Jürgen and I spent three months living in Saigon, officially known as Ho Chi Minh City. It was our first time in Southeast Asia, and we were blown away by the culture, cuisine and people of this metropolis. Zipping around the city on scooters, exploring the Mekong Delta, sitting on the curb for another bowl of ph? were just a few of the memories we made in this incredible city. We've now collected our experiences into an…
Once the sun sets, taking the suffocating heat with it, Saigon turns on the lights and lets down its hair. Students meet to play cards at coffee shops, the bars fill up with both locals and tourists, and the city's innumerable old lady brigades claim their habitual seats on the corners. Whether we were getting drunk at hotpot joints with brand new best-friends-ever, strolling along the canal with dozens of dog-walkers, or zipping around on scooters while the city lights blaze by, some of our best Saigon memories came at night.
You know those annoying people who, after totally and unquestionably having failed at a stated goal, will pretend that it's what they wanted all along? "No, it's actually better this way! Seriously, we're glad it worked out like this!" Well, we're going to be those guys. Because finding Giác Viên Pagoda closed for renovation turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Really!
Although the merest sliver of Vietnam's population practices the faith, a number of prominent Hindu temples are located right in the middle of Saigon. We visited three in a single morning, all of them a short distance from each other in District 1.
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.
The Pagoda of the Jade Emperor (Chùa Ngọc Hoàng) is one of Saigon's most well-known temples. We visited on a weekday afternoon shortly after Tet, joining hundreds of worshipers inside its walls.