Because we have plenty of time in Vietnam, we wanted to do here also something else than just backpack around. That’s why we decided to look for some kind of volunteering place in Vietnam. We have volunteered before in South Korea where we spent six weeks in a language cafe in Busan and had English conversations. We really had a blast there! When you travel for a long time, you will probably start feeling at some point that you want to do something meaningful besides lazing and exploring. We are not saying that we miss the rat race but in Korea we got to notice that volunteering allows to get a deep insight into the local culture and makes it easy to meet many people.
While relaxing in Phu Quoc, we had a look at the volunteering places in Ho chi Minh City. We happened to find an advertisement about a guesthouse that needs volunteers. A little longer stay in bustling Saigon sounded attractive so we sent a message to the place immediately. Already after a few hours, we got back a message that welcomed us to the guesthouse already in a couple of days. Wow, that was easy! So we bought flights to Ho Chi Minh right away and left there a few days later.
Now we have already spent more than two weeks in Ho Chi Minh. We started volunteering in a small, newly opened guesthouse. The owner needed help mainly with decoration and marketing. We have done a bit everything, like created some wall art and built a couch from wood pallets. In exchange, we get a free place to stay right in the city center and tasty Vietnamese homemade food. So it’s a quite good deal! This is a very good thing also considering the travel budget. This month will for sure help to shrink our average daily budget nicely.
We have also had time to get to know the hoods around the guesthouse. Only one minute from here, there is probably the busiest party Street in Saigon. Regardless what weekday it is, the street is packed every single night with people that sit on plastic chairs, eat and drink. We have also explored local marketplaces, walked around the city, celebrated a birthday and been to a karaoke place. The karaoke rooms in Saigon are totally in their own class even compared to Korean and Japanese karaoke places and at least our room was extremely fancy. Ho Chi Minh as a city is very nice by the way. The city is actually much cleaner and more modern than what we expected.
If you are interested in doing volunteering while traveling, we recommend you to check out Workaway or Helpx! Volunteering is not only a savior for poor backpacker’s travel budget but it also allows you to experience something new and interact with locals. We tried our limits by painting the walls even though we didn’t know we were able to create such wall art. And actually the result was surprisingly good! Sometimes jumping into the unknown helps to find totally new sides from yourself.
We are supposed to stay two more weeks in Ho Chi Minh. We should slowly start planning our next move as well but oh, how difficult it feels. It would be interesting to try volunteering also in other places in Vietnam so let’s see what we will find on the way!
PS. We are working hard on our Finnish website and will launch it soon 😉