Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) is still at war today.
Hoards of people compete to become the loudest in the room, the city, or anywhere at all.
It's a battle for attention, status, and prestige.
I'd heard of 'noise pollution' before, but dismissed it as a fake term used by those who seek out their 'safe spaces'.
Ho Chi Minh City proved me wrong.
Enough constant noise will get to you. Over time, it will pollute your mind, affect your mood, and eventually drive you mad.
Yup, still talking about Ho Chi Minh City.
The Streets of Saigon are always packed with motorbikes. They pollute the air with their exhaust fumes, slowly suffocating you by blackening your lungs.
I lived in Sai Gon long enough to become the City's most affected and vocal opponent of the air quality.
I laugh when I look back at the madness, the way I used to cross the road, the motorbikes flying past me, allowing me only inches to survive.
No. I am not writing this out of anger. It is just a recollection of panic.
I wasn't prepared for the experience of living and working there.
I was sent to Saigon by a huge and successful company named Nortel. They manufactured telecommunications and data networking equipment.
I was to head up the opening of their new manufacturing facility in Ho Chi Minh City. I thought I had made a promising career move.
Nortel went out of business 5 months later, leaving me with next to nothing.
Despite that, I chose to stay in Saigon. I had fallen in love with the City, and quickly accepted the first Job I was offered.
I began teaching English to Software Developers, Hardware sales reps, and Office Staff.
English teachers in Ho Chi Minh City could make a great deal of money back then.
I cannot say that today, as I write this at the end of May, 2020.
Ho Chi Minh City will shake you, and quickly heighten your awareness, and sharpen your senses.
I felt more alive than I'd ever felt before. No memories ever faded, and every moment was enlivened.
I had escaped the mundane of my previous life. It was exciting.
Most people either arrive by bus from Cambodia, or by air from just about anywhere.
No matter your budget, make your way for District #1, also known as Phạm Ngũ Lão.
If you can say "Fam Goo Lao", then every driver of every vehicle known to man will understand where you're going.
There is a huge variety of Hotels and Guesthouses available in the area, also known as Central Saigon.
There are also many good places to eat, many places to shop, and most people speak English quite well.
Notre Dame Cathedral is located at Quang Truong Cong Xa Paris, District 1.
This Cathedral was built by the French in 1877. It's best known for its Neo-Romanesque architecture and the two towers that stand 57 Meters high.
A statue of the Virgin Mary stands right out front of the Cathedral.
It's only a few blocks from Pham Ngu Lao and there are many people to meet there as well as excellent coffee Bars.
Located at #2 Nguyen Binh Khiem St, District 1, HCMC.
This is one of the oldest museums in the city. It is filled with antiques from The Phu Nam Culture, The Cham Arts, and The Mekong Delta Arts
Unless you are an antiques enthusiast, the pieces are difficult to appreciate.
If you decide to stop in, don't be offended when they triple charge you because you are a foreigner.
It's still fairly cheap at about $12USD per person.
Located at #1 Nguyen Tat Thanh, District 4, HCMC
This is where Nguyen Tat Thanh, later known as Ho Chi Minh, decided to embark on the 'Latouche Treville'.
The 'Latouch Treville' is when Ho Chi Minh decided that he was destined to head overseas to Study in France and plan the reunification of Vietnam.
The museum displays many of President Ho Chi Minh's valiant deeds while overseas.
Quite interesting if you are into Communist Propaganda.
Benh Tahn Market is only a few blocks from the Pham Ngu Lao area. It is a great place to do some souvenir shopping.
Good for overpriced T-shirts, carvings, wood boxes and beautiful traditional Vietnamese dresses.
The coffee and spices are the only good reason to go. It can be difficult to get the good stuff, though. It's the job of the vendor to sell worst possible quality at the highest possible price.
You can usually shave 50% off the asking price if you just barter.
Located at 133 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia St, District 1.
This was the site of the former palace of the French Governor of Indochina.
Built in 1868, it became the presidential palace of the South Vietnamese when Ngo Dinh Diem Presided over South Vietnam before and During much of the War.
It was damaged by bombs during a coup attempt in the early 1960s, but they rebuilt the palace. They shouldn't have bothered.
On April 30, 1975, tanks of the North Vietnamese army crashed through the main gates of the palace, ending the 20-year war for Vietnam's reunification.
There are some captured American tanks and a Jet Fighter parked just inside the front gates, but nothing else to see.
The Cu Chi Tunnels are a ninety-minute drive North of Ho Chi Minh City.
They were built by Vietnamese resistance fighters during the long years of struggle for independence and unification.
The three level tunnel complex was dug Four meters below the surface and spreads out like branches of trees for more than 200 kilometres.
Learn more on our Cu Chi Tunnels Page
Take the Cu Chi Tunnel and Cao Dai Temple Tour.
Located at Tan Phu Street, District 9, HCMC
Yup, a Theme Park with water slides and wave pools. I had no desire to swim with 100s of other humans, with fake waves riding over me and shoving Farty, flem-filled water down my throat.
I could see a few kids enjoying it, but I wouldn't even allow my kids in this cesspool of poop, sweat, and urine.
I spent the day at the Cu Chi Tunnels instead, studying the incredible details of those tunnels and explaining to my Kids what had taken place there.
I took the Private Tour because they picked us up at our hotel and the three of us got charged just over $100.
That included transportation to and from my Hotel, lunch, water and a stop at The Cao Dai Temple.
This Theme Park was nearly double the price and was just gross.
Located at #28 Vo Van Tan Street, District 3, HCMC
A must-see for foreign tourists visiting Ho Chi Minh City.
They mostly exhibit items they claim were used in atrocities committed by the Americans during the Vietnam war. Many blood soaked Dummies to highlight The My Lai Massacre, the victims of napalm bombs, and Agent Orange.
There is also a guillotine in there. It was apparently brought to Vietnam by the French colonialists.
In the late 1950s, this guillotine was moved to several provinces in South Vietnam to execute revolutionists.
There is also a souvenir shop that sells items related to the war, but they don't call it the Vietnam War, they call it The American War.
A bit gruesome, but interesting.
Share with us your views on Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Is it better to spend your time in nearby Phnom Penh, Cambodia and avoid Vietnam altogether?
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