My first night in Ho Chi Minh City was a rough one. For starters I made the ultimate rookie mistake of arriving in the city around 7:00 pm and it was already dark. My girlfriend that I was traveling with and I had decided to not make a single plan for the whole trip. This included not researching a single place, but rather just go with our gut and let spontaneity play out. It worked out really well for the most part.

Here we were at the airport in the dark knowing nothing about the city. We didn’t even know which direction the city was. We knew NOTHING about Vietnam and had no hotel booked for the night. Being the cheap backpackers we were we met a group of 4 other people hailing a cab and decided to split one with them. This fed our cheapness with a cheaper route into the city. We all piled into the van basically sitting on one another’s laps.

At some point during the ride we all got on the topic of traveling horror stories. Everyone around me was sharing stories they heard from fellow travelers who got their bags cut from their shoulders or got jumped while traveling. Not the best timing.

It is worth mentioning that two of the people we were splitting the taxi with were young solo traveling girls like us. The other two were an older Vietnamese couple that decided we should go together while they talked in Vietnamese organizing the whole trip.

It is also worth mentioning that this was my first trip to Asia and in preparation for my trip my lovely father printed out pages and pages of documents for me to read about all the dangers of traveling to Asia in hopes I would cancel my trip.

Being a dedicated Criminal Minds fan my mind began racing with all the things that could go wrong. Us four girls jumped into a van on complete faith that these people were organizing for us to go into the city. With no phone plans we couldn’t even check that we were going the right way.

Becoming a nervous wreck, I was gripping the door making sure I was the first to be able to jump out. The moment the cab stopped, in what I assumed was the city, I hopped out of the car and ran around the car to open the trunk to free my girlfriend. Pulling her up over the van seat and through the trunk we grabbed our luggage and threw our money at the driver.

A total over reaction to a completely safe and innocent trip (thanks dad for scaring me 🙂 ). Priorities kicked in and regardless of the fact that it was approaching 9:00 pm we calmed down while hunting for food before looking for a place to stay.

Walking through this beautiful and busy city all was quickly forgotten and we were ready to enjoy the many sites and beauties of Ho Chi Minh City.


Have you had a near break down when traveling? Share your story below.