Busy streets of Saigon – Move like a snake
While riding the bus through a vibrant city full of life towards my city center hostel I was happy to see the greenery along the streets. As I had been warned about the traffic is wild, but as in an organised chaos. First, there are so many vespas, secondly tons of cars and busses, and third the people of Saigon that basically livec on the streets. This ends up in an organised chaos where all people can find their way forward. Move like a snake and you will succeed.
Pavement restaurants – An oas of food
I love the restaurants on the pavements in Ho Chi Minh. Sure, it’s for people to walk on in most contries, but in Asia it’s a little bit different. Most impressive is that on most pavement restaurants there is only one person cooking the food for a whole lot of guests. The staff is very efficient with great service and of course low prices. I paid 110 000 VND for a vegetarian dinner, water and beer – around 4 Euro’s.
Accomodation in Saigon – The Vintage Hostel
I like hostels because this is the place to meet people. Further on, backpackers are the best tourist guides with personal knowledge where to go and not. I am staying at a small hostel, a train house because of it’s narrow form of the building, The Vintage Hostel. Great service and clean, located in the middle of town (District 1) with your own personal space created with bed curtains.
Hair cut – A new year and a new style
Get a hair cut when you are abroad. It’s always a genuine experience meeting the local people when on work. In a small alley in Ho Chi Minh I found a little piece of art cutting my hair in a new style. Hey, a new year with a new style is much more fun.
Saigon – VISA – This is how to do it
I have applied for a 3 months multiple VISA online before I entering Vietnam. I used the service with Vietnam Visa Pro as it turned out they were the cheapest on the market and it turned out that their service was great. The price was only 20 Dollar that I paid smoothly on PayPal. Fill out the information they need and you will get a VISA-application that you print. While on the airport in Ho Chi Minh go to the VISA center. Do this before you go to the passport control. Bring a photo for the application and 50 Dollars. It seems that Dollar has most power then their own currency, so bring Dollars if you don’t want any hussle.
If you travel on a VISA for three months you do not need a return flight. Be aware, if you only in Vietnam for 15 days you will need a return flight booked. I met a german couple staying in Vietnam for three weeks. The customs demanded at first they would need a return ticket. It was problematic though they did not have access to WiFi. After two hours they finally did not have to. I believe they had to convince the customs that they really going to leave the country.
Transportation – From the airport in Saigon
I took the yellow bus 109 from the airport and paid 20 000 VND. It goes to the city center district 1. A good advice is to download Google maps offline so you easily can see were you are and when to jump off. There is also bus 162 that is suppose to be cheaper. If you want a taxi there are multiple choices outside the airport. Further on, you can pay inside the airport that might be more hussle free.
If you want to change money there are exchange offices in almost every corner. A good advice for a first timer in the city, ask around on a couple of places for the best rate. I didn’t, but I was really hungry:)