Here it is, my first blog post! You are about to read about all the exciting adventures I embark on and follow my journey to countries that I don’t even know yet. I have a backpack, a passport and no real plan of action. My boyfriend James and I have quit our jobs in England, to explore as much of the world as we can. Our first stop is the bustling Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam!
The unintentional overnight stop in Qatar did wonder for our body clocks, so we arrived in Ho Chi Minh City feeling surprisingly refreshed. In the taxi ride from the airport it was like we were swimming in a sea of motorbikes, I had never seen so many in my life! I’ve been told there are around ninety million people in Vietnam and thirty-seven million motorbikes. I am not sure how accurate this fact is, but witnessing the centre of Ho Chi Minh I don’t find it hard to believe.
We’ve had to adjust to the lifestyle here quickly. If you’re planning a trip to Vietnam, do not wait, stop, or hesitate when crossing the road. Unlike in the UK and I assume lots of other countries, here the drivers take it on themselves to drive around you. Yes, there are traffic lights and floor markings, but that’s about as far as road safety goes. It’s absolute chaos!
We have been thrown into the deep end of Vietnamese culture. We explored the city centre to try to get some idea of where we are in relation to all the touristy bits. Our map of the area didn’t seem to help matters because everywhere looks so similar. There are street food vendors on every corner and heaps of locals on bicycles carrying heavy loads.
Waterfall in the unknown restaurant, Ho Chi Minh City
Our first taste of Vietnamese cuisine was at a beautiful, hidden restaurant that I can’t remember the name of. We didn’t discover it on Lonely Planet or Trip Advisor, we stumbled upon it purely by chance. It had gorgeous views, food, service, and it has a waterfall in the middle of the room. We both dined on a delicious bowl of “pho”, a traditional Vietnamese noodle soup. This was followed by a trip to the War Remnants Museum to get clued up on the Vietnam War.
Inevitably, we spent our first evening in Ho Chi Minh City exploring the nightlife. The majority of the night involved sitting outside bars on plastic stools, drinking cheap beer, and mingling with other backpackers and locals. We got talking to one group who told us about an island called Koh Rong, just south of Cambodia. They described it to us as “paradise”, with white sands and clear blue sea. My family had mocked me for not researching our travels or making a plan beforehand. But this is why. We could book a coach to Cambodia two days later because we had no itinerary. So we did, and on our third day we arrived in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia.