Getting a month of vacation is great, but then comes the hard question… Where to go next? After checking out my bucket list I saw Lao on the top of it and since Lao is close to Vietnam I decided to go on a backpacking trip in Vietnam as well 🙂 . Starting my Asia trip was a climate shock, because I flew from winter to summer, having a sweat shower when landing in Ho Chi Minh City.
I began my journey couch surfing by a native. Once I landed my host Marco arranged a Grab (it a great app for scooter taxi) to bring me to his place. With Grab you already see the price in the app, so the driver can not fool you. They wear green jackets with “grab” sign on them, but there are also some fake ones among them. It took us 40 minutes of drive through a chaotic city where bunch of scooters are coming together as ants from all sides of the road.
The price was 45.000 dong… sounds a lot, but it is just around 1,7€. Yeah, here you are a millionaire even with a low budget 🙂 . Marco was a great host and seeing the way people live there was a great experience because they live quite differently than we do. Not having a closet or a bed, made me realize how much stuff the western people have. I can’t say it’s poverty, it’s just different way of living…
Just after I arrived to Marcos place he said, he will go for a run. So I said “no problemo” who cares about the jet leg and that there is 28 degrees at 8 p.m.?! We went to a nice neighborhood where only the rich people live and we ran in a circle for 30 minutes. Swimming in my own sweat in the middle of big buildings wasn’t that fun as jogging in nature, but it was good to move my body after a 15-hour flight. After the run, I had a shower at his home and once coming out of it, it felt like not having one… my skin started to produce sweat, so I was sticky again 🙂 .
The next day I spent in hot Ho Chi Minh City visiting places that my host marked on the map for me. While walking around I saw lots of coffee shops. I visited one of them and tried the real Vietnamese coffee, and I must say it is super delicious. The price for a coffee is around 0,7€, depends where you go and if they give you the toury price 🙂 . The prices for meals are also very cheap and you can get rice noodle soups for less then 1,5€.
After walking for hours in the city seeing pagodas and churches I realized that it is multi-religious city, but my feet felt tired, so I decided to try the foot massage that is offered on almost every street. Of course, you need to negotiate about the price before going in, but I agreed on 90,000 dong (3,5€) for 30 minutes. The massage was nice, but sometimes the lady pressed so hard which wasn’t so pleasant. When I wanted to pay, she suddenly gave me another paper where it said that I should pay a tip of 100.000 dong. So be careful with the massages, maybe the price that you agreed on, is not necessarily going to be the final price.
Because I am not so into cities, I wanted to escape to more rural places and the next destination was a suggestion from my host, he recommended Dalat. Taking a sleeping bus at midnight to Dalat takes around 5 hours (price: 8,4€) where instead of regular sits, there are only lying ones. The drive was an adventure… There was a lot of beep beep noise, which is a way of communicating with other drivers, some jumping up in the air while lying down, so… did I make it to Dalat??