saigon motorbike street

Chicago To Saigon (My Amazing 1st Trip!)

In the video posted below, I discuss a little about my first motorbike trip to Vietnam and the experience it was.

In this article, I recall my trip from the Chicago To Saigon and cover the first few days after landing of jet lag and the initial culture shock of Ho Chi Minh City or as it’s more widely known as Saigon.

Chicago To Saigon

I started the motorbike trip in Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City. I flew in on a China Eastern flight from Chicago with a layover in Shanghai Pu dong Airport.

I bought the one-way ticket online several months in advance. I think I paid $345 USD. I thought it was a fair deal at the time for a one-way from Chicago to Saigon.

chicago to saigon
Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay 

15 hours later we land in the east. The Shanghai airport was a foggy and confusing 4 hours or so layover. It was my first-time experiencing China-anything except for Chinese tourists in Thailand.

Google Is Illegal In China!!

I totally forgot all Google services are illegal in China and I wasn’t able to receive any information on my phone. I had thought I’d solved my problems when I found an internet kiosk but couldn’t seem to get it to accept my information.

A friendly Chinese woman who spoke some English noticed I was distraught and motioned that she could help me. She put her information in and procured me a slip of paper from the kiosk. This was awesome but even with the internet in China I still couldn’t use Google services and many others that I use in the United States.

Image by WikimediaImages from Pixabay

I think we departed Shangai in the early in the evening because we landed in Ho Chi Minh at 2 am. Perfect time to land if you ask me. Seems airports are always a little more laid back at that time of night.

I remember immigration being quite a breeze to navigate. I had received my Visa On Arrival Approval Letter and was ready with the $30 USD for the visa. Once the visa was stamped and in my passport, I was on my way to the arrival terminal to purchase a cell phone data package and hail a taxi to the homestay.

chicago to saigon
Image by Olga Ozik from Pixabay

As I mentioned above, it takes me way too many days to start feeling normal after the 22+ hour transit from Chicago to Saigon and I learned to prep and plan for the 4 or 5 days of grogginess and cloudiness that usually comes along after a trip of that magnitude.

It’s not much but I book the first hotel/hostel for at least 4-5 days and make sure that I stock up on water and snacks that first trip to the convenience store so I don’t have to leave the room unnecessarily so I can get as much rest as possible because once the Chicago to Saigon transit is over, I crash and I crash hard.

I’ll Never Forget That First Day

The first day exploring Ho Chi Minh is something I’ll never forget. Between the Rickshaw Ride and the Motorbike Taxi Guy that took me for a $60 tour around the city, it was a memorable day or two that I love to tell about any chance I get.

Be on your guard while out exploring but don’t let fear own your day in Saigon. It’s a beautiful city with a wonderful populous that’s usually not afraid to help if you need a hand.

chicago to saigon
Image by Tuan Hung Nguyen from Pixabay 

It can be daunting and overwhelming, to say the least. With a population near 9 million inhabitants, it can almost seem like people live on top of one another. In some cases, they do.

My best advice would be once you have your phone and data package squared away, I would head out on Foot or Motorbike. I like the option of both when I’m heading out to explore in a new city.

Saigon/Ho Chi Minh has a little something for everyone. Partying on Bui Vien Street is always fun once or twice a trip.

Chicago To Saigon Conclusion

I really love Vietnam and especially Ho Chi Minh/Saigon. I hope you see the fun and excitement transiting Chicago to Saigon and motorbiking Vietnam brought to me and I hope visiting will do the same for you.

If you’re interested in learning how I began Saving money for Travel as I did in this journey from Chicago to Saigon?

Please click this link to my blog post about Saving For Travel and find out how!

Also, don’t forget to watch the video below and leave me a comment so we can connect!!

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