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My Saigon: Saigon Secrets to Save Money in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Kindle Edition
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
She is a Ssaigonese born and bred, and is proud to help other people to save money.
When You have read this book, you will be much wiser than the average tourist, but even wiser than many Saigon locals or Vietnamese visitors.
I got it as a freebie and read it.
It is very illuminating and interesting - so if You find it Gratis, or cheap - take it!
If You want to go to Vietnam, sooner or later... :)
I'm a foreigner living in Hanoi and have made enough trips to Saigon that I thought I would take a look at this book, and I was impressed with the accuracy of the information provided. It isn't a big book, and there is a lot that could have been said and wasn't, but the tips that were provided made a lot of sense.
I've found that one of the tricks of being a foreigner in Vietnam is to ask a trusted Vietnamese friend how much something should cost. This gives you the advantage of knowing right away whether someone is quoting you a fair price or some outrageous "special foreigner price." She gives some tips in her book on what things should cost - a massage, a sandwich from a street vendor, a motorbike taxi and so on, which is good information. Too many times, I've seen someone get out of a taxi and hand the driver an outrageous amount of money, thinking they got a great deal, when in fact, they paid ten times as much as they should have (and it doesn't feel good after you find that out, either!)
So this is a short but informative book and I'd recommend it to anyone planning a trip to this city.
If you looked at the title of this review, you saw the answer to my first question. Ms Nguyen is very practical without going into too much unnecessary detail. She knows her stuff, and I will certainly keep this one on my Kindle and keep it close when I do get to Saigon.
In regards to my second question, how Saigon compares to other cities, I see a lot of similarities. In fact, about half of the book probably applies throughout the country. Things like obtaining a visitor's visa, the cash economy, exchanging funds, finding the trusted taxi company, and prices for food, clothing and other services seem to be generally true. In my mind, that makes this book a very practical help for anyone going to Vietnam.
In fact, Ms Nguyen should seriously consider a more general book like this which would not be Saigon-specific. I would buy that and recommend it to my friends.
All in all, a very good book. With that in mind, I'll most likely download her other book on Saigon as I get closer to my next trip.
My girlfriend purchased me her original (longer, but still a fast read) book, My Saigon, and I literally did not put it down once I started reading. There is a small amount of information repeated in this, but not to any sort of frustrating extent.
While her other book is a kind of ABC's of Vietnam for an english-speaking person, this book is about as practical and concise as can be, and I'm certain the hour (or less) you spend reading this will not be regretted.