Saigon – Ho Chi Minh City – City of Motorbikes

It’s time to leave Ho Chi Minh City and say; Lời chào xin cáo biệt (goodbye) On Monday 5th March, we have seats booked on the 13:00 train heading for Nha Trang 450km north on the coast, journey time 7 hours. A little cooler and by the sea.

Some facts:The population of HCMC is 9 million, there are over 6 million motorbikes/scooters on the streets. The city has 3 names, Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City and the City of Motorbikes.  I swear that all 6 million motorbikes were at the traffic lights whenever we wanted to cross.  Motorbikes seem to have priority over all things living and mechanical. They can make u-turns whenever they want, they travel the wrong way up a one way street and red traffic lights are meaningless to them. If you think the pavement is a safe haven for pedestrians, you’re wrong, they will come at you from all angles. Zebra crossings give you slightly better odds of making across the road in one piece. Even when walking along the pavement, there are side alleys that are often no more than 3 feet wide and they come out of there like they’re being chased by a mad axeman. The motorbikes are used for everything, family transportation, delivering items that should be delivered on a low loader, livestock pigs and chickens are somehow attached and driven across town.

Reunification Palace, formerly known as Independence Palace (Dinh Độc Lập), built on the site of the former Norodom Palaceis a landmark in Ho Chi Minh . It was designed by architect Ngo Viet Thu and was the home and workplace of the President of South Vietnam during the Vietnam War. It was the site of the end of the Vietnam War during the fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975, when a North Vietnamese Army tank crashed through its gates.

Central Post Office is in the same square as Notre Dame Cathedral.  The Cathedral was closed so the only picture is from outside, like the Post Office, it’s a very impressive.  Makes a change from all the wats.

It’s been extremely hot and to be honest the food slightly disappointing, quite cheap but not the fine cuisine I was hoping for.  The food improves the further north you go. We have both enjoyed our stay here, but will be glad to head for pastures new and to see the sea again after two months of being landlocked.

The one thing that is surprising is, the Vietnamese Government restrict/stop access to Facebook and BBC News..  There are ways round it!

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