International Travel / Vietnam

i Miss Saigon {Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam}

Saigon has great food, $0.30 beer, and an ass ton of traffic.  It’s terrifying!  It’s impossible to wait for a lull in the traffic so you can cross the street; instead, you just have to walk slow and steadily STRAIGHT INTO TRAFFIC and motorbikes go around you.  Like so many things, it’s about confidence…

Eats.  Truth be told, I didn’t know much about Vietnamese food when I visited Saigon.  I mostly just ate pho and spring rolls everywhere.  Cho Benh Thanh Market is a great place to learn about Vietnamese food.  There are TONS of delicious food stalls and everything is super cheap! We ate “Bun Thit Nuong” which translates into like Charbroiled Pork Noodles.  Basically, it’s cold noodles in a sweet sauce, topped with a piece of grilled pork that is marinated and cooked like Korean Kalbi.  WTF, it’s like my new FAVORITE Vietnamese dish!

As you also know, Vietnam was a French colony so Vietnam has amaaazing sandwiches and bread. Really great actually. They put pate into each sandwich, which I don’t typically like, but let’s be real -customizing things in Asia is way too exhausting, so I just got it as is, and it turns out that pate is great in Banh Mi!  Banh mi in the U.S. is like $2-3, but in Vietnam it’s only $0.50.  There are also lots of “bars” (I use the term loosely because they are very informal establishments) that sell home-brewed beer for only $0.30.

Shop.  Night markets are a good place to do some shopping in Vietnam.  The prices are a bit higher than in other SE Asian countries, but they do have a lot of designer knock-offs, if you’re into that.

See.  We visited the Cu Chi Tunnel Museum outside of Saigon.  The Cu Chi Tunnels were used by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War. The tunnels were soooooo small and dark. I was sweating like mad.  It was an interesting experience nonetheless.  I mean, the Viet Cong lived in these tunnels during the daytime. Supposedly the reason they are so small is that they were intended to keep Americans out.  The women cooked only once per day in the mornings so that smoke would not give them away during the day.  They also made shoes out of tire rubber (similar ones can be bought during your visit).

They also let us shoot an AK-47, which was crazy and super loud.  Those headphones sucked and my ears were totally ringing afterwards.  Ouch.

See.  We also visited the Mekong Delta outside of Saigon. A tour allowed us to take a ride on the Mekong in these smaller boats, but used a larger one to shuttle us between four different islands.  The islands each had cute names like “Unicorn Island,” but I forget their exact names.  In any case, each island specializes in a different industry.  As part of the tour, we got to sample each island’s products, which was fun.  The tea (with honey and lime) given to us at the bee keeping/honey production island was actually really good, but it was hard to focus with bees buzzing all around us.  >.<

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