Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City

We had two fantastic weeks in Vietnam. From Hanoi in the north to our island adventure on Cát Bà Island and day trip to Lan Ha Bay. After six days in Nha Trang our next destination was Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), formerly Saigon, in the south. Two nights were booked.

HCMC is bustling with energy. Modern life and western flair is creeping in everywhere. Although we knew this prior to arriving it was a surprise to see and in our opinion a bit of a shame. Although it is somewhat hypocritical as one moment we curse the modern amenities and the next we key Starbucks into Google Maps. Our goal was to top up on instant coffee sachets as I am not a fan of the Vietnamese coffee.

I read a caption on a photo at the War Remnants Museum indicating motorbikes were very popular during the war and became a status symbol afterwards. The note went on to assume HCMC has the highest number of motorbikes per capita. Without researching this any further I came to the same conclusion. The best way to describe it; absolutely insane. The photos will not do it justice. You have to see and feel it. At times, crossing the street seems completely impossible until you finally take a leap of faith and take the first step towards the other side.

The photography exhibit at the War Remnants Museum evoked many thoughts about the world we live in and we were shaking our heads in disbelief. The images were powerful and in vivid ways document the horrors of war. We have the deepest respect and admiration for what those 122 photographers must have endured in order to tell this story for mankind to reflect upon.   

We take many impressions with us from our two weeks in Vietnam. My knowledge of the country was gleaned from movie impressions often about the Vietnam War. We have seen so much and yet have probably only just scratched the surface. It is often the small things you notice. The cab driver in Nha Trang operating three phones during the entire drive from the airport to our Airbnb, texting, talking and driving at the same time. The extremely good service at our hotel in Hanoi. The friendly smiles and 100 per cent great attitude and devotion to the job. People grooming each other in the open street. We are still not sure if they were looking for lice or grey hair. The peacefulness and serine scenery in Lan Ha Bay. The European Song Contest like songs, playing everywhere you go in Vietnam. Songs you can sing along to even if you have never heard them before.