Happy New Year - Again!

Ho Chi Minh City Travel Blog

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Opera House

People i met here, who contributed to and improved my trip: Juliana (Russia), Dean and Ora (Australia)

Our last few days in Ho Chi Minh City were spent mostly relaxing, taking a few walks around the city and been rejected from entry into the Presidential Palace on no less than 3 occasions! Every time we were told to go back the following day, only to be told the exact same thing, clearly it just wasn't meant to be! We also went to a water park with Dean and Ora only to find it closed for renovations, so settled for the bowling alley next door. We also went out with them to the night market for a really good meal, followed by drinks in the swanky Rex Hotel.

An Elephant gets some refreshments at the zoo and botanical gardens
I'm guessing it was all related to Tet, the Chinese New Year, which we were told was somewhere between the 16th and 18th of February, but surprisingly no-one could actually tell us a date! I'll come back to Tet in a minute!

We decided to visit the Zoo and Botanical Gardens on the 16th and decided we were just going to walk around the gardens after the depressing zoo in Kunming and of course Lonely Planet said not to go there! To our surprise the two were joined into one, so to walk around the gardens you actually passed the animals. Adding to the surprise was the way that the animals were looked after, the zookeepers seemed generally concerned and connected to the animals and we saw them busy at work watering the elephants, feeding the tigers and lions and cleaning out their enclosures.

Lion cub at the zoo and botanical gardens
We sat and watched the elephants getting a cool down for half and hour or so, watched an Indochinese Tiger playing with its tyre, bathing in its water and speeding around its cage, which was 5 or 10 times the size of the cages in Kunming. The animals just seemed happier and playful and it was the first time i'd been to a Zoo since i was a small child that i actually wanted to stay and watch the animals for a prolonged period. Other animals we encountered included an orangutan, chimpanzee, crocodiles, iguanas, snakes, leopards, cassawary, flamingos, ostrich, langurs, macaws, hippos, giraffes and deer. All in all it was a really nice day out and one i'd recommend.

Right, back to Tet, we learned that the New Year was actually celebrated on the night of the 16th and thankfully we had decided to go to a bar on our way home around 11.

Jumping giraffe at the zoo and botanical gardens
30pm. All of a sudden all these people started going crazy and we realised we were right in the thick of things, which was pretty neat. We ended up deciding to put a challenge down on the pool table, which was winner stays on and didn't get knocked off until 4am! Pretty exhausted, we made our way home having spent this New year much more successfully than our one in China!

Thankfully the last couple of days were a little less frantic than the rest of our time in Saigon, as all the motorbike riders seemed to have taken time off for Tet. We were informed that a staggering 12,000 people die in road accidents in Vietnam each year, thats around 33 per day and we saw several accidents and blood stained roads during our stay here. Around 10% of those tragedies happen in Saigon and what makes the city such a hectic interesting place, can also make it a death trap. If you are heading there, pop on a helmet when you are getting on motorbikes and say a prayer each time you cross an intersection!

Deats says:
Thanks mate :)
Posted on: Dec 17, 2008
mellemel8 says:
wonderful vietnam blog :)
Posted on: Dec 17, 2008
portia says:
So glad to see happy animals!
Posted on: Mar 10, 2007
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Opera House
Opera House
An Elephant gets some refreshments…
An Elephant gets some refreshment…
Lion cub at the zoo and botanical …
Lion cub at the zoo and botanical…
Jumping giraffe at the zoo and bot…
Jumping giraffe at the zoo and bo…
Julia and Ora at the night market
Julia and Ora at the night market
Saigons crazy streets
Saigons crazy streets
Julia and I with Dean and Ora
Julia and I with Dean and Ora
Saigon viewed from the Rex Hotel
Saigon viewed from the Rex Hotel
Lam Son Square
Lam Son Square
Julia, Dean and Ora waiting for ou…
Julia, Dean and Ora waiting for o…
The nearest we got to the Presednt…
The nearest we got to the Presedn…
Monkeys grooming at the zoo and bo…
Monkeys grooming at the zoo and b…
Flamingos at the zoo and botanical…
Flamingos at the zoo and botanica…
Otters at the zoo and botanical ga…
Otters at the zoo and botanical g…
An inquisitive Ostrich at the zoo …
An inquisitive Ostrich at the zoo…
Hippos bathing time at the zoo an…
Hippo's bathing time at the zoo a…
An Elephant gets some refreshments…
An Elephant gets some refreshment…
Indochinese Tiger playing with a t…
Indochinese Tiger playing with a …
Many crocodiles at the zoo and bot…
Many crocodiles at the zoo and bo…
2 lionesses feeding at the zoo and…
2 lionesses feeding at the zoo an…
An orangutang at the zoo and botan…
An orangutang at the zoo and bota…
Indochinese Tiger at the zoo and b…
Indochinese Tiger at the zoo and …
Lion feeding at the zoo and botani…
Lion feeding at the zoo and botan…