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saigon story- Hoi An- Vietnam

Hoi An- Vietnam

riverside in Hoi An, central Vietnam


I was rather dreading going to Saigon after my relaxing 2 weeks inlaid-back, quiet, central Vietnam. Remembering Hanoi’s noisy chaotic traffic and pushy people, I wasn’t too eager to leave the beach, even if it was a dirty messy fishing beach. But it was time to press on. Another half day bus ride, in the rain this time, and by evening I was in Saigon.

fishing village in central Vietnam

I had some surprises in store. We reached the city center and… GLITTER! Big international 5-star hotels, neon lights, international company logos…whoa! This wasn’t like Hanoi at all. Saigon is much more developed and international. There are way more cars, much fewer bicycles, and all the traffic drives very fast and recklessly. Despite that, Saigon is surprisingly quieter than Hanoi.  Saigonese aren’t horn-addicts. A great discovery.

Saigon at night, from the Hilton

As soon as I found a room, I eagerly went out strolling to check out the glitter. I quickly realized the city has a faster, harder, wilder edge than Hanoi. And lots of young trendy people are out roaming around. Hmmm… looked like Saigon could actually be fun, rather than a drag.

Saigon Bar

It didn’t take me long to find the nightlife. Saigon is full of bars and dance clubs. And they are full of beautiful, stylish young party people! Yippie! I quickly set to clubbing every night, dancing hard until 3:00am, nearly reversing my long-standing schedule of awakening around 6:00 am. I was thrilled to find myself excited about dancing at long last. Somehow back in Australia in May I’d suddenly, completely, lost my  interest in dancing, to my astonishment. I hadn’t recovered until now.

Vietnamese bartender putting on a show

Oddly, the Saigon clubs close at midnight. That’s mighty early. So I began my nights early at big dance clubs full of Vietnamese youth vigorously dancing up a storm to most excellent music. At midnight I’d head over to the more seedy bars, mostly full of beautiful young Vietnamese ‘taxi girls’ (basically prostitutes) and western men (mostly much older Germans). Mixed in the crowd were gays, transvestites and some straighter travelers gawking at the wildness. Everyone had a blast drinking, chatting, dancing, and watching the crazy antics of the Vietnamese ‘hookers’. Fun stuff.

Saigon’s go-go area

Once I discovered the great night scene, I considered staying an extra week to continue dancing. But after 3 consecutive nights of hardcore dancing until the wee hours, my body was getting pretty trashed, even though clubbing completely sober. I decided I’d just as well move on to Cambodia and new adventures. So I got a massage to soothe my poor, pounded muscles and booked a bus to Phnom Phen, Cambodia.

(* photo credits: photos from Flicr Creative Commons authors: alex.ch  / numberjuan2 / seafaringwoman / JeremyVandel *)


Two Wheels & Rice Fields - ebook - positive world travelTwo Wheels & Rice Fields – ebook – positive world travel

Two Wheels & Rice Fields- The Ultimate Guide to Motorbiking Vietnam

My friends and fellow travel bloggers ,  Elise and Anthony Milotic of Positive World Travel, have written this excellent and very thorough guidebook to motorbiking through Vietnam  based on their own motorbike trip through the country.

If you’re planning to visit Vietnam and/or you love motorbike travel, check out their awesome guide to get started.

Read my review of Two Wheels & Rice Fields


You might also like:

Hue and Hoi An
Trip Through Halong Bay
Sapa and Vietnam’s Remote Northeast Mountains
10 Free Things to do in Hanoi

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