Sky, skyline, trees, bushes and motorists crossing a bridge, Ho Chi Min City, Vietnam.

How I Found a New Phone Battery in Ho Chi Minh City

It was the first night in humongous Ho Chi Minh. I was adrift when it hit me:

The phone’s battery is losing its juice really fast.

It was almost 10 p.m. I was equipped with a fresh SIM card, but no battery juice to locate my whereabouts in relation to the hotel in this completely new megalopolis.

I’d drifted in too many directions, taken too many turns, on too many streets, to have any idea where I was. I felt like I was in a gigantic, never-ending labyrinth. And without a GPS, it was just that.

With endless eating and drinking establishments strewn in every direction, I located a place to charge the phone and locate my spot.

After ordering a drink that allowed the negotiation of no sugar and milk, I sat down, plugged in, and started to power up.

Soon thereafter I noticed I was the only customer, while the staff were running around cleaning up. It was closing time.

I know that in many establishments, staff work hard for long hours and low pay. So I try to respect them by leaving on time. I stayed true to this habit even though their closing time was not at all conducive to my needs.

Sefie on a busy street in the evening, Ho Ch Min City, Vietnam.
Adrift in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

From looking on the computer, I saw that I was over an hour away. That was if I didn’t make any wrong turns. Finding my way was next to impossible.

There was no option but to flag a cab and show the hotel’s business card. Sans words, the man mentioned for me to get in the back. After 20 minutes with his meter running, I paid the 70,000 Dong ($3) fare outside the Red Flower Hotel.

I felt grateful to have gotten an honest driver.

After waking up the next morning and checking for phone shops online, and not finding anything definitive, I went downstairs and payed for a second night. Next, I began a stroll in any direction, with an immediate priority envisioned, to find a battery for my Android.

Minutes later I crossed a bridge (top, feature photo). Soon thereafter I was on a main road that had no shortage of electronics stores. The first one I checked with only serviced I phones. Then I noticed a little phone shack across the street.

Scooters, a street and businesses during daylight, in Ho Chi Min City, Vietnam.
Scooters, businesses and a mobile shop across the street, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

I crossed the street, walked in, and greeted the man.

Xin Chau.

Pointing at the phone, I said:


New battery?


He took the phone and found its specifications.

I have. $350,000.

That’s exactly $14.20 at the current exchange rate.

Really, you have the battery?


OK, great!

He made a quick call and then started to take the phone apart.

I bought the phone in 2018, five and a half years ago.

The man was working hard trying to loosen things up to get the battery out. At times he stopped briefly for a breather, clearly fatigued from the extreme tediousness involved.

I wondered if he’d be able to get the old battery out. I had faith that he would.

Work bench with lots of phone parts inside Thanh Nhan Mobile, Ho Chi Min City, Vietnam.
Work bench inside Thanh Nhan Mobile, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

After 15 minutes of tireless, intricate toiling with a little tool and microscope that resembled binoculars, he got the original battery out.

Five year there. No good!

Just wait. Coming. Five minute.

Two minutes passed. A Grab motorcycle driver appeared with a small package. There was money exchanged. The driver was on his way.

The man unwrapped the Huawei battery and put it next to the old one to show me the difference.

He then spent a couple of minutes putting the battery in, checking it and reassembling the phone.

Pleasantly thrilled at how the ordeal unfolded, I happily handed over 350,000 Dong. While I’d envisioned achieving this errand, it got done faster and more efficiently than I had anticipated.

The man seemed to have just enough English vocabulary to pleasantly communicate what he needed to.

I looked up the phone online. It cost 300,000 in Vietnam. I’m not sure what the man paid or what his commission was. However, there was no charge for his specialized work, with his specially designed tools, in his workshop.

I was surprised at how inexpensive the battery was.

This is an example of how a mega city typically has what you need. I was able to quickly and easily find an honest phone specialist, who passionately got me a new phone battery in Ho Chi Minh City.

Have you had to replace your phone’s battery? Was it an easy endeavor? Leave a comment below or share your thoughts on Facebook or Twitter(X).

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