Following the fall of Saigon in 1975, Saigon was renamed Ho Chi Minh City. I have always been very interested in visiting Vietnam, not just because the Vietnam War (American War to the Vietnamese) but because of its climate, as well as its rich and complicated history.
Conquered by France in 1859, Saigon was heavily influenced by the French during their colonization of Vietnam. Saigon features many Western style buildings, including the famous, French built, Notre Dame Cathedral. All of this French influence contributed to Saigon once being called “the Pearl of the Far East”
The main thing you notice in Ho Chi Minh City is the ridiculous amount of scooters. Although many cities in Asia are dependent on a large scooter population, Ho Chi Minh City easily has the most that I have seen. It is estimated that within the city there are 4 million scooters. Almost all of these are low powered Hondas. Because of this, the saying “No Honda, No Honey” developed.
Like many places I have visited, backpacking Ho Chi Minh City has just made me want to travel more of Vietnam. A train trip to Hanoi takes thirty hours but would definitely be an unbelievable experience. I think this would have to be the best way to see the beautiful countryside. I will have to add this journey on my list of must see train trips. 1)Trans-Siberian Railway 2) New Zealand Railway 3)Canadian Pacific Railway
*Although the Vietnam War was long, gruesome, and both sides committed countless atrocities, it happened, and is part of both countries histories. I took the pictures above, showing Agent Orange birth defects at the War Remnants Museum. It is estimated that Agent Orange caused 400,000 birth deformities in Vietnam. Check out this link for more information on Agent Orange.