Shauna and I have been living in Saigon since September and we love it. We landed in the conservative city of Hanoi. Vietnam is different than any of the other 20 plus countries we have visited. Vietnam was going to be our next home. We spent the next few weeks making our way down the coast of Vietnam from Hanoi to Saigon. (The younger generation refers to the city as Ho Chi Minh City and the older generation calls it Saigon.) We have visited more than 16 cities in Vietnam and each place has their own reason to sparkle.
I personally feel that it sucks to be a tourist in Saigon. The rest of the country is better for someone coming to spend his or her time in Vietnam. However, I do feel that Saigon is the best place to live because once you settle down you will have a different appreciation for the city.
Since we have been here, more than 20 friends and family have come to visit. Everyone had his or her own unique itinerary and things to do throughout the country. Seeing friends are great but it does get overwhelming at times. Nevertheless, we are always happy to see our friends and show them how we live in Saigon. We tried to show them a different light of the city than the average tourist would experience, other than hanging out on the corner of Pham Ngu Lao (backpackers area in Saigon).
We have shown our friends and family what the alleyways within alleyways have to offer, from having a big bowl of freshly made pho right outside of our house to driving through alleyways and visiting different food vendors. Driving on a scooter is the only way one should experience while in Saigon. There are so many great spots to eat. We like to show our friends places where you can eat for 10,000 VND per person ($0.50 USD) to places where you can spend 200,000 VND ($10 USD) and you can dine like royalty. Saigon has a lot to offer, just like any other city in the world; it’s just that you need time to see where the locals hang.
If you visited us, we would love to hear what your favorite part of being in Saigon was all about.