Ho Chi Minh City
Recently Ryan and I had the opportunity to go to Vietnam. We started our journey in Ho Chi Minh City (Hồ Chí Minh City).
After the conclusion of the Vietnamese War, the communist Social Republic Of Vietnam combined Saigon and a few other provinces in order to make Ho Chi Minh City, honouring the late communist leader Hồ Chí Minh. Internationally and across the country of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City is still referred to Saigon, a region known to serve the country’s most tasty cuisine.
In total, we spent about two days in Vietnam’s most populated city. I would say it’s a reasonably sufficient time to spend there. The town is filled with electric scooters with minimum traffic laws, tons of restaurants, cafes, museums, stores and tour services. We had a tour organized by our AirB&B hosts and pickup arranged to and from the airport. It is quite common for hosts to organize tours and transport for you for at very reasonable costs. It was about 10-15 USD for a comfortable private vehicle to wait for us, pick us up and take us to our accommodation in the centre of the city.
Our fantastic hosts organized an excellent day trip for us to get to see the Mekong Delta with Deluxe Group Tours. We had the best tour guide of all time, and his name was Typhoon Honey. Typhoon Honey spoke relatively good english and had a fantastic sense of humor. People throughout the city know a decent amount of English which was very helpful! We were picked up for the tour early in the morning around 8AM and taken to the Mekong Delta. It was about a two-hour van ride with a group of about ten other people.
I usually prefer to not do tours, but this was a good way of getting transport to the Mekong Delta within a short time frame. We also had the perks of having some activities planned such as touring the delta by motorboat, biking through nearby communities, meeting with the indigenous people and learning about their lives, getting to share a home-cooked lunch of fresh fish, experiencing traditional Vietnamese wooden boats and seeing local products being made. We also got to drink the milk of some local coconuts and try some coconut candies which are known to be some of the best in the world! We had a pit stop where we learned about family-owned brick-works and how these handmade bricks are made over a gruelling 40-day process.
In regards to Ho Chi Minh City, I recommend going to the Ben Thanh market. There was a ton of little trinkets you could buy and a great selection of local produce. Vietnam is known to also have tons of knock-off gear from North Face and some other brands so you'll find this here. If you have a chance check out the President Hồ Chí Minh statue, it has a beautiful walking plaza nearby! Also, make sure to stop at some cafes and grab some fantastic fruit teas. Regarding dining, Saigon is famously known to have the best Pho (PHỞ) in all of the country. Do make sure you try some here! There are different variations of the soup including beef and shrimp, but vegetable options are available too! I recommend giving the street vendors a shot and getting a phenomenal bowl of Pho for a 1$.
Stay tuned for our next adventure to Hoi An (Hội An).