With word that Joe might have a job to go back in Australia, we jumped on a plane from Hanoi and headed straight to Ho Chi Minh, bypassing most of Vietnam. We didn’t know when the job would be confirmed so we thought we better hang around Ho Chi Minh because that’s where the flights back to oz were departing from.
Ho Chi Minh feels a bit cleaner and less congested than Hanoi and it has many nice buildings, streets and gardens. Quite a nice city really. I’d almost say a nice place to walk around apart from the crazy traffic and constant horn honking. We did a couple of day trips out of Ho Chi Minh – one to the Cu Chi tunnels which included a stop over at a temple which we’ve forgotten the name of, and another day trip to the Mekong Delta. The organized day trips try to fit too much in. They herd you through the attractions, rushing you in and out, and you spend most of the day on a bus stuck in traffic. It would have been good to go by ourselves on a scooter but the risk of being killed in Ho Chi Minh traffic was too high.
The Cu Chi tunnels were one of the Vietnamese strongholds during the war. In our tour we got to watch a propaganda video, see some Vietnamese style booby traps and check out the tunnels. The best part was, for an extra few dollars, getting to fire a few rounds from an AK47 rifle. Not having much experience with guns made it quite a novelty. Dam they’re loud!
The Mekong River delta has many floating markets where people trade from boat to boat. The product each boat is selling is displayed on the end of a bamboo pole at the front of the boat. We also went to a normal land based market where we saw puffed rice being made and got to drink snake whiskey.
Back in Ho Chi Minh we enjoyed walking around, shopping, eating out and having dinner with a group of friends. We were in Ho Chi Minh for Ho Chi Minh’s birthday celebrations which we spent with some travellers we met. Fireworks over the Mekong and a few cold brews in the hot tropical night made for a memorable evening.