As I exited airport security I got my first taste of Vietnam’s one party Communist rule which was in the form of an empty foyer and army personnel with machine guns everywhere.
Having only ever visited Western countries previously, traveling solo this was a shocking sight for me but since then I’ve gotten used to this in many parts of Asia and even Europe.
If I could describe Ho Chi Minh City briefly it would be – organised chaos.
No one stops at traffic lights and although crazy roads are common in Asia I think that this city is on a whole other level.
There’s a non verbal understanding between motorcyclists and pedestrians that if you (the pedestrian) want to cross a road, they will certainly NOT be stopping however will kindly slow down a smidgen in order to let you attempt to walk.
Notre Dame Cathedral
You MUST do this at a steady pace so that all motorists can anticipate you coming – change up your speed at your own risk!
Ho Chi Minh City was renamed from its prior Saigon in 1976 and is the largest city in Vietnam.
It was once under French rule which is therefore the reason why you can get fabulous pastries and breads today in this country.
It has also had a colourful history in regards to occupations and probably most famously is known for South Vietnam’s (backed by the Americans) fall during the Vietnam War to the communist North.
A visit to the War Remnants Museum is well worth a few hours to see the propaganda, photos and stories of the people who lived through it.
It’s startling to remember that the Vietnam War really didn’t occur too long ago – in fact one morning at breakfast I met an Aussie veteran who served during it and was revisiting the country with his family.
To be honest I didn’t get up to a whole lot while in Ho Chi Minh City, my group did a short guided tour but otherwise just enjoyed some time eating and drinking (of which there is countless options of amazing food in this city) before gearing up for our two weeks bound for Hanoi.
Stayed tuned for updates on where we visited throughout the country!