Saigon

Shopping at the Local Market

In our neighborhood, there aren’t many supermarkets. Even that’s an overstatement; there actually isn’t a single supermarket anywhere near us. So we’ve had to become familiar the local market, or “chợ”. And the market’s vendors have had to become familiar with us. Trust is a two-way street, people… and Saigon’s markets are worlds unto themselves.


Saigon Street Food Journal #2

As we knew it would, eating has become a major highlight of our time in Saigon. We’ve been sticking almost entirely to street food, and have loved just about every dish we’ve had. Here’s another selection of some of our favorites.


The Sights of Saigon’s District 3, Ward 7

On a whim, we decided to check out District 3’s seventh ward, and uncover its secrets. Because, it must have secrets… I doubt there’s a neighborhood in this city which isn’t hiding something of interest. And Phường 7, Quận 3 did not disappoint.


A Day in Cholon

Every city worth its salt has a Chinatown, but the award for World’s Largest Chinatown (at least in terms of area) goes to Cholon in Ho Chi Minh City. This district was actually its own city for a long time, until eventually being swallowed up by its bigger neighbor to the east. We spent a day navigating its busy streets and visiting its markets.


The Starlight Bridge

If you find yourself in District 7 around sunset, you might want to head over to the Starlight Bridge in front of the Crescent Mall. As the sky turns dark, this pedestrian bridge is illuminated with a colorful water show.


The Palace of the Reunification

The most significant event in the history of Saigon’s Presidential Palace was also the moment that it permanently lost its political relevance. On April 30th, 1975, a Viet Cong tank plowed through the gates, putting an end to the two-decade war which had torn Vietnam apart. The south had fallen, and the Presidential Palace was suddenly a relic.


The Giác Lâm Pagoda

Constructed in 1744, the Giác Lâm Pagoda is one of the oldest temples in Saigon. It’s found on the western side of the city, and is most recognizable for its seven-story stupa.


Phường 28: The Island of Un-Saigon

Saigon is a city of crazy traffic, constant noise and unbroken swaths of concrete. But there exists a section of the city which is totally different. We spent the day walking around Phường 28: an island that has been almost completely overlooked by Saigon’s insatiable appetite for urbanization.


The Saigon Central Post Office and the Notre Dame Cathedral

Two of Saigon’s most picturesque colonial buildings are found right next to each other, in the center of the city. The Central Post Office (Bưu điện) and the Notre-Dame Cathedral were constructed by the French in the late 19th century, and a visit to both is obligatory during any tour of Saigon.


Getting Around in Saigon

For the uninitiated, the chaos of Saigon’s streets can be intimidating to the point of paralysis. The first time I had to cross the road, I stood still on the curb for minutes, with my hands held in front of me like a mime hitting a glass wall. I’m not even sure I blinked. My mind was stuck in a panicked loop of “Now! No… now! No… now! No…” but my body (instinctively wiser) refused to obey its orders.