Hieu Nguyen’s got all the qualities a discerning traveller requires from a tour guide – articulate, flexible, funny, and knowledgeable in his field. We instantaneously hit it off quite well the day we met on our tour around Saigon, even shared a couple of beers at Eon Bar located on the topmost floor of the Bitexco Financial Tower, our last stop, and the city’s gleaming symbol of industrialisation and evident progress.
I was interested in taking a job identical to his in my younger years and I’ve always wondered what runs in the mind of a tour guide. Luckily, Hieu agreed to a short Q and A. Here goes:
- Have you always planned on becoming a tour guide ? How long have you been doing this job? Yes, I have…I have been a guide for 6 years.
- Do you foresee yourself in this job for a long time?
Yes I do..active, humorous..lol..
- You’re the best English-speaking Vietnamese we’ve met, even better than our hotel’s staff. Is English part of your school curriculum or did you have to take additional courses?
Yes, its ..we started learning from 6th grade..also i took some extra classes.
- Any other languages you’re good at?
Some Japanese..but not practice much i forgot almost.
- With your job, you meet plenty of tourists from around the world, which nationalities are most friendly and easiest to deal with?
The easiest are a lot from Canada, US, UK, Australia…also from Asia..first I think tourists from Asia like you are quite easy maybe because we are similar…hehe! And tourists from Australia are friendly and easily to deal with…and then the US next is the UK ..the rest from Scandinavia like Sweden, Denmark, Norway…are also okay..
Hieu’s camaraderie with his guests from around the world’s quite obvious in this photo!
- What are Saigon’s Top 5 attractions? Please give a short description for each.
1.Dong Khoi area
with Nguyen Hue walking street u can wonder around so freedom some coffee shop and nice restaurant, with Rex hotel, Opera house, Saigon river ending of the road, unions Square u can shop…
2. Ben Thanh market
where u can buy and deal with a good price…also there are a lots of vendor foods u can try with cheap price..
3. War museum
where u can see alot of pictures about the Vietnam war…
4. Ngo Thoi Nhiem street
where u can visit some live music bar like Acoustic, Vung, Wooodstick…some english band and local band doing very well..
5. Jade emperor temple..
where u see different statue from Taoism religion..also if u believe it u can wish some things very spiritual…
also still many places to visit but those places my tourists they like it much…
- Why do think people from around the world should come and visit Saigon?
Saigon the city mix with different culture and a bit clean compare with some cities near Saigon like Bangkok, KL, phnompeh…also safe to walk around, local friendly ..hehe..