The entry to Vietnam's largest city is easy. It takes just one and a half hours to fly from Singapore to Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), or Saigon like it used to be called, and it is still called by the locals. Our small hotel in the very centre of the city has arranged the pick up from the airport.
On Sunday we hire a driver to take us to two main tourist destinations around the HCMC. The first one is the Cu Chi tunnels that showcase the huge network of tunnels Viet Cong used against the US forces in Vietnam war.
Cao Dai is a relatively modern syncretistic, monotheistic religion, officially established 1926 in the city of Tay Ninh, southern Vietnam. Due to its young age, it shows its syncretistic roots more than older religions. (Wikipedia)
The rain ends eventually and we try to get to the French place at Thai Van Lung we missed the first night. However, the restaurant appears to be closed (or we do not find it) and we go to the Le Bouchon de Saigon across the street. We start with tuna tartar ...
Before crawling back to the hotel to sleep we visit the neighbouring Jazz Club. They have a cover charge but the place is nice and the music by a local saxophonist is good --- we even buy a couple of his CD's.
We land at the Con Qui (Tortoise Island) and are offered some fruit. We are entertained by local people with girls and women singing and guys playing traditional (and not so traditional) songs. Everything is very artificial and makes us feel uncomfortable.
We stop for a tea at the bee and honey farm, so that people can try to sell us stuff.
Then we jump into the boat again to go the the other bank of the river, where we visit a coconut candy workshop; another chance for people to sell us stuff, and we do buy some candy.
The final trick to squeeze some money from us is a horse ride to lunch. This tour definitely isn't worth the money. In every possible occasion we are asked to tip the locals, who give us boat rides, serve us fruit, sing to us, serve us honey tasters etc.
However, in the end we do not tip our guide who is full of cheesy and sexist jokes.