The ubiquity of coffee shops in Saigon is astonishing. They are sprawled everywhere like they have plagued the whole city. Saigon’s superior coffee culture is comforting. Imagine yourself having an iced coffee to temper the humidity, or simply taking your time to recharge after long walks. Coffee is always a good idea if you just want to relax and people watch.
More than its fascination for coffee, Vietnam offers so much more. To begin with, Vietnam is a culinary superpower. Its geography and influence from neighboring countries have shaped and perfected its distinct vietnamese flavors. Vietnamese food is really good, too good that it has become an astonishing draw for travellers all around the globe.
At night, Ben Than Market transforms into a dining destination. Outside the market is a labyrinth of food stalls packed with tourist and locals. This one is a sure delight to the epicureans and the food curious. The aroma of food travels to several blocks and almost instantaneously leads people to it. It seeks to be found. The food here is relatively cheap, and in my opinion, the best in South East Asia.
With 39 million motorbikes in Vietnam, crossing the street can be daunting and overwhelming. During rush hours, motorbikes fill the streets like a school of fish.
This seemingly chaotic scenario, however, does not result to wasted hours on the road. With this sheer number, vietnamese drivers make it seem so easy and ordinary, like there is a science to it.
The intricacies of Vietnam’s history is worth noting. Having been divided and occupied by various countries for years, traces of colonial past are palpable.
A visit to War Remnants Museum will educate tourists about the Vietnam War. A bloody and protracted war that killed millions of civilians and thousands of soldiers.
Vietnam has been subjected to horrifying socio-political circumstances with ramifications in all levels of society. The vibrant and developing Vietnam that we see today is a far cry from what Vietnam looked like during and immediately after the war. The status quo shows the resilience of the people of Vietnam and their conscious effort to move forward and rebuild their nation.
Below are some portraits of Saigon’s must see places.