Via Social Nomads
– Where we stayed –
After landing, we headed straight for New Saigon Hostel 2, which we booked ahead of time. However, upon arrival, we realized that our reservation was for the following night. Everyone makes mistakes, right? It did look like a great spot, but they were already full, so we set out in search of another place. We found New Sunny Hotel just around the corner. A private room on the top floor set us back 18 USD. Complete with AC, fridge, a comfortable double bed and breakfast in the morning, we’d call it a pretty good deal! The top floor also had a breezy patio, which was perfect for late night drinks (which we obviously had). The hotel is located between Pham Ngu Lao and Bui Vien Street.
– How we traveled –
We grabbed a Mai Linh taxi (green & white) from the airport to District 1, which offers various lodging options. The taxi cost 141,000 dongs; we requested to use the meter prior to departure. Once in the city, we walked everywhere. When it was time to leave, we had the hotel arrange an airport taxi for the same price.
– What we did –
Sights: We dropped our bags at the hotel and headed for Bui Vien Street, where most of the evening festivities happen. Beers in hand, we embraced the hustle and bustle of this unique city. We explored the general area, popping into places for a quick bite or a frosty beverage – and we certainly weren’t the only ones! With a stroll down Bui Vien Street, the energy of Ho Chi Minh is palpable.
We also walked along Pham Ngu Lao Street, then Ham Nghi, until we reached the Saigon River. To be honest (which we always are), the area wasn’t very interesting (and we were hungry) so we made our way back.
Bites: While exploring Ham Nghi street, we came across a nameless, yet crowded, stall for lunch. Squeezing in amongst the locals – who very clearly laughed at our subpar chopstick skills – we feasted on a meat/vegetable/rice plate and soup for 22,000 dongs per person. We also enjoyed Banh Mi Sandwiches, which was located nearby and offered some delicious grub for 15,000 dongs.
We snacked our way down Bui Vien Street, stopping at random vendors for various skewers of meat, among other delights. Although prices are a bit inflated in this touristy part of town, it’s still worth some exploration. We stopped at Casts Hotel Restaurant for a more substantial meal, which entailed sweet and sour pork ribs (85,000 dongs) with shrimp and rice (70,000 dongs). Beers ranged from 15,000-30,000 dongs, depending on type and size.
Drinks: We drank our fair share in Ho Chi Minh. While walking around, we stopped in more than a few K-Circle stores, which are everywhere, for “on the go” beers (9,000-28,000 dongs each). We then parked it at Phong Cho Thue, a bar on Bui Vien Street, which has an enjoyable patio. After a while, things got a little fuzzy – we’re pretty sure beers ranged from 15,000-30,000 dongs… but no promises.