HCMC must be the home of the motor bike, you cannot go anywhere without seeing them and when inside you cannot escape them as you will always hear the traffic noise and continual horn blowing.
However the real concern is that they regularly drive onto the footpath to avoid a red light or traffic snarl, they weave between pedestrians. You must be aware that this will happen.
In the middle of this photo you will see a lady on a push bike riding sideways through the traffic.
Just that. The town is full of people who will see you coming and be long gone before you realize you are missing anything. Hotels do not allow prostitutes into their facilities because of this, even the small ones.
There are a lot of people who have to steal to make ends meet, and they do.
Just keep your eyes peeled and stay within earshot of other tourists.
Beware of taxi drivers who don't turn their meter on..we went to the War Museum after asking how much but to return with a different driver it was twice as much...no choice but to go or else stand in the heat and wait for another one.
I understand from a Vietnamese local that there are "intelligence officers" in most of the tourist areas. Rumour has it, the short message services ("sms") which we frequently used to communicate by handphones (cell phones) are monitored. Ahh! the "funny feeling" esp being this country.
Just be careful what you send or say. Someone may be hearing and watching you!!!
This is one of the charities I strongly support, The illegal trading in animals is something that has to be dealt with, these guys are doing a great job. Pictured here are two Orangutans that were captured in a raid on a private zoo here, that's about 4,000km away from their natural home, both have now been repatriated to Borneo by W.A.R and the Vietnam Forestry Protection Department.
Please think carefully when in local "game" restaurants, often you can be offered "exotic" dishes, these are wild animals and often are on the danger list. Bear bile is still farmed here, with the bears in horriffic conditions, please don't encourage this by buying it.
Writing this one as I saw it happen yet again. If, for some reason, you get into an arguement with a Vietnamese guy in a bar or nightclub, over prehaps the pool table cue, just because you are bigger than him and can easily beat the hell out of him DON'T. What will probably happen, as did last night, is: Big foreigner gets into arguement with smaller Vietnamese guy, it gets heated, swearing starts, foreigner pushes Vietnamese, Vietnamese goes for the foreigner, foreigner smacks him one, Vietnamese retreats with bloody nose. Then about ten minutes later he comes back with his friends (or sometimes waits outside) and they all set on him.
It is down to the loss of face, so best thing to do is back of, it's their country and we are guests.
You can spend US dollar in every merchants in vietnam, but beware that it is not recommended to have the change back in US dollar note. My friend bought a bag in Ben Thanh market by spending US dollar, she expected the get the change back in US dollar. The trader gave her 3 pieces of very old US$ 10 note, and we were convienced that the note is acceptable to every merchants. When she tried to spend the U$ 30 (the old note), no merchant want to accept it even money changer. We were given the reason of rejecting the note was it's old. She had begged the front desk of the hotel to change for her as the lobby assistant initially refused to accept the notes due to same reason. Suggest if you want to spend USD, better take the change in local currency in order to avoid fake note or any inconvenience like our case.
Don't do it! We took the kids to the zoo - as you do - and we were all a bit mortified by the quality of the environment and the state of many of the animals. We saw the saddest, skinniest lion you could ever hope to see - and the monkeys were all a bit tragic - the general care and condition of the place and the animals was a bit upsetting in places - especially the lion.
The elephants were doing OK - lots of visitors up close and feeding them - so it wasn't all bad. But, in general, not a highly recommended spot.
I just wanted to come home to Australia and contact our intrepid animal loving protector and crocodile hunter, Steve Irwin, and get him onto the cause!
My friend had forgotten her drivers licence at home, so her motorbike was impounded and i had to ride the policeman/s bike to the station while she went home to get the licence. there are very strict if you break a rule! while waiting for her, i was not spoken to, not offered the least of the civilities and I realized that while shopping centres are springing up, these guys are the old communist types.. just like in Cuba. not helpful or pleasant ..but eager to exercise their power
Something that became apparent after a couple of nights in saigon is that a lot of the hotels around the backpacker area shut up shop (literally) at around midnight. When you inevitably lose any sense of time in one of the many bars, don't be surprised to step outside and not be able to see your hotel anywhere!
A knock on the shutters always woke up whoever was on night duty, it always felt quite rude though!
I'd been warned before I left to always be careful of buying film in Vietnam. It's a lot cheaper buying film (Kodak seems to be the most widely available) than at home, but it often sits in stalls where it is exposed to heat and sunlight. It might cost a little bit more, but I'd recommend buying your film from a camera shop (it's still cheap) and always check the expiry date before paying. There are plenty of good camera shops around Dong Khoi in HCMC and Hoam Kiem Lake in Hanoi.
This is probably a pretty obvious thing to say - don't drink the tap water. Bottled water is cheap and most travellers know the water isn't safe. We thought we were being really good when we went to a restaurant on the first night - we didn't get ice in our drinks or anything. What we didn't think of, however, is that the fresh mango juice we ordered had water added. The next morning I was more violently ill than I've ever been in my life.
I'd also recommend keeping away from fresh salad washed in the water and similar, at least until you've had a bit of time to get used to the food.
Brace yourself. It took me 45 minutes to clear customs to enter Vietnam. There was only a full queue of 6 persons ahead of me. You have to give the Vietnamese authorities full points for thoroughness. Each counter is manned by 2 officers. The prodecures go something like this: One officer will take a look at one page of your passport, pass it to the 2nd officer to take a look, who will then pass it back to the 1st officer...for every page they deemed important to check. All the while casting glances at you and the occasional scowl. And PRAY do write down the name and address of your lodging (if you had booked ahead) - it just bogged down the queue again if you don't as the officers are very particular about knowing where you will be. So brace yourself for a long wait, just in case....
Watch out! The locals, especially the guys, just "do it" anywhere, anyplace. Be prepared to see the sights of guys facing walls and hedges, doing the deed. I had seen one guy doing his deed next to a traffic pole at a busy traffic junction in HCMC, oblivious to the passing human traffic.
Traffic in vietnam has the highest mortality rate of any other country in the world and you can easily see why when you see the hundreds of motorbikes zooming past you. Not even traffic lights can stop these babies! Trick is to just walk out into the road and ignore the traffic if you want to cross. Ignore all the rules you were taught about looking left and right... just plough through! They'll drive around you!
All rooms offer pool of City views with full luxury amenities. As true sense 5- Star hotel, it is...more
The Caravelle was opened to the public on Christmas Eve 1959 originally as a ten storey hotel. ...more
I liked the location of Bich Duyen because it was located along a quiet side street. It was also...more