Hey everyone, I’m baaaccckk!! Been back for a week now and have only just sorted out some of the photos from my trip to Vietnam. Here’s the first account of my visit. Ho Chi Minh City – formerly known as Saigon – is the largest city in Vietnam and has a population of 9 million people. And I think I saw at least half of that population on a honking moped somewhere along the busy streets. The place is busy, noisy and a training ground for a daredevil wannabe. Crossing the streets in the city takes guts, or if you’re visually impaired, you’d do really well. It’s crazy!
My very first stop in the city was none other than the famous Ben Thanh market – a large marketplace smack in the middle of the city in District 1. The huge space houses three sections. The first one sells all kinds of fruit, vegetables, meat and fish. The second section has displays of dried food, coffee, confectionery as well as some cooked food stalls selling steaming bowls of pho or plates of fresh rice paper rolls. Hawkers squat or sit on low stools as they prepare food, or wait for customers to peruse their wares. The third section caters mainly to the tourists – souvenirs, clothes and accessories…I spotted some purperrys and a pair of comvense sneakers. Haha.
Your olfactory senses go into overdrive as you wander through you the various sections – one moment you’re balking at the strong smell of fish and pig intestines, turn a corner and the aroma of coffee beans waft through, followed by the fragrance from pots of boiling stock for the pho. Just across from the food stalls, you’ll see dried fish or rows of colourful candied fruit. It’s a sight to behold. The smells, colours and noise can be overwhelming for a non-market lover, but I loved it.
Ben Thanh Market – a wonderful first stop in this busy, crowded city full of life, culture and history.
Stay tuned…more to come on Ho Chi Minh City…and not forgetting my very first pho meal. Yum yum.
p/s: Vietnamese dong confuses me. I’m not good with converting currency. Hubby was my walking conversion calculator for this trip. I wasn’t sure about spending 20,000 dong on a fridge magnet until he told me the magnet only costs US$1. Wow. Fun times ahead with my “millionaire” husband as he splashed out and got me that magnet.