Blogs from Ho Chi Minh City, Southeast, Vietnam, Asia - page 222


Asia » Vietnam » Southeast » Ho Chi Minh City May 31st 2006

We arrived right in the middle of the backpacker area of Saigon (as the locals still refer to it) in the early evening giving us enough time to check into a guesthouse and get some food before getting some much-needed sleep. The Pham Ngu Lao area (still no idea how you say it!) is definitely geared up to tourists - plenty of western food and crafts shops - but has it's fair share of locals enjoying the cheap beer so it's a pretty nice atmosphere. On our first full day here we decided to visit the War Crimes Museum which is an undeniably one-sided look at the Vietnam war (it used to be called the Musem of Chinese and American War Crimes) and doesn't give a particularly good overview of the war, but it has some ... read more
Cu Chi tunnels
Caodai temple
Caodai ceremony

Asia » Vietnam » Southeast » Ho Chi Minh City May 30th 2006

Saigon (April 24 - April 30) Note: We have referred to Ho Chi Minh City throughout our blog as Saigon for three reasons: (i) It's shorter and so requires less typing from us, (ii) Most people that we have met in Southern Vietnam also call it Saigon and (iii) Roger refuses to use the name given the city by communists. We really enjoyed our time in Saigon and liked it much more than Bangkok. It’s a pretty city and from the area around Pham Ngu Lao in District 1, a nexus of backpacker friendly accommodations and services, you can walk to most of the places that you would want to go (although there are many motos and taxis for hire as well). We felt like Saigon (more than anywhere else we have been so far) is ... read more
Capitalism and Communism
Reunification Palace
Streetside Barber Shop

Asia » Vietnam » Southeast » Ho Chi Minh City May 29th 2006

Whilst we have been travelling we had heard several stories of how dangerous and dodgy Saigon was, so it was with some trepidation that we arrived off our bus after dark. Fortunately most of these stories were largely unfounded (we only saw 1 drive-by robbery in the 2 days we were there) and we really enjoyed the city. The first morning we were feeling energetic so decided to do a walking tour of the city to take in all the major sights. The tour took us around 7 hours to complete as we were interrupted by a massive thunder and lightning storm and had to hide out in a cafe for about an hour. We managed to see the municipal theatre, Notre Dame Cathedral (Vietnam style), Post Office, Reunification Palace (couldn't get in as it was ... read more
Post Office
Notre Dame Cathedral
Intricate artwork inside a pagoda in Cholon

Asia » Vietnam » Southeast » Ho Chi Minh City May 28th 2006

In Northern China people famously joke that Southern China's Cantonese people will eat anything that flies, except a plane; anything that swims, except a submarine, and anything that has legs, except the table. The same joke could be applied to the Vietnamese. We could have feasted on dog meat in Hanoi, but decided not to. Feeling like we had missed an opportunity to taste some truly exotic food, I vowed to try something I had never eaten before in Saigon... and I got the opportunity not once, but twice... We arrived in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) on Wednesday evening on a Pacific Airlines flight from Da Nang. After checking into our hotel, Miss Loi's Guesthouse in Co Giang, we took a xe om to a restaurant that could apparently aid in my quest for dodgy ... read more
Inside Giac Lam Pagoda
Temple art
Reunification Palace

Asia » Vietnam » Southeast » Ho Chi Minh City May 27th 2006

I can't believe that I've been in HCMC for 6 days. I haven't been to any museums, attractions, etc. in the city. Most of the days are spent in the AC room avoiding the heat and evening eating and drinking with friends. According to what I have heard, there is nothing really to see in the city perhaps except for War Remenants Museum (which used to be named Museum of Atrocities of War committed by Japanese and Americans). I am pretty squeamish when it come to blood and gore so I don't think I'll enjoy pictures of deformed individuals. Nevertheless, I'll probably steel my nerves and force myself to go there just to see what man is capable of doing to other man. I'm leaving for Mekon Delta tommorow and probably return on Sun before leaving ... read more
Traffic at HCMC


Asia » Vietnam » Southeast » Ho Chi Minh City May 27th 2006

Dear readers, I'm moving that fast now I can barely remember where I am. I left Cambodia 2 days ago & cruised into Vietnam courtesy of the Mekong river. Once off the boat & on terra firma in Chau Doc we had the usual fun & games with the "taxi" or "cyclo" drivers. We arrive, having done our homework & therefore armed with the necessary to know which budget accommodation we want to check out first. Well...forget that! Once we are on/in their vehicle they blatantly ignore or request & take us to a hotel that will reward them with wonga for depositing us there. This type of gentle scam is something that we're familiar with now, & I understand their reasons for doing this, but after a tiring, sweaty day travelling it does wear a ... read more
A shop in Can Tho

Asia » Vietnam » Southeast » Ho Chi Minh City May 27th 2006

So we've finally left the family for our first night out on the town in Saigon! We've got a hotel book (US$10 - for a simple, clean room, with hot water and a/c!) What more could we ask for!? This morning started off early with a city tour of Saigon, with 4 people from Malaysia, 2 from Argentina and one very non-enthusiastic tour guide. Our young tour guide obviously had better things to do on a Saturday morning, and was just not into showing us the sights. It's hard to get mad about such things here in Asia, as you learn that patience goes a long way! We started off with a visit to War Remnants Museum which showcased an interesting collection of photography from worldwide war correspondents from the Vietnam war. It was a tough ... read more
Notre Dame Cathedral
Thai and Budha and Jade Emperor Pagoda
Mandarine Spring Rolls

Asia » Vietnam » Southeast » Ho Chi Minh City May 26th 2006

It was a hot evening... I had lived in Vietnam for nary a month, and we were sitting under an umbrella at Highlands coffee behind the opera house in down town Ho Chi Minh City. My roomate Martina and I had just finished a 1.5 hour bickram yoga class, and we were still sweating despite ourselves. I was unfortunately dressed in my classiest pair of trekking shorts and oversized t-shirt, she still in her yoga pants. From beyond the gates came a bounding bundle of excitement... Esther Arthur, 5' something and shimmering all the way. She met her own description to a tee; "the brown girl" she called herself. She was dangling with jewellrey and rings and even a scarf (of which the secret of a good scarf can never be revealed). She spoke loudly, laughed ... read more

Asia » Vietnam » Southeast » Ho Chi Minh City May 26th 2006

Yet another 6am wake up call. With exciting things ahead of us, there are no complaints (from Thai) this early in the morning! We had to get ready for our tour to two very popular sites near Saigon. This was our first "free" day away from the family, and as much as we all love our families, it was time to explore the city on our own! We finally felt like travellers and all the excitement of discovering a city on your own, with just the Lonely Planet Bible (btw...bootleg copies of Lonely Planet books are available, and so cheap) and each other it was fun to finally set off on our own. Our bus left at 8: 30am with our funny tour guide "Slim Jim". Full of Aussie slang, he made the US$7 trip very ... read more
GI Bianca

Asia » Vietnam » Southeast » Ho Chi Minh City May 25th 2006

As a Vietnamese born Canadian who has returned “home” for the first time I am bombarded by different emotions and experiences. I have always maintained a universal ideal about who I am and where I fit in but, I it is difficult to maintain that perspective when our culture, my culture, predicates definition of some sort. Our first few days in Saigon has brought on mixed emotions. Here are a few random thoughts: #1The diversity in appearance of the Vietnamese people is wonderful. I have often been puzzled by the fact that I have often been told I do not look Vietnamese by Vietnamese people. I most often get called Philipino ;) #2 The incredible action in the streets of Saigon have brought two truths to light. First, Asian people are good drivers. Vietnamese people are ... read more
Saigon Night

Tot: 0.645s; Tpl: 0.011s; cc: 5; qc: 87; dbt: 0.4297s; 87; m:apollo w:www (; sld: 2; ; mem: 6.5mb