I have totally been putting off writing this post, because it is the last place we visited in Vietnam, which means I have to stop talking about it now! 🙁 I love you Vietnam. Guess we'll just have to plan another trip soon!
I have to admit, Saigon (as the locals call it, so I will too) was probably my least favourite city in Vietnam. In saying that though, our 3 days around Saigon were pretty amazing.
We started with a visit to the Cu Chi Tunnels en route from the airport into the city, stopping briefly at a small farm where we saw the world's biggest pigs, a cobra, rubber trees and learnt how to make rice paper. Sweeeet!
But the Cu Chi Tunnels. Um, wow. I can't even describe how interesting the tunnels were. And how much I now think I now need to read about the Vietnam War. We saw all sorts of booby traps that were used by the Viet Cong during the war and they were nasty! Our guide gave us a demonstration of how the soldiers hid in the tunnels and we also crawled through one of them. They were teeny! And that was after they had been dug out more so that tourists could go through them. I felt claustrophobic and I'm 5ft 3in on a good day!
Josh's favourite part though...shooting an AK47! He was one extremely happy man!
We stopped on the way into the city for lunch at the smallest street cafe we had been to. It was strictly a locals only sort of place which I have to admit made me super nervous but it was amazing! PHO! My new favourite. It's pretty much a beef noodle soup with rice noodles, and all sorts of herbs and incredible flavours. If I can manage to recreate it, you'll be the first to hear about it!
Saigon itself was a little dodgy. From the moment we got there we were constantly being warned to be careful with our camera and valuables, and it just didn't quite have the same relaxed atmosphere as the other cities we'd been to. We went for a bit of a walk but didn't venture too far.
That night we went to an "AO" show. It was kind of a cross between Cirque du Soleil and a Vietnamese play. It was the most accurate portrayal of Vietnam I could have imagined, from the motobikes to the ducks, the markets and bamboo boats. It was amazing to see after travelling through the country as it kind of recapped the whole trip in a couple of hours. Brilliant.
Our last day in Vietnam (sad face) was jam packed. We started with a visit to the War Remnants Museum, which again was super interesting and made me feel like I need to know more of the history. We also saw the Notre Dame Cathedral and the post office and saw about 5 couples having their wedding photos taken! They take their photos about 1 month before the actual wedding in full bridal attire...and this was at 7.30am!
We also saw a baby who looked like someone had rubbed a balloon all over her head. Cuuuuute!
From Saigon we headed out to the Mekong Delta for a couple of different boat rides and another interesting (but delicious) meal.
I spent what I'm pretty sure is the best $2 I ever spent on this practical, yet stylish Vietnamese hat. It folds up!
Josh still isn't convinced.
We ate rat. Eeeeeek! And it was really tasty.
And elephant ear fish. Also delicious believe it or not!
We hopped on the back of a couple of bike/trailer contraption type things (like cattle going to market according to Josh!) and put on helmets in case of falling coconuts! We stopped for a fresh fruit snack and then at a coconut candy factory where of course, we got to sample allllll the goodies! Including coconut wine which just tasted like petrol!
Then it was back to the city for our last meal together and a drink up on the 52nd floor!
Saigon was a lot more modern that the other cities in Vietnam. There was an Apple store on just about every corner! While dodgy during the day, it was a lot nicer travelling by taxi at night as there were so many lights that it was really quite pretty! While that was nice, I think how modern it was, is what I didn't particularly like about it in comparison to the rest of Vietnam. It was still really great to see the huge difference between north & south Vietnam and Saigon has a LOT of history.
It was really sad to say goodbye to our tour group, and to Vietnam. I fell completely in love with the country, the people, the food and the adventures and I have no doubt at all that we will be back one day! Mostly to buy another hat.
Our tour guide Hai.