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I LOVE Saigon.
Are you surprised? Everyone keeps saying to me, “Jeez, Kate, is there any place you don’t like?”
(Well, yes. Luang Prabang.)
Yes, the metropolis officially known as Ho Chi Minh City is tailor-made for Adventurous Kate. Here’s why:
Saigon has style. Women and men are far more fashion-conscious in Vietnam than any of the other countries I’ve visited in Southeast Asia, and they go all out in Saigon!
Fashion makes for entertaining people-watching. The last thing you want is a boring city!
Saigon has greenery.
When I was living in the centro of Florence, Italy, I realized how important it was to be surrounded by parks, grass and trees. Florence’s centro is devoid of any greenery, and it drove me crazy.
But Saigon is filled with parks. You must visit them at sunset, when crowds of women erupt into aerobics classes!
Check it out (LOVE how Dave gets into it):
Saigon rocks at night. Come on, do you really think I would settle for a city with a less-than-rocking nightlife scene?
The city has a lot of great bars, and the beer is cheap. And they have a lot of karaoke places!
Saigon is delicious. Banh mi stands on every corner? Literally, just about every corner? That’s all I need. Maybe a bit of pho on occasion to switch things up.
In all honesty, if I were to live somewhere long-term, I would need access to Western food once in a while. Just once in a while. And Saigon has that.
Saigon is modern — and beautiful. Even though some of my favorite cities, like Budapest, are defined by their classic architecture, I was seduced by Saigon’s modern edge.
It’s funny, but Saigon actually reminded me a lot of Buenos Aires — much more so than Hanoi. And the weather is HOT year-round, just how I like it!
And, just as a bonus — Saigon has cheap beauty treatments. I couldn’t believe the pricing — even cheaper than Thailand! I also got the best manicure I’ve ever had. (No wonder all the manicurists in Boston are Vietnamese!)
Also, Saigon has access to lots of Western beauty products — especially skincare products. And they’re not all formulated to bleach your skin. That’s appreciated.
Of course, Saigon has its detriments as well. The prostitution is a little in-your-face. The motorbike traffic could easily kill you. And I do wish they had a subway.
But as far as a place to live, Saigon could very well become my Southeast Asian home! As someone who has absolutely no idea what her future holds, I’m going to file Saigon away for the future…