Bus that took us to Ho Chi Minh City, known as Saigon, was slowly approaching city centre. By slowly I mean it took good few hours through enormous human settlement and mad traffic. Temperatures in Saigon were something new to us, 36 degrees Celsius on that day, and we were boiling in a bus-shaped can. That’s something you can get used to, but the first strike of heat can get you off your feet. That could be a good thing.
Nevertheless, we found the way to backpackers’ heaven. Few streets full of cheap hostels, bars and anything that westerners want to find, all in one place. The first day went by as we tried some local food and coffees. I would like to stress out here, that I have tried something new in a near-by market, which I would not normally even consider to try and fell in love. Omelette-like looking fried egg with prawns and some greenery. Tastes amazingly good. Try if you’re there.
We met a student of a local university, originally from Hanoi, who offered to be our guide and show us around Ho Chi Minh City. Without explaining where we’re going or what we’re going to do, he led us to a bus and then to Suoi Tien Amusement Park.
The place can be best described as MASSIVE and bizarre combination of western dream day-out and communist spirit. Some of the attractions are truly awesome looking and most likely breath-taking, but we have not tried them, because apart from 3 dollar entry fee each attraction charges similar price. That was the western part. Now, when it comes to communist spirit, we have seen it just there. The park was deserted with nearly no visitors, but it was fully staffed. Actually, there was more staff than customers, by far. With huge squares and monumental buildings it felt like cashiers and cleaners are there doing similar job as the North Korea Traffic Lady (youtube it if you wish). No apparent need for this job or so many workers. Have a look at the video from this park (it’s from someone else) and notice that there is not so many visitors, even less when we were there.
One thing we went for and paid another entry fee was the swimming area, where we spent good few hours. Well, it is huge and the fun was great. If you’re planning on going there, this is a must. Just amazing entertainment.
Apart from amusement park, there’s only one more thing I need to mention – traffic. Similarly to other parts of Vietnam, but much more intensive is the way people drive cars and ride bikes and motorbikes. You simply can’t look in one direction when crossing, you’ll die. Traffic is coming from all directions and there is no way to wait until it’s all gone so that you can cross safely. You need to start walking and drivers will avoid you (let’s hope). It is best to compare it to bungee jump. Firstly, it speeds up your heart rate significantly. Secondly, Once you start, you can’t stop in the middle. When crossing the road in Asia, walk at one steady pace, so that drivers can go around you. If you suddenly stop, they may not have expected this and that’s when you get knocked down.
That’s it for now, see you soon. This time in Nha Trang.