Jul 11 2011
I love my iPhone but at first I was unsure whether to bring it to Ho Chi Minh City. Now, I’m glad I did. With free WiFi available all over the city, my iPhone has been very useful and it doesn’t leave my side. Besides its normal, built-in functions of phone calling, checking email, and the world clock, a whole stack of apps can make your travels much easier. So, here are some of my favourite apps to use in Saigon — the best part is they are all free.
I have mentioned before that I love to walk. If you too love to see a city on foot, try Ho Chi Minh City Walks – Lite. This app gives you seven different themed walking tours to show you different parts of the city. The tours are good but the real gem in this app is that it comes with a free map of the city. This comes in really handy when you’re not in a WiFi area.
Making purchases in Vietnam can be confusing. The price of something, when quoted in VND, seems so high at times you may find yourself arguing over what turns out to be 25 cents. That’s why I use Currency, which quickly helps you convert VND to any other currency. Simply enter the amount and it does the rest; it doesn’t require an internet connection, but will use the conversion rate that was available when you last happened to be online.
Also, for my American friends who need quick help with the metric system, or the temperature, try Convert Units For Free. You can quickly convert feet to metres, miles to kilometres, and Fahrenheit to Celsius — handy when you’re talking with your new friend from Australia about how many miles per gallon your fuel-efficient car gets back home and they just give you a blank stare.
If you’re out on the town and you’re not sure where to go, Saigon City Companion is a solid option. This app gives you the ability to search by category through a list of restaurants, bars, hotels, and other attractions that are within a user-determined distance from your current location. It will also work with Google Maps to give you the location of your chosen destination as well as giving you the physical address, which comes in handy for a taxi ride. There is an option for user reviews, but for now there are few there.
Finally, the one app I couldn’t live without is Facebook. When I first got here, due to Facebook being blocked, I wasn’t able to use my beloved app. I was crushed until I figured out how to beat the system.
Travelfish.org is still working on an app for Saigon, but we do have one for Hanoi available here for $7.99.
Travelfish.org always pays its way. No exceptions.