*Note: Aussies, we get just over 15,000 dong per Australian Dollar*
Woooooooo! After about 14 hours I make it from Sydney, Australia to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (with a small transit in Changi Airport, Singapore). I walk out of the airport with nervous energy rushing through my veins. This is my first time travelling around a different country alone!
Beginners Tip – If it is your first time in Asia, the roads are going to absolutely terrify you. However, don’t be worried, though it may look mad, it actually runs like organised chaos. Crossing the road like a local, may seem like you have a death wish, however I assure you you’ll get used to it. Just cross with confidence, but always have your eyes on incoming traffic!
Transportation – Airport to Hostels
I did a bit of research in Australia in regards to transport from the airport to the hostels. Buses appear to be the cheapest and most reliable choice. There are two main buses, the 152 and the 109. The 152 is a little cheaper (5,000 dong per person plus a 5,000 dong fee for bags) however it stops running at 6pm. This didn’t suit my arrival time of 9pm so I caught the 109. The 109 is a new bus service and runs from 5.30am to 1.30am every 15/20 minutes. It costs 20,000 dong for journeys over 5km and 12,000 dong for those under 5km. I struggled to find a bus stop and asked a confused barista at a coffee shop to lend me a hand. From the international terminal, it departs across the road at a small bus station. Also it is BRIGHT YELLOW, and the locals call the 109 the ‘yellow bus’, so if you need to ask, ask for the ‘yellow‘ bus! For more information on transportation options and these bus services, click here and scroll until you find ‘get in’.
Where to stay!
The bus is apparently supposed to drop you off right at your hostel, but for some reason I was dropped off about 1km from my hostel. So absolutely dripping in sweat, carrying my heavy lopsided backpack, I hobble along the street to my hostel, dodging cars and crossing mad roads.
There is an abundance of hostels in Ho Chi Minh! I chose to stay at ‘The Hangout Hostel‘. Since leaving I have had many credible recommendations for the ‘Vietnam Inn Saigon’ due to its rooftop bar and great atmosphere. So I’d definitely suggest checking it out. The Hangout Hostel was great for the purpose of my trip, which was mainly just to stay long enough to get my bearings of another country and then head to the next location. I would say it was lacking a bit of atmosphere, however hostel experiences can depend highly on who is staying at the hostel so others could have an entirely different experience! Also, keep in mind this was my first ever hostel dorm experience, so at that stage I had nothing to compare it to.
Many of the hostels run along Phạm Ngu Lao (the street), including The Hangout Hostel.
What to do in Ho Chi Minh City!
Note: I did not do anything touristy in Ho Chi Minh, as I had already been there on an earlier trip with family.
-If you haven’t already, DEFINITELY download the Trip Advisor app (or use it online). It is awesome for discovering things to do in the area you are in! It is also helpful for a backpacker, as you can organise what you want to do independently, instead of relying on a tour company.-
What you shouldn’t miss in seeing in Ho Chi Minh City:
- War Remnants Museum
- Cu Chi Tunnels
- Ben Thanh Market
Ho Chi Minh also has a busy nightlife and as such is full of bars! Many of the hostels in Ho Chi Minh City run pub crawls. Pub crawls are one of the best ways to meet new people as a solo traveller. Unfortunately for a shy person, a bit of alcohol can be super handy for starting conversations. If your interested in independently pub crawling, a lot of frequently visited tourist bars in Ho Chi Minh City run parallel to the street the backpackers hostels are. It is called Bui Vien and is easily within walking distance.
Travellers! Tell me your Ho Chi Minh highlights! 🙂
I hope you’ll stick around and follow me on my adventure,
The Virgin Backpacker xx
Ps. If you have any travel questions/queries or feedback, don’t hesitate to comment, hit my socials, or use the contact form below!