Monthly Archives

July 2016


Toilet Etiquette in Vietnam

July 28, 2016

I’ve been trying to figure out the inner workings of toilet etiquette in Vietnam. This is as far as I’ve gotten and I’ll update it when I have fact-checked.

As far as I can tell, it’s actually quite civilised once you get the hang of it! I’ve survived Chinese bathrooms and Vietnamese bathrooms seem fairly clean for most part.

I’m still too chicken to ask my new Vietnamese friends how it’s done – “So…I’ve only known you for a fortnight, but how exactly do you use the toilet?”

So without further ado let’s chat about…

Toilet paper

The eternal question- in the bowl or out of the bowl?

It doesn’t help that there are various signs around Vietnam that vary in wording and imagery.

They range from this, which I assume means “no dumping” and not, “no confetti from your pinata”,

Basic CMYK

to this, which is fairly standard wording


so…just paper towels? Or toilet paper too?

I’m still not sure.

Some places seem to take toilet paper quite well – but others expressly have signs put up. I’ve been chucking paper down the loo at my AirBnb and it’s been fine so far.

That not-bidet thing

Affectionately known as the “bum gun” by expats around Indochina, I’ve seen this in Thailand and Vietnam. They seem more utilitarian than your average shower head – which is what I’ve seen across the rest of Southeast Asia.

My mother used to tell me that people (in other countries with similar contraptions) used this because they believed it was a sin to use toilet paper as it was classified as masturbation. I’m a little dubious.

So how is this done?

My understanding is that people use the bum gun before they dab with toilet paper, and then dispose of the toilet paper in the bin. There’s no smell and it’s reasonably hygienic. Genius if you ask me, so long as you don’t question what’s in the water.

Whatever the case, if you get a case of the Saigon Squirts, you’ll be thankful for this.

If anyone has confirmations or refutations, please let me know. I’d love to know.


Work Cafes

Loft Cafe – Ly Tu Trong

July 28, 2016
Loft Cafe Ly Tu Trong

I’ve been inspired by Flip Flop Travellers to help other work-from-anywhere people find their perfect cafe and co-working space.

There are lots of bloggers rating their favourite work cafes, but some things that I found missing were whether the cafe served food (embarrassing if you’ve decided to bunker down for the entire day and woe, alas! there is no food), whether it was busy during lunch hour, power points (thanks Flip Flop Travellers), connectivity, suitability for online meetings and ergonomics. Let’s be honest. Most of these cafes are cafes, they’re not meant for us to sit in typing all day. They don’t care if you have adopted the pose of a baby rabbit in order to type – and why should they?

This format hasn’t been set in stone yet, so give me feedback if you think I should make some tweaks.

So without further ado, my first work cafe post. Loft Cafe, the Ly Ty Trong branch.


I love the idea of this cafe. Its employees are disadvantaged youth being trained in hospitality. It’s located in a hideaway building slated for demolition and is full of little shops, including an awesome womenswear boutique next door. It has those old tiles that are so hot right now- but in this case they’re actual old tiles. Love.

I worked here all day.

Note: There’s another Loft Cafe located on 95 Pasteur St.


Right across the road from Vincom Center. It’s pretty well signed. Look for a shop selling art while lots of artists make copies!


Amazing. The staff were lovely, it was quiet until lunch time.

Does It Serve Food


Lunch Rush

Yes. There was even a queue! Order lunch and keep the orders coming if you want to stay. If you don’t, I’m judging you.


Connection was mostly very strong, except for a few dropouts lasting several minutes at a time.

I had online meetings in here with no problem.

Power Points

Yep. and lots of them too.


One of the better ones so far! I can type with my hands at 90 degree angles! 😀


Address: 26 Ly Tu Trong, District 1


Image courtesy of The Loft, because my iPhone5 pics came out grainy.


Trash Disposal in Vietnam

July 1, 2016

Day 3: In which I discover that I don’t know how to deal with my own rubbish.

I email the landlady to ask what to do with my rubbish and she says to walk to the end of my alleyway, where I should see “rubbish trash”.
Walk to the end of the alleyway, no rubbish bin, no green bin, nothing.
I sheepishly turn to a private Facebook group, and this is the conversation that followed:
Person: It depends on the building. If she says dump it at the end of the street, you’re probably not seeing the trash because they come early to collect it. 😀
Me: so…I just…leave it under a tree?
I sound so daft.
Person: You probably just toss it there, yeah. lol If it’s gone the next day, you’ll know it was right. LOL
I have visions of myself shamefacedly turning up the next morning to retrieve plastic bags while the roadside stallholders watch on at this woman who looks like an overfed local retrieving trash and is therefore clearly crazy. 

yeah, she cray.


Riiiiiiiiggght. So I walk out again, taking care to stare at the tree bases and I find out that every fourth or fifth tree has a styrofoam cooler box under it – RUBBISH TRASH! 

TL;DR, in my area, rubbish is left in cooler boxes under trees. I’m not even kidding.