Having departed Singapore, Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam is our next port of call. Once known as Saigon, it was renamed after the war and subsequent unification. We were surprised to find no one had advised the people who lived there, as they all called it Saigon. The Diamond Princess docked at the port of Vung Tau early and we booked tickets for the shuttle bus to Saigon, about an hour and 30 minutes away. We had originally looked to catch the ferry from Vung Tau to Saigon which is much quicker but apparently very unreliable. So we chickened out and got a long dusty bus ride.
As we approach Saigon the dry dusty villages disappear and the road starts to improve. Parks and gardens adjoin the road. The traffic rapidly increases and soon we are in the city surrounded by a sea of scooters and taxis. We are dropped off and left to our own devices. We manage a reasonable coffee at a Starbucks of all places.
We walk passed a cathedral, there are four weddings taking place in the grounds. One on each corner. During our wanderings we find the Reunification Palace, many statues of Hoe Chi Minh and walk the banks of the Mekong River. We lunch in a little Restuarant with free wifi. The food is really good and cheap, we clear a few emails as well.
After lunch we walk the markets. Lots of people, lots of stuff but mostly lots of smells. We have purchased a lacquer wall hanging and it’s time to find the bus and get back to the DP for a poolside beer.