A weekend in Saigon was love at first sight, and I barely scratched the surface! There are more modern, attractive cities in the ASEAN but this is my favorite so far. Must be because I’m a sucker for culture and art and history. I am planning to go back soon to do more exploring, but for now allow me to reminisce on my trip last February.
If only for these 3 reasons you should go experience Saigon:
1. The vibe
Two words: charming and chill.
It has this certain old-world charm. It’s like you’re stuck in an older era where life was simpler and slow-paced, nothing flashy. The city’s rich history mingles with the more modern present and they don’t clash at all. It’s easy to walk around (well, crossing the street is another thing) and take in the surroundings, or sit down with a cup of coffee and go people-watching.
We explored the district to see the famous French-inspired architecture as well: the Notre Dame Cathedral, Reunification palace and the Post Office. All walking distance from each other and all free.
While its neighboring countries are famous for their temples, traces of the Vietnam War are still very much alive in Saigon. A visit to the Cu Chi tunnels is a must if to better appreciate Saigon. I found the tour informative. I was impressed with the Viet Congs’ strategy and tactics given their limited resources and physical abilities.
The tunnel holes were fit for the Vietnamese’ small frame. The shorter side is just about the same length as my foot!
Don’t miss out on the War Remnants Museum. It was all heartbreaking but at the same time amazing how they were able to move past this tragedy.
3. Food trip
I’ve never eaten in a Vietnamese restaurant in the Philippines. I am also a bit picky with my veggies. But I couldn’t stop eating while I was there. Spring rolls, banh mi, all sorts of greens, dried fruits and of course, legit pho! Everything was healthy, delicious and cheap! I didn’t pass up on the chance to try the coffee and Saigon beer as well. It’s the best end to a long day of shopping and walking around the city.