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Saigon or Ho Chi Minh City as it is now known
Ever thought of visiting Vietnam ? As the tourism board are now investing lots of money into their sights, now is the time! It is becoming a modern city of Vietnam but still hold centuries of history with plenty of temples and museums to see. This would make it an ideal getaway for those seeking cultural enlightenment!
In Vietnam there are a few things to be mindful of…
When crossing the road you take your life in your own hands, be cautious as hundreds of bicycles on the road with the cyclists all wearing their coolie hats carrying everything imaginable from pots and pans to live piglets, it really is like going back in time.
If you’re looking to really immerse yourself in Vietnamese culture, then you can visit Ben Thanh Market. This is the most central and liveliest market in Saigon , everything can be bought here from vegetables dried fruits and spices piled high, clothing, fake jewellery to scorpions in alcohol. But beware vendors bargain vigorously and sometimes you could end up paying more than elsewhere.
To step outside of the city, you can take a day trip from Ho Chi Minh City to the Cu Chi Tunnels passing farmers working in the rice fields, stopping for lunch overlooking to the Mekong River and eating a fish with spikes like a porcupine in pancakes. This is ideal for history lovers as these were essential to the war campaign in Vietnam . There are miles of tunnels underground dug by the Viet Cong to invade South Vietnam during the war. They were described by Americans as ‘black echo’ as they are long pits of darkness and sometimes it could be difficult to see each other. These were however extremely important to the Viet Cong during the war and give us some insight of what they endured through their hardship. Some of these tunnels can be explored and there are 3 levels you can go down the 3rd level is very dark, small and quite claustrophobic.
Looking for beauty? Hanoi is a very elegant colonial tree lined city, with beautiful pagodas and cultural monuments to see in the Ho Chi Minh Quarter. I visited Ho Chi Minh in state in his Mausoleum, hundreds of Vietnamese were queuing to see him of all ages from young school children to the very elderly they said it was a privilege to show their respects. I found it very moving but also quite eerie.
So why would I suggest Vietnam ?
Vietnam is steeped in history with a rare mixture of styles and cultures. Vietnamese food is fresh and light and they make the most of the beautiful fresh ingredients and spices they grow.
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