I didn’t fall in love with you Vietnam, but I like you, a lot. So, let’s stay friends because I will be back again and I will be eager to eat your pho and drink your Saigon Special beer once more.
Vietnam’s, Ho Chi Minh City was interesting to say the least, crazy road conditions, where traffic lights were rare and even when they were around, it seemed to be a choice if the rules were followed. Then try crossing a road, near impossible.
Great Vietnamese Food.
I liked the locals, sure they were pushy, even rude, and at first it seemed a little disturbing. Eventually you get used to it. It’s a rat race and if you are too nice you get left behind. If you’re not aggressive, you get left stranded. Quite simply, if you don’t like a mad rush, then don’t visit Ho Chi Minh City. Personally I wasn’t overawed by the occasion.
What about the Vietnamese Food? Very one paced indeed I thought. Lots and lots of pho (soup). It was either the soup or the bread rolls filled with meat and salads that seemed to be sold on every corner street. At least that is the way it is in the South. There was not a whole lot of options or variety unless you go searching for the international cuisines.
The good and the bad of Ho Chi Minh City? What did I like? Or not like? Let’s jump into it and who knows it may help you prepare for your visit to Vietnam in the future.
The not so good
- Chaotic Saigon: Bike, bikes everywhere. Down a small alley way, there will be bikes. On the footpath, you guessed it, more bikes. You can’t escape it, so embrace it.
- Crossing the road: Which leads to crossing a road in Ho Chi Minh City. Quite dangerous to say the least. Unfortunately, the best answer I can give is, proceed with caution and cross the road, the bikes will go around you. Hopefully.
- The air out there: The pollution in the big city is appalling and a lot of the locals do wear a mask. If you find the air is becoming a hassle, I suggest you buy a mask for yourself. You won’t look out of place, that I assure you.
- Not an easy walk: Walking the streets of the city is not easy, and I am talking about when you are actually on the footpath. Not only are you avoiding motorbikes that are all over the place, but also food stalls that seem to set up wherever there is space. If you desire a power walk or a jog, there are plenty riverside paths available or just head to district 7.
- The sad state of some of the Rivers: The rivers need a lot of work, rubbish is everywhere and it simply looks awful. I can only hope that in the future that can all get sorted.
The good bits
- It’s cheap: Vietnam is cheap, a good buffet can cost you about $15AUD. A can of beer can be as low as 70c. Uber is the best way to get around the city, you can’t get ripped off as the price is already determined before you get in the car and its twice as cheap as a taxi. Quite simply, Vietnam is an affordable country to travel to.
- District 7: Ho Chi Minh City is a city that is fast developing and District 7 is the best proof of that. Everything is modern, from its fantastic shopping mall to modern apartments. If you feel like you need a break from the rush, then head to District 7. It’s only a good half hour away from District 1 by car.
- The temples: Temples will pop up all over the place even when you least expect, go inside and have a look. Just show respect inside the temples.
- How the city changes: To have a good walk or a drive in the car. It’s amazing how much a city changes from block to block. From looking like a dump, to something new and modern. Ho Chi Minh city is full of surprises.
- The Locals: They won’t change, so just get used to them and if you give it time, you will learn to like them. Remember this country and the older generation have gone through some savage and rough times. So never mind their forceful ways, they don’t intend to be rude, it’s just the way it is. The Vietnamese really are quite an admirable bunch of good, hard working, family orientated and honest folk. Oh, and one for the male readers out there, the local women are simply beautiful.
The title said it all, I liked you Vietnam or particularly Ho Chi Minh City, a lot. Not my favourite destination of all time but one I’m glad I visited nonetheless. If someone were to ask me, would I go back? Well, my answer would be honest. Yes, without hesitation.
Thanks Vietnam, you were nice. I will be back again.