Ho Chi Minh City - Streets of HCMC
Compared to Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City is grittier and edgier. With a population of around 7 million, it is the biggest City in Vietnam. Before the re-unification of Vietnam, the City was commonly known as Saigon. It was changed to Ho Chi Minh City after the Vietnam War ended, and the Vietnam People's Army took over.
Due to it's French colonial heritage, you can still see many colonial buildings in HCMC. However, they are not as conspicuous as in Hanoi.
About 90% of the traffic in HCMC are motorbikes, and navigating the streets is best left to the locals. For pedestrians, crossing the street is an art form which must be learned quickly, as traffic lights are few and far in between. Our Vietnamese guide told us to imagine that the traffic is like the water in the stream, and we are like the pebbles. The water will bend and weave around the pebbles. It actually works !
The city pattern is very much the same as other Asian cities. It has grown organically in the past, but modern city planning is coming in to create pockets of organized but sometimes soulless new quarters.
There are many main roads providing the major connections, and small streets and alley ways branching out from these main arteries. It is in these small alleys where you can see and experience the life of the city. Here you will find street vendors, hawkers and people enjoying their afternoon siesta.