One can get very mixed feelings about Saigon, especially when coming there straight from visiting the countryside and smaller cities. For me it was quite a shock. All the noise, the traffic and the heat (the temperatures and humidity are much higher than in Northern and Central parts of Vietnam) took away all my energy. After one afternoon in Saigon I was feeling pretty upset, very tired and rather unwilling to spend 3 days there.
Luckily Backyard Travel helped us out again by organizing 2 incredible tours that made me discover the city in an unique way and eventually fall in love with it.
Imagine getting up super early to be out at around 6am and see the city waking up, kids going to school, street vendors preparing their stalls. Sounds awesome right? :D
That's how we started our 2nd day in Saigon. The best part of it was walking around one of the city's parks, full of people doing exercises, reading newspapers and enjoying fresh and slightly misty morning.
Visiting with a guide is not usually what I like most, nor what I choose to do during my travels. However, in this case it was really a huge advantage, as he made us visit an unusual place, within the park, that I'm not sure we would've discovered, if we were on our own: a small area, dedicated to birds owners who gather up there from early morning to exchange with others about their passion. And guess what - they bring their birds with them!
It all looks so surreal that you can hardly understand what's actually going on, unless someone explains a little bit the whole thing. Although I felt rather sorry for all those trapped birds, without any doubt it was such a great occasion to take photos.
Having a delicious phở for breakfast, completed this perfect morning and gave us all necessary strength to continue with shooting on the streets of Saigon. Needless to say that I immediately forgot all the fatigue and bad mood from the previous day and totally lost myself in the most hectic street life.
The next day, also spent with our guide from Backyard Travel, started on a much slower note. We did some museums, such as the Reunification Palace for example, that you can see below:
However, what I was really waiting for was the evening street food tour in the heart of the city. Tasting Vietnamese delicacies directly on the bustling streets and watching all the food being prepared right in front of us, was probably the best experience during the whole trip.
I hardly took any photos of all this, focusing on having the best time and on filming too (yes! a short video will be coming up some day soon). Still, I managed to capture a bit of a night life mood that is truly exceptional in Saigon, as it looks like literally everyone is having dinner outdoors.
On our 3rd and last day in Saigon, although not accompanied by our guide anymore, we still did quite well ;) Going to the areas that we haven't discovered during previous days and stumbling upon a cute, little temple, so full of incense sticks that I felt like I could still smell them the next day. And catching the most stunning sunset too :)
This is the last photo blog post on Vietnam but I'll be definitely dropping off a short video from the whole trip in a couple of weeks, so stay tuned. In the meantime, I might be coming up with a totally different subject next week :)