11.01.2018 Ho Chi Minh City
When we arrived in HCMC we were greeted by our toothless driver – and by a tropical downpour! Was the bad weather following us? Luckily no – it was really just a downpour and when we went out for dinner in shorts and t-shirts (while still sweating), it was already dry again. Next day, the sun welcomed us in full force, which made me sooo happy! The North was great and all, but now this really felt like a holiday!
When walking around HCMC, we were happy to discover usable side walks compared to most of Hanoi. Finally some more relaxed walking! First we passed by Ben Thanh market and walked down the long street Le Loi – unfortunately under construction at the moment – until we reached the old town hall, a nice old building. From here, we did a detour to Bitexco Financial Tower where my parents wanted to visit the viewing platform which my sister and I skipped due to the steep ticket fees (tourist rip off – me no like). Walking to the Saigon river, we passed by many skyscrapers and modern buildings. Quite a difference to Hanoi!
Afterwards, we walked to the opera house and the old post office. We were unlucky once again with the cathedral since at the moment it’s closed for restoration. From the outside it looks pretty and impressive!
Walking past the rather ugly Independence Palace, we then turned northeast to reach the Jade Emperor Pagoda, a nice one but not too special anymore for us since we’d seen quite some pagodas by now.
From here, we took a taxi to Cho Lon – the Chinatown of HCMC with bustling streets and markets. A bit more like Hanoi again! We walked around quite a bit, visited some more pagodas and watched the chaos around us. In the end, we took a bus to Binh Tay Market – but once again this one was closed and seemed to be under restoration. Too bad, but the market now was going on in the streets around the old building which was pretty cool too. On our way back to the hostel by bus, we fascinatedly watched HCMC traffic at rush hour. I’ve never ever seen so many motorbikes in one place in my life!! Quite an experience by itself.