Ho Chi Minh City

April 2004

I rode the 'Reunification Express' train from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City...

Reunification Express train Reunification Express train

The rail line south alternately hugs the coast / then jogs inland past lush ricefields.

train in Vietnam train in Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon, is the largest city in Vietnam with a population of about six million.
I found it a bustling, vibrant, highrise, clean and friendly place.

Ho Chi Minh City Ho Chi Minh City

...and like Hanoi, it is a dangerous place to cross the street on foot.
In 2003 there were 21,000 traffic collisions which killed 13,000 Vietnamese.

Ho Chi Minh City traffic Ho Chi Minh City traffic

Also like Hanoi, the city has fine examples of French colonial architecture.
Here are the People's Committee Hall (City Hall) and the Municipal Theater.

People's Committee Hall Municipal Theater

I really tried to find a girlfriend in Saigon. It seemed like there were many beautiful girls around, but most of them wouldn't (or couldn't) talk to me.

beautiful girls in Ho Chi Minh City

I stayed at the Le Trung Hotel, in the Pham Ngu Lao neighborhood; also known as the 'backpacker area.'
The staff are friendly and efficient, and helped me with projects such as locating English language schools so I could apply for a job as an English teacher (unsuccessful.)

Le Trung Hotel staff Le Trung Hotel staff

I visited the Reunification Palace, formerly known as the Presidential Palace. It is a beautiful building, with a great view.

Reunification Palace Reunification Palace

Here you can see one of the Chinese-built tanks which crashed through the front gates on April 30, 1975, ending the American-Vietnam War.

Chinese-built tanks Chinese-built tanks


Ho Chi Minh City is full of friendly people.
friendly people friendly people