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Jamie's Global Adventures

Ho Chi Minh City - The Last Stop

VIETNAM | Thursday, 19 March 2009 | Views [784]

Well this is it, the last stop of our SE Asia adventures. It’s been one hell of a trip and what better way to finish it off than with one of the region’s most bustling cities. People warned us that Saigon was a bit overwhelming, but I found it easier than Phnom Penh and Bangkok. Maybe that’s because I’m used to the Vietnamese culture or maybe it’s the fact that crossing the streets is no longer so intimidating. Either way, the magic of this big city has left a good impression, one that I hope to explore again in the very near future.

Quick Highlights

  • Cau Dai Temple – This was actually a day trip from Saigon, but not big enough to warrant a separate journal entry. The temple was amazingly colorful and decorative. Cau Dai is a mix of many religions with enlightenment being attainable in one lifetime. It was very interesting to watch their noon service, one of four every day.  
  • Cu Chi Tunnels – Again a side trip. After reading a book on the tunnels, I was looking forward to seeing the area that meant so much to the defeat of the US army. Unfortunately, it’s been turned into a tacky amusement park, complete with animatronics and a shooting range. We climbed through a 100 meter tunnel which was widened and cemented for the western tourists.
  • Shopping – Now that we don’t have to worry about carrying extra weight, the real shopping can begin. The markets of Saigon aren’t anything special, but the street stores and stands have some great finds.
  • War Remnants Museum – An excellent museum of the atrocities of war. Very well put together, but not over-the-top like the Ho Chi Minh Museum in Hanoi. The Agent Orange and napalm sections gave me goose-bumps.
It may have started with a few rough patches, but Vietnam has turned out to be my favorite country of the trip. The energy of life here is infectious and the scenery is second to none. Next time around, I'll focus my energies on the Mekong Delta, the central highlands, and the northwest corner of the country. One month was just not enough to truly absorb this amazing country.

Tags: shopping, temples, traffic


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