Biking Stuff: Rest Days in Saigon

Follow our bicycle journey around the world at www.pedalgogy.net or on Facebook.

Our route only took us through a small section of Vietnam. We cycled from the Xa Mat border with Cambodia to Ho Chi Minh to catch a flight home for Christmas and then rode back into Cambodia at the Ha Tien border. We arrived in Ho Chi Minh a week too early for our flight so had plenty of rest days in this busy city. They say you should write what you know, so instead of a guide to bicycle touring in Vietnam- here’s a guide to rest days in Saigon.

Click here for an interactive map of this route.

Some ideas of ways to spend your days off the bike in this city:

Beer

Make good use of your time and check out the craft beer scene. We were surprised by just how many craft breweries and bars there were here. Pasteur St Brewery (try the award-winning Cyclo Imperial Chocolate Stout,) Heart of Darkness (try the Kurtz’s Insane IPA) and Bia Craft were our favourites. These choices are based on rigorous and repeated tasting. 🙂

Bike service

After plenty of beer drinking, a sensible thing to do is to give your bike some TLC. For thorough, professional and fast servicing head to Saigon Bike Shop where Van the Man will see to your bicycle’s every need. He also stocks good quality parts, water bottles etc if you need to stock up.

Food

Cyclists need plenty of fuel and these places certainly gave us that. Quan Ut Ut American Barbecue serves excellent meat with sides like corn bread, mac and cheese and buttered green beans. Not exactly healthy, but delicious. Heart of Darkness serves fancy pub food including burgers and tacos. They have great beer too -kill two birds with one stone! Q Mama Barbecue Buffet – get there early at 5pm. All-you-can-eat buffet with your own grill on the table. Includes cook-your-own crab and other seafood. All-you-can-drink beer, cider and soft drinks. Gets rowdy and competitive for food after about 7pm but you will have it almost all to yourself from 5-6pm. 199,000 dong per person (about 10 dollars).

Transport

Saigon is a big city so consider downloading the Uber app for cab rides. It’s cheaper than other taxis and walking is difficult in Ho Chi Minh. We stayed out in district 8 so we relied heavily on it. Prices vary at peak times but we generally paid about 5 dollars for a 40 minute ride.

Sights

We didn’t do a whole pile of sightseeing – they were “rest” days after all. A day trip to the Mekong Delta is worth a few hours but beware that it is very busy with other tourists. The Cu Chi Tunnels are set in a beautiful part of the countryside but have a dark history.

Some of the recommendations listed above are fairly pricey for a bike touring budget. We felt like rewarding ourselves for hitting 7000 km so we splashed out. There are plenty of cheaper options all over the city and the staples of iced sweet coffee and pho (noodle soup) are on every corner for a couple of dollars.

We definitely felt well rested, watered and fed by the time we got back on the bikes!

Bicycle touring Vietnam

Click here for an interactive map of this route.

Videos of our adventures can be found on our YouTube channel.

About Matthew and Niamh

Matthew Good and Niamh Conway are international school teachers who met while working at the British School of Lome, in Togo, West Africa. They later moved to Uzbekistan, where they spent four years at Tashkent International School, each summer exploring another slice of the world by bike. Now the pair is on a bicycle world tour for two years. Niamh is an elementary school teacher originally from Limerick, Ireland who got her start in an Irish National School. Matthew is an Economics & Business Teacher from Watford, England who began his career at a comprehensive school near London. The Pedalgogy website features a blog and a photo gallery, while providing advice and maps for those interested in planning bike tours. As the touring teachers travel the world, they have been creating an online learning resource called Tedweb. By running workshops in schools, they now have a growing collection of stories from children around the world, allowing them to develop an awareness as global citizens. They have also been fundraising for the Prader-Willi Syndrome Association U.K.
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2 Responses to Biking Stuff: Rest Days in Saigon

  1. Tiwana Merritt says:

    Wow! I think these two are great ambassadors for other international teachers or those living overseas working. I also enjoy bike touring in some of my school holidays. I think it’s great that they are sharing their experiences with ours and focused on promoting global awareness through their adventures!

    • Hi Tiwana! Thanks for your kind words. Great to hear that you are a bike touring teacher too. We just had a school visit last week to do a workshop at an international school in Thailand. We were pretty nervous I have to say…very different to being in the classroom! But loving the journey so far.

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