Saigon's Street Food is always evolving and changing
The Saigon Street Food Scene is known for moving in fads or trends. It doesn't neccesarily even have to be traditional Vietnamese street food that you will find on the street these days.
In my two years of scrounging the streets for the best of the best street food, I have gotten to see a few of these cravings come and go. Like the Korean favorite of Topokki or Cheese Sticks served with Lemon Tea.
Street Sushi started popping up around town over a year ago, quietly, but aggresively.
At first, Yes, I was just as skeptical as you are now.
Well ladies and gentleman, alleluia, I am a believer!
Last year in May, I was living in District 4 and noticed what looked to be a sign for a Sushi restaurant that I hadn't noticed before although I had driven by this location hundreds of time on my way to and from our tours.
Street Sushi? In district 4? That is crazy talk!
So, being the curious street food eater that I am, I decided to recruit some other intrigued foodies and test it out.
To say that it was the best Sushi I have ever had in my life would not be true.
What it is though, quality sushi for a great price in a unique setting.
Who was behind this delicious Saigon International Street Food Restaurant?
Ms Giau, a young business woman of 30 years old.
She had been working in a Japanese Restaurant in District 1 for a while and decided she wanted to work for herself.With the help of her friend, who is the Head Chef at Sushi Ko, she started her restaurant in May 2013.
Things have been going well since, she even has a customer from Japan who has come to the restaurant every night for dinner since she opened in May.
"The best customer" she says with a big smile when asked about him.
Your only as good as your last dish is a phrase you hear in the Culinary scene so....
How was my last dish of Japanese Street Food?
When I am in a local area of Saigon, and I spot 5 foreigners in a neighborhood that they are a rarity in eating at a restaurant.You know the word is out! Sushi Ko is a hit!
The restaurant is so packed that Ms Giau's father, who is always helping out at the restaurant, arranges us some very impromptu seating that is just enough for our table of two to squeeze in.
Sushi-KO filled up late on a Tuesday with a mix of Vietnamese and Foreigners
Your always wondering if quailty drops in a restaurant when they start getting busier but that didn't happen here.
What Japanese Street Food Delicacies are they serving up at Sushi KO?
I like Sushi Ko's menu for having a large range of grilled or cold appetizers to choose from before just jumping straight into the sushi.
There is alot to choose from and I haven't had anything that I would have ever considered "bad" from their large selection.
Mixed Seaweed Salad with Dashi Price: 88,000 VND
Grilled Pork wrapped Asparagus Price: 18,000VND
Chicken Meatballs with Black Sesame Seeds Price: 28,000 VND
Tuna Belly, Salmon, and Octopus Sashimi Price: 25,000-35,000 VND
Salmon and Avocado Roll Price: 58,000 VND
Fried Shrimp Roll Price: 58,000 VND
Want to check out the local Ho Chi Minh City Street Food Scene here at Sushi KO?
Sushi-KO122/15 Vinh Khanh F10, Q4
Open from 5pm-10pm
Article Source Here: Ho Chi Minh City Street Food: An International Twist with Japanese Street Sushihttps://backofthebiketours.com/ho-chi-minh-city-street-food-an-international-twist-with-japanese-street-sushi/
13 Laws You Must Know Before Traveling to Vietnam
Did you know that you need a Visa for Vietnam? Did you also know that it’s illegal to take photos of certain statues or famous places? It's not worth your vacation to be spoiled because you didn’t know some crucial information about your destination. That's why this article is for anyone planning on traveling to Vietnam. While Vietnam is very open and friendly to travelers it’s still a culturally conservative country with a few rules you should know and follow.
What is Illegal in Vietnam? Some things that are illegal in Vietnam include Gambling, Prostitution, Drug Use and Distribution, and Pornography. Vietnamese law is built based on the long-standing culture and the characteristics of the local Vietnamese lifestyle. It has enormous differences compared to other countries, especially European countries. As a second-year student in the Ho Chi Minh City University of Law, I will share with you some legal information to go more in depth to answer the question "What is Illegal in Vietnam?". Read on to discover my list of 13 Laws You Must Know Before Traveling to Vietnam.
Places You Are Not Allowed to Take Photographs
Taking photos or videos on your phone is one of the easiest and best ways to keep beautiful scenes from your travels. What you need to know is that the photos or videos you take can get you involved in a prosecution. Some places I list below are areas where you should not take any photos or videos.
One more thing to note is that the photos and videos taken must be developed into pictures before you take them out of Vietnam. If you violate the above, you will be confiscated all unauthorized movies, photos, and drawings. In the worst case, you may be prosecuted.
The common sense way to think about these rules, is that if you think that something is culturally sensitive or a national security matter. Don’t take a photo of it.
I know that sometimes we can all get caught up in the moment of a large crowd. Football matches in Vietnam draw large crowds on our walking street Nguyen Hue for every major game. If the team wins, then we even have the “storm” where the crowd will shift around the city having fun and celebrating. This is legal and a lot of fun.
Sometimes there are crowds you should avoid while travelling in Vietnam. The crowds organized to protest are illegal by Vietnamese Law. These are acts of disrupting public order and against the government. The police will arrest anyone involved in this crowd whether they know the purpose of the crowd or not. Be aware and do not join in a crowd that you have no idea about it.
Anyone, including local people or foreign tourists who gather in public places causing social disorder, are subject to a fine. The fine is from 2,000,000 VND ($86.39) to 3,000,000 VND ($129.59).
Driving in Vietnam
“If I don't have an International Driving Permit (IDP), can I drive in Vietnam legally?” This is the question of many travelers who want to experience driving a motorbike in Vietnam.
Up to now, 85 countries have signed the Vienna Convention such as the United Kingdom, Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Republic of Korea, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, and Denmark. Please note that America and Australia are not on this list, if you are a tourist visiting from there, you need to change your NDP into the corresponding driving permit in Vietnam.
There are many differences when driving in Vietnam compared to other countries. The following are some rules you need to know when trying to drive here.
In 2019, Vietnam still does not have specific regulations on what age you need to be to drink alcohol. However, in a new decree issued in 2017, the Government prohibits the behaviors of selling alcohol to customers under 18 years old.
This means that if you are at least 18 years old while travelling in Vietnam, you can legally drink and buy alcohol. Since the new decree only came out in 2017, people younger than 18 are still able to find alcohol easily, but I always recommend obeying all Laws in Vietnam while traveling.
Vietnam Visa Laws
Is this the first time you have made a trip outside your own country? Vietnam is one of the destinations on your journey and you are still unfamiliar with the necessary documents for Entry and Exit? Well, this is what you need to know. If you are a professional traveler who has made countless cross-world flights, read on to make sure you don't forget some small but important points.
What you need to enter into Vietnam without any disruptions is a Visa and a Passport. In case your country has signed a Unilateral Visa Exemption Agreement with Vietnam, make sure your Passport term is at least 6 months from expiration and your last Exit from Vietnam is at least 30 days before expiration. Airport staff will hold you back from going to Vietnam even if your Passport doesn’t expire for another 5 months and 29 days on the day you travel.
Up to now, Vietnam has been exempting Unilateral Visas for citizens of 13 countries including the Russian Federation, Japan, Korea, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, England, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Belarus. These countries have been given a certain amount of time to travel in Vietnam without a Visa. Every country is different, so please check out our article filled with information about Vietnam Visas to learn more about your specific country and the Vietnam visa process.
On Exit through Vietnamese immigration you need a Passport, Certificate of Temporary Residence or Temporary Residence Card to leave Vietnam.
Leave Your Porn at Home
Maybe you are quite surprised when reading this title, right? Vietnam's Criminal Code has an article regulating penalties for spreading and disseminating unhealthy cultural products.
You can own newspapers and DVDs about sex, but keep it for yourself. Do not share it with others. Acts such as purchasing, storing, or transporting unhealthy cultural products aimed at distributing them to the public are considered criminal. If you have large amounts of pornographic materials in your luggage, Immigration may believe that you are trying to distribute these items. Ideally, you should not bring it with you on the trip to Vietnam. Another thing to note is that you shouldn’t discuss these topics in public, Vietanamese are conservative in general and do not appreciate inappropriate topics in public places.
You will have to pay a fine of between 10,000,000 VND ($431.97) and 100,000,000 VND ($4319.67) or imprisonment for 6 months to 3 years if you violate this law.
Be Careful What You Say about the Vietnamese National Symbols
In order to be an independent country, Vietnam has experienced over 1000 years of colonization by invading countries. Every Vietnamese person never forgets the names of heroes who have fallen for their freedom. That's why they appreciate the peaceful life they are having and always respect national symbols. Any acts or words that are offensive to the National Flag, the National Emblem and the National Anthem will be considered as criminal. Therefore, be careful what you say about the national symbols. Don't make jokes about it, it can bring you serious consequences.
Article 351 of the 2015 Criminal Code stipulates penalties for this intentional offense which includes warning or imprisonment of 6 months to 3 years.
Gambling in Vietnam
Many people travel to certain destinations just for the thrill of gambling. They might be wondering about the question "Is Gambling in Vietnam Illegal?". Well Yes and No, Gambling as a Vietnamese local with a Vietnamese passport is illegal in Vietnam. With that being said, foreigners can gamble if they have a passport issued from a different country. There are a few casinos in Vietnam that have been created just for tourists on holiday.
I will give you a list of six major Casinos in Vietnam and some Legal Rules needed to follow if you don't want to incur a fine.
List of 6 Major Casinos in Vietnam
- Do Son Casino: - Hai Phong City - Since 1995
The first casino allowed to operate in Vietnam
- Ha Long Casino: - named Gaming Club - Since 2003
- Ho Tram Strip Casino: - Ba Ria - Vung Tau- Since 2013
Belongs to The Grand Ho Tram Strip Tourist Resort
- Casino of Aristo International Hotel: located in the center of Lao Cai city. Belongs to Donaco group (Australia)
- Club Crowne International: located in Silver Shores International Resort on Bac My An beach (south of resort Furama) in Da Nang.
Start to operate on December 23, 2009
- Phoenix Club Bac Ninh: located in Phuong Hoang International Resort & Recreation - Phoenix Resort Bac Ninh, is about a 45-minute drive from Hanoi City and Noi Bai International Airport.
What Conditions do I Need to Meet to be Allowed to Gamble at Casinos in Vietnam?
The following two conditions are required to enter into any Casino in Vietnam legally:
**If you do not have your passport, you will not be allowed into a casino**
The Rules You Need to Follow
After the conditions to be allowed to gamble legally in Vietnam, you need to follow the rules below during the process of gambling at Casinos:
Penalties for Violating The Rules
If I find Antiques, Can I bring it back with me?
On your trip in Da Nang, Hoi An, or some places famous for its long history, if you're super lucky, you may suddenly find an antique of 100 years old. Do you want to bring it home and display it in your living room? It will be very beautiful! But I have bad news for you, you are not allowed to bring those beautiful antiques out of Vietnam.
Law on Cultural Heritage stipulates that all antiques found in Vietnamese territory are owned by the public of Vietnam. What you have to do when you find an antique is to report it and hand it over to the competent state authority in the area nearest to you. As a reward for having found it, the Ministry of Culture will have a bonus for you. In situation, you really want to own or take it home, ask the state authority to know more information about the necessary conditions and procedures.
What to Leave Behind in Vietnam
Flammable materials, explosives, knives, guns or other potentially injurious items are things you should not bring on your way out. Especially guns, it is illegal in Vietnam. You will even have to be sentenced to 7 years in prison if someone finds a gun in your bag (but I think it is very rare, no one wants to carry a gun on their vacation). Any potentially dangerous items will give you trouble if you are caught in possession with them.
I know what you are thinking? Why the hell would I have any of these things and try to leave Vietnam with them? Here is a small example of something that is innocent in nature and sometimes overlooked by travellers. I’m referring to the bullet casing from the AK 47 used at the Cu Chi Tunnels, many travellers would like to take this home as a souvenir but are stopped from leaving the country with it.
Things You are Not Allowed to Post on Social Media
“I have the right to post anything I want on social media. That's my freedom.” On January 1, 2019, this statement is no longer true. That is the date when the Network Security Code came into effect in Vietnam. The government wants to make sure that people will use social media positively and avoid hurting anyone or national security issues. The following are the things you should be careful when posting them on social media in Vietnam:
If You See Ladies of the Night Canvassing for Customers, Just Leave
Prostitution is absolutely illegal in Vietnam. Sometimes while walking on the road at night, you might see some ladies looking for customers. At some karaoke and bars, you may receive an invitation from the people trading in this type of service. What you need to do is say No and leave immediately. Vietnamese law prohibits acts related to prostitution. I will provide some legal information about prostitution to prove what I just said.
The act of sex between men and women or between people of the same sex for other material benefits is considered prostitution in Vietnam.
Legal Provisions on Acts of Buying Sex
If committing acts of Buying Sex, both foreigners and locals suffer from the following sanctions:
Acts of Buying Sex with more aggravating circumstances such as buying sex for adolescents or knowing that they are infected with HIV and still deliberately spreading it to sex workers will be considered criminal and suffer penalties under the Vietnamese Criminal Code.
Drugs, Shisha, Funky Balls and more things you need to know
Vietnam and many countries in the world have listed drugs on their list of banned substances. According to the Criminal Code 2015, drugs include:
All acts of buying, selling, storing or producing the things listed above will be treated as criminal and subject to severe penalties.
There are many other types of stimulants that are harmful to health but are not included in the cases mentioned above, specifically Funky Balls (Balloons) and Shisha. Since they are not Drugs, when you arrive in Vietnam, you can easily find many luxurious cafes, bars, karaoke and restaurants selling these two stimulants. Is It Illegal to Use Funky Balls and Shisha? I'm gonna go into the details of each one so you can get the answer to this question.
Is It Illegal to Huff Balloons?
Funky Balls are balloons pumped with gas. This gas is a chemical formula of N2O (Dinitrogen monoxide or nitrous oxide). When inhaling this gas, it can exert a strong impact on a point of the amusing nervous system to create a sense of euphoria for the user.
Currently, there is no specific law stipulating that the use of Funky Balls is illegal. But the use and sale of them is still dangerous.
- Funky Balls are harmful for the health of users. The regular use of N2O gas can cause disorders such as the stinging sensation in the head followed by staggering; chromatic disorders; memory disorders; sleep disorders; arrhythmias and hypotension; anemia and deficiency of B12. Prolonged use of N2O gas is not recommended.
How about Shisha?
Tobacco has been sold on the streets of Vietnam for many years, you can often see old men or women using this tobacco in long wooden pipes throughout Vietnam. Shisha Tobacco is still a bit new in Vietnam in comparison to our pipe tobacco. Shisha is tobacco leaves with added honey or fruit flavorings such as grapes, oranges, apples, and strawberries. This type of tobacco is not on the prohibited list. In the past, Shisha was only found in discos and bars so the recent popularity is new and lawmakers have not yet made a formal decree on Shisha smoking.
Shisha is not included in the group of drugs and is not included in the list of goods banned from business stipulated in Decree 59/2006/ND-CP. That's why it's not banned from selling. If meeting the conditions, people can still be licensed to trade in Shisha. However, this is also a commodity that is not supported by the state and may be restricted or banned in the future.
In conclusion, the current law does not have a specific law that prohibits the use of Shisha. On the other hand, you need to know that the state doesn't encourage it. To handle the question "Is It Illegal to Use Shisha?" my answer is No. In my opinion, the government will not be creating regulation against Shisha use in the future.
See Full Article Here: What is illegal in Vietnam? Rules and Laws for Touristshttps://backofthebiketours.com/what-is-illegal-in-vietnam-rules-and-laws-for-tourists/
So You’ve heard about the floating market in Can Tho as a must see in Southern Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, but your options to visit are endless. Should you take a full day or half day tour? Spend the night? Or relax in Can Tho city for a few days?
So you want to know, How many days should you stay in Can Tho? My recommendation is 2 days in Can Tho if you can spare the time in your itinerary. I believe that the floating market is only great if you visit very early in the morning, which will require you to stay overnight in Can Tho at least 1 day minimum. The rest of this article, I’m gonna lay out more information so you can better decide how many days in Can Tho is right for you.
Getting to know Can Tho
As a Ho Chi Minh City girl, when I visited Can Tho for my first time I thought that I would only want 1 day in the area to explore the famous market. After that visit, I found myself coming back 2 more times because I really loved the experience and warmth that I felt from the people in the Mekong. All of us Vietnamese know that people from the Southern parts of our country are hospitable, but you really don’t know until you experience it for yourself.
Can Tho is a great city because it’s unique compared to others in Vietnam. Located in the heart of the Mekong Delta, this city has become a must see destination for travelers in Southern Vietnam. While most other cities in the Mekong see barely 1 million visitors a year, the Mekong delta receives over 8 million a year. This cities popularity comes from the numerous canals and the river access that helped develop the famous floating market which has become a must see for travelers.
Can Tho is home to over 1.5 million local Vietnamese making it a large city. It takes only 4 hours from Ho Chi Minh City to get to Can Tho, which makes it an easy day trip for tourists. This prime location next to Ho Chi Minh City is the reason it has a big economy that supports its large population. The rivers and canals give access to local farmers to sell their goods and easily bring them to market in Can Tho before they finally make their way out to Ho Chi Minh City or the rest of the world.
Even though the city is large and bustling with trade, it's easy to escape to the countryside of the Mekong Delta just outside of Can Tho. This area is dense jungle and farm land filled with traditional Vietnamese culture. Many visitors love to visit small homestays in the area to have some time away from the big city of Ho Chi Minh and experience the real charm of the Mekong Delta.
Full Day Tours to the Mekong
I know there are lots of people who choose to visit Can Tho for only a day trip. When you choose to only visit on a day trip, you miss most of the fun. The floating market should be the highlight of this trip but unfortunately, not many buses or travel agencies could get you there early enough in the morning. By the time you get to Can Tho, the market won’t be busy or worth the trip.
If it's the first and maybe your only chance to visit Can Tho, then you're in for something special. Don't push yourself to the point of exhaustion to see everything in just one day. There are even some great tours out there that we recommend you check out, we put together this great list for you to choose from here.
What to do in Can Tho with 2 days?
To be honest, it would be a shame to travel all the way to Can Tho without taking a trip to Cai Rang Market. I don’t want you to look back on the trip with regrets or the feeling of missing out.
Make sure you can visit for at least 2 days in order to see the best of what the city has to offer. This way you can have more flexibility in your itinerary and avoid tiring yourself out.
Canal boats are popular transport link in Can Tho in order to visit other destinations such as the floating market and islets. It can be time-consuming because tourists will need to wait for the next boat to arrive. That’s why you should consider how much time you will need to travel between sites. If you choose a day trip, you won’t have enough time to see the city’s main highlights.
Organizing such a short trip to visit the city’s top attractions is tough. If you are seeking for some bits of advice on what to do in Can Tho, check out my itinerary below.
What to do on the First Day in Can Tho
Depending on when you arrive in Can Tho, you will have more or less time to visit places. If you arrive before noon, you may want to get yourself to Con Son islet right away.
Con Son islet lies in the middle of the river, so to get there you need to take a boat from Co Bac wharf. It will take you only 5 minutes to arrive at Con Son.
This place is community based tourism where locals share their way of life. This allows the locals to support themselves and improve livelihoods Around 10 families take part in tourism services, each family has different interests or activities to offer the tour experience.
On your first destination, you will have the opportunity to explore a tropical fruit garden. You are free to try all sorts of tropical fruits or buy some to eat later.
At the next destination, visitors will have the opportunity to learn how to make traditional cakes and learn how to fish.
After enjoying all the activities, you are welcome to stay for a homemade lunch. The locals will serve simple yet flavorful dishes such as canh chua, banh xeo, and banh lot.
It should take a whole afternoon for you to enjoy everything in Con Son.
Ninh Kieu Bridge
Then, let’s head back to the city of Can Tho and spend a nice evening here. After dinner, you can burn some calories by taking a walk on Ninh Kieu pedestrian bridge. This is the most photogenic place in Can Tho with 2 gigantic lotus flowers made of thousands of neon lights that brighten up the whole area. This is a great spot for taking pictures or just simply enjoying the great view of Can Tho at night.
Tay Do night market
Continue your visit of Can Tho by going to Tay Do night market, located right next to Ninh Kieu Bridge. Inside the market, there are many souvenir vendors, coffee shops and small restaurants.
If you want to discover this area a little more, you will easily find dozens of food stalls across the street, serving all kinds of delicious street foods. This could be an option for dinner treats if you would like to explore street food.
What to do on the Second Day in Can Tho
The whole reason for visiting Can Tho overnight is so that you can see the floating market super early the next morning. This means around 6 am you should be on your little boat going out to the see the vendors, this is when the market is really in full swing. The market will usually settle down by 8 am which is the time that day trips in Can Tho are leaving Ho Chi Minh City. It means that the market they see is only for the tourists benefit, it isn’t actually the real hustle and bustle of the early morning market.
On each boat, the owner will tie whatever they are selling to long poles that reach high above the boat so others can see what they are selling from far away. For example, if you want to buy some pomelos, look for a hanging pomelo and ask the boat to sail towards it.
The biggest attraction of the market must be the delicious food that is cooked and served right on the boat. There are lots and lots of tasty Vietnamese food for you to choose like Hu Tieu, Bun Bo, or Bun Rieu. There are a few drinks being commonly offered like iced coffee, coconut juice, and soy milk.
Once you finish your breakfast, you should take a tour around Mekong canals before leaving Can Tho. By the time the sun starts to heat up, your tour has come to an end.
Below are some of the tours that will help you go to the floating market in Can Tho
Mekong delta explorer
Mekong smile tour
I hope my recommendations will be useful for you to enjoy a wonderful vacation without missing all the fun in this marvelous city in two days.
Source Here: What to do in Can Tho? An Overnight Triphttps://backofthebiketours.com/what-to-do-in-can-tho-an-overnight-trip/
A customer recently asked us “where can i buy a sim card in Ho Chi Minh City?”. We always do a lot of research when we get a question like this from a guest. We were actually really surprised to see that quite a few people had been taken advantage of by purchasing sim cards from random tourist kiosks in the airport.
If you are looking where you can buy a sim card in Ho Chi Minh City you should only purchase from reputable suppliers at their shops or kiosks. I recommend buying from Viettel or Mobiphone at their locations inside the city or their Kiosk inside the airport. These companies are the two biggest networks in Vietnam so you can have some of the best coverage available. Random shops or kiosks aren’t certified to give you a sim card, so avoid these suppliers at all costs.
Where to Buy a Sim Card in Tan Son Nhat Airport?
The whole reason for writing this blog article is to hopefully help a few people that are looking at buying their sim card inside of the airport before getting onto the street. After being on a long flight I know that most of us are ready to connect online and let everyone know that we arrived safe and sound to our destination. Also, it’s a comfortable feeling to be able to look up answers to questions you might have when trying to get to your accommodation.
It didn’t take very long when doing research on Sim Cards to see that so many people have been taken advantage of when buying a sim card in Tan Son Nhat airport. The biggest scam it seems is that sim cards that work for just a short amount of time and then are shut down after 7-8 hours.
This is why my piece of advice for getting a sim card is to ignore all of the other Kiosks except the official Viettel and Mobiphone Kiosks. These companies are the only recommendations I am going to make in this article. If there is another kiosk offering a sim card for a few dollars less, I personally wouldn’t even consider it. The headache of getting a sim card that stops working way before its supposed to isn’t worth it.
If you are like myself and want to avoid any type of headache after a long flight to a new place you can order your simcard through Klook for or even While these sim cards don't use my favorite providers, Vinaphone is still a popular and reliable service provider in vietnam.
Where are the Viettel and Mobiphone Sim Card Kiosks in Tan Son Nhat Airport?
These Kiosks are located after you get out of customs. That means you’ll have to wait until you go through immigration in order to get to the correct Kiosks. In our research we found that the biggest complaints about being ripped off happened at the kiosks before immigration so we highly recommend you avoid these options.
The Viettel and Mobiphone kiosks are located at the exit of the terminal after baggage claim. You’ll be able to see that their brand name is prominently shown on their Kiosk.
Where to buy a SIM card inside District 1, Ho Chi Minh City?
If you aren't going to buy your sim card in the airport. You can seek out the official Viettel and Mobifone stores. Viettel and Mobiphone have a few locations in District 1, we recommend making a trip to their stores to buy a sim card directly if you didn’t buy one in the airport.
Address: 166 Tran Hung Dao
Address: 81b Nguyen Du, District 1 (near the Notre Dame Cathedral and Central Post Office)
These locations are always quite busy, so it could take a little while to be helped. You can rest assured though, if you buy your sim card from here it will be fully functional and official.
Which Sim Card should you buy?
I believe hands down the best network is gonna be Viettel. I have used mobiphone for my entire time in Vietnam, but looking at the coverage for both Viettel and Mobiphone it is easy to see which one has the superior network.
Viettel has much more 4g coverage spread across the areas of Vietnam.
Mobiphone’s coverage isn’t bad but their 4g network isn’t as large as Viettel.
What are the requirements to buy a sim card in Ho Chi Minh City?
In 2016, there was a crack down on agency enforcement to prevent the illegal sale of sim cards. This was due to issues with phone scammers and national security.
This means that all sim cards require an ID or Passport to be registered. If a sim card is sold without the request of your passport information, you can bet that this isn’t an official card or there is something fishy going on.
How much do Sim Cards cost in Ho Chi Minh City?
There are a few different plans available for tourist sim cards. You’ll have the option to choose just data if you don’t think you’ll need to make any phone calls during your trip in Vietnam.
The price range for a few Gigabytes of data will range from 200-300,000 VND.
Everyone’s phone usage differs but a few gigabytes of data should be good enough for a 2-3 week vacation in Vietnam.
Can I top up a Sim Card that I bought?
Topping up a sim card in Vietnam is extremely easy. You can buy a scratch off card for both Mobiphone and Viettel from most any small mom and pop shop and convenience store in Vietnam.
If you get a number from a convenience store it will come on a receipt instead of a scratch off. Type *100*, then your number on your scratch off or receipt, and then the # key. You’ll receive an sms from the carrier to let you know they received your top up.
We hope this information has helped you when you go to buy a proper sim card. Traveling around with a good connection to the internet is important in a country where you don’t speak the native language. Hopefully you have a great time in Vietnam with some full bars on your phone!
Read Full Article Here: Where to Buy a Sim Card in Ho Chi Minh City?https://backofthebiketours.com/where-to-buy-a-sim-card-in-ho-chi-minh-city/
My first trip to the Cu Chi Tunnels actually came after I had already been living in Ho Chi Minh City for a few years. In all honesty, my friend and I were up pretty late the night before having some adult beverages out on the town. When 8 am came, it was time for us to meet our tour guide and open air jeep for a tour to the Cu Chi. I stumbled out of bed bleary eyed and still tired, I quickly grabbed some simple clothes out of my wardrobe, slipped my feet into my flip flops right before heading out the door. I wish I had thought ahead and prepared some better clothing options especially my shoes.
The Cu Chi Tunnels does not have a dress code, but I have learned the clothing you should wear would be a simple top or t-shirt, jeans or shorts, and sneakers. The clothes you bring for the cu chi tunnels should also be old. Everything you wear you shouldn't mind if it gets dirty or sweaty, because it will. Do not bring a large bag for your trip as it will be difficult to bring through the tunnels.
What kind of Shirt to Wear to the Cu Chi Tunnels?
Super simple but something a bit dark that won't stain up if you get it a bit dirty. You don't want to wear your brand new or favorite shirt on this day trip from Ho Chi Minh. As you pass through the underbrush of the jungle you'll be brushing up against mother nature which could leave some dirt and stain marks. Even more obvious though, is when climbing through the tunnels you are gonna bump up against dirty walls that are gonna make you a bit messy.
If you did bring a small bag, I would consider keeping an extra t-shirt to change into on your way back home so that you aren’t as dirty and smelly during the 2 hour trip back to Saigon.
Why wear pants or jeans to the cu chi tunnels?
After living in Vietnam for such a long time, I have learned the valuable lesson of wearing pants or jeans even when the weather is hot. If you looked at most photos of Vietnam you would see that everyone is wearing clothes that cover large parts of their arms and legs. This isn't out of a shyness about showing off skin, but rather to keep skin out of the sun.
This lesson can be applied to running around at the Cu Chi Tunnels, some pants or jeans are gonna help keep bugs and sun off of your skin. It will also be a bit gentler on the knees if you crawl through the tunnels. Hopefully you brought a pair of pants that you can use on some adventure tours on your trip to Vietnam.
Won't my jeans get ruined if I wear them crawling around the tunnels?
I wouldn't worry too much about that if you're not going to rough through the tunnels when on your hands and knees. Just take it easy, what will happen is your gonna get a little dirt on your jeans but if you aren't cruising like a toddler who has mastered crawling, everything should be just fine!
Does that mean I shouldn't wear shorts?
No, not at all. It's just a suggestion since you will be crawling on your hands and knees. Jungle foliage will brush up against you a little bit here and there. Also, some of us are more susceptible to being bit and bothered by bugs than others.
If you love shorts, which I personally wear 95% of the time, then go ahead and rock some shorts when you visit the Cu Chi. I would just recommend not wearing Basketball shorts that are loose fitting as it seems a bit easier for bugs to get into or dirt to find crevices to fall into. When I wore a pair of gym shorts on my first visit, I honestly just felt like they were gonna come off as I was crawling around the tunnels, so I wouldn't suggest them.
How about wearing sandals or flip flops to the Cu Chi Tunnels?
Sandals were my first choice when I made the trip the Cu Chi with my friend. She had a solid laugh a few times on the trip while walking around the jungle foliage I was slipping around. We had a little bit of rain that day which made everything a slip and slide for my no grip sandals.
I just kept picturing me slipping on some of the loose dirt and leaves to find my backend sitting in a muddy puddle. That would have been a fun ride home! So, my recommendation is to put on a pair of sneakers or slip on shoes to avoid any of the issues I had. It's a fun day of hanging out in the underbrush of the jungle outside of Ho Chi Minh City, better to dress the part from head to toe.
What to Wear to the Cu Chi Tunnels if you think it’s gonna rain?
This is probably gonna happen if you are visiting Southern Vietnam in between May and Early December. If you aren't sure about the weather in Vietnam, you can read up about it at our best time to visit Vietnam weather article.
Honestly, I think if you are following this guide, I would wear exactly the same things recommended above. Here is a little trick for you though as someone who has been around Vietnam for a while. If you wanted to bring a smallish backpack that you only put sandals in, this would be great for you to store your wet shoes and socks in while you slip your sandals on during the trip back to Ho Chi Minh City.
What else Should I Pack into my Bag for the Cu Chi Tunnels?
Be careful when bringing a bag to the Cu Chi Tunnels because you are gonna have to carry the bag through the tunnels with you. Packing some bug spray would be a great idea as there are a lot of insects in the Cu Chi area. Last but not least, be sure to pack some suntan lotion for the trip. Taking care of your skin will be important no matter where you are visiting in Vietnam.
Originally Published Here: What to Wear to the Cu Chi Tunnels?https://backofthebiketours.com/what-to-wear-to-the-cu-thi-tunnels/
You have just arrived at your hotel or resort from a super long flight to Vietnam, they greet you with a nice glass of juice or tea. But Wait! There is ice in it! Can I drink this ice? Oh no, you are so thirsty though! What do you do?
Can I Drink Ice in Vietnam? Yes, most of the ice you will encounter is clean and you will be able to drink it. There are two types of ice in Vietnam and one of them isn’t filtered and should not be drunk. As a customer, you will rarely ever encounter this type of ice. This is for commercial use only, and not for drinking. Most Restaurants, Hotels, and even street vendors will not serve dirty ice to customers, this would be really bad for their business as everyone, even local Vietnamese, can not drink dirty ice.
That’s why a company like Back of the Bike Tours exists providing Vietnamese food tours so we can navigate our customers to safe and hygienic eating places.
How do you Avoid Dirty Ice in Vietnam?
There isn’t a 100% guarantee that you can avoid ice that is a bit dirty from being mishandled, for example. I’m talking about a bag of ice that is put on the ground for a minute or some lady scooping ice with a dirty hand. Will that bit of mishandling make you incredibly sick? I highly doubt it.
As a traveller, you need to be concerned about a vendor or restaurant who is grossly mishandling their ice or purchasing from an unreliable source to save money. If it’s a hygiene problem and safety issue, then that isn’t the ice’s fault and you can’t avoid that 100% of the time no matter what you do, even in Western Countries.
The common sense approach to this is going to be thinking about it logically. Which type of vendor or restaurant is trying to save such a small amount of money and risk their reputation by serving dirty ice? These are going to be street food vendors serving a very cheap meal in a very poor area or a failing restaurant that is being mismanaged. If you eat in popular busy restaurants, street food vendors, cafes, and hotels that aren’t located in very rural poor areas, You aren’t going to be at much risk of getting contaminated Ice. These places will not risk their reputation for such an easily solved problem.
How does Ice become Contaminated or “Dirty”?
A lot of quality inspections are carried out regularly by the food and safety authorities but dirty ice cannot be completely controlled and prevented from being served to customers across Vietnam.
Contamination can occur at the source used to make the ice, the packaging process, the transportation of the ice, or the distribution. That is a lot of moving parts to control in a developing country like Vietnam. As long as a vendor or restaurant are purchasing the right type of ice, a risk of serious contamination is still rather low as the reputation of so many are on the line to deliver a safe product to customers.
What does clean ice look like?
While there’s no way to be 100% certain that the ice you consume in Vietnam is safe for health, there are a ton of safe and qualified ice manufacturers. A big safety tip with ice is to look out for commercially made ice with cylindrical shape and a hole in it. Generally speaking, this type of ice is the safest, costliest to produce, to store, and to preserve. Only large manufacturers having more modern machines can produce it.
This type of ice is usually found at large “beer restaurants” where it is common to drink beer over ice. It can also be found in coffee shops and restaurants perfect to drink with juice and coffee.
The other type of clean ice you will commonly come across will be the small “chips” of ice. These are commonly found in Ice Coffee, Juice, and Tea as well.
What Kind of Ice in Vietnam should I be Wary of or Avoid Completely?
Large blocks of ice that get broken into smaller pieces. This is where you are gonna see your biggest issues. If you are at a vendor or restaurant who looks like they are breaking up giant chunks of ice, perhaps you can avoid it. 99% of the time, you would probably be okay. If you are easily susceptible to getting sick though, it may not be worth the risk.
These big chunks of ice are the cheapest and easiest to make, so these companies are probably not hiring the most astute employees. Which is where you might come across more of likelihood of some type of contamination.
Another tip is to look at the color. From the outside, if the ice shows signs of slightly turbid color and contains many bubbles, strange smell, it is dirty ice. Purified ice, on the other hand, has a clear crystal-like color, without any strange smell or residue.
Can I drink Ice Safely in Restaurants and Hotels in Vietnam?
Restaurants, Hotels, and even local restaurants aren’t going to serve you dirty ice. At least not on purpose, there would need to be a major mismanagement of the ice in order for it to be contaminated in a way that would make someone sick. These large companies would not dare risk their brand, and smaller mom and pop owned restaurants would not risk their livelihood.
When contamination does occur at a restaurant or hotel, it isn’t going to be from someone buying dirty ice, it would be contamination coming from staff most likely not the water source.
Iced Tea is everywhere, should I drink it?
In Vietnam, the water is sometimes replaced by a light tea called “Tra da” in Vietnamese. It is a popular drink usually served with street food for free.
I have never had a problem from drinking ice tea from cafes, restaurants, or even street food vendors. This does come down to common sense though, if you think a restaurant or vendor is a little too dirty or slow, don’t feel bad about not drinking the tea they offer. Iced Coffee is huge in Vietnam as well, check out this article about drinking and buying safe coffee in Vietnam if you want to learn more.
If after all this information you still feel skeptical, that is totally okay. It is your trip so you should do the best you can to enjoy it without any concerns. Simply, tell the waiter or waitress to serve you drinks without ice. In Vietnamese, that would be “Khong Da”.
You are being a smart traveler asking great questions about food safety and hygiene. Check us out if you want to know more about our Vietnam Travel Tips.
Overall, being prepared is the best tip for travelling to anywhere including Vietnam. After reading this guide about Ice in Vietnam, I hope that you feel more comfortable and ready for your trip to my beautiful country. If you find our tips helpful, please feel free to share our article so that other travelers can gain some local knowledge and feel even more confident about their future trip as well!
Source Here: Can I Drink Ice In Vietnam?https://backofthebiketours.com/can-i-drink-ice-in-vietnam/
While it is quite easy for anyone to look up on TripAdvisor or Agoda for the best hotels in Saigon (and get some great deals), we have decided this time to search some accommodations here that stands out (to us) for their decor and style. As always, this is purely based on our team's opinion and this is not a sponsored post by any of the hotels mentioned below. Check out the video for the best boutique hotels here and scroll down for the list of addresses:
Our Best Boutique Hotels:
#5 L'Odeon, 63-65, Lê Văn Thiêm Street, District 7
#4 Town House 50, 50 Bùi Thị Xuân, Bến Thành District
#3 Cinnamon Hotel Saigon, 74 Lê Thị Riêng, Bến Thành District
#2 The Alcove, 133A Nguyễn Đình Chính, Phú Nhuận District
#1 I Am Vietnam, 30/57B Nguyen Cuu Van Street, Bình Thạnh District.
Are you planning to stay at one of these boutique Hotels in HCMC? Which one did you choose?
Source Here: The Best Boutique Hotels in Ho Chi Minh Cityhttps://backofthebiketours.com/best-boutiques-hotels/
Vietnamese Jicama Roll, Bò Bía
The little brother of the famous Vietnamese Spring Roll a.k.a Goi Cuon, Bo Bia is one of the easiest snacks to find when walking down the street of Ho Chi Minh City. This spring roll packs a unique punch of flavor and texture in comparison. With rice paper on the outside, Jicama, Beef Sausage, Dried Shrimp, fried egg, fried shallots, and multiple herbs on the inside this little roll is not to be missed.
You can find this served with a peanut dipping sauce, don’t forget to add the chili for that added heat.
Vietnamese Rice Paper Salad with Dried Beef, Bánh Tráng Trộn
The question “What is your favorite Vietnamese Food?” is a staple during our Interview process at Back of the Bike Tours. Eighty percent of the time I am given the quick and enthusiastic answer of, “Banh Trang Tron!”
Like so many other dishes in culinary history, this dish started out just trying to solve a problem. What to do with all of that scrap rice paper? Well, make a salad out of it! Using thin strips of rice paper to compose the bulk of the salad, Dried beef, Dried Shrimp, Quail egg, Vietnamese Hot Mint, Julienned Green Mango, toasted peanuts, and fried shallots are tossed together with a loose, dark, sweetened soy sauce with kumquat juice.
After being thoroughly mixed, it’s tossed into a bag with disposable chopsticks shoved inside.
This concoction is a fun texture experience and bursting with a great combination of flavors. This dish is great for accenting the strong and unique flavor of Vietnamese Dried Beef.
Quail fried in Butter, Cút Chiên Bơ
It’s not difficult to miss the man on the street corner with a rotisserie over open flames. What might be difficult to miss is the small birds that are strung through the poles roasting over the flame. Every few minutes, the quail vendor will brush these little birdies with his own oil or butter mixture that will usually contain a dried herb and spices to add a unique flavor to each vendors quail.
These quail can be taken to a whole another level when they are deep-fried in sweet butter and served with a baguette. Fried Quail will normally come with pickles, Vietnamese Hot Mint, and Cucumber as an accompaniment to the dish.
Some might be grossed out by the serving of the quail head still attached to the neck. No worries, it has a great pop to it when you take it in one bite.
Pork and Pork Sausage Skewers, Heo Nướng - Hồ Lô Nướng
Grilled pork over an open fire! Count me in! These meat skewers are a great pre-game to hold you over before dinner.
Heo Nuong, Marinated Pork Skewers, find an excellent balance between chewy and tender. Pork comes into the markets around 4 AM here in Saigon. That is when the pork shoulder is purchased, then cut, and marinated for 6-8 hours in a mixture of honey and sesame seeds.
Holo Nuong, Sweet Pork Sausage balls, can’t help but leave a smile on your face when your teeth pop the roasted casing on the outside to find yourself enjoying a great balance of fat and sugar that is mixed into the sausage. Named for its resemblance of a round squash, these sweet morsels of meat are typically found in Southern Vietnam.
Don’t miss the chili sauce and pickles that are a necessity in balancing out the rich meaty flavor. Also, a nice cold beer goes quite well. Try it out on our food tours in Ho Chi Minh City on your next visit.
Grilled Vietnamese Rice Paper, Banh Tráng Nướng
Hailing from the mountain area of Dalat and one of the newest to arrive in the food scene of Ho Chi Minh City, Banh Trang Nuong, has been dubbed the “Vietnamese Pizza”. Here are the basics for almost every Banh Tranh Nuong, Rice paper, open flame, egg, and cheese. Top this with anything from Dried beef, green onions, spicy chicken, or even take the desert approach and try some banana. This crispy snack is being served in little restaurants or right on the street so it isn't hard to miss.
If you are interested in then be sure to check out our, if you are looking to check out a specific food in Vietnam then ask about our private tours and chefs tours!
Back in May, Our team and I had the chance to go on a custom History tour with a man from the UK named Tim Doling. Tim’s knowledge of Historic Vietnam may be unparalleled by any foreigner living in Vietnam. Researching into some of the most historical figures, architecture, railways, and history of Vietnam, Tim will blow you away on his Historic Walking Tour of Ho Chi Minh City or Cho Lon.
When meeting with Tim, we had the chance to sit down over coffee and discuss the details of Historic Vietnam starting around the 1600’s into the 1950’s with the exit of the French from Vietnam.
This chance to jump into your imagination and experience Saigon in the past is one that has stuck with me since. It has changed the way I even drive down the street. Now my eyes are constantly darting to the sides looking for old architecture that I might have driven by thousands of times before but never realized.
This has also led to a major shift into our City Tours here at Back of the Bike Tours. Armed with new knowledge from an excellent Historian we were able to adapt some of the things we learned working with Tim Doling to help us create what we feel must be the best City Tour on a motorbike in Ho Chi Minh City.
Tim has actually released a new book called “Exploring Ho Chi Minh City”. This book has 13 interesting walking tours for anyone who is interested in diving into the History and Architecture of old Ho Chi Minh City. If you are an expatriate living here in Ho Chi Minh City, please get up right now and go to the book store to purchase your copy.
You can also contact Tim to set up a walking history tour with him on his website at www.historicvietnam.com
As always, if you are interesting in experiencing the History and modern culture of Saigon you can check out our Morning City Tour all done with local, experienced, and professionally trained drivers. To learn even more about Ho Chi minh City explore our articles in depth!
Learn More Here: Exploring Ho Chi Minh Cityhttps://backofthebiketours.com/exploring-ho-chi-minh-city-with-tim-doling/
There has been alot of buzz around the world with the new concept of the "underground" or "pop up" restaurant. The idea is that Chef's who can't afford to jump right into starting their own restaurant can have the chance to do it inside of their homes or at featured venue's. This is an exceptional idea and a unique way for Sous Chef's or Cook's to show their chops without their hard work being hidden by the name of a restaurant or the Executive chef. All of this without the risk of crippling debt that comes with a failed restaurant.
I have lived in Saigon for the last two years and suffer from "Great food envy". This is the dark and deep depression that might enter a cook, chef, or foodie's life when he is not able to book a dinner at a new restaurant with a creative menu from a young aspiring chef. The excitement that comes from seeing a cook push the envelope or take a step on the ledge with a new tasting menu or restaurant concept.
Why do I suffer from this when I am surrounded by some of the best street food in the world? Well, in all honesty, I grew up on it. Spending away the hard earned minimum wage money that I earned on my Externship eating my way around the Big Apple at 18. It was just what I was into at the time, and I have not grown out of it.
It seems that Saigon is lacking a movement of Chef's who are looking to remove labels from their food such as "Vietnamese Cuisine", "French Cuisine", or anything else that will restrain the creativity in which a chef or cook looks at when planning a menu or dish. Sure, you can find a few restaurants out there who are serving great Vietnamese, French, Spanish, or Italian cuisine. This isn't what I want though! I want someone who went to the market in the morning, found fresh ingredients, and came back to the restaurant to create.. Whatever the hell they wanted! Without the labels or confining themselves to stick to a certain realm of techniques just to satisfy the classification of their restaurant.
This is where Chad and I stepped in to take care of business ourselves during the summer of 2013 when we created, Tasty Inc. Chad and I met in Culinary School in New York in 2005, we were both cooks, and in 2013 we were living in Saigon with some time on our hands. Chad being the owner of Back of the Bike Tours. Fredrick, that is me, was looking at starting up cooking classes and was already restaurant consulting. Both of us had a bit of extra time on our hands and were interested in starting up a new project. We looked at the size of our apartment, kitchen, and the interest of possible foodies in the city. It would be difficult to do but nothing worth doing isn't. So we picked up a few kitchen equipment supplies, dishes, and had some furniture built. Within 4 weeks, we were serving our first guests.
Chad took the role of Executive Chef in the way of planning our menu's. I took the role of Sous Chef, which meant doing whatever was needed to make the dinner a success.
Our first dinner was an excellent experience with Chad showing a bit of his time at Daniels Restaurant in NYC and some inspiration from his time at Alinea in Chicago. These two styles combined with the fresh local ingredients at the market were a huge success.
Braised Beef and Chili
The above dishes are 3 of the 6 courses that were served on our first night.
We would continue to serve out of our house for the next two months and begin to get some regular guests and great feedback. Among our greatest moments, we got a write up in Oi Magazine which you can read here: Secret Supper Club
Unfortunately, we had to close the door when Chad and Thuy, his wife and co-founder of Back of the Bike Tours, decided that it was time to move back to America.
When I think about my favorite time of cooking in my entire life, I think of the days of Tasty Inc. The idea of going to the market and cooking whatever looks best that day was a consuming desire when I was a young cook. This was the backbone of Tasty Inc and what made us so unique and interesting for our guests. The techniques and ways of thought about food that I learned while working with one of my best friends in our small apartment kitchen will never allow me to look at cooking the same way again. This was also the heart of Tasty Inc, pushing the envelope on what people have come to expect when eating dinner in Saigon.
I hope that someone else takes the torch that was lit by Chad and I. There are hungry people in Saigon who are looking for something new and different. I am one of them!
Original Post Here: Seeking New and Great Restaurants in Ho Chi Minh Cityhttps://backofthebiketours.com/seeking-new-and-great-restaurants-in-ho-chi-minh-city/