Well I really enjoyed Ho Chi Minh City. Not really the sightseeing part, but the everyday one. I made my list of highlights. It is not conclusive so go figure by yourself :)
Bến Thành Market – in the heart of the city just opposite to the bus station (located on the side of huge round about by the way). I got really scared inside. The alleys between stalls are very narrow and unoccupied sellers had nothing to do but to occupy themselves with bothering us to buy something. At some point I thought they are going to rip us apart. Each one was pulling me in a different direction shouting “buy something! BUY SOMETHING!” I was so stressed out I didn’t even want to buy anything, all I wanted was to scream and run away.
It looks lovely, there is so much of colourful stock all around you feel like in a treasure cave but you don’t have a moment to take it all in as constantly someone is bothering you. And it is expensive. It’s a tourist attraction so what should one expect?! I bought some coffee in there and regretted it the moment I saw prices outside and again regretted it when I had to drink it. Maybe I’m just not big fan of Vietnamese coffee.
Outside the market there are little shops that offer prices lower than the stalls inside the place. How crazy is that? We bought there the traditional straw hats. And we also went to a local restaurant around the corner. The menu was only in Vietnamese and there were no tourist around. I didn’t want anything to eat but P. ordered a soup which he really enjoyed.
I know we looked inside the pots and showed what we wanted. Liking soups comes really handy sometimes. At night there is a night market just outside Bến Thành. Long rows of stalls with clothes and food mainly. We got there some linen pants and blouses for the trip to Mekong Delta we planned for the next day. The pants had no pockets and the ripped apart really quickly so even though we bargained a lot I think it wasn’t worth it.
Dam Sen Water Park – 03 Hoa Binh, Ward 3, District 11. Anyone that needs to rest will find it perfect for that purpose. The taxi was horribly expensive but we were afraid we won’t get there and we couldn’t find out from our hostel hosts which bus is going there. So we paid for a taxi something really stupid and came back by bus (number 11) which was terribly cheap. The entrance was something like $5. Don’t make the same mistake I did though. Watch out when you go on Kamikaze slide. I hurt my back bone so badly it hurt me even a couple of weeks after we were back in London.
Revolutionary Museum – if it makes you laugh you can see a handkerchief some comrade was using or a camera which some picture of a famous party member was taken with and so on and so on. We know it so well from Poland. The pathos and descriptions were so demagogic you could only laugh or cry. We chose the first one. P. was trying to hold on to the bike covered with rice bags pushing it only with the handles when a member of the staff told him to put one hand on the handle and the other at the back of the bike where the rice bags were fixed. I found this very funny! What do you think? We also saw a staging of a party rally with a banner saying “Independence or death”
Hung Kings Temple – right across the entrance of the History Museum. The temple was built on Nghia Linh Mountain, there are three levels connected by stone steps. The lowest level Ha Temple (worshiping Au Ho), middle level Trung temple (worshiping the Hung Kings), the highest level Thuong temple (placing the mausoleum symbol of the Hung Kings). The Hung Kings temple is not only a beauty spot but also the site in memory of the national origin.
Our favourite Restaurant – KIM on De Tham Street – best food in Vietnam I have tried. And there are some pictures from Ireland! The service is maybe not the quickest and not the best but the food is worth it. We always ordered more than we could eat. Oh the sauces and fish rolls yummy.
The most amazing thing though is the traffic. Moppets, cars, pedestrians all mingling together without accidents. You just have to get a feel for it. Next post about our trip to Mekong Delta.