When you will plan a trip to Vietnam, allocate for Ho Chi Minh City and its environs at least a week. This city can cause absolutely different emotions, but it will certainly find a response in the heart of every tourist.
For me, traveling around Asia is always delicious and adored! What is unacceptable for many tourists -the noisy and dirty streets, the complete bacchanalia on the roads, the deceit with money at every corner, the absence of normal and any English, the smell of the dump near the boutique Gucci, – is my personal paradise. It gives me tremendous pleasure to search for stylish hotels for pennies, trendy bars without a sign “for their people” and small galleries of modern art in the city, which is famous for its soup with meat and noodles.
The first impression of Ho Chi Minh is an incredible shock. Crazy traffic on the roads, formed because of bikes, which move even on footpaths. However, after half an hour, you begin to understand that this is the norm, because this is the main mode of transport in the city, where more than 10 million people live.
In the center there are many skyscrapers, restaurants, hotels, shops for every taste, a lot of beautiful architecture, and beyond, life is much simpler: shops with electronics from the last century, street food, houses, as if made up of a multitude of color boxes, at each corner something is sold…
What is it worth to do in Ho Chi Minh?
- Visit the Phua Pagoda (Chua An Phu). Strangely enough, but I have not seen it in any guidebook. Most likely, this is due to the fact that it is in a non-tourist area. However, this cosmic pagoda, whose walls and columns adorn thousands of pieces of broken dishes, definitely deserves attention.
- To run into the city post office and send cards to relatives and friends. And across the street from the post office you will have the opportunity to see the Cathedral of Saigon Mother of God and compare it with Paris Cathedral.
- Enjoy the exposition at the Ho Chi Minh Fine Arts Museum. Believe me, Asian painting is no less beautiful.
- Go to local cafes. Try a delicious sandwich Ban Mu, which you can buy in any shop. It consists of a crispy baguette filled with meat, vegetables and greens. I recommend eating it with Vietnamese coffee without sugar. Be sure to try also delicious Fo soup, spring rolls and rice pancakes stuffed. I assure you that the local cuisine is amazing.
- Walk leisurely along the central district (district 1) in the daytime. You will probably get the impression that the local architecture is very similar to Paris, and it is not by chance, because French architects had worked here. Wait for the sunset and the streets will be filled with local dandies, you can watch them near the financial tower Bitexco. And inspired by their images, you will certainly want to buy a few things in shops of Vietnamese brands and designers.
- Go to non-tourist areas (for example, 4 and 5) to see and experience the real life of the city.
- Special attention should be paid to the most famous and largest market in Vietnam – Ben Thanh, which is also in Ho Chi Minh City. As soon as the sun rises, traders open their benches and close them to the “Vietnamese siesta” – by 11 am, as at that time a large part of commodity has already been sold. If you are late, you should not be upset, because you can visit the night market. The work of night markets is determined by sunset and lasts until 22.00 – 23.00. The peculiarity of the local population is that practically no one of them knows a single figure in English. And even if you’re in the loudspeaker yell at the ear “How much?” – they will not understand you. Point with your fingers or your hand, with a smile, naturally. Then all the prices will be shown to you either on a calculator or by banknotes from their own pockets.
Here definitely is something to see, find out and where to take a walk. But Ho Chi Minh City is more suitable for stress-resistant people, for those who know what Asia is.