Saigon & Mekong River Trip

Officially, the name of the city is Ho Chi Min City but when you are there, everybody there still calls it Saigon.  In fact, the international code for the airport there is SGN.  However, in the north of Vietnam, it is more likely that it will be referred to as Ho Chi Min City (HCMC).

We stayed at the Hotel Majestic Saigon in District 1.  It is a very nice recently restored older hotel in a good location and was one of the nicer hotels we stayed in during this trip.

 Vietnam & Cambodia 006  Vietnam & Cambodia 079

Every male you will meet in the south will tell you that they were in the army or worked for the Americans during the war or if they are younger that their fathers and older brothers did.  They will tell you tales of woe and stories of their current opportunities being restricted by “The Party” because of their families support of the Americans.

Because we were using frequent flyer miles for our international transportation, we couldn’t get as many days in Vietnam as we would have liked.  As a result, we didn’t spend that much time in Saigon so we can’t offer too much advice there.  We did take the obligatory city tour that included some Buddhist temples and the old South Vietnamese Presidential Palace, which was interesting from a historical perspective.  We also visited the (American) War Museum and Ben Thanh Market .

When you are in the south, you’ll want to spend some time in the Mekong Delta.  There are lots of day trips there from Saigon but we had plans to go to Phnom Phen on our way to Angkor Wat so we decided that rather than do a day trip to the Delta out of Saigon, we would travel by river to Phnom Phen through the Mekong Delta.  On the first day our trip ended up being a little more bus and a little less river than we expected but it was still worthwhile. 

  Fish farm on Mekong River  Cham Vilalge Rower

We over-nighted in the river border town of Chau Doc.  The next morning we were taken by rowboat through a floating village and floating fish farms to the village of Cham, an Islamic minority community.  And then we were rowed out to the middle of the river and boarded a water taxi for about a 3-hour ride into Cambodia.  Getting off the boat and going through customs on the river was interesting.

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