We get up shortly before 6:00am The Celebrity Millennium is slowly going up a river. It's not a particularly attractive landscape around us, and everything is still in the morning haze. At 7:00 am we are supposed to dock in the industrial port of Phu Mŷ. The harbor turns out to be absolutely barren, just as we expected.
Shore excursion to Ho Chi Minh City
At Celebrity Cruises we only booked the transfer from the ship to Ho Chi Minh City, the former Saigon. Today the tour is organized very well. We are already on our way at 8:00am and at 9:15am at our destination in Saigon. The bus driver drops us off at the Bitexco Tower, a 265-meter-high building that is one of the city's top attractions. The bus will also wait there seven hours later to bring us back to Phu Mŷ.
High-rise backdrop Saigon with the Saigon River
We have planned a tour of the city during which we will see the main highlights. You can find details on this in our articles Phu Mŷ / Ho Chi Minh City and Ho Chi Minh City Point of Interest & Sights.
Eight million people and five million scooters
The weather is stressful. It's hot and humid, but we're making good progress. Saigon is a bustling city with more than eight million inhabitants and an estimated five million scooters. Nobody really knows, our guide even spoke of ten million inhabitants and eight million scooters.
We first have to get used to crossing the wide streets, on which a never-ending stream of vehicles of all kinds - mostly two-wheelers - move. The first time an old Vietnamese shows us how to do it. He takes our hands and walks with us slowly through the flowing traffic. The cars and scooters give way and we can safely get to the opposite side of the street.
Scooters wherever you look
A country on the move
We are excited about what we see. Despite or maybe because of the contrasts. On the one hand there are beautiful old buildings like the cathedral Notre Dame or the opera, on the other hand there is the ostentatious Palace of Reunification. There are stylish shops and elegantly designed bistros, but also shops in which goods pile up to the ceiling on five square meters.
In a few days, the Chinese New Year will be celebrated here. Quite a few streets and buildings are already decorated. Today is Sunday and a lot of Vietnamese - especially the young ones - are out and about in the parks and on the streets. We stop at a café near the cathedral and enjoy the hustle and bustle.
Of course we also have a look at the port of Saigon. There is the Nautica of Oceania. Smaller ships like the Nautica go up the Saigon River and dock directly in the city. In my opinion, this is an advantage over larger ships like the Millennium.
The bus back to the ship is on time. We are tired. The landscape that glides past us is very different than in Chan May. South of Saigon it is flat, industrial, not as picturesque as in front of the hills of Chan May.
Out and about in the Saigon River Delta
At the Celebrity Millennium we are drawn to the terrace of the buffet restaurant again and we enjoy another wonderful summer evening far away from Germany.