Arrived in Saigon on Wednesday 15th June. I know it’s HCMC on the maps etc. but that’s pretty much the only place. All the locals say Saigon and all the buses are marked Saigon. Sorry Uncle Ho. It’s a great city for meandering, we spent our days visiting markets; Cho Ben Thanh – lasted about twenty minutes here as our ear-drums were nearly decimated by “you want T-shirt/sunglasses/hat…” and the women kept grabbing John’s arm to get his attention. Pretty funny actually. We also went to visit the Russian Market which was supposed to have all these real designer items at knock-down prices as they’re from the end of the factory line. Now I was excited – until I saw all the Old Navy gear. I did purchase a rain-jacket though 🙂 There was also this market called ‘Thieves Market’. It was just another market. Saigon has plenty of shopping centres with air-conditioning too. Oh and they have Mango. Saigon has some pretty good architecture (yes, I’m now an architecture buff) including the Reunification Palace – the last place to fall to the North Vietnamese in 1975 (google it!), the Notre Dame Cathedral (all the original building materials were brought in from France) and the post office is also pretty epic. Except for their prices to send packages…
We also went to visit the War Remnants Museum which is actually a really interesting ‘attraction’. There are a few planes outside (don’t know what type, I’m a girl), a howitzer, some bomb parts and many, many photographs of the faces (including children) behind the war. It’s very disturbing. On a positive note we found a Gloria Jeans Coffee Shop and the most amazing yogurt place you could possibly imagine. It’s called Yoghurt Space and you pump your own frozen yogurt (which tastes exactly like ice-cream) and add whatever you want from their buffet-style counter. We also visited this really cool jazz bar called Sax’n’Art – nightly jazz sessions from the resident band. This American guy went up to these Vietnamese jazz players – who are really popular and unbelievably talented…and asked them to play some South-American jazz. We’ll leave it at that.
We took a bus after taking a first bus to Can Tho in the Mekong Delta. We decided on a visit to Can Tho as it has a floating market. We got up at 6am to hop on a boat for three hours to buy some coffee. We did make our way back through some little canals at the back of some local houses. Lots of smiling, waving kids which was lovely.