"In Saigon, we have everything, you can get whatever you want."
Ho Chi Minh City's bustling streets, sparkling nightlife and oppressive heat make this metropolis the modern epicenter of Vietnam. Much larger and faster paced than the political capitol in the north (Hanoi), the city of the south lives up to it's old name - Saigon. Saigon is smug salesmen, the taste of fresh spicy chilies, the music of horns whizzing by and the feel of sweat on my skin.
Across the city at night you can see flashing lights and hear the pounding music of rooftop clubs competing for customers. They offer free shots and 2 for 1 beers all night long; I imagine the tourists and the locals alike dance atop the bar while the DJ's play into the early morning. The men on the street corners offer up everything from cigarettes and beer to marijuana and cocaine. On Pham Ngu Lao Street, the main tourist drag, every restaurant and tourist shop claims to have the best food in the city, the best 3 day tours in the country. The street food carts sizzle and pop as traffic roars past, day and night. The marketplaces are bright with artificial colors in their shadowed stalls. Vendors smile and shout out "my friend!" as you walk past. If you stop, you can expect to pay more than you expected.
Still, Saigon is a place where you can meet a local who will buy you beers all night. Or sit in the park and practice English with college students who have big, big dreams for their future. You can stumble across gourmet restaurants right next to bustling street food stalls. The city parks come alive at night with nine to fivers getting in an evening workout and young couples sharing secrets. People here love to live in the south of Vietnam, where the air is warm and the food is fresh.
Saigon has sights, sounds, tastes and more. Saigon City has whatever you want.