The bus into Vietnam went very smoothly, despite us being very nervous about our lack of visa and hearing many horror stories about people getting stuck between the 2 borders! We arrived starving and stopped off at a small cafe on the way to our air bnb apartment. This was the first place we had encountered on our trip with no English signs or menus anywhere! We chose 2 items on the menu using the pictures of food scattered around to match them up. As we knew there were some interesting meats in Vietnam we were hoping we hadn’t ordered cats or dogs! It seemed safe as Tom had fish and I had a noodle soup. We carried on our walk to the apartment past the crazy traffic whereby the best way to cross was just to close your eyes and go! The traffic whizzed around us and left us amazed that we had made it across every time! The shared apartment was very nice in a more residential area.
We headed out to find an ATM, immediately getting stuck in a large rainstorm, leaving us hiding in a bank car park for about an hour! Finally it passed over and we grabbed our first Vietnamese coffee, half coffee half condensed milk with ice. Diabetes was definitely on the cards now! We grabbed some takeout spring roll noodle soup and went back to the apartment.
Ho Chi Minh city was really modern with many different districts. The more upmarket district featured an almost Champs Elysees style street which led down to the river. There was also a Bangkok style backpacker district filled with neon lights, bars, restaurants and massage parlours! The streets turned into a river when it rained which was pretty funny! It felt like if we’d stayed here we’d have had a different experience of Saigon.
We visited the War Remnants museum which was really interesting to learn about the war and the effects it is still having on people today. None of us knew much about this war prior to coming so it was interesting to learn but again pretty harrowing.
The city had some great street food even though most of the time we had no idea what we were eating! But we had some great meals for 50p each! The highlights of Ho Chi Minh city were the coffees and quirky/hipster cafes and design shops – we’re not sure whether diabetes or a caffeine induced heart attack will get us first, but it’ll be worth it for the delicious coffees!
Ho Chi Minh was not without it’s dangers though, as we experienced a new sales technique in the main market, rather than sweet talk someone into a purchase an innocent looking stall owner shouted at Tom demanding to know why he wouldn’t pay four times to much for some suspect looking coffee! Chasing us down the market as we tried to get away!