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Southeast Asia

Around the world travel, Backpacking, Bucket List, Ho Chi Minh, long term travel, Saigon, Southeast Asia, Travel, Vietnam

Hoi An to Ho Chi Minh – A Change In Course


Hoi An looked to be a beautiful city from what I could see. Unfortunately, the damage done by Ketsana was worse in Hoi An than in Hue. We arrived at a dingy guesthouse after a 2-hour bus ride, and after all the rain, the weather had turned hot and muggy. Before understanding the extent of the damage, we decided to rent a motorcycle to get around town, however as we got closer to town and closer to the river, we found everything to be underwater. What a disappointment! The old town of Hoi An looked to be so charming and colorful, but we just couldn’t get around it. Where there wasn’t water, huge, fallen tree limbs stretched across the street, and being on a bike was like playing a game of bob and weave.

We took a ride out to the surrounding beach areas, and saw further debris and damage, and when we awoke the next morning to more rain, we decided to bypass the rest of Southern Vietnam, including Moi Ne and Natrang. This was disappointing. Seeing as how much I was enjoying Vietnam, I didn’t want to skip anything, but I also didn’t want to be spending my days sitting in a guesthouse watching the rain, so we booked a ticket to Ho Chi Minh for that afternoon.


Ho Chi Minh (still referred to as Saigon by the Vietnamese), is a bustling and modern metropolis compared to other Vietnamese cities. We arrived after dark, and the lights and tangible energy made me feel like I was back in New York.

We checked into My-My Guesthouse run by a women named, Hahn. She was a hilarious woman, never at a loss for words and full of advice and tips on how to navigate the city, especially if this enabled her to sell you an additional tour or service of her own. She pointed us in the direction of Vietnamese Barbecue, a restaurant popular with locals and tourists alike, which specializes in local cuisine prepared on a barbecue at your own table.


This restaurant was so good, we had to go back again. We grilled fresh prawns, brought out to the table still squirming on the skewers; we gorged ourselves on lotus salad, which was indescribably good; we sampled wild boar and frog, and topped it all off with a couple of special Saigon beers. We were slightly shocked when the bill came and it was less that $7 USD each! Surely they hadn’t done the math right!

We opted to walk home, or waddle, and soaked in the architecture of this more modern Vietnamese city. We had to praise Hahn when we arrived back at My My, and she just shot us a look as if to say, ‘do you think I’d steer you wrong?’