I just came from a trip last night, my first ever visit to Ho Chi Minh city, or some people call it Saigon. Still have that Vietnam coffee after taste, and that bruises on my hand (will talk about this later).
Seen both the struggling street with night market (which seems to have more tourist than locals) and the modern shopping mall with branded goods, working class in suits and heels. Locals that don’t speak English at all and tour guide who are well verse in English. Seen also rude customer who doesn’t give the effort to communicate with non-English speaking workers and demanded to know when they can have their pedi-mani session, which at the end being turned away, most probably the chose not to serve them (ha! serve you right!). Seen also spa center that asked for tips which made the whole thing way more expensive than it looks and tourist area or pit-stop that sang you traditional songs and ready a basket for tips.
Seen locals who speak in simple foreign languages to serve their foreign customers, including Malay Language, English and Chinese. To me they are really friendly, sometimes over friendly that they’ll hold your hand just so you don’t walk away after asking how much is their stuff cost. Next sentence follow will be “How much you buy? How much how much?” (in a very strong Vietnamese accent). Next thing is you started to bargain with them. Something from 250,000 dong can turn out to be 150,000 dong! Depends on where you are and what things you are bargaining at.
You’ll find lots and lots of hand craft things, including from wood, fabric, bags, shoes, key-chain, magnet, fresh flowers in baskets.
We stay near to Ben Thanh Market. So, every night around 6:30pm, bikers going pass with their stalls, yes, the canvas with steels and wheels! They’ll be holding on their bike in one hand and another hand on the canvas, even the whole wardrobe! In minutes, they’ll be able to set up their stalls, within half an hour, all their stuff will be hung nicely and ready for business.
Wifi is available every where, with closed access. So if you are in a restaurant, you can easily get the password from the waiter or look out for it at their menu. So, grab yourself a cuppa, have a seat and you’ll be able to surf the net again without having to get a local data card. No worry about getting lost, people are very helpful just as long as they know where do you mean you want to go.
You can see Starbucks and Coffee Bean here and there, even Baskin Robins. Though local coffee is the cheapest and original, ha!
Another thing, if you want to get across the road, don’t worry too much on the motorcylist, as long as you keep on your pace and cross the road on a green light, even when it is red. ‘cos in coming traffic can turn right on a red light. Do watch out for cars though, it is harder for them to avoid you. Face mask is available vastly in the stores everywhere. And you’ll see Grab service using motorcycle. You can tell by their helmet. Give it a try if you are adventurous, but you’ll need proper dataline to do that.
However, there are some motocyclist who prefer to ride on the pavement, so do be carefull even when you are using the walkway. I got bump into by a motor while walking on the pavement, and got a blue-black on my hand. Anyway, nothing major..except leaving a hole on my blouse’ sleeve.
If you love high places, a view from the top or to step on to an iconic building, try Sai Gon Skydeck.
Like to dine on a cruise ship, try that in Khanh Hoi Nha Rong Port.
Want to know how a president live, visit Independence Palace.
Want to know about the before and after the war in Vietnam, visit the War memorial museum.
Want to go inside an old cathedral, visit Notre Dame Cathedral Of Saigon.
Or if you like.. visit the temple ..
Try the boat ride in Mekong river if you dare..
There are just too many photos to share, I’ll just post a few here as I’ve already shared most in my Insta account.
Overall.. it has been a fun trip.