Ho Chi Minh City
With a coastline snaking 3400km to the east and mountains buttressing the west, Vietnam is a country full of contrast. In the cities this is most obvious. Everywhere you go you are reminded by the past and the influences in the architecture but at the same time from the traditional streets of Ho Chi Minh the signs Ho Chi Minh Cityare apparent of the pace of modernisation. Next to the traditional colonial buildings of Notre Dame Cathedral and the Old Post Office, skyscrapers of Multinational corporations sprout up like overgrown rice crops.
One of the best in the world, the Vietnamese cuisine takes inspiration from former colonists to make its own unique style loved the world over. Whether you want to eat at a five star restaurant or a market stall, the culinary delights are equally as delicious.
Whether you want to drink at the trendy bars surrounded by Ho Chi Minh City’s high flyers or crouch over a miniature table and chair to sip a cold bia hoi you are bound to meet some interesting and eclectic characters.
Whether you want to break the bank balance at one of the designer boutiques on Le Loi street or barter with the best at Ben Thanh Market each will be a thoroughly enjoyable retailing experience.
The best way to see Ho Chi Minh City is by taking time in the day to do as the Vietnamese do; sit down at one of the many street cafes with a Ca phe sua da (Iced coffee with sweetened milk) or bia hois(street bars selling homemade beer) with a Saigon beer (with ice) and take in the hectic, manic and chaotic life around you until it strangely becomes an ordered, organised and serene scene.