Ho Chi Minh City formerly Sai Gon

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Goodmorning Vietnam

The best way to get around Saigon is by cyclo.   The first time you are launched into a busy intersection ahead of your driver is a hair raising experience

Most of the drivers are ex soldiers of the South Vietnamese army or their sons.  Since the war this is one of the few  employment opportunities open to them and they make charming and interesting guides

A cyclo costs around $100 US and few drivers own their own.   The Amerasian drivers have had a particularly hard life

On our first evening in the city Tony, Gary, our guide from Toronto and I embarked on a shopping trip.   We hired three cyclo drivers who were certainly charming but also it turned out mischievous.   Shopping done, they asked if we wanted to go to a surprise destination.  Who could say no?


Photo of the young man atop his catafalque


They took us to a local funeral parlour in a vast warehouse, where a family were sitting vigil for their 16 year old son who had been killed in a motorcycle accident

The family were gracious as was the owner who quickly got over her displeasure and gave us the grand tour including the morgue and embalming rooms.  Our drivers enjoyed our discomfort enormously and were well pleased with themselves

The long version  Saturday Night in Saigon

Going out in style.  How dull our rites of passage seem by comparison

Cholon - China Town

Cholon used to be a city in it's own right but it merged with Sai Gon in the 1930's.  It was once one of the biggest Chinatowns in the world.  During the war is was the go to place for black market goods

Built in 1928 and donated to the city by a Chinese business man,  it underwent a massive renovation from 2016-2018.  It retains it's signature tile rooftops and central garden

 Fortunately all meat, fish and seafood will be cooked in woks at very high temperatures


Fast food Vietnam market style
Thien Hau Pagoda

 The pagoda was built in 1760 by a group of Chinese immigrants from Guangzhou.   They dedicated it to Thien Hau patron saint of sailors, in gratitude for her protection on the voyage.  It is a beautiful little pagoda, filled with scented smoke from the conical incense coils and urns

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