Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
February 7-11, 2016
Happy New Year! Welcome the Year of the Monkey :). I had the opportunity to celebrate the New Year in Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh was crazy during the celebration! During the day, the city was filled with dead silence – streets were bare and an open store could not be found but as soon as the sun set, the streets lit up with lights and thousands of people arrived on motorbikes.
Signaled crosswalks are not common in Ho Chi Minh, so when you’re trying to navigate through the motorbikes, which had on average 4 people on one bike btw, remembering “slow and steady, no sudden movements” is key to success! After braving the sardine packed main street, we finally made it back to our hotel, Liberty Central Riverside, to watch the fireworks from our the rooftop.
The holiday called for a 3-day shut down of the city (or it at least felt like that with many places closed), so most of our days were spent working out, relaxing poolside, and only stepping out if we wanted to hunt for food. We luckily managed to have a few good Pho meals, sat on the side of the road for an afternoon 75 cent beer, and upped it one notch by paying a visit to the Pastuer Street Brewing Company where Jasmine infused beer is on the menu. On our last day, we went to the top of the Bitexco Tower (Iron Man’s “Stark Tower” was modeled after this), the Old Colonial Post Office, and to the War Museum which tells the story of the Vietnam war from the Vietnamese perspective. All in all, Ho Chi Minh was definitely an experience but I wouldn’t go back. Rather, I’d like to go to northern Vietnam, like Halong Bay or Hoi An, for some Vietnamese charm.