During my visit to Vietnam in 2016, I was lucky to have a chance to attend the Wednesday night Salsa socials in Ho Chi Min City (aka Saigon) twice. The level of dance is outstanding, so much of flavour and individual shines brought into the dance and on the floor, that you can watch with admiration and smiles. (And with a little intimidation – damn these guys are sooo good and soo smooth!)
The salsa community is friendly and welcoming – similar to the salsa community in SA, that it felt like home- which made it very easy for me to fit in, make friends and want to stay.
Prior to my holiday, I joined Salsa Saigon, Salsa Vietnam and Salsa Hoi An on Facebook and posted in each group for assistance on where to dance whilst I am there, and where to buy shoes. Salsa Saigon was most active and responsive – not only did I get the information I was looking for with ease (see information below) but I also made a few friends prior to my visit, that were willing to welcome and show me around. (I did actually meet them and they introduced me to the rest of their group – which was fantastic. Sandy was in the stuido above the shoe shop when we met, and she was kind enough to help me translate with the sales lady and call a cab for me! )
Where to dance in Saigon (HCM)?
- The parties start early and end early – so make sure you get there within the first 30 minutes.
- Practice your shines, because these guys are brilliant and love to give each other an opportunity to show off their snazzy moves.
- If you stay close by to the venues, such as on Wednesday at La Fenetre Seleil – it’s safe to walk from and to your hotel at night. I stayed about a 5 minute walk from the venue and walked alone. As with anywhere in the world – be aware of your surroundings, keep your bag tightly secured and check your route during the day, ask the locals how it is before you leave the venue and if afraid rather take a uber or ask one of the friendly salsa guys to give you lift or walk with you.
- The first thing you must do when you reach Vietnam is buy a data card – its extremely cheap and you will never likely use all the data you get during your trip. Now you have access where ever you are to google maps (no getting lost), Uber (much cheaper then local taxis and easier) and to whatsapp etc. thus keeping connected and safe.
Where to buy salsa shoes in Vietnam?
Look no further, the best ever and most comfortable salsa shoes you will ever find at the great prices is at Shop Bo (aka Khieu vu Sai Gon on Facebook)
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam 084
Getting to the shop was an adventure as I hopped in a taxi on my own and had to use google translate to help communicate with my driver since he didn’t speak English 😮🙈😄 – but he got me there albeit a very long winded route (I had already worked out my walking there route prior 😁) which I think was done on purpose to rack up the taxi fare. (Hence my suggestion above to rather use Uber)
Trust me, a trip to the Shop is worth the visit – it may be small and you may wonder where I am going whilst walking down the small narrow road – but it is the best salsa shoes you will find with soft comfortable soles that will keep you dancing longer. With the array of colours, styles and glammed up diamante ranges available you will definitely walk away with more than just one pair 😉 – left with 2 pairs on my first visit, then I went back and got another 2 before I left back to South Africa … I am dying to go back just to buy more shoes! –> However you can place an order online and the shop can deliver via courier to you. I am currently ordering some shoes via this method with owner Nhi Nguyen.
If you are ever in HCM go support Shop Bo – you will not be disappointed.
A huge thank you to Cun, Sandy, Marc and rest of the Salsa Saigon community for being so helpful, humble and welcoming. My experience has made me praise the Vietnam Salsa scene to all I meet, makes me want to work on my shines and come back to Vietnam during one of your salsa festivals.
Until then, keep on dancing. I will be back!!!
The Dancing Vixen