Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
It's easy to see when you are in Ho Chi Minh City (HCM City) how Vietnam has come so far since reunification in 1975. Everyone you see around is always working, and that too cheerfully, with a good attitude and often a smile on their faces despite how difficult the work they may be engaged in. Empowered women are visible everywhere, putting in full display the real power of a fully engaged work force.
Definitely a strong candidate for a stop during South East Asia travels, HCM City does not feel at all like a city of 8.5 million. Instead, it feels safe, homely and low key, with a killer food scene.
Tips and Notes:
1. Scooter City: Buzzing around everywhere, scooters are the lifeblood of HCM City. Uber even offers a Moto option for someone to come and pick you up in a scooter and get you to your destination! Take a ride (Uber it or many variations of scooter tours are available for tourists) or in the very least observe and see how these little engines get whole families places, serve as lorries to get goods from one place to another, or often even as full bodegas for roadside snacks.
Peace is in coexistence and it's easy to see this in Vietnam. In HCM City we made it to the Jade Emperor Buddhist Temple, the Mariamman Hindu Temple and to the Nortre Dame Catholic Church, all full of devotion, all very beautiful, coexisting together in the same beautiful city.
3. History and Architecture:
Specifically the gothic and renaissance style post office from 1886, built when Vietnam was a part of French Indochina, and the traditionally built Reunification Palace which has witnessed so much of Vietnamese history - these buildings stand in testament of the past, and resilience of the Vietnamese people.
Look around. Beautiful people dressed in beautiful clothes everywhere. The traditional dress is a 10 for inspiration, but modern Vietnamese style is also refined. Vietnam is famous for it's exquisite tailoring, but looking at the boutiques around the design is what catches the eye.
HCM City, and dare I say Vietnam, is a foodie paradise. I want to say try everything everywhere, because I am yet to find a fail, but specifically try out to the many different variations of noodle bowls and spring rolls (both crispy (chả giò), summer rolls (gỏi cuốn) ). For breakfast egg lovers should try op la, a form of a Vietnamese omelette and bread lovers must not let the opportunity for a good bahn mi pass by. In my books - when it comes to food, it is hard to get it wrong in Vietnam but below is a specific roadside eatery that stole my heart. Friendly locals, vespas whizzing by and one warm, fresh bowl of Bún bò Chú Há. Viet-NOM indeed!
Bún bò Chú Há
300 Võ Văn Tần, phường 5, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam