There are actually a couple of things one can do when visiting Saigon. History buffs would appreciate visiting the many old buildings with Western influences, the War Remnants Museum (though arguably one-sided, very interesting I was told) and the Cu Chi tunnels. Nature lovers would love a getting on a boat ride to the Mekong Delta. Shoppers would love getting their suits and shirts tailored within a day and the goods they can get from the famous markets in Saigon.
Tania and I, unprepared, only ate and drank coffee for the one extra day we had in Saigon. If I return to Saigon, I’d definitely do it differently, but here’s a recap of what we did on that day:
Crossing the road, I learned, is a challenge. People like to honk most of the time (not as bad as the Philippines), change lanes frequently, seemed not to care if they’re on the wrong side of the road. Cross with courage!
Concept Coiffure, a popular salon among the expatriates in District 2 owned by a French who’s been living in Saigon for some time. Highly rated, professional and affordable (even compared to the city). Did a good job with Tania’s hair the day before so we went there to wash our hair. Lazy tourists, we were. Booking in advance is needed if you’re interested.
Ben Thanh Market. Massive market selling all kinds of goods and produce. This is where most of our colleagues were most of the time in Saigon. Went there for the sake of going and met our colleague, the dinner emcee and professional bargainer, Harun. Spent about 10 minutes or so and didn’t get anything, but nice to note that the people there are much nicer than the sellers in Beijing.
At one of the A&EM Hotel branches. Went to the washroom and hung out at the Austin Powers themed lounge to surf the net (even when we weren’t guests of the hotel, the staff didn’t seem to mind and even helped us out!) and look out for a place we should head to next. By that time the museums were almost closed.
Highlands Coffee is like Saigon’s very own Starbucks. Vietnam is the second largest coffee beans producer, so there were ample of similar cafes around. For halal food, tourists can go to the restaurants located at the Saigon Mosque, but since this place was just a few minutes away from the hotel, we ordered sandwiches and prawn rolls for dinner.
That wraps up my day in Saigon!