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25 Things Women Should Know about Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam...

 

Swinging nightlife...

The nightlife in Saigon is always ‘moving’ every day of the week – in fact – it’s dancing. The Vietnamese love to do ballroom dancing – and they are great at it. To experience a great mix of Vietnamese locals and expats hanging out together, check out one of the many free dance nights around town. Swing Dancing takes place Wednesday nights at Moli Lounge – G/F Petrohouse 5 Le Duan, District 1. The Saigon Swing Club teaches a free class before the open dance begins! Or if you like Salsa check out Salsa Saigon’s website to learn of their weekly open dancing.

After dancing – cool down with a creamy refreshment – ice cream with an Vietnamese twist! Fanny’s Ice Cream serves up flavors such as young rice (my favorite), salt caramel, chocolate chili, ginger, and anise. Plus – if you are in Saigon on the 1st Friday of the month, stop by Fanny’s for an all you-can-eat ice cream buffet! You can never have too much of a good thing!

 

A word on safety...

As a resident there I spent a great deal of time walking around on my own and I always felt safe. Saigon is full of the usual suspects – namely people willing to snag your purse or backpack. So, always keep your handbag or pack security attached to you and while walking down the street, keep your purse hanging on the inside away from the street and motorbike bandits. Also – I highly recommend when at a restaurant, don’t place your bag on the floor or a chair back. I always kept my bag strapped around my knee or simply around my body. Also consider leaving your passport back in your hotel safe if you don’t need to carry it. However, always carry a copy of the front page of your passport in a money belt close to your body.

 

Need a doctor?...

Thanks to a large expat community, there are great options for medical attention while in Saigon. The Family Medical Practice Vietnam is a centrally located western run clinic which can see you if the heat, food, or a flu-bug has got you down. They also have 24 hr emergency assistance. The prices are somewhat typical for western medical services, but you know that you are getting the best care while in a foreign country.

 

Vietnamese cookbook and website to explore...

Are you interested in knowing more about Vietnamese food before (or after) you travel? Journeywoman thought you'd enjoy reading about Vietnamese cooking expert, Andrea Nguyen.

'When her family was airlifted out of Saigon in 1975, one of the few belongings that her mother hurriedly packed for the journey was her small orange notebook of recipes. Thirty years later, her daughter, Andrea Nguyen had the good fortune of writing her own intimate collection of recipes, Into the Vietnamese Kitchen, published by Ten Speed Press, chronicling the food traditions of her native country and how they sustained her family as they adapted to their new home in America'.

This culinary expert and teacher also writes an excellent blog called, Viet World Kitchen. Click here to explore some of her wonderful Vietnamese recipes within that blog.

 

Know before you go...

 

If you intend to travel out of Saigon – then a good travel agent goes a long way to navigating the confusing airlines and antiquated booking systems. Try Exotissimo - they are well respected among the expats in the area.

 


 

There are millions of small little hotels all over Saigon, but I would recommend Asian Ruby Hotel . This is where my family members stayed when visiting; we found the staff, service, and location all very good.

If you are looking for a unique guidebook – check out To Vietnam With Love for insider tips from people who have lived there.

 

Want to learn how to cross the busy streets in Ho Chi Minh City without being knocked down by motor scooters, cars, trucks and buses? Click here.

 

Want more shopping ideas? Vietnam is known for their made-to-measure clothing, lacquer ware, woodwork, fine cotton goods, machine embroidered and hand embroidered goods, scarves, t-shirts, faux jewelry and shawls. Click here for some best-value shopping opportunities.

 

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