When you tell people you’re moving to Vietnam, they look at you like you’re crazy. Aren’t you afraid of crime and stuff and won’t you miss living in the United States?
Fortunately for me, all of my friends already know I’m off the reservation and no one gave me any static about the move.
People are asking me, “What’s it like living in Vietnam?”
Vietnam is a geographically diverse country. Like California, you can go out to an exotic nightclub, enjoy great dining, or chill at the beach.
I’ve been visiting as many of Vietnam’s great towns and cities as possible, and even took a several hours motobike ride down the coast.
Thus far I’ve been to:
- Phong Nha – a national park with Jurassic park like scenery.
- Nha Trang (entry forthcoming) – a beach town with cool sea breezes and a chill vibe.
- Hoi An (Motorbiking from Hue to Hoi An) – a beach town where you can also get custom suits made.
- Hanoi – full of hippies and backpackers.
- Saigon – I live here!
I’ve set up residence in Ho Chi Minh City (also called Saigon).
Saigon is a major metropolitan area with 8 million people. You can find anything in Saigon, as illustrated in a day in the life of Mike Cernovich.
- Wake up in 3-story mansion in quiet, almost rural area.
- Go to cafe with large tables, great coffee, great breakfast, and excellent wifi.
- Get a massage. (Happy endings are less common than you’d think; those types of massage parlors are in the backpacker district, which I avoid.)
- Hit the gym. (Vietnamese gyms are lacking in the heavy weight department, as dumb bells top off at 80 pounds. But the gyms are spacious and clean)
- Grab a fresh-pressed beet-and-carrot juice for some post-workout recovery.
- Stop by supermarket for food or anything else needed at home.
Nearly half of the 8 million people living in Saigon are under 35, giving the city a youthful vibe. (NY Times, “36 Hours in Ho Chi Minh City.”)
That energy is felt in the cafe scene, which runs deep. (James Clark, “The incredible cafe scene of Ho Chi Minh City – Vietnam.”)
This looks like a cozy living room. It’s actually Cucuta Coffee, one of Saigon’s incredible cafes.
An English breakfast in Vietnam.
Meet the chefs.
You can find street food to cook yourself.
Or you can enjoy some sashimi at an elegant Japanese fusion restaurant.
Which Cuban cigar would you like to enjoy after dinner?
Some call me a douchebag. I call myself a man who enjoys life.
I’ll be writing more about Saigon in the coming weeks.
This is a huge city with several different districts, each of which have their own character.
Feel free to post any questions or comments you have in the comments below.
P.S. If you like these travel pics, check out Mike Cernovich’s Instagram.
Unwinding on the Island of Koh Samui, Thailand
As much as I enjoy the busy streets of Saigon, my mind requires large open spaces. I do my best work near the ocean or mountains (ideally both). Koh Samui, an island in Thailand, was just what I needed to relax and unwind.
Like all of Thailand, Koh Samui is hot. Heat has pros and cons. I love swimming in the ocean, but the oceans in Los Angeles are frigid.
In Thailand the water is warm, even first thing in the morning.
The sunrise was, well, see for yourself.
In Thailand, keep applying that sunscreen. Even if you think you’ve applied it frequently enough, you likely haven’t.
My face and arms were too red for me to go outside swimming the next day.
Koh Samui has excellent local cuisine, with a lot of places offer an Italian-Thai fusion.
You can also grab a burger.
Or some sashimi.
Koh Samui is home to several temples, including the Big Buddha Temple.
I hopped on the motobike and took the drive to check it out.
I found a dog meditating. Who, after all, understands more about gratitude and getting into the moment than dogs?
The sign says:
Buddhist monks are for
Bidden to look upon
The Exposed Bodies of Women!!!
Please Respect These Holy Men
Thankfully I’m not a monk…
I told you the food was good!
The hotel offered an ocean view.
The pool was also relaxing.
Ordinarily an airport would be of no notice. Yet the Koh Samui airport was more comfortable and spacious than many luxury hotels.
This is an airport?
You can read some of my other travel entries here:
A Day in Chiang Mai, Thailand: Temples and Waterfalls
I’ve been taking some time to relax, contemplate life, and catch up with my good friends in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Nic has spent months at a time in Chiang Mai, and I can see why. He’s also been showing me around, and today we took motor-bike rides up into the mountains to check out the Doi Suthep temple.
When traveling I enjoy doing cardio rather than weight lifting. Lifting weights is too taxing. Cardio gets blood flowing and helps sweat out the bloat we acquire from flying on planes and eating.
I did a 30-minute hotel workout.
The ride was uphill into the mountains with a lot of twists and turns. I’ll risk my life for a great pic, but not until I know the terrain.
There’s a temple on the way towards Doi Suthep.
A dragon guards the temple.
The gorilla was permitted to enter, after promising to pay proper respects.
Onward to Doi Suthep.
There are small shrines throughout the Doi Suthep temple.
Please ring bell for meditation.
There were small gardens everywhere.
The view from the top. Even ancient temples are often under construction, as evidenced by this re-bar.
It’s hard to appreciate how detailed the engravings are.
Each engraving tells a story.
Your soul needs to be watered and cared for, as with any plant.
I did some meditation. There were pillows available to sit on.
After a long contemplative walk, where I considered the future of me and those in my life, it was time to leave.
I was hungry and these fried eggs/fried coconut things looked delicious.
Still hungry, I had some coconut-fried chicken, which was splendid.
On the way down I stopped by the national park to cool down at the waterfall.
Open your heart and mind up to new possibilities, let the water flow through you.
A Day (and Night) in the Life of Saigon
I’ve travelled enough to not get goo-goo eyes for each new city. We all know the type, “OMG! THIS PLACE IS AMAZING I AM GOING TO LIVE HERE.”
Well. Oh my.
Saigon has a vibe as all cities do.
Saigon has a fair amount of chaos and disarray, which excites me. I approach each new day without expectations.
Here are some photographs of Saigon I’ve taken.
Saigon is humanity.
Saigon is narrow streets.
Saigon is work.
Saigon is a lot of coffee.
Saigon is traffic.
Saigon is new games.
Saigon is walking.
Saigon is riding.
Saigon is good food.
Saigon is service.
Saigon is open air.
Saigon is water.
Saigon is a city.