Monday, February 06, 2017

Vietnam: Strolling Saigon | Ho Chi Minh City at Night

My sister and I couldn’t wait to get out and stroll the city, but we were travelling with the parents who are mobility challenged, especially my mom, so we had to play it by ear.

Travelling with family is very different from travelling on your own, with your partner or with a friend. The more people there are in the group, the more personalities you have to manage. Compromise and sometimes just going with the flow works best. With that, we didn't really move around much on our first day, well not until in the evening.

Street Lights Saigon

Grandiose Christmas lights in Ho Chi Minh City.

The whole family literally just stayed around Ben Thanh area the whole day. We landed at 08:30 and we’re only able to leave the airport after 2 hours because of my visa on arrival processing. We eventually arrived at our hotel around 11:30 and we didn’t go out until 13:30 because we were tired. We were exhausted from the long eventful night we’ve had in Manila due to the storm, so a little sleep will for sure go a long way. Afterwhich we had a delicious pho lunch at Pho2000 just around the corner, taking advantage of the discount coupon we received from the hotel. From the restaurant it was an easy cross over to Ben Thanh market. We shopped; well, my mom did. Towards the end of the day, my mom was tired and begged to go back to the hotel room to rest. My dad was tired as well and wanted to join her. Sister and I then took the opportunity to go out and discover the city.

Since we are going to discover the city on foot, we didn’t really wandered off that far. We stayed in District 1 and walked around the core city centre. This is approximately the route we took from our hotel in Ben Thanh area and back:

We probably did the stroll, at a slow pace though for about 2+ hours.

[To read the rest of the post and see more pictures, click the Read more link below]

From Ben Thanh area we walked around the market crossing to the other side of the rotunda. We stood at the corner of the rotunda watching in awe how the cars, buses, motorbikes and random people danced through the traffic and avoided collision. It is interesting to note that there are no traffic lights and lane markings on the street in and around the rotunda. The whole traffic scene was a sight to behold, haha!

Then we walked on the busy Le Loi street which is one of the main roads in District 1. We then further inspected the side streets, just at the back of Saigon Centre until we reached Nguyen Hue boulevard. This boulevard has a massive pedestrian lane in the middle which leads to the Union Square and the City Hall. At the other end of the boulevard is the Saigon River. We were very impressed with all the city lights and the lighted buildings so we hanged around here for a bit enjoying the place and taking pictures.

The Nguyen Hue boulevard is a nice part of Saigon in the evening. I highly recommend for first time visitors to come here in the evening and spend at least an hour walking up and down the pedestrian boulevard. Many people actually do this.

We then further walked towards Dong Khoi street which is hailed the poshest street of Ho Chi Minh city. There are many high-end signature brand stores here and cafe restaurants where the young and trendy locals hang out. As we walked on, we saw a couple having a pre-wedding pictorial in front of the Saigon Opera Theater. It was a gorgeous sight because the bride was dressed in an unusual dramatic red flowing gown. Not many would do that I reckon? We continued walking until we reached the Notre Dame Cathedral. From here we turned left and walked back to Ben Thanh area.

What I really enjoyed with this stroll were the extravagant Christmas lights adorning the city. What an amazing showcase of art and city lights, they were such a delight and pure entertainment to the eyes and the senses. I have never seen such beautiful and captivating work of art and lights embellishing a city. This must have cost millions of Euros to design and install them. I must say that when it comes to Christmas lights, Ho Chi Minh City has just put all the major cities in the world to shame.

But who would have thought a largely Buddhist country will spruce up its capital with stunning, well-designed expensive Christmas lights? I do wonder what the city looks like in the evening outside the holiday season though. Nevertheless, this is a very strong and positive message for Vietnam to its visitors, both for business and pleasure. We surely felt very welcome.

My sister and I were glad to have wandered about the city in the evening. We enjoyed it very much, but more importantly, we were able to cover enough ground to get familiarised and understand the layout of the city.

Saigon Centre

The Saigon Centre is one of the largest modern shopping mall in Vietnam. It has an ice skating rink.

Many buildings in Saigon have French colonial design architecture.

Chua an Giao Saigon

We passed by a beautiful Hindu temple called Chua an Giao. 

Nguyen Hue blvd

On the Nguyen Hue boulevard. The middle lane is pedestrianised and many people walk up and down the boulevard at night. This side is facing the Saigon River. The other side is the Union Square and the City Hall.

Such a delight, all the Christmas lights in the city were simply stunning. It was as if there is a festival going on. Good job Ho Chi Minh City!

The tall building on the right is the Bitexco Tower which has an observatory deck. We visited this on our last day in the city.

nguyen hue
HCMC City hall

Far ahead is Union Square and the grandiose Ho Chi Minh City Hall.

dong khoi

 This is the posh Dong Khoi street which is parallel to Nguyen Hue boulevard.

saigon opera

Pre-wedding pictorials are big in Asia.

saigon opera

The Saigon Opera House. We wanted to watch a show here but they didn't have any during the days we were there. 

Dong Khoi

One of the  busy cafes along Dong Khoi street.

Dong Khoi

Stunning Christmas lights on Dong Khoi street. This must have cost the city a fortune.

Notre Dame Saigon

This is the Notre Dame cathedral. We visited her the next day.

A local alfresco bar restaurant. The Viets love eating outside.

Travel Period: December 2016
Destination: Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City (Southeast), Vietnam

Keep in touch and follow me on Facebook: Travel & Lifestyle Diaries by Dutched Pinay Travels
Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

All pictures were taken by a point and shoot pocket camera or a smartphone.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Hi, thank you for taking time.

Link Within

Related Posts with Thumbnails