I reached the last destination of my first solo trip ever: Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, and I will stay here for 1 month. My budget is also at its end, so I will volunteer in an English center.
During the first week spent in the country, I was just traveling as a tourist in the city. I met some really nice fellas in the Hostel where I was staying, and we were exploring the city for 2 days together.
I came from Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh by bus. I don’t remember the scenery on the way, so probably it isn’t impressive… Crossing the border was very easy. I had my visa done in Phnom Penh in a travel agent. This was the 1st time I paid for a service such as getting a visa as I usually take care of it on my own. But I heard that it is a big hassle to get the Vietnam visa on your own in Cambodia, so I went to an agent. As far as I remember, I paid 40 USD for it, so not bad.
Getting closer to the border I meet one solo traveler. He was a Russian that didn’t speak much English and had been walking in that excruciating heat for a while already. He crossed the border on his own and was looking for a bus to Phnom Penh now. He was coming from Vietnam.
Crossing the border was simple. The guy from the bus collects the passports. We leave the bus toward the offices for a check, and in 10 minutes we are done. After having the bus checked, we hop on the bus again and there we go! Once arrived in Ho Chi Minh, I found an old man with a motorbike to take me to the Hostel. I show him the location and ask if he knows where it is before deciding to go with him. He says he knows and we agree on a price. Always agree on a price before the journey!!
After all, he didn’t know where this place was so we were riding the streets around the block for a while and stopping while and then to ask for directions. I don’t know why but I’m not getting stressed with the situation… and just when we found the place, we almost crashed another motorbike as the driver was looking around to find the place and not paying attention to the street.
Ho Chi Minh doesn’t have many interesting things to see or do and it’s a stressful city. So many motorbikes like I have never seen my whole life. Worst that India! The tourists seem stressed to cross the street, but India got me used to it, so I wasn’t panicking because of it. Actually, even the locals look scared!
While traveling in Ho Chi Minh I visited:
Notre Dame cathedral and the old post office just next to it
The Opera House
Tao Dan park with some funny statues
The pink church
The city hall
Sri Thandayuthabhani temple
We checked the prices for the Bitexco tower but was too expensive.
And the most interesting thing to do: walk in the streets and see how the locals live here and how all these motorbike riders behave and drive. And surely listen to a lot of Karaoke.
We ended up the night in Bui Vien street, the loudest place ever, that was showcasing some fashion show. This is such a crowded street. People can’t listen to each other here!
There are more things to visit in the city that I saw while volunteering, but as a traveler, don’t spend more than 2 nights in Ho Chi Minh / Saigon.
Binh Quoi 2:
During my volunteering that I will talk about later, I had some days off so I took the chance to visit Binh Quoi village, a quiet and charming place in the middle of the concrete jungle. It was my favorite place in Saigon. I also visited the zoo that is super cheap. There is a botanical garden inside and lots of different animals too. The only thing I didn’t enjoy seeing was the elephants as they were looking very stressed bouncing from side to side from front to back… not cool to watch.
The next two weeks I will spend volunteering, thing that I now know that made me change my life a few months later.