Traveling to Saigon - crossing the Mekong in Cambodia by ferry
My travels in Vietnam started ofcourse by leaving Cambodia - and that was something I surely didn't like. I had a few wonderful last days in Phnom Penh - and a hell of a goodbye party! Such a good party that I actually strained my ankle at some club and when I had to leave for the bus to Saigon it was enormously swollen. Not a very good start to go traveling, but I already booked my bus and my visa was already expired for one day.
So I was feeling a little sad because of leaving Cambodia after four months - though it felt much, much longer. That my visa was expired turned out not to be a problem, the fee of 5 dollar a day wasn't even asked! I did had to fill in a form with health questions, but they didn't check my ear temperature like I expected.
War Remnants Museum
It all went pretty smooth. After this bustrip of 6,5 hours I arrived in bustling Saigon. God, what a city! If you've been in Cambodia for such a long time, you're really amazed by the level of economic development of Vietnam. They've got high buildings and flashy commercials everywhere! The people actually look like they're more westernized (less pyama's, more fashion) and there are no wooden buildings and electricity and television is everywhere.
I stayed in Saigon for 4 nights, but not because I liked it that much, my foot was still hurting like hell and I started limping really bad too. Not very handy when you want to see the city. So I did some activities that didn't require a lot of walking, like having a haircut, getting my nails done and I went to the cinema!! (They don't have that in Siem Reap)
I did went to see the War Remnants Museum, which is about the Vietnam War (or American War as the Vietnamese call it) and its horrible effects on the Vietnameze.
Service in the Cao Dai temple
A lot of gruesome photographs of torture, misformed people, chemical attacks and other horrible things. It was okay, but it would've been better with more general information and some education about the war. Still, nobody seemed to mention that most bombs in the Vietnam War didn't fall on Vietnam, but on Cambodia and Laos. I also booked a tour to the Holy See temple of the Cao Dai and the Cu Chi tunnels. The temple/church was a bit weird, but nice to visit and to see the service. Though they allow people in the temple they don't seem particularly happy about it - and thats an understatement. They are probably payed by the tourcompanies I guess. The whole Cu Chi tunnels was a waste of money and time. They first show you some propaganda movie about American Killer Heroes, but fail to give a good impression about the scope and the use of the tunnels.
I learned more about the description in the Lonely Planet - Vietnam. After that they show you some jungle traps (okay, nice) and you can shoot an AK-47 whatever (why? why? whyyyy?). Then you can go into a tunnel they specifically enlarged for tourist, so it has a high amusement park likeness. That's it. Thats where you spend 2 hours for in a cramped minibus with a annoying tourguide that repeats the same information over and over again. By the end of the day, I could've given the tour.
The worst thing about Saigon (and probably the whole of Vietnam) is the unfriendlyness of the people! Everybody is trying to rip you off and this is so annoying that I was wishing myself back in Cambodia for several times.