Ho Chi Minh is also known as Saigon. You'll hear both used. Despite a bumpy start with our taxi drive to our hotel, we learned so much during our time here.
Do you say Saigon or Ho Chi Minh City?
In everyday language, people say “Saigon.” For official purposes and documents though, Ho Chi Minh City is used.
We got scammed in our very first taxi ride from the airport to our hotel. We exited the airport and entered the official taxi queue at the airport. We asked, “How much will it cost?” He answered, “Don’t worry, there is a meter.” It turned out to be a fake meter. He offered us gum during the ride. And when we got there, he quoted us $35. We paid $22. We asked the hotel and they said that it should have cost us $7 and that lots of taxis look official, but they’ve rigged the meters. They said that if we ever have that issue again that we should go into a hotel or restaurant and ask them how much it should cost (and that if we know where we are going prior that we can ask them before even leaving). Later in our travels, we found out that taxi drivers have a little string next to the lever for their blinker. The string connects to a wire connected to the back of the meter. Each time they pull the string, the meter ticks up. We never got into another cab without agreeing to a price before leaving.
On our walk to the War Remnants Museum, we stopped at an amateur soccer match. Within 5 minutes, a man was hit in the head by the goalkeeper. It was a solid collision and the field player fell to the ground and began to have a seizure. A taxi drove onto the turf field and brought him to the hospital.
A few days later, we decided to stop by again for what we hoped would be an injury-free segment. We ended up staying for an hour to watch an amateur 11v11 soccer match. Two of the players came over and asked Adam to play (he didn’t have shoes and the team had enough subs already). They were very friendly to us, offered us water, and even gave us dinner tips for the evening. The atmosphere felt a lot like Chelsea Piers.