Saigon Madness In A Day

SAIGON, 8 DECEMBER 2014
A tour of Saigon would not be complete without visiting Ben Thanh Market. The most central of all the markets, teeming Ben Thanh and its surrounding streets comprise one of the city’s liveliest areas. Everything that’s commonly eaten, worn or used is piled high: vegetables, fresh and dried fruit, fresh and dried meats, spices, , sweets, all kind of nuts, tobacco, clothing, jeans, teeshirts, suits, wristwatches, replica branded watches, leather items, jewellery, hardware and more spill forth from a profusion of stalls. All sorts of souvenir items can be found in equal abundance.
This is a typical tourist trap market. Vendors are determined and prices usually higher than elsewhere. Do your research and know what you wanted heading in as it is well set up. Lady vendors will sometime grab you to get your attention to their wares…stay away if your wife is the enviable kind. These vendors are professionals…they are good at their game, so barter hard…at least 50% of quoted price.

BEN THANH MARKET

BEN THANH MARKET

MAIN ALLEY

MAIN ALLEY

TEAS & COFFEES

TEAS & COFFEES

DRIED FRUITS

DRIED FRUITS

ALL SORT OF NUTS

ALL SORT OF NUTS

DRIED SEA PRODUCTS

DRIED SEA PRODUCTS

DRIED FISH PRODUCTS

DRIED FISH PRODUCTS

FRESH FRUITS

FRESH FRUITS

There are a lot of authentic Vietnamese food inside Ben Thanh…but all are non-halal. Nonetheless you can try some fruit drinks….soursop, oranges, lychees, lemon, watermelon, etc.
FOOD STALL

FOOD STALL 1

DRINK STALL

DRINK STALL

BAGS GALORE

BAGS GALORE

CLOTHING STALL

CLOTHING STALL

VARIED ITEMS

VARIED ITEMS

After spending some time in Ben Thanh market, I went on an hour cyclo-trishaw ride across the main attractions of Saigon. This is a must-experience affair in Saigon. You will seat at the front end of the cyclo-trishaw…thus the view is unobstructed and at ground level. Make sure you agreed first the price for the ride as many tourists have been fleeced by some unscrupulous cyclo-trishaw pedlers.

TRISHAW RIDE

TRISHAW RIDE

One thing that strike out in Saigon is the abundance of motor bikes…probably this is the city with the most number of bikes per population in the world. I have never seen so many bikes in one day. Totally mesmerizing to watch, they buzz about their business, inches apart, streaming down avenues, weaving, intertwining their way across town and performing hair’s breadth manoeuvres at every cross-road. Young women wearing helmets sit straight-backed at the traffic lights. Families ride pillion – four up plus baby. The blasting of horns and the screech of brakes is constant, the air is fume-filled and the traffic relentless. It is really fascinating to watch.
BIKES MADNESS 1

BIKES MADNESS 1

BIKES MADNESS 2

BIKES MADNESS 2

BIKES MADNESS 3

BIKES MADNESS 3

NIK IN FRONT OF NOTRE DAM

NIK IN FRONT OF NOTRE DAME CATHEDRAL

SAIGON RIVER DINNER CRUISE

SAIGON RIVER DINNER CRUISE

NEWLYWEDS PHOTO SESSION

NEWLYWEDS PHOTO SESSION

Another must-try is the foot reflexology massage. Apart from having a small hot pool at your feet, there is also a back massager…something I have never come across in Malaysia.
NIK HAVING FOOT REFLEXOLOGY

NIK HAVING FOOT REFLEXOLOGY