Ermagerd, I love this city!
I had a great bus ride from Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh (aka Saigon), sat beside the cutest Vietnamese lady who kept feeding me snacks along the way.
As we came into the city, which is HUGE, I could tell right away that there was something a tad different from other South East Asian cities I have seen so far: there are millions of motorbikes here.
I mean, don't get me wrong, there are lots of bikes in other cities too, but this is a whole other level of bike traffic.
Trying to cross the road is like some sort of mean joke - you essentially have to just take a deep breath, roll your shoulders back and strut out with confidence as the traffic magically surges around you.
One strange (annoying?) thing is that everywhere lists prices in USD (1USD = 21,000 Vietnamese Dong) but they don't take it anywhere, unlike Cambodia where they use both USD and Cambodian Real. Mais c'est la vie!
My fave park to run around in the morning :)
There are a bunch of exercise machines there, so you don't feel quite so crazy being the only Western chick running around like a sweaty mess ;)
War Remnants Museum
There are tons of museums in Saigon, although I unfortunately did not have enough time to see them all.
I went to the War Remnants Museum and was very glad that I went. It gave me a much better understanding of the timeline of the Vietnamese war, although it was very difficult to see photos of some of the atrocities committed against Vietnamese villagers, not to mention the lasting effects of deformities due to the use of agent orange.
I also stopped in at the Reunification Palace en route to the museum. Such a cool place!
It's super 70s style, with very severe placement of all of the furniture in the various rooms that used to house the president and his family.
There are also rooms downstairs where the president and his war generals camped out during the Vietnamese war to do their logistics.
It just happened to be the anniversary of the unification of north and south Vietnam when I was in Saigon, so I was able to see some of the festivities.
There were tons of free music and dance shows throughout the city, along with fireworks along the waterfront.
Modern Art Museum
I did a little self-guided tour of the old part of Saigon (found it in the Vietnam Lonely Planet travel book) and stopped at the Modern Art Museum.
I'm glad I did - it also had some historic art and pottery, along with sketches from the Vietnamese war and more contemporary pieces.
Momster, you would have been so proud ;)
I had the amazing opportunity to go see an A O Show at the opera house, called 'My Village'.
Tickets are usually $60, way over my price range, but I was able to go for only $15 as long as I promised to write a review on TripAdvisor :)
Sneaky, sneaky - I know!
The show was amazing and had music and dance with bamboo sticks depicting life in rural northern Vietnam. The building itself is gorgeous.
So glad that I went!
Unlike my snooty sky bar experience in Bangkok, I was allowe inside even if I looked a bit like a backpacking bum ;)
So worth it!
Anywho, there are tons of things to do and see in Saigon, including some awesome markets. Def a great place to spend a few days!
Vietnamese drip coffee. Love at first taste.
Another cool thing about Saigon: people drink on bamboo mats out on Bui Vien street, the backpacker area. It was refreshing to see so many locals hanging out too :)