This is my second time in Vietnam. Every city in the country seems to have an attitude of their own, and Ho Chi Minh is no exception. It feels like a place trapped in between Western modernisation and old school laid-back Vietnamese charm. Here's a list of ten things I love about Ho Chi Minh city!
1. The café culture. There are hundreds of small quirky cafes around the city, and when you sit in them, you'll feel like you're kind of in low-budget Woody Allen movie.
2. I don't like coffee. Unless I'm in Vietnam. The coffee here costs around $1 per cup, and even better than Starbucks. I tend to drink coffee here during all mealtimes and in between, then come back to the hotel dehydrated.
3. The fact that motorcycles are like ants, and they drive up to the pedestrian walkway then honk you for blocking their paths (???).
4. Its war-torn history. If you pay a visit to the Cu Chi Tunnels (the 200+ km underground tunnels where Vietnamese hid to escape from the genocide) you'll wonder how they ever survived. It'll remind you how willpower can beat everything.
5. Pho. Pho (pronounced ‘fe’) is a type of noodle soup that everybody eats in Vietnam, everywhere. It’s a clear broth with mainly meat, rice noodles and a LOT of side herbs. Pho is good, but it only becomes great if you eat it by the street while almost getting hit by a motorcycle.
6. The streets behind the streets. If you are walking down a main street, chances are there is another street sandwiched behind it and another main street. You’ll find small, cheap hotels, or hidden cafes up an empty staircase. Or a dude trying to sell you ‘best one original’ jade stones.
7. Ho Chi Minh, the guy. He’s pretty famous around here. It’s worth getting to know the man behind the name.
8. The skinny locals. If you need to feel like a fat, greasy ogre, come to Vietnam where everybody is slim and has great skin complexion. Even the guy who sold me a t-shirt looked like he's just stepped out of a skin care ad.
9. The fact that the city is obsessed with French Tintin.
10. Walking around the city. Strap on a bag, put on some glasses and go for a long walk around the city. It’s beautiful out there.