Backpacking in Vietnam!!!
Nowadays you can find flight tickets online to fly around South East Asia for peanuts! (if you’re a cheap skate junkie like me, sitting in front of the computer waiting for online promos to be launched!)
So if you decide to buy some tickets to Vietnam and Saigon/ Ho Chin Minh is where you are going to land. You better be reading this blog to get a heads up of what to expect here.
We did a run around Ho Chin Minh and even went on Vietnamese Cafe Drips to sum up in a single blog of what culture shock you’re gonna get, what souvenirs to buy home, what pictures to bring back and what street food to chow down.
Here we go…
Ultimate Culture shock Motorcycle ORGY! According to a tour guide, Saigon has like 8 million people living in the city and 5 million own a motorcycle! Shocking! Crossing the road alone is an adrenaline hype for me! 😀
Go Local – Take a local tour when you are here. There are plenty of tour agents around giving out day tours that go as low as USD 3 per person!
And looking at the signs they put up, we assume they know what they are doing!
Souvenir Shopping at Ben Thanh Market – Souvenir shopping in Saigon is never complete until you have shopped at the Ben Thanh Market. It’s a big indoor market that sells everything from wood handicrafts, shirts, souvenirs, coffee and food. The market opens from 9am till around 7. At night, there is a night market just outside the premises. This is where you have to come to shop and get souvenirs! But make sure you bargain.
Eating at Ben Thanh Market can be an expensive affair. The prices are fixed to an international tourist rate. Nothing local here except the food.
Look like a Vietnamese!! Every one has one, why not you? Get your self a conical hat! Excellent souvenirs! If you can’t carry the big ones, there are always the small key chain ones that you can buy in bulk and distribute to your friends when you go back! Think they come in like a bundle of 10 for USD 2
Want a change of atmosphere? Drink Vietnamese Coffee in style. Apparently my “fake” Lonely Planet guide recommends HighLands Coffee. Oh well, to me the coffee tastes the same as the ones sold in the local coffee shops. (Plus im supporting the local vendors while i wait for my coffee drip to brew as well). Besides the glamour and the air cond, i guess the only reason im drinking a USD 2 cup of coffee is to get away from the choking Saigon Smog!
Get your own Viet Coffee!! Of course after drinking the coffee you would want to buy some back home right? You can find a lot of stalls at Ben Thanh Market that sells coffee according to weight. Choose from the many selection. They let you smell the beans first before you decide. The most expensive of the lot is the one that comes out from an animals ass. They call it Weasel Coffee.
If you love alcohol like us and love to try every thing and anything alcoholic. Try this coconut wine! Best served chilled! If you like it mixed, we suggest mixing it with cranberry juice! 😀
We almost bought this thinking it’s another exotic magic wine! Bloody hell, they use it to rub body’s and massage your foot. Herbal Stuff. Apparently toxic if you drink it. An exotic thing to buy home?
Ok this is a two in one. Vietnam is the only place that sells “fake” Lonely Planet guide books. Even Thailand and China don’t do them. The colour of the books vary and some pages even come out blank. You would be much better off getting the originals. (We don’t want to get sued for promoting fakes). One of the must tries is the fresh baguettes. Holy cow, when the bread is fresh, you can choose from a selection of meat – chicken or beef or ham. We chose the spicy meat. Comes with fresh salad inside and cheese. Finger licking good guys!
Street dining here is a totally new experience for me. With the amount of exhaust from the motorcycles, half the time i need to sip my beer faster to wet my dry throat. Ha Ha…but during the night, it is the best experience ever. You can find stalls like these that will cook up a delicious Vietnamese seafood stir fry for a couple of bucks.
Don’t leave Vietnam until you tried the healthy spring rolls. Try it with the spicy peanut dip! Superb!
So you have seen the traffic. Maybe you want to get a motorcycle for yourself? They have alot of shops that will courier it for you. Vietnam is also famous for its Vespa’s! Cute looking buggers!
Take a photo of the Wires/ Telecommunication lines above the streets of Saigon. They even make t-shirt designs out of this! So make sure you get a nice shot of it to bring back and show your friends.
Nothing else to buy here in Saigon? Then get the most obvious. A “Good morning Saigon T-shirt” or an “I Pho t-shirt” maybe? You can get it as cheap as USD2 for one. Quality varies tho.
Hope you have a fun trip backpacking in Saigon. Make sure you visit us on www.backpackies.com for more whacky free budget travel information. Or just join us on facebook at backpackies is now on facebook!