Reasons to visit Ho Chi Minh City

Scooter tour

From hidden riverside bars and busy local markets to small yet lovely restaurants offering traditional dishes, Ho Chi Minh City, previously known as Saigon, definitely pulsates with energy. Let’s discover some reasons to visit this fascinating city! cruises from saigon to phnom penh

Cheap eats

Food in Saigon is reasonable

Food in Saigon is reasonable -source: internet

Pork rolls and pho (traditional Vietnamese noodle soup) are what make Ho Chi Minh City (also still called Saigon) famous. These food stalls and shops named after family members, such as “Aunty” or “Chi” (meaning sister) followed by a number indicating their order in their family and, finally, their name, are often the best places. You cannot beat family-run outfits for the real deal although many chains, such as Pho 2000 and Pho24 do big business these days.

Late-night pedicure/spa

Authentic Spa

Authentic Spa -source: internet

You can find pedicure and manicure shops almost everywhere, especially around the Pham Ngu Lao area, and most them are open until late into the night. Happily, some will even offer you a massage or serve a glass of wine, and it will probably cost you less than half what it would back home for a basic treatment (for a set, expect to pay about $6). Try Spa Authentic or My Spa if you are looking to take the pampering up a notch.

Scooter tours

Scooter tour

Scooter tour -source: internet

An exhilarating way to get a feel for a city with nearly 5 million motorbikes is exploring the streets from the back seat of a Vespa. Let’s jump on an organized tour with an emphasis on nightlife, food, unusual attractions or iconic sights, where a guide can help you to explore some of the best hot spots, in order to get your orientation fast. Note that in Vietnam, motorbike helmets are absolutely compulsory.

Fresh beer

Fresh beer

Fresh beer -source: internet

Fresh beer, or “bia hoi”, which can be found on most street corners and in ramshackle bars, is the answer of Vietnam to microbrewing. Fresh beer, which was first introduced by the Czechs, is free of preservatives and, hence, best instantly gulped down. Even though, the standard is seriously variable, it definitely will not hit your wallet (for a glass of beer, expect to pay about 35¢ to 40¢), so part of the fun is trial and error. To find out the best places to sample fresh beer, look out for the ubiquitous hand-scrawled signs of Bia Hoi. Vietnam travel tours

Daring food

Daring food in Saigon

Daring food in Saigon -source: internet

Vietnam is synonymous with cuisine to put hairs on your chest: deep-fried snake dishes, fermented scorpion wine and fertilized duck eggs. These restaurants prone to killing the snake in front of you (some diners like to feast on the still-beating heart) are not excellent choices. Look out for glass bottles of snake wine known as “ruou thuoc” at most markets or have reputable hotels point you in the direction of an awesome restaurant with such creatures on the menu. There is no need to worry as the toxic is neutralized by the ethanol.

Tailored clothing

Tailored clothing

Tailored clothing -source: internet

Ho Chi Minh City is another safe bet while Hoi An, the World Heritage-listed riverside town, located about 865 kilometers north of Saigon, remains the top spot for quality tailoring in Vietnam. Go well prepared, take magazine cutouts and bring clothing you want to replicate, for the best results. Also, have a set budget in mind to make it easy to get talked into a completely new wardrobe. Expect several days for the essential adjustments. Visit Mi Silk, 181 Dong Khoi, District 1 for high-end tailoring.

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