An effervescent city
Ho Chi Minh City is a vibrant port of call for MSC cruise liners on Grand Voyages cruise itineraries.
It’s a fury of sights and sounds, and the crucible in which Vietnam’s rallying fortunes are boiling. Few corners of the city afford respite from the cacophony of construction work casting up new office blocks and hotels with logic-defying speed. An increasing number of cars and minibuses jostle with an organic mass of state-of-the-art Honda SUVs, choking the tree-lined streets and boulevards.
Amid this melee, the local people go about their daily life: smartly dressed schoolkids wander past streetside baguette-sellers; women shoppers ride motorbikes clad in gangster-style bandanas to protect their skin from the sun and dust; while teenagers in designer jeans chirrup into mobile phones. MSC Cruises shore excursions can be a clever option to see much of Ho Chi Minh City’s fun that derives from the simple pleasure of absorbing its flurry of activity – something best done from the seat of a cyclo or a roadside café.
To blink is to miss some new and singular sight, be it a motorbike stacked high with piglets bound for the market, or a boy on a bicycle rapping out a staccato tattoo on pieces of bamboo to advertise noodles for sale.
For some visitors, the American war is their primary frame of reference and such historical hot spots as the Reunification Palace rank highly on their itineraries. In addition, ostentatious reminders of French rule abound, among them such memorable buildings as Notre Dame Cathedral and the grandiose Hotel de Ville – but even these look spanking-new when compared to gloriously musty edifices like Quan Am Pagoda and the Jade Emperor Pagoda, just a couple of the many captivating places of worship across the city. And don’t miss Ben Thanh Market, the teeming Vietnamese market par excellence, check the city’s pulse here on an early morning stroll.