Photo: Burning incense at a Cholon pagoda.

For my generation, cell or mobile phones are like extensions of our bodies. Thus, even when I moved half-way across the globe, I could not be separated from my iPhone. I tried, but I couldn’t do it. If you’re anything like me, you too will have your phone in hand when you stroll off your plane. The only problem with phones is that they have a tendency to break and, when you’re in a different country, that can put you in a sticky situation.

Little did I know, these clouds would cause problems.

Little did I know, these clouds would cause problems.

I recently joined Saigon Cycles on a 75km bike ride through HCMC rice paddies. For me, it was definitely one for the record books and worth every minute of excruciating biking. The only problem with the ride was, at about the halfway point, there was a torrential downpour, soaking me to the bone. Also soaked: my backpack and all its contents, which included my trusty iPhone.

It turns out that my poor phone would never be the same after my valiant ride, as its backlight no longer functioned. I tried the usual resets and restores then realised that my problem was more serious. But I wasn’t ready to give up on the phone altogether; I had all my trusty apps backed up on my computer, and the phone still technically worked, I just couldn’t see things on the screen. Phone and computer repair shops are a dime a dozen in Saigon, so I hit the streets to find someone who could fix my phone.

It seems like every street in the city has some sort of electronic repair shop but finding one that is reputable is a bit of a crapshoot. I shopped around and found the quotes to fix my phone varied greatly and ran on the high side; 2.5 million VND and you’d need my phone for at least three days? [Ed: Hey, Apple in Jakarta had mine for THREE WEEKS during its warranty period!]

Maybe there was something lost in translation but that didn’t seem like a good deal. It seems like the only way to find a good service shop is to talk to people who have been in the same boat as you and had a good experience. I decided to hit the social networks and ask for some help.

My hero!

My hero!

After a friend’s recommendation, I headed down 3 Thang 2 Street, sometimes referred to as Doung 3-2 or Ba Thang Hai, in District 10 to Gaikien Services. The shop has a service centre feel to it but, unlike some of the other shops I visited, it employed several technicians and there were plenty of people who spoke English. Here they not only specialise in servicing Apple products, they also service most other phone manufacturers, including HTC.

They sat me down, popped my screen off and got busy figuring out what was wrong with my cherished phone. After about 20 minutes of tinkering they replaced the parts and my iPhone was as good as new. Plus they cleaned years of built up gunk from the cracks of the phone. The final bill: 900,000 VND. Obviously not every repair will be as quick, so they may ask to hold your phone overnight. Still, the prices will be reasonable and they will go over them with you beforehand.

My phone is fixed and I once again feel complete! If you’re in the same boat as I was, give them a try and they should help get you back together.

Giakien Services
352 3 Thang 2, District 10
T: (08) 3502 2999


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Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Ho Chi Minh City? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Vietnam.

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