Ho Chi Minh City / Saigon is one of the great South East Asian cities and brimming with energy as the epicenter of Vietnam’s boom. The city itself is more about wandering around enjoying the food and soaking up the way of life as the thousands of motorbikes swerve and swarm impossibly round you. But also make sure you make time to take a boat trip around the Mekong Delta to see the way people work, eat, sleep and live on the river, and the nearby Cu Chi Tunnels to see just how claustrophobic it must have been for the fighters in the Vietnam War
A short entry for HCMC, but to see how it can fit into an itinerary for experiencing the highlights of Vietnam, see this entry A 3 week itinerary for the highlights of Vietnam
#1 Being brave and stepping out into the swarming motorbike traffic in Ho Chi Minh City - takes A LOT of getting used to
#2 Experiencing life on the River - houses on boats, shops on boats, schools on boats . . .
#3 Heading down into the Cu Chi Tunnels to see just how claustrophobic it must have been for the fighters in the Vietnam War
#4 Lots of snakes live in the Delta . . .
#5 Meet some of the local families on your 2 day trip through the Mekong Delta
#6 Getting to witness some of the rural ways of life in what is a diverse set of ways of living in quite a small area
#7 Checking out Saigon City Hall, right in the centre of town
#8 Visiting some of the fish farms all along the Mekong Delta . . . that are also people's homes
The below map shows experiences nearby with a colour that reflect the Overall Score of those experiences
Other Asia City Experiences
Background - how many times have you asked someone what a travel experience was like and the response was "amazing" or "awesome"? That response is nice to know, but it makes it hard to differentiate that experience compared to others. That is exactly what these scores are trying to do - differentiate the experience by giving a score out of 10 based on 6 categories and then giving an overall experience score
This overall experience score is calculated by: take the highest of the "Culture" or "Nature" score (1-10) + "Fun factor" (1-10) + "Avoiding the crowds" (1-10) + highest of the "Unique" or "World Famous score" (1-10). Then convert into a score out of 100
Extra detail - the logic being that I find all of the 6 individual scores important, but I don't want to mark an experience down just because it doesn't cover both "Culture" and "Nature", or because it isn't both "World Famous" and "Unique". Take the examples of Safari in The Serengeti and walking through Rome - they both appeal at opposite ends of the nature / culture spectrum, and you can have a fantastic time without needing to appeal to both sides. So, their overall scores aren't penalized for their lack of one or the other, and I've done the same for "World Famous" vs "Unique". But . . . I do think that the "Fun factor" of an experience is important, irrelevant of other factors, and so is "Avoiding the Crowds" (or where there are crowds that add to the experience). So, both of these scores are standalone