This page contains posts related to the following tags:


#Saigon, #Ho Chi Minh City

#Ben Thanh Market, #Bui Vien Street, #Cu Chi Tunnels, #Rex Hotel, #Saigon Airport



City/Country: Advice: Saving:
 Saigon - Vietnam How to cross the road in Vietnam!
Sounds easy until you've been to somewhere like HCMC in rush hour. I'm told only India is worse. People just stand back and take pictures the first time they see it.
The trick to a safe crossing is this. You're not going to find a time when there is no traffic at all so just start to cross when there is a sensible gap.
The important part is DO NOT STOP! The approaching motorbikes and cars will assume you are going to keep moving forwards and so they will turn to go behind you. If you get scared and stop moving (as everyone does when 'new') then they will be heading straight at you because they expect you to move!
Try it and you'll see it works.
Safety
 Saigon - Vietnam Be really careful when leaving the airport as it's taxi tout heaven. They are waiting to snare their victims and are helped by the lack of a clear ticket system. In fact I'm not sure there is an official system.
Make sure you take a taxi that is clearly branded as such. Be firm if you need to be. The officials will not help. Never say its your first visit and be aware that the touts will flash id cards (that mean nothing) to try and tempt you to go with them to their car. When you get there you'll see it's just a normal car, but by then it's too late unless there is a big group of you.
I fell for this and as the guy was putting my rucksack into the back he also opened the pockets and tried to steal. Tense journey. After charging you 2-3 times the real price they will also ask for a tip. (CM)
Avoid scam = 70% less
 Saigon - Vietnam Westerners need to apply for a visa before traveling to Vietnam and you will need to show the visa approval letter (saying you are allowed to enter the country) when you check-in to fly.
The easiest and cheapest way I've found is to use www.myvietnamvisa.com to sort the paperwork for you. You supply some basic information online, pay a small fee and they then submit your application and, if successful, email you the approval letters that you need to enter Vietnam. There are lots of these kinds of visa businesses which have very close unofficial connections to the immigration department. People use them because they work (never heard of anyone denied).
When you arrive in Saigon airport follow signs for immigration and on the left side of immigration room is where you hand over your passport, a completed visa form (myvietnamvisa will give you this in advance or you can do when you arrive) 2 passport photos and 25 USD. Then you sit and wait while they print the visa in your passport, after which you can go through immigration. If you don't have photos they will do for you and charge! Tourist visa is 1 month.
Visa
 Saigon - Vietnam This is for those interested in teaching English in SE Asia. You should seriously consider Vietnam, in particular Saigon/HCMC. If you factor in everything, it comes out surprisingly highly, relative to the usual places like Korea and Thailand.
It's possible to start on 20-25,000 USD in the private schools around Saigon and there is not so much competition. Remember you will get usually accommodation free as well and living costs are very low in Vietnam.
You will need to have completed a short teaching course (I see some ads for it on here or search google) and then you need to apply for a teaching visa for Vietnam, but the teaching visa can 'speeded-up' if you know what I mean.
You could always go as a tourist first and see what the options are before applying for the teaching visa anyway and the school will help.
 Teaching
Saigon - Vietnam Bui Vien street is the main tourist and backpacker area and is walking distance to most city landmarks.
I stayed at the Duc Vuong Hotel. Can't recommend it highly enough. It's not the cheapest but it's modern, clean, safe and has great staff. They do a free 'family meal' for all guests in the evening - local food - where everyone sits around a big table.
It's designed to get everyone chatting and works well. You meet loads of people. Wifi excellent throughout and breakfast also very good, featuring all types of food. So included in the price (around 18 usd a night for a single room) you get breakfast and the evening meal!
Best Hotel
Saigon - Vietnam Word of advice about drinking the local beer. 'Saigon green' or 'red'. Quality control is poor so you can sometimes feel really rough after just one or two bottles and wonder why. Safer to drink imported beer (Heineken etc). Health
 Saigon - Vietnam Ben Thanh market is the main tourist market in the city centre. Reasonable value and some items have prices displayed, although these may be inflated anyway. Be careful with your wallet, phone, handbag. Top tourist market in Saigon
 Saigon - Vietnam The Go2 bar at the corner of Bui Vien street is a good place to meet lots of tourists/travellers, but it's one of the most expensive places for drinks.  50% cheaper in other places
 Saigon - Vietnam The war museum is a 'must see' for any visitor to Saigon. Don't go on your birthday though, it's a downer. Also it's a bit one sided, in that it doesn't document the atrocities by the North and skips over the millions of Vietnamese who fought for the south army (you'd think it was a united Vietnam trying to be conquered by the USA - I say this as a Kiwi). But then history is always written by the 'winners'.
Either way it's extremely powerful and no doubting the crimes and in-discriminant bombing by the US/South. The photography section is excellent and there is a selection of army and airforce equipment outside.
Must see
 Saigon - Vietnam The Rex Hotel has a great roof top bar which anyone can go to. Drink prices not to inflated and there's usually a band playing. The Rex hotel where a lot of the top US army stayed while in Vietnam I believe so has quite a history. Don't be put off by the flash exterior and interior, just walk to the lift and head for the bar. There is no dress code to go to the bar.  Place to go
 Saigon - Vietnam Cu Chi tunnels is one of the most popular destinations just outside Saigon. About 1 hour drive out of the city. You can go in a tour or just get a taxi to take you. You'll get a tour of the tunnels, bit of info and theres the chance to shoot real guns (AKs, M16s etc). Sounds a bit rambo but for me just hearing the guns going off brought it to reality. It was so loud and disorientating. Otherwise, with the trees having grown up, it's like a nice walk in the woods.  Things to do
 Saigon - Vietnam Vietnam is one of the few places I've been with really, really cheap stuff. Like cheap enough to think about importing and still make a profit.
Some of the products are copied, quite well in cases, and other products are produced locally by official factories - from which they seem to leak out. North Face and Clarks shoes are just two examples of that. Even things like local coffee is worth looking into from a business point of view. You can buy all sorts of beans by the kg from the Ban Thanh market. Vietnamese coffee is very good!
On the other hand I wouldn't touch anything electrical (parden the pun) as risk of it being fake is so high. Whole laptops are copied!
 Business
 Saigon - Vietnam Bui Vien street floods when it rains heavily. You really don't want to walk in that water with any cuts in your feet, so be careful. If you are wearing flip-flop type shoes it'd also be really easy to cut your feet. (Sarah Lawrence). Safety
 Saigon - Vietnam If you get in trouble with the police just pay up quickly, but do it subtly. If you are not wearing a helmet on a motorbike put some cash under your license and hand it over. That's what the locals do. The police are smart and don't want to be seen taking money, but it's the way to get things sorted out quickly in HCMC. (Ricky)  Sooner you pay, less you pay
 Saigon - Vietnam Most people stay in District 1, but I've heard District 7 is the place to be for those with a bit of money. Lots of new modern developments and hopefully some cleaner air! Have a look if you get chance.  Have a look