Up at 5, but a phone call from Bruce at 5:30 – our planes been cancelled and our new booking means we can leave the hotel an hour later. So we went for a walk, around the near deserted streets of Hoi An and to the local market, which was in full swing. Returning to the hotel we had a leisurely breakfast before jumping on the bus to the airport.
The flight to Saigon was about an hour then off to the War Remnants Museum, which was really interesting but very confronting. It wasn’t the type of place you wanted to take photos. Next was a brief tour of the town – the Notre Dame Catholic Cathedral, post office and Reunification Palace.
Saigon or Ho Chi Minh City? The locals, and even the government, use both although they aren’t interchangeable names. Saigon refers to the inner city whereas Ho Chi Minh City refers to the greater city and surrounding rural areas. Who knew!
Once rested up for a while, and the obligatory beer before dinner, we headed out for a walking tour of some of the night-time ‘highlights’ of Saigon. Through the crazy busy, crowded backpackers area, then on to Nguyen Hue – the ‘Walking street’ with loud, very loud, music attacking from every direction and neon lights to give Las Vegas a run for its money. Bailing out of there as quickly as possible, Bruce found a small quiet restaurant with a 20+ page menu. We suspect that as we ordered they were calling the Vietnamese version of Uber Eats to deliver. No kitchen could stock everything required for the menu. Again the cost was mind blowing. Dad had a chicken, pork and beef stir fry which came with a separate salad and rice. He also had a beer. Total cost – 75000VD or about $5.
Saigon is by far the busiest, noisiest, youngest place we’ve been. It seems to be very much the young people’s city. The traffic is still crazy, but in a different way. Faster, more aggressive, not as much ‘flow’. It’s hard to describe the ‘flow’ in the other places we’ve been. The closest I can come is to think of motor traffic moving like pedestrian traffic in a busy shopping centre. Everyone gives way to everyone, but keeps moving all the time, even threw busy intersections or roundabouts. It is fascinating to watch.