A Day On The Streets Of Saigon

It has been nine days since we arrived at the Tan Son Nhat International Airport here in Ho Chi Minh City (widely known as Saigon), Vietnam. We absolutely love this country and this city. Saigon has so much to offer, from street food to the local Vietnamese culture, which is why we returned to it after our very short visit in May this year.

What we also love about Saigon is the street culture. It kind of brings us to life and there are various things we learn on the street which help us to stay grounded and remember the way life is supposed to be lived. This post is about how we spent an entire day roaming around on the streets of this energetic city, from morning to night.

The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf is a couple of blocks away from our current residence in Ho Chi Minh City. We’ve never been here till date, as there are so many quirky coffee shops to check out.

Coffee Stop

This is the Ho Chi Minh City Hall. A very beautiful and artistic structure, like most of the historic monuments in this city. (Read More)

_DSC0386

When on the road in Saigon, you come across a lot of Vietnamese people trying to sell things, be it food or even pedicures.

Many of them are either sitting or sleeping in the shade during the day, trying to avoid the sun’s torture.

_DSC0481

Local markets are available in abundance. Items sold range from all sorts of fake luxury watches and handbags, camera accessories to flowers. If you ever shop from here, be ready to haggle.

_DSC0406

People trying to make a living by selling items on the street.

_DSC0395

This is a very rare sight on the streets of Saigon and I just happened to be lucky enough to witness it: a clear road.

_DSC0400

Graffiti is common and mostly in Vietnamese so it just bounces over my head. I do like the artistic touch, though.

_DSC0435

One of the twelve mosques in Saigon; the Central Mosque – Jamia Al Muslimin (Dong Du Mosque) was built in 1935 for the Muslim worshippers from Southern India.

_DSC0428

These cards are pure genius. Don’t ask me how they make them. What you buy is a normal card from the outside, which when opened gives a whole other creative perspective to the gift card.

_DSC0394

The Ben Thanh Market is one of the biggest markets in Saigon. You can find pretty much anything here. This is the IKEA and Carrefour of Saigon. The below image is of the fresh vegetables and seafood area of the market.

_DSC0498

The meat section of Ben Thanh is full of women with big knives in their hands, chopping and cutting the meat as required.

_DSC0497

Fake luxury watches, luxury handbags and designer clothes anyone? This market has the fakes for almost every designer watch and luxury handbag brand that you can think of.

_DSC0493

Outside the Ben Thanh market you are again welcomed by alleys with amusing stores and shops.

_DSC0433

You can walk all day in Saigon and not get bored. The below image is from the entrance to the Jade Emperor Pagoda. The pagoda is beautiful and full of Taoist worshippers.

_DSC0267

They are all waiting for their turn. At the pagoda, the monks give away free food and to many people this is like a lottery. Do you blame them?

_DSC0368

Happiness is golden.

_DSC0318

Long walk back from the pagoda.

_DSC0045

In our nine days in Saigon, it has rained almost every day at some point. The below shot was taken just before it started to pour it down. The local people have a very good eye for the rain and start to cover up their stalls the moment they sense it.

_DSC0118

The rain cooled the streets down and we started walking again. Everyone’s still indoors, apart from this guy.

_DSC0038

And the crowd is back.

_DSC0392

As the sun sets and the night falls, the city becomes a little more chaotic. You really need to hold on to your things around this time of the day.

_DSC0054

And we walk into the famous backpackers area, ready to have dinner. Cheap accommodation, kinky massage parlours and good food are the specialities of this street.

_DSC0446

Foooooooddddd! We absolutely love Vietnamese food and the cocktails. Amazingly good and amazingly cheap.

_DSC0442

Graffiti, again. A lot of rebels in this country.

_DSC0448

One thing you find on almost every other corner in Saigon is a big ass Starbucks. Not a match for the local coffee, though.

_DSC0449

At nightime, the indoor Ben Thanh market closes and the shops move outside. Again, you can get almost anything in this market.

_DSC0457

Old school description to a very weird name.

_DSC0452

Did I forget to tell you how beautiful this building is? Once again, the Ho Chi Minh City Hall. On our way back to our friend’s apartment, where we are currently staying.

_DSC0476

Finally, after a long day and a lot of walking, a lot of good food and coffee and sweat, we are back to our friend’s apartment at the Norfolk Mansion.

_DSC0208

Dêm tốt, Vietnam!

  • I suspect Starbucks is what the locals do nowadays, leave the quirky coffee shops for the tourists.

    • Andrea

      Yeah, their branches are full of locals! I prefer the independent coffee shops 🙂