Ho Chi Minh City, also called Saigon, has many things do offer during the day time as well as during night time. If you need urgent medical help or just want to buy some snacks late at night, you can find it in Ho Chi Minh City 24/7.
Shopping malls are mostly opened till 9 – 10 pm but many small convenience stores are opened 24/7. You can find most of the elementary products there if you need it in the middle of the night. Inside most of the 24/7 convenience stores or nearby them you can find ATM s where you can withdraw money anytime you want.
There is no problem to find food place in Ho Chi Minh City at any time of day or night. Most upper and middle class restaurants work only until late evening but you can enjoy food from small restaurants and street food at night.
Moving around Vietnam takes a lot of time, so choosing overnight travel might be a good option. If you want to go from/to Ho Chi Minh City to/from other cities or just around the city, you have choice of taking plane, train, bus, taxi or motorbike. Vietnam Railway Systems (VRS) and The North – South train are providing good quality connections across the country also during night. You can buy tickets directly at the train station or, if you need English service, some websites and travel agencies are providing it. The taxi and bus are relatively slow, as the traffic in Ho Chi Minh City is extremely heavy. Good alternative to taxi and bus for going around the city is motorbike (you can get it as a taxi, rent it or buy – if you’re staying for longer).
Alternatively, you can rent a car. It is easy – requires only passport and valid driving license. The car rental company might only accept international driving license or one in common language such as English or French.
The most popular (non-stop) party place in Vietnam is Pham Ngu Lao, well-known amongst backpackers as it’s comparatively cheap. If you’re looking for some more fancy clubbing places popular within young people, then you should check out clubs in District 1. If you’re a fan of Karaoke, you will be able to find a few places where you can rent a room at any time.
In case you need urgent medical help, those places have 24/7 emergency service with English speaking doctors: Family Medical Practice Clinic, Franco-Vietnamese Hospital, International SOS Clinic, Columbia International Clinic and Hospital (3 locations), Cho Ray Hospital, Emergency Centre. For urgent dental cases you can seek help in Victoria Healthcare Dentist Department in District 1. 24/7 pharmacy can be found in Family Medical Practice Centre and International SOS Clinic.
Transportation in Vietnam, especially in big cities like Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, can be chaotic and confusing for foreigners. Many even called it an “organised chaos!” However, you can easily find services like taxis, Uber, Grab, Easy Riders, among others.
Taxis are really cheap and you can find them everywhere. However you might find the occasional fake taxi, especially around the tourist areas, so be careful.
Did you know that there are more than 38 million motorcycles in Vietnam? That’s 18 times more than cars! That means that mopeds are make up more than 90% of the whole country’s vehicles. The main reason why there are more motorcycles than cars is certainly because the cities are extremely compact and dense. Also, no license is necessary for motorcycles under 50cc, or electric bikes!
It is quite impressive what Vietnamese locals can balance and transport on just a motorcycle, from live animals to stacks of chairs. If you see 4 dogs and an entire family on just one motorcycle, don’t be surprised!
Uber versus Grab
Uber started operating in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh in mid-2014.
It offers 5 types of transportation services, UberMoto, UberBlack, UberX, UberSUV and UberTOUR. Since Vietnam loves motorcycles, UberMoto it may be faster to travel with the motorbike due to traffic jams. They are also a very cheap form of transportation. UberX is a low-cost Uber, while you can also use UberTOUR for longer trips.
Prices with Uber are almost one third versus Vietnamese taxi services due to their promotion programs.
Uber not only offers transportation services, but also delivery services. Since September 2017, UberDELIVERY delivers your food from your favorite restaurant to your doorstep.
Uber is not the only company offering transportation services with an app. Grab is their main rival in Vietnam, who also started operating in 2014. It was the top-ranked ride-hailing app in 2017 in Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. In this case, Grab has 3 types of transportation services, GrabTaxi which are regular taxis, GrabCar which are private vehicles and, like Uber, Grab also has a motorcycle taxi service, which is very unique to Vietnam. GrabExpress it’s their delivery service.
Taking the bus is probably the cheapest way to get around Vietnam. The bus network is very extensive and goes across the country.
Every province in Vietnam has a main bus terminal,, mainly in the big cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. These are interprovincial buses. Prices always depend on where you want to go and which type of seat you choose. There are travel agencies who can help you buy a ticket in advance.
Wherever you go, I advise only to buy bus tickets of registered booths from large companies inside the bus terminals.
Experience the streets of Vietnam and Apply Now!
Most of the apps on your phone will still be useful in Vietnam, and there is no need to download a VPN. Popular apps such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Uber will all work (although you can Uber a motorcycle as well as a car!) You can also use Google Translate and Maps to get around and speak to locals!
Grab is a Vietnamese Uber equivalent. Much like Uber, you can see the rate before you get in the car, and the app will also give you a driver profile so you can see who’s picking you up. Of course, you can also keep an eye on the driver’s route!
Cốc Cốc Map
This is the Google Map Vietnam equivalent. In this app, you can find your nearest restaurant, ATM or petrol station (if you ever need one.)
This super useful app will help you get around on public transport in Ho Chi Minh. With over 2,000 bus stops and 100 different bus routes, navigating public transport is made simple with this easy to use app.
Zalo is Vietnam’s answer to Whatsapp. With over 30 million users, nearly half of the country can be found on Zalo! It has group chat, video call and voice call features. You can also post to your profile and view the profiles of your contacts in order to stay up to date with your friends!
Foody is Trip Advisor and Deliveroo all in one, which gives you restaurant reviews as well as the option to order for delivery or reserve a table! This app does it all! Get 5 star reviewed food delivered to your door whenever you want – what more could you want?
Want to hop on a Grab Bike to your new favourite restaurant recommended by Foody? Apply Now!
LIVING A DAY WITHOUT CASH IN CHINA
Blog written by Leo Wang
In most of China’s cities you can pay the bills by using credit or debit cards and also the internet banking has been developed for many years. Since smart phones were invented 8 years ago, mobile phone banking is another convenient way of paying. But that’s not all: the Wechat wallet and Alipay now became a very important part of young Chinese people’s life.
According to the news, Denmark will become the first country to stop using cash and Wechat declared the 8th of August as the “non-cash day”
Personally, I am a big fan of using the Wechat wallet, Alipay, MI wallet and other internet banking possibilities to save the time of searching for money in your bag or wallet and getting change, to avoid receiving fake notes, taking too much cash at once (not safe), taking too little cash (not enough for expenses) as well as finding ATMs and waiting in the line to withdraw cash. And Last but not least to avoid getting in touch with germs from bank notes.
This is why I decided trying to live a day without cash and here is my report of the day:
Bus: bus card
Taxi: Di Di Da Che, Uber and Shenzhou
Food and drinks
A lot of restaurants, Cafe, Fruits shop and bakery have signs at their doors that they welcome using Alipay or Wechat Wallet
Shopping online or in shops, super markets
Credit cards, Alipay or Wechat Wallet
Charging phone credit:
Just one thing failed – and it was breakfast.
In the morning I always go to small breakfast restaurants. They are so delicious! Each breakfast meal costs about 5 RMB. But here comes to tricky part: the small restaurants don’t accept the Wechat or Alipay option to pay the bills. So I had to use cash.
However, there is a solution for not using cash yourself to pay the bills in a restaurant which doesn’t accept Aplipay, Wechat pay or credit card. Just transfer money to your friend or colleague via Alipay or Wechat wallet and voilá, they pay in cash for you 😀
If you also want to experience a cash-free day with Leo in China – apply now!