Couch-surf – verb; “Stay temporarily in a series of other people’s homes, typically making use of improvised sleeping arrangements.”
Couchsurfing is social media apps usually used by backpackers to reach out other users and request for some place to stay or sleep for free.
In this blog, I will tell you about my experience couchsurfing Ho Chi Minh City.
This is one of the cheapest ways of lodging when travelling. I tried this twice, 1st in Cebu, Philippines and the last one is in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam.
How did my host find me?
First, of course, I created an account in couchsurfing. Then, I posted a public trip in the site – Tip: Make your write up interesting, this will catch host’s attention. (Mine was not, btw) Indicate when, where and how many surfers will stay.
Then, after a few days, I received a message from a guy named Mr.Cheese, though He doesn’t have a place to offer for us to sleep, he suggested that he can guide and tour us in the city for free – We already booked a room in AirBnb anyway, so the accomodation is no longer a problem, we accept the tour offer, who will not? It’s FREE!
The night before
To cut the story short, we arrived at Ho Chi Minh Friday midnight. The planned free motorbike city tour was scheduled on Sunday but we both agreed to meet Saturday night to have a dinner and to have a “getting-to-know-each-other” before the tour, so we can be comfortable in the tour.
If I remember it correctly, we were late for about 20-30 minutes and felt a bit uneasy because we don’t know how Vietnamese would response on that, in Philippines, being late is pretty normal,so not really a problem, but in this case, it’s different. We can’t even send a message to them because we can’t find any free WiFi in the area. But we still went to the meeting place.
when we got there, we were surprised to see a group of people as well. We are only expecting to meet a single person but since we got in that situation already, there’s no turning back- and it’s true what they say, the more the merrier , isn’t it? We shake each others hands while introducing ourselves to each and everyone.
We decided to go to this chilling place to talk and drink some beer. We talked about our stories, culture differences, they gave us tips about travelling the city, they let us try some local beer and pulutan, we laughed at each others joke even sometimes the joke was not really funny (you know, just to appreciate the effort of making you laugh, haha). In just a matter of minutes we felt so comfortable to each other, the doubt and the little afraid I felt suddenly flew away.
We found out that they are meeting foreign travelers to practice English. The strategy is they will tour us for free in exchange of talking to them in English. So a Win-win for both groups.
So here comes the tour. They met us Sunday morning, they brought some motorcycles, we were so excited because riding a motorbike is a must try in Vietnam, this 2 wheeler thing is the king of the road.
We started the day by eating breakfast, they brought us to their favorite local resto near Thiên Hậu Temple.
They tour us in different temples, museums, historical places etc.
They let us try local coffee shop and restos.
The tour took us a whole day. They made us feel that we are part of the local – the food, the culture, everything.
The Take away
Many of the travelers are hesitant to try this because of security, your safety is basically at stake so you have make sure that your host is not some kind of a psycho, we were so lucky that we have accommodated by this kind group.
Yes, we all need to secure our safety but sometimes we just have to trust strangers, we just need to open our door of possibilities to have worth keeping experiences. We will never know what will happen if we always say “no”. It’s better to say “oops” than “What if”.
These people we met are very nice, caring and funny. Meeting them is one of the highlight during our stay in Vietnam, the memories and stories are something that worth keeping in my heart (cheesy). At the end, we realized that we did not just simply explored the city but we also gained friends.
You can read my Vietnam adventure, expenses and itinerary here.
Basic things you need to know about couchsurfing.