Vietnamese Laundry

One lesson I learnt early on travelling in Southeast Asia was that it was simply not worth trying to do your washing in a hotel sink. The hotel will do it for you of course but charge you a pretty penny per item for the privilege. In most cases you can locate a small laundry just round the corner from the hotel which will do it for you fast, well and cheaply. On top of that it gives you a chance to get out and meet the locals!

In Nha Trang, Vietnam I discovered a typical laundry run by Hong from the front porch and living room of her home in an alley to the side of my hotel. I could not help but admire her enterprise and determination, typical of so many Vietnamese people, even though they may have relatively little money.

She has installed two brand-new washing machines on her front porch and did a fantastic job of my washing and ironing. I had one kilo (three shirts and some underwear) washed and ironed perfectly for 10,000 VND (Vietnamese Dong). That’s about 30p.

The real problem for Hong though is that she has a lot of competition and she feels she cannot charge more than she does or she will lose business. I tried to give her 30,000 VND (£1) but she would not accept it. In the end she accepted an additional 5000 and the promise that I would recommend her – which I did to as many people I could in the rest of my stay in Nha Trang

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