Written by Michael Zangerle on . Posted in Vietnam

Right now we are in a traffic jam on our way to Rich Gia. From there we take a boat to Phu Quoc which is the biggest of Vietnamese Islands. We want to relax some days at the beautiful beaches.

Saigon is very hectic and loud. Take around 10 million people and about 6 million motorcycles put this into a square mile. Then you have Saigon. This is very tough especially with the nervous manner of honking all the time. Vietnamese honk in every situation. If somebody crosses the street, if you overtake, if you stop, there is always a possibility, even if you just honk because you feel like it.

When we arrived in the backpacker quarter we found very fast a cheap hotel to stay. Back on the streets the fight of the restaurant employees started. Everybody tried to get us into their place. They offered many promotion deals. Who starts a trip through Vietnam in Saigon need to fade these guys. Otherwise they are really annoying.

We looked for a restaurant which served steak cause Michael longed to have one. We choose cheap hotels so we don’t always look for the cheapest restaurants. Whenever we feel like eating something special, we do it. Even if it is quite expensive according to asian prices. So having a steak and some beers for 15 US we call it expensive.

Anyway it is incredible what some things cost here. A Northface jacket for the winter including a fleece inlet perfectly manufactured you can have for less than 50 US. It doesn’t matter if it is an original with a small mistake in it or a fake. They are just perfectly made. In Germany you pay at least 500 US. We even found a Burton Snowboard jacket for 45 US. Still, this is unbelievable.

We passed 40 shipping containers in one street in two stories. In front of them they have small plastic chairs and tables as their desks where they sell the stock. Directly from the container, that’s where you can make a deal and find a real good price.

But we weren’t here for shopping so we went to see some highlight of Saigon. You need to see the Reunification Palace and the War Museum. The Palace is a massive block made of steel in a style what you expect in a communistic country. It was built 1962 till 1966. Early in the morning April 30th 1975 tanks from the communists drove into the Palace and brought the end of the Vietnam War.

Inside the building we could visit reception rooms and conference rooms. In the basement where nobody went except of us we found the combat commando center of the military and the presidential rooms during the Vietnam War. A short movie introduced us in the history of the war.

Then we went to visit the War Museum which opens your mind with its cruel and realistic pictures and information. During the Vietnam War the USA uses almost 15 million tons of bombs. This is three times as much as in the World War II. They uses 70 million liters of toxic chemicals (around 44 million liter of Agent Orange). Till today women give birth to handicapped children. 3 million Vietnamese died, 2 million were civilists. 

Our stomachs cramped when we saw the information about torturing methods in the prisons, especially in Phu Quoc. We don’t understand how humans can do things like that. These are no humans anymore. Captured deep in our minds we left the museum. We are glad that we could gain more details about the history and the war in Viet Nam.

They are proud people, proud to be Vietnamese. On the same evening we got prove of this. Viet Nam won a football game during the SEA Games (which is a small world games just for South East Asia. A big crowd with banners, tee shirts and whatever they had ran through the street, dancing and celebrating. We just remembered how we celebrated every victory during the football championship 2006 in Germany. We anticipated their happiness.

Now its time to relax three days at Phu Quoc before our trip to the Mekong Delta which will end in the capital of Cambodia, Phnom Phen. So far so good. More news soon.