Vietnam – Saigon

Our time in Vietnam was spent entirely in Saigon. We had briefly considered heading north to see the amazing Ban Gioc waterfall but read that August – October were the best months to visit. The only other attraction that we were keen on seeing was the Golden Bridge at Bana Hills near Da Nang. However, after researching it a little, we found that those killer photos we’d seen online were taken with a drone and authorities had been cracking down hard against drone usage there. It looked like a crowded tourist trap and we quickly decided to avoid that as well. So in the end, we played hometown tourists in Saigon which was a nice consolation prize. We missed the Tet holidays by a few days but did get to see the ongoing preparation on Nguyen Hue Flower Street (in front of the city hall) for the week long celebration to ring in the year of the Cat. The Saigon Zoo (which has been open to the public since 1869 making it one of the world’s oldest continuously operating zoos) finally lured us in for a visit. It wasn’t as sad as Becky remembered from her childhood visits but some of the animal enclosures left a lot to be desired. Next up was an inadvertent visit to the Alibaba Film Studio which we stumbled upon on our quest to find a tourist village. We were the only couple there that wasn’t having our wedding photos taken and quickly realized we had visited a movie set that had become the en vogue place for a wedding shoot. Thankfully the staff was very nice about our mistake as they pointed us in the right direction which was the tourist village at Binh Quoi 1. This tourist destination was created to let tourists enjoy the regional culture and cuisine of a bygone Mekong Delta, complete with canals, boats, traditional “monkey” bridges, thatched cottages and coconut trees accompanied by a buffet. The War Remnants Museum was next and we spent several hours here learning about the atrocities of the Vietnam war which was an emotionally draining experience. We had been keen on seeing a water puppet show and found out that the Museum of Vietnamese History offered a show twice a week. So we got to check out a bit of history before getting entertained by the water puppeteers who definitely squirted us on purpose as we were sitting in the front row! Saigon street art was something that we’d been wanting to check out so we spent a whole day on our motorbike zipping in and out of narrow alleyways in search of the best examples and actually discovered quite a few new areas of town. Cholon is Saigon’s Chinatown and it is reputed to be a vibrant and culturally rich section of the city so we devoted an entire day to sampling  amazing food, visiting temples and street markets. So much fun and we enjoyed discovering the Cholon district! After getting templed out, we took Becky’s family to the Saigon Opera House to watch the AO Show (Vietnamese style modern acrobatics) which was enjoyed by all. Then it was time for more entertainment at the Suoi Tien Theme Park, which is communist Vietnam’s answer to Disneyland! This over-the-top Buddhist themed amusement/water park was an unforgettable experience and we were glad we finally checked it out after years of driving past it. Before long, our time in Vietnam came to an end but not before one last big birthday bash for Becky’s cousin, complete with lots of food and drink. What a busy couple of weeks in Vietnam! We’ll be back again for sure to discover more.

2 thoughts on “Vietnam – Saigon

  1. Hi guys, I have been away from your site for some time, but I am so pleased to have found a link again. I started following your travels while working as a VTC contractor in Iraq. Al Faw Palace 2011-12. Thank you for taking us along on your trips.

    Greg Smith

    1. Hi Greg! Sorry for the late reply…we’ve been busy traveling (Africa & Europe). Thanks for stopping by and seeing what we’ve been up to!

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