Good Morning Vietnam!December 28, 2019 in Vietnam ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C
Up early to a humid grey Saigon after a long day of travel and two hours in queues at Visa and Passport Control. Welcome to the job creating bureaucratic state!
A day trip down the Mekong delta by boat and car awaits.
What a crazy, energetic, bustling city, even at 6am. Scooter madness and bikes and trucks and cars and buses and hordes of pedestrians.
Street vendors, carts and people hustling the tourists... but not in a bad way. Lots of smiles on people's faces. Neon signs and shops everywhere in buildings bearing the unmistakable patina of tropical decay.
Chaotic is probably a good description of everything here; but it seems to work... It just takes time. As does traveling anywhere. Time in Bali and here reminds me why I enjoy traveling in Japan... it's just so much faster and more enjoyable there. Everywhere else I have been in Asia the traffic is insane and getting anywhere takes two or three times longer than you might expect. I sure have spent a lot of time so far in traffic jams.
At the end of the traffic we reached My Tho by the Mekong River and on to a boat to get ferried across to one of 5 Islands, Unicorn Island, and a visit to a Bee Cafe where we got to see all the bees while drinking honey tea and eating honied snacks like dried bananas. Next a visit to a chocolate factory and sample their varieties of chocolate. We also got to see and sample the many types of tropical fruit that they grow on the island.
Then it was on to Coconut Island on another boat. First for lunch and then for a bicycle ride around the island. Really pretty place with little houses among the coconut groves and canals, with narrow winding concrete pathways shared by pedestrians, bicycles and the ever present scooters. Apparently there are 12 million scooters in Saigon and 15 million people :-)
After the island and a paddle boat ride up one of the many tributaries of the Mekong it was back across the river and on to an amazing Buddhist Pagoda at My Tho... a giant Laughing Buddha and a giant Sleeping Buddha among a collection of ornate temples and giant Bonsai.
Then back to Saigon and out for dinner for some more of the amazing food in Vietnam. I am like totally hooked on the delicious salads they have here. The one in the pics below is a 5 color Beef salad... I never knew green leaves could have so many different flavors. Delicious!
All in all a pretty full on day for my first day in Vietnam. Going to explore Saigon tomorrow :-)Read more