I recently had the opportunity to spend some time in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. I returned to Singapore with a great appreciation for the place, but slightly disoriented by the contrast between the two.

Ho Chi Minh has a charm unlike anywhere else. Nowhere else in the world have I seen so many women in six inch stilettos on two wheelers making their way through a city. The sheer quantity of those two wheelers was just incredible – except of course when I was stuck in traffic trying to get to the airport when I wished there weren’t quite so many vehicles on the road!

It is a city of distinctions within itself. One street is a series of Ferragamo and Louis Vuitton stores and then the next has an endless cluster of little shops offering “café late” instead of the usual lattes for less than a dollar, with miniature chairs and tables arranged all over the road blocking the traffic.

These little chairs seem to be a common feature all over the city. Both sides of the streets are filled with them and they face each other; in the evenings you’ll see hundreds of people sitting in a long line and just looking at each other across the road as they eat. Just one among many unique sights and experiences in Ho Chi Minh.