So it’s been just over a month since we set up base and started living in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). I’ll admit, at first it was challenging and I wasn’t too sure whether we had made the right choice by committing to stay 3 months here. However, after one month of living here – that thought is well and truly dead. I’m happy we decided to call Ho Chi Minh City home.
What I Love About Ho Chi Minh City
Find me a city with a great local market and I’m halfway to being won over. Ho Chi Minh City has some great markets and luckily for us there is a market just 200 metres away from our apartment. The fresh produce here is amazing. Fruit, vegetables, grains, tofu, meat. My favourite area is the seafood section where you can purchase eels, mussels, scallops, squid, prawns and all kinds of fish imaginable. The seafood is that fresh that a lot of it is still moving when you buy it.
This city is a coffee lover’s paradise – which is absolutely perfect for addicts like us. Every street, alley and corner there is a coffee shop. You have the big chains like Trung Nguyen (the Starbucks of Vietnam), hip and trendy cafes that wouldn’t look out of place in Paris, and tiny local cafes where the seating is a stool on the sidewalk.
Vietnamese food is considered to be one of the best in the world and after only one month here, I can see why. Vietnamese dishes consist of a lot of fresh ingredients like vegetables, herbs and spices. There’s not much oil and a lot of the meat is grilled or boiled keeping the food healthy. And finally, what makes the Saigon food scene even better is that you can get a lot of it delivered to your door. Dangerously good!
Wherever we go it’s a warm welcome and smiles all around. I am constantly blown away with how nice the Vietnamese are.
Riding a Scooter
If there is one word to describe riding a bike in Saigon, it’s… mental. You really are taking a risk every time you jump on your bike here. But, I absolutely love it! Yes the traffic is heavy, disorderly and polluted, but for me it really is the best way to see the city.
What I Hate About Ho Chi Minh City
Any city with a population of over 8 million is going to have a pollution problem and Ho Chi Minh City is no different. Riding a bike makes it even worse. Sore throats and eyes are common if you don’t wear the right protection while driving. Since living in Saigon, I have developed a bit of a habit of scrubbing my face thoroughly every night to remove the griminess from the pollution.
Crazy Drivers on the Road
One of my biggest hates about Ho Chi Minh City is the lack of patience and common sense with drivers on the road. Sure Saigon roads are chaotic and most of the time, it seems like there are no rules; but some people drive like they have a death wish
The heat in Ho Chi Minh City can be brutal. Most days are well above 30 with high humidity. That’s fine if you have a beach or lake to cool off at. But here it’s just concrete, traffic and People…and lots of it.We try to avoid going out during the middle day as much as possible. The good thing is that Saigon has plenty of good cafes and restaurants with air con to escape from the heat.
Thieves and Scams
Unfortunately Ho Chi Minh City is well known for it thieves and scams targeting tourists and foreigners. Ok so there you have it, the things that I love and hate about Ho Chi Minh City. As you can see there are so many great things about living in Ho Chi Minh City. That’s because this city really is amazing. Yes there are a few negatives, but what city doesn’t have it’s flaws? It definitely hasn’t put us off from living here.
Have you visited Ho Chi Minh City before? What things do you love or hate about the city. Let us know in the comments below.