Ho Chi Minh City, formerly named Saigon (and still widely referred to that way) is the largest city in Vietnam. Saigon was once the capital of the French colony of Cochinchina and a strong french influence still exists today. The metropolitan area has a population of more than 9 million people and is the most populated city in Vietnam.
Couchsurfing in Saigon
I went Couchsurfing in Ho Chi Minh City which was the first day of my 7 day adventure in Vietnam. I was fortunate to be Liêm and his wife in their home about 30 minutes outside of the city center. Liêm was kind enough to come to the airport to pick me up on his motorcycle. Unfortunately, I was not able to find him and had quite a bit of trouble getting to him as I could not get my cell phone to work in Vietnam. Ultimately I had to buy a burner phone, was able to contact him and get to his home by taxi.
24 Hour Tour of Ho Chi Minh City
Liêm had another couchsurfing guest, a young man from France named Colin. Liêm kindly organized a long motorbike tour around Saigon for the two of us. We spent hours riding through INSANE traffic and were able to see all of the highlights quickly and up close. It is an amazing way to see the city if you are not afraid of being on a motorbike. It is also really cheap. However, you really need someone that speaks Vietnamese to explain where to go to the motorbike driver. The second day Colin and I took the city bus into the city to see Independence Palace. Then it was off to Da Nang!
Vietnam – 7 Cities in 7 Days
This was the first part of an ambitious plan to see as much of Vietnam as possible. My plans worked out fine and I hit every location. If time and money were no object, I think a month might be more reasonable! I cover 2, 3, and 4 in the next blog post “Travelling Vietnam’s Central Coast.”
- Ho Chi Minh City
- Da Nang
- Hoi An
- Halong Bay