I arrived in Ho Chi Minh City last November with a three month visa, half wondering if my nomadic ways would keep me in a city for that long. Turns out I ended up extending my stay to four months, which is the longest I have been in one place for years (perhaps I am becoming a slomad?)
[Slowing down in hectic Ho Chi Minh City]
The digital nomad community
Much of the reason I have stayed here so long has been for the entrepreneur community that is based here. I have been living in a area of District 1 that has a cluster of short term rentals, and not a day goes by when I don’t bump into someone I know in this neighbourhood.
One of the big attractions of living in Saigon is the number of cafes that are here. I usually work half of the day at home and the other half in a cafe, most of which have good wifi. If I like I can always find someone to work with which breaks up the solitary days that comes with being self-employed. There is a co-working space here, but I find I prefer working in cafes and then going back home when I need to be most productive.
I have been eating Vietnamese food nearly every day here and I haven’t tired of it. You could have a different type of soup every night for a month, such is the variety. At lunch there are the cơm tấm (broken rice) restaurants, which – as the name suggests – serves broken rice with a selection of dishes, usually grilled pork, fish, and a number of other side dishes. Each restaurant has their own side dish specialties so it has been fun to try out the different lunch places.
[Bánh canh cua]
I have been fortunate to have a friend here who is a street food expert. Jodi seemingly has a sixth sense for finding street food vendors and she was even recommending places for me to eat at before she had arrived. I would not have known about half of the places here if it wasn’t for her enthusiasm for trying everything there is to eat.
I have so many more posts to publish on Ho Chi Minh City, which I shall publish throughout the year on this nonlinear travel blog.
The Year Ahead
Tomorrow I fly to Bangkok for what will be the beginning of another busy year of travel, punctuated with some breaks in new destinations. From Bangkok I will be flying to Jakarta and exploring some lesser visited places in Java. From Java I make my way back to Malaysia, then to Bangkok, and onward to London. I will have a few weeks in Europe before making my way to Toronto for the TBEX travel blog conference. After a couple of weeks back in the US I will be making my first trip to Central America, starting in Belize. This takes me up to mid june and from there I have kept my plans open.
I’m sad to be leaving Saigon but I suspect I will be back here later in the year. I have new countries to visit and old friends to meet, and after all that perhaps I will once again be unpacking my bags in Ho Chi Minh City for an extended stay.