People, Ho Chi Minh City

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    Children transportation

    by ValbyDK Updated Mar 3, 2013

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    Children transportation

    During my stay in Ho Chi Minh City, I noticed that many motorcycles had an extra seat for small children. Actually, it was a wooden chair placed between the driver and the handle bars.

    I don’t know if the chair is special designed for this purpose?

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    CYCLO RIDES

    by alyf1961 Written Oct 17, 2012

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    Cyclo rides are available from the streets of Ho Chi Minh around the attractions. We didn't go on one whilst we were in Saigon but I do know they were quite cheap and you agree the price with the rider before your experience. We did go on a cyclo in Phnom Penh and it was a wonderful experience.
    We saw this bride and groom enjoying their wedding day whilst we were there.

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    Don't Touch the Head!

    by machomikemd Updated Jun 16, 2012

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    In Buddhist Countries, the head is the most important part of the body so that no one is allowed to touch the head. And since vietnam is a majority buddhist country altough officially atheist, they strictly follow this tradition. Again, never touch anyone on the head as this would be considered as a personal insult to the individual and perhaps even to his ancestors. Many Vietnamese believe the spirit resides there. Hence, the belief that if a person is beheaded, his spirit will roam forever without finding a resting place. Also, don’t touch anyone on the shoulder. Some people believe that a genie resides there and it is undesirable to disturb him. If you mistakenly touch one shoulder, you must also touch the other shoulder and this helps offset the bad luck.

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    Ask permission First!

    by machomikemd Updated Jun 15, 2012

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    the Vietnamese are a polite people and these must be reciprocated as a rule as you don;t want them to think that tourists are rude. Out of politeness, always ask permission before taking photos of people. The same rule of thumb also applies to photos taken in places of worship. Permission will almost always be granted as long as you are not in an "in your face" manner of taking pictures or ask them to pose in obnoxious poses.

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    Vietnamese Smile

    by machomikemd Updated Jun 13, 2012

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    The smile of a Vietnamese can be very confusing in Vietnam to an outsider and cause misunderstandings. This is a common occurence in many asian countries like in china or indonesia or malaysia or the philippines, a smile can mean sorrow, worry, or embarrassment. In Vietnam, it may indicate a polite, but perhaps skeptical reaction to something, compliance or toleration of a blunder or misunderstanding, or on occasion represents submission to judgment that may be wrong or unfair. This is particularly true if the one making the judgment is at a superior level and perhaps has lost his temper. Asians do not like to be frank and "saving face" is a trait.

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    Beggars!

    by machomikemd Updated Jun 13, 2012

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    Be very discrete about giving anything to beggars frequently encountered in Ho Chi Minh City. They are a lot of beggars roaming around and they tend to congregate to you if you give alms to one and the others swarms on you like hornets. If anyone is seen giving handouts to a beggar, he or she may end up being pursued by a mob of other beggars. This does not help create a good image for foreigners; it gives them instead the reputation of being easy to hit up for money and there are vietnamese police around that arrest these beggars so it is better not to give them money.

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    Different Perspective of Vietnam War

    by machomikemd Updated Jun 13, 2012

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    The immediate image in the minds of most people at the mention of Vietnam is that of the war fought against the United States some twenty years ago. Most people think of the country only in terms of the American conflict in Indochina. The war ended more than 30 years ago, and today, despite lingering signs of past American involvement, the situation in Vietnam is markedly different. People have finally begun to look at the country from another perspective, now that travelers and tourists from the West are being welcomed into what was once a forbidden country. It may take a bit more effort and tenacity to plan an excursion into Vietnam than it would for another Southeast Asian country, but Vietnam has much to offer in terms of culture and sights. hence see all my Sai Gon Tips!

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  • Beggar kids annoying you while eating

    by chunk38 Written Dec 7, 2011

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    If you are eating at a semi-outdoor /streetside place and you are set upon by beggar children, its best not to give them anything. If you do, it can start a frenzy and cause trouble for the proprietor. Once I saw the owner smack the kids and lock one in a closet because of them annoying the customers.

    WAIT until you are finished and you can give them your change as you leave the restaurant. Everyone will be better off that way.

    You can tell the legitimately poor kids because they tend to have really dark dirty skin and dirty clothes

    Others may be just oppportunistic, some are sent out to beg by their lazy parents. Don't beleive every sad story of misfortune you hear.

    Wait

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    Open-up

    by elPierro Written Nov 28, 2010

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    Vietnamese people are very open and curious. So don't be surprised if they ask direct questions. They can easily tell you "you are fat" or "you are tall" or "you are so white". That's direct.. and all 3 are compliments, because Vietnemese people like tall, white fat people. It's this sign that you are not poor.

    "Thank you" will suffice :)

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    Mounted Police

    by kokoryko Written Nov 17, 2008

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    The mounts and their rides at the back
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    I just like to look around when I walk in a city, and make (silly and stupid, I admit!) links between the things or people I observe, the general atmosphere, what I have see elsewhere. . . . Saigon is a capital city for bikes and bicycles, and of course, the local police rides bikes too; they have big machines and looking closely at the guys and their machines I thought the streets of Saigon and surroundings must not be very good, and the administration takes care of the bodies of the mounted police; look (first picture), they all are wearing corsets, as they are probably shaken a lot when they bike at high speed. . . the corsets give them a special elegance. . . . They have an exhausting job, and here (picture 2) they have a rest.
    Ah! But the corsets are only for the elite troops apparently; here (picture 3) the police have smaller bikes, small helmets, and do not have corsets. . . . Only silly remarks. . .

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    Goods transportation on bikes and rickshaws.

    by kokoryko Written Nov 17, 2008

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    VROOOOMMMM   !
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    The bike is the king of the streets in Saigon, at least for some time, before they will be pushed away by the growing population of cars which just will make the streets more crowded and jammed!
    The little people of Saigon have sometimes only a bike as their belonging, and this bike must be very strong and well maintained; not only are the bikes used to transport themselves, but also for all sorts of goods. In Saigon, you may see many of these bikes, laden with heavy or voluminous things, and the foreign visitor just opens widely his eyes, . . . and tries to make some pictures.
    People fit out their bike to transport flowers and plants, and they even speed! (first picture), other construct their rickshaws in order, not only to transport, but also to display their goods (picture 2), like these bananas. Some have rear-view mirrors ( picture 3), but I never have seen that many on a bike. . . . Well, if you need one you have choice!
    This lady, on picture 4 has not an electrical bike, despite the big battery you see on the luggage carrier; the battery is for energy for moving the toysshe transports and for playing music! And if you are in the mood for some fresh coconut water, stop a guy like this one (picture 5), and he will serve you with great pleasure. All sorts of goods are transported on bikes in Saigon. . . .

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    Goods transportation on bikes and rickshaws.

    by kokoryko Written Nov 17, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Vroooommm!
    4 more images

    The bike is the king of the streets in Saigon, at least for some time, before they will be pushed away by the growing population of cars which just will make the streets more crowded and jammed!
    The little people of Saigon have sometimes only a bike as their belonging, and this bike must be very strong and well maintained; not only are the bikes used to transport themselves, but also for all sorts of goods. In Saigon, you may see many of these bikes, laden with heavy or voluminous things, and the foreign visitor just opens widely his eyes, . . . and tries to make some pictures.
    People fit out their bike to transport flowers and plants, and they even speed! (first picture), other construct their rickshaws in order, not only to transport, but also to display their goods (picture 2), like these bananas. Some have rear-view mirrors ( picture 3), but I never have seen that many on a bike. . . . Well, if you need one you have choice!
    This lady, on picture 4 has not an electrical bike, despite the big battery you see on the luggage carrier; the battery is for energy for moving the toysshe transports and for playing music! And if you are in the mood for some fresh coconut water, stop a guy like this one (picture 5), and he will serve you with great pleasure. All sorts of goods are transported on bikes in Saigon. . . .

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    The biker ladies

    by kokoryko Written Nov 17, 2008

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    A pink one . . .
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    You have noticed on photographs in other tips that all motor bikers are wearing helmets (By law, since Dec. 14th 2007), and they are very disciplined. If you have a close look, you will notice that many ladies wear also long gloves, covering their arms; it is a protection against sun, mainly, as like in many Asian countries, having a fair skin is a beauty criterion; many young ladies wear these gloves when they bike in the polluted streets, and even when there is no sun, that may protect against dust, dirt,. . . . . They have sometimes a strange look; and not only motor bikers wear these protections, also pedalling bikers wear this accessory (picture 5). I just love to look and discover all sorts of people in the streets, and you may too have lots of amazement subjects with only these little common things here.

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    Greeting People!

    by machomikemd Written Oct 12, 2007

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    Most of the Vietnamese in urban areas no longer bow when they meet each other. In formal gatherings, at religious place, and sometimes in the country areas, one may see the people clasp their hands together in a prayer-like gesture and bow slightly. This is not practiced to any extent in everyday life in Vietnam as it is in neighboring Thailand.

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    Hand Shake

    by machomikemd Written Oct 12, 2007

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    The custom of handshaking, formerly considered barbaric to the Vietnamese, is now achieving popularity due to the Western influence in the country. Men will generally shake hands and say the equivalent of "how are you" and tip their hats when greeting people.

    Women, especially those in the countryside, still shy away from shaking hands, especially with men from their own country. It is best not to offer to shake hands with a woman unless she offers her hand first.

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