Walking the streets of Saigon – Ho Chi Minh City – Vietnam

Walking the streets of Saigon – Ho Chi Minh City – Vietnam

In this edition of the walking the streets series, I am taking you to crazy Saigon, dodging the traffic and I’m carefully walking the streets of Saigon – Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.

If you blink in this city, you could miss it! Or otherwise be floored by the many rampaging motorbikes that are roaming about the roads, the walkways, alley-ways and even the marketplaces. Ho Chi Minh City is that congested with traffic and pedestrians that anywhere goes for the locals. 

 

Ho CHi Minh City

A little chaotic in Ho CHi Minh City.

 

It was obvious from the moment that we Left the departure gates at Tan Son Nhat International Airport and caught the Uber ride (now Grab) to the previously booked Airbnb Apartment in downtown Ho Chi Minh City. Chaos, lived in this city. Not that I wasn’t full warned leading into the trip.

Bumper to bumper, cars nudging bikes, bikes nudging cars and vehicles nudging into pedestrians, it seemed to be one big circle of life in the world of madness that is Saigon, a city like no other I have ever visited, but a city that was easy to be impressed with.

Crossing the road was an art in the ever-flowing maze of traffic, the old saying of slow and steady wins the race was the only way to negotiate the constant traffic and get to the other side of the road, often giving a little fist pump when you made a successful attempt.  Even more daunting with kids in hand. 

 

Vietnam

A laugh a minute in Vietnam.

 

Fear needed to be brushed aside when making every attempt to cross the manic streets of Saigon, but having the kids by my side made that ordeal a little more terrifying, but the good news is, we all lived to tell the story, with no real close encounters, elbeit, every time crossing the road in the big city was a close encounter.

Beyond the traffic that is unavoidable on your travels to the Southern city of Vietnam, this unique city needs to be explored to every inch with so many things going on. I like to think of it as a city that is divided in three, parts of it has a modern touch, a proud tradition of history and still a hint of third world zones in areas of Ho Chi Minh City. Now, let’s get into walking the busy streets of Saigon.

 

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Ho Chi Minh City

Saigon food anybody? Eating yummy donuts right off the plate of somebodies head.

 

 

 

Walking the streets of Saigon – Ho Chi Minh CIty – Vietnam

 

A modern touch

I say a modern touch, because this booming city is on the rise, literally, and is continuing to grow to great heights with skyscrapers all over the place. You only need to go to the viewing area of the Bitexco Financial Building to see how the city’s development is advancing. Either that or get the best view in the house of this incredible city, it is quite stunning to stare into the horizon.

 

Bitexco Financial Building

Bitexco Financial Building

 

Ho Chi Minh City has amazing modern shopping centres and often when walking the streets, you’ll stumble across some beauties. Saigon Centre is the best of the lot and is situate in the heart of District 1 where the action happens and the tourist flock to in large numbers, it is a mall that is a city with in a city, that has popular retail lines, café’s and unbelievable food courts. 

I can only marvel when I look upon this city at far it has come since that devastating war a half a century ago, and how much I am sure it will continue to surge going forward.

 

Saigon Centre

Ho Chi Minh Shopping! Inside the amazing Saigon Centre in District 1 Ho Chi Minh CIty.

 

A proud tradition of History 

Tradition is well and truly on full display, especially in the District 1 area of Saigon, thanks largely to its large French presence in the 19th Century.

It’s wonderful to walk the streets of Ho Chi Minh City and find some truly mesmerising French designed buildings and cathedrals. The Notre Dame Cathedral and The Old Post Office are a click frenzy zone with your camera as you get your great shot of these wonderful buildings. The festivities in the area is alive and well, making it easy to get caught up in the party atmosphere and see a few locals supporting their traditional Vietnamese dress.

 

Notre Dame Cathedral

Notre Dame Cathedral

 

The War Remnants Museum is a great history lesson of the Vietnam War, but keep in mind they call it American War in this Vietnam. The museum is real eye opener and I am so glad that I ventured through the gates and was able to spend a full morning reading up on details of the war.

Although the ache in the heart really kicked in when learning and witnessing the devastating photos and reading the disturbing stories of the Agent Orange chemical destroyed many lives. I will admit, some pictures can get quite traumatic, especially for the kids that are travelling with you. Nonetheless The War Remnants Museum is a must check out in Saigon.

 

War Remnants Museum

At the War Remnants Museum.

 

 

A hint of third world

I took a picture in Ho Chi Minh City, one that will feature below. I felt in someway that it summed up the city. With all the modern features on the rise and beautifully designed buildings that were built long ago, it surprised me to still see broken down housing over the river and even a hint of third world about the city.

thousand words

A picture tells a thousand words

 

It’s not uncommon for a city to have poverty throughout the world and Ho Chi Minh City is no different. In my opinion, it’s a city that has admirably come along way and in saying that I mean a “positive direction.” Although it will fascinate you that in one moment you could be looking at a flush modern building, then the next a broken-down pile of bricks that is unsafe for anyone to be living in. It’s crazy scenes. 

 

Ho Chi Minh City

A sad sight of some houses.

 

Walking the streets of Ho Chi Minh City

There were so many fascinating things I saw when walking the streets of this chaotic city, whether it was strolling into a temple, creating your own Ho Chi Minh Food Tour or getting lost in the crowd at the Ben Thanh Markets, or any markets in the city for that matter. Naturally, you would also be getting pestered by the store owner trying to make a buck, but that is common in Southeast Asia.

Ho CHi Minh City

Beautiful Temples in the city

 

It was only my first visit to Ho Chi Minh City and being with my kids I found it a challenge to navigate the streets, especially with the city’s lack of walkways, public transport, and even traffic lights to have a stress-free attempt at crossing the road. A few more foot bridges would have come in handy, I only saw one in my travels.

As I have constantly said however, this is a city on the rise, and I got no doubt that when I do revisit Saigon and its markets, the traffic, it’s historic building and flush shopping malls again in the future, I know Ho Chi Minh City will be entirely different city and hopefully, next time for this Fair Dinkum Traveller,  it may be a little easier to navigate the streets of Saigon.  

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Vietnam

The locals dressed up in dradtional dress.

 

Walking the Streets of Dalat – Vietnam

 

 

 

 

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streets of Saigon

Saigon

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Making the Most of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam – Saigon Tips

Making the Most of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam – Saigon Tips

The average holiday tends to be a week or two, unless you’re one of the fortunate ones and are able to travel for months on end with little thought of the real world. Now for a moment, let’s assume that we’re you average Joe person and you’re having a regular holiday, therefore, making the most of your short-lived holiday is paramount. It’s a situation I found myself in during my trip to Vietnam when I ventured into the city with my family. It was school holidays and we had little time in the crazy city of Ho Chi Minh City.

Isn’t that what holidays are all about anyway. Making the most of your time, making the most of your life, because it is all precious and so is travel. And f you blink, you will miss it. In that case, I’m going to give you a few little hints of making the most of your time in Ho Chi Minh City, one of the craziest cities in the world.

Heading to Vietnam? look for accommodation on TripAdvisor!

 

Making the Most of Ho Chi Minh City

Making the Most of Ho Chi Minh City.

 

 

Making the Most of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam – Saigon Tips

 

Book a Day tour or two in and Around Ho Chi Minh City

Day tours in Ho Chi Minh City are a blast and there are plenty to choose from. You can take amazing day tours that feature famous attractions in great locations and a fun English speaking guide’s that  are bound to entertain you the whole trip. Whether you elect to explore the beautiful coastal area of Vietnam, the Mighty Mekong Delta or get a little claustrophobic in the Cu-Chi Tunnels, A day is well spent exploring the Southern part of Vietnam that will have you back tour Saigon hotel in no time.

Check out these amazing tours from Get Your Guide and begin making the most of your time in Ho Chi Minh City.

 

Cu-Chi Tunnels.

Hideaway in the Cu-Chi Tunnels.

Making the most of a day trip

Book a day trip on the Mekong River in Vietnam.

 

Discover a chaotic city like no other

Ditch the motorbikes and forget the car. The best way to discover Saigon, is by your own two feet. Exhausting I know, but by walking the streets you can discover hidden alley ways, hidden restaurant, hidden stalls and truly discover what this fascinating city is all about.

Some of the best food I ate in Vietnam were the restaurants that found me and not the other way around. Or finding boutique marketplaces that are not well known but a bargain can still be found. It’s a great way to discover a chaotic city, which I can assure you is a city like no other in this world.

 

Ho Chi Minh City

Discover Ho Chi Minh City.

thousand words

You will be surprised at what you find when you discover a city by foot.

 

Eat Soup, lots and lots of soup

Soup, Soup and more soup, the famous Vietnamese soup is everywhere in this city. You can find your fulfilling bowl of Vietnamese noodle soup  in many stalls, whether it will be on street corners, in driveways, markets, restaurants and even located on the middle of the footpath where you walk. Soup in Vietnam is something you can’t escape. Don’t fight it, just eat whenever the stomach is craving.

making the most of soup eating in Vietnam.

Have Vietnamese Soup, freshly made.

Lots of soup (pho) in Vietnam.

 

Visit Historical Sites in amazing Saigon

The French once had a large presence in the South and it is obvious with its stunning French architecture designed buildings located throughout district-1 of Ho Chi Minh City. The Notre Dame Cathedral and The Old Pot Office are a stone throw from each other and it is a tourist bonanza as the camera happy travellers take pictures of such beauty. The Opera House in the central part of the District 1 is another building that is worth your attention.

Often during your journeys in the city, you’ll come across epic buildings that are of historical nature and you can check out a great list of buildings to visit with this link to Wikipedia.

 

Notre Dame

Notre Dame Cathedral.

Making the most of Saigon.

Ho Chi Minh City has some amazing historical buildings.

 

Dodge Traffic, you can’t avoid it

Dodging motorbikes in Ho Chi Minh City is not an option, it’s compulsory. Whether you’re crossing roads, walking on footpaths or even in marketplaces, most times you are risking life or limb in doing so, in may or may not be an overstatement. But on the other hand, you couldn’t truly say that you were in Saigon if you didn’t experience a close call with a motorcyclist.

There you have, a brief explanation of making the most of Ho Chi Minh City, now all you need to do is book your airfare, find a suitable hotel and you too can enjoy the atmosphere of this truly chaotic city. 

 

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Uber

Just a normal day in a chaotic city.

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