Nowadays, everyone calls this city, Ho Chi Minh City or HCMC for short, instead of Saigon since the communist revolutionary leader, Ho Chi Minh, reunited the South and North of Vietnam. From what I heard, mostly the South Vietnamese call the city Saigon. You’ll see many Saigon names in hotels, bars, restaurants, especially in the heart of district one which is the very centre of Ho Chi Minh City. However the younger generation have been taught to call this city Ho Chi Minh City from their textbooks. (This is what I hear from the people that I have met throughout my travels in Vietnam).
Ho Chi Minh City is a very busy city, with thousands of motorbikes and scooters, beeping their horns. Thick, suffocating exhaust fumes in my face, making me cough and splutter. The particles invade the lungs and sting the eyes . They call it “smog” but truly it is a chemical soup that can only shorten lives. No where in the city, no matter which city you are in Vietnam. I would strongly advice getting a face mask such as in the picture below to protect you from the fumes in the air from breathing and end up feeling poorly and coughing violently. Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi have the worst polluted air in Vietnam. So, get a mask, save yourself! Be safe and be healthy!
I arrived at 6:00am from Dalat to Ho Chi Minh City. Vietnamese are definitely morning people, no matter where I go, I always see street food vendors they open their stalls at 5am for everyone to have their breakfast before going to work, school or home. I have seen bikes that were overloaded carrying 5 or 6 hundred pound sacks of grain, a set of chairs, 8 foot lengths of pipe (usually held by a passenger), a box of 8 ten-foot high palm trees, stacks of beer crates. I have also seen 4-5 puppies on a motorbike, 1 or 2 at the front and 3 at the back, crazy stuff! When the motorbike fails to be big enough to carry something, they improvise a hitch onto the back of the bike and attach a two-wheel cart. This country is definitely run by motorbikes!
I stayed at Vietnam Guide Home, run by two lovely guys. They are so friendly and kind, they let me in at 6:30am although the reception is shut they stayed in the reception, sleeping on the sofa as they were waiting for me to arrive. They really did go above and beyond. They made my 2 nights stay very pleasant, they even went out in the morning to get some breakfast for me, a sub, a typical Vietnamese sandwich. They organized a tour to the Mekong Delta which was pretty cool they took us to the tour agency on their motorbike, I will talk about that in a minute. Also, one of the guys took us out to a vegetarian restaurant and on a walking tour. The beds were really comfortable which is a huge bonus! Best about this home, they sell one of the cheapest and biggest bottle of Saigon beer for only 12k dong! (40p)
There’s one thing that I have seen all over in Vietnam no matter where you are, especially in the city and popular towns/villages. There are many, many crazy electrical wiring on lamp posts to attached to each together. I am amazed how the electrical engineers knows what to look for and repair it without getting a major power cut, or electrocuting themselves.
What can I say about the Mekong Delta? Mekong Delta is well worth visiting, it is only a short ride from Ho Chi Minh City. I went for a day tour of the Mekong Delta with my friend, Marley who is a Dutchie. We got to visit the Coconut Candy factory and see how it is made into everything, from candies to toothpaste among other things……AWESOME! The tour around Mekong Delta is beautiful, there were many water coconut hanging from branches, just hanging above the water. Mekong Delta is such an interesting place.
Malaysia blog is coming up next, sorry for long delayed blog post. I have been extremely busy!