Have you been to Saigon?
Ho Chi Minh City was formerly known as Saigon but up to these days, Saigon is still used interchangeably with Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC). Saigon or HCMC is I believe the most progressive city in Vietnam and is one of the most densely populated cities in the country. You know you're in Saigon when you see a lot of motorcycles on the streets, as motorcycle is one of the main transport systems in HCMC. In Saigon you can see a lot of stores anywhere along the streets and there is even one street there that they call a "Fashion" street. People there are very business minded.
HOW TO GET THERE
As Ho Chi Minh City is a very progressive city, most major airlines have a direct flight to and from the city. If your airline of choice does not have a direct flight to HCMC, book a connecting flight via your country's capital city.
The best things in life are free and that is what we got when we were in Saigon. We got a royalty treatment by my sister's husband's nephew, Tata and his wife Joy. We roamed around the city by taxi for free with no hassle. How cool was that! If you don't have such treatment in Saigon, no worries but just a word of advice though, when hiring a taxi, use only Grab, Uber, Vinasun and Mai Linh taxi cabs but if you so decide to use other taxi operators, please proceed with caution. As with all other places, bad elements exist.
As mentioned above, we were accorded royalty treatment in HCMC which included a free accommodation, so we had the best accommodation when we got there. When in Saigon, per Tata, and I agreed, the backpackers area is in Pham Ngu Lao Street and if it is your first time in the city, it is the best place to book an accommodation. (Tip: Before making your reservation, please read reviews first)
THINGS TO DO:
There are so many things you can do in Ho Chi Minh City. When we were there we visited the following:
|The place where former US President Bill Clinton used to dine. This is in front of Bin Thanh Market|
Du Mien Garden Cafe
|A cool dining place to relax and unwind.|
Cu Chi Tunnels - we were supposed to be in a large group, which could have cost less at $5 each but since it was already closed at the time we arrived at the travel agency in Pham Ngu Lao St., Tata opted to book for a small group tour which cost $22 per person (thanks again Ta for the complimentary tour). We were supposed to be 9 in the group but sadly, the couple decided not to go with us after the girl's bag was snatched on our way to board the mini-van. Yes, bad elements are everywhere, so exercise caution when traveling. Travel time from Pham Ngu Lao to Cu Chi Tunnel is 1 to 2 hours depending on traffic. The Cu Chi Tunnel tour was one of my favorite experiences in my Indochina trip as we got to simulate how the Vietnamese survived during the war and I'm very fulfilled that I passed all those 3 tunnels which was quite challenging especially the 1st one which was very narrow and short but glad I made it and our group made it.
Before we left for Phnom Pehn, Cambodia, we went to the night market where souvenirs are sold. Thanks again Joy for haggling for us, that was quite a skill.
ASEAN passport holders are visa-free in Vietnam. If you are from other countries, click here to find out if you're visa-free to enter Vietnam.
How about you? Have you been to Ho Chi Minh City? Or have you been to any places in Vietnam? How was your experience?
BUS TICKET: You can book your ticket from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Pehn, Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap, Ho Chi Minh City to Sihanoukville and other destinations. IMPORTANT: When booking, always double check the date and time, the destination and the boarding and drop-off points.
Find cheaper places to stay in Ho Chi Minh City here (Tip: Before making your reservation, please read reviews first)