Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, is a chaotic whirl of motorcycles, beeping horns, teeming markets and bursts of colour.

Everywhere you look something is happening: mopeds zip past you blasting horns, street vendors whip up pancakes and bap xao and children perform fire tricks on Bui Vien.

There are cats on leads, suitcases full of cigarettes and scantily clad women offering massages.

And the smells! One minute it’s delicious barbecued pork, the next you’re holding your breath as you scramble over rubbish bins and pot holes. And then there’s the stifling pollution from 5 million motorbikes….

Crossing the road is terrifying. You have to walk through the traffic. Yep, right through the middle of a blur of cars, buses, bikes and minivans.

It’s chaotic but it’s amazing. The locals smile, the food is outstanding and the energy is contagious.

Tips for Ho Chi Minh City

Use taxis on metres so you don’t get overcharged, and keep an eye on it the whole time. We used Green Mailinh Group taxis and Vinasun taxis.

Make sure you have the name of place written down, or better still, on Google Maps and show the taxi driver when you get in.

Beware of motorbike riders snatching handbags – I had a near miss! Fortunately mine was across the body and fabric – so not easy to rip off.

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