Ho Chi Minh City

Here you’ll find travel reports about Ho Chi Minh City. Discover travel destinations in Vietnam of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

355 travelers at this place:

  • Day5

    Ho Chi Minh City

    October 14 in Vietnam

    Augie and I checked into the Airbnb and chilled for most of the weekend. We hit a few tourist spots and took a few walks around the busy city. One tourist destination allows one to go down into the caves that the Viet Cong used to undermine American efforts. My brother Will shared that when we bombed near the caves they would backfill the craters to get rid of the dirt dug from the tunnels. Vietnam has been a Socialist country since the end of-what they refer to as-the American War. It is sort of hard to tell this is a communist country as there seems to be more unfettered free marketeering going on than back in the States. Everyone has businesses and side businesses. The country has followed China's model of late.

    These days 8.5 million people live in Saigon. Like Amsterdam, they each own at least one two wheeled vehicle. The difference here is that they are scooters rather than bicycles. Scooters are ubiquitous. They have their own lanes and go by their own rules. Riders are frequently up on the sidewalks to gain the advantage of being at the head of the pack at a traffic light. At an intersection scooters take their left turns from the far right lane; cutting in front of the line of cars, trucks, and busses to get where they need to be. Crossing the street as a pedestrian is an act of faith. Somehow a person steps into swirling traffic and manages to make it to the other side. It all just sort of works. Pretty wild.

    Here is a video of the maelstrom that we took from the second floor of a burger joint.
    Here's a sped up version:

    We hit quite a few restaurants and cafés during our stay. The coffee culture is amazing. Cappuccinos everywhere. Vietnam became a major producer back in the late 80s. That's part of what led to a worldwide coffee glut that undermined the Central American economies in the 90s. Farmers were left with little choice than to pack it up and head to the States for work. Did you all know that one of the biggest 'build that wall' proponents, Representative Devin Nunes, employs mostly undocumented workers in his family's dairy businesses? Go figure. We even visited a couple of brewpubs. East Meets West had pretty good food and an excellent Belgian blond ale. We noted that the same meal and brew would have been three times the price in San Francisco or Amsterdam.

    Augie was able to connect with his friend Minh from his college days. Minh now works in an architecture firm in the city. They went out for a traditional noodle soup. Minh's family also owns and runs a stall at the central Ben Thanh market.

    Saturday we visited the motorbike rental agency to set up our rides for the next month. They are semiautomatic Hondas with racks to carry our gear. When we arrived they brought down two brand new bikes. We pick them up first thing Monday morning. Don't think they'll look this nice at the end of our 1200 mile tour...
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  • Day15

    In the middle of the night we got waked up by the bus driver because we had already arrived in Ho Chi Minh City which is the former Sai Gon. What to do at around 3 AM? We decided to go to the hostel and wait there until breakfast time and this plan worked out quite well. On our way we met Marta from Poland who was also on the bus. We chatted a while with her and then we tried to sleep on the floor. Later we had breakfast and went to the War Remnants Museum. This museum features some facts from the Vietnam War and mainly the cruelties from the USA. After seeing the Notre Dame cathedral, the opera and other sights we went back to the hostel because we got picked up. We made a tour to the Cu Chi Tunnels of the Vietcong about 60km away. Our guide told a lot about the war strategies during the Vietnam War and showed us the tunnels. We crawled 100m through them ourselves, very exhausting considering the tiny size and the high humidity. After coming back to the city we had dinner at a street food place nearby and then went to bed.Read more

  • Day1

    Ho Chi Minh

    April 2, 2017 in Vietnam

    With one country down, today was the day I headed to my next destination, Vietnam. Having heard so many good things about this beautiful country, I was excited to be moving on, despite the sad departure from Cambodia.

    After patchy sleep and being exhausted I made it to my 8.30am bus to Ho Chi Minh. I was sat to a very nice Cambodian, who attempted to make conversation with a very tired me. I felt awful that I couldn't be more of a joy to sit next to but I think my previous week had taken its toll.

    Having slept most the journey and experienced my first border crossing of my trip, I arrived in Ho Chi Minh at 4pm and wow it's a hectic city. First time crossing the road took at least 5 minutes and I'm hoping I make it out the city alive. However, I made it to my Hostel and checked in for the night. Having money to sort out, I made that a priority before I could enjoy myself and snoop around the shops.

    My hostel being located in the centre of town was perfect, being near various shops and the main market. My dinner was street food, adding up to a huge total of $1 as well as treating myself to ice cream which was freshly made (also $1). Eating for this little money has already made me fond of Vietnam.

    However, the market certainly sells questionable food, I saw crocodile being cooked in front of my eyes,
    something I haven't braved to try yet.

    After a very long day and being extremely tired, tonight is a rest night and the rooftop above my hotel is the ideal spot for this. Despite not having met anyone yet, it's quite nice to observe the city from my point of view and really take in the sights I'm seeing.
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  • Day2

    Cu Chi Tunnels

    April 3, 2017 in Vietnam

    Today was another early start, the focus of the day being Cu Chi Tunnels. Having learnt about the Vietnam War for my A Levels I was extremely excited to go see the actual location of this fascinating war.

    The area in which the Cu Chi tunnels is located is huge and there was a lot of ground to cover. Right at the beginning there is still one entrance to the tunnels which hasn't been widened and it was a tight fit for me, let alone a grown Vietnamese man. I would hate to think what it was like going through these tiny tunnels in pitch black, I know I would be petrified. Through the tour we saw various boogey traps the Viet Cong set in order to beat the Americans, all made by hand. I think it's incredible that with so little the Viet Cong could challenge a 1st world country that had so much money, machinery and supplies. At the end of the tour there was an option to shoot a choice of guns from the war. I chose to shoot an AK47 and felt like a pro after shooting my 10 bullets, although I don't think I got one bullet on target. To finish off the tour, we actually got to travel underground through the tunnels. Having being widened, they were still a squash. After covering around 100metres underground I was ready to come out, drenched in sweat and having the beginnings of aching thighs.

    Back at the hostel I met an American ex army cadet called Marcus. He had a friend who was based in Ho Chi Minh called Clara and he invited me to go get food with them. It was ideal being with a so called 'local' as she knew where to go and we ended up at Saigon street food market and had a fantastic meal.

    With a full belly and early morning ahead, I decided it was a good idea to get a reasonable sleep to be fresh for the Mekong Delta the next day.
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  • Day56

    Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam

    February 17, 2017 in Vietnam

    After exploring some of Northern Vietnam we wanted to visit Ho Chi Minh City in the South to better understand the Vietnam War. We were interested to see the War Remnants Museum as well as the Cu Chi tunnels that the Viet Cong used against the South Vietnamese and US troops.

    The museum was interesting, although it was a bit one-sided, again with propaganda. There were many photos capturing the war, pieces of shot down planes, and a disturbing exhibit on Agent Orange; a lethal chemical used by the Americans which was probably the most tragic and scarring remnant of the war.

    The following day we took an adventure to the Cu Chi tunnels on a two hour moped ride each way. The ride there was just as memorable as the tunnels, since over an hour of it was fighting the city traffic, which I now can say my moped driving skills are nearly ready for the ultimate test--traffic in India. Once we got to the tunnels we learned more about how the tunnels were made and designed and then got to crawl through them, although they were made larger so tourists could fit through easier they were still very narrow and tight. The number and length of tunnels, the self sufficient underground city, the bamboo spear boobietraps, and the psychological aspect of hiding underground during bombings were all much more real after crawling through a few of them. On the way back we stopped at a small village convenience store for a cold drink since it was so hot and met the owner who introduced us to his mother and daughter who were all so sweet. When he found out we were from America he was so happy and even told us that he loved the US which we were surprised about seeing that we were only a few miles away from the tunnels which represent a dark period in Vietnam history. This positive US sentiment was surprisingly consistent throughout all of Vietnam.

    With the rest of our time in this fairly modern city with French influence we did what we enjoy the most; exploring the local culture. We finally got to try Pho after our third attempt, sipped on some Siagon craft beer that was pretty good, and got another massage since they're so affordable!

    This was our last stop in Vietnam and we're happy to say we really enjoyed our time there. The country has vast history and natural beauty which caught us by surprise. Until next time Vietnam...
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  • Day5

    Floating Markets, Mekong Delta

    April 6, 2017 in Vietnam

    6am alarm and an early rise in order to see the floating markets, which are one of the main attractions of the Mekong Delta. Having never seen them before and heard so many great things about them I was very excited but at the same time didn't actually know what expect. I can now say that they were different to my expectation, nevertheless as impressive. As the boat slows down numerous boats instantly attach themselves to our boat, trying to sell various fruits, all extremely cheap price and in bulk.

    I bought bananas and pineapples which were both delicious and so sweet. The pineapple was my favourite, both in the way it tasted as well as its presentation. They cut it in a way that makes it look like an ice cream and was just so so yummy and juicy. As you sit on the boat and watch what's around you, it was amazing to spectate this chaotic way of life and I learnt that tourism gives these people a large chunk of their earning.

    After departing the floating markets, we went to the rice noodle making place, where we could see how they made them from scratch. It's a simple but fascinating process to watch but also requires some skill which was learnt by attempting to do part of the process ourselves.

    Following on, we went to another island and hired bikes to go round and see the island. We visited the main temple on the island which was surrounded by a mass of trees and also the sight of a bomb that was dropped by the Americans during the war. To get here we cycled through the local housing and farming. It was lovely being able to have a personal insight into the daily lives of the people who loved there. Later, it was time to head back, stopping off at a place for lunch.

    After arriving back in Ho Chi Minh, I decided to have a snack at my favourite bakery which I have been loyal to the whole duration of my stay in the city. Marcus then wanted to see more of Ho Chi Minh as he was leaving the next day, so we went for a walk around Ho Chi Minh to see some more of the sights like the cathedral, temple and war museum.

    In the evening, we enjoyed a Korean BBQ with Clara, her partner and Marcus, followed by drinks at a bar called Layla which was a relatively new establishment and spent the rest of the evening there. Bars in Ho Chi Minh are usually a must do when your in the city as there are so many hidden in all kinds of places. This one did not disappoint. But soon after finishing up our drinks, we decided it was time for bed after a very busy day.
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  • Day6

    Bui Vien Street

    April 7, 2017 in Vietnam

    Having planned to go to Mui Ne and in attempt to book my hostel beforehand there appeared no spaces for the night I wanted, therefore having to extend my stay in Ho Chi Minh and delay my arrival in Mui Ne.

    However, it turned out to be a very enjoyable day. Turns out someone I had met the night before wanted to go to the zoo and with no plans I decided to go along. We saw so many animals and got to feed the elephants sugar canes which was a lot of fun. I think the elephants enjoyed it as much as us. Other animals that we saw included giraffes, a snow tiger, tigers, bears and hippos.

    We spent around 2 hours around the zoo, being actually very enjoyable to stroll around and see the animals, despite it being incredibly hot and sweaty.

    Heading back to the hostel and deciding what to do in the evening, I messaged Lauren from the night before and we decided to go grab dinner and a drink. Getting on so well with Lauren made it a very enjoyable evening, walking up and down Bui Vien street, exploring the shops and bars. Later on we ran into people from my hostel who invited us out for a drink.
    After a few beers with them, I decided I should head back and pack to be ready for my early departure to Mui Ne, leaving the others to head out clubbing.

    I said goodbye to Lauren who was also going her separate ways. After nearly week in Ho Chi Minh, it was time to say goodbye to the crazy city.
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  • Day5

    War Museum, Ho Chi Minh

    April 6, 2017 in Vietnam

    After a busy few days I decided today was going to be slower paced. Having a relaxing morning catching up with friends and sorting out my next steps.

    Due to it being sunny outside, I made use of the rooftop garden above my hostel and sat up there reading my book and soaking up some sun. However, the heat began to get too much and I decided I would take myself to the War Museum.

    Having been so interested in the war I thoroughly enjoyed this museum, despite the atrocities of the war. I was speechless at some of the activities that went on and thought to myself how man kind could think it's alright to do such terrible things to another human being. The affects of the agent orange and chemicals used by the Americans on the Vietnamese are still causing defects over 40 years later and its likely these defects will continue to be passed down. After finishing at the museum it's safe to say I felt quite emotional and sad having gained such an insight to what the people of Vietnam went through, especially having done nothing to the Americans.

    I got back to the hostel just in time to watch the sunset on the rooftop garden which was beautiful. Then, just as I was heading out for food I met a Canadian girl called Lauren, she invited me out for a beer so said why not. We ended up meeting others and all went out and had a very fun evening. I even met people who I had been with in Cambodia which was a crazy sight! Having had low expectations for a quiet night it became quite the opposite.
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  • Day42

    Pub Crawl Aftermath

    September 23 in Vietnam

    Da ich gestern auf den Pub Crawl des Hostels mitgegangen bin war die erste Hälfte meines Tages auskatern im Hostelzimmer. Halb so wild hab ja genug Zeit hier.
    Nachmittags bin ich zum Waxing gegangen, so schön billig hier und gar nicht so schmerzhaft wie ich dachte. Dann Abendessen im Undergroind Food Court und über einen coolen Boutique Markt geschlendert.
    Danach entspannen in der Hostel Rooftop Bar mit nur einem Bier und danach früh in Bett gegangen.Read more

  • Day44

    Chu Chi Tunnel

    September 25 in Vietnam

    Heute eine Tour zu den Kriegstunneln gemacht. In 80cm hoch und 60cm breiten haben die Viet Kong sich in Südvietnam versteckt und gekämpft. Es wurden Guerrilla Taktiken erklärt, Fallen gezeigt und man konnte in einem extra Vergrößerten Abschnitt durch den Tunnel krabbeln. Alle 20m ein Ausgang...den ersten hab ich dann auch direkt genommen, zu eng. Trotzdem ein super informativer spaßiger Ausflug.
    Ausserdem konnte man für 4 Euro pro Kugel mit Ak-47 und Rambo Gewehr rumballern. Hab ich nciht gemacht , man musste mindestens 10 Kugeln kaufen. Naja.

    Abends zum Aussichtsturm und Brauerei Bar.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

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