Following my one week in Hong Kong, my best friend and I flew to Vietnam for a 5 day, 5 night adventure. We decided on Vietnam because we both wanted an Asian experience that took each of us away from our comfort zones, as we both have no knowledge of the language. We originally wanted to go to Hanoi, but flights were all booked up. So we chose to check out Vietnam's other major city, Ho Chi Minh City, also known as Saigon. We booked our hotel for 3 nights, then left our plan open for the last days of the trip for a spontaneous adventure.
Saigon was incredible! The downside of the city is definitely the traffic with the scooters and cars, mainly the scooters. They are everywhere! And, they contribute too much to the pollution. We would come back to our hotel every night eagerly wanting to shower off the black layer of soot on our skin. Apart from that, the city is filled with history and culture. We stayed next to the Ben Thanh Market at the Lavender Hotel, a nice little clean hotel. We didn't need a taxi at all, we just walked to all of our destinations (which also meant we were constantly sweating every time we stepped outside).
Here is a slideshow of pictures taken in Ho Chi Minh City:
One of the reasons I came here to Asia was to be challenged in communicating with others. I felt that in the states I got too comfortable and too isolated. Everything is more or less the same. It's easier to figure out a way to communicate to people and get what you want there. Here in Asia, I'm challenged with different cultures and different languages. During our stay in Vietnam, I definitely felt challenged and pushed to find ways to communicate to the locals - whether by changing my wording, pointing, or whatever else came to mind at that time.