I enjoyed a total of six days in Ho Chi Minh city also known as Saigon.
I was fortunate to make some friends at a local coffee shop outside of the tourist district.
The coffee shop was also a custom T-shirt shop. I chose this image for my first T-shirt, for obvious reasons.
After three days away to the Mikong Delta I returned to Saigon. I stayed in this hotel in the foreign district, on the eighth floor. You can see my windows one from the top because the hotel is only one room wide! Looks like a short version of a Tokyo building.
The backpackers district of Saigon is very hectic and has a very developed nightlife. I don’t usually go out drinking but on one occasion I did. Here you can see me with two girls I met from England.
Soon after meeting them I had us join a group of locals who were dancing at their table. They were very generous with their quantity of beer coming from a tap on their table. We tried to refuse but they insisted. Some time later I was taken by the hand and told to come along as we all ran outside. In the street we all continued to run. It took me a few minutes before I realized that the locals had dashed on their bill. And I had joined them!
There are many scams in the bars in Saigon, so I discovered in my one night out. At this particular bar the scam was this. One was presented with a menu that only showed the prices for premade drinks. These prices were all very normal and standard. The scam was that their cocktails were priced at nearly 10 times the standard rate for the neighborhood. So if you saw their menu and then asked them if they had a rum and Coke, you would be very surprised by the price if you did not ask to see that specific menu. Beer was about 20,000 dong, $1. A wine cooler expensive at 100,000 dong, $5. But who would have expected that any other cocktail, on a separate menu , was priced at 330,000 dong $17. Whereas at all the nearby restaurants the same cocktails were two dollars.
I encountered my next scam at the next bar we moved to. That was me and the British girls, not the locals who ran home. This bar had all their drinks marked at double the going rate. This was acceptable because they had a permanent two for one drink special. So the three of us ordered two cocktails get two free, each having one and one third with the fourth as a refill. Then we ordered two more and did the same with the four arrived.
This was my first time drinking for several weeks. I asked for the bill after having had five drinks that night. The bill was much more than I expected but I was confused after drinking by the exchange rate which is difficult with such a large denomination. (20,000 is $1). I paid the 600,000 for our drinks and then parted company. Only the next day did I realize they did not honor the two for one special. I went back but they said sorry I have no proof. I am certain they present every customer with this double bill and then pretend it was an honest mistake if the foreigner notices.
After I had paid the bill but before I had told the girls it was my treat I asked one of them if she could send me a text with our photo. She said no because it would cost her money. (About 5 cents.). I signed her in to Wi-Fi to get the photo but I felt hurt. Although she didn’t know yet I had just spent $20 on their share of the drinks when she didn’t want to spend five cents on one text.
Although it was a scam place it did have an interesting urinal. Click on the image below to see the video showing what I mean.
Insert your note video here
This was another interesting urinal experience. For your enjoyment we have installed a mirror above this low urinal so that you have no privacy from everyone who enters this bathroom. Well designed.
While in Saigon I also had my hair done, a pedicure, and a manicure. I am still recovering from that traumatic experience.