Thursday, December 10, 2015

Vietnam - Saigon and Hanoi, where crossing the street is a tourist attraction!

After an amazing time in the Maldives, we headed back to Southeast Asia and went to Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon

My first impression was that, It is a really busy city full of traffic with tons of motorcycles. 

The traffic in fact in Vietnam, specifically in Saigon and Hanoi, is very interesting. To the extent that crossing the street becomes a tourist attraction!!

Nobody stops, whether you are driving a car, a motorcycle, a bicycle or even if you are a pedestrian; everyone just slowly flows in a very disorganized order... If that makes sense. 

So if in Saigon or Hanoi, when crossing the street, just slowly start getting into the street and everyone else will just avoid you while you keep crossing at your own pace. 

Saigon has tons of history to check out, including the Vietnam War Remnants Museum. This one is actually very informative, very graphic and with strong content. It shows all the stages of the Vietnam war and it truly reminds you how bad it was. 

The museum also has a photo gallery and exhibit that contains very graphic pictures of the tortures practiced and also the consequences of the agent orange. Victims that are still suffering the remnants from the war. It is sad and eye opening. 

Of course the image of USA is not the best after visiting the whole museum. So bad that we even thought about avoiding saying that we were coming from the USA when talking to locals.

It's interesting to think all the factors and consequences a war that happened more than 50 years ago, still has.

Other nice places to visit include Ho Chi Minh Square, where some nice restaurants and expensive shops are located, all surrounded by French architecture. 

Also, you can easily drive around to see the Reunification Palace, the Central Post Office and the Notre Dame Cathedral which is still standing from when the French was in power. 

But as we always like local stuff, we went to the Cho Ben Thanh Market in Saigon, where you can get all kinds of things, from local juices and food, to copy brands souvenirs. 

Speaking about food, Vietnam is pretty well known for its delicious dishes and in fact there is tons of fresh seafood everywhere around the country, as they have coast everywhere. 

Also good and cheap drinks!

However you can also find great international steakhouses - like "El Gaucho" Argentinian stakes.

A good area to dine with a great view in Hanoi is by the Lake of the Restored Sword. It's very close to the Old Quarter, where you can find anything you can possibly think of in one area.

However, we also found tons of locals bringing their food to different parks or public places. Like this one in Hanoi, where even on a weekend night there were tons of couples having "picnics" by this water fountain, which was located in the middle of a round about.

And.. At night, the party scene lights up and it's truly great. We could easily find clubs, bars and restaurants with good vibe, good music and tons of people!

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