Saigon

Saigon’s Zoo and Botanical Gardens

Our apartment is found right across the Thị Nghè Canal from Saigon’s zoo, allowing us to watch giraffes and elephants from the balcony. So despite the fact that the zoo doesn’t have a sterling reputation, it was just a matter of time before we would be paying a visit to our new friends.


Ben Thanh Market and the Backpackers District

Located in the center of downtown, the Ben Thanh Market was built in 1912, though its origins date to the 17th century. Just to the west lays the “Backpackers District”, offering up all manner of drinks and delights. Ben Thanh and the Backpacker’s District are two of Saigon’s most famous sights. We hated them both.


After One Month in Saigon

Our first month in Saigon was just like our first motor-taxi ride: fast, fun, scary, exhilarating, and over before we knew what was happening. This city is a blast. We’ve had an amazing time getting comfortable with its pace, and getting to know its history, culture, people and food.


Vietnamese Water Puppets

Water puppetry is an art form which has been entertaining Vietnamese audiences since the 11th century. The shows were originally performed in the country’s rice fields, but today are usually found in theaters. We went to Saigon’s most well-known venue, the Golden Dragon Theater, to check out one of the shows.


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.