#1-When exchanging HKD, they only take a certain 500 HKD bill.
(We had discovered this when a member had brought a 500 HKD bill and was turned down. Any Canadian or US currency is fine.)
#2-Tourist agencies are the equivalent to currency converter venues.
(Don’t bother looking for currency converter venues, you won’t find any. Ho Chi Minh will have tourist agencies open late in the evening but be sure to exchange any money during the day just in case.)
#3-When staying at a hostel, bring a towel just in case, even when they do provide towels.
(Our hostel had supplied towels however none were available the night we arrived so some went without a shower in the humid heat, but I brought one!)
#4-When crossing the road, just go!
(Try to make eye contact and don’t stop in the middle of the road! Motorists are more likely to run into you if you randomly stop or start running.)
#5-Beware of pick pockets. Trust me!
(I didn’t think this was going to happen to me and I was well aware of the pick pocketing issue…lesson learned, keep all your valuables safe in a small bag/backpack in view)
#6-Bargain your way to a good deal but understand the importance of giving back to the community.
(Yes, you can definitely get all your souvenirs extremely cheap. But while you think you want to pay next to nothing for your items, keep in mind that residents in Ho Chi Minh aren’t the richest people and that’s why they become vendors to try and sell anything and everything to tourists. A little more money for you is a lot to them. Be kind and don’t be an asshole and low-ball them.)
#7-Book a river cruise, it’s extremely cheap!
(We had booked the Mekong Delta river cruise and covered quite a lot. It was only $11 USD and took the majority of the day.)
#8-Beware the food, not everything is up to hygienic standards.
(Locals might be more accustomed to eating at food carts but you as a foreigner might not. If you want to chance it, go ahead but keep that bottle of Gravol or Advil for later.)
#9-Walking from District 1-5 is do-able…if you’re fond of walking that is.
(We love walking and didn’t really get to know our way around in the bus system so walking was definitely a thing. And you get to see a lot more too!)
#10-Beware the confusion of currency denominations.
(So if you look at the bills, some of them can look quite similar. Such as the 1000 VND and the 10,000 VND)