Have you been planning a tour to Vietnam? Well, a trip to this beautiful country cannot be complete if you do not go to Ho Chi Minh City, or as the locals call it, Saigon. This city is named after the revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh, who is known for his role in unifying the country. For many first time adventurers who haven’t done prior research on what the city has to offer, a tour of Ho Chi Minh City might seem a bit disappointing. If you are planning to visit and have a great time, here is a list of everything you need to know about Ho Chi Minh before you go.
Use Google Maps to become familiar with your surroundings
As a tourist in a new country, it can be challenging to find your way around (especially if you don’t know the local language). You have to take taxis even to places which are close-by. To avoid being ripped off by taxi drivers, use Google Maps to check how far away a place is. Ask how much the fare will be before getting in, and if it seems like they are overcharging you, just skip it and check the next one. A taxi ride from the airport to a hotel in District 1 shouldn’t cost more than €10, but you might find some asking for as much as €50 for hotel transfers.
Transact in the local currency
Although dollars were used as a currency in Vietnam for a while after the war, the country mostly uses its own local currency, known as the Vietnamese Dong. Note that Vietnam is a cash-based economy, and hence most of the places you go to will not accept your credit card. ATMs are also scarce, so carry cash to avoid being stranded.
Check the weather first
Vietnam has extreme weather conditions and Ho Chi Minh City is no exception. In the summer, it can be very hot and sticky with only a few places having air conditioners. Winters, on the other hand, can be surprisingly cold. Research what season it is in Vietnam before visiting to enable you to plan on what clothes to bring along.
However, if you forget to do this, you can head over to the numerous markets there such as the Ben Thanh Market, the Vincom Center, and the Bihn Tay Market. They have a lot of options for you. The best time to visit the markets is early in the morning when it is not yet too hot. You will also see the rituals of the vendors as they open for business and observe people as the city rises.
Book a street food tour
You must try some of the delicious foods that make tours to Vietnam so popular. However, the fun can be cut short if you get food poisoning during the trip. Avoid this by either going on a street food tour or buying from sellers that have crowds of people queuing in line. Another alternative is to stick to restaurants serving international food options such as American, Italian, Japanese, and Korean. But where is the fun in that!
Cross the streets carefully
Ho Chi Minh City, like most other large cities in the world, is characterised by heavy traffic, especially from motorbikes. However, the traffic rules here aren’t that strict, and you might have to cross the road amidst the rushing motorbikes – so always take extra care.
That is everything you need to know about Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. Have you started packing your bags?