HCMC Dining Guide

Friday, February 13, 2015

I'm On a Boat

On Monday a group of friends and acquaintances rented a boat that takes you on a three-hour cruise up the Saigon River to District 2 and back. The crew provides ice while you have to BYOB, and there is a speaker system on board so you can bring music. (There's also a karaoke system. We didn't use that.) It's hard to interact much with the river here as it is rather disconnected from the city. The prime stretch of riverfront downtown is ugly and thick with traffic; an entirely unappealing place. This was a great opportunity to get out on the water and see the city from a different perspective.

After boarding in District 4 the boat sailed upriver, with the still-undeveloped Thu Thiem Peninsula on the right and bustling downtown on the left. We slipped under the Thu Thiem Bridge and eventually reached the spans of the Saigon Bridge, where they are building an overpass for the metro line as well.

There was a lot of activity on the water, from small container boats and wooden skips to barges that looked like they were on the verge of sinking.
We cruised past the opulent riverside houses of Thao Dien, as well as a few abandoned buildings, enjoying the fresh breeze along the way.

Empty Thanh Da Island in the foreground, luxury apartments in the back
After 90 minutes we turned around and headed back towards the dock, passing the same places as the sky began to turn orange with the setting sun.
Construction of Vinhomes Central Park, an enormous project behind Saigon Pearl
As we rounded the last bend in the river before District 1 we were treated to an incredible panorama of the city's increasingly sprawling skyline silhouetted by the sun.

This was a great way to spend an afternoon, and a great way to see the range of the city: from empty green space to dense skyscrapers to spacious homes for the rich; and for just 180,000 ($9) each it was an absolute steal.

I'm off to Hanoi later today for my Tet trip (motorbiking down to Hue on the Ho Chi Minh Highway), so I won't be posting for at least a week...not that I've been posting much anyway. Anyway, to those of you in Vietnam, chuch mung nam moi!


  1. since you are going to northern Vietnam , check out this video Mike