Ho Chi Minh City Marked the Beginning of My Travels Alone

Mac and I separated at the end of our Cambodia trip (I failed to previously mention that Tracy branched off to meet new friends around the 3rd week of our trip). Mac took off back to Thailand and I took off to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. I was a little nervous at first, but excited to experience traveling alone at the same time. I couldn’t have had a better experience traveling “alone” the past 6 weeks. I say “alone” in quotations because when you travel alone, you aren’t really alone. There are many other people traveling by themselves and looking to meet new people. I made a lot of good friends in Ho Chi Minh City that I plan to see again someday. Most of the people you meet traveling have the same mindset as you and as a result makes it easy to make long lasting friendships with other travelers in just a few short days. Traveling alone pushes you out of your comfort zone and allows you to be on your own schedule. Although I had an awesome time traveling with friends, I now had more freedom and no longer needed to consult anyone when I wanted to stay or leave to a new city. However, there does come a point when it is refreshing to see and talk to a familiar face from home. Some of you may have seen that Clay has joined me in Vietnam this week and we will be traveling together here and there over the next few months. I’m excited for that adventure, but for now back to Ho Chi Minh City…

I had previously flown into Cambodia from Thailand, so this was my first international border crossing experience and I wasn’t sure exactly what was going to happen. Before we boarded the bus in Cambodia they gathered our passports and threw them into a basket at the front of the bus. When we arrived to the border they passed us back our passports and I followed people to a line outside to show our passport to border security. They collected my passport again after I got through the line and then I was a little lost. I saw some people taking their bags off of the bus and some people going back onto the bus. I ask the bus attendant what to do and he asks me something in Cambodian and points at the bags. I don’t understand of course, but i decide to grab my bag and follow the other people into the building with their bags. When I get into the building I get a little more nervous as I see the bus drive down the street and I am not sure where my passport went. The attendants inside asks me for my passport and then directs me to a different line where they scan my bag after i tell them I don’t have my passport. I get outside and see border security sweeping the bus and then we are directed to get back on the bus. We get back on the bus and then start watching Fast and the Furious 7 for about 45 minutes in the parking lot as our passports get cleared to cross into Vietnam. Finally a guy walks on to the bus with our passports and we take off. I was happy to finally get back on the road.

I arrived to the Hostel around 8pm and was handed 2 free beer tickets at check in. I had 10 minutes to get up to the rooftop bar before the beer tickets expired. I headed straight up to get my free beer and met Alex at the bar. He invited me to go out with him and some friends that night. We ended up at a nice vietnamese club where we met some really nice locals next to our table. They kept offering us free shots and we ended up partying with them at their table the rest of the night. This was my first night in Vietnam and it couldn’t have been more fun!

The next week I spent hanging out with my new friends from Australia, Switzerland, Korea, USA, Singapore, Vietnam and a few other countries. I ended up spending almost 2 weeks in Ho Chi Minh City. I went to the War Museum, Independence Palace, Cu Chi Tunnels, city center, night market, a waterpark, a pub crawl, a beer club, had my first Banh Mi (still the best I’ve had in Vietnam), tried frog legs, ate snails, drank vietnamese coffee, had my first razor shave/facial and tried some other vietnamese foods I can’t remember right now.

My last 3 nights in Ho Chi Minh I decided to try couch surfing. My friend Julian had positive experiences with it and suggested I try it out. Couchsurfing is an app that connects you with locals that are willing to let you sleep on their couch. I found a host and it turned out to be an awesome experience. They had a really nice house for Vietnam. They gave me my own private room and bathroom and we ate a family dinner every night at 5pm. In fact they tried to feed me every time they saw me. I think I gained a few pounds at their house. After my host got off of work each day he would take me around the city and show me something new. He took me to see my first vietnamese movie, which was interesting. It had english subtitles, but it was hard to understand the humor. There were parts that were suppose to be really funny, but I didn’t get it. In the end I actually ended up liking the movie, but they are very different from the movies we are use to. I would definitely recommend couchsurfing to anyone looking to save money and get a more cultural experience!

There’s a lot more I could write about in Ho Chi Minh City, but I’ll stop there. So here’s some pictures…

FullSizeRender 34
Delicious vietnamese coffee
FullSizeRender 15
These were so good, although I don’t know what it was haha
FullSizeRender 65
First Froyo overseas
IMG_9348
We couldn’t read the menu so we ordered something random and we received snails!
IMG_9350
First snail
IMG_9346
Crab claws
IMG_9347
Snails, garlic and potatoes
IMG_9345
The only oyster I’ve tasted and actually liked!
IMG_8946
Trying frog legs
IMG_8949
Shell bar…take your pick!
IMG_8929
The best Banh Mi
IMG_8945
Amelia

FullSizeRender 30 FullSizeRender 21 FullSizeRender 54

Friends

12092217_10206464979736704_1604802171_n 12086898_10206464979056687_1087771780_n 12086816_10206464979456697_110153826_n

Part of the crew
Part of the crew

12067986_10206464978496673_1824659508_n 12080797_10206464978656677_654699273_n 12071532_10206464979616701_1657881444_n 12067101_10206464978576675_761706532_n

Julian working on his triceps
Julian working on his triceps
They have a lot of random workout equipment in the park
They have a lot of random workout equipment in the park

FullSizeRender 55 FullSizeRender 51 FullSizeRender 50 FullSizeRender 43

IMG_9349 IMG_8958 IMG_8940 IMG_8880

Ricky being a dork
Ricky being a dork

Cu Chi Tunnels

The tunnels were made to hide from Americans during the war

FullSizeRender 46
Trap floor

FullSizeRender 35

FullSizeRender 48 FullSizeRender 37

FullSizeRender 59 FullSizeRender 58

FullSizeRender 39 FullSizeRender 33 FullSizeRender 31 FullSizeRender 26 FullSizeRender 27 FullSizeRender 17 FullSizeRender 14

Randoms

IMG_9318
About to get my first facial massage
FullSizeRender 63
Gettin a shave for $1
FullSizeRender 62
Kids playing a game
FullSizeRender 49
The market
FullSizeRender 47
Yes, that’s a dog
FullSizeRender 29
City center
IMG_8918
They are really good at ping pong
IMG_8956
they have big drinks here, but not as big as Thailand

FullSizeRender 16 FullSizeRender 42 IMG_8933

IMG_8895
Taking a walk in the park

IMG_8891 IMG_8892 IMG_8893 IMG_8894 IMG_8887 IMG_8890

Selfie Session

I met Sebastian on the street selling gum. He loved taking selfies with the camera.

FullSizeRender 13
He also loved flipping you off if you didn’t want to buy gum haha

FullSizeRender 38 FullSizeRender 45 FullSizeRender 44 FullSizeRender 32 IMG_9133 IMG_9130 IMG_9030

Independence Palace

This was the home and workplace of the South Vietnam president during the war.

IMG_8899 IMG_8907 IMG_8900 IMG_8902 IMG_8913 IMG_8904 IMG_8915 IMG_8912 IMG_8916 IMG_8910


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s