Motorbike madness in Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City really does have the frantic, intense energy you read about. Not only are the streets jam packed with motorbikes, but when traffic gets bad they simply hop up onto the sidewalks and drive there. Crossing the street is an adventure onto itself – look for a slight opening in oncoming traffic, take the plunge, and pray that the speeding scooters will manage to successfully dodge you. That said, the energy is palpable and the city, with its museums and monuments, is a fascinating introduction to Vietnam.

Attempting to walk on the street in downtown Ho Chi Minh City

View from the Bitexco Tower in downtown HCMC

Beautiful monuments, testament to the French colonial period in the city

The Ben Thanh market is a great amalgamation of the energy of the city, all under one large tin roof. The market is broken down into sections, each of which has dozens of stalls selling similar wares. One part is buzzing with fresh meats, fish, fruits, and vegetables, food and coffee stands crowd another part, tourist knick-knacks comprise another area, and all manner of fabrics, toys, and home goods populate the rest of the market. At night the streets outside the covered market turn into a bustling outdoor street fair, replete with portable food stalls, ironic t-shirts, and any other item you might want to buy.

Inside Ben Thanh market

Hard at work selling fabric in Ben Thanh market

Night market outside Ben Thanh market. Definitely need to look both ways before crossing the street!

A friend living in HCMC city recommended Cuc Gach Quan for dinner and it was a wonderful oasis within the city. Set in a converted French home with a central courtyard, the food is traditional Vietnamese country food, cooked with fresh and natural ingredients and bursting with flavor. I especially loved the homemade tofo, fried on the outside and custardy rich on the inside.

It has been a fun and frenetic 36 hours in HCMC!

Additional information:
Cuc Gach Quan Restaurant
10 Dang Tat | Ward Tan Dinh, Ho Chi Minh City District 1, Vietnam


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