When most people think of Asia they probably think of some major countries and cities, such as Bangkok in Thailand, or Kuala Lumpor in Malaysia. While these cities are very enjoyable to go to, the best experience of a city I have had in Southeast Asia, is Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. Historically the city was called Saigon and it is really one of the jewels of Asia. Many people pass the city by as it is neither the capital of Vietnam, nor one of the most thought about cities in Asia.
That said, this is not a city that you should just forget about when you are coming to Asia, or skip through while you are heading up North. The city is a fascinating blend of architecture, and you will find that there are a huge number of historical buildings, right alongside enormous skyscrapers. Of course, you might be thinking that this is very similar to Bangkok, but in reality it is worlds apart. The city feels as if it has much less hustle and bustle than the capital of Thailand, and this really lends it to being a fantastic experience.
Before I came to Vietnam, I had assumed that Hanoi would be the highlight of my trip. I’ve always enjoyed travelling in cities, and Hanoi seemed to have it all, but in retrospect I can see that Saigon was really the highlight of my trip. In many ways when compared with Hanoi, it is a far more enjoyable destination. It has so much more to see and do, and all in a much less hassled environment. You will find yourself getting lost in its streets, and just walking for hours enjoying the beautiful scenery.
When I travel, food is of enormous importance. I find that tasting all of the difference cuisines from the local area is a wonderful experience, and Saigon certainly didn’t disappoint. In Ho Chi Minh City, the number of different food options was extensive. One night I found myself grabbing food from the street and sitting down on a park bench to enjoy it; where as another I was enjoying opulent dining in some of the city’s finest restaurants. Whichever option you prefer, you are sure to find food that is filled with flavour and incredible taste.
Ho Chi Minh City is a destination that I will never forget. Not only is it a city of fantastic culture, food, and entertainment, but the people here are warm and friendly. Unlike so many other parts of Asia, I felt as if the people who came up to me on the street were not trying to sell me anything, but were genuinely curious about my trip, and really wanted to help me. It was perhaps this difference that really made Ho Chi Minh City for me, and made it a destination that I will return to certainly more than once again.