Saigon: April 2016
Wandered to the other side of Nguyen Hue, the big pedestrian walk leading from the Saigon River into downtown, in search of new areas to explore and lunch. Found many more budget-friendly travel areas and some delicious bun bo hue, plus yet another tiny spring roll. Short walk into Saigon Square 1, which is an indoor air-conditioned hawker market even more packed than the larger and better-known Ben Thanh market that was next.
Ben Thanh market is massive even from the outside, and inside the crowd of sweaty vendors and the smells in the central grocery/food area are one of the more intense sensations of the trip. Clearly tons of business is done here, although I believe electronics are largely sold at yet another market. Sadly two markets were enough for me!
A few hundred feet from Ben Thanh market is the Street Market, a fixed, roofed location for hawker stalls selling street food, complete with lots of tables. Found some delicious pork ribs in the afternoon heat, and noticed a ton more restaurants and hotels in the area, including a Marukame Udon.
By the time evening rolled around, I was reluctant to head back out into the heat for dinner. Didn't want to be sweaty for the long plane flight I had coming up, although that turned out to not matter-- A/C inside Tan Son Nhat International Airport is best described as modest. Whoops (could've gone out for a delicious dinner!).
The Rose C.I.P. Lounge was surprisingly decent sized, although the food was so-so and it filled quickly before the flight. Lots of late-night flights to South Korea, Japan, and other places here, and the crowd for the ANA/Air Japan 767-300 to Narita was one of many in the airport.