  • Street crossing is already one kind of adventure you can have for free. Motorcycles are the kings of the road and they are quite an attraction seeing them occupy the road in full force. Just be cautious always and signal your hands to alert the drivers of your intention to cross and remember they can appear from any direction. But then, after a while, you'll get the hang of it and become confident enough to cross streets like any local.

  • Cuchi Tunnels and the horrors of war and the resilient Vietnamese on how they manage to survive despite all the odds.

CuChi Tunnel Tour

  • CULTURE! It's always interesting to experience the cultural differences and similarities we have with our neighboring ASEAN brothers. One particular souvenir shirt in Vietnam, saw it in Cambodia and Thailand as well, suggests this, "same same, but different"! The almost similar built and features but the distinct difference, similar food but with unique twists and cultural traditions of similar origin but with subtle nuances. Our tour guide for CuChi Trip mentioned the Vietnamese' penchant to drink, eat and be merry, doing it in front of their homes on small tables and chairs as cultural tradition which explains their need to feel like a king but they act like a peasant ( well, I can relate this as our version for "tambays"). Photo below explains how tourists adopted this tradition and enjoyed this form of entertainment.

  • It felt home staying at Hong Han Guesthouse and I sure miss the warmth and cheerfulness of the sibling tandem, Nhung and Ahn who are managing the place and of course the nice breakfast served on the 2nd-floor terrace of the guesthouse. That's the pretty Nhung in cheongsam dress.
Hong Han Hotel, Vietnam

  • CYCLO CITY TOUR! I had the best view touring Ho Chi Minh/Saigon City on board a cyclo, checking out famous landmarks and crossing major intersections at slow speed while feeling excited and anxious at the close encounters with buses and motorbikes running at high speeds. Although we had a not so nice experience with our cyclo drivers trying to extort a big sum from us , in the end, our fierceness ruled over. My cyclo driver is actually nice so I went easy on him and gave him his day's worth, the other guy who drove my friend is someone you'd like to punch in the face. A word of advice, ask your hotel's assistance for booking any tour you wish to experience. Our cyclo tour was not planned since we only wanted to do a city tour on foot. We were actually devising a plan on how to cross this major roundabout road when these guys appeared and sweet-talked us to avail their cheap offer. Lesson learned: when an offer is too good to be true, there's definitely a catch at the end.
Cyclo City Tour, Vietnam

Also read :

I survived Vietnam without a scratch and had a worthy experience and so should you! ;-)


  1. It's a feast for the eyes to be looking at these structures (first & last pics) that evoke an earlier (European?) era of architecture. I bet the food did not disappoint :)

    As far as your cyclo experience, it's very unfortunate that wherever we may be, there will always be those who will try to "pull a fast one and make a quick buck".

    Did you go into those underground tunnels? :) lletmw

    1. Yup lots of European structures and influences. Food is yummy :-)
      Well, I guess they really exist everywhere most especially in third world countries where life is hard
      I did, I took a video but no time yet to edit and arrange them. I stayed like a minute and find the nearest exit coz I'm already palpitating due to the lack of air.

  2. Hi! I went to Vietnam 2 years ago now and I loved it! I have lots of family there. Your post reminds me of my trip. So many good memories :) Thank you for that!

  3. I've never been to Vietnam. How I wish I can visit too, someday. haha! Your photos looks so much fun!!

  4. Well it's good to know you are safe AND had fun in Vietnam! Would love to go there someday :D

  5. I really hate shopkeepers like that! but their goods look really nice :) glad you had a good time in Vietnam :)

  6. Really so much food in the street, just like Pinas. You enjoyed a lot I think!

  7. lovely photos and adventure! i've been to vietnam many times since we have close friends living there and they tour as to a new places everytime we come back for a different adventure and scenery. Crossing the street in vietnam is like playing patintero. its hard that most of them dont speak english, a viet friend is very handy when bargaining too. hehe

  8. Wow. This most is very inspiring. I will be travelling to non-English places very soon and hopefully I can also survive without a translator. Huhu.

  9. I heard traveling in Vietnam can be very cheap. Hindi pa ako nakakapunta ng Vietnam.

  10. The Vietnamese people are so resilient just like Pinoys. Galing mo naman ..with that kind of foods, no wonder you survived your Vietnam adventure.

  11. So this is Ho Chi Minh... I have been wondering how this place looks like because one of my co-workers came from Ho Chi Minh. Reading this post made me feel like going to the place too.

  12. i want to go to Vietnam to eat authentic Vietnam food especially Pho and Spring Rolls

  13. I'm inspired to visit Vietnam and seem these wonderful things for myself. Thanks for sharing!

  14. I've spent a day in Ho Chi Minh and I was able to visit the Notre Dame and a cruise around the city.

  15. My mom's friend once said that she didn't enjoy Vietnam that much but I think this country is for those who want adventure and I love adventure! If I have tons of money, I would visit Vietnam and experience their culture. :)

  16. Vietnam is a beautiful country. It's history and culture are interesting.

  17. Beautiful pictures! You're lucky you didn't have any bad experience in Vietnam. Many tourists are just not as fortunate as you.

  18. two things I love about Vietnam: their food and their shopping districts!! hopefully, I could visit Vietnam soon!! :)

  19. It's really nice that you had the best view touring Ho Chi Minh/Saigon City. :)

  20. Gusto ko talagang pumunta dyan! Sana makavisit din ako someday kahit 3 days lang :) I'd love to explore the beauty of the city.


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