Two days visiting Saigon and how to start your first solo travel
If you have never experienced being a solo traveler, I’m pretty sure you might be anxious. The same as I was, but once you’ve experienced it, you can never stop doing it!
It was just a short weekend break and I didn’t know where to stay, I just knew I didn’t want to be far from the action, so I decided to take an early morning bus to Saigon and arrived just as the sun went down. I hadn’t planned anywhere to stay, so I went straight to a café to grab some WiFi and start searching for a hotel. There were plenty of hotels that you can just walk into and book a room, but I knew I’d get a better deal if I booked online and it would be better to book in advance.
Night Out in the City
A whole day on the bus was enough, so after I’d found a hotel and checked in, it was time to cool down with some air-con and a shower. Then it was time for a night of exploring the city!
It would be better to try out some of the lesser-known, quieter bars and restaurants on the side streets, rather than the packed tourist ones along the main street. I walked through the city’s tiny, dark alleys that I initially thought were just a way in or out of people’s homes – and they were, but there were also plenty of bars and street food stalls to be found there too!
I tried a few local bars and then moved on to some of the more touristy places – one with a rooftop bar with stunning views across the city and where I had my first shisha pipe with apple-flavored tobacco.
The Rumour of the Chaos Traffic is True!
I thought Phnom Penh was the craziest city on Earth when it came to traffic, but when I saw motorbikes in Saigon … OMG, this city wins hands down! It appeared though everyone here drove a motorbike, they’re everywhere – you really have to keep your wits about you! Once I was told … “The only way to cross the street is to shut your eyes and walk” lol, even when the traffic’s crazy and chaotic. But despite the chaos, it’s still relatively organized and people follow the rules of the road and traffic lights.
Exploring the Crowded City
There was an election office right next door, which woke me up pretty early, so I headed off to explore the city after breakfast. Most of the time I walked from place to place, but there’s plenty of cheap taxis if you need an easier way of getting around.
The first day in Saigon I explored the Palace for the whole morning, and then just wandered around the city, parks, and shops.
The second day I decided to walk again to the Central Post Office – it’s huge and stunningly beautiful, much bigger than the one in Phnom Penh but all they had to offer were gifts and souvenirs – it really is about the building itself, inside it’s just a functional post office. Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon. There were so many locals in the church, chanting and praying. Even the tourists seemed to be more interested in watching them than in visiting the Post Office.
Before I left
In the early morning, I decided to visit some Chinese temples nearby before my bus back to Cambodia in the mid-afternoon.
I walked and explored along the riverside, although there was one funny moment when I ended up at the ‘wrong’ bar, where I was offered a little more than I bargained for lol!