Day 250 – 251 (11th & 12th May) – Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

3 06 2011

After travelling back to Saigon from Can Tho by bus with Mike and Becky we said a quick goodbye at the busy bus station and made our way to our hotel.

I really can’t believe how many motorbikes and scooters are out on the streets of Saigon. I can only describe them collectively as like swarms of insects choking the streets of the city. If you can’t afford a car scooters are great as they’re a damn sight quicker than walking. However if you have a car it’s terrible as scooters are everywhere and you’re probably travelling slower than them, trying your best not to hit one. Every man and his dog has one, even what looked like 10 year old kids on their way back from school.

Saigon is nice enough, but not great. Without any truly stand out sights, it’s really just walking the streets of this very hectic city, and learning about its sad and bloody past which can probably be done best via wikipedia without the heavy communist spin found in some museums. Between the crossing of the motorbike littered streets and incessant street sellers and touts, the place can be a bit of a chore. On the plus side the lovely French influenced architecture makes for a great vista when you do finally get a chance to look up and around. The wonderful and varied food is another big positive.

The HCMC museum building was a fine example of the lovely architecture. We then moved down the road to the brilliant Reunification Palace built in 1965 and perfectly preserved since Vietnam’s reunification in 1976; it is the best example of original 1960’s architecture and interior design we have seen.

The problem with having such a tight schedule on this trip is that when museums like the War Remnants Museum are unexpectedly closed in the afternoon, there is no time to see them the following day. We heard it was quite tough going and a rather one sided account of events, but still gutted we missed this one.

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