A 7h hiccup-free bus ride from Mui Ne later, and I was in Ho Chi Minh City, aka Saigon!!
“taxi tax”…..”motorbike motorbike”….'”you want taxi”….”miss miss motorbike”…arggggggggggggg Saigon…crazy busy Saigon!!!! After the peaceful Mui Ne i knew that Saigon was going to be a struggle. With streets overrun by motorbikes merging in every different direction, ceaseless horns honking and merchants calling out and tugging at you as you push your way down the sidewalk combined with the unbearable heat……..i wanted to go back to Mui Ne, why didn’t i stay longer in peaceful Mui Ne 😦
Ho Chi Minh but mostly called Saigon (its previous name) is the largest city in Vietnam. There are 9 million people and 4 million motorbikes / scooters so you can just imagine how crazy it is here!!!
Whilst in Saigon I went on a day trip to the Cu Chi tunnels, which are 250km of underground tunnels dug by the Vietnamese and used extensively for hiding during the war with America. We got to squeeze into one of their tiny ‘look out’ holes and crawled 20m through one of the biggest sections of the actual tunnels. We were all on our hands and knees, i can’t even explain to you how claustrophobic it was especially in 40+ degrees heat!
We also got to see some of the bamboo booby traps the Vietnamese used which were quite gruesome! Before leaving we took a visit to the shooting range and you had the option to fire an AK47! It was so noisy and with every bang i jumped out of my skin so i decided to give that a miss…guns really are not my thing anyway.
After the Cu Chi Tunnels we stopped off at the War Remnants Museum. This was really heavy going and had a lot of information and graphic pictures about the war with America and its affects. Although it was really sad, and clearly only told one side of the story but i suppose this is what can be expected.
The ground floor of the museum mainly focuses around the worldwide protests towards the American involvement. The newspaper clippings reflected that most countries protested (I didn’t see South Africa up there but i guess we had our own problems.) I am not sure if these protests were a true reflection as i know nothing really about the war besides from the bits i have learnt on my travels (Uncle Peter i’m sure you can fill me in with your wise knowledge hehe).
The second floor was the most moving area of the museum. One of the rooms displays very moving photographs of many of the Vietnamese civilians who were killed. There is also a section displaying photographs which were taken by the media photographers who died in the war, some of them were just unbelievable.
The other room of the second floor focuses the chemical weapons used in the war such as agent orange. Again there are very moving photographs and examples of how the chemicals have affected innocent civilians and future generations….even today there are babies being born still affected by agent orange.
It turned out that my lovely Vietnamese couch surfing host Ruby from Mui Ne was in Saigon on one of the nights so her lovely friend Trang fetched me one evening and we went for a crazy ride in evening traffic through the streets of Saigon. More than once i feared for my life. We then stopped off for a quick bite of chicken feet and yes i finally decided to try these. Basically to me they have no meat on and they just have the skin on that basically tastes like the chicken leg skin. Not very fulling. The Vietnamese tend to eat most of the bones on the feet but i’m just not used to this.
We then headed out for some Sushi and then Salsa!! Was so nice hanging out with Ruby again and meeting her lovely friends 😉
I didn’t really do much else in Saigon….i wondered the streets every day and went to the markets and did my final gift buying for friends. It was honestly just so hot that i didn’t want to be outside. I would leave my hostel early and fresh every morning and after 10 minutes outside i was looking for a restaurant with a aircon. I feel bad that i’ve gotten super lazy towards the end of my trip but i’ve seen the most important places i wanted to see and just knowing i’m in this amazing country and walking the streets and people watching is ok for me now….yes yes i’m getting old haha 😉
Next stop……………….amazing Cambodia yayyyyy!!!!!!!!!!!