Official Site of Speaker, Historian and Author Sean Munger


Earth: Street scene, Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), Vietnam.

saigon street scene

Here’s a busy street near the center of Ho Chi Minh City, which I think should still be called Saigon because it sounds much cooler. Check out the fat white dude with the Full Metal Jacket-style infantry helmet at center stage. Also, I must say, that’s an awful lot of power lines.

I believe this is on Pham Ngu Lao Street, but I know about as much about Saigon as I do about the moon, and I get lost in my own hometown on a regular basis. 

If anyone reading this blog has ever been here, I’d love to hear from you in the comments. What’s Saigon like? I heard the food is epic, especially the street carts. I knew someone, a military veteran who fought in the Vietnam War, then returned to Saigon as a tourist in the 1990s. He said it was one of the most open, friendly, welcoming cities he’d ever been to.

As I post this I realize, holy hell, there’s been a lot of stuff on my blog involving motorbikes lately.


  1. Stephen Wright

    I spent nine days in HCMC and it is a crazy, lawless city when it comes to motorbikes. Eight million people, four million motorbikes and one million on the road at any given time. Just step off that pavement like a lemming then shuffle across like a penguin and you should make it! The beer and food comes cheap and everone seems to be eating all the time. The tourist part of the city is easy to navigate, although there is a new underground railway taking shape, so the city is cut in two with the construction. The main street Dong Khoi has the usual high end stores in an air conditioned block. Hey stop at home if thats all you want. So I wont name brands, but you get the picture?
    The war museum is a place to reflect on what happened and if that does not move you, well nothing will. One thing to consider very little, if anything here is over one hundred years old.On an historical point the city is young. The Notre Dame Cathedral and the Opera House reflect the French influence from their ocupanvy as do other buildings aroud the centre.
    The people are very warm and welcome you with open arms, although there are some parts of the city best avoided, namely the backpacking district of Pham Ngu Lao where pick pocketing and ride by grab and go thieves operate. I understand these low lifes are not Vietnamese, but come from other countries. Yet having said that common sense needs to be used and you will be safe.
    One extra point, you will get pestered for tours around the city by motorbike. Avoid as they will rip you off. Also at the airport use Vinasun Taxis or a fully licenced cab to get to the city as there are con merchants offer taxis that will dump you anywhere so be alert. Also there are no coins, just notes in nine denominations so get used to them and watch what you hand over.
    On reflection, nine days was a bit too long to be in one city, but overall it was an experience I will remember for a very long time!

    • Great comment, I really get the flavor of the place! I’d love to visit it someday. All of Southeast Asia is a vibrant and fascinating place with lots of great history, scenery and food.

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