VYTA TOURS

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SAI GON

Saigon, officially re-named Ho Chi Minh City is a thriving metropolis with an unavoidable western flavor or influence offering quite a different experience than Hanoi. While Hanoi is a smaller city where you can savor more traditions and the obvious traces of the red-tape which can be found in any capital city, Saigon is in continuous transition as it takes in the best and worst sides of "doi moi" movements (renovation of the country) based on the market economy rules. This is the commercial hub of Vietnam, the industrial muscle of the nation. This is the rendezvous of business people and business movers.

Saigon has seen itself grow at a rapid pace and its skyline is constantly changing as multinational interests seem to be " fighting for a seat on a plane into the country". Doi Moi and the lifting of the crippling embargo have opened the floodgates to an unstoppable torrent of foreign capital. Now everyone wants to be friends, after all, there is a lot of money to be made. After twenty years of forced sedation, Vietnam is now stirring but Saigon is wide awake.

For many of the inhabitants of Ho chi Minh City, nothing has changed. The streets still swarm with life. People buy and sell things, bargain, cook, wash, sleep, eat, drink and live on its streets. Despite the large amount of money being thrown around, the filter effect is yet to manifest itself and thousands of people have to survive on virtually nothing while the people at the top of the filter enjoy enormous profits. Cyclo drivers, often unable to do other work due to government policy, earn next to nothing and are still feel the pressure of being on the losing side. As they bed down for the night on their cyclo, across the street from the La Lai Hotel, wealthy Vietnamese arrive in their Mercedes Benz for a night of indulgence.

In summary, Saigon faces all that is good and all that is bad brought on by the new movements of Vietnam. It obviously promises lots of interesting things to discover, while it remains an exciting centre for shopping and hanging around as it moves to regain its once famous name; "the Pearl of the Far Orient".