You can take the girl out of Asia but you can’t take Asia out of the girl. I couldn’t resist the call of the East for long and just five months after leaving Hong Kong I found myself on a plane heading to Vietnam.
The trip wasn’t a complete impulse decision. The holiday was arranged as a reunion for my boyfriend and I to break up the six months that we have apart. With only 11 days to play with (Hong Kong holiday allowance is the worst) we had to choose our journey carefully and first step was the place formally-known-as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City.
After an airport reunion that would put Bridget Jones to shame (picture me falling over my Birkenstocks) we bartered our way into town to find our AirBnB. Our apartment was in an incredible location with a balcony overlooking the edge of Ben Thanh Market.
We had four nights in total in the city, which at first I was worried would be a bit too long. In fact, it was perfect. I loved Ho Chi Minh and could have happily stayed there longer. The city has a really chilled, laid-back vibe and there are tons of bars, restaurants and cafes that are so hipster it hurts.
For our first couple of days, it rained and it rained and it rained…..
However HCMC is prepared for rainy day activity, there is a wealth of history and museums to explore. The War Remnants is perhaps the most famous and is certainly the hardest to stomach. Like its subject, it’s grim and shocking. Don’t expect to feel up to much afterwards.
The Saigon Post Office, Cathedral, temples, parks and squares are all interesting to walk around. Once you get used to the hectic road crossings, the rest is a breeze. One hidden gem that was a lot more fun than we expected was something we saved for a post-acoustic bar hangover day… The Artinus 3D Museum. A huge warehouse filled with optical illusions designed specifically for the Instagram shots. It’s a great laugh and perfect for a rainy afternoon if you’re running out of indoor activities.
After a few days of sight-seeing and museum exploring, we still had one more bucket list item to check off – The Cu Chi Tunnels. We organised a tour with Viet Fun Travels.
Now this is where we reach the end of the draft post I left lingering in my blog nearly 4 years ago. While Vietnam was an amazing adventure, the details of it are a slightly distant memory now. A lot has happened since then. Including the fact that long-distance boyfriend is now my husband! But I will try and fill in a few of the gaps.
My primary memory of the Cu Chi Tunnels is the minibus over, during which the driver blasted Rammstein on full pelt as we meandered through the landscape. The place itself is really interesting. Tour guides are informative and friendly and, despite it being packed with cliche tourist opportunities, a lot of the raw history remains. And tanks. Plenty of tanks.
As far as I can remember, this was our final day in Ho Chi Minh and we celebrated it suitably with an evening at a strange Wild West themed cover band bar. There were jaegerbombs, Evanescence songs and more jaegerbombs. The flight early the next morning was less than pleasant.