I decided to go to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), Vietnam for a few weeks, with a main mission to eat, and to make a video about some of the top things to do in the city. Here’s my first travel vlog, traveling from Bangkok to Saigon, Vietnam.
After eating a delicious lunch cooked by my mother in-law, we then caught a taxi to Don Muang Airport, which is Bangkok’s second, smaller airport that deals mainly with budget airlines. We flew with Air Asia this time, and our flight was just under for a one way ticket to Saigon. The flight didn’t take long, and soon we got off the plane in Saigon, ready to explore. Our first step of the journey was to catch a taxi to our hotel. But before leaving the airplane, I withdrew some money from an ATM, located near the luggage claim. So if you need to pull some money right away, there is a Citibank ATM at the Saigon airport.
Make sure you take a legit taxi when you arrive in Saigon. From what I heard, there are many fake taxis and many rip off taxis, but I didn’t have a problem. I just chose one of the reputable companies, and then followed our route on my phone GPS, and I think it was alright – I think our bill came to about the normal price for taking a taxi in Saigon from the airport. Our first hotel in Saigon was at Bizu Hotel, located in the backpacker district of Pham Ngu Lao street. I would say that the hotel was alright, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the area – I’m not a big fan of main backpacker streets. Anyway, we stayed here for the first few days of our time in Saigon, since we had pre-booked, and then we moved to a different hotel called LeBlanc Saigon, which I would highly recommend, and you’ll be seeing more of it in future Vietnam vlogs coming soon.
After checking into our hotel in Saigon, we got ready to walk around. Immediately as you start walking around in Vietnam, you’ll notice the sheer quantity of motorbike scooters that dominate the roads. It’s almost ridiculous how many bikes there are and crossing the street you just have to start going, and all the motorbikes will weave around you. We first walked through one of the central parks in Saigon, and then continued walking and walked through the famous Ben Thanh market. The market was just about closing when we walked through, so we continued walking, but we all began getting really hungry.
Since we were so hungry, and since I hadn’t had time yet to research and write down all the restaurants in Saigon that you recommended to me when I asked in a different video (but many video of your suggestions coming soon), we just stopped in at the nearest restaurant we could find, called Xoi Ga Number One, or number one sticky rice and chicken. I really didn’t know all that I was ordering, but we ended up ordering a mixture of different Vietnamese foods, some of which I had tried before and others I had no idea what they were. The food was quite good, and since we were hungry it really hit the spot.
Our first day, traveling from Bangkok to Saigon, Vietnam, was a great day. The flight went smoothly, we got checked into our hotel, and we walked around just a little bit, before finding a restaurant for dinner. Everything went well, and many more food adventures in Saigon coming soon!
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Vietnam Tourism, Vietnam Cities, Vietnam Vacation 2014 (HD)
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Vietnam is an utter assault on the senses; at once dizzying, frenetic and fascinating. Conical-hatted street vendors sell their wares on the pavements outside gleaming high-rises and exquisite temples are surrounded by streets buzzing with thousands of motorbikes.
Wherever you travel you can’t fail to be intrigued by this frenetic, fascinating country. The capital Hanoi is the focus for arts in Vietnam and has been since its foundation in the year 1010 while in Ho Chi Minh City business is king. Hue is steeped in imperial history, Hoi An the place to soak up the atmosphere and the largely undeveloped coastline is the place to kick back.
Life in urban Vietnam is conducted on the streets. In bia hois (pavement pubs) men sup ice-cold beer and odours from makeshift food stalls fill the nostrils: see steaming pho, a noodle soup with various unidentifiable chunks of meat, or grilled chicken feet. Along nearly all the moped-clogged streets produce is sold. Tubs wriggle with live sturgeon, crabs and frogs (still a delicacy from French colonial days), baskets are top heavy with colourful and bizarre fruit, and every possible piece of a pig is on sale.
Rural Vietnam is entirely different. Just a short distance from the cities, water buffalo wallow in green rice paddies and elegant women wearing traditional conical headwear cycle along dusty paths.
Vietnam things to see and do
The beaches of Vietnam are superb. Nha Trang is the perfect combination of a long sandy beach for relaxing days under the palm trees and a town with restaurants and bars to pass the balmy evenings. Boat trips take you out to nearby islands and divers can explore the nearby coral reefs. Alternatively, try Vung Tau, southeast of Ho Chi Minh City for some superb snorkelling around the many offshore islands or head east of Phan Thiet to the sand dunes of Mui Ne, which stretch for miles. Whatever your budget there’ll be a resort to suit you. Relax on the white-sand beaches or have a go at many of the water sports on offer.
Cao Dai Temple
Head out to Tay Ninh to view the colourful midday service of the intriguing Cao Dai sect held in a large temple almost Disney-esque in style. The followers wear red, blue and yellow robes and chant to the accompaniment of a traditional orchestra. En route, scramble through the tunnels at Cu Chi, from where the Viet Cong successfully launched attacks against US forces.
Dalat is as far as most people go into the Central Highlands but head further into the mountains for stunning views and waterfalls. You are assured of a warm welcome in Buon Ma Thuot, a coffee growing region and home to the Montagnards. The Ho Chi Minh trail is easily reached from Kontum.
Learn the subtleties of Vietnamese cookery at a class in ancient Hoi An. Submerge into the hustle and bustle of the market to buy provisions before retreating to the calm of the kitchen. The best part of the day — you get to eat what you have helped prepare!
To escape the heat of the plains, head for Dalat, a former colonial hill station, reminiscent of a French town, with faded, elegant villas evocative of another era. Colonists from Saigon headed to its cool climes as well as the emperor and his entourage. The romantic lakes and alpine scenery are magnets for Vietnamese honeymooners.
Sure it is touristy, and if you take a boat trip you’ll be among a flotilla of dozens of old converted junks, but Halong Bay still remains one of the most impressive sights in the world. Take the opportunity to borrow a kayak (all boats should do this) and paddle through the limestone karsts dramatically rising up out of the sea. Or spend the night on one of those junks and explore the caves hidden deep in the islands, pass floating villages and at night enjoy a sundowner on the top deck and look out for shooting stars.
Hanoi is a city of contrasts with the wide, leafy boulevards lined by beautiful colonial buildings in the French quarter, the maze of narrow streets of the Old Quarter and the tranquil lakes. Wherever you are, the background noise is the buzzing of the motorbikes that crowd the streets of the capital.
Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City by train
A trip on the Reunification Express is a must. However, the trains between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are certainly not express. It can take between 30 and 40 hours to travel between the two cities so best to do one section only. Popular is the 18-hour journey between Hanoi and Hue.
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