In 2005, I was sent by my company to Ho Chi Minh City several times. Then, in 2006, I quit the company. After an 8-year hiatus, I finally decided to return to Vietnam, though this time for vacation.
What have changed in Vietnam in these 8 years? And what have not?
What have not changed
The Notre Dame Cathedral, Central Post Office, Opera House and People’s Committee Building in Saigon all have retained their charm. And the traffic in Saigon is as scary as ever…
Notre Dame Cathedral
What have changed
Vietnam’s Highway 1A runs from China-Vietnam border in the north to the Mekong Delta in the south. But make no mistake, this so-called highway is similar to Malaysia’s national trunk roads, where drivers share road with motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians.
In 2010, Vietnam finally had a ‘real’ expressway – the HCMC-Trung Luong Expressway. The expressway connects HCMC with the Mekong Delta region, shortening the travelling time by about 30 minutes. The expressway still had not been extended to Can Tho, the largest city in the Delta. But I am sure eventually it will.
HCMC-Trung Luong Expressway
Between the 40s and 80s of the last century, economy of Vietnam stagnated because of war and communist policies. It is catching up now…
By the way, I saw more pretty women in Saigon than there were 8 years ago. I guess this was because Vietnamese women could afford to spend more on cosmetics and skincare products, yet another sign of the nation’s rising income.
Saigon at night