You probably landed here because you are planning to visit Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam in the near future. Or you are already in Vietnam and feeling lost.

Vietnam is a beautiful country and Vietnamese are one of the most friendly and welcoming people I have ever encountered. And Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) is most likely the first city where you will land first before heading out to other parts of the country.

However, HCMC can be a big nasty city, just like any other cities, for some. Cultural shocks will most likely erode your good experience with the country.

I hope the series of guides I wrote will be able to help you enjoy the country, and maybe return again in the future. And nope, I am not a Vietnamese if you are wondering.


What to pack?
Where to stay?
Upon arrival at the airport
How to take a taxi from the airport
What to expect?
How to get around?
Which taxi to avoid?
Danger and personal safety
The Vietnamese Dong
Best place to change money

How to Survive Saigon!

A little about myself and how this will help you, as a tourist in Vietnam or as an expatriate working in Vietnam, particularly in Ho Chi Minh City.

I first travel to Vietnam in 2007 and I spent, on and off, about 6 years living and working in Saigon (the old name for Ho Chi Minh City). I spent 3 years working in a Vietnamese firm where everyone converse in Vietnamese, and I lived in a Hem (Vietnamese alley quarter) where I was the only non-Vietnamese permanent resident.

I gained great cultural insight and enough experiences to fill my entire lifetime by living as one of them instead of just socialising within the expats community.

My wife is Vietnamese and I still travel back to Vietnam a few times a year. I speak intermediate Vietnamese which is considered quite impressive to the Vietnamese because you do not get many outsider who can engage in a conversation in Vietnamese.

Vietnam is a beautiful country with really friendly and honest people you can find in Asia. But language, culture, crime and greed can make this country a bad experience if you are unprepared for it.

I hope everyone can benefits from my experience and have a great stay while in Vietnam.

NEXT: Preparing before you depart for HCMC.

saigon view

Where to Stay in Ho Chi Minh City/Saigon

Location dictates the prices of hotels. In HCMC most of the hotels concentrate in District 1. In HCMC the city ...
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HCMC – How to clear the airport and arrive safely

At the Airport The international airport of HCMC (Ho Chi Minh City) is Ton Son Nhat International Airport. It was ...
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Vietnam – What to Expect As a Tourist

No matter where you are from, Europe, America, or even Asia, cultural shocks will definitely hit you even before arrival. Climate ...
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What to Pack For Ho Chi Minh City

I am sure there must be one thousand questions in your head right after booking your flight. The very first ...
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How to Get Around Saigon – Taxi/Xe Om

There is nothing more frustrating than trying to tell a taxi driver where you want to go in Saigon. Vietnamese ...
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How to take a taxi from Tan Son Nhat Airport

Getting a taxi can be as easy as 1, 2, 3 or a nightmare for some. In Tan Son Nhat ...
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Best Place to change money in Ho Chi Minh City

Updated 6 April 2018. If you are looking for the locations that offers the highest exchange rate, please scroll down ...
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How to survive Saigon/HCMC – Tourists Survival Guide Part I

Personal Safety Petty crime It is usually more dangerous in the cities than then smaller towns. In smaller cities and ...
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