When I left Cambodia, my next country on the list was Vietnam. I had to fly to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) this time because I did not have time to cross over land and luckily enough the flights in this region are cheaper than those offered in Africa.
The first thing I noticed when I arrived were the bikes! I have never seen so many motorbikes in one place, but luckily enough I made it to my hostel on an uber bike which is actually the cheapest mode of transport. It was wonderful to be in a new place. I was ready for sightseeing.
|Traffic jam in Ho Chi Minh City.|
|My uber bike.|
First off I experienced the War Remnants Museum in Saigon. This historical institution enables you to see what Vietnam was like during colonial times, the big war with the Americans and the aftermath. It was extremely powerful and emotional, and quite refreshing to hear a perspective that you don’t see in Hollywood movies. However, between the enormous loss of life it was also sad and heavy to process everything. After about two hours in the museum, I moved on to the Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica, the city’s cathedral in the old town. It was beautiful and serene.
|The sad truth.|
|One of the fighter tanks used in the war.|
|Saigon Notra- Dame Basilica|
Don’t forget to visit the Ho Chi Minh City post office which was constructed when Vietnam was part of French Indochina in the late 19th century. The architecture is beautiful and so is the decor of this building. You will get good deals or small gifts like fridge magnets, postcards, key rings etc. My first day in Vietnam was the last day on the calendar. It was fun although New Year’s Eve is not a big deal in this part of the world but the party happened on Bui Vien street, party central in Saigon. Make sure to check it out if you enjoy the night life. It’s full of bars and live shows.
|The City Post Office.|
|Having some drinks on Bui Vien street.|
The next morning I left the city and commuted one hour to see the Cu Chi tunnels which are extensive underground passageways used by Viet Congs during warfare. Numbering in thousands of miles, these hidden roads were multipurpose. They housed troops, transported communications and supplies, served as a means for executing booby traps, and gave the Viet Cong the ability to mount surprise attacks. This is quite a popular tourist attraction and should not be missed by those looking for history. If you’re not claustrophobic and are a petite size, check it out. Make your way through them. It’s unimaginable what these soldiers experienced. The passageways are dark and dank, but should not be missed regardless if you choose to go underground or not.
|On the way to the tunnel|
|Getting out a tunnel.|
|Disguised tunnel used as a trap.|
I enjoyed the night markets in Asia and the ones in Ho Chi Minh City are not to pass up! Stroll around for some cheap street food and shop for clothes and gifts. I recommend the Ben Thanh market in District One, one of the earliest surviving structures of Ho Chi Minh City and a popular tourist spot for those searching for local handcrafts, textile souvenirs and local cuisine.
|Variety of fruits on the street.|
|Coloured street rice.|
|Stalls in Beh Thanh market.|
I wanted to leave the south of Vietnam at once, so I decided to go to visit the Cai Be floating markets on the Tien river. This a hub for transporting agricultural goods and sea food from the Mekong river to the rest of Vietnam. We got on a boat very early in the morning and that proved to be the best time to see the floating boats carrying out business. We later got off to a small village where we learned real Asian cuisine by making rice noodles from scratch.
|Right after our floating market tour.|
|A boat with potatoes on Tien river.|
|Home made rice noodles.|
Because of my limited time in the country, I had to take a flight the next day to Da Nang. This will be another blog for next time.