We had been “warned” about the motorcycle craze in Ho Chi Minh City, but even picturing an Amsterdam-style bike craze replaced with motorcycles did not prepare us for the volume and chaos of the scooters in the former Saigon. While we were being transferred to our accommodation, which was supposed to be 5 minutes from the check in location, we got completely stuck in 100% scooter traffic. That 5 minute ride took about 20-25 minutes. While I was amused and asking my driver whether this was just a regular rush hour she exclaimed “No, not normal!”, and went on to explain that the crazy traffic was due to the Philippines-Vietnam football game about to start. It was a great welcome to the city.
One of the sites we visited was the Independence Palace also known as the Reunification Palace. It made its name in global history in 1975. A tank belonging to the North Vietnamese Army crashed through its main gate, ending the Vietnam War. I was fascinated by the eerie building and its geometric structure; its shapes, open spaces and intriguing interior.
Later on we went up to the 52nd floor of the Bitexco Financial Tower for a drink during sunset at the EON Heli Bar. We also seem to have found a way around my husband’s fear of heights; getting sufficiently tipsy at a local brewery ahead of time will work wonders and relieve that anxiety threshold before venturing up to great heights.