Saigon

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File:SaigonCollage.jpg



Saigon, officially Ho Chi Minh City, is the most populated and an important economic, cultural and educational center of Vietnam.

Unofficially, the city is still called Saigon; officially, “Saigon” refers only to District 1. Southerners certainly prefer the name Saigon, but if you have to deal with government officials it is best to use Ho Chi Minh City.

Couch Surfing meetings

Ponctual meetings

Events are often happening on the CS group for the city.

Regular meetings

There's regular monthly meetings:

1st friday of the month: Ice cream buffet, district 1, crowded

more to come?

Meetings templates

Information needed to create an event for monthly meeting:

Monthly Buffet at Fanny's Ice-Cream Parlour

Every month the delicious Fanny's Ice Cream Parlour has an all you can eat buffet.

With flavours from passionfruit to cinnamon, chilli chocolate to mango, there's ice-cream for everyone! Yet they also have a great fruit salad and other sides and toppings such as nuts, cookies, pancakes, chocolate fudge sauce... and free water or juice to wash it all down.

CS base camp: we'll (hopefully) grab a table inside - as a diverse group, we should be easy to spot!

The first couple of hours are very busy but then it quietens down. There may be the option of relaxing somewhere else afterwards with a beer or coffee as we digest all that ice-cream!

--- The website www.fanny.com.vn says: "Have you ever enjoyed an ice cream buffet or even thought about such an idea? Why not you join us for a tasty ice cream buffet on the first Friday of every month, from 6.30pm - 11.00pm. Enjoy as much as you can! With only VND 110.000/ticket."

Ton That Thiep Street is between Pasteur and Nguyen Hue in District 1. (near Sunwah Tower)

location map on: http://www.fanny.com.vn/en/parlors/hmc/tonthatthiep.html


ACCOMMODATION

Budget

Pham Ngu Lao - the backpacker's area has plenty of cheap nice options from ~$8 upwards. The Lonely Planet guidebook has most of the details, - see their Thorntree forum as well. A map of the area is available at [1] choose the one of Pham Ngu Lao.

Unless it is peak season, October to March, there is probably no need to book. Even in peak season you can probably take your chances.

Not much else to say about this topic, things change fast, there are so MANY good places, the Lonely Planet and other guidebooks have all the local details.

Please feel free to add useful things to this wiki :-)

A semi random selection of budget places is below:

  • Madam Cuc's hotels: Nice budget hotel in the backpacker area, $18-30 www.madamcuchotels.com

Madam runs a good ship. She has three hotels 1) 64 Bui Vien Street Q1 Pham Ngu Lao (Hotel 64) 2) 127 Cong Quynh Q1 Pham Ngu Lao (Hotel 127) 3) 184 Cong Quynh Q1 Pham Ngu Lao (Hotel 184) + a new one somewhere else.

  • N. Dung at 185/6 Pham Ngu Lao (above Viet Viet travel.) It's nice, clean, and quite, with cable and decent wifi. Rooms on the sixth floor are $10

DORMS

  • Saigon Backpackers' Hostel. 373/20 Pham Ngu Lao, District 1.
  • Nga Hoang Hotel has dorms for $5-$6 where you can meet a lot of backpackers

269/19 de tham st, pham ngu lao ward, district 1, ho chi minh. ph:+848 39203356

Budget plus

  • The area around the North of the Ben Thanh Market and right up to the Presidential/Reunification Palace, has plenty of choice from around $20+ / night - all the way up to 5 star. Most hotels are in Ly Tu Trong Street & Le Thanh Ton Street, directly north of Ben Thanh Market where they cross - map of area [2].

Another nice one in the Budget++ area is the Thanh Hung Hotel, it's hidden, quieter, clean, family run, safe and small. Some pictures of map and rooms here [3] approx 300,000Don/night/room (larger room, 2011).

  • Elios Hotel [4], 233 Pham Ngu Lao St., District 1. Medium level 3 star, but still in backpacker area, $55-80

A quick list of websites for hostels of all prices anywhere in the world including of course HCMC / Saigon.

- http://www.hostelworld.com  one of the big sites, has a good feedback system, with some very blunt comments. good!
- http://www.hostels.com  another biggy.
- http://http://www.travellerspoint.com/accommodation.cfm  has forums, blogs, travel tips, photos.
- http://www.hostelbookers.com   
- http://www.hostelZ.com  not the same as above, note the 'z' ,  claims to have reviews of all hostels.  Mainly another booking site.
- http://www.hostelsweb.com specializes in YOUTH HOSTELS but have a lot of cheap hostels in  a kind of "code sharing system" as well. 

The above comes from [5].

For places to live longer term see the heading Finding a place to live: further down on this page [6].

ATTRACTIONS

Inbound

Historical buildings

  • Reunification Palace, 135 Nam Kỳ Khởi Nghĩa St., District 1. Open daily 7:30AM-11:00AM, 1PM-4PM. Also known as Independence Palace, it was the home and workplace of the President of South Vietnam during the Vietnam War. This was the site of the end of the Vietnam War during the Fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975, when a North Vietnamese Army tank crashed through its gates. Entrance fare : 30,000 VND. The building has 4 floors and one bunker. Free tour guides speaking English, Vietnamese, French and Chinese are available at the main entrance. However, people can also walk around by themselves.
  • War Remnants Museum. 28 Võ Văn Tần St., District 1. Open daily 7:30AM-12PM, 1:30PM-5PM. Features a gallery of war crimes and the destruction of Agent Orange/Dioxin in Vietnam War. Displays American weapons, tanks and helicopters.
  • Saigon Central Post Office is a post office in the downtown Ho Chi Minh City, near Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica, the city's main church. The building was constructed when Vietnam was part of French Indochina in the early 20th century. It has a Gothic architectural style. It was designed and constructed by the famous architect Gustave Eiffel in harmony with the surrounding area.
  • City Hall and Uncle Ho Statue on one end of Nguyen Hue Street. Current the mayor's hall of Ho Chi Minh City. A must-see place for most people.
  • Opera House, known as Nhà hát Lớn in Vietnamese, literally Grand Theatre. Built in 1897 by French architect Ferret Eugène, the 800-seat building was used as the home of the Lower House assembly of South Vietnam after 1956. It was not until 1975 that it was again used as a theatre, and restored in 1995.
  • Ho Chi Minh Museum - Nhà Rồng Harbour, located at No 1, Nguyễn Tất Thành St., District 4. Formerly the representative office of the French Maritime Transport Company, the building was constructed in 1862 and used as the residence for the general manager as well as the place for selling boat tickets. It has been called Nha Rong (The Dragon House) because there are two statues of dragons on its roof. The building and the harbour are well-known as the point where Hồ Chí Minh (then called Văn Ba) boarded the ship "La Touche Tréville Admiral" for Europe and the West, from where he worked and found the revolutionary way to liberate Vietnam, which was a French colony. The building is now a branch of Ho Chi Minh Museum, displaying pictures and photos of Ho Chi Minh and his revolutionary life.

Religious buildings

  • Vinh Nghiem Pagoda (Vietnamese : Chùa Vĩnh Nghiêm literally Ever Solemn), 330 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia St., District 3. Completed with aid from the Japan-Vietnam Friendship Association in 1971, this is, by some measures, the largest pagoda in the city. This pagoda houses and worship of one buddha and two bodhisattvas: Gautama Buddha, Manjusri, Samantabhadra.
  • Bodhisattva Thich Quang Duc Memorial, located at the intersection of Cach Mang Thang Tam and Nguyen Dinh Chieu Streets. The 6.3m-tall bronze sculpture depicting Bodhisattva Thich Quang Duc sitting inside a heart-shaped flame is placed at a busy area of nearly 2,000 square meters, where the Most Venerable Thich Quang Duc committed self-immolation on June 11, 1963, at the age of 66.

The model of the statue was selected from the dozen entries in a designing competition aiming to build a statue for comemorating Bodhisattva Thich Quang Duc who burned himself to death at the intersection in 1963 to protest against the South Vietnamese regime’s oppression of Buddhists.

  • Saigon Notre Dame Basilica, officially Basilica of Our Lady of The Immaculate Conception. Established by French colonists, the cathedral was constructed between 1863 and 1880. It has two bell towers, reaching a height of 58 meters (190 feet). English mass at 9:30AM every Sunday.
  • Huyện Sỹ Church
  • Tân Định Church, 289 Hai Bà Trưng St., District 3. Built by the French colonists in early 20th century, the church architecture features Roman style. This the second largest church in Saigon after Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral.
  • Evangelical Church of Saigon, 155 Trần Hưng Đạo St., District 1. It is also the seat of Southern Evangelical Church of Vietnam and Korean Church of Saigon.
  • Central Mosque, officially Masjid Jamia al-Muslimin, 66 Đông Du St., District 1 (next to Sheraton Hotel). Open daily 8AM-8PM. Dress long sleve shirts and trousers, and leave you shoes before entering the building.
  • Masjid Jamial Al Islamiyah, 459B Trần Hưng Đạo. Built in 1950.
  • Sri Mariamman Temple, Trương Định St., District 1.
  • Subramaniam Swampy Temple, 98 Nam Kỳ Khởi Nghĩa St., District 1.
  • Sri Thendayyutthapani Temple, 66 Tôn Thất Thiệp St., District 1.

Parks

  • April 30 Park (Vietnamese : Công viên 30 tháng 4), named after April 30th, 1975, the day when Saigon was captured by the liberation army which toppled the South Vietnamese government. Located in front of Reunification Palace, and just behind Notre Dame Basilica, the park attracts a lot of visitors, usually young people who come for frequent gatherings and drinking coffee served by street side services.
  • September 23 Park (Vietnamese : Công viên 23 tháng 9), located just in front of Bến Thành Market. Previous site of Saigon (Old) Railway Station, the land was cleared and reestablished as a park after Saigon Railway Station moved to its present site at Hòa Hưng Station (located at the end of Nguyễn Thông St., District 3). The park is very long, and bordered by Phạm Ngũ Lão Street on the south, and by Lê Lai Street on the north. Section A of the park is more densely covered with trees, while the further section B has an underground parking area for motorbikes, plus a circus at the western end near Thái Bình Market.
  • Tao Đàn Park, behind the Reunification Palace, on Nguyễn Thị Minh Khai St. and Trương Định St. Well-known by morning exercisers and scout groups who often gather on Sunday morning. The park also hosts a Hùng King Temple, which is dedicated to legendary kings of Vietnamese civilization.
  • Đầm Sen Cultural Park[7] is an amusement park located at 03 Hòa Bình St., District 11.
  • Suối Tiên Amusement Park[8], located on the highway towards Biên Hòa city, in District 9. The park includes several entertainment areas. The landscaping and attractions in the park illustrate Vietnam's history and legends, such as Âu Cơ and Lạc Long Quân as well as the Battle of Sơn Tinh and Thủy Tinh (The Mountain God and The River God). An artificial seawater pool is located in the park for sea-bathers. Amongst other attractions here, tourists will find a dinosaur garden and the Tien Dong beach.

Places in the city itself:


List of places of interest in saigon http://travelvietnaminfo.com/what-to-see-and-do-in-ho-chi-minh-saigon/
Lots of info on places in Saigon with maps and GPS coordinates http://vn.pagenation.com/sgn/Main_Page Photos at the bottom of the page.

Water puppet theater:

Puppet show in Historical Museum of Vietnam (2 Nguyen Binh Khiem Str.) is relly interesting and lovely. The price is cheap, just 2USD/show. From Monday to Saturday: 8am-11am, 1.30pm-4.00pm. Sunday and Momorial Days: 8.30am-4pm. Each show lasts 20mins. Not far from Noth Dame Cathedral, 20mins walk.

at the Golden Dragon Water Puppetry Theatre, the quality of the show is much more better and professional. so the price is higher, about 4USD. Each show lasts 50 mins. Time:6.30pm-8.30 pm everyday. A CSer thinks this is the best place to watch this show. (near Tao Đàn Park):))

Waterparks:

They are not sights but a great refreshment when you feel too hot.

dam sen waterpark around 100000vnd. Get to Dam Sen Park on the #11 bus! The #11 starts at the intracity bus terminal across the traffic circle from the front of the BEN THANH Market where Pham Ngu Lao and Tran Hung Dao criss-cross. The bus is VND4000! Cheap... The #11 route ends at Dam Sen Park so there is no problem about when to get off the bus. Other buses also go by, or their routes end at Dam Sen Park, #38, #64 & #69. One thing to be aware of is your swimwear. Make sure there is nothing metal on them for example zips or studs or rivets. As they won't let you on the rides. You can buy swimwear there but not if you're an above average western size. There's a free locker room only for foreigners located under the Kamikaze ride. It's forbidden to bring food and drink inside but you can hide that in your bag when coming.. Be careful that Dam Sen is both a waterpark and a park so look for the entrance of the park that has water in it.. The park is empty on week days, busy saturdays and crowded sundays.

Dai The Gioi Smaller park in district 5, has a waterpark and a swimming pool with jacuzi, sauna.. Ticket for either park or pool 50000vnd, 80000 for both.

Events: Professional networking events: http://www.citynetevents.com - There's always an "angle"

What's on around town, events and shows and articles http://www.wordhcmc.com/

Trips outside the city:


Mekong delta

Most tourists take 1/2/3 days tours directly in HCMC to visit the mekong delta. References of tours that couchsurfers liked:

It is also possible to go to the mekong delta by yourself (bus or moto rental) if you have more time. One of the main highlights are the floating market, the most popular being in the city of Can Tho.

Củ Chi Tunnel

You take bus (number) 13 at Pham ngu lao operating station to Cu Chi bus station, then from cu chi bus station take bus number 76 ( from Cu Chi to Dau tieng), this bus run across Cu Chi tunnel.

Cao Dai Temple

From cu chi bus station,take bus 701 to Go Dau bus station, then from go dau bus station, take bus to Tay Ninh bus station (which run across cao dai temple)...

TIPS

Free Wifi/Internet Access

Everywhere in any Hotel, Hostel, Bar, coffee and fast food shop.

Nice Places to Eat

There are so many nice places, this is just a random selection

La Fenetre Soleil: My first love in Saigon Cafes now reincarnated in the 1st floor of 44 Ly Tu Trong Str, D1 and known as " la fenetre soleil " on Facebook (Facebook is blocked in Vietnam, but there are ways around I'm told) A point of interest: When I first met my great "Cafe-Love" she lived on the 2nd Floor, 135 Le Thanh Ton, D1, Saigon in June2010 she had to move when the whole block was demolished. The old location had these websites: agirlinasia.blogspot.com/2008/08/cafe-crush-la-fenetre-soleil.htm photos of the old location www.flickr.com/photos/toomanythoughts/3040703104

The Creperie Cafe: an old French mansion, overlooking the park in front of the Presidential/Reunification Palace. Staff are friendly and fast, the menu has Western food, Vietnamese traditional, Cafe food, Crepes of all types and my FAVOURITE: Chocolate Crepe !!! It's in Han Thuyen Street, Ben Nghe Wrd, Dist 1 about 20 seconds from near the corner with Cong Xa Paris, and the Notre Dame Cathedral. To find on a map: go to http://www.diadiem.com/ enter: Han Thuyen, Dist 1 a review of the Cafe/Restaurant http://www.saigonscene.com/crepes.htm

Geisha’s Coffee and Tea House: Small an cosy, - a clothes shop on the ground floor, a coffee shop with table and chairs on next and for the adventurous: up some narrow head bumping stairs and you emerge into a nice top floor of sofa and laid back furniture. Balcony of plants and greenery and below you is the street. A perfect hideaway to write your magnus opus. 85 Pasteur, Dist. 1, HCMC, Vietnam pictures of the place on the Vietnamese site here http://giacucsoc.vn/rao-vat-tong-hop/72163-noi-ng-ai-m-cui-ng-geishaa-s-coffee-tea-house.html and this one http://24hmua.com/showthread.php?t=628966 WEB: www.geishaclothing.com http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ho-Chi...9195636?v=wall

Hoa Da Cafe: Sit on the floor on cushions in little areas in a designer loft Hoa Da Company LTD 20 Tran Cao Van P. Da Kao Phone 08 6299 1445 http://thodia.vn/cafe-hoa-da-ho-chi-minh-3.htm thanks A. for showing me this one.

Kita Coffee House 39 Nguyen Hue, D1, Saigon agirlinasia.blogspot.com/2009/01/cafe-crush-kita-coffee-house.html

Aisha Lounge It's actually down a tiny little alley and past a small shrine/temple: 63/1 Pasteur, Distrit 1, Ho Chi Minh City Phone: +84-8-6660 9040 www.aishalounge.com

Java Cafe near the opera house: http://heikorudolph.blogspot.com/2009/10/26nov09-java-cafe-saigon.html

Regina Cafe in the back is a hideaway of trees, running water and relative privacy outdoors http://www.hotspots-vietnam.com/en/coffee/cafe/regina-cafe.html http://www.reginacoffee.com 84 Nguyen Du, District 1.

Foreign cuisine

- Spanish cuisine (love this place most!): Pacharan restaurant - 97 Hai Ba Trung street, D.1 - (next to Caravelle Hotel). They serve variety of tasty tapas with affordable prices, 200k/person should be fine.

- French: Le Jardin restaunt -31 Thai Van Lung street, Dist. 1 (behind/inside Idecaf)- Tel: (08)3825 8465.

- Japanese: The Sushi Bar - 2 Le Thanh Ton street, D.1 or 54 NGUYEN DINH CHIEU St. Dist 1(they just closed the one in 3A Ton Duc Thang street to move this location). This place might cost slightly more than 200k/person.

- Korean: Seoul House - 33 Mac Thi Buoi street, D.1. Place for kimchi, meat and seafood lover :D

Nightlife

Places for concerts/gigs

Yoko 22A Nguyen Thi Dieu, district 3, live music everyday

Acoustic bar, is not acoustic and plays nice rock to the hipsters

Thi Cafe has a lot of music

Ala Mezon and Tadao may have some music too

Places for drinking

Places for salsa dancing

La Salsa on FB: http://www.facebook.com/lasalsa.club The address: 212 - 214 Nguyễn Đình Chiểu st, Dist 3

Swing 1 Studio NBK - 25 Nguyen Binh Khiem - D1 http://www.saigonswing.com/regForm1.html

Places for Karaoke

Tip Top karaoke, 9 Truong Dinh st, District 3 Price: 128k (VND) for standard room, 144k for VIP room and 200k for super VIP room per hour during 17h - 24h. The English song lists here have more recent English songs than in other places

Places to enjoy the skyline

Chill sky bar

Shri

+ Thủ Thiêm Bridge, connecting Nguyễn Hữu Cảnh Road in Bình Thạnh District and District 2.

+ The riverside road in District 2, opposite of Saigon city center (The riverside street of District 1 and the cruise boat park).

+ Phú Mỹ Bridge : Very high and have a further look of the city center. Worthy to visit. About 30 mins from city by bike.

Places for Massage

body scrub and Sunflower therapy www.sunflower-spa.com

The Qi Swedish body massage http://www.qispa.com.vn/e/sebody.html at Qi at MÖVENPICK Hotel http://www.qispa.com.vn/e/lomni.html Ngoc Anh Spa has a good staff that is trained: http://www.ngocanhspa.com/

Movies

Listing of all major theatres in Saigon by WordHCMC.com http://www.wordhcmc.com/listings/artsbooks/cinemas-and-movies-theatres

Independent French movies at the Idecaf, ov subtitled in Vietnamese (i.e. the French Lang Institute )

Bobby Brewer's Cafe-movie place http://www.bobbybrewers.com English flicks at 45 Bui Vien Street, movie schedule http://www.bobbybrewers.com/bv_schedule.html

Hollywood and British stuff: Galaxy Cinema - 116 Nguyen Du, Dist.1, Tel: 38 228 533 ; 38 235 235 - 230 Nguyen Trai, Dist.1, Tel: (08) 3920 66 88 - Website: http://www.galaxycine.vn/

MegaStar - 126 Hung Vuong Street, Dist.5 - Megastar CT Plaza, Level 10, 60A Truong Son St.,Tan Binh Dist., Tel: +848 62 971 981 - Website : http://megastar.vn/en/

Lotte Cinema Nam Sai Gon - 3 Floor, Lotte Mart, 469 Nguyen Huu Tho Street, Dist.7, Tel : 8 3775 2521

Diamond Multiplex Cinema - 34 Le Duan, 13th floor, Dist.1, Tel: 3822-7897

Cinebox - 240, 3thang2 street, Dist.10 - 212 Ly Chinh Thang street, Dist.3

A PLACE TO STAY LONGER TERM

A simple strategy is to find a hotel with a rate you can afford for a month, stay there. Then ask your friends, look around, network with expats, look on the expat websites and you will likely find the place just for you.

- Rooms for rent in family homes, walk around District 1, 3, and keep your eyes open, ask around. You will probably find signs saying "rooms for rent" .

Guest houses around 171 Co Bac in District 1 teachers live there, so nice, non-transient neighborhood in a local area and only 5-10 min. walk to BuiVien. Rent ranges from $220-300/month for a room. (CS)

English site: Appartments of all sorts http://www.snap.com.vn/Listings/Property_Rentals/Prop_Rentals_Category.asp There is also http://craigslist.vn . Most of the postings under "apts/housing" are by realtors.Listings under "rooms/shares" are more likely to be people renting out a room in their house or compound - http://vietnam.craigslist.org/roo/ (thanks for this tip TM :-) )

With the English speaking adds you are sure to find something for your needs, however prices are more expensive, 200-400$ for a furnished room.

Another way if you have a Vietnamese speaker willing to help you is to check those Vietnamese language sites: Saigon Appartments site http://www.muaban.net or: http://muaban.net/ho-chi-minh-369/raovat/46/cho-thue-nha-dat/1.html NB: Can Ho = Apartment Chung Cu = Aprt complex use Google Translate if you can't read Vietnamese. Vietnamese find an appartment site http://www.rongbay.com

You can also select an area where you want to live and just walk around in the small alleys looking for rent signs and ask the neighborhood, you will be impressed by the number of rooms you can find in just a block! Outside of district 1 you can find nice rooms for less than 150$.. But make sure the owner understands your needs (police ok, curfew, possibility to have guests..).

CSers posts adds here: http://www.couchsurfing.org/group.html?gid=33885



Meetings

Films, Concerts, Music - What's on sites

   Word HCMC What's on around town, events and shows and articles http://www.wordhcmc.com/
   Whats  on around Saigon ? list of Saigon / HCMC events and places http://anyarena.com/en/events
   Concerts, films, entertainment in Saigon http://www.thanhniennews.com/Pages/Entertainment.aspx
       Couchsurfing Saigon  has a lively community. http://www.couchsurfing.org/group.html?gid=5558    
       Artistic, films, blogs The Hanoi Grapevine - for Saigon look under NOT Hanoi -The Hanoi Grapevine at http://www.hanoigrapevine.com
       The New Hanoian except it's in Saigon,  The Saigon version is at:  http://so-saigon.xemzi.com/  In Saigon it's not as big as the Hanoi version. 

More specialized events:

   Green drinks: focuses on 'green'  environmental issues, a social group of speakers and events once a month http://www.greendrinks.org/Ho%20Chi%20Minh%20City
   Under 39's Saigon Social group on meetup.com http://www.meetup.com/Under-39s-Saigon/
   Networking events:  Saigon HCMC Nework events http://www.citynetevents.com  - "There's always an 'angle' " :-)  which is fine, as long as that's understood up front :-P

FINDING A JOB

This scene changes a lot and fast. It's best to talk to others, network to get a feel for the job market. (Couchsurfing Dinners... other expat, social events...)

General info on getting CELTA qualifications for teaching English here: https://sites.google.com/site/heikorudolph/english-teaching Google for local Saigon CELTA institutions.

- An older Couchsurfing post about English teaching here (2010) http://www.couchsurfing.org/group_read.html?gid=5558&post=6137573

Basic CELTA qualification from Language Schools in Saigon

   * ILA      http://www.discovereltvietnam.com/page.php?p=20
   * Appollo   http://teachatapollo.com/what-is-celta  and    http://so-saigon.xemzi.com/en/venue/show/1568/Apollo-Education-and-Training
   * Vietnam - USA English Centers  http://www.vus-etsc.edu.vn/?page=rec_tea&lang=vn

TEFL qualification from Language Schools in Saigon

   * Cactus      http://www.cactustefl.com/tefl/course.php?course_id=2222
   * THorntree comments on CELTA VS TEFL http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/thread.jspa?threadID=1679811

ENGLISH

- a good CS post about English conversation clubs is here http://www.couchsurfing.org/group_read.html?gid=5558&post=8300983 if anyone has time to extract the info please feel free and post it here on this page


TRANSPORT

Maps

Vietnam online maps: works really well to help find where things are in Saigon: http://www.diadiem.com Maps of the whole country in great detail: Vinacarta: http://vinacarta.com/ a super helpful map website for those who ride their own motorbikes or bicycles.

Walking

Walking is - free - healthy - meets the locals

Crossing the street is an art, follow the locals, tag along behind them...

Motorbikes and taxis

Taxis: Vietnamese people tell me that Vinasun and Mailinh are the most trustworthy. They are professional. If you ever encounter the "magically incrementing meter", then FIRST take pictures, SECOND ask for a receipt, then pay and leave, don't argue, then ask a Vietnamese friend to ring the company and tell them the story.

Motorbikes & License Vietnamese Government site outlining the procedure: http://sgtvt.hochiminhcity.gov.vn/web/tintuc/default.aspx?cat_id=592&news_id=4501#content You can download the application forms online.

There is an August2010 Couchsurfing post which explains HOW To get a licence and where here http://www.couchsurfing.org/group_read.html?gid=5558&post=6313519 , buying or renting one seems to relatively easy, just ask around. Walk down Backpacker street: Pham Ngu Lao and its parallel sister street: Bui Vien and you'll see places that rent bikes by the day, week and month. NB: if you have an accident and no license, any insurance will simply wipe their hands. I'm told, but not sure that 50cc bikes don't require a license. (needs confirmation by an insurance source, the Govt site does INclude 50cc in its list of licence bikes see: the form on this page http://sgtvt.hochiminhcity.gov.vn/web/tintuc/default.aspx?cat_id=592&news_id=4501#content)

Honda motorcycle club based in Saigon/HCMC http://sites.google.com/site/classichondacub - they sell, restore, show their bikes.

Phillip restores and loves Honda Cubs www.saigonmotor.com and http://vietnam.craigslist.org/mcy/2132176402.html video of what it's like to ride in Saigon http://www.saigonmotor.com/charity-scooter-run

Bicycles (yes bi-cycles in Saigon, strange as that is in a place dominated by cars and motorbikes) for the high tech stuff http://saigoncycles.com for cycle tours and meetings look in http://www.wordhcmc.com/ and follow the links. Contact them they get back to you.

Buses

Qu: What time does the bus leave Saigon to Phnom Penh? A: some choices

Sapaco : 11$ - at : 6.00am or ; 7.00; 8.00; 9.00; 10.00; 11.30; 13.00; 14.00, adress : 325 Phạm Ngũ Lão, phone number : 08.39 203 623

MaiLinh Express 12$ - at 7.00am; 12.00 - address : 520 Lê Hồng Phong, district 10 number :08.38297979 - 38477888

Thesinhtourist 12$ - at 9.00 am - address 246 – 248 Đề Thám, Q.1, Tp.HCM - phone 08.38389597

Kumho Samco Buslines 12$ - at : 7.30; 10.30; 15.00 - address: 239 Phạm Ngũ Lão - phone: 08.6291 5389

From the airport to the city centre

All you need to know when you land at the airport is [9], there's also a link on CS.

WHERE TO FIND..

Computers & Geek Toys

Computer hardware, computer parts, geek toys in Bui Thi Xuan street District 1. Next street from Nguyen Trai behing Zen Plaza, parallel and South East of Nguyen Thi Min Khai Street, and North West of Nguyen Trai Street. North West of the park that borders on Pham Ngu Lao and Le Lai streets.

also: Corner of Cach Mang Thang 8 and Nguyen Thi Minh Khai 2 largish stories of IT goodness, the whole area to the south-west has many computer hardware shops.

Around Sunwah towers you can get more bits and pieces of electronics, remote controls, DVD's, gadgets etc.....

For the hard core electronics enthusiast who wants soldering irons, build his/her own Stereo: Electronics bits and pieces such as resistors, chips, soldering tools etc... are at: Nhat Tao Market, in Lý Thường Kiệt, P. 7, Q. 10 ( Ly Thuong Kiet, Wrd 7, Dist 10 )

Saigon electronics shop that has the lot http://tme.com.vn (finally found it :-) thanks to my students) Thien Minh Electronic Solutions Co.Ltd 173 Tan Phuoc Ward 6 District 10 Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam

Passport things

For visa renewal, start it one week before visa expires, anywhere in the tourist ghetto. Places that had happy users: CHUM'S HOUSE 121/21 Bui Vien St. Freedom Hotel 267-69 Pham Ngu Lao Prices should be bargained to $40 for a three month single entry, and $85 for a three month multiple.


Tea Shops

Quán trà KT 480/5 – Nguyễn Tri Phương – Quận 5 207/69 Đường 3/2, District 10, Ho Chi Minh City 11A Hòa Hưng, P.13, Q.10, TP. Hồ Chí Minh

Thư Giãn Trà Quán 159 nam kỳ khời nghĩa p.6 q.1 dt: 912 3045 91 võ thị sáu p6 q.3 dt:823 1199 204 lê văn sỹ p10 q.phú nhuận dt:912 3047 211A Nguyễn văn thủ p.đa kao q.1 dt:827 5532 1 sông đà p.2 q. tân bình dt: 845 2021

Cát Khánh trà quán 372/2B Cách mạng tháng 8, Phường 10, Quận 3, TP. Hồ Chí Minh 1/12A Sư Vạn Hạnh (nối dài), P.12, Q.10, TP. Hồ Chí Minh

Mộc trà quán 339/18 Tô Hiến Thành, F.12, Q.10 TPHCM

Trà Đạo Trúc Diệp Địa chỉ 7/89 Thành Thái, Q.10, TPHCM

Trà Quán Việt 17 Trần Quý Khoách Q.1, Quận 1, TP. Hồ Chí Minh

Trà thiền Padme 280/14A Huỳnh Văn Bánh, P.11, Q. Phú Nhuận

Tao quán 237 Vĩnh Viễn, P4, Q10(gần ngã tư Nguyễn Tri Phương-Vĩnh Viễn)WIFI 181/4 đường 3/2, P11, Q10. (đối diện Kỳ Hòa Hotel)

Tra Viet 48 Út Tịch, Ward 4, Tân Bình District

148 Ben Van Don, D4.

LINKS

Some useful links on Saigon
- Overview of Vietnam for travellers/tourists of all budgets http://travelvietnaminfo.com
- Questions about Vietnam ? a large forum here http://www.vietnamtravelforum.net/
- Notes on Saigon similar to this page https://sites.google.com/site/heikorudolph/travel-saigon-hcmc



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