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I have just spent several days in Vietnam for a change of pace. Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) is a breath of fresh air in more ways than one. The air is definitely cleaner than that of Bangkok. I put that solely down to the age of the buses. Find an old picture of the 70’s in Bangkok and you’ll see the same buses. There is a real sense of Social Order in Saigon which meant as a tourist I felt safe no matter where I went. Even down dimly lit narrow alleys people didn't even bat and eye lid in my direction. The only annoyance are the hawkers selling sunglasses if you do decide to slow down and take in the sights. I found that if you’re into walking then it’s hard for anyone to try sell you anything … Just keep on motoring. I stopped for a few of the massage girls handing out pamphlets which is a mistake. Some were just too hot to walk by and I found they did get a bit touchy around the stomach and the nails down back did the trick. You can see the massage girls in the video on YouTube here [Saigon Sep 2018]. I’m not going to go through a blow for blow description of a full body massage body to body HA HA. Buy a ticket to Saigon and experience it for yourself.

Bui Vien Street District 1, Ho Chi Minh City

Bui Vien Walking Street, Saigon.

I arrived at my Hotel at around 4:30 pm and you can see by the pictures above and below the transformation Bui Vien Street takes from day to night. I immediately went and explored Saigon on foot. Pumped no one could get close since I had to get a feel of the city before nightfall. I ended up walking in every direction to get my bearings with the skyline. I’d recommend most people to do this. The last thing you want to do is get lost as you may have to deal with taxi’s, then the fun factor is over. Now don’t think it’s hard getting to a Hotel near Bui Vien Street from the Airport. Just ignore everyone and jump on the Yellow Bus 109 to its final destination Park 23/9, which is only 200 mtrs from Bui Vein Street. The bus ride takes just over 30 min’s at a cost of 20,000 VND (28 Baht, $0.86 US). Beats getting a taxi.

Bui Vien Street Saigon

Bui Vien by day, Saigon.

Traffic is real eye opener in Saigon. Streams of motorbikes seamlessly avoid other traffic and more importantly pedestrians. I can see that the riders are conscious of any pedestrians that set foot on the road. Just wait for a break of cars or buses then walk. I never had a problem crossing roads. My first attempt I did take a step back just to take it all in before giving it a go. During peak times if you see a Vietnamese person about to cross wherever you are heading then just join in as they know what they are doing. One strange anomaly with the whole order of traffic is … If someone realizes they have missed their turn then they will drop a U-Turn right there and then to the announce of everyone. Apart from that everything to do with the traffic runs smoothly.

Bui Vien Street Saigon. Nearing 1 AM.

Street Food Carts Saigon

If you’re hungry at any stage them for me you can’t go wrong having a Vietnamese BBQ Pork Roll. At a price of 20k to 30k VND (28 Baht, $0.86 US to 42 Baht, $1.29 US) the pork roll is a bargain. For a sit down meal then a Vietnamese Noodle Soup is a must. Price ranges from 50k to 80k VND (70 Baht, $2.15 US to 110 Baht to $3.40 US). The soup tastes rich and smooth with vegetables. You add your own chili to taste. This was my diet whilst I was in Vietnam, either a noodle soup or a pork roll. Throw in four coffees a day then I need nothing else. I watched on as the smart people who stay at nearby hostels wonder in and out of Burger King (Hungry Jacks in Australia). These people are literally dumber than a turd on the ground. No matter where you go in this world you’ve got to give the local cuisine a decent try. Food should be in the top three reasons to go to any new country. The people I saw were in the minority as I did see plenty of tourists buying food from the local street venders. It just makes the Burger King brigade look so stupid.

Vietnamese Noodle Soup

Noodle Soup - Saigon

I spotted one McDonalds on my travels around Saigon. Also a few KFC’s, Pizza Hut, Pizza Company and of course Starbucks is ever present. When it came to coffee I stuck to ice coffee from 12k to 39k VND (17 Baht, $0.52 US to 55 Baht, $1.68 US) dependant on the shop. I learnt after the first coffee that I needed to buy a small carton of milk (16k VND, 22 Baht, $0.70 US) from either Family Mart or a Circle K Store to top it up. The ice is filled to the top of the cup then they only fill the cup just over half full with coffee. The coffee was also slightly stronger than I was use to therefore adding the extra milk made it perfect. I found Saigon to be less humid than in Bangkok even after it poured with rain one late afternoon.

Bar 159 Saigon Vietnam

The 159 Bar - Bui Vien Street

If you’re after bit of female company along Bui Vien Street then you can go to one of the bars closer to and inside Quang Dau Street. Don’t get drunk and just focus on one woman then you should have a hassle free time. Another tip is don’t have a tab therefore pay for your drinks when they arrive. You will notice fairly quickly that Vietnamese women are different from Thai women in many ways. Both have their own positive quality's. It’s just that I found more than a few Vietnamese women had a certain coolness about them. This is a pretty big turn on for any male. There are several freelancers that cruise around the surrounding streets. They will stay away with any sign that you’re not interested. I do think that you are just asking for trouble if you ever go down the freelance route. You really need to know all the ins and outs before hooking up with any freelancer anywhere. All said and done though, I held onto some mighty fine ass during my time in Saigon and will be back for more!

Note: The last image this week was taken from Video.