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Ho Chi Minh, Prey Nokor

Motorbiking in the Rain!
I watched as the streets flooded rapidly and the Vietnamese locals didn’t skip a beat. Rain doesn’t stop them – and it shouldn’t stop you. I often get people who tell me they are skipping a country in Southeast Asia because it’s rainy season, monsoon season, or it’s ‘just too hot’ at that time of year. Little do they know that traveling in rainy season is one of my best kept travel secrets and I always wonder if I should tell them what they are missing when they skip countries or locations due to a less than desirable weather season. From a cultural experience and photography standpoint, inclement weather seasons are wonderful opportunity to see how the locals really live in situations that we would deem less desirable. You get a true feel for the country and local culture and traditions through the ‘tough’ times. On top of it you get introduced to a number of new products that are used in that inclement weather season that you probably never even dreamed of. In Vietnam you’ll see surprising products such as the double headed ponchos or ponchos with a headlight window. On my recent trip to Saigon during rainy season, I was lucky enough to have the skies open up and pour down their wrath on city streets. I was on a motorbike myself, so I had a great perspective for photography and luckily I had proper rain gear for my camera.
Two Brothers Motorbike from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City: Part Six The Last Push
Hours outside of Saigon after Five days of driving from Hanoi to Saigon. We ended the flight in Qui Nhon leaving each other. My Brother jumped on the crippled motorbike and headed south. I stayed a few minutes as the crowd slowly dissipated after the days of our lives show we had just produced came to a halt. We ended up fixing the bike the next day and made our final push towards Ho Chi Minh City. With most of day four spent at the Mechanic shop in Qui Nhon we made a short hop to the city of Na Trang to spend the night. Day Five would be the last day and we knew it would be a longest day of riding. 320 Kilometers, I will never forget that amount of distance. The distance from Na Trang to Ho Chi Minh City. We woke up that day on a mission, maybe a personal mission or a promise we made to each other that we could do this. It would take a miracle for us to do so. We hadn't had a day without a bike having a technical problem yet and would have to travel the distance averaging a speed that we hadn't done yet either. But for what ever reason that day the last day of the ride there wasn't a cloud in the sky. We rode out of Na Trang and only stopped when we needed. Gas up, Red Bull, WC, Each PHO, DRIVE.... Repeat Repeat Repeat... The Kilometers clicked down and down. Until this shot the last on my Camera. Ho Chi Minh City. We had driven over 1800 Kilometers on small engine bikes in 5 days. Survived all that Vietnam could throw at us and came out the other side.
Two Brothers Motorbike from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City: Part Six The Last Push Ho Chi Minh City  Vietnam

The beautiful and colorful skyline of Ho Chi Minh city from our room at the Nguyen Khang Hotel. My wife and I had the pleasure of having two guides during our visit to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh). Our two old friends were able to show us the Vietnamese ropes and boy were we grateful. Our hotel room was a perfect refuge to wait out a storm. A deck of cards some cold beer and friends are all you need to get through a storm. Nguyen Khang Hotel is on the Pham Ngu Lao street, district 1. (283/25 Pham Ngu Lao street, Dist 1 Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam)
Stay Ho Chi Minh City  Vietnam

Unseen Saigon on a Two Wheels
We drove through the narrow alleyways with our guides balancing on motorbikes as if we were walking a tight rope. I think the local people were as shocked to see us (tourists) there as we were to see live skinned frogs, and cow heads for sale. The Saigon Unseen tour will take you out of the main tourist Districts and get you to places that normal tourists will never see – all on the back of a motorbike. This was a tour of Saigon’s extremes – our motorbike guides picked us up at 8:30 AM and dropped off around 2:30 PM (we were an hour late due to rain) taking us to the far reaches of Saigon experiencing old and very new Vietnam. We covered multiple Districts - and made a number of stops at places I had never heard of or been even after living in Saigon for a year. Some of the little neighborhood market areas were so narrow and packed we got off the bikes and walked through taking it all in at an even slower pace. After stopping for a delicious local lunch we experienced weather extremes when it went from a sunny day into a downpour. No problem – our guides just outfitted us like the locals in ponchos and we kept going. You do have to be ok with getting wet – but it will be an experience that you’ll never forget and you’ll feel like you’ve really experienced local life in this chaotic city. Saigon is big – and if you want to find the ‘real’ Saigon – this is one of the best ways to do it. More Info: http://saigonunseen.com/ Cost: $45 US
Unseen Saigon on a Two Wheels Ho Chi Minh City  Vietnam

Would You Try Duck Embryo?
As I looked at the egg and I could vaguely hear people providing me encouragement and instructions, but in my mind I kept thinking – how do I get myself into these things? “Do you want to try hot vit lon?” Duy asked us. I normally try anything, “What’s that?” I responded cautiously. I know that Vietnam is known for some pretty odd food that falls off our American normalcy scale. “It’s a baby duck fetus that’s been in the egg about 15 to 17 days.” He replied. After seeing my reaction he then continued in a apologetic persuasive tone, “we eat them as snacks – they are really tasty.” As if because they were designated as a snack it made it normal. I liked Duy’s line of thinking, but this was going to be a pretty big mental hurdle to overcome. However when they brought the egg out to the table, I knew I wasn’t going to back down, I would simply try not to think about the crunchy bits and possible feathers. Simple right? One of the things that actually made this do-able was that you eat it with the lime/salt/pepper sauce and a green herbal leaf. The lime sauce is what sort of sold me as I love that simple taste. Surprisingly if you don’t think about the texture of what you are eating, the egg itself tasted really good – sort of savory. I’d actually even have it again if given the chance. More Info: You can watch a video of the whole experience by following the url below.
Would You Try Duck Embryo?  Ho Chi Minh City  Vietnam

Crossing the road - Vietnam style
Id read in travel books and websites that crossing the road in Saigon was a mission. It gave clear advice: walk steadily, don't stop - whatever happens. And this is exactly what you have to do, as the bikes just zoom around you. there were maybe 5 times over my 4 night stay that I though I was going to die or worse, end up at a Saigon hospital - I saw a wall of bikes and though - there is no way they'll miss me. The best laughs followed when I realised I was safe - crossing the roads of Saigon was one of the most unexpected fun I ever had whilst travelling...
Crossing the road - Vietnam style Ho Chi Minh City  Vietnam

Street food - really!
At first I was taken aback by the amount of people having lunch on the streets. They would purchase lunch off their " corner vendors", squat down right on the street and eat up. At first I saw it as a sign of poverty. but then I started to realised that this was more like a cultural, social factor that I was just not accustomed to.
Street food - really! Ho Chi Minh City  Vietnam

Eat Like a Local
I recently had the opportunity to travel to Vietnam. Having traveled 19 hours to get there I figured I would make the very most of my trip and I tasked myself with eating only local food. This street vendor was my first foray into that adventure. The experience stretched far beyond the culinary and became a bonding experience not only for myself and my travel partners but also for the locals. They were so thrilled to show us their local traditions and foods and were quick to tell us that their preparations and ingredients were the best in Vietnam. They clapped when we loved the food, laughed when we found something too spicy and taught us more than any travel manuel ever could. It was a positively amazing experience and even just looking at this photo makes my mouth water.
Eat Like a Local Ho Chi Minh City  Vietnam

Great scene of Street Food in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. I was walking around and actually in a hurry to catch a bus when I came across a woman who was selling Street Food on her tray. I had to stop and take that picture. I love the colors, the different jars and obviously, the diversity of flavors. I missed the bus but I got a good picture
Spices Ho Chi Minh City  Vietnam

Street Food in Ho Chi Minh
I love the simplicity of things, the colors of the food in combination of the clothing colors. The streets of Ho Chi Minh are filled with street vendors who prepare you a meal on the spot. This woman made a delicious eggs and vegetables wrap, that it was a feast not only in taste but also in sight
Street Food in Ho Chi Minh  Ho Chi Minh City  Vietnam

Motor bikes, political signs, and street vendors!
Bananas  Ho Chi Minh City  Vietnam

Afternoon in Ho Chi Minh
Ho Chi Minh is a lovely lively city. It is packed with so many street food vendors and cafes that sometimes it feels like the street food and the food you are eating in the restaurant are almost the same. I shot this image after leaving a street market and walked back to my hotel
Afternoon in Ho Chi Minh  Ho Chi Minh City  Vietnam

That's a lot of bikes, and people, and noise, and clutter. You should join in. You should hop on the back of a man who speaks something similar to English (or is very talented in faux-sign-language) and let him take you where you need to go. Few experiences feel more authentic or visceral than that on the back of a motorbike whipping through Vietnam's capital city.
Whoa Ho Chi Minh City  Vietnam

Visit a park and experience local life in Ho Chi Minh City
One of the best ways to interact with the locals in Vietnam is to simply go to the parks in the afternoons. More often than not, you will see them relaxing, drinking coffee or chatting. Strike up a conversation and make a friend! In the photo: an old woman waits for someone by the park gates.
Visit a park and experience local life in Ho Chi Minh City Ho Chi Minh City  Vietnam

Vietnamese Taxi
This is the only way to get around the bustling city of Ho Chi Minh (formerly Saigon). I bought myself a local sunhat from the open air market for less than a $1 then hired a "driver"-be sure to negotiate the price ahead of time-and let them show you the city. They will patiently wait if you want to stop to shop or see a sight and pay them at the end.
Vietnamese Taxi Ho Chi Minh City  Vietnam

Josh Alexander, Protravel International
“Of many unique food and wine experiences, none stand out for me more than a night street-food tour on a Vespa in Ho Chi Minh City. You truly feel the hustle and bustle of this vibrant city as you explore and eat like a local. Our guides made sure we sampled everything.”
Josh Alexander,  Protravel International Ho Chi Minh City  Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh City
Your adventure begins in Ho Chi Minh City, which recently saw a boom in development tied to the 40th anniversary of Vietnam’s reunification. Once settled into the tranquil Park Hyatt Saigon, Uniworld guests are treated to a walking tour of the city center, taking in the French Colonial architecture and notable sites like the mid-century Reunification Palace and the Post Office designed by Gustav Eiffel. On the second day, an excursion to the Cu Chi Tunnels reveals a fraction of the vast, fascinating network of Vietnam War-era tunnels stretching to the Cambodian border. Next, it’s off to the My Tho dock to embark on the Mekong Navigator, settle into your new home-suite-home, and toast the sailing ahead.
Ho Chi Minh City  Ho Chi Minh City  Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam