"Saigon Saigon !" Top 5 Page for this destination Ho Chi Minh City by bpacker

Ho Chi Minh City Travel Guide: 3,131 reviews and 7,263 photos

A Corporate Wife on a Solo/Exploratory Trip

Written before the trip @ Changi Airport : I'm filled with anticipation as I'm writing this. I'm finally going to HoChiMinCity! Since I only have a few days here, I intend to have a blast of a time and explore HCMC using some tips from helpful VTers. They'll come in handy as I'll be exploring HCMC by myself in the daytime.
Apart from checking out the haunted Rex Hotel, I've made up my mind to take some day trips. So what's this about the hotel?Apparently I heard it was standing during the time of the Viet War and since it was just over 30 years ago,I'm sure old memories remain. Well, let's see how it goes..


Written post trip:

I had a blast of a time alright. Saigon is a bustling place, filled to the brim with new found capitalism and enthusiasm. You'll find tremendous excitement and energy everywhere, from the crazy Grand Prix traffic to the energetic buying and selling in Ben Tanh market.

Of course, I received a culture shock on my first day here. Nothing prepares you for the traffic here, not the crazy conditions in Manila nor the jam-packed streets of Bangkok. I was nearly mowed down by an exodus of motorbikes and honked at by countless of drivers. Thank God I returned with all my limbs intact. If not, I'll have to join a beggar syndicate.

Also, it didn't help that I was exploring HCMC by myself. I was harassed by cyclos, Honda-Om opportunists and would you believe it, Japanese men! All spoke to me in Japanese. So, after being KONNICHIWAed and KOMBANWAed for countless of times, I learned to take it like a pro with a polite smile, by the second day. I'll still say HCMC is safe for a single female traveller but it takes some getting used to. Lug along another companion if possible. Not necessary though, if you have Lucy Lawless biceps and her yodel.

The highlights of my trip were my day trips out of HCMC and my foodie adventures. However much I loved the shopping, culture and energy in HCMC, nothing beats sitting on a slow boat to Mekong Delta and squeezing inside a dusty tunnel in Cu Chi. I've detailed and photographed my experiences for all. So if you're keen on a high-octane experience in HCMC, print my pages out and have a blast of a time there.

Post Trip Thoughts: This webpage is actually written to encourage other wives like myself. Yes, it's possible to have a blast of a time even when you're alone in the daytime in a strange city. All you need is a good dose of gung-ho spirit ( in my case coffee).Oh yes, Rex Hotel wasn't haunted after all, and I didn't see anything extraordinary up there, despite my nosing about

Day Trips out of HCMC and Making New Friends

I went to the Mekong Delta and the famed Cu Chi Tunnel. Both trips were full of surprises. Yes, never a dull moment for me. I've made many new friends during the trip, the most memorable one was a 2m long female. You can read more about it over here

Food Adventures in HCMC

The food here is fantastic! As always, I ate my way around, sampling haute cuisine to street food. Many delicious discoveries were made along the way...

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Beautiful Old Architecture, Shopping and lots of Food
  • Cons:Crazy Traffic, Smog, Touchy Feely Locals, Different Pricing for Tourists, Not much a night life
  • In a nutshell:Up and Coming City. Vive le Capitalism!
  • Last visit to Ho Chi Minh City: May 2004
  • Intro Updated Nov 8, 2004
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Reviews (51)

Comments (88)

  • Jan 11, 2011 at 11:46 AM

    Avoid travelling on cyclos at night was what i was told by the hotel staff. and yes cuchi tunnel was a blast...imagine digging tunnels for 20years.. its really a man made marvel!!

  • Chyan's Profile Photo
    Aug 7, 2010 at 1:49 AM

    Hi, bpacker, why did these travellers want to travel in cycloes? i would rather travel in Mai Linh taxis when i am going into Ho Chi MInh City for the first time. Chyan

  • Feb 25, 2010 at 6:47 AM

    Wrong advice about fake Sinh Cafe. The text on the sign is "Cafe - Sinh to", which means "Coffee - Fruit shake". "Sinh to" is a Vietnamese word, which means "fruit shake". The shop is selling coffee and fruit shake, not a travel agent like "Sinh Cafe".

  • Mar 15, 2009 at 11:31 PM

    hey, i am having a grand time planning my trip to Vietnam cos of your blogs. it's awesome! i hope you'll post more! :-)

  • longsanborn's Profile Photo
    Jan 4, 2009 at 12:37 PM

    I really enjoyed reading your stories and tips on HoChiMihn City. I'm going there in mid-Jan 09 wth my sisters & we're looking forward to the trip, esp. the delicious food. We're foodies too!

  • kokoryko's Profile Photo
    Aug 28, 2008 at 3:11 PM

    Thanks for this interesting and funny page, Glen! I visited HCMC 10 years ago and I see Apocalypse is still there; will visit soon, but for 24hours only! I will not be in mood for Oh-la-la Viagra :)))

  • flyfreak's Profile Photo
    Jun 25, 2008 at 8:02 AM

    hello, I got hungry reading your Food tips on Vietnam ... Hope to have some of that wonderful food one day if I manage my first trip to Vietnam! thanks for your tips, Patricia

  • abiabipo's Profile Photo
    May 12, 2008 at 8:32 PM

    My friends and I are visiting Ho Chi Minh in June this year, and I'm so excited... reading your page got me even more psyched, this will definitely be one of the guides I'll be bringing with me on my Vietnam trip. Thanks for the info!

  • Dabs's Profile Photo
    Mar 19, 2008 at 11:07 AM

    Thinking about a trip here later this year, will be back to check out the rest if we decide to go :-)

  • londonbabe's Profile Photo
    Jan 6, 2008 at 6:07 AM

    Fantastic what to do tips - thank you! Am now going to allow more time in Saigon on our way round.

bpacker

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