Ho Chi Minh City aka Saigon doesn’t really attract me, it lacks the charm and laid-backness of Hanoi, the attractions of Hue and Hoi An. My first impression wan’t very good as there were too much hustling at the travellers and tourists. That’s for being the starting or ending point of most trips in Vietnam, but on the positive side, it’s easy to find bargain and cheap accommodation and food.
At first glance it’s just another modern sprawling city with speeding motorbikes but when I took time to wander the streets and get out of the touristy area, I did find pockets of interesting sights.
Vietnam reminded me of the Chinese culture, especially the influence of Chinese Buddhism in the local culture and how the temples intertwine with the houses and its rituals with the people’s routine. One thing that struck me when I first arrived in Vietnam was the presence of Christianity, it felt a bit out of place coming from neighbouring countries where Buddhism thrives. But I never thought I would see a Hindu temple right in the middle of HCMC.
As much as I enjoyed the snippets of religious devotions in the city, I do find the city kind of lost its identity in exchange for modernization and development. For me, anyway, it’s not as memorable.