Our flight took us 8 hours to get from the Middle East to Southeast Asia. Seeing Saigon from the air and circling around the city around the Mekong delta is an amazing sight. We arrived at the Tân Sơn Nhat Airport really, really sleepy. Now, we just had to complete the bureaucratic procedure and get on exploring Saigon! This procedure can take quite a bit of time if there is a crowd in the lines.
We have a Vietnam tourist visa 101 guide for you just here! Also, a thing on notice, we bought SIM cards for 10 USD with a download speed of 1.2 Mbps. After exiting the airport, we got hit with that recognizable scent of a Vietnamese metropolis, a combination of wet, smell from the river, gasoline, and food.
A really unique combination. Really glad to be back in Vietnam! At the first moment we got out of the airport, we were approached by a guy who was claiming to be a Grab driver. He offered us a ride to our accommodation for 500.000 VND which is three times more than the regular Grab drive.
Pro tip: bargain all the time, and don’t make deals from the first offer in Vietnam! Also, Grab doesn't work the best! It is essentially a more popular (and cheaper) alternative to Uber in Vietnam. Combined with the language barrier and shoddy location service, expect to sometimes wait in vain while your Grab driver is wondering where are you. Basically mutual wondering what is going on that costs you both time.
Driving through the city with the real Grab though, I reminisced how much traffic is chaotic, especially here in Saigon. Once you see a guy riding a fridge 5 times bigger than him, vertically, on his motorbike, and actually balancing that stuff; you start to wonder again!
Inside the organized mess.
Once we arrived at our accommodation in District 2, Antonio came inside 15 minutes later. It’s so great to reunite again! And he lost his Ho Chi Minh backpacker beard! AJ, a very energetic and unique friend we met last year, also came sometime later, so it was the crew reunion time in a way!
Tasting the local Pho (noodle soup) and Mi Xao (fried noodles) was really out of this world again. I really missed this fresh food with excellent taste combinations! After getting our food fix, we got some freshly made sugar cane juice and continued on to our rooftop!
This is Pho Bo, a rice noodle soup with beef.
Enjoying Com Ram Bo, a delicious fried rice dish with vegetables and beef meat.
Nuoc Mia, sugar cane juice is being prepared.
The rooftop is bloody amazing to say at least! It has a swimming pool, a few sofas, an impressive view over the Saigon skyline, and a billiard table with no holes. After smoking a doobie or two and just having a fantastic time listening to AJ stand-uppin' in comedy, we fainted in our beds after almost 2 days of not sleeping. Find out more about weed in Saigon!
We woke up at 10 PM and decided to find some food. What I forgot is that the bustling, motorbike-horn spamming vibe in the cities dies off after 10 PM.
After looking all over our neighborhood, we found a decent place to eat Mi Xao for some 60.000 VND (that is a bit over 2 USD).
Almost empty Saigon streets at night.
Mi Xao Bo is a fried rice noodle dish with lots of vegetables and beef meat.
A friendly dog is seemingly part of the staff.
Food usually gets served with soy sauce and chili.
We returned to our rooftop, jumped in the swimming pool, and realized it was already morning! Really surprising to see how the jet lag has kicked in! Anyway, a charming day, and a much better impression of Saigon than last year!
Pro tip: look for local food in Vietnam before 10 PM! Locals start working at 6 AM, and they go to sleep early too!
David is a curious individual and an avid photographer seeking inspiration on a daily basis. After doing a motorbike trip around Vietnam, he found the new frontier for expanding his photography skillset. Also, he learned how to ride a bike for the first time in the chaotic Hanoi traffic. He enjoys Vietnamese food, and always fills up the plates with questionable amounts of chilli. When he travels, he gets in full flow mode, so he makes sure that he travels very often. Still has to learn how to ride a manual bike, and get an actual driving licence! Very shoddy at karaoke.