We travelled from Mui Ne to Ho Chi Minh via train, it was only a 5-hour journey so was a piece of cake for us. After clambering off the train we went and sat in a cafe and had a bite to eat. We booked an apartment via Airbnb and was due to meet the owner at 5 pm. We got to the apartment around 4:45 pm and waited around for him, he arrived on time and took us up to the room, our first impressions were wow! But then we saw the owner go into his room…which was also within our apartment. So basically, we were living like uni students in a flat share. We were too excited by the free usage of a washing machine to care. Admittedly we don’t appreciate back home the luxuries of clean smelling clothes, and I felt old being excited over a washing machine! We emptied our whole bags and did a mass wash taking full advantage of this luxury. The apartment was lovely and we had a kitchen area so we thought we would find a supermarket and cook some dinner ourselves.
So after walking 25 minutes we found one, but it was absolutely rammed – it was like Tesco’s on Christmas Eve. The food didn’t work out cheap to buy and was more cost effective to just go out for some dinner, so that was a completely pointless and time-wasted journey. Instead, we stopped off at a street food stop and got some dinner, we then headed back and planned the rest of our days in Ho Chi Minh.
Our first full day in Ho Chi Minh was incredible and we survived not getting hit by any mopeds! As the weather was really hot we decided we would get up and out in good timing, we walked 45 minutes to the Notre Damme Basilica??? only to be told that we weren’t allowed in because we were dressed inappropriately as James was wearing a cropped top again. No, but on a serious note our shoulders & knees were on show and to say we were annoyed is an understatement.
We walked on towards the War Remnant Museum instead which was about the War between Vietnam and the US between 1955-1975. This was very interesting but incredibly hard to read about. They used a chemical called ‘Agent Orange’ which caused serious defects and unfortunately many people today are still suffering. There was one story about a young girl who had to be locked in a cage all her life because anything she touched she would have the desire to eat – just like a zombie. It was eye opening and made us realise that we were completely unaware of the trauma that everyone had suffered.
When we had finished the museum, we took a visit to the Ben Thanh Market where we were able to practice our bartering skills. The market is filled with food, coffee, souvenirs, tailors, clothing, jewellery stalls etc. so anything you want then the world is your oyster if you go there.
We moved onto Ben Thanh Food Market and grabbed a bite to eat. If you are travelling to Ho Chi Minh then definitely check out the street food market, it really reminded us of Camden Market in London. There were hundreds of different delicacies to choose from.
After feeding our bellies we headed back to sit in a coffee shop for a while – although I’m convinced we only sat in there for the air conditioning! We wandered back to the apartment after finally cooling down, had a nap and then got ready to go out and explore the city at night.
We went back to the Ben Thanh Food Market for dinner, we both had a kebab wrap although mine turned to mush as it all just fell apart. We then wandered around to the Backpackers Street which is just a crazy street crammed with bars and clubs. We stopped off for a cocktail and overlooked the crazy Saigon antics. We were hustled by many locals and one was a little boy probably about 12 years old and he was trying to sell us something – the guy who worked at the bar saw and pushed him away as he wouldn’t leave in which the young boy replied with “f*** off”, he got incredibly rude but eventually left. Then we were watching as a young girl around 15/16 put a tin down on the floor, took a gasp of drink (something flammable) and then started fire-breathing. It was insane because she was so young and then came around collecting money.
The children are worse than the adults, but then maybe their parents were encouraging that sort of behaviour. We decided that 1 drink each was enough so we took a stroll back to the apartment and got some sleep.