When I tell people I stayed in Saigon for 5 weeks they look at me like I’m a crazy person. Most travellers will stay just 2-3 days in the city before continuing their tour East to Cambodia or North up the coast towards Nha Trang. Not that I blame them, if I arrived in this city backpacking I probably wouldn’t be too keen to stay much longer:
It’s dangerous (pickpockets, stolen bags)
STOP! These are all assumptions I’ve heard from people staying here for 2-3 days, sometimes I think a place takes time for travellers to get used to how different it is from somewhere travellers are used to.
When visiting developing countries you’ve stepped out of your comfort zones for a reason so embrace the differences and try to look at experiences more positively.
3 few tips for surviving in Saigon:
1. Crossing the road requires a certain Thai-chi slow-paced stride with no sudden movements – watch in amazement as the scooters swerve in and out of pedestrians striding across the road in this time-warped fashion.
2. Take time out from the hustle/bustle/humid filled streets by relaxing in a cafe, Vietnamese coffee is some of the best in the world and take advantage of the a/c
3. Carry as little valuables as possible, buy a watch for $5 if you’re time conscious, don’t leave your iPhone on the table at the restaurant and personally I went back to the old skool method *money in bra* preventing any loss of money, phones, books and most importantly, my bags.