Aug 27, 2018
Nomad Travel Buddy
Hostel Check-in: Sakura Hostel Cholon
Location: District 5, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
I Want Your Life!
A lot of friends and readers tell me they like my life but don't know how to get started. I often explain what I do but it wasn't enough to get them out. I know, it's a lot easier for them to travel with someone like me to show them in real-time how things are dealt with - that's when the learning takes place and confidence to build-up. This need was the genesis that gave rise to my Aha Moment in making myself available to travel with anyone who wants to be a nomad...or for that matter, anyone who wants to embark on traveling but remains on the fence. It doesn't matter if they want to rough it as a backpacker or travel in style.
Now, having spent 7 years of my life being homeless to fully commit myself to a nomadic life, traveling doesn't excite me the way it used to. But perhaps traveling with someone who wants to learn how it's done can bring back the excitement. This puts a new perspective on what's already too familiar - I can impart what I know, make a little money and empower the wannabe-traveler. Everybody wins with this model.
Nomad Travel Buddy: The Website
As a web designer, the best way to put the word out is to develop a website that explains the mechanics and manages expectations. Now, I open the door for them into my world and I share my secrets. I will travel with them and teach them how I do things. It addresses 2 main issues - traveling per se and empowerment to do things on their own the next time around.
I don't really know what happens here or if this even works out, but I'm also curious where this takes me. I'm not saying NO to an Aha Moment. With my website live, I've done my due-diligence. Let's see how this unfolds.
Checkout the website:
NOMAD TRAVEL BUDDY
YOGA by Gigit | Learn English | Travel like a Nomad | Donation Bank
Reader Comments:Aisling Ni Fhaolain
(Aug 29, 2018) Awesome idea!
Thai Plum Village
(Aug 25, 2018) You are so right for this concept.
(Aug 25, 2018) Amazing!
(Aug 25, 2018) Awesome My spiritual "Swiss army knife" Perfect
(Aug 25, 2018) Aaaah nice!!!! Haha! 🙂 that's what Roaming Robito's and mine idea was once as well! Taking people by their hands and show them to go with flow 🙂 just without all these wonderful fitness, yoga, super skills hahaha 🙂 Your offer is definitely better!! Hehe! Awesome! Will recommend you to anyone! Where will you travel next time/years?
(Aug 25, 2018) Thanks Nina 🙂 just arrived Bangkok...maybe 30 days here before moving on again. How are you guys doing?
(Aug 25, 2018) Bangkok? Just 3 hours away from a reunion with the monastics at Plum Village....sure they would be thrilled to have you stay 3-4 days during your month in Thailand. Me...am on the move again tomorrow Netherlands back to Spain.
(Aug 25, 2018) good luck with this project.. embracing abundance
Next stop: Back in Bangkok After 5 Weeks
HO CHI MINH CITY BLOGS
- Hotel Review: Queen Ann Hotel Apr 24-30, 2019
- Banh Canh Cua Obsession Apr 23-30, 2019
- The Fascinating Peoplescape of Ho Chi Minh City Apr 23-30, 2019
- Ho Chi Minh City on a Visa Run Apr 23-30, 2019
- Nomad Travel Buddy Aug 27, 2018
- 20 Days in Ho Chi Minh City Aug 7-27, 2018
- Exploring Binh Tay Market, Ho Chi Minh City Aug 26, 2018
- Pho Beef Soup Exploration of Ho Chi Minh City Aug 7-27, 2018
- Rediscovering the Cafe Tradition of Ho Chi Minh City Aug 7-27, 2018
- Where is the Best Banh Canh Cua in HCMC? Aug 7-27, 2018
- In Search of the best Banh Mi in Ho Chi Minh City Aug 7-27, 2018
- Peoplescape of Ho Chi Minh City Aug 7-27, 2018
- Rediscovering Ho Chi Minh City Aug 7, 2018
- AO Show, Ho Chi Minh City Apr 10, 2015
- Free English Apr 1, 2015
- Teaching English to Vietnamese Apr 1, 2015
- 20 Days in Ho Chi Minh City Mar 22 - Apr 12, 2015
- Discovering Ho Chi Minh City's Cafe Culture Nov 9 - Dec 17, 2014
- Ho Chi Minh City's Fascinating Motorbike Culture Nov 18, 2014
- How Long was the Vietnam War? Nov 10, 2014
- Exploring Ho Chi Minh City (Ho Chi Minh City) Nov 9, 2014
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Ben Xe Mien Dong
Mien Tay Bus Station
Saigon Railway Station
Tan Son Nhat International Airport
Queen Ann Hotel - luxurious and modern, District 1 location, 10-minute walk to Ben Thanh Market
Sakura Hostel Cholon - 9.0 Stars (out of 10) from 24 reviews on Booking.com based on cleanliness, comfort, facilities, staff, value for money, free wifi and location!
How to Get to District 1 (HCMC) from the Airport (Tan Son Nhat International Airport)
- take the #109 Airport Bus (5:30am to 1:00am, departs every 15-20 minutes, 45 mins, 20k Dong or $1.00) Route: International Terminal - Domestic Terminal (Tan Son Nhat International Airport) - Truong Son - Tran Quoc Hoan - Hoang Van Thu - Nguyen Van Troi - Nam Ky Khoi Nghia - Ham Nghi - Le Lai - Ben Thanh Bus Station - Pham Ngu Lao - 23/9 Park
- get off at 23/9 Park to get to the cluster of backpacker hostels
Ho Chi Minh City Travel Tips
- best money changer rates in District 1 is Ha Tam Jewelry near Ben Thanh (refer to map for location)
- unlike most destinations in Thailand, Cambodia or Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City is too big for the major bus companies to provide a drop-off service with their shuttle minivans. If you are coming by bus, you get off either at the Western Bus Station or Eastern Bus Station depending on where you are coming from. From there, you can take the cheap local bus, the Xe Buyt to get you closer to your destination.
- you can get around the city by moto-taxi or rent a motorbike - but be warned that motorbike riding in Ho Chi Minh City is unlike riding anywhere else in Asia!
Ho Chi Minh City Cost Index
Budget price in budget places (US$1 = Vietnam Dong VND 23,255 = Php 53.20 as of Aug 1, 2016)
- VND 10-15,000 baguette sandwich (banh mi)
- VND 25-30,000 noodle soup (pho)
- VND 10-15,000 black filtered coffee
- VND 5,000 sugar cane juice (nuoc mia)
- VND 8-10,000 fresh coconut
- VND 10,000 one beer bottle
- VND 10,000 1.5 liter drinking water
- VND 80,000 bicycle rental, 24 hours
- VND 80,000 cheap lodging
- VND 10,000/kg laundry
- VND 8-10,000/km but flag-down starts at 20,000 motorcycle ride
- VND 20-35,000 rice meals (com tam)
- VND 100-140,000/day motorbike rental
Vietnam FYI / Tips / Dos and Don'ts
- Hanoi Grapevine HCMC Update - for the latest events in Vietnam
- Vietnam establishments will not accept US dollars, unlike Cambodia. You have to use Vietnam Dong (US$1 = Vietnam Dong VND 23,255 = Php 53.20 as of Aug 1, 2016)
- Vietnamese smokers will smoke in air-conditioned establishments, air-conditioned buses packed with people including women, children and babies. They also smoke inside hospitals with no smoking signs.
- Vietnam ranks almost the same as Thailand and Cambodia for cheap price. Laos, Myanmar and Malaysia cost more
- internet speed is generally fast and reliable but during important events like Tet holiday, election, etc., it slows down
- Vietnamese generally do not speak or understand much English. It will be a challenge.
- best to dress appropriately, not revealing too much skin (Saigon is an exception - the ladies there set the trend in very short shorts)
- remove your shoes when entering a home or place of worship
- ask first before taking someone's picture. If they say no, don't persist or offer money
- best to carry your hotel's business card with you when going out. You can just show it to the cab driver or XeOm driver if they don't understand English
- leave your valuables, passport, travel tickets, etc. with the hotel's safety deposit box
- when lying down, don't point your feet or the soles of your shoes to anyone or to a family altar
- carry only enough cash for your needs that day
- don't lose your temper in public - Vietnamese people are warm, generous and polite. They look down on people who lose their composure
- don't take pictures of military installations - you can go to jail
- refrain from taking videos of minority people until permitted to do so
Lesser-Known Vietnam Destinations
- Phu Yen Province - by the beach
- Hoa Binh Lake - locals' alternative to Halong Bay
- Ninh Binh - Trang An Grottoes, Tam Coc, Mua Caves, Bai Dinh Pagoda, Van Long Nature Reserve
General Travel Tips
- avoiding scams - as a general rule, I ignore the touts or anyone I don't know who call out to me. The calling comes in many forms - "Hi! Where are you from?", "Excuse me! Excuse me!", "Where are you going?". I don't look them in the eye and I remain non-verbal with them. If you reply to them, you just gave them an 'in' to hound you. In order not to look rude, I smile and wave the 'not interested' hand to them, without looking at them.
- power bank - hand-carry your power bank. Do not check it in. You can be called in when you are already inside the plane to go all the way to the loading dock so you can personally remove the power bank...and chances are, you'll have to surrender it to them. And you might delay the plane departure!
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