DJ TIna T. > First Time In Vietnam Top 7 Activities
My first few days in Vietnam were not easy. I definitely underestimated the frustrations that can come with transitioning from living in one city to the next on remote year. Leaving a place I grew to love (Malaysia), new friends and favorite foods to be thrown into a sea of motorcycle traffic, getting lost in unfamiliar areas and language barriers was challenging at first.
After settling into Saigon and visiting the War Remnant Museum, I realized quickly how little I knew about the Vietnam war. I’ll spare you the details, and say I walked out of the museum wondering how our troops could be so evil! Head down, ashamed of my country, confused and upset by everything I saw, I started to dig deeper, trying to decipher what’s propaganda or not. It became very clear that the communist regime in Vietnam wanted to paint a specific picture of the war as they saw it.
One thing I noticed while living in a communist country is the feeling that you’re always being watched. The military has a presence on every corner of the city in addition to spies. Protesting is illegal and there is no freedom of speech. Speaking ill of the government can land you in prison. Phone calls and internet are all monitored. Not a coincidence, this post is going live after I’ve settled into my new home for April in Cambodia.
I can only hope each country I travel to this year will continue to amaze me as much as Vietnam has! Here is my list of top 7 activities to do in Vietnam:
1. Ha Long Bay Boat Cruise
After watching the breathtaking scenes from North Vietnam in the new movie Kong, Skull Island I was extra pumped to visit this serene location. Our group of 20 rented out a private cruise boat that we stayed on for 2 nights. Watch the video and details of the cruise experience on my friends blog: Project Made
2. The Lunch Lady
This was my #1 choice for the best fresh spring rolls in Saigon!Popular street food staple since featured on No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain.
3. Four P’s Pizza
Best pizza I have ever had.
4. Cu Chi Tunnels
Crawl through tunnels and learn jungle warfare tactics used by the Vietcong Guerilla fighters during the Vietnam War. If you are into gun ranges, there is a part of the tour where you can be Rambo!
5. Street Food Scooter Tour
We mobbed around the streets of Saigon at night and went to 5 different street food spots to eat everything from Banh Mi and noodles with BBQ Pork to Vietnamese coffee and coconut ice cream. It was about $60 and worth every cent as this was my favorite experience in Vietnam!
6. The Saigon Post Office & Letter Writer.
The post office has beautiful french architecture. There is an area of tables where you can write postcards and also talk to the last public letter writer in Saigon: Duong Van Ngo. He was born in 1930 and has been working at the post office since he was 18. He translates French, English and Vietnamese. He wrote a nice thank you letter for me in Vietnamese to give to the cleaning lady in my apartment.
7. Uber Moto
In all my travels, Uber has never offered me the option between a car and a motorcycle. This was definitely the most efficient, quick and low cost way to get around and see the city. Just make sure you keep your phones tucked away when waiting for one, since motorbikes can drive by and snag it from your hand.
8. Vung Tau
We took a bus about 2 hours out of Saigon to a city on the coastal peninsula. Vung Tau is known for fresh seafood, beaches and the largest statue of Jesus in Asia.