Posted by: James Shannon | October 29, 2011

Motobike Madness: Braving The Streets of Saigon, Vietnam

With little more than two weeks to go, and approximately 1,700 kilometres of Vietnamese asphalt to pound before my return flight to North America, I left Phnom Penh with a sense of urgency, eager to spend as much time as I could in my final country of my SE Asian circuit … Vietnam!

But first, time for a little nourishment before departing Cambodia, and what a handsome meal it was: sweet pork, and steamed rice with a fried egg over top … delicious AND nutritious!

Crossing the Mekong River for the final time, on the approach to the Vietnamese border

After disembarking the bus, getting processed at customs for 20 minutes, and boarding a brand new bus, we were on our way to Saigon (aka Ho Chi Minh City), only 90 kilometres down the road.  However, the bus ticket indicated that roughly one hour and a half remained on our journey … the hold-up?  The most MENTAL traffic I’ve seen in my entire life!

After stowing my bags in my mini-hotel room (mini-hotels are thin, tall buildings four to twelve stories high with one to four rooms per level), I needed to acquire some local currency so I could go eat!  I took what USD’s I had left, and exchanged them for 80,000 … dong. *snicker* *snicker*  //end 12 year old giggling fit 😛

After a long day, I finally settle down with a piping hot bowl Vietnamese beef stew, served with a crusty baguette and vegetables on the side … all for the princely sum of 20,000 VND (or $0.97 CDN).  With $7-14 proper motel rooms, $0.80 beers, and food this cheap, Vietnam, despite the lack of time spent in the country, quickly became one of my favourite destinations (not to mention all the history, the beaches, the mountains, etc)

Cutting through a sublime alley on my way to Saigon’s central tourist district…

 where I had a beer in one of Saigon’s stylish and happening drinking establishments.  People in this city have a thing for design!

Having got off to a roaring start in Nam, I went to sleep preparing for an intensive day of sightseeing the next day, which included a few hours at the War Remnants Museum … like Tuol Sleng, the pictures covering this place will be mature content, so keep this in mind when the post goes live sometime next week.

Hope you’re all having an awesome weekend, peace!



  1. That traffic in Vietnam really in mental – it’s like a river that never ends. The food looks awesome too!

    • It’s amazing how easy it is to cross said traffic when you finally work up the courage to do it though … and yes, one of the things luring me back to Nam, sooner rather than later, is the food, and the bia hoi 🙂

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