Unfortunately we had to cut our time short in Cambodia. We hadn’t done our research properly and found ourselves heading into high risk malaria areas without anti malaria medication which we didn’t want to do. So after a quick two days in Phom Penh, we boarded our Giant Ibis bus to our first stop in Vietnam- Ho Chi Minh city.
I have wanted to travel to Vietnam since I can remember so it was really exciting knowing that in a quick, six hours we would be arriving at our first stop. In true South east Asian style, the bus took 8 hours instead of six and upon arrival it was POURING with rain. I’m talking giant rain drops that soak through your clothes within seconds. With our rain jackets and backpacks on, we managed to navigate our way down the back streets in the rain until we found our awesome hotel called Yens 2. We were greeted great with the kindest smiles and a welcome drink. We dried off and ordered the well known pho bo, otherwise known as beef noodle soup. Tom and I love this dish and eat it regularly in Australia so we couldn’t wait to try an authentic one. It was just as delicious as we had imagined. I was falling in love with Vietnam already!
The traffic here is insane. I have honestly never seen anything like it. Firstly, they love honking their horns constantly. Secondly, there seems to be hundreds of motorbikes weaving around each other on every street. Even the foot paths aren’t safe with motorbikes regularly driving down them to avoid the traffic. Crossing the road is genuinely terrifying. Basically, you just have to step out infront of all the traffic, walk slowly and watch them all weave around you effortlessly.
Tom and I don’t usually like big cities but we both fell in love with Ho Chi Minh even though it got a little too much at times. The streets are crazy, but picturesque and full of culture. By night, the place really comes alive. People spill out onto the streets sitting in little plastic chairs drinking 50c draft beer while vendors come along and try to sell you little snacks such as nuts, fruit and dried fish to name a few. All the locals are so social and friendly, they really know how to have a good time.
I had heard a lot about the Vietnamese iced coffee. Before travelling to Colombia and doing a coffee tour, I had no idea that Vietnam was one of the biggest producers of coffee. Their coffee beans are extremely smooth and give off chocolatey notes. To make it even more delicious they top it up with condensed milk. I usually love strong, unsweetened coffee but for some reason I just can’t get enough of Vietnamese coffee. It’s just so good!
Our three days quickly turned into five, we were really enjoying ourselves. During our time there we visited the war museum which was a completely one sided display but still very interesting (and sad). We also took a day trip out to see the Cu Chi tunnels which the Vietnamese used during the war which was great (apart from our awful tour guide who didn’t speak much English and didn’t tell us anything). The rest of our time was spent wandering the streets getting lost, finding awesome coffee shops and bakeries, eating way too much noodle soup (even for breakfast!), drinking 50c beers, relaxing in the beautiful parks around the city and even seeing a movie (hunger games!). It was a great five days. I hope to go back one day.