Where I’m At: August, 2013 – Ho Chi Minh City

City Hall - Ho Chi Minh City

Language and moto mayhem in Ho Chi Minh City

It’s been a month since I got back to Ho Chi Minh City so it’s time for an update.

Heads Down In The Hoch

After months of non-stop travel it’s been great to unpack and stay somewhere I love for a while. In the last month I didn’t leave the city and yet I still find new cafes and eateries here on a weekly basis. The solid heads-down work time and being with friends has been exactly what I needed.

Language Lessons

Seeing that I’m spending so much time in Vietnam I’ve started taking language lessons. It didn’t take long for me to realise that I have no discipline to attempt an online course, so I am taking private lessons at a language centre.

Probably not the easiest language to start as a first new language, but at least Vietnamese has an advantage over Chinese and Thai of using Latin script. The lessons started off well enough with only 29 letters in the alphabet to learn, but then tone characters (of which there five) can be added onto to the twelve vowels. It’s tricky, but I figure if I learn the numbers and the names of food I will be happy with that.

Moto Mayhem

My language lessons are just a bit far to walk without taking up too much of my work day, so I am now renting a bike. This will also give me the chance to explore the other 23 districts beyond my walking circuit of District 1. The traffic here is legend for its craziness, but it isn’t as bad when you are actually in traffic. It is relatively slow moving compared to traffic in, say, Melbourne (where my last vehicle was a motorbike). I want to do some road trips outside of Saigon during the dry season, so starting with the craziest traffic first is good practice.

Saigon roundabout traffic
[Somehow these roundabouts work]

Site News

Now that I’ve had a month to clear a backlog of work, I’ve been looking at what to do next with Nomadic Notes. The site is about to go through redesign and I will be adding new features, such as a weekly roundup of travel and location independent news, and resources for working in popular digital nomad cities. Feedback is welcome.


While my plan is to spend three months in Vietnam, I will still be doing some travel while I am here. I have a trip to Hanoi coming up this month, and I am overdue for a beach break. Other than that I have kept my travel plans for Thailand in October open.

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  1. Have the best time!

  2. Hey mate – sounds like an incredible time!! I should be heading over to Ho Chi Minh in the next week or so, hopefully we’ll be able to connect while there! It’s my first time to Vietnam (if you can believe it). Otherwise, it would be great to reconnect in Thailand in October!

  3. Great article, it is pretty common in most South East Asia country where the city is dominated by the presence of motorcycle. It is also a normal view in my city.. 🙂

  4. Great that you’re getting stuck into the language. I’ve been taking Spanish lessons here and as frustrating as it can be, it’s the least I can do while living/travelling through South America

  5. Great post. Wish you have a good time in Vietnam

  6. Awesome for learning some Vietnamese! It’s great being immersed in the culture so you have an advantage to learning. That is a lot of scooters!

  7. Great article mate! I do agree with you that Vietnamese is way easier than Chinese and Thai…. And if you’re planning to stay longer you can also offer English tutorials..

  8. what a great experience – your game to be on those cycles in that traffic and crazy rules! best of luck with the online course.

  9. I just found your blog and I enjoy your monthly updates!

  10. hi, I like your writing a lot!

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