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The Solo Traveler Blog

Solo Travel Destination: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

We are pleased to present a new Solo Travel Destination Post from Francesca, a member of the Solo Travel Society on Facebook. Francesca is from the UK, and submitted the following report about Ho Chi Minh City. Do you have a solo travel destination that you would like to recommend? Submit your description here, along with a few photos, and share it with fellow travelers!

Solo travel rating: (1 is easiest, 4 is most difficult. Please see chart below)

Languages spoken: Vietnamese, French, English

photo, image, post office, ho chi minh

The stunning Saigon Central Post Office.

Reasons to go:  Here are my top ten things to see and do in Ho Chi Minh City:

Head to the market where aroma of fresh produce, flapping fish and local cuisine combines to make you drool.

Drink at the Bixteco Tower, the tallest building in the city, and watch neon lights spill out from beneath you.

Visit the Cu Chi tunnels, an example of the 200km of tunnels in the area where guerrillas waged warfare for over twenty years. Crawl through the spaces and marvel at their skill and tenacity.

Whizz along the bank of the Saigon on the back of a scooter, wind on your cheeks and sun on your shoulders.

Drink the rich sweet hearty coffee, roasted in butter and cocoa beans, dripped through a thick filter and served strong. The best place to drink this delicious rush in a cup is the renowned Highlands Coffee shop.

Marvel at the Gustave Eiffel designed Post Office, the center point of communication and collaboration in the city, its peach pink facade, mahogany arches, fading maps and the soft sound of the franking machines inspiring you to pick up a pen.

Asian cities tend to be lacking in green space, but the well maintained Ben Thanh park is a place for early morning tai chi, lunchtime natters, afternoon meanders, and twilight rendezvous between lovers.

Drink cocktails at the Caravelle hotel, the haunt of photographers and journalists during the war, and an excellent vantage point. Not cheap but antique furniture and the ambience make it worth it.

Watch crowds spill out from Notre Dame Cathedral, based on the Paris equivalent, and sneak in against the flow to see grand arches and grateful offerings.

Cross the road and watch the scooters and motorbikes part, the Red Sea to your Moses. It takes some nerve, but is the way the traffic works here.

photo, image, notre dame cathedral, ho chi minh

Notre Dame Cathedral.

photo, image, market, ho chi minh

Be sure to visit the markets.

Solo Travel Destination Rating System

Safety - 2 (1 very safe, 2 safe in most areas, 3 be cautious at all times.)

Language - 2 (1 English is first language, 2 English speakers easy to find, 3 English speakers rare)

Navigation – 1 (1 easy to navigate by transit or car, 2 poor transit, car necessary, 3 not easy to get around)

Culture – 2 (1 Similar to North America or Western Europe, 2 Different from above but relaxed and easy, 3 Challenging)

Average Rating – 2 (1 is easiest, 4 is most difficult)

 

Related posts:

  • http://www.tourthailan.net.vn/ Kenny Huu

    Du Lịch Trung Quốc 7N6Đ: Bắc Kinh – Thượng Hải – Hàng Châu – Tô Châu

  • nicole

    What areas did you feel were unsafe? I will be living in HCMC for work and will most likely be traveling alone. Young/female. Thanks

  • Minh Do

    Ho Chi Minh is the dynamic city , largest and crowned in Viet Nam. More about Vietnam city you can find here http://go2vietnam.net

  • http://www.vietnamparadisetravel.com/ Andre

    @Andre Ho Chi Minh is a nice place as there are lots of places available to
    watch and enjoy. I also visited this destination last year and it was a
    great experience for me. Great recommendations for Ho Chi Minh.

  • http://www.tourthailan.net.vn/ Kenny Huu
  • Karen Opp

    Thank you ! I worried it was a bit much, but being here right now, in the moment – it was hard to not post something. :-)

  • http://solotravelerblog.com Janice Waugh

    Wow. Thanks so much for contributing so much to this post!

  • Karen Opp

    I am here in Saigon right now and have been for a week. I have been traveling through SE Asia for the past four months and I think Vietnam is the more challenging (vs Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Singapore) of all the countries I have visited.

    I think it’s important to give the full picture to a solo traveler (especially women) considering a trip here. I agree with everything offered in the article above, but, safety is a major concern here and should be addressed.

    Crossing the road is harrowing but do-able. Watch the locals. Follow suit. Women be careful of that overly attentive man who tries to help you then demands money on the other side. I saw this happen a few times in the touristy areas. Personally, I just got behind a group, if they don’t get hit, I won’t either.

    Watch your belongings closely here. There is absolutely, undeniably, an anti-western attitude amongst the older Vietnamese here (not so much the youth). They will refuse to give you change, pickpockets are common, and you can expect to be brushed aside if walking down a street (Sidewalks are covered with scooters, carts, and people sitting and eating…so you ‘ll be walking on the street often).

    This is a very very poor country (average monthly income between $150-$180- depending on your sources) – so honestly, it’s just something you should be aware of and not let ruin your experience here. If you end up paying $10 for a taxi ride that really should have been $5 or $6…well, hey, that’s a bummer but that $4 goes a lot further with the taxi driver than it would for you back in the Western world. (But do try and get Vina Sun taxis – white with green trim. They are very reliable, very good reputation)

    If you have the time also check out day trips to the Mekong Delta & cooking classes. You can learn to make spring rolls, Vietnamese pancakes, and more. And there’s a great group XO tours (voted #1 on Trip Advisor) – a group of girls on mopeds who give you a tour of Saigon by night, and food tours too. They are awesome!! They made my whole trip here – very knowledgeable and friendly.

  • Agness

    A spend nearly a month in Saigon and I loved how dynamic and vivid this city was. I loved to walk down the streets at night in search of a nice local restaurant where I could order a big bowl of pho :)! Good times.

  • http://cashwithatrueconscience.com/rbblog Ryan Biddulph

    Hi Francesca,

    We were in HCM for only 1 hour after flying in; right onto the train and off to Danang, and Hoi An for a few months. The motorbike situation is legendary, I remember doing the classic 1-step and wait approach to crossing the street. Only the foolish try to run.

    Thanks for sharing!

About Janice Waugh and Tracey Nesbitt

I'm an author, blogger, speaker and traveler. I became a widow and empty-nester at about the same time. And then, I became Solo Traveler... Here's the full story. >>

Tracey Nesbitt I’m a writer, editor, food and wine fanatic, and traveler. On my very first trip abroad I learned that solo travel was for me. Here's the full story. >>

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