As the ship approached closer and closer into the port and to its assigned berth, I noticed a tremendous number of scooters ceaselessly dominating Ho Chi Minh streets and highways. Where bicycles dominate the streets in Amsterdam, scooters are a day to day scene in Ho Chi Minh. Men and women alike, all drove scooters.
The ship docked in one of the berths for container ships and from the berth, the city center is just few minutes ride away. To be welcomed by Vietnamese ladies in their traditional dress plus their smiles, well, that was one very charming arrival for us.
Ship stayed overnight in port so I decided to go ashore that evening to have a glimpse and know more about the city. One very easy way to know the city is taste its food and hit the shops. 🙂
From dining to shopping, almost everything in Ben Thanh Market, the city’s main tourist market costs less for more. Ben Thanh Market is located in Ho Chi Minh’s China Town. And it’s all here my Vietnam shopping experience all happened – not in Ho Chi Minh’s plush shopping malls.
Ben Thanh Market is the shopping destination in Ho Chi Minh popular both to locals and tourists. But wait, Ben Thanh Market is a lot livelier to shop in the evening as souvenir shops and some kind of impromptu restaurants turn the streets outside the market into a night bazaar. Here you’ll find various handicraft items such as ceramics and leather works, rosewood boxes, embroidery and vases to name a few. It is also here where I bought two-piece sand painting now on display at home. Ben Thanh Market is also the place in the city where one can buy high quality silk at a cheaper price.
Ben Thanh Market is not just about shopping, the place is also a renowned spot for some Vietnamese cuisine. I had dinner in one of the restaurants around Ben Thanh Market and for the seafood fried rice and soft drink I ordered, I paid 3 times lesser to what I normally paid dining in a Chinese restaurant in Europe.
While I went exploring the most popular shopping and dining spot of Ho Chi Minh, some of my colleagues aimlessly wandered ashore hitting almost every corner around the city. Some went clubbing and bar hopping; few opted to visit massage parlours and had fun. What it may be? Well, I don’t want to know. 🙂