I spent 18 days in Vietnam and of those 18 days I spent 8 of them in Saigon (yes I am just going to call it Saigon even though it’s Ho Chi Minh City). Honestly that wasn’t the plan, but after the 1st two days there I fell in love. I had already fallen in love with Vietnam from the moment I arrived in the capital city of Hanoi and was exhausted from spending the last 10 days speeding through Sapa, Hue and Hoi-An because that is not normally how I like to travel, but of course I had changed my plans to get back to Cairo so had no choice. At any rate… the best thing about plans are that they are meant to be changed… so instead of the 3 days I planned for Saigon I spent 8. I guess I could also thank the crazy night drinking I had at an improvised bar made of carts and stools on the side of street alley that I woke up with a massive hangover 15 minutes after I was supposed to catch my bus to Cambodia. Okay… no even though that was the case I can’t just thank the drinking… I gotta thank the amazing food and the people I met while I was there that made me extend my stay in Saigon.
By the time I arrived in Saigon I was exhausted… like literrally not just from my travels in Vietnam, but from my 22 months on the road. At this point I could careless about another Cathedral, Palace or Pagoda and was just looking for a city to hang out and have a good time (as if I haven’t been doing that the entire time on the road) and I found just that in Saigon. Lucky for me I arrived while many other Travel Bloggers were there too. Leanne from Start Somewhere had posted in the Facebook group Travel Bloggers that they would be there for a month and even though I try my best to avoid that group because normally I only say things that get me in trouble and well I already say enough things on Twitter that get me in trouble with the community (sometimes I am very unprofessional) I thought why not reply and did. The amazing Jodi from Legal Nomads who was also in Saigon arranged for a group of us to meet and well that changed everything. The short time I spent in Saigon made me feel as if I was at home, because aside from visiting the War Remnants Museum (I will write about that some day in the future, because I honestly don’t feel like being depressed today) I did nothing, but hang out with friends, eat, drink and be merry.
It’s always nice meeting other Travel Bloggers, mainly because you instantly understand each other and the life you are trying achieve and also are able to help each other out. This is us after our first lunch date (of many). That is Leanne next to me and Leah on the far left from Start Somewhere, then you have the famous WILL PEACH from of course Will Peach (oh it was so nice to finally meet this crazy fucker), in the center is Jodi from Legal Nomads (who I fell in love with and have no clue why we hadn’t met sooner) and then James from Nomadic Notes.
I ate so many amazing meals while I was in Saigon, this is Bun Bo Hue, a spicy beef vermicelli soup that I had with Jodi. Hanging out with Jodi was amazing, because it was like having a food guidebook in my pocket. She is a huge foodie and knew just about everything about everything (hell she even has a book published “THE FOOD TRAVELER’S HANDBOOK“) and I loved that she explained so many of the foods we had together in detail. It actually made me feel a bit guilty that I don’t pay much attention to what I eat… I just eat. In the end though even though I will eat just about anything I am not a foodie and know I will continue to eat the random foods I encounter on the road.
As you explore Saigon you will encounter many fresh fruit smoothie stands and this one a block down from my hotel was my favorite. The ladies were always so nice and for $0.75 I would get a huge strawberry smoothie.
Aside from hanging out with many Travel Bloggers I was also able to meet up with my good friend Kaitlen. Oh we go way back… to the Philippines. She is one of the amazing friends I made during my three weeks there and I loved that we couldn’t stop reminiscing about our crazy times there. We tried and to gather more details on Naked Night in Boracay, but failed… that night will forever be a fucking blur and I still can’t believe it. We also laughed at the stupid shit that happened as we explored the beautiful islands of El Nido… ah the throwing up, the torn shorts… oh lord thanks for taking care of me on the road.
Even though this wasn’t my favorite meal in Vietnam it sure was the most convenient. The baguette “San wich” stands around the corner from my hotel were all the rage for my budget and damn hangovers. At $0.75 each I would eat two of them and be full for most of the day.
I of course managed to do way to much drinking and well this Jodi & I at our favorite bar in Saigon. Okay it’s not really a bar… this is a makeshift bar on the side of the street in an Alley. It’s around the corner from one of the most touristic streets in the city, but when you are there it feels like a world away from that crowd and amazing for people watching. It’s run by a tiny women (you can see her behind me) who kept insisting on Jodi & I dating and wondering why we weren’t together. Then we also had a lady boy who frequented the bar to have chats with her European men (you can see her on the far left).
This bar was the cause of my extreme hangover that made me miss my bus to Cambodia. The drinks were so damn cheap… and I loved if you wanted Vodka they would go to the 7/11 down the street buy it for us and only charge us like $0.15 more for it than retail price.
Yet another of the amazing meals I had here. I am not sure what this is (I can’t remember), but it was so damn good (see I just like to eat). I loved that Vietnam actually had spicy food… that was spicy.
Another night in city another night hanging out this night though we went a bit fancy to a bar with this amazing view of one of the major intersections.
This was my last meal in Vietnam and also my last meal with all my new blogging friends. This is grilled pork over rice at Tan Dinh market. Oh my… it was so damn good that I had two!!!
One of my favorite beers in Vietnam SAIGON (red).
After my last meal of course we went back to our favorite bar for one last outing & yep that’s me drinking away. I mean it only felt right to end it with eating, drinking and in good company after all that is just about all I did in Saigon. Even though Saigon is a beaming metropolis full of chaos at every turn it made it easy for me to fall in love with. Yes it has a lot of other things you can do, but with so many amazing options on where to eat, drink and hang out I don’t see why anyone would want to do more than that. Oh and for those wondering who wins in the battle of the North (Hanoi) vs South (Saigon) I think Saigon hands down wins… it’s just more chic, hip and feels like it really is a happening place on a world wide level that I just didn’t feel in Hanoi (even though I loved it too). As for Vietnam 18 days wasn’t enough to see everything I wanted to see and had to skip many things, but in the end I am happy with everything I was able to do/see and honestly think it’s my favorite country in Southeast Asia and can’t wait to go back and see more of one day.