I'm sitting in an ỉnternet cafe in Hoi An at the moment, as we only ended up spending two days in Saigon, and this keyboard is really wierd so I hope you can understand this!
After an easy journey across the Vietnamese border, we arrived at Saigon about 2pm and settled in to a cool little hostel with A/C, TV and a fridge...luxury! We were right in the middle of the 'backpacker' area and we felt a lot more at ease than we had felt in Cambodia. We decided to make the most of the afternoon so we headed to the Reunification Palace. Not really knowing that much Vietnamese history, we were frantically reading up as we wandered around the building. It was wierd to see the map rooms and drawing boards that were still intact from when the south vietnamese headquarters were based here. Back at the hostel, we sorted out our next couple of days with our extremely chatty travel agent.
We ended up booking a tour to the Mekong River Delta which was a great day out. We spent most of our time on a boat cruising the river, stopping occasionally to the see day to day lives of 'traditional' vietnamese life, although it was obviously just a tourist trap. Still, it was nice to see and not really have to think about anything as we were taken everywhere. After trying some coconut candy and holding a python around my neck, we went by slow boat through the lush forest which was amazing. Unfortunately, something I ate didnt make me feel so good so my evening was spent in bed!
The next day was spent and the famous Cu Chi tunnels of the Vietkong. Although it was completely set up for tourists, it was interesting to see how the army would have lived, pretty unbelievable really! After seeing the tiny secret entrance holes, we crawled through a section of tunnels. It was dark, hot and cramped and after 90 metres of duck-walking I was exhausted! I can't begin to imagine what it must have been like to fight a war down there! We spent the rest of the afternoon at the War Remnants Museum and I was disgusted to see the pictures of the atrocities that the US were guilty of during the war.
We made an executive decision to fly up the coast to Hoi An. We could have stopped at some beaches on the way, but it seemed a bit pointless as we're going to have a couple of weeks on beaches in Thailand. It was a shame to leave the city so soon as we all felt welcomed by the Vietnamese and there was generally a much nicer atmosphere than in Cambodia. The only thing that shocked me was the amount of mopeds, there are hundreds!! Crossing the road was a technical difficulty that took a while to perform!