You have just arrived at your hotel or resort from a super long flight to Vietnam, they greet you with a nice glass of juice or tea. But Wait! There is ice in it! Can I drink this ice? Oh no, you are so thirsty though! What do you do?
Can I Drink Ice in Vietnam? Yes, most of the ice you will encounter is clean and you will be able to drink it. There are two types of ice in Vietnam and one of them isn’t filtered and should not be drunk. As a customer, you will rarely ever encounter this type of ice. This is for commercial use only, and not for drinking. Most Restaurants, Hotels, and even street vendors will not serve dirty ice to customers, this would be really bad for their business as everyone, even local Vietnamese, can not drink dirty ice.
That’s why a company like Back of the Bike Tours exists providing Vietnamese food tours so we can navigate our customers to safe and hygienic eating places. You can read more about our Ho Chi Minh City Food Tour by clicking this link if you are interested trying great but safe local food.
There isn’t a 100% guarantee that you can avoid ice that is a bit dirty from being mishandled, for example. I’m talking about a bag of ice that is put on the ground for a minute or some lady scooping ice with a dirty hand. Will that bit of mishandling make you incredibly sick? I highly doubt it.
As a traveller, you need to be concerned about a vendor or restaurant who is grossly mishandling their ice or purchasing from an unreliable source to save money. If it’s a hygiene problem and safety issue, then that isn’t the ice’s fault and you can’t avoid that 100% of the time no matter what you do, even in Western Countries.
The common sense approach to this is going to be thinking about it logically. Which type of vendor or restaurant is trying to save such a small amount of money and risk their reputation by serving dirty ice? These are going to be street food vendors serving a very cheap meal in a very poor area or a failing restaurant that is being mismanaged. If you eat in popular busy restaurants, street food vendors, cafes, and hotels that aren’t located in very rural poor areas, You aren’t going to be at much risk of getting contaminated Ice. These places will not risk their reputation for such an easily solved problem.
A lot of quality inspections are carried out regularly by the food and safety authorities but dirty ice cannot be completely controlled and prevented from being served to customers across Vietnam.
Contamination can occur at the source used to make the ice, the packaging process, the transportation of the ice, or the distribution. That is a lot of moving parts to control in a developing country like Vietnam. As long as a vendor or restaurant are purchasing the right type of ice, a risk of serious contamination is still rather low as the reputation of so many are on the line to deliver a safe product to customers.
While there’s no way to be 100% certain that the ice you consume in Vietnam is safe for health, there are a ton of safe and qualified ice manufacturers. A big safety tip with ice is to look out for commercially made ice with cylindrical shape and a hole in it. Generally speaking, this type of ice is the safest, costliest to produce, to store, and to preserve. Only large manufacturers having more modern machines can produce it.
This type of ice is usually found at large “beer restaurants” where it is common to drink beer over ice. It can also be found in coffee shops and restaurants perfect to drink with juice and coffee.
The other type of clean ice you will commonly come across will be the small “chips” of ice. These are commonly found in Ice Coffee, Juice, and Tea as well.
Large blocks of ice that get broken into smaller pieces. This is where you are gonna see your biggest issues. If you are at a vendor or restaurant who looks like they are breaking up giant chunks of ice, perhaps you can avoid it. 99% of the time, you would probably be okay. If you are easily susceptible to getting sick though, it may not be worth the risk.
These big chunks of ice are the cheapest and easiest to make, so these companies are probably not hiring the most astute employees. Which is where you might come across more of likelihood of some type of contamination.
Another tip is to look at the color. From the outside, if the ice shows signs of slightly turbid color and contains many bubbles, strange smell, it is dirty ice. Purified ice, on the other hand, has a clear crystal-like color, without any strange smell or residue.
Restaurants, Hotels, and even local restaurants aren’t going to serve you dirty ice. At least not on purpose, there would need to be a major mismanagement of the ice in order for it to be contaminated in a way that would make someone sick. These large companies would not dare risk their brand, and smaller mom and pop owned restaurants would not risk their livelihood.
When contamination does occur at a restaurant or hotel, it isn’t going to be from someone buying dirty ice, it would be contamination coming from staff most likely not the water source.
In Vietnam, the water is sometimes replaced by a light tea called “Tra da” in Vietnamese. It is a popular drink usually served with street food for free.
I have never had a problem from drinking ice tea from cafes, restaurants, or even street food vendors. This does come down to common sense though, if you think a restaurant or vendor is a little too dirty or slow, don’t feel bad about not drinking the tea they offer. Iced Coffee is huge in Vietnam as well, check out this article about drinking and buying safe coffee in Vietnam if you want to learn more.
If after all this information you still feel skeptical, that is totally okay. It is your trip so you should do the best you can to enjoy it without any concerns. Simply, tell the waiter or waitress to serve you drinks without ice. In Vietnamese, that would be “Khong Da”.
You are being a smart traveler asking great questions about food safety and hygiene. If you want to know more about drinking water in Vietnam then go ahead and follow this link to read our article.
Overall, being prepared is the best tip for travelling to anywhere including Vietnam. After reading this guide about Ice in Vietnam, I hope that you feel more comfortable and ready for your trip to my beautiful country. If you find our tips helpful, please feel free to share our article so that other travelers can gain some local knowledge and feel even more confident about their future trip as well!
Vietnamese Coffee is famous all over the world for tasting bold and rich with an intense flavor. Escaping the heat of Saigon by sitting down with colleagues or friends to drink iced coffee is a large part of Vietnamse culture. If you’re exploring Vietnam and want to sip on Vietnamese Coffee, I’m recommending that you sit down in a local cafe instead of purchasing from street side vendors. Cafe’s will hold a higher standard of quality for their coffee than a street vendor.
Is it safe to drink coffee in Vietnam? Yes, drinking coffee in Vietnam is extremely safe and million cups of coffee are being sold everyday. There is a black mark on the coffee industry in Vietnam though, as recently as 2018 there have been coffee suppliers caught using artificial ingredients in their ground coffee. I’m going to discuss what to be on the lookout for to avoid any suspicious or dangerous coffee drinks or beans.
Vietnam is the second largest coffee producing country in the world, and coffee is one of the main drinks of Vietnamese people. With a number of popular coffee brands, local coffee shops, and numerous self-employed vendors on every corner, a cup of coffee is never far away when you are wandering around.
One of the most eye catching parts of coffee culture in Vietnam is Phin filter coffee. Locals leisurely enjoy their morning while waiting for coffee to drip through a filter, sipping it away, reading a newspaper, or gossiping. Phin filter coffee always occupies an important place in Vietnamese people’s hearts, it represents a lot of memories and traditions for Vietnamese.
When Vietnamese people don’t have time to sit back at a coffee shop, they run down to a cafe on the street and quickly grab a cup of coffee to take away. If you’re a person who enjoys discovering local culture, drinking coffee at the street vendors might be an interesting experience. However, the concern here is, where are you purchasing the coffee? In poorer and more rural areas of Vietnam, you may expose yourself to poor quality coffee that you may want to avoid. Sometimes the quality of the coffee may be covered up with the amount of Sweet Condensed milk that is being put into the coffee. With all of this being said, If you are staying in the main busy areas of places like Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Hoi An, and other major cities, everything should be okay.
Tips for Buying Coffee on the Street
Trung Nguyen Coffee, Highlands Coffee, The Coffee House, Cong Ca Phe, Phuc Long Coffee & Tea are all very popular local coffee brands that I recommend you try for a safe cup of coffee. If you are hesitant about the hygiene standards of cafe vendors on the streets, drinks from the mentioned labels above are a good idea.
After you fall in love with Vietnamese Coffee, you might want to take some home for yourself or as a souevenir. The brands I mentioned above sell clean coffee beans and ground coffee that you can purchase. With ground coffee and a phin filter kit, you can easily make a cup of coffee Vietnamese style at home to impress everyone after your trip. These brands have distributed their products throughout major cities in the country, so that finding their stores when travelling here is pretty easy.
Vietnamese usually drink 2 main types of coffee: iced black coffee called “ca phe den da”, and milk coffee called “ca phe sua da”. Iced black coffee consists of brewed coffee with strong and bitter flavor, same as expresso. Adding a little sugar would make it taste more delicious, but you can drink it without sugar. Milk coffee is a mix of black coffee and sweet condensed milk. The taste is sweet, silky, and strong.
Saigon and Hanoi locals have their own special coffee styles that you can not find anywhere else in the world. If you are a person who has a sweet tooth, “bac xiu” of Saigon is worthy of trying. With the main ingredients are milk and condensed milk, just a little of coffee, it is sweeter than “ca phe sua da” and has its own unique taste. In Hanoi, egg coffee called “ca phe trung” is a signature of Hanoi coffee culture. This is a cup combined of egg whites whipped with condensed milk, black coffee, and is drunk while still hot. Egg Coffee is almost like a dessert so it might make for a nice after lunch wake up treat.
If you want to drink one more Vietnamese cafe-style, coconut coffee is an option that should not be ignored. Coconut coffee is called “ca phe sua dua”, made of black coffee, condensed milk and coconut milk over ice. I recommend the best place to try it is Cong Ca Phe – one of the most popular local coffee labels in Vietnam.
One of the more serious risks that should concern you when drinking coffee in Vietnam is ice quality used in making coffee at street vendors, so I recommend you to drink it at the local shops. If you want to know more about safety tips, check out the article we wrote about drinking ice in vietnam.
Vietnamese coffee culture with different styles of coffee from South to North will never leave you disappointed when giving it a try. You will be surprised and won’t regret it!
So You’ve heard about the floating market in Can Tho as a must see in Southern Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, but your options to visit are endless. Should you take a full day or half day tour? Spend the night? Or relax in Can Tho city for a few days?
So you want to know, How many days should you stay in Can Tho? My recommendation is 2 days in Can Tho if you can spare the time in your itinerary. I believe that the floating market is only great if you visit very early in the morning, which will require you to stay overnight in Can Tho at least 1 day minimum. The rest of this article, I’m gonna lay out more information so you can better decide how many days in Can Tho is right for you.
As a Ho Chi Minh City girl, when I visited Can Tho for my first time I thought that I would only want 1 day in the area to explore the famous market. After that visit, I found myself coming back 2 more times because I really loved the experience and warmth that I felt from the people in the Mekong. All of us Vietnamese know that people from the Southern parts of our country are hospitable, but you really don’t know until you experience it for yourself.
Can Tho is a great city because it’s unique compared to others in Vietnam. Located in the heart of the Mekong Delta, this city has become a must see destination for travelers in Southern Vietnam. While most other cities in the Mekong see barely 1 million visitors a year, the Mekong delta receives over 8 million a year. This cities popularity comes from the numerous canals and the river access that helped develop the famous floating market which has become a must see for travelers.
Can Tho is home to over 1.5 million local Vietnamese making it a large city. It takes only 4 hours from Ho Chi Minh City to get to Can Tho, which makes it an easy day trip for tourists. This prime location next to Ho Chi Minh City is the reason it has a big economy that supports its large population. The rivers and canals give access to local farmers to sell their goods and easily bring them to market in Can Tho before they finally make their way out to Ho Chi Minh City or the rest of the world.
Even though the city is large and bustling with trade, it’s easy to escape to the countryside of the Mekong Delta just outside of Can Tho. This area is dense jungle and farm land filled with traditional Vietnamese culture. Many visitors love to visit small homestays in the area to have some time away from the big city of Ho Chi Minh and experience the real charm of the Mekong Delta.
I know there are lots of people who choose to visit Can Tho for only a day trip. When you choose to only visit on a day trip, you miss most of the fun. The floating market should be the highlight of this trip but unfortunately, not many buses or travel agencies could get you there early enough in the morning. By the time you get to Can Tho, the market won’t be busy or worth the trip.
If it’s the first and maybe your only chance to visit Can Tho, then you’re in for something special. Don’t push yourself to the point of exhaustion to see everything in just one day.
To be honest, it would be a shame to travel all the way to Can Tho without taking a trip to Cai Rang Market. I don’t want you to look back on the trip with regrets or the feeling of missing out.
Make sure you can visit for at least 2 days in order to see the best of what the city has to offer. This way you can have more flexibility in your itinerary and avoid tiring yourself out.
Canal boats are popular transport link in Can Tho in order to visit other destinations such as the floating market and islets. It can be time-consuming because tourists will need to wait for the next boat to arrive. That’s why you should consider how much time you will need to travel between sites. If you choose a day trip, you won’t have enough time to see the city’s main highlights.
Organizing such a short trip to visit the city’s top attractions is tough. If you are seeking for some bits of advice on what to do in Can Tho, check out my itinerary below.
Depending on when you arrive in Can Tho, you will have more or less time to visit places. If you arrive before noon, you may want to get yourself to Con Son islet right away.
Con Son islet lies in the middle of the river, so to get there you need to take a boat from Co Bac wharf. It will take you only 5 minutes to arrive at Con Son.
This place is community based tourism where locals share their way of life. This allows the locals to support themselves and improve livelihoods Around 10 families take part in tourism services, each family has different interests or activities to offer the tour experience.
On your first destination, you will have the opportunity to explore a tropical fruit garden. You are free to try all sorts of tropical fruits or buy some to eat later.
At the next destination, visitors will have the opportunity to learn how to make traditional cakes and learn how to fish.
After enjoying all the activities, you are welcome to stay for a homemade lunch. The locals will serve simple yet flavorful dishes such as canh chua, banh xeo, and banh lot.
It should take a whole afternoon for you to enjoy everything in Con Son.
Ninh Kieu Bridge
Then, let’s head back to the city of Can Tho and spend a nice evening here. After dinner, you can burn some calories by taking a walk on Ninh Kieu pedestrian bridge. This is the most photogenic place in Can Tho with 2 gigantic lotus flowers made of thousands of neon lights that brighten up the whole area. This is a great spot for taking pictures or just simply enjoying the great view of Can Tho at night.
Tay Do night market
Continue your visit of Can Tho by going to Tay Do night market, located right next to Ninh Kieu Bridge. Inside the market, there are many souvenir vendors, coffee shops and small restaurants.
If you want to discover this area a little more, you will easily find dozens of food stalls across the street, serving all kinds of delicious street foods. This could be an option for dinner treats if you would like to explore street food.
The whole reason for visiting Can Tho overnight is so that you can see the floating market super early the next morning. This means around 6 am you should be on your little boat going out to the see the vendors, this is when the market is really in full swing. The market will usually settle down by 8 am which is the time that day trips in Can Tho are leaving Ho Chi Minh City. It means that the market they see is only for the tourists benefit, it isn’t actually the real hustle and bustle of the early morning market.
On each boat, the owner will tie whatever they are selling to long poles that reach high above the boat so others can see what they are selling from far away. For example, if you want to buy some pomelos, look for a hanging pomelo and ask the boat to sail towards it.
The biggest attraction of the market must be the delicious food that is cooked and served right on the boat. There are lots and lots of tasty Vietnamese food for you to choose like Hu Tieu, Bun Bo, or Bun Rieu. There are a few drinks being commonly offered like iced coffee, coconut juice, and soy milk.
Once you finish your breakfast, you should take a tour around Mekong canals before leaving Can Tho. By the time the sun starts to heat up, your tour has come to an end.
Below are some of the tours that will help you go to the floating market in Can Tho
Mekong delta explorer
Mekong smile tour
I hope my recommendations will be useful for you to enjoy a wonderful vacation without missing all the fun in this marvelous city in two days.
Mosquitos, they were excellent for bringing back dinosaurs in Jurassic park but aren’t very fun to deal with on vacation. This might leave you wondering, “What’s the situation like in Vietnam with Mosquitos and Tropical diseases like Malaria?”
Visiting a tropical country like Vietnam means you will be welcomed with long beaches, sunshine and endless summer days. However, getting malaria – a common tropical disease is the very last thing you want to happen. Do I need to take Malaria pills before coming to Vietnam? If you are traveling to Rural Areas, Yes. If you will be mostly staying in the big Cities, No. Read on to find out more information to decide what level of precaution suits your vacation.
Malaria is an infectious disease caused by Plasmodium parasite. The disease is also known as Plasmodium infection. Most often, the malaria parasite enters the human body through mosquito bites. Malaria disease can lead to severe complications and even death if left untreated. According to a report by WHO, there were 435,000 malaria deaths worldwide in 2017. The organization also warns that international travelers could be at risk of malaria in 87 countries around the world, mainly in Africa, Asia, and the Americas.
As mentioned above, the parasite is transmitted to humans most commonly through mosquito bites. Notice that only Anopheles mosquitoes can transmit malaria. Here is the Mosquito transmission cycle:
Anyone! Although the fact that malaria is likely to happen more in children, adults are no exception. There are 5 population groups that WHO lists as being at considerably higher risk of contracting and developing malaria. They include:
If you’re reading this article, you may probably belong to the last group. Travelers are at higher risk of getting malaria. This is because they often lack partial immunity to malaria, and have limited access to prevention, diagnostic testing, and treatment services.
As a tropical country, malaria does happen in Vietnam. This means that malaria pills are needed if you’ve planned for a trip to Vietnam. The good news is: malaria pills for Vietnam are recommended but not a must. You may decide to get them or not depending on where you are going to visit because the disease occurs in rural areas only.
Places at high risk for malaria in Vietnam include the Southeast, Highlands, and Central areas. Although malaria is not an epidemic anymore in Vietnam, prevention is still advisable for travelers flying to hot spots like Binh Phuoc, Dak Lak, Dak Nong, Kon Tum, Quang Binh, and Quang Tri. There is no need for malaria pills if you are going to spend your trip in the rest of Vietnam, especially in big cities such as Ha Noi, Ho Chi Minh, Da Nang or Hoi An.
You should also notice that malaria is a seasonal disease in Vietnam. There are two malaria seasons here, the early peak (April – May) and the later peak (September – October). Unless you have any important purposes to visit those areas during the peak of malaria, it’s wise to plan your trip at another time.
So what are malaria pills, anyway? They are drugs that you can take to treat malaria or to help prevent the disease from infecting you if you are bitten. They are mainly used as a part of the pre-travel health advice for travelers.
Some Antimalarial pills are taken daily, or weekly, and some only require being taken 1 time.
There are 6 main types of drugs used to prevent malaria, including malarone, chloroquine, doxycycline, mefloquine, primaquine, and tafenoquine.
CDC recommends the following Anti – Malarial for traveling to Vietnam.
(This list doesn’t match up with the typical prescription and most popular anti-malarial which happens to be the most expensive, might worth asking your doctor about the cheaper option to save some money)
You will need to visit your doctor (4 or 6 weeks prior to your trip) for a specific prescription depending on the destination that you’re about to visit and your health condition.
Insurance generally doesn’t cover malaria pills, meaning you’ll need to pay on your own for malaria prevention. The cost of malaria pills widely varies depending on your choice of drugs.
In the U.S.:
In the U.K., Malarone is the most common pill that doctors may recommend. The cost for Malarone oral tablet starts from £19.80 for a supply of 16 tablets (one-week trip).
In Australia, Malarone is also the most-used, and most expensive, antimalarial drug. 12 tablets of Malarone can cost you around AUD $60.
It is recommended that everyone should take malaria pills 1 or 2 weeks before your trip to Vietnam.
For me, this seems a bit over protective since there aren’t any Malaria outbreaks in any of the popular areas visited by travelers.
Buying drugs abroad without advice from doctors has its risks. They include poor quality, contaminated drugs, and unexpected side effects. Those are more on the extremes of what could go bad and I personally believe that buying Malaria Pills when you arrive in Vietnam can actually save you a ton of money.
You will need to visit a local hospital in order to get your prescription. I will not recommend looking for Malarial Pills in a private pharmacy for the sake of your health.
In Vietnam, the most common Malaria Pill is Chloroquine. It is more affordable for the majority of Vietnamese citizens. Mefloquine and Malarone are not available in Vietnam.
Preparing for the worst situation is always smart as a traveler. It’s a life-threatening blood disease, so take it seriously! If you suspect you’ve been infected with malaria, visit a doctor right away. Although doctors will normally prescribe drugs to kill the parasites, don’t try to treat yourself at home. An infectious disease doctor will give you the right prescriptions and guidance.
In Vietnam, you’d better go straight away to a community hospital or a district hospital if possible. If you’re in big cities, you can visit the following hospitals:
Address: 315 Nguyen Van Linh Street, An Khanh Ward, Ninh Kieu District, Can Tho City
Hotline: (+84)292 3820 07
Hours: Open 24 hours
Address: 764 Vo Van Kiet Street, Ward 1, District 5, HCMC
Hotline: (+84)28 3923 5804
Hours: Open 24 hours
Address: 124 Hai Phong Street, Thach Thang Ward, Hai Chau District, Da Nang City
Hotline: (+84)96 523 18 18
Hours: 24 hours
Address: 78 Giai Phong Street, Phuong Dinh Ward, Dong Da District, Ha Noi
Hotline: (+84)24 3576 3491
Hours: 24 hours
You should also notice that there are many cases in which symptoms of malaria don’t develop until months or up to 1 year after returning home. Be aware of your health and seek immediate professional medical care in those cases.
After all, keep in mind that there is no 100% effective malaria pills. Apart from using malaria pills before flying to Vietnam, other ways to prevent mosquito bites are also important:
While it’s important to know all of the information we have discussed in this article. Taking Malaria pills is a precaution for peace of mind. It’s not a common thing disease to catch in the main areas of Vietnam. My final recommendation is that if you are traveling to Rural parts of Vietnam, please take Malaria Pills for protection. I hope my article has helped, if you found it useful please share with other travelers like yourself!
If you expect to buy Northface factory rejects in Vietnam, I’m afraid you’ll be disappointed. I have spent days researching and shopping for both factory rejects and high quality fake Northface products in Ho Chi Minh City. Even for a local, who speaks Vietnamese, I found it impossible to track down factory rejects. With so many people asking the question about where to buy Northface products in Vietnam, I was surprised I didn’t find any good resources and suppliers since it is such a popular request for tourists.
What have I learned about Northface in Vietnam?
Factory Rejects are non-existent in all of Vietnam but you can buy fake Northface with decent quality in most cities.
I feel the best location is at certain Local Markets and a few small shops. My Local Market recommendation includes Saigon Square Center and the Russian Market in District 1. Smaller retail shops selling Northface include places like Armyhaus an outdoor and camping supplier in District 1 or Wetrek an outlet store in Tan Binh District close to the airport.
While not really a scam, some shopkeepers may sell Northface at high prices in order to make you believe that the products are real. I am confident after my research that all of these sellers are pushing fakes. I’ve spent a serious amount of time contacting shopkeepers and sellers to find out whether their products are real, fake, or factory rejects. Whenever I asked them if their Northface products were real or not, they all said that it’s a trade secret. My feeling after talking to a few vendors is that they didn’t really care about the quality of their Northface or even where they were getting them from. They just want to sell them to anyone who will buy for the highest price possible. While not illegal or a scam, it’s good information for potential buyers.
That’s why it’s important to buy from the right suppliers and check the quality of the products thoroughly before committing to spending your money. Not all sellers are looking at getting rid of bad products some legitimately care about their products and reputation. That doesn’t mean they are selling factory rejects with super high quality, it means they are trying to provide fakes that have some craftsmanship to them. Which is gonna be your best bet for buying a product that will last for a while.
Before a fun day of shopping, here are some tips that will help you check the quality of the Northface jackets and backpacks.
You should check any fake product carefully before buying. Even though I’m gonna give you some great tips, you should always be aware of the risks when buying fake products. They might last two years or they might break in two days. It’s the risk we take when haggling for a great deal.
Feel the material and the thickness of the jacket to determine the quality. This is the easiest way to determine high quality from low quality.
If you are buying a raincoat or an anorak, beware of the area around the seams and zipper. Those are the places water may leak in easily. The good quality jackets have those parts covered.
Some fake Anoraks change the buttons on the covering cloth outside of the zipper to velcro, but I prefer buttons to velcro because they seem to be more secure. You should make sure that the buttons are sewn firmly on the jacket.
I’ve read complaints about the zipper metal being broken quite easily on many jackets and backpacks. That is because the zipper is made of poor-quality metal. Make sure that the zipper for anoraks is made of metal and not plastic. Without being too aggressive, see if it feels like the zipper metal is thin and brittle.
– Test Durability of Zipper Metal
– Zip up and down many times to test quality or if it gets snagged easily
Your jacket should have firm and neat seams. Make sure that there is no redundant thread at the corners of the product.
I’ve gone shopping at popular markets in Ho Chi Minh City to find quality fake Northface jackets. Since then I have come up with these recommendations. The prices are noted in this section so that you can compare them when you go out shopping.
Address: 328 Vo Van Kiet Street, Co Giang Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Hours: 10 AM – 7 PM
There are two buildings sharing the same address at 328 Vo Van Kiet Street. Northface jackets are sold in the bigger building when you pull into the complex. The market is air conditioned and is suitable for those who prefer a peaceful shopping experience.
The shops that sell Northface jackets are next to the escalator which is at the center of the market. There is also another shop at the front corner of the market. They may not sell many styles of Northface jackets that you want, but the products are much higher quality compared to the other markets. The price here ranges from $28.3 to $40 USD each for a winter coat or jacket. The Western market is known for carrying large western sizes so this is a reliable spot to check out if you need bigger sizes.
The Russian market is not known for haggling, most prices are set in stone. The employees here actually speak limited English, we recommend having a translation app on your phone handy if you have any questions about the products.
Address: 81 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Hours: 9 AM – 9 PM
Saigon Square is a popular shopping destination in Ho Chi Minh City for both locals and tourists. When you enter the market from Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street, go straight ahead to the end of the market and then turn left towards the corner. You will find shops that sell Northface jackets from $20.9 to $57.5 USD. The prices depend on the thickness of the jacket. They have both 2 layer and 3 layer jacket options.
The Northface backpack aisle is on your right side. Depending on the size of the backpack, they can be sold from $11 to $26 USD.
Shops around Ben Thanh Market
You can visit Ben Thanh Market if you are confident with your bargaining skills, since this market is notorious for intense selling techniques. I prefer the small shop on the corner of Le Lai Street and Phan Chu Trinh Street which is just across the street from the right side of Ben Thanh Market. They sell fine quality fake Northface backpacks with the same quality at a much cheaper price. The backpacks are from $16.5 to $21.8 USD each.
Address: 68/25B Tran Quang Khai Street, Tan Dinh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Hours: 9 AM – 8.30 PM
This is the favorite brand for teenage backpack travelers in Vietnam. You can find the following Northface products in Armyhaus: Pants $17, shoes $54, jackets 20$, and gloves $15. There are also different types of equipment for your travels if you are doing any adventure tours. Their products include helmets, tents, gloves, air cushions, and mountain climbing clothes.
The inconvenience at this shop is that they sell clothes for Vietnamese, which is best for the average height of 1m70 and 70kg weight so your size may not be available unless you are smaller.
Address: 2D Truong Son Street, Ward 2, Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh City
Hours: 8.30 AM – 9.30 PM
This shop is recommended by many local travelers. Located near Hoang Van Thu Park and Tan Son Nhat Airport.
Northface’s backpacks, caps, shoes, jackets, and pants are all sold here. The prices for these items vary from $17 to $87 USD each.
You can’t expect to buy real Northface in Ho Chi Minh City or Vietnam. Fake Northface products with good quality are available in certain shops or markets if you know where to look. With our tips to identify Quality fake Northface, we hope you have the chance to buy Northface products for a great price that will last a long time.
Banging your head against the bus window on a boring tour isn’t an adventure. Challenging yourself with getting to the Cu Chi Tunnels on your own is an experience. I’ve crafted this article featuring all you need for getting to the Cu Chi Tunnels on your own.
Selecting a guide can be expensive and time consuming. The Cu Chi Tunnels supply free guides for visitors with an admission ticket. Read on to learn about how to get to the Cu Chi Tunnels, then follow their free guide for a money saving adventure.
Visit the Cu Chi tunnels on your own by calling a taxi, renting a Car, or hop on the local bus. Every option above has its own merits. Follow my recommendations found below, and you will be climbing through those elaborate tunnels in no time at all.
If you are adventurous but on a budget, I believe you are not looking at hiring a taxi or renting a car. Renting a Taxi or Car is a great option though for some that are not on a tight budget. I’ll give you options to pick and choose the best transportation for your Cu Chi Tunnel experience.
Standing on the sidewalk, waving your arm to flag down a taxi isn’t what I have in mind. Mai Linh, one of the most reputable Taxi companies in Ho Chi Minh City, offer some roundtrip fares to Cu Chi.
Be clear with the taxi company over the phone on dropping you at the Benh Duoc entrance. Also your driver will most likely not speak much English, if any. Speak to the operator on the phone ahead of time about any questions you might have before departing with the taxi.
Here are the contact information for Mai Linh. Use this information to get a taxi anytime not just for the Cu Chi Tunnels.
Mai Linh Taxi (10-15 minutes call before)
Hotline: 028 3838 3838
Saigon (District 1) -> Cu Chi Tunnels( Ben Duoc Entrance)
Option 1: 7 Hours or 70km (140km total) Package
4 Seats: 1,160,000 VND
7 Seats: 1,340,000 VND
Option 2: 6 Hour or 50 km (100km total)
4 Seats: 950,000 VND
7 Seats: 1,130,000 VND
***Every Extra Hour is 60,000 VND, Every Extra km is 12,000 VND***
***Tolls are not included in the price***
Hop out of bed early, even though it’s vacation time. Drag my lazy butt down to the hotel buffet for breakfast. Speak with the hotel concierge directly about calling Mai Linh. Show the hotel staff this article with the Mai Linh prices and be sure to repeat destination is the Ben Douc entrance. Confirm that twice, sometimes details get lost in Vietnam.
When driving to the Cu Chi Tunnels, ask the taxi driver for his phone number. Ring him up when you finish and are ready to be picked up.
Eating a tantalizing bowl of Pho for lunch or experiencing new dishes at the famous Beef Restaurants out in Cu Chi might be worth planning ahead of time on the way home.
Traveling with my family is like pulling my own teeth sometimes. A little sister who cries when out of her comfort zone and a brother who shouts about always being bored. The picture I am painting is familiar to some people. The family comfort factor rests heavily on us when traveling sometimes. Rental services have large comfortable vehicles that will make getting to the Cu Chi Tunnels easy for the planner in the family. A free guide at the Cu Chi Tunnels balances out the price to make it affordable to travel in style.
An Minh Car Rental
Phone (Mr Phong, Speaks some English): 0909 555 783
0913 724 238
Saigon -> Cu Chi Tunnels
6 Hour Two Way Trip Package
4 Seats : 1,100,000 VND
7 Seats: 1,200,000 VND
***100,000 VND for every hour over 6 hours***
***Tolls INCLUDED in the price***
The price is comparable to renting a taxi. I would go for renting the car as I would be able to set up communication and confirmation ahead of time via email. I also like being able to call Mr Phung on the phone during the trip if I needed to.
You could arrange the address you want to be dropped off at for the tunnels and then the address for anywhere you would like to stop for lunch.
Starting out a window on a long bus ride isn’t what some would call an adventure. When the local language is not English, something that sounds so mundane can become quite the voyage though. Not knowing what exactly will happen is all part of the mystery and fun of traveling.
I’ve tracked down everything you need to know to jump on the bus and get to the Cu Chi Tunnels. This way to travel is budget friendly.
# 13 Public Bus to Cu Chi Tunnels
Open time: 3:30 – 20:30
Type: 46-80 seat bus
Price: 7,000 VND
Quantity: 150 trips/day
Time length each trip: 60 – 75 minutes
Time between each bus: 10 – 20 minutes
#79 Public Bus from Cu Chi Bus Station -> Ben Duoc (Cu Chi)
Open time: 5:30 – 17:30
Type: 46-80 seat bus
Quantity: 70 trips/day
Time length each trip: 45 minutes (25 km)
Time between each bus: 10 – 20 minutes
Step 1: Wake up early. Eat some breakfast then head off to the bus station.
Step 2: Pack a small bag of any supplies you might need.
Step 3: Make your way to the Pham Ngu Lau Bus station at the end of 23/9 Park towards Nguyen Trai street. The location on the map below.
Step 4: Get on the Public Bus #13 to Ben Duoc. You will purchase your ticket in Vietnamese Dong from the Ticket Agent on the bus!
Step 5: Read a book, nap, strike up a conversation, or whatever tickles your fancy.
Step 6: Arrive at the Cu Chi Bus Terminal and search for Bus No. 79. There will be taxi drivers and motorbike drivers offering their services. Just ignore them, get to Bus No. 79 and buy a ticket from the agent on the bus.
Step 7. After 35 minutes there will be blue sign saying Ben Duoc to the left and Ben Dinh to the right. Get off 2 minutes later at the Ben Duoc entrance.
Step 8: Congratulate yourself for a mission well accomplished!
Step 9: Go into the main entrance, buy yourself an Entrance ticket. Walk your way to the local Cu Chi building where you will watch a short introduction video. After, you will receive a guide who will show you through the tunnels!
Step 10: Return to the No. 79 bus BEFORE 17:30, THIS IS THE LAST BUS OF THE NIGHT. Hop back on the No. 13 back to Saigon at the Cu Chi Terminal!
There you have it all of the knowledge you need to do the cu chi tunnels on your own. You might want to ask yourself if visiting the cu chi tunnels is worth it? If so, then what should I wear to the cu chi tunnels?
I hope this article helped, I invested some serious time into making it so if you enjoyed it please don’t hesitate to share it for other adventurous travelers like yourself.
Taking a Taxi has never been a budget-friendly option for traveling around. The situation is the same in Viet Nam. However, it turns out to be a decent choice in Vietnam where the condition of the public transportation system is troublesome even in major cities. If you prefer walking to taking a vehicle, you may want to think again. The hot and humid atmosphere combined with the hustle and bustle of Viet Nam will tire you down.
If this is your first time visiting Viet Nam, there is a big chance that you have many questions about taxi services. You may not know how to appropriately hail a taxi and wonder if the cab you are trying to catch is licensed. You are afraid of being ripped off. You want to know if it’s possible to pay for your ride by credit/debit card. So, let us show you everything you need to know about calling a taxi in Viet Nam, especially in major cities.
We only recommend Mai Linh Taxi and Vinasun Taxi for foreigners in Viet Nam. If you have any doubt about traditional taxi services in Viet Nam, it may be a good idea to use ride-hailing apps such as Grab or GoViet.
Unlike some other places around the world, for example in New York where taxis are either yellow or green, there are many brands operating cab services in Viet Nam. Hence, there are more than just one or two uniform colors for taxis.
If the taxi you are ordering is not licensed, which means it’s illegal and unregulated by local laws, you can easily get ripped off. The authorities might not be able to help you in these scenarios.
According to laws applied to transportation service vehicles, these are the things you need to notice before getting on any taxi in Viet Nam to avoid falling into dangerous situations:
– Brand name, operating phone number, and logo of the taxi service provider on both sides of the car.
– A price chart, a working meter connected to a receipt printer, and a taxi driver’s name card on prominent display inside of the vehicle.
– An authorized taxi emblem stuck to the windshield.
– A light box that says “TAXI” standing on top of the car.
If there is no passenger in the taxi between 6 PM to 6 AM, the driver is obligated to turn the lightbox on top of his vehicle on. If the light inside a cab is on, it’s available. You can feel free to hail them.
It might be frustrating to hail a taxi that looks “available” just to watch it pass by instead of stopping and picking you up. Perhaps the street is too crowded that the driver cannot turn the car towards you or they forgot to turn off the light. Please be patient and don’t get mad because it won’t happen regularly.
If you see an available licensed taxi on the street and want to hail it, feel free to do so since there is no specific spot for cab standing in Viet Nam. We know that hailing a taxi in the streets of Viet Nam doesn’t always bring about your desired result. Ordering one from their operators via phone might be a better option.
If you are staying in a motel, hotel or resort, ask the receptionist to order a taxi if you need one. They definitely can help overcome any language barrier.
If you want to order a taxi via phone by yourself, here is a list of the numbers of two trustworthy service providers in famous tourist cities and provinces of Viet Nam:
|CITY/PROVINCE||SERVICE PROVIDER||PHONE NUMBER||FARE (10% VAT INCLUDED)|
|Sapa (Lao Cai)||Mai Linh Taxi||1055 (national)|
(0214) 376 76 76
(0214) 370 70 70
|Up to 20.600VND/km|
|Ha Noi||Mai Linh Taxi||1055 (national)|
(024) 38 333 333 (024) 38 222 666 (024) 38 222 555 (024) 38 616 161
|Up to 20.600VND/km|
|Hoi An||Mai Linh Taxi||1055 (national)|
(0510) 3 92 92 92
|Up to 20.600VND/km|
|Vinasun||(0511) 3 68 68 68||Up to 16.500VND/km|
|Da Nang||Mai Linh Taxi||1055 (national)|
(0236) 3 56 56 56
|Up to 20.600VND/km|
|Vinasun||(0236) 3 68 68 68||Up to 16.500VND/km|
|Hue||Mai Linh Taxi||1055 (national)|
(0234) 3 89 89 89
(0234) 3 82 47 47
|Up to 20.600VND/km|
|Nha Trang||Mai Linh Taxi||1055 (national)|
(0258) 38 38 38 38
|Up to 20.600VND/km|
|Vinasun||(0258) 38 27 27 27||Up to 16.500VND/km|
|Da Lat||Mai Linh Taxi||1055 (national)|
(0263) 38 38 38 38
|Up to 20.600VND/km|
|Ho Chi Minh City||Mai Linh Taxi||1055 (national)|
(028) 38 38 38 38
|Up to 20.600VND/km|
|Vinasun||(028) 38 27 27 27||Up to 16.000VND/km|
|Can Tho||Mai Linh Taxi||1055 (national)|
(0292) 3 65 65 65
|Up to 20.600VND/km|
|Vinasun||(0292) 38 27 27 27||Up to 16.500VND/km|
The meter begins counting when the taxi picks you up. There is a fare called “open-door-fare”. It is set approximately from 8.000VND to 15.000VND depends on the service provider and model of the car. The further your distance is, the cheaper fare-per-kilometer you have to pay. For example, Vinasun’s open-door-fare for a 5-seated Toyota Vios is 11.000VND. Then, you are charged 14.500VND/km for the first 30 kilometers, and 11.600VND/km from the 31st kilometer and beyond. There is always a price chart inside every taxi showing detailed information and fare.
There is no Uber or Lyft in Viet Nam. Instead, there are several similar ridesharing and ride service hailing networks such as Grab or GoViet for you to choose in your personal preference. They have foreseeable service fare as well as emergency reporting features thus the rides are more reasonable and safer.
Drivers usually prefer cash. You can pay for your ride with credit/debit cards as well. Tipping is not a familiar manner in Viet Nam, but you can consider doing that if your trip is excellent. Drivers sometimes expect not to give back your change if it’s a small amount. If you feel irritated about it, tell them immediately.
Before getting on any taxi, remember the number on the license plate, the taxi number glued on the windshield, or the driver’s name. If possible, take note of that information in case something dangerous happens. If you have a terrible ride or accidentally forget your belongings in the cab, providing that information to the operators can help solve your problems quickly.
You can’t fully trust registered drivers since some of them might try to rip you off by going on a detour. You could always open up Google Maps to make sure your driver isn’t taking you the long way.
Taking a Taxi is almost never going to be the most budget-friendly option. If budget isn’t your primary concern, taking a cab surely is easier and more comfortable than waiting for a bus or walking under the scorching sun. Also Taxi’s in Vietnam are most likely a lot cheaper than what you can find in other countries. We hope this article has helped you answer any questions you might have about how to call a taxi in Vietnam.
As a local Vietnamese from the Mekong, I spent the first 18 years of my life living in the beautiful Mekong Delta before moving to the big city of Ho Chi Minh! In the past 5 years, I’ve been traveling back and forth between Saigon and the Mekong Delta at least once a month to visit my family. I guess you can say that I am pretty much an expert on how to get to the Mekong Delta from Ho Chi Minh City.
There are five different methods you can use to visit the gigantic and popular Mekong Delta. You can get to the Mekong Delta by Car, Bus, Motorbike, Boat, or Plane but not all ways to travel or created equal. It’s best to plan what kind of Mekong adventure you want which will be a large part of how you should get there!
In this article, I’ll give my personal recommendations for every method of travel including my preferred way to travel and the best version of each method. Whether you are adventurous and want to drive yourself on a motorbike, easy going and want to join a bus tour, or looking for something more personal like a private experience this article has all the information you need.
Taking a scooter to the Mekong Delta from Saigon on your own can be an exciting adventure that you will remember for a lifetime.
Coming from Vinh Long in the Mekong Delta, I am familiar with motorbike drive from Ho Chi Minh City down to the more famous areas of the Mekong. When I visit my hometown, I almost always use my motorbike. The motorbike trip takes around 4 hours which makes it fast, easy, and cheap. On average, it takes me less than 4 hours one way from my house in Saigon to my mother’s house in the Mekong Delta.
With such a short distance between the two cities, a trip to the Mekong Delta on the motorbike will be a fun and exciting day trip that will only take around 4 hours each way. If you are a first time traveler to Vietnam, you should focus on visiting Can Tho, Ben Tre and Tien Giang. These cities are known for the splendid floating markets, alongside the infinite green rice fields and an immense network of rivers and canals.
If you’re about to go to the Mekong Delta from Ho Chi Minh City on your own motorbike, then here are some of my useful tips from my own experience.
Even for a local like me, getting pulled over by traffic police along the way is always my top fear. They can appear all of the sudden from nowhere and pull me in for some random reasons. To avoid this situation, don’t break the rules when driving. Driving your scooter in the car lane, not using turn signals, and speeding are the three most common reasons for being pulled over from my own experience.
I’m usually worried about getting lost and the language barrier when driving on my own in a new place outside of Vietnam. I think you may face the same issue when driving to the Mekong Delta on your own. In this case, a local guide or a Vietnamese friend by your side will be super helpful. They will know the way better, and it’s easy for them to talk to a native person in case you get lost.
If I were you, I would consider having a local Vietnamese friend or a tour guide to escort me to the Mekong Delta. It’s good to have a local friend who’s willing to travel back and forth by your side. Otherwise, you may need a local tour guide, who can become really helpful if you have some problems on the drive, like a flat tire.
Before planning a motorbike trip to the Mekong Delta, you need to rent a scooter for yourself. TIGIT does a really good job in scooter rental service in many big cities across Vietnam including Saigon. Just go ahead to the TIGIT website, skim through all the categories offered and contact them for more details!
Even though driving to the Mekong is super fun and pretty easy in general, it’s still not for everyone. Joining the traffic in Vietnam is another kind of game, which requires you to have basic knowledge and experience driving a motorcycle or two-wheeled vehicle.
Not every single Vietnamese driver follows the rules strictly while driving on the roads in Vietnam. Which means a car or container truck may show up all of the sudden in front of you at a cross-road or T-junction, along with many other random situations that you’re not aware of beforehand. Therefore, it’s good if you’re an adventurous person, but without basic motorbike driving skills, I do not recommend you drive a scooter in Vietnam on your own!
Last but not least, remember to cover yourself with travel insurance before arriving to Vietnam just like anywhere on Earth, especially if you’re up for driving a scooter here.
Knowing that many of my foreign friends are not capable of driving a motorbike in Vietnam but are still interested to see the Mekong in a totally cool new way got me researching. After some digging, I had some recommendations for them which turned out to be a great experience. They told me it was the highlight of their time in Southern Vietnam. Some of the top agencies offering motorbike tours to the Mekong from Saigon that come highly recommended are Vespa Adventures, Saigon Riders, and Onetrip Adventures.
As a passionate worker in the travel industry myself, these are simply some of the best motorbike tour agencies that bring you the finest off-the-beaten-path experiences. I don’t think other mainstream agencies are able to give you this type of in depth tour. Their well-trained guides can guarantee a fun and safe adventure! Go ahead and check them out!
The Bus is easily the most used transportation method for both locals and tourists to visit the Mekong Delta. There are many types of bus companies ranging from cheap and very local to high quality that are expensive. We are gonna discuss two options for you as a traveller to get to the Mekong Delta by bus. The first option will be to book a bus on your own to be dropped off in Can Tho or another city in the Mekong. The second option is to work with a reputable company that will arrange not only the bus but also the tour experience.
When it comes to booking your own bus to the Mekong Delta, it can be a bit overwhelming as there are so many options out there that all seem relatively similar. This may not be true when it comes to the quality of the trip or the bus itself. I recommend the bus company of Futa for anyone wanting to book tickets themselves. Compared to other brands, Futa is a leader in terms of quality and charisma. When I’m just feeling too exhausted to drive my motorbike for 4 hours to my hometown, then Futa is my go-to alternative.
To book the tickets, you can either call them or purchase online via Futa. After that, arrive at the ticket booth at Ben Xe Mien Tay (West Coach Station – Booth No.23), show your confirmation email to the ticket seller in order to get the tickets. Remember to arrive around 60 minutes before departure.
West Coach Station Address: 395 Kinh Duong Vuong st, Binh Tan District, Ho Chi Minh City.
Futa hotline: 19006067
Many tourists in Saigon will opt for a one or two day trip to the Mekong Delta when they don’t want to go sightseeing by themselves. This is a good pick as you will have a tour guide arrange everything for you, and show you all the most iconic features of the Mekong Delta. This choice is also relatively cheap compared to many private tour packages around the city.
However, you need to keep in mind that these bus tours are usually very low quality and touristy. You will stop at places where they ask you to spend money for souvenirs so that the tour guide can make extra commision. The standard tour for these large bus groups is also not very appealing and has led to some major complaints that can be found in many online reviews. We recommend doing your research and understanding what kind of experience you would like for the amount of money you want to spend.
If you would like to experience the Mekong Delta via a bus tour, I recommend checking out the offers from Sinh Tourist, TNK Travel or Saigon Tourist. While these companies do offer your typical Mekong bus tour experience, these brands have been around for a long time and can be trusted in terms of safety and reputation. They all offer a wide array of packages to the Mekong Delta with the cheapest price starting at around 300.000 VND/pax, which is very reasonable.
When is a private car the better option? If you don’t want to join other travellers, then you may consider renting a private car with your own driver.
Most of the time, I don’t take a private car to travel to my hometown. The exceptions that my family might consider renting a car from Saigon to the Mekong would be for a large family gathering or for a wedding. This way the older family members can travel in comfort and the whole family can be together for the trip.
For those considering visiting Can Tho, a price for a one-day round trip should be around 1,500,000 VND. However, it varies a lot depending on the distance and route, so when you contact a car rental operator, remember to go specific on details such as pick-up and drop-off time.
We have worked with An Minh Car Rental to book cars for our private tours inside of Ho Chi Minh City. They are easy to communicate with and offer a wide range of cars, vans, and buses. If you have any issues with a language barrier, please free to reach out to your local host or receptionist.
Phone (Mr Phong, Speaks some English): 0909 555 783
0913 724 238
Roundtrip Saigon to Can Tho
8 Hours or 110 Km
For 4 people: 2,000,000 VND
For 7 people: 2,200,000 VND
Overnight: 3,000,000 VND
*Note: The price could be different on National Holidays.
There is only one flight from Ho Chi Minh City to the Mekong Delta, which takes you directly to the island of Phu Quoc. Traveling by bus and then boat to Phu Quoc can take up to 9 hours. I would much rather spend a little extra money to take a 1 hour flight to visit Phu Quoc.
Vietjet and Jetstar Pacific usually offers flights to Phu Quoc that can range from $64 to $128 USD. With such reasonable prices, I think it’s a no brainer to fly to Phu Quoc over the bus/boat route.
For your information, there are two airports in the Mekong, one in Can Tho and another one in Phu Quoc. My initial thought was, why not just spend 45 minutes on a flight to Can Tho instead of spending 4 hours on a bus? However, it turns out that there’s no direct flight from Saigon to Can Tho, not at this time. It is possible to fly straight to Can Tho from other major cities in Vietnam like Hanoi and Da Nang. You may consider flying directly to Can Tho and then making a trip up to Ho Chi Minh City.
One last option is to go to the Mekong Delta on a boat. As far as I know, you can only sign up for a tour offered by a company. There is no rental boat service for the route between Saigon and the Mekong Delta, since the daily rate is usually high, it can go up to $1000/hour depending on which type of boat you’re looking for.
For boat tours, Les Rives and Fish Eye Travel are the two top-rated agencies introducing boat trips to different parts of Saigon and also to the Mekong via waterways. Les Rives and Fish Eye offers one-day tripsto the Mekong at nearly 3,000,000 VND.
Pricey as it seems, their quality is second to none! You can read all the reviews on their website or TripAdvisor before making a decision. Most of their services include pick-up and drop-off, multiple departure times throughout the day, and additional tour inclusions.
I hope this article helped you navigate the best option that suits you! If you think you enjoyed this article and found it helpful please share it so others can also find out how to go to the Mekong Delta from Ho Chi Minh!
Many of my friends from school asked the question “Is Ho Chi Minh City Safe?”. Many of them are from smaller cities and countryside towns outside of Ho Chi Minh City. So for them to move to the big city was a scary notion that made them wonder about the safety. Ho Chi Minh City is like any other big city in the world, you will always want to be aware of your surroundings and watch out for common risks that can be dangerous for not only residents but travelers.
Ho Chi Minh City is actually quite safe. Besides some scams and petty thefts, there isn’t much that a traveller will have to worry about if they are traveling wisely. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be aware of common safety tips that you wouldn’t know if you weren’t a local or even a frequent world traveler. I’m gonna give you the best tips on how to be on the lookout and to prevent common scams, pickpockets, and robberies. I’ll also let you know about how to stay safe when walking around and also when eating local food.
Taking over the sidewalk seems to be a part of the culture of Vietnamese in every major town in Vietnam. The culprits of this encroachment are often food hawkers, shop owners, and motorbike parking for locals. Hawkers bring their goods everywhere to sell for customers whom they meet on the street. When they find a “gold place” where there are many people they will set up shop. This can cause congestion on the sidewalk but many of us accept this as a way of life. We want local food hawkers to be able to make money to support themselves but also provide us with delicious Vietnamese food!
Shop Owners also do a similar thing, when it comes to taking up public space on the sidewalks. The shops will often not have a private parking lot for their customers. To meet the demand of customers parking, they turn their storefront sidewalks into parking lots. Consequently, you will see a lot of motorbikes built into long rows on the sidewalk. This again is something that as locals we have been willing to accept because we appreciate being able to park our motorbikes in front of stores when we wish to go shopping.
These are the reasons that our sidewalks are always a bit congested and difficult to walk in the more local areas. Another point we want to make about walking in Ho Chi Minh City is that the sidewalk is a bit rough and uneven in many places. Be sure to wear nice walking shoes when traveling around during the day so that you can be more steady on your feet when running into unexpected cracks and potholes.
Government has done a nice job in recent years of keeping the sidewalks in District 1 and 3 clear to allow a better walking experience for travelers. If you are looking at walking around downtown areas, we still recommend wearing comfortable sneakers as some of the pavement is still under construction and a bit uneven.
One of the exciting experiences that anyone traveling to another country has is tasting local food. Vietnamese cuisine is a rich and important part of Vietnamese culture. Ho Chi Minh city has a lot of food hawkers and small local restaurants that serve up great delicious Vietnamese food. This creates an issue when travellers want to eat the local cuisine but aren’t sure how to navigate food vendors to choose the right one in terms of food safety. One common misconception among a lot of travellers is that the locals in a country don’t get sick from dirty food. This couldn’t be further from the truth, we all get sick from dirty food unless you are Superwoman. As a local, we know what to look for in street food hawkers and small restaurants to avoid eating food that could make our stomachs upset.
My local tips are using online apps for recommendations, finding stalls who have prepared a lot of food, and eating from crowded places. There are many famous food locations that have many good reviews on food apps like Foody.vn or Tripadvisor. Looking to see how much food a vendor or restaurant has prepared in advance is a safe bet that lots of locals eat there everyday. Another way that is used to identify good quality food stalls is based on the number of guests, the crowded stalls will often be safe. Of course, you can always take a look at our Food Tours here at Back of the Bike Tours if you want to try some delicious and safe Vietnamese food!
Any major city in the world that has large amounts of tourism, also has its fair share of scam artists looking to prey on tourists to make some quick money. There is a phrase in Vietnamese “Tay Balo” which means someone who doesn’t know a currency or local prices very well. This is a common phrase used among despicable scam artists that work as taxi drivers or street merchants. Don’t be “Tay Balo” use our guides to learn about Vietnam before coming so that you can understand the local currency and prices before arriving to avoid these types of situations.
Dishonest sellers have many ways to deceive foreigners such as raising the price of goods, taking advantage of currency confusion, or using some fraudulent calculations. This is different than your normal bartering that happens at many of the markets in Ho Chi Minh City, which is a fun part of travelling to Asia that many tourists want to experience. We are referring to a vendor who will sell a coconut that costs 30,000 VND ($1.28 usd) for 300,000VND ($12.87 usd). This is outrageous and a true scam but it happens everyday to tourists who do not understand the currency before they travel to Vietnam. To prevent these situations from happening, make sure that you have knowledge of Vietnamese currency and can distinguish the similar banknotes.
Yes! Shopping is safe in Ho Chi Minh City and quite fun for a lot of travellers who come here looking for the thrill of the bargain! My suggestion is to do your due diligence before coming so that you have an understanding of what is a fair price for some things. My tips for bargaining is to not pay more than ⅔ of the starting price the vendor offers. Also, always be willing to walk away from the deal!
Before famous apps like Grab and Uber, Vietnamese and foreigners in Ho Chi Minh City relied heavily on Taxi Cabs. This led to a lot of Vietnamese and Foreigners being ripped off by illegitimate drivers and companies. Today there are only two companies we recommend when using a taxi cab and those two are Mai Linh and Vina Sun.
Even though these are great companies with a decent reputation, things aren’t always perfect so you need to be aware of a few common taxi scams. The first scam would be the classic “drive around” where the taxi will add some distance to the drive by going the long way to get to your destination. You can avoid this by opening up google maps on your phone to be aware of where your driver is taking you.
Another Taxi Scam to be aware of would be the broken meter, which means the meter starts moving at a very quick rate of speed. Last but not least, is the luggage highjack. This scam happens if a taxi driver tries to refuse giving luggage back if a customer does not pay the exorbitant amount of money the taxi driver is trying to scam them for. To avoid that type of situation, I never keep my truly important things in luggage that is too far away from me when I get into a taxi.
I am sure the feeling when someone steals your possessions without your knowing is really upsetting. It does happen at many places in Ho Chi Minh city, especially in crowded places including Nguyen Hue Walking Street, Bui Vien Walking Street, shopping centers, Ben Thanh market, or public transportation. The pickpockets take advantage of the cramped distance of crowded places to quietly sneak into your pocket, purse, or bag.
The rules to remember are to store valuables in a safe at the hotel. Bags and Backpacks should be moved to the front of your chest when in these crowded areas. Do not regularly check the pockets containing important assets, as it’s the way to show the thieves where you are keeping your wallet. Be wary when someone bumps into you or approaches you too closely, thieves often use this trick to approach their prey. Finally, when you take money out of your pocket for payment, do not forget to pay attention to your surroundings.
From my perspective, robberies are the most dangerous risk in Ho Chi Minh city. Not only foreign tourists but also Vietnamese residents are often victims of bag or phone snatching by thieves on motorbikes. This only takes a few seconds, you won’t have enough time to react promptly and protect your assets. This can happen anywhere, at any time. Maybe it comes when you’re walking on the road, driving on the motorcycles, getting out of the car or buying something from street vendors.
The way Vietnamese people apply to prevent losing property is to avoid using their bag or phone while standing on the street, where bags with a strap across their chest and staying aware of their surroundings. Try to limit using smartphones while traveling on the road when it is not needed. If you need to use your phone, be sure to be away from the street and standing on part of the sidewalk that is not easy to get to for a motorbike. If you have some valuable assets such as watches, necklaces or bracelets, my advice for you is not to bring it with you when traveling to Vietnam. Of course wearing your wedding ring is okay and no cause for alarm but there isn’t anything to gain from bringing fancy jewelry on your vacation to a developing country. Robbers often pay attention to valuable things that catch their attention quickly, so it’s best to avoid putting yourself in this situation.
At the end of the day, I have lived in Ho Chi Minh City my whole life and I am proud to be from here. I don’t feel scared or threatened. My country and people are beautiful even if in the big city you always need to be aware and to be careful. If Vietnam is one of the destinations on your travel plan, I think you shouldn’t miss Ho Chi Minh city. It is an interesting place with a unique cultural and culinary richness that you can’t find anywhere else in the world.
The Visa process has been adjusted last year in order to encourage more travelers and tourists to come to Vietnam.
This is great news for a lot of people but still not a perfect solution. With that being said, let’s talk about Vietnam Visa. who needs it? who doesn’t? how to get one?.
A passport! This might seem crazy to some people to even mention this but some might not be used to traveling. So lets cover it, you MUST HAVE a passport if you are visiting Vietnam from another country.
This next point is very important and I have actually seen many people get caught up on this and not even realize it until they get here.
**important** Your passport must have 6 month of validity from the date of Travel. **important**
Our company Back of the Bike Tours have actually seen this issue a few times where one person in a group gets stopped from traveling because of this issue.
Don’t let it happen to you! Check cousin Jimmy and Grandma’s passport to make sure they aren’t expiring 6 months from the date you land in Vietnam.
This isn’t something you can get around as well, If you land in Vietnam with a passport that is expiring, they will not let you in. Your best and most unlikely scenario would be that your embassy would issue you an emergency passport to travel. The most likely thing to happen is that you will be on the next flight home after sitting in the airport for a number of hours.
There are only 24 countries at the moment who are allowed to enter Vietnam without needing a Visa for a certain amount of time.
Hey! That is pretty lucky as most countries do require a visa! Congrats and we hope you enjoy your vacation. Please make sure you don’t plan your trip longer than your visa exemption lasts and you will be golden! If you plan on staying longer than the amount of time you are exempt then please continue to read on and learn more.
That’s okay! Maybe your country will be exempt next year!
Let’s get you a Visa so that you can have fun traveling around this beautiful country.
Let’s jump into each way to get your Vietnam Visa, the specifics on how to get it. The advantages and disadvantages of each one.
This is old reliable.
Before the days of the internet and expecting everything within just a few minutes of our current culture, we all had to send our Passport to the embassy before taking off to Visit Vietnam.
Each country has its own price and time frame to complete the Visa Process. Since there are so many different countries world wide we believe you should use the following link to track down the embassy in your country and follow their Visa Process which should be rather easy and simple to follow.
Use this link to track down the website for you a consulate/embassy in your home country to follow their Visa Process. https://www.embassypages.com/vietnam
Here is an example of the Visa Process from The Vietnamese Embassy in the United States,
APPLY FOR VISA IN PERSON OR BY MAIL
The process above seems rather straightforward.
I have personally always gotten my Visa on Arrival, but I can see how getting your visa before leaving would be easy just to have it completed and done before leaving. One less thing to worry about when traveling with a large group or small children
If you are worried about submitting for your Vietnam Visa on arrival through a scam site, then bypass those worries and just apply directly with the embassy.
When planning travel and on the actual date of flying, sometimes thinks can feel rushed and overwhelmed. If you get your visa through the consulate/embassy its done and there will be no surprises when you land in Vietnam. This peace of mind is comforting and a huge reason to get your visa through the consulate.
Many of the consulates/embassies provide an online payment source for you to pay for your Visa before sending your Passport to them for the Visa. Some people enjoy this rather then having to worry about cash payments on arrival in Vietnam.
If you have your Visa already, you will queue up in the immigration line and not have to wait for the “Visa on Arrival” line that can sometimes add over an hour to the immigration process depending on how long the wait is when you arrive. After a long flight, I do find this additional line irritating.
Getting a Visa from your embassy/consulate provides the option for you to apply for single or multiple entry Vietnam Visa and 1 month or 3 months Vietnam Visa.
If you don’t have the luck of living right next to an embassy or consulate, you will have to send your Passport in via the post. This might take up to 6 weeks to get your passport back. If you are great at planning and do this part early, then time may not be a factor that you’ll need to worry about.
Depending on your individual consulate, this might turn out being the most expensive way to get your visa. But the peace of mind might be worth it.
This feels like a bit of a con because I don’t write many checks or get money orders in the days of debit/credit cards. This may not be a big deal for those who often deal with these forms of payments.
Verdict: If I was traveling with just myself or as a couple. I might go for the option of getting my visa on arrival or Evisa listed below. If I was traveling with children or any sort of large group whether its all friends or family, I would prefer to gather all the passports and send them in for a Visa before the trip just for the knowledge that I won’t have any surprises when I land. This is my personal opinion though, and please use all the information provided to find out what works best for you.
Okay, here is the deal with the Visa on Arrival.
Step 1: You Fill out some information online and make a payment to receive a Approval Letter. This letter allows you to get a Visa when you land before you go through immigration.
Step 2: You land in Vietnam, before you can go through immigration, you have to wait in line to get your Visa. This is where you will give them your approval letter, a form, and the additional photos you brought along. You will have to also pay a Stamping Fee here, which they would like for you to pay in cash. If you don’t have cash they will have someone escort you to an ATM inside the airport( I have had this happen before)
Step 3: Once your passport is stamped, you get your passport back with your visa inside and now you can go through immigration. Enjoy your time in Vietnam 🙂
You can sign up for your approval letter rather quickly, and in just a few days receive the letter allowing you to travel to Vietnam and get your Visa.
The Visa on Arrival might be a little bit cheaper than sending your Passports to the embassy or consulate in your home country. This does depend on each country individually as the price for the visa differs country to country.
In Emergency cases you can get your Approval letter in just 4 hours. This does depend on the time and availability of the immigration office and the agency you are using for you letter.
The Visa on Arrival does not require you to go out of your way when preparing for a trip to Vietnam. After receiving your Approval Letter via email, the only thing you need to do is fly to Vientam where you will get your visa right when you get off the plane.
The Vietnam on Arrival provides the option for you to apply for single or multiple entry and 1 or 3 months.
I have used the Visa on Arrival process every time I have needed to travel when I first came to Vietnam before receiving my Residency card. There was never an issue i had with scams but apparently it does happen, so often that you can find warnings issued on Vietnam Embassy websites as you can see here:
(The following is an excerpt from http://vietnamconsulate.org.au)
Warning from Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Australia: There has been an increase in the number of Australians applying online for a ‘visa on arrival’ approval letter. There have been reports of visa scams involving online Vietnamese visa applications. There have also been reports of applicants’ personal details being made public by online visa websites. As result, we recommend you apply for a Vietnamese visa directly from the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Vietnam.
– We have the honour to announce that the following websites are not legitimate:
http://vietnam-embassy.org, http://myvietnamvisa.com, http://vietnamvisacorp.com, http://vietnam-visa.com, http://visavietnam.gov.vn, http://vietnamvisa.gov.vn, http://visatovietnam.gov.vn, http://vietnam-visa.gov.vn
– The Consular Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Viet Nam has recently received many feedbacks from foreign nationals on the visa online service provided by above-mentioned websites.
– We holds no responsibility for any visa application for Viet Nam provided by these services.
Personally, I have had no issue using an online service, but it is important to be made aware that these services are not the Vietnamese Government so they do hold some risk when relying on them for your visa.
I have marked time as a pro when it comes to getting the approval letter, but the time spent waiting for your stamp after a long flight can be excruciating. I have also waited for hours at the airport when friends and family were waiting to receive their Visa stamp before going into already long immigration lines.
I believe the biggest con here is that if there were any issues in your Approval letter process, then you might have a difficult time on arrival that will not be a great way to start your vacation. The other issue here is that sometimes people forget, I have been caught at the Visa on Arrival window myself with no cash for the stamping fee. That was painful after a long flight. A different example, my friend forgot her photos to give to the VOA when she arrived so she had to take time to get new photos and pay for that. While not expensive, its just painful after a long flight and doesn’t provide a “I’m ready for vacation” mood.
The Vietnam on Arrival ONLY applies to travelers coming into Vietnam through an International Airport in Vietnam. This leaves Land or Sea Arrivals needing a different way to get a visa like the Vietnam E-Visa.
Verdict: Visa on Arrival is really useful if you are in a pinch and need a visa quickly. If that is the case, then that one pro outweighs all of the cons of the Vietnam Visa on Arrival. If you are planning your vacation in advance, then getting your visa before you arrive might be a better option.
I am glad you asked! The Vietnam E-visa is an excellent step forward for Vietnam. Adapting their tourism policies and infrastructure to their customers needs is very important and we are so excited to see that happening last year with the introduction of Vietnam E-Visa.
The first and most important thing you need to know about the Vietnam E-Visa
You can only get the Vietnam Visa here -> https://evisa.xuatnhapcanh.gov.vn/web/guest/trang-chu-ttdt
Any other site is not an E-Visa and is either a scam or just signing you up for the Visa on Arrival.
This is so important I am gonna say it twice 🙂
You can only get the Vietnam Visa here -> https://evisa.xuatnhapcanh.gov.vn/web/guest/trang-chu-ttdt
Alright, Now that we have that cleared up let’s get into understanding what you’ll need for the E-Visa.
You will need a photo of yourself that looks like this. Your face will need to be clear with a white or light colored background.
The next thing you will need is a clear photo of your passport details that looks like this.
Here are a few tips from struggles we have read about online.
Be sure that your photos are Jpeg images
You might need to resize the photo so that it is smaller for upload if you are using a photo from your phone rather than scanning your passport and photo. This can easily done by opening Paint program and resizing the photo to a smaller size.
To resize the image copy:
After you have all that, its a simple process of filling in and submitting the form.
You will need to pay $25 for your Vietnam E-Visa which is Single Entry for 30 days which should cover most travelers coming to Vietnam.
The E-Visa is the cheapest option out of all three. At $25 for a 30 day single entry this is a nice price compared to the charge by embassies and consulates. Its not such a far departure from the price for Vietnams Visa on Arrival but still cheaper.
This is the only option for paying your full Visa fee with a credit or debit card.
Receiving your Visa back in 3-5 days is great turn around for the complete Visa.
You can use your E-Visa at every port of entry into Vietnam.
After viewing the website and entry form, this is a simple process to get your visa.
Once you have received your Visa with No Errors on it, you are 100% done, just go right through immigration when you get to Vietnam with no worries. Personally, this is my favorite part, I like knowing that things are complete and done with no hang ups.
The current process doesn’t allow for travelers to select anything other than the 30 day single entry Vietnam Visa. If you need to leave and come back, you will need to have another Visa.
Currently, you can only apply for 1 visa at a time on the website. This means a family of 4 will have to enter in 4 different forms and make 4 different payments on the government website for the Vietnam E-Visa. This is a bit painful for most of us, but might be worth it when considering the price.
It seems that the website has some issues every now and again not letting people submit photos. These seems to be debugged rather quickly and sometimes are user errors but it travelers should still be aware.
Some name Typos may occur on your visa, these issues can from from the user or the immigration office. Either one still causes an issue going through immigration if the name on your Visa doesn’t match your passport. Please check each name carefully.
This wraps up most everything you would need to know when it comes to getting a Vietnam Visa. As you can see there are multiple options with multiple pro’s and con’s.
If you have any more questions about traveling to Vietnam or the Visa Process, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to help!