Ho Chi Minh city is crazy, from motorbikes and pushbikes weaving in and out of the heavy traffic to the ‘experience’ of simply crossing the road. There is lots to do here so you’ll never be bored and there is also a lot of history in the city.
We arrived in Ho Chi Minh City, our first destination in Vietnam, after half a days travel from Cambodia. We decided that we would stay somewhere with a pool, as the heat in Cambodia was unbearable at times and we craved the opportunity to cool off in a swimming pool and catch some rays.
We chose our hotel purely on the merits of it being the cheapest one with a pool, it turned out to be a 5 minute walk to the main backpacking street in the city which was an added bonus! When we arrived, the pool area wasn’t quite what we had hoped, there were 4 sunbeds for a hotel which had 8 floors of accommodation, and the top layer of the pool was covered in a layer of greasy suncream…nice. This didn’t stop people getting in though, and was a welcome relief from the searing heat.
Our evenings were spent exploring Bui Vien Street (the main backpackers street with a lively atmosphere), sampling the local food (Pho Ga) and checking out some of the bars. It’s quite chaotic and could do with being pedestrianised as you are constantly dodging taxis, motorbikes and street sellers! One night I opted for a delux Mani Pedi to rectify my chipped nail polish, which included a leg and arm massage all for the small sum of around £7.50.
After 3 nights in our hotel, we moved our things to Bui Vien street and into a hostel, partly so we were closer to the action, and partly because the walk back to our hotel was through a rat infested park, which did managed to reduce me to tears on one occasion (I hate rats).
One afternoon we walked to Ben thanh market, which is probably one of the best markets I’ve ever been too. It was full of clothes, handbags, shoes and accessories, which is right up my street (even more so after not going shopping for a month). Unfortunately my backpack doesn’t really have the room to accommodate anything big, so my only purchase was a scarf, which was justified as I had forgotten to bring one with me. The market is also full of stalls selling delicious fresh fruit, coffee, tea, nuts etc. We had read before we went that you should offer 1/3 of the price they quote you, which we did, and after haggling with them we always got a price around that amount. Tourists are advised to be careful with their bags around the market, as there are a lot of thefts. One lady told us she had her phone in her hand whilst navigating to the market, and it was snatched out of her hand by 2 men on a motorbike.
Ho Chi Minh City is also home to it’s own Notre Dam Cathdreal, it’s bit of a walk from the market, but it’s another must see attraction in the city.