Unlike Cambodia where the US Dollar is the preferred currency, the dong is king in Vietnam. I really wanted to shepherd a King Dong joke in there but drew a blank! The dong is another currency made up entirely of paper money, meaning that there’s no issues with faffing around trying to figure coins out.
After doing very little of note yesterday, I was keen to get out and about today. There’s certainly some great architecture to be seen and traffic issues aside, Saigon is a pleasant city to walk around. Saigon Opera House is nice, the colonial Post Office Building is terrific and the grand Notre Dame Basilica looks like something from southern Europe rather than South-East Asia. Of the modern structures that are rapidly emerging in Saigon, the Bitexco Financial Tower perhaps remains the most impressive and has become a modern icon of the city. This skyscraper has a platform near the top that resembles a lotus, Vietnam’s national flower. On the way back to the hostel I was brave/stupid enough to venture through the Ben Thanh Market. It was a quiet time of day and negotiating the narrow aisles without literally being dragged into stalls by keen vendors was a bit of a challenge!