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First Stop - Vietnam

3 Jun. - 10 Jun., 2019

Ho Chi Minh City


I like traveling. Traveling gives me various perspectives and thoughts toward this world. In comparison to holiday, couchsurfing to me is the most suitable way to deeply and truly get more understanding of local cultures. There is no point to discuss about the pros and cons of couchsurfing. Everyone has his/her own traveling styles, as long as they enjoy the trip.


Why I chose Vietnam as my first country to visit? The reason is very simple. I want to know the real Vietnam. Vietnam is a economic booming country like Taiwan 30 years ago. You can see hopes and expectation of wonderful life from those Vietnamese young generations. However, in Taiwan, "foreign worker" has somehow become a derogatory term which is easily associated with those people who come from developing or poverty countries. But is that true? Because of my previous job, I had some chances to visit Vietnam. From my experiences, I overturned my stereotype toward South-East Asia countries. In fact, take Vietnam as example, approximately 70% of total population in Vietnam are labor force (aged from 15 - 60), suggesting that Vietnam is in an economic booming stage. (ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Vietnam)




I was lucky to find my first host of couchsurfing the first day I arrived in Ho Chi Min (HCM) city. He is a 29 years-old young man who owns a sports store targeting the large size market. In his store, there is a total of 4 staff who are students coming to HCM city for school.


Photo of my host's store




When you visit HCM city, you must visit War Remnant Museum. It displays photos and documentaries showing what the US government did to Vietnam people and the recovery path of Vietnamese government from the war. Very thought-provoking place.



My host and I had street food on the second day evening. It was my first time trying duck egg. Honestly, it tasted much better than I expected. I would say it tasted more like chicken. However, I don't think I will give it try again.


The last night in HCM city, my host invited me to have dinner with him and his friends. Everyone sat on the ground in a circle. The meals were simple but consisted of hospitality and kindness.

After dinner, I was also invited to watch soccer game with my host and some local people at the coffee shop nearby my host house. People were cheering and celebrating when Team Vietnam won the match.



On my last day in HCM city, I went to gym with my host for 1 hour. This gym has every basic facilities and is not worse than some gyms in Taiwan from my perspective. My host said he will come to gym every morning for an hour to keep his body fit.


After saying good-bye to my first host, I headed for HCM International airport to catch my flight to my next city, Da Nang. Flight delaying seems to be very common for domestic flight in Vietnam.


Da Nang

Due to delayed flight. I had no choice but spent one night in Hostel. Next day morning, I walked around the Da Nang city. In the evening, I came to my second host's place. The funny thing was that I didn’t meet him because he went camping at the same day. Fortunately, my host had told someone else that I am coming and stay for the next three nights. Nevertheless, at least I had bed.


It was a very special couchsurfing experience for me. I lived with few couchsurfers. The host is running a project which every couchsurfer can spontaneously help him teach local students in exchange of stays. Every class couchsurfers and students will be given a topic on which they could talk and share their ideas or opinions. By this way, students can not only improve their English but also establish international awareness.



Few tables and chairs could be a little classroom that bridges between local students and the world.



My host (left) is not only a brilliant teacher but also a barista. The coffee he made is the best coffee I have ever had in my life. My flatmate (right) was preparing her breakfast.



Another couchsurfer was chatting with local students in the class.



When you visit Da Nang, you must not miss those beautiful beaches. With endless coast line, Da Nang become a more and more popular vacation spot for foreigners.



If you like old Chinese culture, you should visit a place nearby Da Nang city called "Hoi An old town", which was enlisted as World Heritage Centres in 1999. Back then, Hoi An was town next to the estuary of Thu Bon River, where lots of Chinese, India, the Netherland people came here to do business. Therefore, the style of architecture here was mixed of Eastern and Western cultures. In the evening, you can see many lanterns hanging on the old streets. The chilling atmosphere makes this old town you can relieve stress from daily life.


Hoi An in a daytime. It is a historic, lovely and vintage old town.


At night, thousands of lanterns are lit up and turn Hoi An into a romantic old town.


Next to Hoi An Old Town is Thu Bon River. Many tourists will take small boats to see the different views of the Old Town. At night, tons of floating water lanterns on the river make the Hoi An a more glamorous town.


Although it's a short trip in Vietnam, fortunately, I had opportunities to be couchsurfer that I can met local people and lived like local people. In addition to breath-holding landscapes in Vietnam, the hospitality and kindness of Vietnamese people gave me unforgettable memories. There is no doubt that I would plan a trip to get deeper understanding of Vietnamese culture.


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