Saigon—a sensory extravaganza

Distance: 1.2km

Final distance: 1,999.2 km

Bikes are gone—our ride throughout Vietnam is complete. 1,999.2km. For the rounders out there, that’s 2,000km 😉 The bike shop will source out some appropriate sized boxes, disassemble the major components, deflate tires, and seal up our bikes for the flight home next Tuesday. So now we explore on foot. Too hot & uncomfortable to haul bags so we are staying in place for the remaining days.

Saigon is an assault on the senses, depending on where you are standing. Noisy, beautiful, dirty, sparkling, and cultural treasures everywhere.

Motorbikes are the way of life here. They serve as delivery services, family transportation, and also taxis. Proportionately there are more cars here in Saigon than we have seen anywhere else in Vietnam, but motorbikes still rule. It’s the fastest way to get around. Randy and I can technically both hop on the back of a single motorbike taxi but we are far too apprehensive about that. Dane, on the other hand, isn’t. We met up with him at Heart of Darkness craft beer pub for the final time. I’ll just have to take Randy’s word for it that the beer was amazing. I can report that my bottle of water was clear & cold. Dane made it back in one piece so his motorbike-taxi worked out

There is a constant barage of “Hello Madame, you want to buy?” and “Hello sir, you buy one more shirt?” Worse, are street shoe polishers who automatically try to polish Randy’s Keene sandals as soon as he stops moving. Ironically, they take one look at my own cheap flip-flops and leave me alone. In the Ben Thanh Market where vendors have stalls every three metres, the invitations to shop become repetitive.

In the morning while at the Park, we were spotted by a local Vietnamese English teacher who wisely approached us with “I’m not selling anything”. His only interest was talking and we had a wonderful, authentic conversation about traffic, people, Vietnamese culture among other topics. His name sounded like “Tee” but of course we can’t spell it.

It’s hot here. Oppressively hot, humid and sticky. It’s why locals siesta during the day. It’s common to see people sleeping in hammocks at work, laying on floors, bus drivers snoozing in cargo-holding areas of their rigs, and motorbike Grab drivers using their bikes like La-Z-Boys. Given the heat, don’t be surprised if you see Randy and Anita lazing about too!

Night time is when Saigon comes to life. Our hotel is near Bùi Viện Street which is reminiscent of Khao Sản Road in Bangkok (minus the cannabis vendors). We ventured over to take a looky at 7pm and things were only just get started. Blasting music, dancing girls hoping to provoke customers inside, all shades of purple red and yellow neon lights flashing and strobing. It’s clearly Party Time—but we’ll take a pass on that.

We are in Saigon. Let’s go shopping. Or eating. Or people watching (siesta later)!

Bye bye bicycles!

Sidewalk haircuts. Its a thing.


Randy, chatting it up with a cyclist (who speaks not a single word of English) he spotted from our 2nd floor hotel room.

They are here…but we haven’t actually seen one in use

No safety rope, no “plan b” if he loses his balance while working up on the third floor.

Just another typical intersection

Posted in Uncategorized, Vietnam 2024.


  1. Anita and Randy- Great job sharing your adventure with the arm chair travellers. Anita your writing is right on. You capture the essence of the place. I can see it. I can hear it. I can almost smell it…..that is really tricky! Thanks a lot.

    • Yes Klaus, as a matter of fact that’s our destination tomorrow. Haircut for Randy!

  2. I can think of somebody for whom the 1999.2 km would drive him crazy!🤪 congratulations on your ride, this truly is an accomplishment. Many thanks for sharing your pics and insights…

    • Hahaha! I can think of a few people. Personally, I kinda like just leaving it at that. Maybe someday we’ll return for the .8 km.

  3. Hahaha 1999.2. You just had to didn’t you!!!!! Think you know what I’d be doing. 😜
    What an amazing adventure you have had. I so enjoyed your detailed recount of your days and at most times I felt like I was there.
    Thanks for taking us along on this ride. See you soon.

  4. Kudos to both of you Be wellfor sharing your Vietnam travel highlights. You both look so happy and healthy.
    Be well stay safe.

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