February 5, 2018, we are waiting in Saigon for our sleep bus to take us to Da Lat. The bus leaves at 21HR and arrives in Da Lat at 6 AM.
We arrived in Saigon early in the morning on January 30th. The driver of the hotel was waiting for us and we were immediately taken in the “hustle and bustle” of the city. About 10 million people live in Saigon alone! Saigon was actually renamed to Ho Chi Minh City in 1976 after the reunification of North and South Vietnam, but the center retained its old name.
Crossing the street without traffic lights is a challenge for a pedestrian but after a couple ofdays we got used to it. You just have to decide when to go and continue walking, without stopping or turning back as this will only confuse the motorcyclists.They anticipate where you are going and drive around you. The only time I almost got hit by a motor cycle was when I did a step backwards. It is fun but also scary to see the constant flow of motorcycles, buses and trucks not to mention the constant noise of blowing horns. We have not seen any traffic aggression or any accident, although Vietnam has a high number of traffic deaths each year, in 2011 about 15000!
Most of the Vietnamese in Saigon live during the day out on the sidewalk. The 6 days we were here we did not see a drop of rain. We ate in all kind of restaurants from local to tourist and were never disappointed or did not get sick. Life for a tourist is extremely cheap. We calculated that 15 EUR was a sufficient daily food budget for the two of us.
As I write this we are at the pool of our Hoi An Hotel, February 17. We have only had one morning of rain in Vietnam during our motor cycling trip (5 days) from Da Lat to Hoi An. More to come in our next blog