Orange Blog

Ho Chi Minh City – a great adventure

 

Vietnam HCMC Ben Thanh Market

The first day you arrive at your holiday destination is definitely the best, knowing that there are so many experiences ahead and many cool things to do. We are in Vietnam in Ho Chi Minh City (later referred to as HCMC) and we are thrilled to explore the city and get immersed in the Vietnam experience we have been looking forward to for quite a long time!

We chose a very nice boutique hotel in the city centre of HCMC where we had our first breakfast. Surprised by the extensive buffet and delicious fruits and juices (yum!), we quickly decided our sightseeing itinerary for the day. We were looking for the Ben Than Market which seemed to be quite near the hotel. It was funny because we took the wrong road which brought us to this crazy busy roundabout. The Cong Hoa road intersection in district 1 is an attraction on itself: we were not quite prepared to face the Vietnamese traffic jam which is never ending. I had never seen such a tremendous amount of motorcycles in my life. Crossing to the other side of the street at this intersection is almost impossible, especially as a newcomer to this busy town. So we just stood there and watched and were completely overwhelmed. In the meantime we were trying to get rid of some Vietnamese men asking us to get on their ‘carrier cycle’ to show us the hotspots of the city. We’d rather walk through the chaos…

Vietnam HCMC traffic
The Cong Hoa road intersection in district 1
 

Ben Thanh Market and night market

So after this ‘fun’ adventure we finally arrived at the Ben Than Market which is very popular in HCMC. Local people buy their daily fresh products and tourists can shop for an huge amount of souvenirs. Tip: always bargain about the price. If you’re good at it, you’ll most probably get stuff for half the price. The food department of the Ben Thanh market is certainly worth a visit in the early morning (vendors close the stands in the afternoon. You’ll find very interesting food, like organs (brains and intestines), weird fish, various shrimp species, exotic fresh herbs and spices and much more. The vendors are standing or sitting between their products, sometimes taking naps but also peeling and cutting fruits or preparing meat. A rare ‘couleur locale’ that I find incredibly fascinating. The Dutch markets are completely boring compared to these vivid markets.When night falls, restaurants around the perimeter of the market open their doors while merchants install their goods. At the night market you’ll experience a vibrant street side scene which fills the air with the scents of wok-fried noodles, fish barbeque and other savory snacks.

Ben Thanh market HCM

War Remnants Museum
A visit to HCMC doesn’t go without learning about the war history. A good place to visit is the War Remnants Museum for some historical knowledge of the Vietnam war. Men will love the collection of US Airforce airplanes, tanks, bombs and the UH-1 “Huey” helicopter. The museum shows how Vietnam was destroyed and changed by war, however I thought the exhibits were rather one-sided since it contains a heavy dose of anti-American propaganda. Don’t expect modern multimedia displays, but rather the old fashioned way museums convey information. Ground floor: photo’s and propaganda material of worldwide protests against the Vietnam war in the 60’s/ 70’s. First floor: the effects of use of napalm and Agent Orange and the many victims caused by these harmful chemical weapons. The images displayed are quite shocking, so be prepared or skip this part. On the second floor you’ll find an exposition of war photographers like Robert Capa, Henri Huet, etc. Also shocking photo’s of disfigured people, caused by napalm and Agent Orange.

WarRemnantsMuseum.jpg
Read more about my favorite spots in HCMC, such as markets, nice streets, coffee bars, restaurants, shops and more.

Coming soon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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