So maybe you’ve heard of Ho Chi Min City by its other name, Saigon. Click here for a good explanation on why this city goes by two names.
We rung in the new year in the bustling city so here are some of our highlights:
- A great view of the festivities from our AirBnB.
In Vietnam you get a lot of value for your money so you might as well splurge a little bit on your accommodations to get something more comfortable (and maybe with a bit of a view to get some perspective of the sheer scale of the growth of the city).
- Sky bars! So many…
If you don’t want to splurge on accommodations just for the view, you can definitely catch it from the numerous sky bars in the city.
- Restaurants with character.
So we did the Ben Thanh Market and also dined at quite a few high-end restaurants in Vietnam so we were looking for something more along the lines of the daily Vietnamese cuisine and that’s how we found this little place. I don’t usually recommend specific restaurants by name but I will recommend this one: Cyclo Resto. Their whole concept is that they create the Vietnamese family-style meal experience. To find it was a bit of a hike down an alleyway and it looked unappealing at first from the outside but I’m glad we stayed. It was delicious and a memorable experience in this fast-paced city. It was also the first place where I had Vietnamese egg coffee! Very good.
- All the little cute cafes.
Saigon is big on cafe culture and some places capitalize on their colonial past. Here are some snapshots:
- Window shopping! The ao dai’s here are just amazing everywhere you go.
- War Remnants Museum.
This was a very emotional experience for me. I think it’s important that everyone goes through this museum to understand Vietnam’s history.
All in all, it was very interesting to see such a dynamic city as a last stop in our Vietnam leg of the trip. That being said, I think amongst all the luxury and the high rises of the city there is a bit of homelessness that was immensely sad to see. When C and I would go on our late evening walks or early morning walks, we’d see groups of children sleeping on bridges and streets with very little. One group of children we saw was sleeping on a bridge sidewalk with just the clothes they had on their back. It was heartbreaking to see children in this way. I think observing that daily along with the experience in the War Remnants Museum put a bit of a sadness to our experience there but I don’t love it any less. It’s very important to see this city, I think.
If you don’t have a ton of time, skip the palace and skip the cathedral and instead try your best to see the War Remnants Museum along with dinner or drinks at a sky bar and of course, walking the streets. I felt like those experiences were the most telling of the city and its culture.