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Taking It Easy In Vietnam

Discussion in 'Asia' started by Corzhens, Apr 27, 2016.

  1. Corzhens

    Corzhens Active Member

    We have been to Ho Chi Minh late last year. It was a different experience because I was expecting a restrictive place for a communist country. But it was just like any free country. What I liked most is the discipline although the roads are like a race track of motorcycles. And the crime rate is low so the locals told us not to worry with criminals.

    We stayed for 4 days and 3 nights in Saigon Grand Hotel. All we did was roam around on foot because the nice places are near and not so distant as to need a ride. And the food, it's wonderful to taste the Vietnamese dishes one by one. Our first try is the Pho-24 which is the most popular and cheapest, I guess.

    When you go to Saigon, don't miss the market for its goodies and fruits.
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  2. Catchmeifyoucan

    Catchmeifyoucan New Member

    I've heard that Vietnam in general is generally a pleasant place. They like to have the tourism to help their economy, and the people are genuinely nice to those that travel there. I've always been a fan of Vietnamese food, and I think it would be a pretty cool trip out there. Plus, I've seen Anthony Bourdain eat fried jungle spiders from there. I'd be brave enough to try one.
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  3. crimsonghost747

    crimsonghost747 Active Member

    Taking it easy is exactly the reason I want to go there. The views are beautiful, though the cities can be a bit hectic I'm sure peace is to be found in the more remote destinations. Good weather, nice people, great food and drinks... what more could you want?
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  4. Coco

    Coco Active Member

    Ho Chi Minh is also called "Saigon" as @Corzhens mentioned. Anyway, it's a fairly large city, being the largest in Vietnam and most tourists flock to this city. I recommend visiting the following places when you're in Ho Chi Minh:
    • The Central Mosque. Observe proper attire and remove your shoes before entering the mosque. It particularly draws worshippers during Fridays, so it's best to schedule your visit to this place.
    • Thien Hau Pagoda. This is a place dedicated to Lady Thien Hau, the sea goddess. You will be amazed by the sculptures outside the temple. The best thing about this temple? It's free to enter!
    • The Saigon Sky Deck. It offers a 360 panoramic view of the entire city. Inside the building, there are lots more to explore, there's a bar, retail stores and restaurants as well.
    • Dam Sen Park. This is perfect for families because it's a water park with lots of slides to enjoy. The park also adds in new slides each year so there's definitely something new to try each time.
    • Ben Tanh Market. There's lots of goods to buy, from souvenirs to produce. Haggling is very much permitted here. Keep an eye out for pickpockets and thieves though.
    • Saigon Square. An air-conditioned version of the Ben Tanh Market.
    That's about it. For food, I recommend Bun Bo Hue, they have authentic noodles and soups at very affordable prices. There are lots more restaurants to try out in Ho Chi Minh though, you just have to look around.
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  5. Corzhens

    Corzhens Active Member

    We had been to Ben Tanh Market. I cannot forget the market vendor who was selling clothing items. One nice t-shirt was priced at something like 50,000 Dong (pardon me if my figures are not accurate). When I said it is expensive, she offered 40k and when I was about to leave, she had it 30k and when I left, she was chasing me for 20k but I declined because outside the market that shirt costs only 10k. That is a lesson I learned in Ho Chi Minh city, you should at least have an idea of the real market prices before you buy.

    In fairness to the sellers, there was this woman named Dao Tran who is very amiable. She has a stall in a mall near our hotel. And whenever I would ask for a discount, she would smile and tease me but she would relent. In the end, I had bought so much from her stall and she is now my friend in Facebook.
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  6. crimsonghost747

    crimsonghost747 Active Member

    It's the same in most countries where haggling is the norm. They will start at a ridiculous price and then you just kinda have to wait and see how desperate they really are to sell the item... this is especially true when they know you are a tourist since they will start very high in hopes that you'll go "ohh still cheaper than back home" and buy it. :D
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  7. sararas

    sararas Member

    My best memory of Ho Chi Minh is their huge sidewalks. This is something we find wanting in most places in my country. Thus, it's so nice to just be able to walk freely along the sidewalks. I also love that they have so many parks. I saw many backbackpackers enjoying their meals and downtimes at the parks. With so many trees around, it was just cool to walk.
    Another memory is of its quite huge population of scooter/bike riders! It was so fun watching so many women in their tall high heels and elegant office uniforms riding their scooters to work. With the number of scooters, there are areas where there are no traffic signals and so crossing the street becomes tricky. On our first day, we had a hard time crossing the street. The staff at the hostel we stayed at advised us that the trick to crossing their streets is just to cross right on. According to them, each bike riders are aware to yield to pedestrians. So, rather than waiting for the onslaught of riders to stop, just cross and it will be the riders' duty to stop to let you through. True enough, we learned to cross the street without fear HoChiMinh style.
    A disappointing memory is of a theme park called Dai Nam. I was so looking forward to this theme park because I saw some great pictures prior to the trip. Sadly, when we were there, NOT an ounce of English signage was available. Speaker announcements on the PA system were all in Vietnamese. The staff we tried to approach for help didn't speak English either. We ended up leaving early than intended.