Some must-knows before going to Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam
Ho Chi Minh City, known as Saigon, is one of the economic centers of Vietnam. Saigon is not only the main hub of Vietnam but also a freewheeling, cosmopolitan metropolis.
Before coming to Saigon, either as a tourist or to look for career opportunities such as teaching jobs, you should remember these things below.
Find the airport taxi lane. Once you land, from the luggage carousel to the crowded sidewalk outside there are many people offering you transfer services. You should follow the airport signs and find the representative for taxi firms. You should show them your destination address and expect to pay between US$15 and US$20 to get into the center of District 1 (it is about 20-30 minutes away). Moreover, you should follow your routine through Google App maps.
Don’t deal in dollars. The U.S. dollar is really famous, but now you’ll need to use the local currency – Vietnamese Dong. For currency conversions, heading to the currency exchange shop in town as well as the bank for the best rates. And while your own bank can charge a fee for foreign transactions, there are free-to-use ATMs located all over Saigon. Cashless transactions are getting more popular, but you will not find it convenient for buying something without a wad of Vietnam’s high-tech plastic banknotes.
Don’t avoid District 3. It is less crowded, cheaper with better food than District 1. There are many restaurants on Vo Van Tan street and Tran Quoc Thao street. There are many restaurants serving Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese Cuisine along these streets.
Cut through a hẻm— should go with a map. “Hẻm” means alleyway in Saigon. It can either provide a quick shortcut from one main street to another and you can save time and avoid the crowded traffic on the main streets. However, you have to make sure that you have a local google map on your phone before cutting through a “hẻm”. The best time to explore any “hẻm” is in the morning because you will meet and know more about local culture.
See the city at sunrise. To enjoy the fresh morning air because the Saigoneses rise so early. Even before first light, the public parks will already be alive with keep-fitters, joggers, and games of badminton or foot badminton that are called “đá cầu”. It is really exciting. So, set your alarm, grab some caffeine at the corner of the street and get at least one early-morning wander in.
Buy an iced coffee and a Vietnamese sandwich on the sidewalk. As you know, Vietnam is the second-largest coffee producer in the world now. It’s available everywhere from roadside vendors to five-star restaurants, from alleyways to the main streets. If you are a coffee person, you should drop into any of the craft coffee outlets that have risen up in recent years. The Workshop is already an institution, and the laid-back [a] Cafe has some of the best brews in the city (it also has one of the best Banh Mi street carts on its doorstep each morning). If you are on a tiny plastic chair on a sidewalk, with a “cà phê” in one hand and “bánh mì” in the other hand, you can’t go far wrong. You can try “bánh mì” wherever and you can buy it everywhere in Saigon.
Find a bargain. If you need to buy something, you can go to Tan Dinh Market at Hai Ba Trung street to have lower prices. The Pink Church down the street is also worth a visit.
Stay dry. In Saigon, there are two seasons: Rainy season and sunny season. The rainy season is usually from April to October. So if you are in Saigon at this time, don’t leave home your raincoat. Umbrellas are not matched for a Saigon downpour. Otherwise, the sunny season is usually from November to March. It’s quite crazy if you try to go outside at noon.
Relax! Although Saigon is a big city, it is very safe compared to other parts of the world. You can enjoy the city until it is overnight. Opportunistic bag and camera snatchings are on the rise, however, though mainly in the downtown tourist enclaves surrounding Ben Thanh market. Take your phone out with you—you’re definitely going to need to download some local Google maps—just don’t wave it around. Serious crime is generally a rare event.
Come for the pho. Phở noodle soup has found a global following. Aromatic, spicy, sweet, sour, loaded with ruby-red beef and served with a mountain of garden-fresh accouterments, Vietnam’s national dish is the stuff of beefy dreams. But it’s also a steaming bowl of boiling-hot soup in a tropical country, and possibly served in a restaurant that might not have walls, let alone an AC unit.
Vietnam teaching jobs. Whether you want to stay in this city for a while or for the rest of your life, it is a great place for you to seek a teaching job. When you search for Vietnam teaching jobs on search engines, you may be confused by all the options and also not sure which city you should stay in first when coming to Vietnam, as there are many international schools and English centers in the city. There are many opportunities for you to both explore Saigon and continue on developing your career.
Hope you have a nice trip in Saigon!
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