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.
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)
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.
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.
People trying to make a living by selling items on the street.
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.
Graffiti is common and mostly in Vietnamese so it just bounces over my head. I do like the artistic touch, though.
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.
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.
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.
The meat section of Ben Thanh is full of women with big knives in their hands, chopping and cutting the meat as required.
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.
Outside the Ben Thanh market you are again welcomed by alleys with amusing stores and shops.
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.
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?
Happiness is golden.
Long walk back from the pagoda.
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.
The rain cooled the streets down and we started walking again. Everyone’s still indoors, apart from this guy.
And the crowd is back.
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.
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.
Foooooooddddd! We absolutely love Vietnamese food and the cocktails. Amazingly good and amazingly cheap.
Graffiti, again. A lot of rebels in this country.
One thing you find on almost every other corner in Saigon is a big ass Starbucks. Not a match for the local coffee, though.
At nightime, the indoor Ben Thanh market closes and the shops move outside. Again, you can get almost anything in this market.
Old school description to a very weird name.
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.
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.
Dêm tốt, Vietnam!